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!
I last went out detecting a couple of weeks ago for an afternoon’s swinging. Having tried the big triangular field along the road the previous time without much success, I wanted to try the much smaller one beyond it, a good 400 yards from the road. Since the ground was dry I decided to risk driving along the edge of the field big field to park up close to where I wanted to start. The grassed field margin had a few ruts and potholes but was perfectly drivable for an ordinary family car providing it was taken slowly.
The further field turned out to be stubble of varying lengths, from an inch or two up to some 6″ long, and although it hadn’t been ploughed it was uneven enough to have to watch where I put my feet. Over the course of a couple of hours I managed two full lengths of this rectangular field and a few toings and froings across the width of it but with very few signals of any sort. The only find was a rather corroded Roman copper alloy coin.
After an hour or so I was hailed by a dog-walker who came over to ask how I was getting on. I showed him the Roman coin I’d found and he was suitably impressed. We chatted for a while and he turned out to be a warder at the not-too-far-away Long Lartin high security prison (the one where they remand many of the actual and wannabe jihadis) on his day off. He’s been walking his dogs (one of them being one of the prison dogs on his day off) along the edge of this and other fields on many occasions and has never seen any other detectorists.
Shortly after he’d walked on and round a corner the heavens opened. The first of the afternoon’s forecast “showers” turned out to be a 15 minute downpour with horizontal rain. I got soaked and started detecting in the direction of the car. And then it stopped and the sun came out, albeit briefly. Just as I decided to carry on detecting it chucked it down again and I beat a hasty retreat. With all the gear in the car, I bumped my way back down the side of the field, this time half blinded by the rain. No sooner had I reached the road than the rain stopped and the sun came out again. It didn’t last though and quickly clouded over and became quite dark.
This turned out to be another very quiet field, though to be fair I only detected for a couple of hours. Even so, apart from the usual background chatter in some parts there were few signals of any kind – a handful of iron grunts and a few digable signals that produced (as well as the coin) a piece of foil, several bits of shredded drink cans, a bottle screw top still with shards of glass attached, and a modern ring off some piece of machinery. The usual, in other words. There were also a few of the orangey-pink ceramic shards noted on the previous visit to the adjoining field, but far fewer in number.
The aforementioned Roman copper alloy coin was the only find of the day. I don’t know if there’s enough detail left to identify it.
Yesterday I went on another of the mid-week digs organised by the Metal Detectives. I like these mid-week digs – with a later start so attenders can avoid the rush hour traffic and a smaller group of generally older detectorists, they are even more laid back than the weekend ones. And of course, a smaller group means being able to go on smaller sites than if there are 50 people traipsing about.
The site was around 70 acres sloping across three fields which were easy digging, rather sandy and recently worked with the new crop starting to come through (judging by the remains of the stubble, the previous crop was barley). On a previous visit, these fields had variously produced: Georgian and Victorian material; Roman coins and an Anglo-Saxon gold ring; and Roman coins, and a number of hammered coins along the line of a footpath. This visit wasn’t to be so fruitful, though a few hammered and a few Roman coins did turn up during the course of the day.
After a chilly start, the day was warm and sunny but very windy. At times it was very difficult indeed to hear the signals, partly due to the strong wind, which seemed to become stronger as the day went on, and partly due to the incessant traffic noise from the motorway a quarter of a mile or so away.
As on other recent digs, I spent the morning in one field and the afternoon in another. My first find of the day was the smaller and grottier of my two Roman coins, and my last find was the larger and better preserved of the two. I’m hoping the FLO will be able to provide at least an approximate identification of the small grot, but I’ve had a tentative identification of the larger to Claudius Gothicus (born sometime between 210 and 214, ruled 268-270 CE).
2 Roman bronze coins
1 copper alloy rectangular ring
1 piece of lead
1 fragment of pottery
1 handmade nail/tack (possibly Roman)
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.
1 small flint blade
1 small Roman bronze coin
1 Elizabeth I halfgroat