Tag Archives: Ulmo

Treasure!

8 May

I spent most of the day in traffic school in Abingdon, by way of avoiding points on my licence after ‘getting done’ by a traffic camera. To clear the cobwebs, I stopped off for the better part of an hour on Reedy Crown, which has been seeded but has not yet sprouted. As I recently turned over many finds to Anni for recording, I didn’t really have anything to put in for the club find-of-the-month competition that evening, and I was hoping to get lucky.

I had only flat buttons for half an hour, and then I found a medieval lead trade token in good nick, a tiny two-pronged buckle, and a George V penny (1918; the penny was actually found on Ulmo, the adjoining field). I also found another pigeon tag, like this one:

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Reverse (?) of lead token from image above

As I was leaving the field after forty-five minutes — very short trip, this, and I didn’t even change into grubby trousers — I got a nice crisp signal from the Deus (running Gary’s Cold Program without the remote control). I dug down about six inches and saw the unmistakable field-light of silver in the hole. I brought up the object, which appeared to be a connected pair of cufflinks, probably silver but seemingly modern. I dropped them into my backpack with a shrug, thinking that I’d enter them into the competition anyway; silver was silver, after all, and in terms of design, they had a cool, retro flaming heart that looked like nothing so much as a biker tattoo.

At the club meeting, several members exclaimed over the links, suggesting that they looked similar to a pair that Jill, a club member, had had declared as Treasure. Later, when the links rested with the other find-of-the-month hopefuls, Jill herself approached and said, ‘Just wanted to let you know that you have Treasure on the table’. The Crown Coroner had indicated regarding Jill’s that to find a linked pair is a rarity; the heart motif is seen as celebratory of the marriage in 1662 of Charles II and Catherine of Braganza. You are required to report any Treasure find within a certain number of hours; more to the point, I have wanted to report such a find since I first heard about the Treasure Act. It is one thing to be treasure seeker and quite another officially to be a treasure finder. Anni came over and had a look at the cufflinks, indicating that they did indeed need to be deposited with the Crown Coroner. I might not see them again for some time, so I took lots of pics. Jill’s were eventually disclaimed and returned, but the process took eighteen months. There is also the possibility that the Crown will retain them and sell them to a museum.

I also had two raffle wins, which I used to pick up a book about England’s hammered coinage and a stack of The Searcher back issues. It would have been a clean sweep if the links had placed in the find-of-the-month runnings, but word about the Treasure designation didn’t get round until after the voting; I imagine most people suspected, like me, that they were modern.

When the meeting broke up, I hurried home and wrote an email to the landowner with pics to let him know about the find — that I’d found Treasure and turned it over to the Crown. I do feel a bit differently in an ineffable way, like I’ve been the beneficiary of an invisible level-bump, a D&D fighter who’s gone from 4th to 5th level and without realising why, just feels stronger.

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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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First Hammy Ever!

7 Mar

I started off on Ulmo with the intention of proceeding to Falstaff after finding my first coin. This proved more difficult than I’d anticipated. The field had dried out quite a bit thanks to the lack of rain over the last few days, but for the first time, Ulmo failed to give up Roman. I was seventy minutes into the hunt before I found my first coin, an Edward VII farthing (1906).

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Some time later, still on Ulmo, I found my second Edwardian coin of the day, this one a penny (1904). Unfortunately, the penny later slipped out of my finds pouch — probably while I was sat taking a rest — and was lost. It was a bitter lesson, though I didn’t find out that it was missing until the end of the day’s hunt.

After about two and a half hours on the field, I got a warbling tone whose number on the VDI nevertheless held steady at 60. I dug the signal and about four inches down found my first-ever silver hammered, in beautiful condition. I cleaned it reverently, or as reverent as one can be with spit, and the bearded face of a medieval king shone at me.

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I tweeted out a request for ID assistance, and The Searcher magazine boosted my signal. Within minutes someone had ID’ed the coin as a Henry III voided longcross penny (1240s). This will definitely be one to record with the FLO!

Other bits and bobs from the hunt:

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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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