Centuries-old pottery found in Wigan woodland

Michael Buckley
Michael Buckley
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A borough dad’s leisurely stroll turned into something of a treasure hunt after he found centuries-old pieces of pottery in Wigan woodland.

Michael Buckley discovered the detailed pieces of stoneware in a stream in Borsdane Wood, while out walking with his son.

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After taking the shards home, the 30-year-old from Platt Bridge was stunned to discover the fragments could be hundreds of years old, after contacting archaeology experts online.

Michael had taken his six-year-old son to the nature reserve to try out his new toy metal detector.

The pair were scouring around the overgrowth close to the stream, when they made the discovery.

“We came across something that looked like gold when we were scanning the ground and rocks,” Michael said.

“There was one big piece hiding in the water and two other pieces were hidden among rocks and pebbles.

“I picked it up, it looked like pottery but we didn’t know at first. When I rubbed it under the water we realised it was stone.

“I collected it, because it was a bit of an odd place to find something like that, in the middle of the woods in the water.”

After doing some online research, Michael came across the University of Cambridge archaeology page, and speculatively sent them a picture of the small fragments and asked for their thoughts.

To his amazement, the team replied: “Those look like shards of blue and white transfer fare, probably dating to either the 18th or 19th century.”

Michael said: “I was quite shocked. I was a bit dazed. When I read into it, and realised it was probably from the Victorian times, I thought ‘God that’s old!’”

He added: “I always go to Borsdane Wood walking every other Sunday.

“I always walk by the stream and wonder what could be in there.

“It’s just by chance that I found these pieces in the river!

“I don’t know what to do with it now, maybe I’ll give it to somebody who wants it, archaeology-wise.”