I opted out of the Weekend Wanderers dig last weekend in favour of joining an Oxford Blues dig closer to home. This may have been a mistake, as some remarkable finds were unearthed in Somerton by the Wanderers, including this Saxon gold coin:
As a result, I was keen to join when I heard that the Wanderers would be returning to the same fields, plus an additional, previously undetected field owned by the same farmer.
Straight out of the gate, still among the cars, I made a heart-stopping find. I was certain it was a coin, and even Peter, the club director, who rushed over, initially thought it might be a medieval badge. However, a bit of cleaning and further inspection revealed that it was quite modern. By the time I got it home and reasonably clean, my medieval coin had become a children’s club badge, decorated with a couple of racist cartoons. The legend read ‘Cheery Coons Club’, and a little internet research indicated that the badge depicted Eb and Flow, cartoon characters created by Wilfred Haughton, whose strips ran in The People magazine in the 1920s and ’30s (see http://www.flickr.com/photos/23885771@N03/4429339906/).
At 11.00 am, the club allowed us onto the undetected field. I was punctilious about the time, so I was rather dismayed to find about thirty club members already on the field when I arrived at 11.01. This is why I was feeling rather virtuous when I unearthed a jetton after only a couple of steps on the field:
When so many people are working a relatively small area there is a temptation simply to wander over the field. Bolstered by the jetton find, however, I worked a disciplined swath of the field near its eastern border with a small stream. After half an hour, a mid-range signal turned up the find of the day (and my treasure hunting career to this point), a king’s head buckle:
I had the feeling that this was a special find, so I took off one of my gloves and slipped the buckle inside a glove finger to protect it. When I returned to the staging area, Peter and a few of the club oldtimers confirmed that it was a rare find; one fellow suggested that it reflected a decorative trope of the 14th century. Soon a small crowd had gathered, enthusiastically passing the buckle from hand to hand (the first time this has happened for anything I have found)!
I also found a mini flat button and an iron buckle of indeterminate age. Junk finds included two modern bullets, half of a badge reading ‘BABY’, and a sort of modern rivet/ring (top ring?). Kurt and Kathleen arrived rather late, but they managed to turn up a musket ball.
I am eager to turn the king’s head buckle over to the PAS for evaluation and recording. Altogether it was a thrilling day!