Wayne Taylor, aged 33, of Rossington, unearthed the artefact while metal detecting with a friend in a field in Wadworth on September 3 last year, a treasure inquest at Doncaster Coroner’s Court was told.
He was about to stop searching for the day when he discovered the silver finger ring, which is thought to date from 100 to 300 AD.
“I’ve been metal detecting for around two years,” said Wayne. “My friends Danny Boulton, Dave Haughton and Michael McEwen got me in to it. We are part of a group called Coil to the Soil, but sometimes we go out on our own.
“Danny rang me up that day and told me where he was and asked me to go join him. He was on private land and he’d got permission from the owner to be there.
“I’d only been there for a couple of hours or so and it was getting to the time when I needed to go home - that’s when I found it.”
Wayne said the ring was just below the surface - so little digging was required to unearth his find.
“We were in such a massive field and the ring is so tiny, I was so lucky that I was in the perfect spot to be able to find it. When I found it, I knew it wasn’t just your average find. I knew it was special, but I didn’t know exactly what it was.
“I took it home and e-mailed Amy Downes at the British Museum, because you have to declare your find if you think it is something important. This was my first significant find so I was very happy and excited.”
Wayne said he thought it was ‘nice to find something that had been in the ground that long’.
“I was shocked to hear just how old the ring is when I went to the inquest.”
The ring is inscribed with the word ‘TOT’. According to the British Museum, this is an abbreviation of the name of a Celtic God, Totatis, who was thought to be a protector of the community.
The ring, which is 20.7mm in diameter and 2mm thick weighs just 5.53g.
It is now been sent back to the British Museum to be valued. The item will then be offered to museums, which may wish to display it.
To be declared treasure, items must be at least 300 years old and also be made of more than 10 per cent silver, as outlined in the Treasure Act 1996.
Noting that the ring meets that criteria, Assistant Coroner Mark Beresford said: “I can confidently say that the item is treasure.”
Historic finds made across the borough
The Roman TOT ring, pictured right, is one of a handful of treasure items which have been found across the borough in recent months.
In April this year David Haughton found a post-medieval silver gilt dress hook while metal detecting on land owned by Alan Southwell, who had given his permission for the search.
The item was found during a search in Fishlake on April 15 and was declared treasure at an inquest in June. The dress hook was found to be more than 300 years old and contained more than 10 per cent silver.
Its value will now be determined by the independent Treasure Valuation Committee.