Isle Of Man / Ellan Vannin

Ancient ring found by TV-inspired metal detector

Medieval ring Image copyright MNH
Image caption The ring is thought to date back to the time when the first Manx laws were written

A silver medieval ring thought to be up to 600 years old has been unearthed by a man who took up metal detecting after watching a TV sitcom.

The gold-gilded ring was found by Gordon Graham in a field in the north of the Isle of Man.

Archaeologists believe the piece, which is engraved with geometric shapes, dates from between 1400 and 1500 AD.

An inquest hearing at Douglas Courthouse declared the ring can be officially classed as treasure.

Allison Fox, a curator of archaeology at Manx National Heritage, said it may date back to the time when the first Manx laws were written, in the 1400s.

Image caption The 41-year-old took up metal detecting after watching Netflix

Viking rule ended in AD 1266 and was followed by a century or so of political and social upheaval, with the island alternating between English and Scottish rule.

Mr Graham, from Edinburgh, said he was inspired to take up metal detecting after watching the BBC sitcom The Detectorists on Netflix.

"I really enjoy it," the 41-year-old said. "You find a lot of coke cans and bottle tops and sometimes you get lucky and find coins."

He said he was "delighted" to find the ring in May, and immediately reported his discovery to the landowner and the Manx Museum.

Image caption Mr Graham discovered the ring in a field

"It was very beautiful. It wasn't until I got back to the house and put a picture on social media that an expert identified it as a medieval iconographic ring.

"So that was a game changer, and I informed the landowner and the Manx museum straight away.

"I don't do it to find gold or get rich. I do it to find something I can show to the Manx people and have in the museum. It is a fantastic thing to find."

Finds of archaeological interest on the island must be reported to Manx National Heritage within two weeks.

For items thought to be treasure, and when the original owner cannot be traced, a coroner's hearing is held to make a legal ruling. 

If declared treasure, the item belongs to the crown and the finder is rewarded.

The ring was due to go on display at the Manx Museum from Saturday.

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites