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‘Touching history’ -beginner metal detectorist on 1,000-year-old treasure discovery

PUBLISHED: 11:33 17 June 2020 | UPDATED: 12:02 17 June 2020

Mel Hollwoger made two Saxon treasure discoveries in the space of three months, Picture: Mel Hollwoger

Mel Hollwoger made two Saxon treasure discoveries in the space of three months, Picture: Mel Hollwoger

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A beginner metal detectorist has spoken of her excitement at being able to “touch history” when discovering two 1,000-year-old Saxon pieces.

Mel Hollwoger made two Saxon treasure discoveries in the space of three months the first a seventh century pyramdial mount, Picture: Mel HollwogerMel Hollwoger made two Saxon treasure discoveries in the space of three months the first a seventh century pyramdial mount, Picture: Mel Hollwoger

Mel Hollowger found a seventh century pyramidal mount and a gold strip in a location in North Norfolk two days before Christmas in December 2018.

At the start of June this year, the strip with gem and glass settings was found to be treasure by Norfolk’s coroner’s court.

More: 1,000-year-old Norfolk find declared treasure

Ms Hollowger, who lives near Aylsham, started joining her partner Nigel Terry on digs and in her first six months made two treasure discoveries.

In December 2018 she had been out in a field when very early on her metal detector signalled she had found something that she described as a ring.

Mel Hollwoger made two Saxon treasure discoveries in the space of three months including a gold strip which dates back as early as the 10th century, Picture: Mel HollwogerMel Hollwoger made two Saxon treasure discoveries in the space of three months including a gold strip which dates back as early as the 10th century, Picture: Mel Hollwoger

Ms Hollowger said: “It was the Sunday before Christmas, it was really cold and it had been really wet. It’s exciting, I knew it would be [treasure] when I took one look at the ring.

“It was filthy, but you could see the gems in it. Everybody came to have a look.”

She added: “I had been detecting for six months. I’m a beginner and I find the best thing ever. Both of those pieces really want to be in a museum. I say ‘it’s just beginners luck’ I do try to play it down.”

The strip is believed to date back to as early as the 10th century and was found using the metal detector her colleagues bought to mark 25 years in her job after she developed a “bug” for the hobby.

Mel Hollwoger made two Saxon treasure discoveries in the space of three months, including this gold strip in December 2018. Picture: Mel HollwogerMel Hollwoger made two Saxon treasure discoveries in the space of three months, including this gold strip in December 2018. Picture: Mel Hollwoger

Three months earlier she made her first discovery, the pyramidal mount, using Mr Terry’s late father’s metal detector.

Ms Hollowger said: “My other half has been doing it for years. He used to go with his father, who unfortunately died early in 2018. His father’s detector was here and I tried having a lesson one Tuesday afternoon with this spare detector and I found little bits and pieces.”

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The pyramidal mount may have been used in Saxon times to secure swords in their scabbards.

Mel Hollwoger with her metal detector. Picture: Mel HollwogerMel Hollwoger with her metal detector. Picture: Mel Hollwoger

Ms Hollowger said: “It’s the feeling when you find it that you are the first person to see it or touch it since the person who lost it. It’s being able to touch history.”

She said she enjoyed researching items.

“Sometimes you go out and you find old shoe buckles, coins, bits of tractor. It is exciting to find something valuable but you can find things that are not worth anything but they belonged to somebody.

“You do think about who did these belong to and what were they like and how did it come to be where it was found and how did they lose it.

“When I think the seventh century that’s 1,400 years ago: you are trying to get your head around that the find you have in your hand is that old. It’s amazing how it it has survived in the ground all this time.”


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