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‘Mudlarking for Beginners’: My Article in The Searcher

9 Mar

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Repulse Bay, Hong Kong

2 Apr

On the 2nd April I arrived in Hong Kong, where I will be doing some educational consulting and teaching for three weeks. I decided to bring the Deus to see what I might turn up. Rather than being caught out on the beach without an easy means to dig targets, I also arranged to purchase an Evolution Scoop to bring with me. This was complicated by my schedule, as I was in Poland until Saturday morning when I flew back to the UK, and I was due to fly out of Heathrow on Saturday afternoon. I contacted Crawfords Metal Detectors, and they couldn’t have been easier to work with: for a small courier surcharge, they arranged Saturday delivery in London prior to noon, so I was able to touch down in Blighty, put the scoop in my suitcase, and take off again for Hong Kong. I originally intended to get the round Evolution 360 scoop, but they were out of this model on the day, and they upgraded me for free to the next model, the Evolution Type R Pro Scoop:

 

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When I landed in HK after a twelve hour flight, I felt rested enough (and worried enough about the busyness of my upcoming schedule) to try to get out on the beach at the next low tide. First I needed to find a handle for the scoop, but I didn’t anticipate this being a problem, since the Evolution line can take any sturdy 29mm broom or shovel handle. Unfortunately I didn’t reckon on the dearth of DIY shops in Hong Kong, particularly on a Sunday evening. I googled in vain and even wandered the streets of Wan Chai and Central for several hours, aimlessly searching for a hardware shop.

As I was about to give up, I passed a bar with a pile of rubbish on the pavement outside, jutting out from which were three round staves about the width of a broom handle. On the principle that this was rubbish and available for scavenging, I took the likeliest of the three and repurposed it as my scoop handle.

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Low tide fell at almost 8 pm, so it was fully dark by the time the taxi conveyed me to Repulse Bay Beach on the south side of the island. I detected for about two hours using the Deus’s Dry Sand programme. I found a handful of HK clad coins, totalling about 10 HK dollars, or about 1 pound sterling. I also dug the expected pile of slaw and pull tabs. At one point the scoop handle broke — the wood didn’t accept the torque I put on it digging wet sand. Luckily I had a set of pliers with me, and I reattached the now slightly shorter handle and carried on detecting. I had about 20 pounds in taxi travel plus the cost of the scoop to offset, but the thrill of finding even a few clad in Hong Kong was not really quantifiable. I hope to get out again soon!

3x Silver with Deus v4!

29 Mar

Yesterday I had the whole day to hunt my permissions near Oxfordshire. In light of my upcoming return to the States, I really wanted to make the most of it. It was also my first hunt with version 4, the newly updated Deus firmware. I found it to be a silver magnet, quickly netting me a cut half (silver penny cut, for example, to make change) of Edward the Confessor, the Saxon king who ruled England until the coming of William the Conqueror in 1066.

An hour later my Deus sang out with a signal in the high 90s. Usually this means aluminum can “slaw”, so I was shocked after digging and digging to find this massive hammered coin at almost 8 inches down. It is an Elizabethan silver shilling (ca. 1582-84), and by far the largest “hammy” I have ever found.

I was tired by this time, but so excited by the finds that I pressed on. Last of all I found a milled silver shilling of George V (1923) (bottom row, far L).

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In addition I found a penny of Victoria (1887) with a lovely patina; one from her son, Edward VII (1902); three coins so knackered that they had no images — probably Georgian, as they take the worst beating in English soils; a pre-decimal six pence; a modern clad 20p; and a Euro 50 cent piece that gave me heart palpitations with its golden glint when my spade turned the soil. All in all an excellent hunt. I find that I am really liking the standard XY display screen with the factory Deep program on v4.

Barren Battersea

26 Mar

I went for a lark beneath the Albert Bridge at Battersea on Sunday. Pickings were slim, and I only found a U.S. quarter (Louisiana) from 2oo2 and a 2p piece. I also saw a heron which became the occasion for ‘flocks’ of  avian puns with my brother and sister-in-law: ‘I’ve been “heron” lots about this new fishing hole’, and ‘I seagull(ible) people like you all of the time’. I should have spared you, gentle reader.

Deus Redux

18 Mar

I used my 9″ coil as a trade-in at Leisure Promotions against a new 11″ coil and remote, so that I would have a full Deus again in advance of the v4 release and new HF coils. When it arrived, I arranged to visit my main permission to test it out. Unfortunately the unit does not come pre-charged, so I just had time for a quick 20 minute hunt as night was coming on. I did get to spend time with my friend the farmer watching Six Nations rugby (France beat Wales with a last-minute try) while the coil charged.

I decided to search near the farmhouse (17th cent.) this time round, and I quickly found a George VI penny from 1938 — I love the green patina they get! Next I found a modern coin spill: 2 pound coin (not too shabby – pays for the bus fare at least!) a 10p and a penny. The oldest coin in the spill was 2001, and all the coins were at about 9 inches under lawn, so they might have been lost in 2001 or slightly thereafter. I also found a flat button.

At the corner of the farmhouse I found this sterling silver bracelet, which the farmer said did not belong to his family.

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I look forward to trying the Deus version 4 update on Tuesday. I’ll keep you posted!

Treasure Inquest

11 Mar

The form is crumpled, because it was savaged in my backpack, but the Crown Coroner has reached out to me regarding a treasure inquest for a tiny bit of foreshore gold foil. FLO Anni Byard contacted me about the tiny bit of gold (below), which was turned up by Steve Brooker during my mudlarking taster session. Anni believes it’s part of a more elaborate array that has turned up in pieces on the foreshore.

Forrest Fenn Update III

10 Mar

A recent Vox doc-essay on the hunt for Forrest Fenn: