Pro-Pointer woes

Like many detectorists, I bought a Garrett Pro-Pointer when I bought my first detector. They’re invaluable for finding stuff down holes. Unfortunately Garrett’s gadget has long had a poor reputation for falsing, or suddenly starting to bleep like buggery in the absence of any known metal. I’m told Garrett fixed the problem some time ago but that’s no help to those who bought the older version. Once they start the manic bleeping the only solution is to switch them off and then back on again, rather like computers, and see if that solves the problem.

Sometimes, especially in the early days of them going wrong, this does indeed work, but as the fault develops it stops working and the damned thing has a nervous breakdown as soon as switched on and ends up driving you bonkers – as well as becoming completely unusable.

This very problem has been creeping up on me for a couple of years. It starts almost imperceptibly, with the odd and brief outbreak of random bleeping which convinces you there is something where there isn’t and you spend 5 minutes hunting for a non-existent find. It ends with you ditching the pro-pointer and passing handfuls of soil in front of the detector coil, gradually narrowing down the location of the find. During my two sessions this week it’s been driving me mental, going bezerk as soon as switched on.

Unfortunately it’s out of warranty but I phoned Regton and spoke to Craig in the repairs department. Repairs are possible but not necessarily economically viable in most cases since the most common problems cost £50 to repair but a new unit with full warranty is about £90.

“Check the battery,” quoth Craig. “It might be a duff one. That can cause falsing.”

“By the way, do you use the tip for digging? That can crack the ferrite core and lead to falsing.”

As it happens, I have never used mine for digging though I’ve seen plenty of others doing precisely that. Clearly an expensive mistake.

I agreed to check the battery and if necessary try the pro-pointer with a different one. I took the battery out, inspected it and the terminals in the battery compartment for corrosion. Nowt. Battery good for another 2 years. Put the battery back, screwed the cap on and switched the pro-pointer on.

Silence.

The minutes passed.

Still silence.

Pointed it at metal just to check it was still working. It was.

More silence.

Well bugger me sideways.

Eventually, after at least 5 minutes, it did give a few bleeps but then shut up again.

After 10 minutes it started bleeping again and had to be switched off and back on again. I can live with that.

By Jove! I think it’s sorted. Not entirely but as much as makes no odds.

I can’t explain it, unless somehow the battery had been slightly dislodged in use and had not been making full contact with the contacts inside, so that taking the battery out and putting it back in again aligned it better with the contacts. One way or another the problem is well under control, if not completely resolved.

I am a happy bunny again.

Another afternoon on pasture

Brimming with renewed enthusiasm for my generally barren first pasture permission I went out to have another swing at it yesterday afternoon.

The first hour was spent on a triangular field that I hadn’t tried before, criss-crossing back wards and forwards in one corner to get a flavour of what might be there. Bugger all but a few scraps of foil.

So it was back to Tuesday’s field. During the course of the afternoon I tackled one area quite intensively, which produced a few odds and sods but nothing to get excited about, headed up to the top of the field in a straight line and then back across towards another landmark. The rest of the session was spent in the lower part of the field in the general area which produced Tuesday’s finds. A few bits and pieces came up, though it was not as rewarding a session as the one earlier in the week.

What’s interesting is that the top half of the field, which lies above a shallow rise, produced nothing at all. The farmer has previously told me that in the past there has been some marl digging from that field, so it’s possible that any finds that might have been in that area have already been stripped away. Presumably though they should be elsewhere on the farm.

Finds

1 lead weight
1 lead disk
2 tombac buttons
1 pewter spoon handle
2 fragments of pewter spoon handle
1 corroded coin, probably a Georgian halfpenny
2 small 4-hole buttons
1 flint thumbnail scraper
1 fragment of black-glazed terracotta

150312 Finds

Cornwall mud finds are declared treasure

Items found in Cornish mud will be shown to the public after being declared treasure.

The items include a silver Tudor dress hook, a solid silver bodkin – a type of hairpin, made in 1657 – and an inscribed gold ring.

They were found by metal detectorists who are required by law to report valuable finds.

They will be on show in the Hands on History Hub exhibition from 12 March at the Royal Cornwall Museum.

Cornwall mud finds are declared treasure

First detecting session in yonks

On such a glorious spring day yesterday there was no excuse for not getting out to do some detecting. So out I went yesterday afternoon.

Not only was it my first detecting session since the autumn, it was the first trip back to my first, or No 1, permission in about a year. Nos 1 and 2 are pasture permissions so, in theory, available all year. However No 2 has cattle in and No 1 has sheep, and if I am to risk getting between livestock and their young I would rather it was sheep and lambs than cows and calves.

