Roman coin handed back to landowner

Having received the FLO’s report on what was confirmed to be part of the socket of a cross, I went over to the farm to hand back the artefact and the print-out of the report from the PAS database entry. I also wanted to hand over the Claudius II radiate as I thought the landowner would be interested to know what I’d found on his land.

Neither the landowner nor his son was around so I gave both the cross fragment and the Claudius II radiate and their PAS printouts to the estate secretary and asked her to pass them to the landowner for me.

Talking to the secretary confirmed what I’d heard anecdotally – that the harvest this year was expected to be several weeks early. The farm was gearing up to beginning harvest the following week and by the end of the week land should be detectable once again. Happy Days!

Having brought with me the field plans given to me last year by the landowner’s son, I outlined the fields I would particularly like to have a crack at and why.

I have hopes. Big hopes.

FLO night at the club

Along I toddled to collect the items handed over back in early April. There were only the two of them as I’d done bugger all detecting over the winter and spring.

One was the Funny Looking Doodah that the son of the owner of my biggest permission showed me last autumn and asked if I knew what it was. The FLO confirmed her initial thoughts that this was part of the base of a cross, dating from anywhere between 1000AD and 1200AD, which now has me wondering where exactly it was found (the farmer’s son was rather vague when he showed it to me) as it might be evidence for a church or chapel on the land.

The other was the corroded Roman coin mentioned in the entry dated 25/10/2016 which was identified as a copper alloy radiate of Claudius II dating to the period AD 270-271, with a CONSECRATIO reverse.

Clubs – “They’re only interested in old stuff”

Delivering a package for collection to one of the local convenience stores, I noticed a black guy with tied-back dreadlocks detecting behind the goalmouth on the community footy pitch in front of the store. He was using an entry level Yellow Peril, but unlike many users he was at least using headphones.

So I wandered over to see how he was getting on.

He told me he’d found a couple of pound coins so far – enough to buy a bottle of cider.

Was he a member of any local clubs, I asked.

“No,” quoth he. “They’re only interested in old stuff.”

He was only interested in finding loose change. As long as he kept himself in cider he was a happy bunny.

I left him to it.

I think he’s the first black guy I’ve seen detecting though I know there must be others out there. We do seem to be a very white lot, we detectorists.

FLO night at the club

Along I went to collect the items handed in in September and to hand over the latest batch.

Finds from Thame area dig – blog entry dated 1 September 2016

The flint was recorded as a Mesolithic or Neolithic rejuvenation flake dating to 8,300 – 2,100 BCE. The  Lizzy Halfgroat is London mint dating to 1591 – 1594 AD. The Roman coin was confirmed as a commemorative copper alloy nummus of Theodora dating to 337 – 341 AD.

Finds from Witney area dig – blog entry dated 5 September 2016

The book clasp was confirmed as being of a copper alloy and dating to anywhere between 1500 and 1700. The curtain ring is a very ordinary copper alloy ring of mediaeval or post-mediaeval date so from anywhere between the 14th and 18th centuries. The rounded button was judged to be of 18th century date and not recorded.

Find from XP rally near Burford

The Roman coin was identified as a radiate of an unknown emperor but dated to somewhere between 260 AD and 296 AD.

The FLO took from me:

1 musket ball
1 possible musket ball
1 copper alloy ring which may be of Roman date
4 Roman coins
1 small piece of grey pottery (possibly Roman)
1 small iron nail or tack – probably a Roman boot or sandal hobnail
1 piece of reddish-orangey stone which shows possible signs of having been worked to some extent.

Sadly, all the lumps of curved orangey-pink rough ceramic are just modern drainage pipe. Bang goes my Roman building. Eheu!

A prison warder and a Roman coin

I last went out detecting a couple of weeks ago for an afternoon’s swinging. Having tried the big triangular field along the road the previous time without much success, I wanted to try the much smaller one beyond it, a good 400 yards from the road. Since the ground was dry I decided to risk driving along the edge of the field big field to park up close to where I wanted to start. The grassed field margin had a few ruts and potholes but was perfectly drivable for an ordinary family car providing it was taken slowly.

