For years, the concept of buried treasures played an important role in myths and legends. Pirates, criminals, kings, and peasants have all accidentally unearthed piles of buried treasures in these tales. With that, comes as an instant jackpot; a momentous point that will either put the conflict to a grand end or set the story in motion.
With this, it is no wonder that, despite the passing of years and the dawn of the new millennium, people never stop dreaming of finding hidden gems in the farthest regions of the earth. From precious stones to art pieces and historical documents, there is a broad range of treasure that thousands of people fancy of laying their hands on.
In this article, we have gathered 10 of the most expensive treasures ever unearthed. Excited to know what they are and how exactly they have been discovered? Continue reading below to find out more about these coveted finds.
10. The Cuerdale Hoard
Value: $3.2 million
Containing more than 8,600 valuable items, including silver coins, several bits of jewelry, and silver ingots, the Cuerdale Hoard is known to be the greatest Viking silver treasure trove ever found.
The hoard was discovered on May 15, 1840 by a group of workmen during repair work on the south side of the River Ribble in Cuerdale. The huge collection was said to be contained in a lead chest and is valued at a whopping $3.2 million.
9. Crosby Garrett Helmet
Value: $3.6. million
This detailed Roman parade helmet, complete with a face mask, tight curly hair, and a griffin-topped cap, is the 9th most expensive thing ever unearthed. It was discovered in May 2010 on a farm in Cumbria by an unnamed metal detectorist.
The item is believed to be dated from the late 2nd or early 3rd century AD and may already have been an antique by the time it was buried. In 2010, the helmet was sold at an auction for $3.2 million to an undisclosed buyer.
8. The Staffordshire Hoard
Value: $3.9 million
Consisting of over 3,500 items, which include gold, silver, and other precious materials, this was a vast haul of Anglo-Saxon gold and silver metalwork. The hoard was discovered by an amateur treasure hunter in 2009 and is the 8th most expensive treasure ever unearthed in the world.
The hoard, which has been valued at £3.28 million by the British Museum, was reported to have been divided equally between the person who discovered it and the farmer who owns the land where it has been discovered.
7. The Hoxne Hoard
Value: $4.3 million
Sometimes, losing something means finding something else of greater value. In the case of Peter Whatling, a farmer from Suffolk, England, a much greater blessing was found.
Upset by the loss of his hammer, he called a friend with a metal detector to help him find it. What they come upon, in the end, is something of even greater value: a cache of metal objects that included gold chains, silver spoons, and coins.
Known to be the largest cache of late Roman gold in the Roman Empire, The Hoxne Hoard is valued at a staggering price of $4.3 million.
6. The Saddle Ridge Hoard
Value: $10 million
Discovered in February 2013 by a couple in California, The Saddle Ridge Hoard refers to a treasure trove of 1,427 gold coins, which totals to a value of $10 million.
According to the couple’s account, they found the treasure one morning when they decided to walk their dog on their property on Saddle Ridge. As they were walking, they detected what appeared to be a rusted portion of a can and decided to unearth it. After taking the can into their home and discovering the glistening gold coins that were hidden inside, they decided to return to the site and dig up the land in search of more cans, leading into the discovery of 7 more cans containing the same set of treasures.
To this date, the coupled has remained anonymous and has refused to disclose the exact location of their property.
5. Guennol Lioness
Value: $57.2 million
Measuring just over 8 cm in height, this small ancient Mesopotamian sculpture was said to be found near Baghdad, Iraq.
The sculpture, which features a white limestone lioness-woman, is considered to be one of the oldest remaining artifacts of Mesopotamia and is estimated to had been created around 5,000 years ago.
On December 5, 2007, the figure was sold for $57.2 million at Sotheby’s auction house, making it the most expensive sculpture ever sold at an auction at that time.
4. The Środa Treasure
Value: $120 million
Known to be one of the most valuable treasures discovered in Europe during the 20th century, the discovery of The Środa Treasure can be dated back to 1985. During the fateful event, a vase was discovered beneath the foundation of an old building in the Polish town of Środa Śląska during a demolition. Inside the vase was more than 3,000 silver coins dating to the 14th century.
Two years later, even more artifacts were uncovered when the demolition work moved to a nearby building. Among the items that were found were silver and gold florin coins, a round clasp, and a crown believed to have belonged to the Czech queens.
3. Venus de Milo
Value: $1 billion
Recognized to be one of the most celebrated art pieces that display the Hellenistic sculptural tradition, Venus de Milo comes as the first item to reach a billion on our list.
According to reports, the discovery of the ancient Greek sculpture can be traced back to the island of Milos. On the morning of April 8, 1820, a local farmer decided to go into the ancient ruins of the island to retrieve some stones he needed on his farm. While digging through the ruins, he came upon a fragment of a sculpture.
In a nearby area, a French naval officer noticed that the farmer came upon something and gave him a small bribe to dig out the whole piece. From there, the legendary beauty of Venus de Milo resurfaced into the light.
To date, although the statue’s arms were never found, its great cultural and historical significance gave it a staggering worth of $1 billion.
2. The Dead Sea Scrolls
Value: $1.2 billion
First discovered in 1946, The Dead Sea Scrolls stand as one of the most tremendous discoveries of the century, bearing great historical, religious, and linguistic significance.
Their importance stems from the fact that the scrolls contain either fragments or complete copies of every book in the Old Testament (except Esther). Some also reported that the scrolls display an ancient treasure map that indicates the whereabouts of gold and silver, which may total over one billion dollars.
The initial discovery of the scroll can be traced back to 1946, when a group of shepherds noticed a cave amid the limestone cliffs in the Dead Sea.
According to reports, intrigued by the cave, one of the shepherds threw a stone into it and heard the sound of some pots breaking. Upon entering, they saw a collection of large jars that contain nothing but old scrolls. And from there, the rest is history.
1. Indian Temple Hoard
Value: $22 billion
At the top of the list of the most expensive items ever found underneath the surface of the earth is none other than the Indian Temple Hoard.
Discovered in 2011 in the underground vaults of a Hindu temple in Trivandrum, India, the hoard contains an overwhelming collection of gold coins and statues of gods and goddesses adorned with diamonds and other precious stones.
The historical discovery took place when India’s Supreme Court ordered that the vaults of the temple, which have not been opened in about 150 years, be inventoried.
The treasures were said to be 500-years old and are worth $22 billion, making the hoard the most valuable treasure ever unearthed.
Has the list awakened the inner Jack Sparrow in you? From temples to caves to fields to residential properties, almost every inch of the Earth carries the possibility of a hidden treasure lurking deep beneath the soil.
Are you amazed by this list? Which among these items left you astounded?
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