Yorkshire Museum buys £30,000 Iron Age torc

The Yorkshire Museum has bought the second of two Iron Age torcs, believed to be the first jewellery from the era found in the north, following a successful public fundraising campaign.

Natalie McCaul, the assistant curator of archaeology at the Yorkshire Museum, with the Brigante torcs.

Generous donations from the public and funding bodies have allowed the second of two ancient torcs, both discovered at Towton, near Tadcaster, to be reunited with its sister ring at the Yorkshire Museum.

Found by metal detectorists in 2010 and 2011, buried within metres of each other, the torcs represent the first gold Iron Age jewellery ever found in the north of England. They have been separated since the museum bought the first torc for £25,000 in January 2012.

Yorkshire Museum buys £30,000 Iron Age torc after public appeal succeeds

Tudor dress hook offered to Nantwich Museum

A Tudor cast silver-gilt dress hook has been offered to Nantwich Museum.

The item was found by a metal detector fan at Baddiley, just a few miles from Nantwich.

The brooch was declared treasure when it was found and has been offered to Nantwich as the nearest accredited museum to the find site.

The dress hook, which measures 30mm, weighs 7.9g and contains more than 10% precious metal, is regarded as an excellent example of its type.

Tudor dress hook offered to Nantwich Museum

Viking silver in County Antrim field declared treasure

Two items of silver found in a field in County Antrim have been declared treasure, Belfast Coroner’s Court has found.

The objects were found by a man with a metal detector in a field on the Soldierstown Road, near Aghalee last year.

He took them to the curator of Armagh County Museum for further examination.

The items, which are more than 1,000 years old, will now go to the British Museum for valuation.

Viking silver in County Antrim field declared treasure

Builder discovers 16th Century gold on Lindisfarne

Builder Richard Mason was suitably underwhelmed when he dug up a grubby looking pot during a house renovation on Lindisfarne.

The 38-year-old from Rothbury, in Northumberland, threw the pot in the back of his van and thought no more of it.

The jug was left in Mr Mason’s father’s basement for eight years and then one year before Christmas, Richard decided to clean the jug.

He tipped it up and out fell a pile of gold and silver coins.

The coins come from all over Europe and one of them was found to be a gold scudo, a coin made in Italy in the 1500s.

Builder discovers 16th Century gold on Lindisfarne

Extremely rare Roman gold coin found in Wiltshire field

A 1,700-year-old Roman gold coin dug up in a field in south Wiltshire, is expected to fetch £30,000 at auction.

Found by a metal detecting enthusiast, the coin dates from the reign of Emperor Licinius I.

One of only four known examples, the coin was struck for the emperor in AD 313 to distribute at special occasions

The enthusiast, who wishes to remain anonymous, said he “thought it was the foil from a packet of Rolos” when he first pulled it out of the mud.

Extremely rare Roman gold coin found in Wiltshire field

Finnish detectorists find thousand-year old swordsman

Archaeology hobbyists were stunned when they unearthed a remarkable historical find from a field in Janakkala, southern Finland. The ancient grave site appeared to be that of an early crusader buried with two swords from different eras.

The well-preserved grave contained an uncharacteristically large 12th-century sword as well as what appeared to be a Viking-age blade that may have been part of a cremation ceremony.

The amateur historians were using a metal detector in a field in Hyvikkala, Janakkala, which had showed signs of pre-historic settlement. After uncovering a few minor objects, the metal detector picked up a spear tip and an axe blade. After some digging, the group discovered a broken sword. At this point, the hobbyists broke off their work to alert the National Board of Antiquities (NBA).

Finnish detectorists find thousand-year old swordsman

Club Dig – Daventry

I signed up for another club dig and took myself off to the Daventry area early yesterday morning, though to a different site to the one visited on 6th October. This site was described as 80 acres of rotted wheat stubble that turned out to be 80 acres of long (around 8″) unrotted wheat stubble. Which caused no end of problems. Why? The choices were:

  1. Trying to swing the detector close to the ground was hard work and noisy as the coil scraped through the stalks, and the sensitivity had to be turned down to stop the coil chattering every time it hit them. But turning the sensitivity down meant you sacrificed depth. OR
  2. Swinging the coil above the stalks was easier and quieter but still cost depth because you were detecting 8″ of empty air.

In other words, you couldn’t win. Stubble needs to be either well rotted, so that it falls apart when the coil hits it, or very short, say no more than 3″, so you could swing over the top of it without sacrificing most of the detector’s depth.

Within half an hour one person had found a Tealby penny but no other worthwhile finds were reported before lunch time. In fact the field was generally quiet, with very few signals and those there were seemed to produce only bits of lead, lumps of iron, coke, a few ringpulls, the odd horse shoe, lengths of aluminium tubing, bottle tops etc. To be fair I did find a monkey wrench and a very corroded 1″ diameter copper or bronze disk. In the field I assumed the latter to be a Georgian halfpenny or similar trade token but having properly cleaned it up and photographed it I fancy I can see the ghosts of a woman and child in it. Can anyone else see what I mean?

