Reg Mead and Richard Miles are two amateur treasure hunters that just made the discovery of their lifetimes on the island of Jersey, according to BBC News.BBC reports the duo uncovered about 50,000 Celtic and Roman iron coins estimated to be worth more than £10 million ($15 million USD) on Jersey, which is located off the coast of France.
The pair’s journey began 30 years ago when a farmer’s daughter told them that her father had come across some silver coins while working his fields.
She’d let them dig around, but there was a catch: She’d only give them an estimate of the coins’ location and they could only search for 10 to 15 hours per year when her father’s crop was harvested.
“She told me that in the bottom was an earthenware pot and it shattered all over the field on a very muddy winter’s day and there were silver coins everywhere,” Mead told BBC. “They filled a small potato sack up and the rest of the stuff they just ploughed into the ground.”
Based on her description, Mead and Miles suspected that the coins could be from the iron age, making them approximately 2,000 to 3,000 years old.
Mead and Miles told BBC that they have an arrangement worked out with the owner of the land that will allow them to keep the treasure. Unfortunately, the British government says otherwise.
In most countries, treasure finders are protected by the so-called “Treasure trove law,” but in 1996 Britain reformed the law, making it so that museums and government agencies could reclaim artifacts found by treasure hunters. In return, they would compensate the finders for the full market value of the treasure, according to the Guardian.
However, the Isle of Jersey isn’t officially part of Britain and its government claims the ancient law is no longer in effect.
This wasn’t the only case of explorers discovering valuable treasure this year. We reported earlier about two ship wrecks that were discovered that contained valuable cargo. In one of the cases an American treasure hunter was ordered to return $500 million worth of gold and silver coins salvaged from a sunken ship to Spain.