Mike Smith was always into treasure hunting. The 46-year-old was an avid reader of Treasure Hunter magazine, owned his own high-end Minelab X-Terra 705 metal detector, and whenever the weather was nice, he met up with a group of detectorist buddies to have a good time. Living out in the country, he never expected to find anything major — but in February of 2018, all that changed.
When he set out on that winter day, the Welshman would've been happy to discover anything at all. In the time he's spent metal-detecting, he's been accustomed to working hard just to find ancient coins, buttons, and broken artifact pieces — but rarely anything bigger.
Although passionate about history, Smith isn't a full-time treasure hunter or archeologist. “Obviously I’ve read other people’s finds. I’ve watched them on telly, and I’ve always thought, I wouldn’t mind finding that," he said. On this particular day, he hadn't even gone far from home.
The weather'd been bad near his hometown of Milford Haven, and the location Smith intended to scope out that day was no good. Somewhat down, he switched plans, setting off for another field he knew — a chance decision that'd prove life-changing.
In the middle of the "Plan B" plot of farmland, while pacing slowly through the grass, Smith's detector beeped. He pinpointed the most likely location of the buried object and bent down to begin a small excavation.