I decided I just couldn’t wait to get out on the fields now available to me. I set out to find the ruins of a building which the landowner described to me when we met yesterday. It dates from the early 17c., and now only a few remaining stone walls lie mouldering in the brambles on his land. I found the spot easily enough, but it was nigh unsearchable: a combination of ferrous trash from the ruined building and ‘green waste’ on the surrounding field made searching an audio-maze of beeps and bops from my detector. Green waste is a fertiliser of sorts made from notionally biodegradable waste products but often also materials from the breaking up of old sheds and structures — it contains a lot of wood pulp but also bits of aluminium, nails, brick, you name it. It usually spells death to the effectiveness of metal detecting, as each sweep of the coil brings with it a cacophony of chirps and whirrs.
Today’s conditions were complicated by intermittent hail and the awful sort of squelchy, viscous mud that makes your feet two times their usual size in minutes. Still I managed to turn up four coins around the thicket that hid the building’s foundations; they are in pretty bad shape but look like Victorian copper-alloys. I also found a French 10-centimes coin from 1901 lying on the surface. Buckles, bits of ironmongery, a floral device, an Army Service Corps badge, and an interesting cylindrical object that looks like a pendant or a vial stopper rounded out the day. To thank the landowner for his kindness, I plan to prepare a display case of these objects along with little placards interpreting their provenance.
Despite the tough going, it was obvious that this permission holds many secrets in its soil. I hope to return tomorrow to see what else I can turn up.