Tag Archives: buckle

The Deus Hot Program

28 Apr

Today I drove to Bucks to meet with the Guru himself, the man made justly famous by the most helpful Deus videos on YouTube, Gary off of Gary’s Detecting. I’d arranged to meet with him for a four-hour, one-to-one training session on the Deus. As ziggyjinx put it on Gary’s forum, ‘You spend over a thousand pound on a great machine so for the small price of his one on one training session you will get the max out of the deus and unlock it’s full potential’. I couldn’t agree more.

Gaz welcomed me into his home and over a cuppa we discussed where I was with my detecting — two years in the hobby, but only one month with the Deus — and where I wanted to go. Gaz showed me an interview he’d just shot for the XP blog: one of the hoard-finder ones that always make my cerebellum tingle and my hand itch for the handle of my detector. Then he let me have a crack at the test garden he’d made up, including the buried hoard. My 13″ coil did ‘find’ the hoard, I suppose, but I knew it was there; I’m not sure I would have dug it on my own in the field. Gaz says some days it’s findable and other days not; depends on atmospherics and soil conditions and angle of attack — and probably on luck too.

We worked through the heavily iron-infested test garden so I could get my ear in, and Gaz quickly punctured some of my mistaken concepts about depth — not just with the Deus but with all detectors. He also pointed out the problems caused by wonky coin orientations, on-edge for example. You might think I was disappointed to learn that in some tricky soils and junky conditions, even the Deus just won’t penetrate that deep into the ground. I wasn’t. The reason I went to Gary was so that I could begin to be confident that if something detectable passed under my coil, that my Deus would get it and I would know how to interpret the information the detector was giving me. I have that confidence to a much greater degree now, and it is based at least partly on the fact that I know better what to expect from my machine — what it can do, and equally importantly, what it can’t. And as you Deus users out there know, it can do a hell of a lot.

After spending some time in the test garden, we piled into Gaz’s motor and drove to one of his local permissions. I went in with the understanding that this wouldn’t be some special ancient site, just a common pasture where I could try out the Hot and Cold Programs under Gary’s watchful eye (and ear). Imagine my surprise, then, when my third target was this hammy, found about six inches down with Deus Hot:

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I got to keep the hammy as a memento of the dig (Gaz pointed out that if I’d found anything truly spectacular, we’d have divvied it between us and the farmer). The day would have been brilliant, and a phenomenal value, even if I’d found nothing whatsoever, because I was able to develop that little bit of extra confidence that can make all the difference to your finds rate.

We continued searching, this time in the Cold Program. We were getting quite good depth on that easy-digging pasture, and not long later turned up this medieval locking-bar buckle with its tongue and pin still intact:

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When we’d spent a good three hours working and talking through set-ups on the field, we returned to Gaz’s place for another cuppa and an after-action review. From my time in Forces I recognised Gary’s to be an ideal training methodology: Prepare; Teach; Train; Revise (and Reinforce). Gaz cleared up any remaining questions I had and gave me a booklet he’d written covering and reinforcing many of the topics and tricks we’d gone over together. As we parted he invited me to contact him anytime if I had further questions and encouraged me to continue participating in the forum.

I had a great time; Gaz is a friendly bloke and a gifted teacher. His course would have been a steal at twice the price. I guess I can sum up my advice like this: if you’re thinking about doing a training session, go for it. It will be the best ‘accessory’ you purchase for your Deus, and the one best calculated to help you get the most from your machine.

My finds on the day:

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OBMDC Dig in St. Leonard

28 Apr

Sunday, 26 April 2015, Drayton St. Leonard

Attended a club dig today on a large manor pasture site with an airstrip running through it. Mike had a lovely Edward IV groat, using his modified Deus Fast program (2 tones; freq. usually to 12 though down to 8 on Sunday because of targets deep in pasture). Kevin had a nice Roman. I found this buckle and a bronze ring; also a ferule-type object. I called it a day fairly early, as I was still tired from larking the day before, and I was scheduled to see The Avengers: Age of Ultron with friends in the evening. Incidentally, the lads at the club enjoyed seeing the mudlarking finds prior to the dig. Many of them are fans of the show.

