A real life treasure hunter was called to help with a serious problem that could have cost a Cowbridge farmer thousands of pounds.
Martin Merilaht is an avid metal detecting enthusiast, who has been digging pieces of history from the soil in and around the Vale, for almost 17 months.
He works with Cardiff Museum to report, declare and record all items of interest and is officially sponsored by the UK and Europe’s authorised service and repair centre specialists, Lunatec.
Martin has made some incredible discoveries, some artefacts he has found have dated back to the Roman Empire rule of Britain.
Martin has discovered silver medieval coinage from the reign of Henry I through to Charles II, and some other artefacts from this era as well.
However, Martin has made a recent disciovery. He unearthed a hoard of Roman coins nearly 2,000 years old. The coins have been classed by the museum in Cardiff as “a scattered hoard” and have been officially declared to the Welsh Coroner in Cardiff.
The Roman coins have entered The Treasure process where they may be declared as a national treasure. Martin said: “I’m really excited for the outcome.”
He has also discovered a near mint Gold Guinea of George III dated back to 1777, and an early Georgian gold wedding band.
Apart from finding expensive treasure, Martin likes to help the community with any problems they may be having.
Recently, Martin was asked by a Cowbridge farmer, Paul Llewellyn, who farms near St Hilary, to find a piece of metal that was buried in long grass. If Paul’s harvesting machinery had struck it, the machine could have suffered irreparable damage.
The piece of metal had broken off from a tractor, and was lost amongst rows of grass ready for silage. If the metal piece wasn’t found then it would probably be sucked up into the farmers expensive retriever machine.
This dilemma was holding up the farm’s work flow, so it needed to be found quickly.
Martin was ready to help the farmer, as they had helped him search on their land. He said: “I geared up and headed to the farm!”
He was able to find the piece of metal after searching on a boiling hot day, on an acre of land. The farmer could now continue his work and his machinery is now safe from any damage.
Martin wants other people to get involved in this interesting hobby. He said: “I want to encourage others of all ages to take up this wonderful hobby and to find, and save our local history buried in time so that our past can not be forgotten.”
He doesn’t just find pieces of machinery, but he also finds lost jewellry, and he searches fields for any dangerous metal items that could injure livestock or worse.
Martin Merilaht is a real life treasure hunter, and will continue to hunt to find even better discoveries.
Report by Neve Clissold