British man uncovers priceless Anglo Saxon sculpture in blind buy
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By Troy Dredge, Catholic Online
12/3/2014 (4 years ago)
Catholic Online (https://www.catholic.org)
Some of the world's most priceless treasures are often lying out in the open. Case in point: A British man in search of natural stone for a rockery in his garden grabbed a ton-and-a-half of stone for Ł50. When 32-year-old John Wyatt got home with his purchase, he discovered an ancient stone carving worth thousands of pounds.
When 32-year-old John Wyatt got home with his purchase, he discovered an ancient stone carving worth thousands of pounds.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - After cleaning mud and moss off the pieces, Wyatt spotted one with a Celtic cross carved on one side and a mythical birdlike beast on the other.
He had the 21 by 15-inch piece was examined by an expert, who told him it dated from Anglo-Saxon times. The relic is thought to have once formed part of a cross-slab from an early Christian monument.
A Roman sarcophagus, that for years acted as a plant pot in an Oxfordshire garden will likewise be going up at the same auction. The estimate for that piece is £25,000.
It's also possible that it was smashed by Viking invaders in the Ninth century, in a defiant gesture of desecration against Britain's Christian population.
The rock is now being sold at auction with a pre-sale estimate of Ł10,000.
"I was doing a bit of work in my own garden and saw an advert for some natural stone. I phoned the people up and went to collect it in my pick-up. There must have been a ton and a half and I paid about Ł50 for the lot," Wyatt, of Chester said.
"The stones were covered in mud and moss and when I got home I saw what I thought was the tail of the dragon on one of them. It was lucky I was looking.
"I cleaned it off and realized it was carved. It looked like some of the things you see round here in museums so I contacted a museum and the archaeologists got very excited.
"No one could really say exactly what it was but they knew it was important," he adds. Wyatt intends to pay off part of his mortgage if -- and when the item is sold.
The find is seen as significant. "The Anglo-Saxon stone is an important find and the stylistic vocabulary on the cross is indicative of an Anglo-Saxon origin and it probably dates from the 9th or 10th century," auctioneer Guy Schwinge says.
A Roman sarcophagus, that for years acted as a plant pot in an Oxfordshire garden will likewise be going up at the same auction. The estimate for that piece is Ł25,000.
Schwinge said that the sarcophagus dates from the Second or Third century AD and, although damaged, remains a rare and important find.
Made from white marble, it depicts two river gods holding horns of plenty while reclining on the back of dolphins and flanked by palm trees.
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