FLO night at the club

Along I went to collect the items handed in in September and to hand over the latest batch.

Finds from Thame area dig – blog entry dated 1 September 2016

The flint was recorded as a Mesolithic or Neolithic rejuvenation flake dating to 8,300 – 2,100 BCE. The  Lizzy Halfgroat is London mint dating to 1591 – 1594 AD. The Roman coin was confirmed as a commemorative copper alloy nummus of Theodora dating to 337 – 341 AD.

Finds from Witney area dig – blog entry dated 5 September 2016

The book clasp was confirmed as being of a copper alloy and dating to anywhere between 1500 and 1700. The curtain ring is a very ordinary copper alloy ring of mediaeval or post-mediaeval date so from anywhere between the 14th and 18th centuries. The rounded button was judged to be of 18th century date and not recorded.

Find from XP rally near Burford

The Roman coin was identified as a radiate of an unknown emperor but dated to somewhere between 260 AD and 296 AD.

The FLO took from me:

1 musket ball
1 possible musket ball
1 copper alloy ring which may be of Roman date
4 Roman coins
1 small piece of grey pottery (possibly Roman)
1 small iron nail or tack – probably a Roman boot or sandal hobnail
1 piece of reddish-orangey stone which shows possible signs of having been worked to some extent.

Sadly, all the lumps of curved orangey-pink rough ceramic are just modern drainage pipe. Bang goes my Roman building. Eheu!

A much better detecting session – huzzah!

I have just rejoined The Metal Detectives and had my first recent outing with them yesterday. Needless to say I will not reveal exactly where the dig site was but for those readers who are interested it was somewhere in the Thame area.

The site comprised three arable fields of disked wheat stubble covering 70 acres shared between 35 detectorists. I detected part of one field in the morning and part of a second in the afternoon. Despite the heavy rain and thunderstorms we had last weekend, the soil remains very dry. The first field, which was quite stony in places and produced a lot of “chatter”, was hard to detect and hard to dig more than a few inches down. Genuine signals were few and far between although one hammered coin and a handful of small Roman grots came off it in the morning.

For me it produced a small worked flint blade (which came out of a hole dug to find half a horse shoe) and my first Roman coin – a small copper alloy jobbie which is in pretty good condition with fairly clear detail on both sides.

The afternoon’s field produced my second ever hammered coin – an Elizabeth I halfgroat which has fair detail but looks as though it might have been clipped slightly round the edges. Two Anglo Saxon brooches also came off this field. It was also easier to dig as the soil was less compacted and more powdery.

Now that I’ve had chance to clean the mud off the Roman coin, it looks like a nummus of Theodora (337 – 341 AD) with the Pietas Romana reverse; judging by other Theodora nummi on the PAS  database, mine looks to be in much better condition than many of them so I’m seriously chuffed.

Finds

1 small flint blade
1 small Roman bronze coin
1 Elizabeth I halfgroat

Finds 160831a.jpg

Finds 160831b.jpg

 

More spoons, lead seals and a hammy

It was such a lovely afternoon it would have been criminal to let it go to waste. So out I went, back to Permission 1 – the barren one which makes me sweat blood for every half decent find. I had hoped to return to the field which produced two fruitful afternoons last month, but the rhea are still in it and apparently they are even randier now than they were then. I didn’t fancy my chances. As a result I decided to try a field I’ve not detected before.

From the start it looked as though it was going to be a crap afternoon. Not only did I forget my flask of coffee, but Tect O Trak, the app I’m currently using on the phone for tracking my movements round fields and logging finds, decided not to work again.

By far the best find of the day was a tiny hammy (12mm x 10mm and 0.32g and therefore probably a farthing), the first I have found on this permission, which came from just off a public footpath running through the farm and was about 10″ down. Well done the Deus. Presumably this is evidence of a sort that the footpath was probably being used in the medieval period if not earlier, so systematically detecting the path on a future visit seems like a good move. Unfortunately the coin is poorly struck and off centre so whether it will be possible to identify the mint and moneyer remains to be seen. I will try to upload larger and clearer images of both sides of the coin as soon as possible in the hope that someone can fully identify it.

And another pewter spoon, or rather part of one. They seem to be surprisingly common on this farm for some reason. I’m starting to think of it as Death of Spoons Farm.