The further field turned out to be stubble of varying lengths, from an inch or two up to some 6″ long, and although it hadn’t been ploughed it was uneven enough to have to watch where I put my feet. Over the course of a couple of hours I managed two full lengths of this rectangular field and a few toings and froings across the width of it but with very few signals of any sort. The only find was a rather corroded Roman copper alloy coin.

After an hour or so I was hailed by a dog-walker who came over to ask how I was getting on. I showed him the Roman coin I’d found and he was suitably impressed. We chatted for a while and he turned out to be a warder at the not-too-far-away Long Lartin high security prison (the one where they remand many of the actual and wannabe jihadis) on his day off. He’s been walking his dogs (one of them being one of the prison dogs on his day off) along the edge of this and other fields on many occasions and has never seen any other detectorists.

Shortly after he’d walked on and round a corner the heavens opened. The first of the afternoon’s forecast “showers” turned out to be a 15 minute downpour with horizontal rain. I got soaked and started detecting in the direction of the car. And then it stopped and the sun came out, albeit briefly. Just as I decided to carry on detecting it chucked it down again and I beat a hasty retreat. With all the gear in the car, I bumped my way back down the side of the field, this time half blinded by the rain. No sooner had I reached the road than the rain stopped and the sun came out again. It didn’t last though and quickly clouded over and became quite dark.

This turned out to be another very quiet field, though to be fair I only detected for a couple of hours. Even so, apart from the usual background chatter in some parts there were few signals of any kind – a handful of iron grunts and a few digable signals that produced (as well as the coin) a piece of foil, several bits of shredded drink cans, a bottle screw top still with shards of glass attached, and a modern ring off some piece of machinery. The usual, in other words. There were also a few of the orangey-pink ceramic shards noted on the previous visit to the adjoining field, but far fewer in number.

The aforementioned Roman copper alloy coin was the only find of the day. I don’t know if there’s enough detail left to identify it.

Find

1 Roman coin

161012-find

First visit to a new field

With new land to try I couldn’t resist a trip out, so after an early lunch yesterday I took myself off for an exploratory visit to the largest of the new fields open to me. I drove onto the largest of the fields, still under stubble, and parked up by the entrance.

With a field this size it’s difficult to know quite how to tackle it, especially when the field is about 40 acres and a strange stretched triangle shape. Round the edge? Straight across the middle? Zigzagging from one prominent feature to another? Eventually I decided to detect parallel with the road which runs past, but about 10 yards in from the field boundary. Half way along that side I turned and cut across one corner and followed the line of a strip which had been deep ploughed.

A little over half way up that side I started to find very rough ceramic shards scattered across the surface. They were a pale orangey-pink or biscuit colour, most with a curved profile as though they were broken pieces of pipe except that they were roughly finished and not glazed in any way so I can’t imagine they were pipes. Besides, judging by the profile of the curve they’d have had to have been pipes several feet in diameter.

So what to make of them? I started to wonder if they are pieces of Roman roof tile. If so, taking into account the quantity I saw scattered around a particular area, it’s possible there was a Roman building of some sort on the site, especially as there’s a lot of Roman stuff in the area. In aerial images of the spot there are no clear crop marks suggesting a former structure, but there is an undefined, slightly darker shadow in the soil. It’s something to run past the FLO when I next see her, but in the meantime does anyone know if these things really could be bits of Roman roof tile?

In contrast with all the broken bits of ceramic, there were virtually no genuine metal signals. I found several pieces of chewed up drinks can, a piece of foil, one modern button and one copper alloy ring of around 1.25 inches diameter. And that was the sum total of digable signals. How absolutely weird. I know the field runs along a road but surely it couldn’t have been nighthawked so completely?

My session was cut short when my phone battery died, as I no longer detect if I am unable to track my progress and precisely log my finds by GPS and photograph them on the spot. I could kick myself, and will now invest in a powerbank so I can recharge my phone in the field.

Finds

Photo 1

1 button
1 copper alloy ring
1 piece of red and pink flint-like stone – jasper?

161007 finds.jpg

Photo 2

Selection of possible Roman roof tile fragments pieces of drainage pipe.

RoofTiles.jpg