Mike Smith loves history. That’s why he spends a lot of his free time wielding his metal detector with the hopes of finding something noteworthy. However, Smith never expected to sweep his detector over a find as massive as this one. Now it has changed his life forever and earned him about as much money as if he had won the lottery.
Smith from Pembrokeshire in the United Kingdom was out one day with his metal detector when it started to alert him to something under his feet. It was a very strong signal, much stronger than he was used to. As he swept the detector side to side, he realized that whatever was under his feet was much bigger than a coin or a sword.
When he started to dig into the dirt, it was not long before Mike Smith realized that he had found something utterly unique. Now he has become the first metal detectorist to discover a Celtic chariot from the Iron Age. This chariot is more than 2,000 years old and a piece of priceless history.
Back in the Iron Age, high-ranking officials and leaders would be buried with their chariots, as well as a stack of weapons and other prizes.
Because the find was deemed a treasure by the coroner, Mike Smith is set to receive a massive cash windfall. His hobby of hunting for buried treasure finally paid off for him.
Smith loves hunting for treasure like this, but he never expected to find anything this impressive.
“It is, but you’re definitely talking six or seven figures,” Smith said. “It’s the biggest ever metal detecting find, as in there’s never been a chariot ever discovered by a metal detectorist. There have been hoards found, but never anything like this.”
The first artifact Smith found was what he thought to be a broach. However, as he dug deeper and deeper, he realized it was part of a Celtic horse harness. Because he knew that this was treasure, he returned to the same spot the next day and continued to dig up more goodies. The pieces were all red enamel and dated between 25 and 75 AD.
“I knew the importance of them straight away,” he said. “It was just instinct. I’d read all about chariot burials and just wished it could have been me, so finding this has been a privilege.”
Now that Smith has found treasure in that spot, the location has become a major dig site. The site is now legally protected, and Smith was required to sell the 34 artifacts he found to a museum by law. But he was paid well. However, he had to share the money with the landowner, fifty-fifty.
“I still can’t believe it,” Smith added. “Obviously I’ve read other people’s finds. I’ve watched them on telly, and I’ve always thought, I wouldn’t mind finding that, it’s still surreal, and life-changing.”
Because it is the first of its kind, Smith’s treasure is now a highly sought after prize. National Museum Wales wants to secure the treasure for its archives.