From the Mercury:

A SILVER Roman ring found in a field in Cottered may indicate that a treasure hoard could be buried on the edge of Buntingford.

The Roman 'Empire ring', right, dating from the 1st-3rd centuries and made of solid silver, was discovered by a metal detector in the same field and on the same day as a 3,500-year-old Bronze Age penannular ring.

It is believed more ancient artefacts were found during the same hunt, on August 6, 2006.

Coroner Edward Thomas declared the find to be treasure.

He said that a report from Dr Ralph Jackson, curator of Romano-British collections at the British Museum, revealed that it was only the fourth ring of its kind found in Britain, two of which are on display in the museum.

Mr Thomas said that the Cottered ring was likely to be displayed at a museum in Herts.

"The ring has an unusual palm motif on it, which was a symbol of victory believed to offer protection from malign forces.

"It also symbolised eternal life and, if worn in death, it helped warriors to reach the afterlife," said Mr Thomas.

The finder, Paul Banks, of Dunstable, Beds, a member of Three Counties Metal Detecting Club, said it was his fourth inquest in 14 years of metal detecting.

Club organiser Mark Coles said: "As well as the rings, a few Roman coins were found.

"We chose the field because it's close to the A10, which is an original Roman road.

"It was a ploughed field and I know there was an ancient moat nearby, showing that people were living there."