THE MAN who found a first-of-its-kind for Wales Celtic burial site in a Pembrokeshire field could be set for a seven figure reward.

At an inquest on Thursday, January 31, a series of seven items found on farmland by 53-year-old metal detectorist Mike Smith in February 2018 were declared treasure by coroner Mark Layton.

Mike, who lives in Milford Haven, believed the find to be the first Celtic chariot burial found in Wales and reported his discovery to the National Museum of Wales.

Western Telegraph:

A further 16 items and fragments found when Mike returned to the field with archaeologists from the museum were also declared treasure.

He said he is now set to receive half the value of all items which are found in the field when archaeologists return there in the spring for a full excavation, including a 3m metal anomaly underneath the Iron Age chariot which was partly uncovered last summer.

RELATED: Coroner declares iron age chariot finds to be treasure

The other half will go to the field’s landowner, but even with the pot split into two, both could be set for a huge windfall.

“It is guesswork, but you are certainly talking about a six or seven figure sum.

"There has never been a chariot like this found by a metal detector,” said Mike.

He added it felt like a moment of vindication to hear his find officially recorded as treasure, as when he first emailed the National Museum of Wales they laughed at his claim.

“One of the national museum team patted me on the back when they came down and said ‘you have proved the experts wrong.’”

Though it might take a few years, Mike already has plans of how he will spend his reward.

“We live in a council house at the moment. My wife is ill so it would be nice to get her a bungalow so she doesn’t have to manage the stairs,” he said.

He also plans to buy his children homes of their own for when they grow up and a new waterproof device to replace his £1,500 Minelab detector.

Western Telegraph:

Mike, a member of the Pembrokeshire Prospectors, is set to be involved in excavation efforts when they begin in spring, as part of a volunteer team with the Dyfed Archaeological Trust.

He thinks there could be years of excavation work at the site in the future, as there is the imprint of two burial mounds and a large Celtic settlement near the chariot.

“It is already rewriting the history books,” he said.

“They didn’t know the Celts were here and it is going to change the way they teach history about this part of the country.”

When the chariot is uncovered, Mike hopes it will stay in Wales, either on display at the national museum in Cardiff or as part of a touring exhibition.

RELATED: The Celtic chariot burial discovered in a Pembrokeshire field

The detectorist started searching for buried treasure when in 1977 when he was 12 years old, and in 1979 discovered an English Civil War era cannon ball in the grounds of Defensible Barracks, Pembroke Dock.

Western Telegraph:

Coroner Mark Layton said the site of the chariot burial is still being kept secret to avoid theft of items from the ground and is now a scheduled ancient monument which Dyfed-Powys Police are protecting.

Adam Gwilt, Principal Curator of Prehistoric Archaeology, Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales said Mike’s discovery dates to an important period of social change for Britain, approximately the last 40s AD.

“Iron Age tribes in Britain came into contact and conflict with Rome, as these two worlds and cultures collided,” he said.

“These chariot pieces may have been witness to some of the historical events of the time, as Iron Age peoples defended their ways of life and identities, in the face of an expanding empire.”