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Britain's largest gold nugget

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Vincent Thurkettle from Somerset, South West England is a dedicated treasure hunter and gold prospector who now holds the record of finding the largest gold nugget in the U.K, weighing 97.12 grams (3 oz).
The find was made in 2012 near the shipwreck of the Royal Charter, off the coast of Anglesey,  Northwest Wales, but kept a secret until recently to allow him to search the area thoroughly, undisturbed.
At age 16 Vincent left school and trained as a Chartered Forester, following his studies worked for the Forestry Commission.  He had a keen interest in treasure hunting, also wanted to write a book and in 2005, after filling the position of Deputy Director, decided to retire from his job to pursue his dreams, which he both full filled by making several very valuable finds and writing a book named The Wood Fire Handbook.
He describes his passion for treasure hunting: “Every little speck  of gold I’ve found around the world has been a thrill – the campfires I’ve sat around, the people I…

Beginner's luck for 3 Year old boy who unearths Medieval reliquary worth £70 000

3 Year old James

3 Year old James Hyatt from Billericay, Essex wanted to join his father and grandfather metal detecting and a trip planned out on a field in Hockley, Essex seemed like as perfect opportunity as any to have his first ever try at treasure hunting.
Within minutes of taking hold of the metal detector there was a distinctive beep, indicating a non ferrous target buried in the ground. He started digging several inches deep and much to the astonishment of everyone unearthed a gold locket which turned out to be a reliquary.
Experts dated it to the era of Henry VIII (early 16th century), the engraving is a type which was popular during that time.

Medieval Christians believed in the power of relics, any physical remains of what was considered a holy site or person and any object which they had contact with. Anything touched by Christ or his apostles were considered to have healing powers and since Saints were believed to provide a spiritual link between life and death and acts as an advocate for humankind in heaven, effectively, between man and God, anything related to them were believed to provide the same. These items were considered to be so valuable that some were even stolen by one church and placed in another.

Front view of the locket
Back view of the locket

Since the Relics were considered of such high value, it was only appropriate that they be stored for protection and displayed in containers known as Reliquaries and crafted of and/or covered by precious material such as gold, silver and gems.
They were often engraved with narrative scenes from the life of Saints, whose remains may have been contained within. At times the decoration was not related to a specific saint or community, but that of general themes about Christian faith, which made them appropriate to be widely used in any community. They were sometimes created specifically for privileged individuals, usually wealthy people or purchased by them and the one James found would have been worn around the neck of such person. Reliquaries created for both churches and private individuals were destroyed by enemies of the church during times of religious and political conflict. They are very rare. Only three other similar ones as that which was unearthed in Hockley are known to have survived.


Made of 73 per cent gold, 1 inch wide and 1.3 inches long, the front has an engraved image of a female Saint which is believed to be Saint Helena, mother of Constantine clutching a cross and the back features the presentation of blood droplets from 4 cut wounds and a heart with a cut in it, representing the 5 wounds of Christ.
The names of the Three Wise Men, Iaspar, Melcior and Baltasar are inscribed on three different sides. The back part is a panel for the purpose of sliding out to place a relic inside.
The panel was stuck and had to be very carefully pried open, once opened revealed that the item, which was supposed to be contained within, was missing.
How this artifact ended up with it's contents missing and detached from the chain and buried in the earth is a mystery.
 It has been declared a treasure and purchased by the British Museum for £70000. The proceeds of its sale will be shared between James’s family and the landowner.


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