North Wales has brilliant beaches, great mountain scenery and a fascinating ancient culture and heritage … and a lot more! I’ve been aching to tell you this story, but it is only now that I can make the details public. Read on and you will perhaps understand why.
Whilst holidaying in one of the remoter parts of Wales in the summer of last year, a friend and ‘old school’ detectorist – a member of an English forum who wishes to remain anonymous – made a remarkable discovery.
He had recently purchased a second hand Garrett Sea Hunter machine from FleaBay and was keen to try it out on the margin of a lake. What he chanced upon is perhaps one of the greatest treasures ever discovered with a metal detector. Probably. Perhaps. Could be. It is thought. Goodness, I’m beginning to sound like an archaeologist, but hear me out!
In his now shaking hand was a iron sword hafted in gilt bronze and encrusted with sapphires and diamonds. According to archaeologists the excellent condition of the relic was due, in the main, to the peaty conditions in which it was found.
Remember, this is the first announcement of the discovery, but expect a media frenzy when they eventually read this! Why? Well, I have been told by ‘experts’, who don’t wish to be quoted, that this weapon could be the legendary sword of King Arthur himself! The word EXCALIBUR is on everyone’s lips.
Problem for the Treasure Valuation Committee (TVC)
I understand that the sword is currently with the British Museum, and has been for a while. They are not, understandably, releasing pictures just yet. The hearing of expert historical, scientific and literary evidence could last for months. Eventual evaluation could also take some time as there is little to compare with this spectacular artefact.
When I asked one expert about its eventual destination he told me that, in his opinion, he doubted any British institution could afford it! He suspected that there would be great interest from major wealthy overseas museums who could afford the £200 to £300 million it would be likely to cost.
I can imagine a furore if the sword is not kept in this country where it belongs. Some way of keeping it here, despite the cost, will be mooted. Whether that be a crowdfunding exercise or some other scheme I wouldn’t like to speculate. But hey, I’m getting ahead of myself. The find may not be the sword of King Arthur! Perish the thought.
But, suppose it is, and the MailOnline makes the purchase. Could Excalibur’s ultimate fate be as the centre-piece of an Arthurian theme park in or near Snowdonia? They have to recoup their money some way. Legend has it that Arthur slew the ogre Rhita Gawr on the slopes of Snowden.
This ancient contest could be played twice-daily for the benefit of thousands of visitors prepared to pay £25 each for the privilege of seeing the sword and taking part in all the associated activities. Think about it.
Who would you choose to play the part of King Arthur? There must be somebody on the detecting forum you inhabit! An old gadgee recently retired who can’t detect anymore, but needs the money and is still capable of physically stabbing Rhita in the back. Send suggestions and a brief résumé and I will make a list of possible applicants.
Anyway, we’ll wait and see the outcome, which I will bring to you just as soon as I know …
In loving memory of my mentor and writer extraordinaire, the late Jim Patterson, whose original copy and idea I have shamelessly adapted for this blogpost.