Man Asks For Unusual Retirement Gift, Ends Up Making Life-changing Discovery

People who have worked for decades cannot wait to get retired. Although getting retired sounds like you’re on an endless holyday, we must admit it would get boring one day… This is why when colleagues chip in for a retirement gift, they look for something that would celebrate the person’s work and dedication to the company.
However, a British man didn’t want a car, a watch or a ticket to some spa retreats. He asked for an unusual object that would keep him occupied for a while. What he didn’t know was that this gift would change his life!

Photo Courtesy of The Guardian

20. The Perfect Retirement Gift

Photo Courtesy of Hoxne Heritage Group

The man didn’t want something extravagant as a retirement gift. However, he did have a peculiar request from his coworkers. While he had no idea if anything would come of this gift, he decided to risk it. It wasn’t like he had anything to lose. On the contrary, he won quite a lot!

19. A Good Worker

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The retired man’s name is Eric Lawes, who began working as a delivery boy, then as a farmer, gardener and even served in the army. His last and longest job was at the regional electricity board.
For thirty years, he ran the lights and was now ready to retire…

18. The Proper Gift For Eric

Photo Courtesy of Money Versed

His coworkers wouldn’t let Eric go empty handed. He deserved the retirement party, a big cake and a proper gift. When they asked him what to buy him, Eric said: a metal detector. They were confused.

17. Why Would You Chose That?

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Out of many other gifts, much more expensive, Eric just wanted a metal detector. He never thought of having this sort of hobby, but something inside him made him eager to go out and about and start looking for some treasures.

16. The First Treasure

Photo Courtesy of Money Versed

As Eric got his metal detector, he didn’t waste time and went exploring through Hoxne, his native village. His first treasures were bottle caps, rusted screws and some pennies. However, he didn’t give up that easy.

15. Helping Out a Farmer

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One day, the man received a call from a farmer friend named Peter Whatling that knew about his new hobby. He invited the metal detectorist on his field to look for his lost hammer.
It was something so ordinary that led Eric and the farmer to making an incredible discovery that would put Hoxne on the map. The two men were even featured on the news all over the world!

14. Metal Detector Goes Crazy

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Eric went to his farmer friend and began sweeping in his detector, searching for the hammer. That’s when it started going crazy. He took his shovel and began digging. A few seconds later, he struck metal…
But it wasn’t the lost hammer!

13. What Is That Thing?

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Peter was close by and when Lawes called him to look at what he found in the earth, he was dumbfounded! It was a strange looking coin. The two men looked at each other and then Eric again drove the shovel into the ground. He then looked amazed at a few glimmering pieces in the dirt.

They knew what to do next.

12. Unusual Relics

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Filled with dirt and looking too old to be disturbed, Lawes and Peter decided they were not going to dig any deeper. What if it was part of an ancient treasure? They didn’t want to destroy it, so they called the police.

11. Officials Arrived, Shocked to See the Relics

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After contacting the police, the farmer and metal detectorist were informed that a local archaeological group would shortly arrive to see what was this discovery all about.
The group sent from the Suffolk Archaeological Unit were stunned when they looked at the relics…

10. Diggings Carried On

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The site showed great potential, since these coins were actually incredibly old! The relics had to be excavated out of the ground, cleaned, counted and dated. It was not as easy as it sounds… Meanwhile, Lawes got to show his wife some of the haul.

9. The Wooden Case

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What was incredible about this treasure is that it all looked like it was held inside a wooden case. Wait until you see the hoard Lawes and Peter were able to uncover!

8. 15,000 Artifacts

Photo Courtesy of Smithsonian Magazine

Thanks to this strange coin discovered by Lawes and his good call of alerting the officials, archaeologists were able to properly excavate the entire Hoxne hoard, which contained no less than 15,000 artifacts! Part of it was silver and gold coins, but also silver cutlery and some gold jewelry pieces.

How old were these artifacts?

7. The Roman Empire In Britain

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The hoard dates back from around 400 A.C.E., when the Roman Empire colonized Britain. Archaeologist Peter Guest knew exactly their age just by looking at the coins. Looking at the edge of the coins, he saw they were clipped, meaning the coins were smaller than their original size.

6. Creating New Coins

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Britons clipped these coins this to create new currency out of the clippings and extend their money supply. With the chemical analyses on the coins, specialists concluded that many of the coins found in the Peter’s field were minted from clippings.

5. Buried After 407 A.C.E.

Photo Courtesy of Daily News

Guest concluded these artifacts were buried after 407 A.C.E, which was the year Romans left Britain. Dubbed as the “Hoxne Hoard,” Lawes discovery was said to be the largest find in Britain’s history!
It also contained a large collection of gold and silver coins from the 4th and 5th century.

4. British Museum Reaches Out

Photo Courtesy of The Guardian

It was obvious the British Museum would want to get this treasure and display it, along with the missing hammer! They paid Lawes £1.75 million (around £3.5 million today) for the hoard! The metal detectorist split it with Peter. What did Lawes do with his share of the money?

3. Building a New Home

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Lawes’ wife was more than happy to see that her husband was so lucky to find a treasure and get paid for it. They moved in Denham and Lawes used the money to build a new home. However, he didn’t give up on his hobby!

2. Metal Detecting for Decades!

Photo Courtesy of Flickr / Andrew McCabe

Although he was now a rich man, Lawes continued metal detecting for more than ten years! He eventually got too old for it… Almost three weeks after he turned 92, Lawes died in his sleep, in 2015.

1. Always Remembering Eric Lawes

Photo Courtesy of British Museum

Eric Lawes discovered the Hoxne Hoard in 1992, and he will always be remembered as the first metal detectorist that found the biggest hoard from Roman times ever to be found in Great Britain.

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