THAILAND - A palm plantation in Phatthalung has attracted a huge number of gold prospectors. Armed with hoes and shovels, these people are no daydreamers.
In recent days, glittering big sheets of gold have been found here. It remains unclear how the precious items ended up on the plot but the Fine Arts Department has already come forward with a plea.
"If you find gold there, please sell it to us," the department's director-general Anek Sihamat said yesterday.
Under the law, ancient artefacts belong to the state. However, he said, his department is willing to purchase these gold sheets.
Anek said gold sheets from the plot were between 700 and 800 years old and could be historically important.
He was speaking after examining some of the gold items.
"We believe they might have belonged to some wealthy merchants or city rulers in the past," he said. "The gold has been turned into thin sheets to make it easy to carry around. Goldsmiths must have worked on these sheets."