Tag Archives: Mike McMeekin

Catching Up to 2015

22 Jan

I left New York at the end of summer, and I felt that it was best to sell on my Surfmaster P.I. Dual-Field. I only ever got two hunts with her, so I didn’t learn her ins and outs; I would have liked to, but it didn’t make sense to keep hold of a detector that I used so infrequently. Still, it was a pleasure meeting treasure-hunting legend Mike McMeekin, who sold me the detector. His shop on Long Island, Treasures Unlimited, is a veritable museum of coins and artefacts (more a pirate’s hoard, really).

IMG_6986

Back in Oxford in the autumn, I went on a few digs with the Oxford Blues. After renting a car to travel to the first one, I sent round an email to the OBMDC list asking whether anyone might be interested in sharing travel costs. A wonderful fellow named Gerry Townsend responded and offered to take me along with him.

In the event, he did much more than provide transportation. He introduced me to his mates in the Blues (he knows everyone), and he made sure that I felt comfortable socially — actually, it was the first time I hadn’t felt like an outsider with the Blues, as I’d only been on three prior digs with them. This new friendship proved lucky, as toward the end of that Saturday dig (a rarity with the clubs, which mostly dig on Sundays) in driving rain, I found my first Roman coin.

A couple of the old-timers who’d braved the rain thought it might be a Constantine II, but Anni Byard, the Oxfordshire FLO, provisionally ID’ed it via Twitter as a Julian II.

IMG_8365 IMG_8367_2 IMG_8493

Musket ball found on the same hunt as the Roman (Fox Lane near Boar's Hill)

Musket ball found on the same Saturday hunt as the Roman (Fox Lane near Boar’s Hill)

IMG_8382_2IMG_8372

A week or so later, Gerry drove my partner and me to the British Legion Hall in Littlemore where the club have their monthly meetings. There is a little bar onsite, so the club members can have a pint and a chat and share round any finds or gossip. I loved it! There was also a find of the month contest and a raffle — I participated in both, but didn’t win either. Anni Byard was present, and she confirmed that I’d found a Julian II…she and another club member who is very knowledgeable about coins went further: It was a Julian II siliqua, and though it had oxidized over the 1700 years it had lain in the ground, the coin was silver! I turned the coin and my king’s head buckle over to Anni for recording with the PAS.

About a month passed, and the holidays were upon me before I received word that the recording was complete. When Anni sent me links to the PAS database entries for my two recorded finds, I felt like I was part of something significant — not just hunting for treasure but joining with thousands of other individuals to preserve and document the history slumbering beneath our feet. Here are my finds to date: BERK-57CD9B and BERK-1DA34A.

A dig on December 7 yielded an object Anni identified as a 16th c. hooked clasp (similar to this one: BERK-47901A). I plan to submit it for recording at the next club meeting.

pin two pin one

I spent the holidays in Italy and the States, only recently returning to Oxford. This past Sunday, the 18th January, I went on my first dig of 2015 (I now have a cheapo Fiat Punto to facilitate transportation). The dig was on land in Stanton St John, quite near a Roman road, and the signals were plentiful. I found a Georgian half-penny (or penny?) straightaway, in bad shape. Then another grotty coin. In the early afternoon, I found my second-ever Roman, though this was grotty and impossible to make out.

Near the end of the dig, my AT Pro started pinging with the high, pure sound that almost always indicates a coin rather than foil or a button. My heart was thumping against my ribs as I caught a glimpse of silver in the muck…my first hammered? Actually, no. I soon realised that the edges of the coin were milled, but no matter. I’d uncovered a George III silver shilling from 1816! I’ve found Roman silver and Georgian silver; now all I need is a hammered! Also on this hunt I found a thimble, which a club member (Bill, the discoverer of the Didcot Hoard kept in the Ashmolean Museum) told me was used by women when bringing in the corn harvest to prevent bruised or bloodied fingertips; a (medieval?) buckle bent neatly in half; a half dozen flat buttons; a chunk of bored lead that may have been used as a whorl; and various other bits and bobs.

IMG_9872 IMG_9869 IMG_9866 IMG_9873

I love this hobby! I would happily do it full time. Now I’m turning my attention completely toward finding permissions: I’ve prepared a letter, envelopes, and a ‘my finds’ insert to send round to local farmers. More on this in the next instalment.

Advertisements

Surfmaster P.I. Dual-Field on Jones Beach (June 6th)

7 Jun

On the night of the 5th I flew into New York for the summer. The next morning I visited Kurt’s place where several packages awaited me. Here is one:

After setting up the Stealth 720i Sand Scoop and gathering my Mares Classic 5mm dive boots (for walking along the sandy beach without abrading my feet), my floating sunglass-retention strap, and Clive James Clynick’s pamphlet White’s Surfmaster P.I. Dual-Field: An Advanced Guide, I headed off to the beach with my sister and cousin Maddy and their little babies. On the way we stopped at Treasures Unlimited in Bellmore, the detecting shop of famed treasure hunter Mike McMeekin (I’ll try to get a picture with him next time I go into the shop).

I’d ordered a pulse induction detector from Mike while still in England (the White’s Dual-Field), and he helped me get it set up and ready to go, and gave me plenty of helpful advice. Then it was off to Jones Beach to try out the new machine. P.I. machines don’t discriminate, pinging on all targets, but they go much deeper and aren’t bothered by salt water.

I hunted for an hour and half and found only bottle caps, bobby pins, and a twist tie from a bread bag. This last I found maybe sixteen inches deep! Right before returning to the girls and the kids to leave, I found a drop spot with four targets, the change pictured below. Though it was only 70 cents, it changed the feeling of the hunt and left me excited to take the Surfmaster P.I. out again soon.

A future treasure hunter:

photo 3

My finds:

photo 2

New detector, same old TH’er:photo 1