TRANSATLANTIC treasure hunters Russ Helfand and Heidi Bautista had the find of their lives when a few swishes of their metal detectors turned up a buried bounty of coins and jewellery.
The couple (pictured), who were on holiday from the USA and had never tried their hands at detecting in Britain before, uncovered coins dating back to the 9th century and a 16th century necklace or brooch within minutes of switching their machines on.
They had joined a charity rally near Tickhill after catching wind of the event and coming to stay with fellow metal detecting fan Tony Williams.
And historians believe that their find—which included six Anglo-Saxon bronze coins, a "strap end" and a pendant or brooch featuring a red jewel—is one of the most significant ever made in the South Yorkshire area.
A stunned Russ said this week: "To be finding things that were centuries old was unfathomable—it was like going to another planet."
Russ and Heidi, who hail from Carpinteria in California, had taken a break from their holiday in the Yorkshire Dales to join dozens of other treasure hunters on the second day of a three-day detecting rally at a farmer's field near Tickhill.
Between them, the detectorists mustered a bumper haul of 61 items ranging from jewellery to knife handles but the most surprising discoveries were those made by Russ and Heidi just yards from their car.
Russ (46) said: "Most people went off in all directions away from their cars and I was also starting to tramp across the field but Heidi made us hang back, asking why we should go very far.
"Within ten minutes, Heidi made her first find and mine came maybe three minutes later."
The coins and jewellery are now expected to be display in a museum.