A HAMPSHIRE schoolgirl used a metal detector for the first time - and found a Bronze Age axe just seconds after embarking on her new hobby.

In a classic example of beginner's luck, eight-year-old Ava Bray had only just been handed the detector when she unearthed the ancient object.

Now Ava and her nine-year-old brother Leo, of Blackfield, are waiting to discover if they can keep the axe.

They were with their grandfather, Tony Bray, a member of the National Council of Metal Detecting, when they made the discovery on Southbourne beach.

Daily Echo:

Tony, 62, said: "There a lot of restrictions relating to metal detectors. You can't use them in the New Forest so Southbourne is virtually the nearest place to us except Calshot Beach.

"Ava had been using the metal detector for only about a minute when she heard a bleep.

"She started digging to see what it was and found an object which was only six or eight inches below the surface. She shouted 'It’s an axe' and came over to show me.

"I could see it was made of bronze but didn't realise how old it was until we got home and searched the Internet for clues.

"We were very lucky - some people with metal detectors can spend a lifetime searching and never find anything like that.

"I don't believe it's worth a lot of money but it's an old and rare artefact which is in incredibly good condition.

"Ava has since studied Bronze Age history and has shown me how it was made. She's showing a keen interest in history and metal detecting."

Daily Echo:

Tony has reported the discovery to Dorset's Finds Liaison Officer, Ciorstaidh Hayward Trevarthen.

He has received a letter which says: "I will circulate the images to my colleagues and get back to you with more information, but you are broadly correct in the identification you already have.

"From the location you have given it may relate to a hoard of axes reported in 2011, some of which are very similar to your example.

"I will ask the Treasure Registrar at the British Museum for advice and let you know what we will need to do next."