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Longest (and Most Successful) Hunt

19 Mar

18 March 2015

As I have a significant thesis milestone coming up at the end of the month, I won’t be able to get out as much as I’d like. Therefore I wanted yesterday’s hunt to be special: I wanted to spend a lot of time in the field and find at least one object of historical significance.

I set off at eight am through a dense fog, which didn’t lift until around ten. For the first couple of hours I could only see the ground at my feet; it felt like I was detecting in a cloud. I started off by traversing Peter Quince to reach Falstaff. The only thing I found along the way was a tiny buckle. On Falstaff I turned up my first real find of the day, a George V penny (1919):

I moved onto Sir Thomas, a field that was to play the central role in the success of the day’s hunt, but all I found after twenty minutes of swinging was a lead bag seal, pressed with an ‘E’ on one side and ‘BOWLEYS’ on the other.

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Hankering to try something new, I walked across a newly planted field and made my way to some pasture near the farmhouse. There under a lone, winter-barren tree, I ate my lunch in the sunshine.

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After lunch I searched along the pasture land for a quarter of an hour. I found another George V penny (1914),

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as well as a ten ‘New’ pence piece (1979), one of the post-decimal but thicker ones.

It was now edging towards two o’clock, and as I had been detecting, digging, and walking since eight, my spirits were beginning to flag. Still, I decided to press on; your detecting luck can change in an instant, and one great find changes the whole feel of a day (also, as my friend Gerry says, even when detecting is muddy, cold, and fruitless, it’s still ‘good, clean fun’). I turned back to Sir Thomas, knowing that I’d found that spectacular silver antonianus there just two days before.

After awhile I found a damaged buckle, possibly medieval (similar to this one, but without the finish):

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In a bid at self-psychologising, I tried to tell myself that this, at least, was a fascinating find — that this is what I’d spent six and half hours searching for. But the attempt didn’t take. I moved out across the field again, willing a spring into my legs despite my badly pulled groin (I think from crossing a fence days earlier). Not long later I found a cut or broken piece of coin, maybe with some silver content, too damaged to see anything on it. Again I told myself that this was more like it. Except it wasn’t. I thought about returning to the car and trying to get home before close-of-business traffic.

But then I found a Roman coin! Sure, it was a small and illegible nummus, but it was definitely Roman, something for the eventual collection I hope to turn over to a local museum.

As it turns out, that was just the beginning. As a fisherman, frustrated for hours, might hit a honey hole and begin landing fish after fish, I was suddenly on top of Romans. I breathed an actual sigh of relief as I pulled this antonianus (of Allectus?) out of the soil:

Five minutes later and just ten meters away, I got a cracking signal reading 81 on my AT Pro’s VDI. 81 almost always means aluminum can — I mean, it has ALWAYS meant that for me. But for some reason, probably the new-found buoyancy at digging the antonianus — I decided to take a shot. And out popped a coin with a beautiful glowing-green patina that felt as heavy and thick as a skipping stone in my hand. Another Roman, and so huge! I didn’t know what it was, but I suspected a follis or sestertius (it turns out it was a sestertius, probably of either Marcus Aurelius or Trajan).

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Obverse of Anotonianus of Allectus

Reverse of Antonianus of Allectus

Reverse of Antonianus of Allectus

While I was talking to my family via Whatsapp to tell them about the finds, I found another nummus. Four Romans! The tally finished as I recrossed the field after picking up my jacket, which I’d abandoned in the afternoon warmth: a tiny minim, the smallest Roman denomination. Later, I thought the five Romans looked quite nice ranged from largest to smallest:

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I didn’t get onto the Romans until after 3:30 pm, at which point I’d been detecting for seven and a half hours! Persistence definitely paid off, and it was a worthy hunt to lead into the (reluctant) time off from the hobby.