And two lead seals – one from a case of Moët & Chandon champagne and the other probably from a fertiliser sack, though I can’t make out the name of the company concerned.

Finds

1 hammy
1 pewter spoon (part)
1 nickel-plated spoon
1 bag seal
1 Moet & Chandon champagne case seal
1 small ring

150408 Finds

Rare 16th century English shilling found in Victoria, Canada

Bruce Campbell was just looking for a way to get off the couch and out of the house. He had no plans to help rewrite history.

By the time he dug down in the blue clay and pulled out an unusual black coin, it had already been a pretty good day. It was getting dark and the tide was coming in, so Campbell headed home and posted photographs of his finds on the Official Canadian Metal Detecting website.

“I thought everybody was going to ooh and ah over the 1891 nickel, and it turned out I’d made a discovery that was a little more important than that,” he said.

Under a picture of the black coin, he wrote: “Not sure what it is so calling all the experts. Please chime in.” He didn’t have long to wait.

“Some of the guys started saying, ‘That’s not just any old coin. That’s an English hammered silver coin,’ ” Campbell said. “And as I was doing cleaning on it, I posted updated pictures.”

Over in Port Coquitlam, Bill Herbst took one look at the coin and his jaw dropped. He recognized it as a rare English shilling from 1551-53, issued during Edward VI’s brief reign.

Rare 16th century English shilling found in Victoria, Canada

NCMD Shakespeare Hospice Rally

I very rarely attend open metal detecting events. I’ve been to a few in the past and found virtually nothing at any of them apart from rubbish. In fact on one such I came back with several dozen mastitis treatment tubes and bugger all else. Yesterday however I attended the NCMD charity rally in support of The Shakespeare Hospice at Stratford upon Avon. My finds for the day were precisely two buttons and the usual scrap.

There were around 200 detectorists on some 150 acres of arable land spread over 4 fields. The land had been roughly disked and roughly tilled, both superficially, with large clods of dried clay liberally spread across the surface of at least 2 of the fields. This made it very difficult to get a good rhythm of low swings and there were a few examples of people more or less waving their detectors about like Simon Rattle conducting the Berlin Phil. 6″ down was more or less solid, sticky clay of the sort to excite artisan potters. The surface had been baked and the dry shards of clay were like rough gravel when you put your hand on them. The field between the parking area and the registration tent was fairly rough and uneven, but the far field was reported to be much worse; indeed one chap told me it was “bad enough to break your ankles”. It was, overall, bloody hard work.

One field was fairly smooth but both fields I tried were contaminated by broken bricks, pieces of glass (including much weathered, old glass with large bubbles in it), tiles and other roofing materials, pieces of cement or mortar and by small, shapeless pieces of metal which were very light and therefore probably melted alumimium of some sort.

There was a lot of dissatisfaction with the state of the land, including several comments that it would have been better left as stubble. A couple of people mentioned a lot of problems with falsing but that may have been down to their particular detectors. As with all large rallies people had come from all over the place to attend including Sheffield, Brighton, Northants and London, thus incurring significant travelling costs. The first person left at 11.30am; he was an elderly chap with arthritis who had come from near Heathrow but couldn’t cope with the uneven ground. There were more departures over lunchtime, including a group of 3 who went off to finish the day at one of their local permissions, and a few more by the time I left at around 2.30pm, but most people seemed determined to give it “just another half hour” and to “get their money’s worth” as one chap put it.

It’s surprising what people will complain about. I overheard one chap saying it was a poor do that the NCMD had not arranged for a trade stand or a burger bar to be there, and that next year he would be joining the FID instead. Since most mobile burger vans seem to be of the greasy-donkey-burger-for-50p variety that didn’t seem much of a loss. The same chap bemoaned the lack of “fun” aspects to the rally, specifying that there was no token hunt (in which the organisers bury tokens for people to dig up and win prizes for doing so).

By the time I left I’d heard reliable reports of 5 hammered coins, a gothic florin, an unspecified number of Roman grots and a half sovereign. After the rally additional finds reported on one of the forums included a “nice small Saxon cruciform brooch apparently with loads of enamelling intact”, a lead bale seal, a 16th century harness bell and a silver item which may have been a mount or strap end (date unknown). The FLO was in attendance but whether she had enough to keep her busy I have no idea.

Finds: 2 buttons.

130922 finds