As exciting as a metal detector may seem at first glance, most of us would ditch the device after about an hour of finding nothing. Those lucky enough to hear the machine beep are often disappointed by a find that amounts to little more than a soda can.

However, special individuals like Terese Frydensberg Refsgaard stick with their metal detectors no matter what — they live for the hunt. And in 2018, Terese discovered a motherlode that would make any treasure hunter’s head spin. Her legendary find, however, defied explanation…

When Terese Frydensberg Refsgaard set out for a brisk autumn walk, she was expecting more recreation than revelation. But the Danish woman came across something with the potential to alter history books forever.

Facebook / Terese Refsgaard

Of course, Terese’s typical day wasn’t too far out of the ordinary. She had a steady job working as a dental assistant. Her digging skills, however, weren’t limited to scraping plaque off teeth.

Terese spent her spare time as an amateur archaeologist. With her trusty metal detector in hand, she scoured the Danish countryside for lost relics. Her efforts impressed quite a few other diggers.

Facebook / Terese Refsgaard

After spending enough time out in the field, Terese received an invitation to join a group of archaeology hobbyists. They certainly weren’t making monumental finds on a daily basis, though it was nice to have a support system.

Facebook / Terese Refsgaard

That November, Terese jumped at the chance to search the island of Hjarnø, located just of the coast of mainland Denmark. Although it only spanned a little over a square mile, the isle was a juicy prospect for explorers.

See, in 2008, archaeologists came upon remnants of a stone structure on Hjarnø. Tests determined, much to their surprise, that the materials dated all the way back to the year 5200 B.C. These were the remains of a Stone Age settlement!

Terese and her friends fantasized about uncovering a similar bombshell. Once settled on the island, they split off in separate directions in order to cover more ground. The archaeologists swept their metal detectors across the soil for hours and hours.

Facebook / Teresa Refsgaard

Then Terese got a beep. Tamping down on her excitement, she pinpointed the exact spot that set her detector off. She knew based on past expeditions that a beep could mean nothing. You could dig forever without finding so much as a penny.

Facebook / Terese Refsgaard

Digging carefully so any precious artifacts wouldn’t be cleaved in two, Terese pushed her shovel into the ground. She carefully examined each spadeful of dirt and then tossed it aside. She was nearly ready to move on when something caught her eye.

The amateur archaeologist beamed as she produced a metal fragment! She hoped it was gold, but it was still too early to tell. Until then, Terese had a good feeling about this spot. She kept on digging…

Facebook / Teresa Refsgaard

…And it was like a dream came true! Terese unearthed more metal artifacts, completely intact and covered with intricate loops. Other pieces had precious stones inlaid in the center. Clearly, these relics came from the most masterful craftsmen of their day.

Terese knew that some archaeology hobbyists spent years looking for treasure with zero success, so it was positively crazy she had just found a cache of 23 pieces of jewelry! She called her colleagues over to her unbelievable discovery.

Velje Museums

Astonished, the archaeologists could hardly believe the treasure trove before them. Taking a closer look, they confirmed that the jewelry was most definitely gold, but one other detail confounded them. It completely went against the known history of Hjarnø.

Facebook / Terese Refsgaard

The objects dated back to the 6th century, so they had no relation to the island’s Stone Age culture. However, they also predated the Viking era, where tribes were constantly stealing and stashing loot all over Europe. So who exactly buried all these trinkets?

Terese brought in a pro to solve this mystery. Mads Ravn, a researcher from the Velje Museum, theorized that the artifacts were of Roman origin. Early Danes, he posited, must have traded for them. But why had they hid them?

Vejle Amts Folkeblad

According to historical records, the creation of the gold pieces aligned with a major disaster: a cataclysmic volcanic eruption around that time killed over 100,000 people. Strangely enough, nobody in Europe even knew about it.

That’s because the catastrophe unfolded thousands of miles away in El Salvador! However, effects of the volcano spread all the way to Europe, where unusual weather patterns devastated the harvest.

Flickr / Rick Toor

Early Europeans could only imagine that the gods were punishing them with famine. So, Mads guessed, the Danes may have bought these treasures and then buried them as an offering. Of course, they won’t be deep in the dirt anymore.

