Tag Archives: metal detecting

Stagsden II (April 14th, 2013)

16 Apr

20130415_201429I dreamed of days like this when I started out in the hobby a couple of months back: my whole immediate family (apart from Tam and Mike, unfortunately) together hunting for treasure. We attended a Weekend Warriors dig in Stagsden, Bedfordshire. It was a significant day for a couple of reasons. It was my mom’s first hunt, and it was the first warm weather we’d had in weeks.

The fields we searched had been searched numerous times in the past, but we still managed to turn up some interesting finds. My dad found a 1930s Efficient Lighter, a small caliber musket ball, and a mostly whole medieval horseshoe (in fairness, despite its coarse shape, I didn’t suspect the horseshoe’s age; I tossed it in with the rubbish while cleaning out my finds pouch post dig, only to dig it up again — out from among spaghetti, and worse things — once my parents noticed a similar six-holed shoe on display at the Ashmolean Museum).

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I turned up a couple of flat buttons, one of which was a Standard Treble Gilt button (c. 1825-1865) in quite good shape, two modern 5p coins (!), a Dolce and Gabbana belt retention buckle, as well as a Krauwinckel jetton (a counting token, probably from Nuremberg c. 17th century). Daria found loads of iron with her detector, including a significant chunk of horseshoe and some shoeing nails of unknown age. Aga found a belt buckle (or harness buckle) that we still need to date. Even Hannah found something, a modern 20p which may or may not have been salted into the ground by a helpful parent.

Kurt and Kat found a mini musket ball also, but Kurt tossed it away in the half-jocular expectation that it was a lead fishing weight. He is ready to find a coin. This time around, we were well prepared with Wellies and a hearty lunch, so the day was a great success despite the picked-over fields.

(hours detecting: 7).


Maldon III (April 11th, 2013)

16 Apr

I thought I had finally cracked the code on the treasures surely lying beneath Chelmer mud in Maldon. The answer? Chest waders and snowshoes, which would allow me to dash atop the mud like a Sandpiper.

Kurt had to bow out of the expedition, and I like to think that it was because of his anniversary, and not that he’d been on the two prior trips. In the event, even my dad and I weren’t sure that we wanted to go; we stayed up until 1.30 am, and to catch low spring tide, we’d need to leave Oxford at 4. My dad was the one who suggested we see it through, however.

We arrived to rain, and after choking down a McDonald’s breakfast, we suited up. I had dreamed of using a bucket and classifier to dredge the silt and mud beneath Fullbridge — a Bodleian book on the Blackwater Estuary noted that the site of the bridge was a ford in pre-Roman days — and this time, dressed as we were, we made it all the way down there. Unfortunately, I quickly determined that the shopping cart jutting up from the sludge probably wasn’t of Roman origin. The mud was simply too deep. A backhoe could probably unearth generations of treasure, but I would have to let it go.

We did make lots of eyes-only modern coinage finds. My dad even found a pound coin. We ended up with 1.15 GBP and some corroded iron spikes. We were glad to have taken the journey together, but it appears that Byrthnoth’s ghost will be keeping Maldon’s treasure for awhile yet.

Oh, and the snowshoes? Great it you’re walking along the mud. If you stop for even a moment though, they sink and become cement shoes… (hours detecting: 1.5).


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!


Just a (mud)lark.

26 Feb

Just as a (mud)lark.

These are the passport-style photos I took for my Permit to Search the Thames Foreshore. The foreshore is the expanse of riverbed or beach that is exposed by the fluctuation of the tides. In the UK, most tracts of foreshore (and beaches and estuaries and so on) are owned by the Crown Estate (more or less by the Queen).

People known as mudlarks — historically often children, the infirm, or criminals — have been scavenging bits of treasure or usable stuffs from the river for hundreds of years. In theory, anyone can walk down the foreshore during low tide, but you need a permit to detect or dig.

Here’s a short vid of an American Garrett representative (I think it’s Garrett’s son, actually) detecting on the Thames foreshore: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rDoSnHNM5Zg

If you were the Queen, would you give a permit to someone looking as scruffy as I do in the photos? True mudlarking style!


Unpacking the Garrett AT Pro International

26 Feb

Unpacking a pile of treasure and detecting items…