AN AMATEUR archaeologist has struck gold while excavating a former medieval rubbish dump on a city centre dig in York.

History enthusiast, Richard Daniel, 50, unearthed a 14th century gold coin while working on York Archaeological Trust’s Hungate dig.

Mr Daniel, a railway controller from the Wigginton Road area, said: “I was trowelling in the centre of the community team in soft gritty earth when something the size of a modern five pence piece appeared in shiny gold.

“When I saw how excited everyone around Hungate was, and I was told this is the only gold ever found on site in three years, it was clear how lucky I had been.”

He said he had once been a spectator at the famous Coppergate dig where the Jorvik Viking Centre now stands and said he never thought he would be able to actually get hands-on experience.

He said: “I’ve been volunteering through the Greater York Archaeology Project for 18 months – it’s great to learn about archaeology techniques and see others across a broad spectrum of ages able to do the same. “What has been achieved by the whole team is testament to their dedication in sifting through so much history in three years.”

Mr Daniel is a team member of the Greater York Community Archaeology Project at the Hungate dig – a scheme which aims to enable people in York to explore the archaeology and history of the city.

The coin, known as a Quarter Noble was found two weeks ago and is estimated to be worth about £200, but back in the reign of Edward III, it’s loss would have been a bitter blow to its owner.

Jon Kenny, community archaeologist at York Archaeological Trust, said: “It would be fair to say that it’s the sort of thing that, if you weren’t that wealthy, it could have been your life savings.

“Whoever lost it would have really regretted it.

“It is amazing to see how something made of gold remains so bright and untarnished despite being in the ground for hundreds of years.”