Tag Archives: Reedy

OBMDC Hunt in Cumnor and Several Hunts on my Permission

8 Apr

4 April 2015, Cumnor (and Reedy & Noah)

I joined an OBMDC dig today on Cumnor pastureland, although I was (and remain) skeptical of the fecundity of the site. It’s not that no archaeology is to be found there, but rather that clubs have been on the land for so many years that it has mainly been picked over. The farmer himself told me that nobody finds much.

Using the techniques gleaned from Gary’s tips about detecting deep signals, I chased a few phantom targets, managing to turn up a toasted Roman nummus (as far as I know, the only one found on the day).

Roman nummus topmost

Roman nummus topmost

The aluminum button in the pic above had my heart racing, as it looked entirely like silver in the hole. I also found a bit of beaten-up thimble, part of a fibula brooch (?), a detailed lead strip, and a button head (see pic above).

When I left the dig, I went straight to my P, as I was itching to find something. I guess I’ve been spoiled by the richness of my sites over the last couple of weeks. I had an appointment in the afternoon, so I only had about forty-five minutes to detect; I figured the easiest spot would be on Reedy. All I found was a treacherous gold-looking button with a costume jewel set in it; some other buttons; and a couple of knackered coins. FullSizeRender_3

I still wasn’t satisfied, so after my meeting I returned to my P, this time on the lower part of Noah, a field obviously rich in medieval and Renaissance finds. FullSizeRender_4

In short order I found various bits of lead, including a couple of bag seals (one engraved with ‘DiXON’), a weight, and a token (see pic below). I also found some sort of copper plate, some bits of buckle, medieval pins, a casket key, a bit of coin, and a penny (?), badly beaten but with the date, 1701, and the legend ‘GUILLEL[…]’ visible; William III, therefore.

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This lead token or tally was interesting, as it was the third I’ve found on Noah (I found two on 2 April; one of them was folded in half).

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All in all, it was a successful day. I didn’t have the spectacular find I obsessively sought, but I did uncover some nice artefacts, and I confirmed that Noah is and will be a field of importance for its medieval provenance.

6 April 2015, Sir Thomas and Oscar Wilde

Spent the day taking in the spring sunshine with a friend: picnicking, tramping through the fields, and of course, detecting. I had hoped to replicate recent success in ‘Roman Alley’, showing off the capabilities of the Deus, but signals were few and far between there. I’m not sure whether my settings were poor, or whether I’ve picked clean most of the easy Roman targets. It was two hours before I found one grotty nummus (outlines of the portrait barely visible) in a corner of the field I hadn’t searched earlier. I kept two nails because of their location on the Roman field, along with a lead weight with a suspension loop, a large bag seal (or possibly a token), some buttons, and a fragment of a silver coin with no extant image.

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A bit of blank silver

A bit of blank silver

We shifted to Oscar Wilde to relax in the soft grass and hopefully improve the finds rate. I did find another Roman, but it was as badly knackered as the first. FullSizeRender_3

Otherwise I merely found a bit of a badge, some buttons, leaden lumps, a massive spike (which I also kept due to its find location) and a large (pre-decimal penny sized) silver-plated coin or cap. There is no portrait or image visible on it, but here is a video showing its finding:

I also spent about twenty minutes digging for a hoard; got to the point of believing I had found one. I was shaking and feeling giddy, as even the Deus audio-discrim pinpoint feature was whining upwards as I approached the bottom of the hole with the coil. In the end, though, it turn out to be a skein of rusted barbed wire buried about two feet down. Argh!

7 April 2015, Noah

I craved a break from thesis matters, so I rushed off at 5:30 pm for a late-evening hunt on Noah. I searched for almost four hours, until after dark, but my detector wasn’t working properly. From the moment I stepped on the field it was on the fritz, spitting and popping, and nothing I changed, frequency, sensitivity, programme, made any difference. It was maddening to feel that I’d regressed in my ability with the Deus, but no matter how I worked at it, the machine was only finding things on the soil surface. The only recognisable signals gave the rapid double beep of objects lying directly beneath the coil and shallow. As I walked and fiddled with the remote control, I composed complaint emails in my head to XP, and query emails to various metal detecting fora to request help. How would I frame the issue though? I had no idea what was wrong.

It wasn’t until I’d returned home and was lying in bed with the Deus manual (stimulating bedside reading, I know) that I recognised my error — in fact, this was the only time in my life that the ‘Troubleshooting’ section of a manual has actually resolved a concern: I’d committed the cardinal error with the Deus and turned it on near metal. I’d rested the detector on a metal gate while I fiddled with the headphones and turned the unit on. Doing so doesn’t harm the detector, but it messes with the calibration for that session and causes it to function improperly. It was amazing that it had managed to find anything at all. The solution would have been the IT Crowd one: turn it off and turn it on again.

Still, it was amazing what I found at or very near the surface: some massive musket balls; various old-looking plates with holes in them (badges of some kind?); the obligatory buttons; and my first Roman brooch (I believe), with its pin still in place (update: Not a Roman brooch; thanks to Allectus from the MDF, this has been identified as a medieval candle holder, with the slots on the lug allowing the candle cup to be fixed in various positions. Other examples include this from the PAS, and a complete one here):

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I also found this object, which looks for all the world like the buckle to a small modern watch. It probably is just that, but it looks so old. I’ll definitely set it aside until I’ve determined its identity for certain (Update from muddy fingers off of Gary’s forum: medieval, probably from a spur):

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I’m not sure whether this lattice-form object is a strap end, but it seems clearly medieval (update from Allectus off of MDF: it’s a late-Saxon stirrup-strap mount, like this one):

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And finally I found this small token, which has the same six-petalled floral image on the obverse (reverse?) as this larger lead token, found elsewhere in the same medieval field last week. Strangely, the reverse of the larger petalled token bears a ‘GH’

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while the smaller floral token (and this one, found just the other day on 4 April) have the same boxed image on the reverse. The larger token in the image below has a wagon wheel on the obverse, however, rather than a flower.

Two 'floral' tokens. The far left was found today.

Two ‘floral’ tokens. The far left was found today.

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Not bad really for a hunt that went until after dark with a malfunctioning detector (or rather, detectorist). If this is lying on the surface in Noah, imagine what lurks below.

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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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Late Afternoon Hunt on Reedy and Falstaff

6 Mar

I had some work to catch up on, so I wasn’t able to get out today until the afternoon. I started off on a field I call Reedy Crown, where I found a profusion of buttons from various eras and then finally a George V ha’penny (1918) in pretty good shape.

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Crossing over to a massive field called Falstaff, on the verge between the fields I found this curious charm pin, eyes-only. The charms are plastic, so it must be a piece of costume jewellery.

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Falstaff is rocky and less cultivated than the other fields and started off quiet. Midway up the field, though, I found a small hammered (I think, because whisper-thin) coin on the surface. It’s quite difficult to make out, though I can descry ‘REX’ on the obverse along with crowned arms. The crown may just be visible in this pic.

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I found a strange copper cap and a thimble also, and finally after sunset and just as I was leaving the field, I found a possible Roman or even a Celtic coin. It is the size of a grotty Roman nummus, but the image on the reverse looks different to me (I’m no expert, obviously, and I’m hoping someone can help me identify it).

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Also on Falstaff I uncovered a bronze ring, very like my first ever find:

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