How A 3-Year-Old Boy Used A Metal Detector To Discover A $4M Artifact

Young and old alike turn to the hobby of metal detecting to satisfy what is for many the dream of a lifetime: to discover ancient treasure or some otherwise priceless artifact from long ago. Some of the most valuable objects ever found through metal detecting include possible Bronze Age axes in England, according to the CBC. That's until a Swiss student found a 2,000-year-old Roman dagger in an otherwise unknown Roman-era battlefield, as Live Science reports.

In 2010, a three-year-old British boy in southeast England named James Hyatt tried metal detecting for the very first time with his father, Jason Hyatt. As little Jame later said (via CBS News) "[The metal detector] went beep beep beep." When young James and his father got that strong response from their metal detector, they began to dig. Once they started digging, they soon saw a flash of gold, as Jason Hyatt later told the BBC. What the father-and-son team then uncovered was the 500-year-old find of a lifetime.

A medieval pendant was found

The object that father-and-son metal detectives Jason and James Hyatt discovered on that day was about eight inches below the surface, as Jason Hyatt went on to tell the BBC. After clearing dirt away from the object, they knew they had something special. An image of the Virgin Mary with a cross was later identified as carved on the locket. Also on the object were design elements that could represent the wounds of Christ, according to experts. 

At one time, the pendant opened up in the back but that mechanism no longer worked when it was found by the Hyatts. With possible buried treasure from antiquity on their hands, the Hyatts reported the find to the British Museum for authentication, per British law. The object was period correct, as declared by experts. The British museum later stated, "Devotion to the blood and wounds of Christ was one of the hallmarks of late medieval piety."

The object was made from gold

The relic that the Hyatts uncovered that day weighed nearly nine grams and was roughly three-quarters solid gold, according to The British Museum, as reported by the BBC. At the time, the object was valued at around $4 million dollars, according to CBS News. After it was discovered, the locket was opened by conservationist Marilyn Hockey but little was found beyond flax fibers, which likely grew in the area at that time (per The Guardian).

After the inquest, the 500-year-old medieval pendant discovered by the Hyatt family is now on display in the medieval gallery at The British Museum. If it were to ever sell, the money would be split between the Hyatts and the owner of the property where it was found, as British law mandates, according to CBS News. Regardless of whether or not the Hyatts ever sell the object, they certainly have bragging rights that for a metal detecting hobbyist redefine beginner's luck.