In the afternoon, because so little had been found on the original field, a second one of some 90 acres of similar stubble was made available. Accordingly most people gave this field a try, but it too proved disappointing and was also quiet, producing the same assortment of rubbish as the first field.

By the time I left at a little after 2pm the only other interesting find was a bronze item shaped like a frog or tortoise with ring-shaped markings on its back. If that and the Tealby penny are the sum total of actual finds for the day this will be hugely disappointing considering how interesting the area looked on paper. The question is whether there really is nothing there to find or whether the length of the stubble has been the problem.

Finds: 1 corroded copper or copper alloy disk.

131116 finds

Bronze Age treasure found in Lydney

A gold, Bronze Age, children’s broach (sic) has been found during a weekend metal detecting rally in the Forest of Dean.

The significant find was the highlight of a successful maiden event organised by the Forest of Dean metal detecting club.

Dave Warren, of the club, said: “The weekend went really well.

“The finds were amazing overall for the whole weekend and not just the Bronze Age treasure find.

“Over the weekend people found a silver hammer (sic) coin, Bronze Age axe head and a Roman broach (sic again) and Roman coins.

“The big find was the Bronze Age golden child’s bracelet which is a very significant find for this area.

“I have been metal detecting for about 11 years and never found anything like this before.

“It must be about 2,000 years old and I would imagine it belonged to a very wealthy person and to find it here in the Forest of Dean which has never been known as a rich area, is a brilliant find.”

Bronze Age treasure found in Lydney

Feeling a bit “sic” after reading this. And obviously anything Bronze Age is going to be around 3,000 to 4,000 years old rather than the 2,000 years mentioned. And a bracelet is not a brooch. Provincial journalism, eh?

A lead weight and some flints

Another bright sunny afternoon and another few hours detecting yesterday.

I decided to access the land from the other direction, with a view to detecting at the far end of the permission. From the road the field slopes up to a ridge and then down again to where I had been detecting on other recent visits, but the ridge area had been churned up by cattle and was rather boggy so I ended up back more or less where I’d been detecting previously. I wandered along the upper edge of the field, down the slope along the line of the old footpath/hollow way and back along the bottom edge. There must be something about the geology of the field as the lower slopes are noticeably better drained than the top.

Once  again, finds were sparse.

  • The lead disk gave a cracking signal and as it appears to be completely plain I assume it’s a weight of some sort.
  • An iron ring. Also a cracking signal. I’m tempted to send this to Ged (PeaceHavens) for his collection.
  • 2 pieces of flint which came from a hole in which the signal came from a piece of nondescript metallic scrap.
  • Another fragment of a die cast toy, this time what appears to be the seat of a vintage car.

All of the finds except for the iron ring came from the line of the footpath, and the toy fragment was found only 15 yards or so from the one found last week.

The two pieces of flint fit together perfectly so obviously came from a single piece. It’s nothing I can put my finger on but there’s something about them that doesn’t look entirely natural so I will be showing them to the FLO next month. One piece in particular looks as thought it might have been intended as some sort of boring tool, but what do I know?

It was noticeable how much the days are drawing in now. Although sunset yesterday was officially at 16.18, the sun had dropped below a bank of cloud shortly before 4pm and the light was already fading perceptibly by then. In another month it will be setting well before 4pm so either morning or afternoon sessions are going to be short ones unless I start taking sandwiches as well as a flask of coffee and eat lunch in the field. Roll on spring.

Finds: 1 lead weight, 1 iron ring, 2 pieces of flint  and a piece of a die cast toy.

131112 finds

Hygiene on pasture

Now I am not generally paranoid about hygiene, but it does make me feel queasy to see the absolutely filthy hands that some detectorists, especially the ones with black crescents under their fingernails, use to handle their lunch.

Over the summer I’ve been experimenting with vinyl disposables gloves – not because I wanted to keep my hands warm but because most of my digging is on pasture where the soil is full of bacteria, viruses, protozoa, worms, flukes, mites and other unpleasant things from livestock. E.coli, for example, usually gets into the food chain during the slaughter process where the carcase is contaminated by the gut contents of cattle, but the bacteria is present in the soil of pasture where cattle are grazed.

Using a fresh pair of gloves in the morning, discarding them at lunchtime so I can eat with clean hands, and using another pair in the afternoon has been fairly successful. The downsides have been two:

  • In warm weather your hands can get rather damp and tend to be slightly wrinkly when you take the gloves off, rather as though you’d been in the bath; and
  • The vinyl ones don’t fit snugly so entering information about finds in the field has been frustrating at times.

Most recently I’ve been trying latex disposables as they fit much more closely so cleaning finds and entering finds information into the phone app has been much easier. Both types have been robust in use, though my fingers have pushed through the ends of the vinyl ones once or twice, and both types are waterproof and windproof and can be worn under other gloves.

Obviously the latex gloves aren’t an option for those with an allergy to latex, but the vinyl and other latex substitutes do work well enough, and all can be bought cheaply online in boxes of 100.