First session on the new permission

I made a first visit this afternoon to the new 60 acres of pasture and spent about 3 hours there with the intention of just having a general wander about the field nearest to the farmhouse.

The first find of the day was a George V halfpenny dated 1931 which turned up in more or less the first hole I dug. It’s in nicer condition than appears from the photograph and virtually all of the detail is crisp. Only the most prominent parts of the union flag device on the shield show any signs of wear so it must have been lost not long after coming into circulation.

After about half an hour of detecting the Deus suddenly started to play up, chattering wildly. I had wandered close to the end of a minor or local power line and assumed this had upset it, but despite switching the control unit and the headphones off and on repeatedly the chattering kept on recurring. I must have switched it all off and back on again several dozen time, and at one point the control unit sent up the worrying message “No coil”. Some programs seemed to be worse affected than others, or rather programs Basic 1, Basic 2 and GMaxx (1, 9 and 5 respectively) seemed to be the least affected. I tried other areas of the field and kept switching programs to see what worked best but I found that if I laid the detector down for the minute or so it took to dig a hole it was chattering away again when I picked it up. I’m not sure what’s going on here, and really hope the coil is not about to pack up on me, but I will try it again in the garden and see about rolling back the software to v2 and then forward to v3 again in case something has been corrupted.

The only other finds worth mentioning were a modern button and yet another copper alloy ring of the belt ring or curtain ring variety. The stuff not worth mentioning (but I will anyway) included a strip of copper, a scrap of lead or pewter and a lump of coke.

The afternoon was uncomfortably warm and there were a few blood sucking insects about, especially under the line of trees along one edge of the field. I was also troubled by my knee which is still bloody painful to kneel on even using heavy duty knee pads. By the end of 3 hours and a dozen or more holes dug, it was very tender and I’m starting to wonder if it will be a couple of months yet (ie, the end of the summer) before it’s back to normal. 3 hours detecting seems to be my limit at present because of this.

Finds: 1 button, 1 George V 1931 halfpenny and 1 copper alloy ring.
130630 finds

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New permission – 60 acres of pasture

I now have a new permission comprising 60 acres of pasture which has only been detected by a couple of chaps for one day earlier this year. I spoke to the landowner again this morning and although he had not been able to speak to his tenant he confirms I can detect as he does not believe the tenant will raise any objections at all. Indeed, the tenant has shown considerable interest in the history of the land in the past and should I meet him I’m just to explain the situation to him.

Online research does not identify any particularly interesting features on the land, nor any significant archaeological finds for several miles around. On the other hand the land lies on the edge of a settlement which is smaller than a village but larger than a hamlet, with a stream running through the middle and a footpath crossing it from one side to the other. The footpath shows up on the satellite images as a definite but shallow hollow way so it seems likely that it has been in use for at least several centuries.

As the forecast for the weekend is warm and dry I plan to put in a couple of sessions to see what turns up. It can’t possibly be less than I’m finding on my existing permission.

Gloucester medieval penny bought for £2,000 by museum

A 930-year-old silver penny which was found in a field near Gloucester has been sold to a city museum for display.

The medieval coin, hammered during the reign of William the Conqueror, is said to be of “major historical importance”.

Gloucester City Council paid £2,000 for the penny, which was found in Highnam by Maureen Jones, a member of Taynton metal detecting club, in 2011.

Before the discovery, experts had no evidence of coins being minted locally between 1077-1080.

The hammered coin features the name Silacwine and where it was minted.

Gloucester medieval penny bought for £2,000 by museum

Bronze Age hoard found in Denmark

A hoard of four Bronze Age gold arm rings has been found by a couple of Danish metal detectorists.

The four gold rings are all different and have distinct wear marks. Which shows that they once sat on the arm of a Bronze Age man whose clothing has rubbed against the soft gold. This is the first time ever, to be found four of the so-called oath rings at once.

These are so-called eds-rings, dating from the Late Bronze Age around 800 BC.

The (slightly wonky) Google translation from the Danish:

Bronze Age hoard found in Denmark

Gold Viking ingot discovered by amateur treasure hunter

A rare piece of Viking gold dating back more than a thousand years was discovered by an amateur with a metal detector in Northern Ireland, it was revealed.

Tom Crawford was pursuing his hobby in farmland in Co Down last year when he found the small but precious ingot, which may have been used as currency during the 9th and 10th centuries. It is one of only a few nuggets known from Ireland, experts said.

Gold Viking ingot discovered by amateur treasure hunter

Time Team’s Mick Aston dies

Archaeologist and broadcaster Mick Aston, who found fame with TV programme Time Team, has died aged 66.

Close friend and former colleague Phil Harding, who also worked on the popular Channel 4 series, said he had received the news from Professor Aston’s son James.

Time Team’s official Facebook and Twitter accounts also paid tribute to the retired academic: “It is with a very heavy heart that we’ve been informed that our dear colleague Mick Aston has passed away. Our thoughts are with his family.”

Time Team’s Mick Aston dies

Digging the garden: first lead soldier

When I bought my first detector in October 2011 I did what I imagine most people in that situation do – I tried it out in the garden, listening to the various squeaks, squawks and bleeps it made as it skimmed over the grass. What I did not do was actually dig any of the signals, essentially because I felt rather ridiculous and self-conscious wandering around under the curtain-twitching gaze of the neighbours, doing something even madder looking than usual. Having recently upgraded the Deus’s software to v3.0 the garden now seemed as good a place as any to see what changes had been made. Over the weekend I have made 3 or 4 attempts to detect and dig the garden, but each time it began to rain quite heavily within a few minutes of my starting and I fled indoors.

By far the best of the few finds was a lead soldier, the first toy of any sort that I have found, which came as a complete surprise. The figure most likely dates from 1900-1950 but what is now my garden would have been open farmland until the mid to late 1970s. The closest dwellings to this spot which predate that development are a half-timbered farmhouse about 400m to the north-east and an early 19th century red-brick farmhouse about 300m to the east and both were no doubt surrounded by their respective fields. If the toy was not lost by a child from either of those habitations, he must have been roaming quite some distance from home.

The figure appears to represent a knight in armour of approximately the early to mid 13th century. Enough paint remains to show that the horse was originally black and that the knight is wearing a red surcoat over chainmail.

knight1

knight2

Finds: 1 lead soldier, 2x 5p coins and 1 crosshead screw/bolt.