An amateur treasure hunter was in for a surprise when he stumbled across some priceless medieval jewellery in a field in Stowting, Kent.
The jewellery – dating back 1,500 years – was uncovered along with remains of a mysterious woman.
Experts from the British Museum believe the treasure dates from the mid to late 6th century, and forms the burial assemblage of a Kentish woman of high-status.
An amateur treasure hunter was in for a surprise when he stumbled across some priceless medieval jewellery in a field in Stowting, Kent. Pictured is a complete gilded and silvered copper-alloy brooch
Treasure hunters made the shocking discovery in May when scouring the fields of a landowner in the rural parish.
They uncovered a human rib, thought to be a noble woman who owned the jewellery, with a fragment of copper alloy embedded in it.
Buried with the remains were a copper alloy brooch, a silver key-stone brooch with garnets, a silver bracelet and a gold disc pendant.
The value of the finds is not yet known.
Historians at Maidstone Museum have already expressed an interest in acquiring the artefacts, which were declared as treasure at an inquest in Archbishop’s Palace, Maidstone, on Tuesday.
Under the Treasure Act 1996, anyone who finds historic artefacts must report it to the coroner within two weeks or they could face three months in prison and a fine of up to £5,000 ($6,350).
Artefacts found to be more than 300 years old or containing high levels of precious metals automatically qualify as treasure.
The inquest heard a square-headed brooch was decorated with knot-work and a panel to represent a face with hair or helmet plumes.
Another was described as a silver keystone brooch with purple garnets, and experts claimed large numbers of these type of brooches have been discovered in the Kent area.
They also found a silver slip-knot bracelet and a complete and undamaged gold disc pendant, which were in use from the late 5th to 7th centuries.
Assistant coroner for central and south east Kent Katrina Hepburn said: ‘The assemblage is typical of a high-status female Kentish burial from the mid to late 6th century.
‘I am satisfied from the evidence from the British Museum that these are artefacts dating from the 6th century and that four of the objects are made of more than ten per cent precious metals.
‘I will therefore confirm that this is indeed treasure.’
They also found a silver slip-knot bracelet which was in use from the 5th to 7th centuries
The incredible finds were uncovered in a field in Stowting, Kent