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Schoolboys find rare 4,000-year-old gold object

Aidan Bell, 10, Luca Alderson, eight, Joseph Bell, seven and Sebastian Alderson, 10, found a 4,000-year-old golden hair tress. Photo: PA

Four school boys started "dancing with joy" when they came across one of the oldest metal objects to be dug up in Great Britain.

Aidan Bell, 10, Luca Alderson, eight, Joseph Bell, seven and Sebastian Alderson, 10, unearthed a gold item, thought to be a 4,000-year-old hair tress made of gold, while on a dig in Kirkhaugh, Northumberland.

The item is thought to a 4,000-year-old intricately decorated golden hair tress that dates back to around 2,300 BC. Credit: PA

The rare find dating back to 2,300 BC - the Copper Age - may have been worn by a metal worker who travelled there in search of gold and copper.

Joseph said: "We were digging carefully in the ground and I saw something shiny, it was gold. Me and Luca started dancing with joy. It was very exciting."

The boys were taking part in a dig at Kirkhaugh, Northumberland. Credit: PA

His friend Luca added: "When I first saw it I felt happy but I thought it was plastic. When I found out it was gold, I was very happy."

Only 10 finds like this have ever been made and this one matches one discovered at Kirkhaugh during an excavation in 1935.

The item was found in the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) alongside three flint arrowheads and a jet button.

"All archaeological sites are important in their own way, but this is exceptional," said Paul Frodsham, who leads the Altogether Archaeology project for the AONB Partnership.