I don’t know about you, but when I go looking for something I’ve lost, usually because I put it in a place that I would know where to find it, I always seem to find several other “treasures” I had forgotten I had. I can’t tell you how many times that has happened to me, even if I had been intently looking for the “treasure” that I finally find when I’m no longer looking for it. That happens to a lot of people, but it’s not likely that the “treasures” we find, are worth anywhere near the value of the treasure that was found by Eric Lawes, when on November 16, 1992, he set off for a field in Hoxne village, Suffolk. He wasn’t even heading out on a treasure hunt. He was searching for his lost hammer!!
At his recent retirement, Lawes had received a metal detector as a gift. So Lawes set off to find a hammer he had lost on the farmland. The detector picked up a strong signal in the earth, leading Lawes to start digging. Well…this was not his hammer. After bringing up only a few shovelfuls of silver spoons and gold coins, Lawes quickly retreated and called the police and the local archaeological society. The very next day, as quietly as possible, so as not to create a stir, the archaeologists excavated a chunk of earth with the treasure still contained within. They wanted to remove the objects under strict laboratory conditions, which would help determine the age and storage method of the cache. By the time everything had been removed from the dirt, the archaeologists had nearly 60 pounds of gold and silver objects, including 15,234 Roman coins, dozens of silver spoons, and 200 gold objects. The treasure, which later became labeled as the Hoxne Hoard, was an amazing discovery. Archaeologist Judith Plouviez was extremely excited about the discovery, saying that it was “an incredibly exciting and amazing find.” What’s more, another archaeologist, Rachel Wilkinson, told Smithsonian Magazine that this discovery was “the largest and latest ever found in Britain.”
Normal radiocarbon dating as a means of identifying the age of ancient relics didn’t work in this case. They just couldn’t locate any suitable material for radiocarbon dating from the haul. In the end, they determined the age by examining writing on the coins, as well as the ruler carved into them. It was estimated that the treasure was probably buried in either 408 or 409 AD. How it had remained hidden all those years is beyond me…especially on a farm, where the field might have been plowed at any time. All in all, the discovery was a real treasure for archaeologists. Lawes didn’t lose out on the deal either. According to Smithsonian Magazine, in recognition of his discovery and willingness to contact authorities, the British government rewarded him with over £1.7 million (2,249,100 in US Dollars), an amount which he shared with the farmer whose land was dug out in order to get the treasure. Oh, and by the way, Lawes also found his lost hammer…which now also resides in the British Museum too.
My Uncle Larry was well known to his family and his friends for being a real joker. He loved to tell jokes and make people laugh. He was also very handy with tools. He loved working on all kinds of things, from cars to carpentry. One time he was looking for one of his tools…specifically, his hammer, and couldn’t find it. He looked everywhere, and finally, when he could think of no other way to find it, he sat down on the floor by the cat, and asked, “Kitty…Whar’s the Hommer?” It was said in a joking way, but apparently, the kitty knew more than Uncle Larry expected. Of course, the kitty didn’t really know anything, but when Uncle Larry looked down…there beneath in a crack in the floorboards, was the hammer. I’m sure it was a surprise to Uncle Larry, because he didn’t think he would find it, but in a moment of resignation, he found it because of a silly question.
Uncle Larry was my mom’s best friend as a child. Just two years older than she was, they did a lot of things together. One time, Uncle Larry bought an old car…a junker. He worked on the car, fixing it up, with great plans for it in the future. That morning, he decided to take the car to school, and give his sister, Collene, my mother a ride while he was at it. They figured out pretty quickly that the brakes on the car probably needed more help than the engine had needed. Now they were driving down the road, had no way to stop. For me, this story brought visions of Fred Flintstone putting his heels to the pavement in an effort to stop quickly. Of course, reality is much different. According to my mom, her brother pulled off an amazing feat…swerving around every obstacle until he could finally get the car slowed down enough to coast to a stop. I can imagine that Uncle Larry was extremely relieved that he and his sister were not going to be in an accident. Accidents can be so scary, and it doesn’t take much of an impact to cause injury. I’m sure that my Uncle Larry was very thankful, but my mom was very proud of him. His driving was amazing according to her.
When Uncle Larry was older, he decided to go to work in Bemidji, Minnesota in a mine there. With World War II going on at the same time, the family found out that he had been drafted. They had no way to contact him, so it was decided that my mom, and her fiancé, my dad, and Dad’s sister, Ruth would drive up to Bemidji to let him know that he had to come home, and prepare to go to fight in the war. They went up there, but couldn’t find him right away. He had gone into town. Eventually they found him and headed back home to Casper, so that he could go and fight for his country. I’m sure that was a bittersweet trip for my mom, who was now unsure of his future. Thankfully, Uncle Larry came home from the war, and went on to become the wonderful husband, father, grandfather, and uncle that he was to us, as well as the great brother and son he had always been. Today Uncle Larry would have been 80 years old. Happy birthday in Heaven, Uncle Larry. We love and miss you very much.