Archaeology breakthrough:13-year-old makes ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ discovery from 1300BC

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Milly Hardwick struck gold after digging up coins and buttons when hunting for treasure with her father, Colin, but made an even more spectacular find after discovering 65 pieces of stone in an axe dating from 1300BC. Milly, from Mildenhall in Suffolk, stumbled upon the items on her third adventure digging in a field near Royston in Hertfordshire. After digging up the Bronze Age axe, Milly said: “Whenever I go out I find stuff.

“I’ve found a gold-plated button and a Queen Elizabethan coin.

“It’s just nice being in the field for hours and you get a signal and it could literally be anything.”

And she is starting to earn quite the reputation in her area.

Milly said: “Last Sunday when we were out someone stopped and looked at me and said ‘are you the one who found the axe hoard?’

“And then another person came up to me and did the same thing.”

Milly’s mother, Claire Hardwick, said: “It’s an amazing find.

“The other detectorists are really pleased for her.

“A lot of people have said it’s a once-in-a-lifetime find.”

And now, Ms Hardwick has said that local diggers are becoming jealous of Milly’s natural abilities.

Ms Hardwick added: “On a couple of digs people have gone ‘oh God, she’s here now so we might as well go home now and there’s been a couple of digs they’ve been on since she found the hoard and when she’s got out the van people have given her a round of applause.”

Milly has developed a real passion for archaeology, and now wants to pursue it as a future career.

And this is not typical of your average year eight student, given that most metal detectors tend to be at least four decades older than her.

Fellow metal detecting enthusiasts may now recognise Milly, after she earned herself a spot on the front page of the Searcher, a leading metal detecting magazine.

Despite her metal detecting skills, Milly remains a humble digger around her peers.

She said: “Only a few of them know, but the ones that know, they didn’t quite understand so I had to explain it to them.”

But Ms Hardwick is a very proud mother.

She said: “It’s massive, massive, some people detect for forty, fifty years and don’t find anything like that.”

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After Milly’s discovery, archaeologists headed to the field to excavate the 65-piece find.

Milly earnt herself a day off school on Monday when she formally signed over the Bronze Axe to the local coroner.

But this is just another day at the office for Milly, who goes on organised digs with her Dad and Grandad with the landowner’s permission.

She said: “What we’re going to do – we’re going to try and find gold, that’s the one thing we’re aiming for and when we do, we’re going to do a little dance.”

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