Flickr / Hans Splinter

Two different museums in Denmark are displaying Terese’s groundbreaking find, and she’s also helping their staff unlock more of the mysteries behind the relics. They could reveal an entirely new chapter about the country’s past.

Facebook / Terese Refsgaard

Meanwhile, Terese kept her job in the dentist’s office, though it’s hard to call her an amateur archaeologist these days. She’s only more motivated to keep digging at the past — perhaps with the help of treasure hunters from other parts of the world…

Terese Refsgaard

A lifelong metal detector enthusiast, Brad Martin of Green Mountain Metal Detecting has pulled all kinds of forgotten treasures from the earth. But nothing could prepare the Vermont man for what would become the greatest find of his life. 

Green Mountain Metal Detecting / Instagram

Though some treasure hunters prefer the prospects of a sandy beach, Brad’s frequent sweeps of his native Vermont have always proved to be more fruitful. Thanks to his rapport with the people of the area, Brad was given free rein over thousands of acres of privately owned land.

Williamson Realty

On one fateful day, Brad decided to hike into the mountains to an area known to contain the ruins of an old building. When he arrived, he came upon a large hole in the ground — likely the remains of the building’s basement — and miles of dilapidated stone walls.

Brad was convinced that his next great find was lying somewhere in this patch of woods. He could almost feel it. Little did he know how right he really was.

No sooner did Brad begin searching that he stumbled upon his first find of the day: a tombac button. This type of button was very popular in the 1700s, but fell out of favor due to its brittleness. 

This button’s discovery meant that whoever had searched the area before had missed it, and likely many more hidden treasures. Sure enough, Brad’s intuition was spot on, and the finds just kept coming…

Brad’s next big pull of the day was this valuable copper coin. Though the surface had been worn over time, Brad concluded that it was either a British halfpenny or a coin from an early colony.

When Brad pulled this peculiar-looking object out of the ground, he couldn’t make heads or tails of it. While he initially believed it to be an old clock hand, Brad later said that it was likely the trigger-guard plate from an old musket.

Kristine Robinson Interiors

Finally, Brad unearthed a coin from the ground that he was actually able to identify! The face of the relatively large coin depicted a bust of King George II, and alongside the image was the word “CONNEC”. For Brad, this could only mean one thing…

This was a Connecticut copper, struck 1785-1788, likely worth a few hundred dollars. Though this find in and of itself was enough to make Brad’s expedition a success, there was one unbelievable treasure still yet to be found.

CTTodd

As the sun began to set on his day of detecting, Brad decided to slowly make his way back to his truck. Detecting as he walked, Brad’s device suddenly picked up a reading just a few yards from the road. 

The metal detector rang out a solid 79, which was right around the same reading that his other finds of the day had been. Taking out his camera and shovel one last time, Brad began digging.

Green Mountain Metal Detecting / YouTube

The higher the reading on the detector, the more valuable the item below is likely to be. Though Brad believed this find would turn out to be another button he was shocked at what he found this time…

Brushing off the soil, Brad unearthed a massive silver coin in amazing condition. He was stunned: a find like this easily should’ve read as a 99 on his metal detector!

After carefully cleaning the coin, Brad realized he had unearthed an incredible 1780 Spanish Eight Reales. This was the same fabled coin known as a “Piece of 8” from the pirate legends of old.

Spanish silver coins came in five varieties during the time they were minted: 1/2, 1, 2, 4, and 8 Reales, with 8 being the most valuable and sought-after. Though considered legal tender in the US up until the 1800s, finding a coin like this — and in such good shape — was one in a million.

As Brad’s excitement over his amazing find wore off, however, he began to grow suspicious of some of the coin’s features. Not only did the coin’s 79 reading still linger in his head, but someone had also carved the initials “DS” into its face.

After doing some research, Brad learned that this coin was one of the most counterfeited in the world during its circulation. In fact, Britain heavily counterfeited this coin in order to cripple the Spanish economy during the Anglo-Spanish War, 1796-1808.

Though Brad’s life-changing find is likely a fake, the counterfeit coin will fetch a respectable price on the open market. Of course, Brad’s not in it for the money, and the thought of his next big find will surely have him back out there with his metal detector in no time!

Green Mountain Metal Detecting / Instagram

Check out the video of Brad’s once-in-a-lifetime find to experience his excitement firsthand! It just might inspire you to start your own metal detecting adventure.