A GOLD ring which was found in a field near Selby dates back almost 2,000 years has been officially declared as treasure.

An inquest in Selby declared the ring, which is made of solid gold with a blue nicolo glass setting, engraved with a representation of Apollo, weighs more than 15 grams and probably dates back to the Roman period between AD50 and AD250.

The ring was found by Peter Spencer, from North Leeds, during a dig in a field in Riccall on November 6, 2010, and the British Museum has already declared an interest in acquiring it.

Mr Spencer, who has recently retired, has been metal detecting for about 16 years, and although he has been on previous successful digs, this was probably the most significant find of his time with the West Riding Detector Group.

He said: “It’s the first gold item I’ve ever found. I worked out each year I probably dug 2,250 to 2,500 holes, so probably about 35,000 before I found anything gold. Some people find it relatively easy to find nice things, but I obviously found it more difficult.”

Mr Spencer was one of the finders of 178 Norman coins in 2010, known as the Knaresborough Hoard, and also found a silver Roman ring in Dunnington in 2008, but his golden find almost never happened.

He said: “There were about 20 detectors in that field on that day, there must have been 50 or 60 acres, from 9am to 3pm and the only thing anyone had found during the whole day was a really worn, small Roman bronze coin, so there wasn’t really anything much on that site.”

At 3pm Mr Spencer made his way back to his car, and while the people he was travelling with were chatting the vehicle next to him moved off, so he decided to scan the spot – and that’s when he heard a bleep.

He said: “I heard a bleep and dug up a clump of earth, then saw a little shine. I took it out of the clump of soil and it was a gold ring.

“It was on a site that produced nothing else. I like to think someone in the second century had walked or galloped across the area and lost it.”