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.


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

Rare £1 coin from 1643 is expected to fetch £30,000 at auction

A £1 coin is up for auction this month, and is expected to sell for at least £30,000. The huge price tag is due to the historical importance – and rarity – of the coin – which was struck in 1643 at the start of the English Civil War.

It’s known as the 1643 Declaration Pound, and it was made in Oxford – which is where Charles I was based after he left London. It was the first coin of a new mint, set up in New Inn Hall to create a new official currency for the parts of the country that were in Royalist control.

The inscription on the back underlines the king’s confidence in his enduring power, saying: “Let God arise and let His enemies be scattered.” However, within six years, the monarch had been beheaded.

Rare £1 coin from 1643 is expected to fetch £30,000 at auction