AN AMATEUR metal detectorist from Andover has sparked international interest after finding an ancient gold ring depicting the Roman god, Cupid.

Ashley Duke, from Meadow Way, excited the historical world after he discovered a 1700 yearold gold ring, containing an onyx and blue stone with an image of the god of erotic love.

The life long Andover resident, dug up the ring while conducting a metal detecting sweep of a farmer’s field near Tangley in 2013.

And his find has received coverage both national and internationally, with articles about the ring having recently featured on the Mail Online and specialist publications such as the New Historian.

Mr Duke, who goes metal detecting as a hobby, declared the discovery to the Finds Liaison Officer soon after and, following an inquest, the ring was officially declared as ‘treasure’.

The father-of-three was subsequently given £400, £200 of which was given to the owner of the farm land.

Mr Duke said: “It’s something I do as a hobby, it was my dad who got me into it.

“I asked the farmer if I could have permission to sweep his land and he told me I could so I went down first thing in the morning and bang, it was there.

“I was over the moon.”

Asked if he realised how big a find it was, he replied: “I honestly didn’t know at the time – I thought it was just an old stone.

“I didn’t realise until I cleaned it off and realised it was a ring.

“I only started in 2010 and this is my first real big find.”

The 32-year-old’s extraordinary find is currently being displayed at Andover Museum after it was purchased by the Hampshire Cultural Trust through the Portable Antiquity Scheme.

The trust’s curator of archaeology, David Allen, said: “It’s a lovely Roman find.

“There are a number of signet rings that have been found in Hampshire but this is one of the best and a lovely depiction of Cupid.

“We were able to purchase the ring through the Portable Antiquity Scheme and in this case we thought it was a nice find and something we wanted to put on display in Andover for a lot of people to see.”

The ring will remain in Andover museum as part of the Dacre Room display, which has been open to the public since 1992.