The Hoxne Hoard: Finding Buried Treasure Thanks To A Lost Hammer

By | January 8, 2019

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Found in Hoxne, Suffolk in 1992, the hoard is the richest find of treasure from Roman Britain. From the British Museum's collection. Source: (Photo by CM Dixon/Print Collector/Getty Images)

Who doesn’t hope to one day stumble across a buried treasure worth millions of dollars? That dream became a reality for an English farmer in 1992. Quite by accident, he unearthed a lost treasure chest filled with gold coins and jewelry. Dubbed the Hoxne Hoard, the treasure consisted of more than 15,000 individual objects and is the largest Roman treasure ever to be found. The discovery of this ancient treasure is credited to a missing hammer. Here is the tale of the Hoxne Hoard. 

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Peter Whatling's missing hammer is now on display at the British Museum. Source: (

Where’s My Hammer?

Peter Whatling of Hoxne, a village in Suffolk, wasn’t having a very good start to his day on November 16, 1992. He was doing some work when he lost his hammer in the field. He searched and searched but couldn’t find it. Vexed, he called his buddy, Eric Lawes, to come help. Lawes, Whatling knew, he had recently received a metal detector as a retirement gift. He thought his friend could put the metal detector to good use finding his missing hammer.