Exeter's Temple of Doom Gives Up Treasure
His real name is Derek Dugdale but all his mates call him Indiana Jones.
He's the man who visited Exeter's very own Temple of Doom and emerged with a treasure beyond the dreams of avarice.
Derek was digging deep and hard in Princesshay when he saw something strange, something glinting deep down in the dark pit where no man had trod since bad King John was on the throne.
Was it a trick of the light from the explorer's flickering head lamp or was it....?
Heart thumping, hand trembling, Derek stretched out across the thick red mud and grasped the object.
What he gripped revealed a treasure trove that would astound the experts - a complete 800-year-old jug, which now forms part of a nationally important find dubbed the Princesshay Treasure.
It was found while archaeologists were taking the chance to look into Exeter's long buried past after work began on building the new Princesshay shopping development.
When it was all over, the careful diggers found they had come up with over 19,500 pottery shards, 1.5 tonnes of Roman tiles, over 32,000 animal bones, 144 Roman coins, 2,000 other metal artefacts, 1,000 glass fragments, plus clay tobacco pipes, leatherwork, industrial waste, roofing slate and architectural fragments.
Filling more than 400 finds boxes, the collection is recognised as by far the largest of archaeological finds recovered from Exeter since the early 1970s.
But the find of stunning import came in March 2006, when a medieval well was unearthed. At the bottom, Derek and his mates found the jugs - one complete and two nearly complete vessels had survived, as well as over 3,000 shards from over 150 vessels.
Delighted experts say it is by far the best recovered ceramic assemblage from Exeter and the South West for this period and the collection has been recognised as being of regional, if not of national, importance.
Also found was pottery from the early Roman period of the first and second centuries including imported Gaulish samian, terra nigra and Lyon tablewares consisting of drinking cups, platters and food bowls, 16 with maker's names stamped on the bases. In addition, there were two shards from a rare type of lead-glazed beaker of the mid-late first century. Imported from central Gaul, it is only the eighth known example from the city.
Uncovered in a first century pit were two locally made Fortress-ware wine flagons, the best known examples of this type of vessel from Exeter.
Black-burnished cooking pots, storage jars and bowls, made in Dorset, together with food grinding vessels, known as mortaria, and wine amphorae from southern Spain give a glimpse of the material lives of legionary soldiers and early Roman citizens.
By far the largest collection of Roman ceramics can be attributed to the third and fourth centuries. They demonstrate an altogether different use for this area than the previous two centuries. There was also a small collection of tobacco clay pipes covering the 17th to early 19th centuries and 144 Roman, one medieval and two post-medieval coins recovered