Archive | May, 2015

Club Dig in Northmoor and to America Then

28 May

10 May 2015

It has been difficult to swing the Deus this month, as I’ve been harried by thesis concerns. I did make it to a club dig in Northmoor, the last dig before my mate Gez left for his summer holidays. The dig saw him off in high style, as he had his first sestertius, on what were very quiet fields. Not long afterward, I found this badly worn dupondius.

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Most of the day I spent detecting in a small paddock right next to the farmhouse and parking area, despite tips from longtime club members that it was either detected out, or else covered in aluminium waste. In the paddock I found a small annular brooch with a bit on gilt on it but no pin, and just before leaving for the day I found a George III penny (1799). It was badly corroded, but cleaning it turned up a nice portrait.

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I had the right idea with the paddock, but not enough persistence. Earlier in the day, a club mate told me semi-seriously that he was going to find a posey ring in the little paddock. Not five minutes after I left for the day to do some tutoring, I got a text from another friend, Michael, with pictures of a gold ring he’d turned up just steps from where I’d been detecting. The inscription inside the band reads: ‘I love and like my choyce’:

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It has been declared treasure, of course, Michael’s second treasure find in two weeks. It goes to show the truth of the adage ‘You have to walk over it’, and also any number of old saws about persistence. That paddock was maybe two hundred feet to a side, and despite what oldtimers said about its being detected out, it gave up the best (and some of the only) finds of the day. Follow your hunches!

Postscript:

It’s now the end of May, and I’m heading to the States for the summer to visit family and do some work. No more field hunting until the autumn, but do check here gentle readers (all four of you) for updates about beach hunting on Long Island and how I get on with my newly purchased Excalibur II.

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Treasure!

8 May

I spent most of the day in traffic school in Abingdon, by way of avoiding points on my licence after ‘getting done’ by a traffic camera. To clear the cobwebs, I stopped off for the better part of an hour on Reedy Crown, which has been seeded but has not yet sprouted. As I recently turned over many finds to Anni for recording, I didn’t really have anything to put in for the club find-of-the-month competition that evening, and I was hoping to get lucky.

I had only flat buttons for half an hour, and then I found a medieval lead trade token in good nick, a tiny two-pronged buckle, and a George V penny (1918; the penny was actually found on Ulmo, the adjoining field). I also found another pigeon tag, like this one:

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Reverse (?) of lead token from image above

As I was leaving the field after forty-five minutes — very short trip, this, and I didn’t even change into grubby trousers — I got a nice crisp signal from the Deus (running Gary’s Cold Program without the remote control). I dug down about six inches and saw the unmistakable field-light of silver in the hole. I brought up the object, which appeared to be a connected pair of cufflinks, probably silver but seemingly modern. I dropped them into my backpack with a shrug, thinking that I’d enter them into the competition anyway; silver was silver, after all, and in terms of design, they had a cool, retro flaming heart that looked like nothing so much as a biker tattoo.

At the club meeting, several members exclaimed over the links, suggesting that they looked similar to a pair that Jill, a club member, had had declared as Treasure. Later, when the links rested with the other find-of-the-month hopefuls, Jill herself approached and said, ‘Just wanted to let you know that you have Treasure on the table’. The Crown Coroner had indicated regarding Jill’s that to find a linked pair is a rarity; the heart motif is seen as celebratory of the marriage in 1662 of Charles II and Catherine of Braganza. You are required to report any Treasure find within a certain number of hours; more to the point, I have wanted to report such a find since I first heard about the Treasure Act. It is one thing to be treasure seeker and quite another officially to be a treasure finder. Anni came over and had a look at the cufflinks, indicating that they did indeed need to be deposited with the Crown Coroner. I might not see them again for some time, so I took lots of pics. Jill’s were eventually disclaimed and returned, but the process took eighteen months. There is also the possibility that the Crown will retain them and sell them to a museum.

I also had two raffle wins, which I used to pick up a book about England’s hammered coinage and a stack of The Searcher back issues. It would have been a clean sweep if the links had placed in the find-of-the-month runnings, but word about the Treasure designation didn’t get round until after the voting; I imagine most people suspected, like me, that they were modern.

When the meeting broke up, I hurried home and wrote an email to the landowner with pics to let him know about the find — that I’d found Treasure and turned it over to the Crown. I do feel a bit differently in an ineffable way, like I’ve been the beneficiary of an invisible level-bump, a D&D fighter who’s gone from 4th to 5th level and without realising why, just feels stronger.

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