Cover image for The Mildenhall treasure
The Mildenhall treasure
Dahl, Roald.
Personal Author:
First Borzoi books edition.
Publication Information:
New York : A.A. Knopf, 2000.

Physical Description:
79 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 30 cm
Describes how a British plowman unearthed a collection of Roman silver in the 1940s and the events that followed this tremendous discovery.
General Note:
Originally published: U.K. : Jonathan Cape, 1999.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 6.0 1.0 44833.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
DA147.M64 D35 1999 Juvenile Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



During World War II, a British plowman discovered a hoard of Roman silver while plowing a field in the Suffolk countryside. Unaware of the treasure's value, he was cheated out of the fortune that should have been his by the man who hired him. The 34 pieces of silver were discovered after the war by the authorities and taken to the British Museum, where they reside today. Master storyteller Roald Dahl relates the unforgettable and true tale of the greatest treasure ever found in the British Isles.

Author Notes

Roald (pronounced "Roo-aal") was born in Llandaff, South Wales. He had a relatively uneventful childhood and was educated at Repton School. During World War II he served as a fighter pilot and for a time was stationed in Washington, D.C.. Prompted by an interviewer, he turned an account of one of his war experiences into a short story that was accepted by the Saturday Evening Post, which were eventually collected in Over to You (1946).

Dahl's stories are often described as horror tales or fantasies, but neither description does them justice. He has the ability to treat the horrible and ghastly with a light touch, sometimes even with a humorous one. His tales never become merely shocking or gruesome. His purpose is not to shock but to entertain, and much of the entertainment comes from the unusual twists in his plots, rather than from grizzly details.

Dahl has also become famous as a writer of children's stories. In some circles, these works have cased great controversy. Critics have charged that Dahl's work is anti-Semitic and degrades women. Nevertheless, his work continues to be read: Charlie and Chocolate Factory (1964) was made into a successful movie, The BFG was made into a movie in July 2017, and his books of rhymes for children continue to be very popular.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Gr. 7^-12. Originally written in 1946 as an article for the Saturday Evening Post, this is an engaging account of the discovery by a simple ploughman of what was arguably the greatest buried treasure in British history. Plowing a field in Suffolk on a bitterly cold winter's day in 1942, Gordon Butcher uncovered the tip of what turned out to be an enormous, 18-pound plate. Disquieted by his discovery, Butcher enlisted the aid of his employer, a foxy man named Ford, who helped him uncover 33 additional pieces of silver, that turned out to be a dinner service dating from Roman Britain. Taking advantage of Butcher's innocence, Ford claimed the find for himself. Though nonfiction, the account has all the hallmarks of a Dahl short story--innocence and avarice, naivete and deviousness--as well as a nice ironic twist at the end. Ralph Steadman has provided dramatic collage illustrations for this edition. Sometimes satiric, sometimes savage, his pictures look as if they might have been painted with a palette of mud and blood. --Michael Cart

School Library Journal Review

Gr 5 Up-This story was originally published as a magazine article in the late `40s and again as part of the collection The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Six More (Knopf, 1977). A simple, honest plowman in wartime England uncovers a king's ransom in Roman silver in a field. By law, it must revert to the Crown, but a crafty colleague tricks the man out of the treasure, which would have brought him millions of pounds had he turned it in immediately. The colleague, in the meantime, keeps the silver and only gives it up when he is caught red-handed by a visiting scholar. It is a wonderful story, told in direct, high-impact sentences with the confiding, sure voice of a storyteller. Steadman's artwork, which is done primarily in dark colors, is fairly prosaic and cold at the beginning, though the colors warm and the compositions become more focused as the tale progresses. The tone and temper of the illustrations match with the narrative, even though some of the pictures are a page behind it. However, while the compositions have a nice balance to them, some of the work is so abstract or dark that it is difficult to imagine why it was put together with a story primarily marketed to children. There is no perfect marriage of art and text here. Buy Henry Sugar for Dahl fans who may never have heard of The Mildenhall Treasure and leave Steadman for the galleries and adult art books.-Patricia A. Dollisch, DeKalb County Public Library, Decatur, GA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.