We’d had a couple of nights’ rain since my previous permission visit on Thursday. Optimistic, therefore, that the ground might have softened up somewhat in the meantime I decided to give it another go yesterday.
Nothing doing. The ground was as hard as it had been a few days earlier although superficially it initially looked damper on the surface. I think I mentioned the depth of the cracks in the soil but the disappearing spade says it all. It’s going to take a lot of rain before the soil is back to normal.
I spent about 3 hours wandering around and across a substantial part of the field but again there were very few signals. The prize scrap find was a modern brass tap (“faucet” for the Cousins) of the sort used for field water supplies, still with plastic hose attached; a 19th century machine-made square cut nail; and a fossil. I know. A fossil. The Deus is good but it’s not that good.
The fossil appeared when I dug a piece of scrap. I think it’s Gryphaea (aka the “Devil’s Toenail”), a bivalve mollusc which was around from the Jurassic to the Cretaceous, but if anyone knows otherwise please let me know.
Meanwhile, I’m going to get my spade sharpened.
1 19th century nail
Righty-ho. I see it’s getting on for a year since I last blogged. In fact it’s about the same period since I last went out detecting. Life and things. You know how it is.
So I finally took myself off for an afternoon to the largest permission I have, around 1500 acres of mixed use but mostly arable. By sheer good luck I was finally able to get on the field I’ve been eyeing up beadily for several years. The landowner tends to harvest and then plough and reseed very quickly so there is only a short window in which to get onto the land. Last year this particular field was sown with broad beans and the year before that with rape, and since the bean and rape stubble didn’t have chance to rot down before being ploughed and reseeded detecting it had been nigh on impossible.
This year it had been sown with barley and the crop was off. Huzzah!
Excitement however was quickly dashed. After weeks with almost no rain the soil was so dry it was split by crevasses you could lose a dogsled team down and digging it was next to impossible. Which also meant there was minimal conductivity. I know this field has not been detected as the landowner assured me this was so; moreover it is not accessible by nighthawks so whatever has accumulated over the centuries is still there and waiting to be found. But other than a bit of chatter there was almost nothing.
And it was quite a lot hotter than the weather forecast suggested it would be. And I managed not to take any water with me. Idiot. After an hour and a half I called it a day and staggered back to the car, thirsty and headachy with the heat, sun and dehydration. The whole farm needs a decent amount of rain to both soften up the soil and improve the conductivity before there’s much point going back. Fortunately rain is forecast for the next few days.
1 x 1860 halfpenny
1 x 1875 halfpenny