Stuart Wilson says that the people thought he was crazy when he gambled $39,000—his life savings on a 4.6-acre area in Wales. Heard that a farmer’s story about moles dig up pieces of pottery in the country, the amateur archeologist, tells the Guardian he had a hunch that something important was covered, and when the package came on the market in 2004, he bought the.
Now, it seems that his bet is paying off: He finds that his land is sitting on top of the lost city of Trellech Wales’ largest town in the 13th century, reports the BBC and the Guardian reports his theory starts to gain traction.
Wilson, a former toll collector who got his undergrad degree in archaeology, the estimates of the project costs more than $200,000, is funded by donations (you can be an archaeologist for a day for $61).
With the help of some 1000 volunteers, Wilson says that he has discovered eight of the buildings, and he intends to spend 2017 work on the remains of what he believes is a country house, surrounded by a moat.
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In 2006, he told Archaeology.org that the unearthing of the field “will likely be approximately 50 years, so basically the rest of my life.” For the history of the site, it was founded by the de Clare family in the years after 1200 as a hub that iron weapons and armor, and the population has exploded.
Per Wilson, in only 25 years it grew to 10,000 people—a quarter of London’s size, although Wilson points out it took London 250 years to amass 40,000 people.
The BBC reports the the Clares’ settlement is thought to have been destroyed in 1296. (Read about the seven greatest archaeology finds of 2016.)
This article originally appeared on Newser: Man Follows Hunch, Says He Has Discovered Lost City