A LOCAL diver has found a priceless piece of ancient silver jewellery whilst taking part in a search for a missing person.
Pat Treanor a member of the Boyne Fishermans Rescue and Recovery Service (BFRRS) found what is believed to be a Viking artefact dating back up to 2,000 years during a search of the River Lee.
It is currently being examined by the National Museum of Ireland but is believed to be at least 1,500 years old.
The piece, which is circular with a bulbous end and is thought to be either a bracelet or brooch, was found on the river bed sitting on top of stones in ten feet of water.
He originally thought the silver trinket, which was discoloured and blackened, was an ordinary piece of women's jewellery.
'When I took it out it was black and it was only when I cleaned it off that I realised it was actually silver,' said Pat, who lives in Castlebellingham. 'It was at that stage I realised it wasn't an ordinary piece of jewellery. It was quite heavy but there was no stamp on it, and there was a lot of wear and lots of imperfections on it, you'd know it wasn't recent.'
He described the piece as circular in shape, like a bangle, with a spilt and a bulbous end on one side.
Mr Treanor said the jewellery also has a design of small crosses on
Initial indications suggest the piece could be up to 2,000 years old and it is now in the hands of the National Museum who will try and pinpoint and exact date for the bangle.
'They are saying it is over 1,500 years old but we are waiting on the people in Dublin to confirm that,' said Mr Treanor, who has worked with the BFRRS for the past seven years. 'I was shocked when I found out it could be that old. I thought it was just a modern piece of jewellery until I cleaned it up and saw there was no stamp on it and then I went to find out more about it.' If the piece of jewellery is identified as an ancient artefact, it will become state property and Mr Treanor will receive a finders fee.