AFTER metal detecting for 30 years a gardener struck gold when he dug up a 1,300-year-old ring in a field.
However, he may not receive a penny as reward, a treasure trove inquest was told.
The early Medieval jewellery, dating back to the sixth century AD, was unearthed by Ian Bisset on cultivated farmland at Castlelevington near Yarm, Stockton, on July 29, 2012.
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Other rare finds he has discovered over the years include two Viking pendants and a monastic seal. A spare bedroom at the home he shares with his wife, Christine, stores his less valuable booty.
He said: “I was metal detecting in the field, my mind was away with the fairies as it normally is, when I got a sharp signal.
“When I dug down approximately six inches I realised that in the bottom of the hole was a gold ring. I cleaned some of the dirt off and looked to see if there was anything else in the area, I was on a slight hill so I thought there might be other things.
“I showed it to the farmer and, as I thought it was over 300-years-old, I knew I had to report it. It was really exciting.
“It was on someone’s finger more than 1,000 years ago, that was the buzz,” added Mr Bisset, 59, who said he always sought permission from landowners before stepping onto their property.
“The joy is when I get a signal and I dig down in a field of earth, 99.9 per cent of times it’s absolute rubbish, as my wife will tell you, but this has been fantastic."
A report from the Portable Antiquities Scheme said it was a complete finger ring in good condition, made of gold wire with a circular cross-section measuring 24.56mm in diameter and weighing 6.9 grammes.
It complies with the 1996 Treasure Act as it is more than 300 years old and has a precious metal content of more than ten per cent.
Clare Bailey, acting Teesside Coroner, said the British Museum would first be offered the ring and, if they did not want it, Preston Hall Museum in Stockton could put it on display.
The treasure valuation committee will now decide its worth and any reward, she explained to the inquest held at Teesside Coroner’s Court in Middlesbrough.
“The finder does not normally qualify for a reward, but that’s a matter for the British Museum,” she added.
Following the hearing, Mrs Bisset,of Stockton, said the usual items her husband of 38 years returned home with included buttons and bits of metal.
“When he came back that day he was over the moon, absolutely buzzing. He’s not interested in the money, it’s all about the history for him," she said.