Another disappointing detecting session

I went out this afternoon hoping to be able to get back on the field which back in March produced a sudden flurry of finds, including spectacle buckles and the handle of a litten spoon. Surely the alpacas and rhea would have been moved to another field by now?

There were only sheep lying down in the dappled sunlight under the trees half way along the far side of the field. The coast was clear. I unpacked my rucksack in the shade of the hedge and started detecting. Quarter of an hour later, while on my knees and digging a hole, I looked up to see three adult alpacas and a youngster making a bee-line for me at a fast trot. Not all the sheep were sheep. The boldest two skidded to a halt about 10 feet from me and stood staring. They followed me around for the rest of the afternoon, one of them coming well within touching distance. He/she/it sniffed the coil of the detector, the headphones and Pro-pointer, breathed down my neck, sniffed my hand and eventually nuzzled my face and allowed me to stroke its nose. That one at least was obviously very tame though the others were generally warier.

Unfortunately it was a crap afternoon’s detecting. Although I was working the same area of the same field as a few months ago nothing but rubbish came up, including both halves of broken biro, the inevitable pieces of foil, a corroded metal disk that was the size and weight of an old penny but which had become bright red and orange on one side, broken fragments of green-painted metal and a few small lumps of scrap lead.

So what was going on? I suspect the problem is that the soil is much drier at present than it was in March. There are probably other reasonable finds in that field but they can only be found when the soil conditions are right, ie wetter.

As if that was not bad enough, Tect O Trak stopped tracking me early in the afternoon. Since getting home and doing an internet search, I’ve discovered that some Galaxy S5 phones have been experiencing problems with GPS since downloading Lollipop. Hmmm. Guess who downloaded Lollipop a few days ago. Hopefully it’s an easy fix.

Disappointing as I say. If the weather is decent next weekend I will try to get on one of my new permissions for a change.

A disappointing rally, but I have balls

A spur of the moment decision last night saw me heading this morning to the UK Detecting Rallies open rally at Carlton, near Olney, in Northants.

The site was billed as around 120 acres of ploughed, rolled and seeded arable land. ARCHI showed the area to be rich, especially in Roman material. The weather was reasonable (cloudy, around 16C and dry except for light rain mid morning). It all looked very promising, even for an open rally.

My plan was to concentrate on one field in the morning and another in the afternoon. The morning’s field had reportedly produced a William I penny the last time the site had been detected, though apparently on that occasion most diggers spent the day on another field which had produced a couple of Anglo-Saxon pennies and a few later medieval hammies.

Unfortunately it was a dead loss. By the time I left at around 1.30pm, after 3 hours detecting and an hour for lunch and talking to other diggers, the sole reported decent find was of a hammy of some sort from one field.

I didn’t bother with any of the other fields as I left straight after lunch, but it’s obviously possible that other decent finds were unearthed in the afternoon.

My impression, and that of others I spoke to, was that the fields had been more or less detected to death; if they hadn’t, why was nobody finding anything today, notwithstanding any finds on earlier visits? It was an expensive half day out, factoring in the cost of a 160 mile round trip and £15 for the dig fee. The lack of finds was obviously disappointing, but at least I met and chatted to other detectorists.

So what did I find? Nothing indeed to call a “find”, certainly, but the scrap included:

  • 2 golf balls (both surface finds)
  • Several pieces of lead
  • Around a dozen pieces of thinnish, foil-like metal
  • Half a horse shoe
  • The head of a sledgehammer
  • A bolt
  • The bases of half a dozen very small bullets or cartridges, possibly from a rook rifle

As mentioned in an earlier post I have been trying out Tect O Trak which plots your route around a field and shows the positions of any finds against the route. When I reviewed my wanderings around the field, Tect O Trak seemed to have summed the day up pretty well:

carlton

It was, nevertheless, a joy to detect with a pin-pointer that sounds off only when it should do.

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