A QUEST for a missing wedding ring has helped uncover a collection of ancient treasures dating back up to 4,000 years.
Thought to be from tombs on the holiday island of Cyprus, the pricesless collection had been collecting dust in a Cheshire attic for nearly 40 years, with the belief they were old holiday trinkets.
Their historic value was discovered when Neville Davies enlisted the help of archaeologist and metal detecting enthusiast James Balme, to help track down his son-in-law's missing wedding ring.
The £500 gold ring had been lost on his land during snowy weather and was recovered in less than 30 minutes!
James, who met Neville at a Rotary Club meeting, said:"After finding the ring Neville asked me if I knew anything about identifying pottery as he had a box of pots in his loft that had been there for many years.
"He thought that they were tourist souvenirs and probably fairly modern. I agreed to take a look at what was in the box and couldn't believe my eyes when I saw ancient artefacts, some dating back up to 4000 years."
The collection consisted of 13 items, including wine flagons, a small bowl, a wine cup and an unusual clay effigy of a face, believed to be a Roman character, as well as several painted Greek vases.
Many of them still contained traces of soil indicating they may have come from a tomb or several tombs.
"It is highly likely that these vessels were deposited at the time of burial. There was a belief some 4000 years ago that they served the deceased on his or her journey to the afterlife," added James..
After discovering their historic interest Neville, who lives in Lymm, near Warrington, remembered that another box was stored away in the attic.
He recovered the box containing a further twenty four artefacts and took it to James who immediately identified many of the objects as being Cypriot vessels from the Bronze age with a date range of approximately 2500 - 1650BC.
James said: "To say that I was amazed at what I was seeing would be an understatement to say the least.
"As well as the ancient pottery, most of which is in pristine condition, I also identified a Bronze Age spear some 14 inches in length and a unique Bronze oil lamp that I believe to be very ancient dating back to the late Bronze Ago, or early Roman period occupation of the island."
Another artefact is a huge painted flagon with the head of a bull cast into the neck of the vessel.
With Egypt being only a short boat trip away there is the possibility that some of the material could have be influenced by the ancient Egyptians.
The age of the finds has been verified by Professor John Prag of Manchester Museum.
The items ended up in Neville's loft after they were given to him by his late father, Sir Ossie Davies.
Back in 1958 a Cypriot gave them as a gift to someone who brought them back to Britain. Shortly afterwards they were given to Neville's father who in turn passed them on to Neville.
There's a link in the article to a site which has more info, which doesn't seem to, actually. But it does have a collection of clippings about assorted discoveries in Warburton.