Some of the Staffordshire Hoard items
Some of the Staffordshire Hoard items

A Burntwood farmer says the reality of the situation took time to sink in as archaeologists dug up the Staffordshire Hoard on his land a decade ago.

Some of the Staffordshire Hoard items

Fred Johnson was reliving the discovery of the largest Anglo-Saxon gold discovery ever found to mark the 10th anniversary of the find.

A metal detectorist unearthed thousands of items which led to a top-secret archaeological dig to retrieve the historic treasures.

“I can still remember the day as it if was yesterday,” Fred said.

“If anyone had of told me that there was treasure in one of my fields I would have laughed at them.

A hilt fitting from the Staffordshire Hoard

“When the metal detectorist showed me the first couple of items I wasn’t too sure what they were. And then it kept on coming, more and more.”

Since approximately 700AD the treasures had lain untouched a few feet below the surface of the field until the amazing discovery in the summer of 2009.

The items were valued at more than £3million which was split between metal detectorist Terry Herbert and Fred.

“The archaeologists must have been in the field for about five or six weeks and then I think it slowly sunk in that this was definitely something pretty spectacular,” Fred said.

“I’ve tried not to let it change my life too much, and obviously the money has come in useful.

“I still enjoy talking about it and I suppose it’s helped make Staffordshire famous.”


Founder of Lichfield Live and editor of the site.