UK metal detector enthusiast finds ancient Roman bronze artefacts

UK metal detector enthusiast finds ancient Roman bronze artefacts

A lucky UK metal detector enthusiast's breathtaking find is a first in British history, according to archaeologists.

A hoard of ancient Roman bronze artefacts includes a sculpture of a "licking" dog never found before in Britain.

The 4th century discovery was made by metal detectorists Pete Cresswell and his brother-in-law Andrew Boughton in Gloucestershire, England.

The licking dog is an example of a healing statue, and may be linked to a Roman healing temple at Lydney.

Experts said there was also the possibility that a previously undiscovered Roman temple may be sited elsewhere in the county.

The artefacts appear to have been deliberately broken and hidden - with the exception of the dog statue, which remains intact.

Archaeologists believe the items could have been stashed by a metal worker who intended to retrieve them at a later date in order to melt and re-cast them.

The artefacts are of such significance that they need to be kept under special conditions for insurance reasons, and are currently being stored at Bristol museum, where they are being photographed and catalogued on an online database.

Experts are piecing together the clues, and the findings will be presented by the British Museum at a launch event, likely to take place around the end of the year.

Mr Cresswell, from Gloucestershire, said: "It's not every day you come across a hoard of roman bronze.

"We have been metal detecting for a combined 40 years, but this is a once in a lifetime discovery.

"As soon as I realised the items were of historical significance I contacted the local archaeology team, who were equally excited by the find.

"It's a great privilege to be able to contribute to local and British history."

Archaeologist Kurt Adams, the Gloucestershire and Avon finds liaison officer, said: "This Roman hoard dates to the 4th century and mostly contains items that have been deliberately broken, ranging from small vessel fittings to a large bronze statue.

"Most amazing of all is a complete and finely detailed standing dog statue, which is a unique find for British archaeology."

The exact location of the discovery is not being disclosed.

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