Somerset

Roman lead pig unearthed on Somerset farm in 'find frenzy'

Roman lead pig ingot Image copyright Southern Detectorists Club
Image caption The Roman lead mining ingot is thought to date from AD 164

An ingot of Roman lead weighing six stone (38kg) has been unearthed on a farm in Somerset.

Jason Baker discovered the "very rare" find - known as a pig - on an organised rally near Wells at the weekend.

The 2ft (60cm) ingot dates from 164 AD and is inscribed with the name of emperor Marcus Aurelius Armeniacus.

Mr Baker said there had been a "frenzy of finds" so when his detector sounded he "knew it was something good".

'Changed my life'

The 31-year-old, from Plymouth, has only been metal detecting for 18 months and had signed up for the weekly event, organised by the Southern Detectorists Club.

"Normally I find just a couple of Roman coins and that's normally a good day, so to find something like this has just changed my life," he said.

"There's been one sold - a smaller one - for £36,000 and I've heard a few reports of [some fetching] £250,000."

Image copyright Southern Detectorists Club
Image caption Detectorist Jason Baker said there had been a "frenzy of finds" so when his detector "went off" he "knew it was something good"

According to Mr Baker, a member of staff from the Museum of Somerset in Taunton had been at the dig and said it was the "best thing he'd ever seen".

"When the Romans invaded Britain 2,500 years ago, they mined up the lead, cast it into big lead blocks and put the emperor's name on it and sent it back to Rome.

"Basically mine got lost on the process back to Rome," he said.

'Such a nice bloke'

Sean McDonald, from the club, said the last Roman pig found was in the 18th century.

"It is such a rare find it's hard to put a price on it. A minimum would be £60,000 but it could go over that fivefold," he said.

"It doesn't come under the Treasure Act because it's made of lead - and not silver or gold - so Jason doesn't have to split it 50:50 with the farmer.

"But he is, because he is such a nice bloke."

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