Milly Hardwick, a 13-year old in England, found a treasure trove of Bronze Age artifacts on the countryside using a metal detector, the New York Times reports. She had been out with her grandfather and father, who were each equipped with their own detector, scanning the fields when Milly’s detector started to give off a high-pitched sound. Her father immediately began digging and unearthed a 3,000 year-old ax.
“I was just shocked,” Hardwick said to the New York Times. “We were just laughing our heads off.”
Hardwick’s family would end up unearthing 65 artifacts, including ax heads, cake ingots, and blade fragments. Alerted by the Hardwick find, archaeologists with Oxford University found another treasure trove of 135 artifacts some eight feet away from where Milly first found the first ax.
The Cambridgeshire County Council’s environment committee confirmed that the objects found by the Hardwick’s were indeed from the Bronze Age, which lasted from 2,300 B.C.E. to 800 B.C.E. It was during this era that agriculture was being adopted, monuments like Stonehenge were being built, and people were making craft and tools from bronze.
Though the hoard that the Hardwicks found is undoubtedly precious, it is illegal in England to sell treasure, which is defined as objects that are made of at least 10 percent gold or silver or that are at least 300 years old. If some or all of these objects are found to be treasure, their value will be calculated, and a museum will be allowed to purchase the artifacts. In the past 20 years, museums have bought over 5,000 artifacts that have come from independent finds like Hardwick’s.
Regardless of the sale of these items, the find has already made a lasting impact on Hardwick’s life. She said she wants to be an archaeologist when she grows up.