To be honest I wasn’t expecting to find much at all. No 1 produced a few nice bits and bobs from one particular field when I first stated detecting there, but since then it has been pretty barren – so much so that I have toyed with simply abandoning it. Still, a permission is a permission and the farmer is happy to have me there.

Part of the farm is inaccessible at present. One field that leads to several others is currently occupied by a handful of alpacas and half a dozen or so rheas. The alpacas I knew about. The rheas I didn’t. The young male rhea is apparently rather frisky at present and he and the older male have had a few set-tos recently which I didn’t fancy ending up in the middle of, so I went off to a field that I’ve detected before, albeit briefly, but which has produced only a few uninteresting finds in the past.

I started by detecting along the line of a public footpath and bits and bobs started coming up almost immediately. Part of a pewter spoon, then a buckle, a button, another buckle, an iron ring, another button and so on. Over 4 hours of wandering around one end of the field it turned into the most productive session I’ve had on this farm for quite a while and makes me think that while it’s never likely to produce anything spectacular, it’s worth going back for the odd session from time to time.

The most interesting item of the day was a long, thin, copper alloy item (at the bottom of the finds photo) which at first I thought was just a bolt, but when the mud was brushed off started to look like a pipe tamper (I’ve not found one of those so far so it would have been a first). However it has a nobble on the end which, when I researched it at home, sounded more like the handle of a litten spoon, which were frequently cast in a copper alloy and in use from c1550 to c1650. It’s one for the FLO anyway, along with at least two of the buckles.

It was a surprisingly warm day, with a clear sky and not a breath of wind, so I ended up shedding the fleece and detected in a t-shirt. I detected almost until sunset, when it was still warm enough (OK, about 10º C) for just the t-shirt. It’s strange how you get these odd really spring-like, almost early-summer, days in March.

Finds

1 pewter spoon handle
1 copper alloy latten spoon (I think)
1 spectacle buckle, broken at one end
1 copper alloy buckle, outer only
1 small spectacle buckle, complete with pin
1 Elizabeth II half groat
1 funny-looking doodah (broken fragment, probably nothing)
3 small plain buttons

150310 Finds

Gold prospector finds 87 ounce nugget

A miner struck some serious gold after finding a sizeable nugget worth at least £100,000 (A$135,000) in Australia.

Mick Brown, found the 87-ounce (2.5 kilogram) solid chunk of gold several weeks ago while roaming with his metal detector in an unspecified area of Sydney suburb Wedderburn.

The lucky digger has not told anyone where he exactly found the nugget, which he calls the “fair dinkum nugget” due to people’s reactions when they see it.

Mr Brown said that he was expecting to find a blob of worthless molten rock when his had detector sounded but, when he dug around 15cm into the earth, he was surprised to be faced with the glittering lump of gold.

Gold prospector strikes it lucky with an 87 ounce nugget worth at least £100,000

World War Two hero’s wedding ring returned 70 years after it was lost

More than 70 years after he went missing in action during an RAF special operations mission, the mystery surrounding the fate of a British airman has finally been solved.

Flight Sgt John Thompson was one of seven crew on board a Halifax bomber that was dropping supplies to resistance fighters in Albania when the aircraft clipped a mountain ridge and crashed on Oct 29, 1944.

The mission was shrouded in secrecy and for decades his family struggled to find out whether he was alive or dead.

Their attempts to find out exactly what happened to him were hampered further when Albania fell under Communist rule, becoming one of Europe’s most paranoid and secretive states.

But on Monday, a wedding ring that the 23-year-old airman was wearing at the time of the crash was returned to his family, bringing closure to a tragedy that had dragged on for seven decades.

World War Two hero’s wedding ring returned 70 years after it was lost

Silver hoard stashed 2,300 years ago found in cave in northern Israel

Alexander the Great was dead and his heirs were wrangling for control of his now-fractured empire. In the tumult that ensued, an affluent family living in what’s now northern Israel sought to save their fortune and hid a purse of valuables in a remote stalactite cave.

The trove, comprising rare types of silver jewelry, a couple of coins, and black-and-white agate beads hidden in a lamp, lay undisturbed in the limestone cave for over 2,300 years until a group of Israeli spelunkers happened upon them last month.

The rare find sheds light on the lives of ordinary people during the late 4th century BCE, experts said Sunday. That stalactites formed over some of the pottery will help geologists better understand the rate of their growth.

Silver hoard stashed 2,300 years ago found in cave in northern Israel