ATM Thieves Inadvertently Help Uncover Medieval Artifacts In English Village

In the village of Dedham, England, a pair of thieves tried to access an ATM machine in a stupefying way-- by ramming their car through the convenience store where the cash dispenser stood.

According to the East Anglian Daily Times, this is not as surprising as we might think.  Apparently, this type of incident has been a common occurrence in north Essex and Suffolk over the past two years, where criminals have been relentlessly targeting ATM machines. They are dubbed "ram raids" by the press and this time, the criminals used a black Toyota Hilux. They fled the scene after their attempt proved unsuccessful.

Dedham boasts gorgeous Georgian facades, hiding original medieval buildings, and so was the building targeted by the two thieves, according to Live Science.  A report from the Colchester Archaeological Trust (CAT), the team of regional archaeologists who helped clean up after the mess in Dedham, indicates that the ram-and-run attack on the 1520-era house helped reveal previously undiscovered treasures. The archaeological team started digging shortly after the attempted robbery. They aimed to help prepare a plan for repairing and stabilizing the building, which sustained major structural damage during the break-in.

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The treasures consist of both medieval and Tudor periods and long lay hidden beneath the building’s historic floors. The team found a medieval hearth that predated the building, and an internal porch dated to the 15th century, which would have been rare in England at the time, according to a statement from the Colchester Borough Council. They uncovered several artifacts from the Tudor period (1485-1603), including, most notably, a tripod cauldron buried near one of the house's original entrances, probably to ward off evil. (We're looking at you two thieves who tried to rob the place!)

Jess Tipper, a Colchester Borough Council archaeologist, said in the statement that they are delighted with the evidence these reports have revealed about the rich history of the borough and about the wealthy merchants who lived and traded there.


As for the building in general, it has been fully restored and the convenience store has reopened its doors, according to the Borough Council. The newly revamped building comes with much-needed additional protection-- the storefront is now reinforced with hidden steel beams.

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