I’ve been noticing lately that I average about a coin an hour. Strangely, this ratio seems to hold regardless of the type of coin or the terrain. And it was true of yesterday as well: I hunted almost exactly ten hours, and I finished the day with a sestertius, an antonianus, two nummi, a minim (five Romans altogether); two George V pennies; a modern 10p; a cut, unidentifiable hammered coin or jeton; and a Victorian ha’penny of 1901, the year she passed. I found this near the Roman zone, just after finding the second nummus.

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All in all a tiring — at times frustrating — but amazing day, arguably my most successful ever.

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UPDATE: Silver!

I cleaned the smooth and knackered half-coin I found yesterday and did the ad hoc silver test (spit in tinfoil which reacts to the tarnish)…turns out it is silver! So I had a silver coin (what was left of one) yesterday as well.

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History Box and a Long Circuit Hunt

10 Mar

Yesterday I gave my farmer friend a box I’d prepared to hold the objects we find on his farm. I thought having it might present a nice way to interpret local history for family and guests, and practically it was a way for me to say thank you for his generosity in allowing me to metal detect on his land. It looks like this (with the name of the farm redacted for obvious reasons):

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Today (9 March) I made a long circuit at a fairly brisk pace, totalling about two miles. I started off on Reedy, and quickly found an eyes-only surface George V penny (1930).

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The field gave up another coin, much older, but too beat up to read. Then I crossed into Falstaff. Heading up the eastern margin of the field I found a penny-size coin with a bust I couldn’t make out, possibly Georgian. IMG_0691

About halfway up the east side I made the strangest find of the day. A tiny aluminium tag which reads: ‘BRIT. MUSEUM / LONDON S.W. 7 / VX12335’. I confess I did a bit of a circle with the detector to see if the tag had serendipitously fallen from an antiquity stolen from the British Museum and buried nearby. Alas, I found nothing else, but I will follow up with the museum to see if they can identify the purpose of the tag or its number.

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I found a (1983) pound coin soon thereafter, and at the top of Falstaff I found a buckle whose shape looks to be early modern or even medieval, but whose finish belies this. It will be an interesting one to ID.

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From there I crossed onto Sir Thomas, a field I hadn’t yet searched. It had been freshly ploughed and looked promising. In fact away far off I could see the tractor finishing the next field, with a flock of gulls in its wake descending no doubt on the newly harrowed fat worms. I hadn’t been on Sir Thomas long when I turned up a coin — possibly a Roman nummus but too abraded to be certain.FullSizeRender_2

About halfway down the field I found a large lead object, which I think is a spindle whorl.FullSizeRender

I walked across (but found nothing in) a field I call Peter Quince, and then I finished off the day on Ulmo. As I crossed back to the car, Ulmo gave up a fairly worn Georgian coin, possibly a penny.

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A nice hunt and a nice walk, even if the finds didn’t feature a knockout object like I’ve had the last couple of days.

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Video

Our First Dig!

3 Mar

EoW went along today on a Weekend Wanderers dig in Stagsden Church, Bedfordshire. The WW club hadn’t detected this location in a couple of years; the ridge line, known to have been inhabited during Roman times, was generous the last time round.

Kathleen got us off to a proper start when she unearthed the Gato, a cat-shaped bit of lead drippings from a (medieval?) lead foundry. She also found a massive piece of ploughshare. Kurt found a (circa 18th century) flat button, as well as a substantial piece of a beautifully engraved medieval belt buckle. I found a cast bronze brooch/cloak clasp. Our finds were spot-identified by Peter W., the secretary of WW, who has been at this a long time. I also found some sort of fossilized tooth.

We didn’t end up congregating with the others along the Roman ridge, but one of those who did showed us his finds, a Roman buckle and a couple of worn coins including a minim.

This is an amazing hobby! When the detector’s bell goes off, you never know what riches or historical artifacts (or shoeing nails) are about to be dug up!