First visit to a new field

With new land to try I couldn’t resist a trip out, so after an early lunch yesterday I took myself off for an exploratory visit to the largest of the new fields open to me. I drove onto the largest of the fields, still under stubble, and parked up by the entrance.

With a field this size it’s difficult to know quite how to tackle it, especially when the field is about 40 acres and a strange stretched triangle shape. Round the edge? Straight across the middle? Zigzagging from one prominent feature to another? Eventually I decided to detect parallel with the road which runs past, but about 10 yards in from the field boundary. Half way along that side I turned and cut across one corner and followed the line of a strip which had been deep ploughed.

A little over half way up that side I started to find very rough ceramic shards scattered across the surface. They were a pale orangey-pink or biscuit colour, most with a curved profile as though they were broken pieces of pipe except that they were roughly finished and not glazed in any way so I can’t imagine they were pipes. Besides, judging by the profile of the curve they’d have had to have been pipes several feet in diameter.

So what to make of them? I started to wonder if they are pieces of Roman roof tile. If so, taking into account the quantity I saw scattered around a particular area, it’s possible there was a Roman building of some sort on the site, especially as there’s a lot of Roman stuff in the area. In aerial images of the spot there are no clear crop marks suggesting a former structure, but there is an undefined, slightly darker shadow in the soil. It’s something to run past the FLO when I next see her, but in the meantime does anyone know if these things really could be bits of Roman roof tile?

In contrast with all the broken bits of ceramic, there were virtually no genuine metal signals. I found several pieces of chewed up drinks can, a piece of foil, one modern button and one copper alloy ring of around 1.25 inches diameter. And that was the sum total of digable signals. How absolutely weird. I know the field runs along a road but surely it couldn’t have been nighthawked so completely?

My session was cut short when my phone battery died, as I no longer detect if I am unable to track my progress and precisely log my finds by GPS and photograph them on the spot. I could kick myself, and will now invest in a powerbank so I can recharge my phone in the field.

Finds

Photo 1

1 button
1 copper alloy ring
1 piece of red and pink flint-like stone – jasper?

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Photo 2

Selection of possible Roman roof tile fragments pieces of drainage pipe.

RoofTiles.jpg

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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