An amateur treasure hunter used a metal detector to unearth a 1,800-year-old gold Roman signet ring in Somerset.
Pest control officer Jason Massey, 45, discovered the rare piece of jewellery, which features an engraving of the Roman goddess of Victory, in a field near Crewkerne.
It is believed to have belonged to a ‘high status’ figure, potentially making it one of the most significant archaeological finds in Somerset’s history.
The current value of the ancient piece of jewellery is still being determined.
An amateur metal detectorist has unearthed a 1,800-year-old gold Roman signet ring in Somerset (pictured)
The ring is now in the hands of experts at the British Museum in London. It is believed to date from 200 to 300 AD.
Mr Massey, who served in the British armed forces from 1989 to 1992, made the find at a site believed to have once been a high-status Roman villa as part of a charitable dig with the ‘Detecting for Veterans’ group.
‘The Somerset Archaeological team think we have found a very high-status villa complex, but more investigative work is needed,’ he told MailOnline.
Mr Massey and the landowner will share 50 per cent of any profits made from the ring once British Museum researchers had determined its value.
‘We have no idea how much [the ring] is worth – there is nothing like it in the UK,’ he said.
Pest control officer Jason Massey (left), 45, discovered the rare piece of jewellery, which features an engraving of the Roman god Victory
Detecting for Veterans unearthed 60 other Roman coins on Sunday as part of ongoing excavations at the Crewkerne site, which is southwest of Yeovil.
Bronze and silver coins were more common than their gold counterparts, which were typically owned by Romans of rich and powerful stature.
Ciorstaidh Hayward-Trevarthen, finds liaison officer for South West Heritage Trust, told BBC News: ‘There are a couple of gold rings of that sort of date from Somerset but they’re not common.
Mr Massey made the find at a site in Crewkerne, Somerset, that is believed to have been a high-status Roman villa
‘Gold is … an indication that the owner is fairly wealthy.’
The newly-discovered ring features an engraving of Victoria, the Roman god of Victory, riding a chariot pulled by two horses.
Victoria appears widely on Roman coins, jewellery, architecture, and other arts, and is often depicted with or in a chariot.
55BC – Julius Caesar crossed the channel with around 10,000 soldiers. They landed at a Pegwell Bay on the Isle of Thanet and were met by a force of Britons. Caesar was forced to withdraw.
54BC – Caesar crossed the channel again in his second attempt to conquer Britain. He came with 27,000 infantry and cavalry and landed at Deal but was unopposed. They marched inland and after hard battles they defeated the Britons and key tribal leaders surrendered.
However, later that year, Caesar was forced to return to Gaul to deal with problems there and the Romans left.
54BC – 43BC – Although there were no Romans present in Britain during these years, their influence increased due to trade links.
43AD – A Roman force of 40,000 led by Aulus Plautius landed in Kent and took the southeast. The emperor Claudius appointed Plautius as Governor of Britain and returned to Rome.
47AD – Londinium (London) was founded and Britain was declared part of the Roman empire. Networks of roads were built across the country.
50AD – Romans arrived in the southwest and made their mark in the form of a wooden fort on a hill near the river Exe. A town was created at the site of the fort decades later and names Isca.
When Romans let and Saxons ruled, all ex-Roman towns were called a ‘ceaster’. this was called ‘Exe ceaster’ and a merger of this eventually gave rise to Exeter.
75 – 77AD – Romans defeated the last resistant tribes, making all of Britain Roman. Many Britons started adopting Roman customs and law.
122AD – Emperor Hadrian ordered that a wall be built between England and Scotland to keep Scottish tribes out.
312AD – Emperor Constantine made Christianity legal throughout the Roman Empire.
228AD – The Romans were being attacked by barbarian tribes and soldiers stationed in the country started to be recalled to Rome.
410AD – All Romans were recalled to Rome and Emperor Honorious told Britons they no longer had a connection to Rome.