Tag Archives: Stagsden

Bronze Ring and Horseshoe Updates

16 Apr

While browsing the Pitt Rivers collection, my mom found this ring that is the spit of the cast-bronze ring I unearthed on my first dig (in Stagsden). If the dating here is correct, the one in my possession may be even older than we imagined. Another reason I’m grateful to live in Oxford: ready access to world-class museums!


My ring, by way of comparison:


And then my parents found this horseshoe in the Ashmolean:


Their discovery caused me to dig the horseshoe we’d found in Stagsden out of the rubbish. My dad said it is extra lucky, because it has been found twice!


Here is the twice-found Stagsden shoe:



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).

Notes on the Stagsden Fossilized Tooth

4 Mar

In response to my enquiry, I received the following from Paul Jeffery, Assistant Curator of Geological Collections at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History:


‘Your find appears from the photograph to be a partial premolar of a horse (Equus sp.).  It’s very difficult to give a likely age for a find such as this without either detailed contextual information, or radiocarbon dating, as they are present in many interglacial deposits from around 100,000kA right-up until the start of the Neolithic, and then are even more common in younger archaeological contexts.  The appearance of the tooth depends more on the kind of material it’s buried in than its antiquity, so is no guide to age. 

The balance of probability is that your find is 100s rather than 1000s of years old’.

This means, among other things, that Kat is holding the tooth upside down :).

FLO Notes on the Stagsden Finds

4 Mar

I communicated via email with the Portable Antiquities Scheme’s FLO (Finds Liaison Officer) for Bedfordshire, Mr Julian Watters. He looked at pictures of our finds yesterday, and he suggested the ring I found was early modern, rather than medieval, and that it wasn’t a brooch. From his email:

‘The ring things do turn up quite a lot and nobody’s really sure what they are. I don’t think it’s a brooch, as it doesn’t have a constriction for the pin to be attached; also it is probably not finished well enough. These rings have turned up in excavations in the early American settlements, so they go back a few hundred years’.

He was quite interested in Kurt’s ‘buckle’ on the other hand, and he wants to have a closer look. He wrote that ‘the decoration is similar to that which you see on Medieval harness pendants’.

The Portable Antiquities Scheme was established by the British government in 1997 as a way to involve detectorists, fieldwalkers, and others in preserving the UK’s archaeological heritage. Since the revision of the Treasure Trove laws in the ’90s, important/valuable finds end up in musuems, for the most part, and detectorists are both able and incentivized to funnel valuable archaeological data to researchers (http://finds.org.uk/). It is a global model for broadening public participation in the preservation of antiquities.