It’s time for another round of “blame the movies” because once once again Hollywood has led us astray. It turns out that all those kooky “side characters” messing with metal detectors (the ones that are just there for comic relief) had something right after all. And today we bring you proof, proof, that giving up whatever hobby you are currently enjoying and scouring the ground for precious metals may be more worthwhile than any of us have ever imagined. Meet Mark Thompson, a man who paints trucks for a living and has just stumbled onto a piece of 14th century jewelry that’s going to net him more than most people make in two years.
And you know where he found the ring that’s going to keep him set for a nice little stretch? Sherwood Forest. Yep, this working class guy literally found the ancient ring that’s been valued between 20,000 and 70,000 pounds in the same place Robin Hood is said to have stolen from the rich and given to the poor.
What’s even more miraculous about Thompson’s story is the fact that it only took him 20 minutes to find the ring. The amateur treasure hunter, who’s been at this for 18 months, was out with a group of friends when he found something glinting on the ground. In a few moments, Thompson was the proud new owner of a 14th century gold ring featuring a giant sapphire as its centerpiece. A saint is engraved on one site of the ring, while an infant Christ is depicted on the other.
No word yet on what Thompson plans to do with his newfound wealth — sleep with one eye open, though, guy! Your metal-detecting friends can be ruthless! — but it’s currently being researched so as to ascertain whether Thompson’s got just a pretty nice ring from olden times or whether he’s sitting on actual treasure.
Kind of wants to make you go out and buy your own metal detector. Doesn’t matter what people will say when you’re out there finding ring after necklace after diamond-encrusted broach, huh? (Full disclosure: You’ll probably find a few empty cans of cola; but hey, you’re helping clean up the environment. Isn’t that its own reward?)
Update: Here’s a statement from The Nottinghamshire Country Council on this momentous discovery:
The ring was found on the edge of medieval Sherwood Forest near Newark, situated around 20 miles away from Sherwood Forest Country Park. The country park itself is managed by Nottinghamshire County Council, which is part of the wider Sherwood Forest.
Councillor Alan Rhodes, Leader at Nottinghamshire County Council, said: “If confirmed, this is a stunning find and fantastic news for Nottinghamshire, and our world-famous Sherwood Forest.
“Finds like this can give a real flavour of what it was like to be in the upper echelons of society in medieval Sherwood and it is an exceptional piece.”
Emily Gillott, Community Archaeologist for Nottinghamshire County Council, added: “It is remarkable that finds like this are almost as beautiful as the day they were made. This is the kind of loot that Robin Hood would have been thrilled about – it would have bought a lot of medieval dinners – and then some!
“A ring like this would have been worn by someone of extremely high status – perhaps by a bishop visiting our own Rufford Abbey or Laxton Castle. It was a reflection of life for people in this sort of position as opposed to a peasant who could only dream of owning such a valuable item.
“All metal detecting finds can give us vital clues to the past when properly reported, like this one from gold rings down to lowly brass buckles. If you have found something, talk to your local finds liaison officer. There are lots of ways to get involved in metal detecting but there are strict rules so make sure you join an official group so that you know what the rules are. It is illegal to metal detect anywhere without express permission of the landowner, or land agent, and other relevant agencies.”