Tag Archives: Weekend Wanderers

Somerton, OXON (Weekend Wanderers Dig)

28 Apr

I opted out of the Weekend Wanderers dig last weekend in favour of joining an Oxford Blues dig closer to home. This may have been a mistake, as some remarkable finds were unearthed in Somerton by the Wanderers, including this Saxon gold coin:

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As a result, I was keen to join when I heard that the Wanderers would be returning to the same fields, plus an additional, previously undetected field owned by the same farmer.

Straight out of the gate, still among the cars, I made a heart-stopping find. I was certain it was a coin, and even Peter, the club director, who rushed over, initially thought it might be a medieval badge. However, a bit of cleaning and further inspection revealed that it was quite modern. By the time I got it home and reasonably clean, my medieval coin had become a children’s club badge, decorated with a couple of racist cartoons. The legend read ‘Cheery Coons Club’, and a little internet research indicated that the badge depicted Eb and Flow, cartoon characters created by Wilfred Haughton, whose strips ran in The People magazine in the 1920s and ’30s (see http://www.flickr.com/photos/23885771@N03/4429339906/).

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At 11.00 am, the club allowed us onto the undetected field. I was punctilious about the time, so I was rather dismayed to find about thirty club members already on the field when I arrived at 11.01. This is why I was feeling rather virtuous when I unearthed a jetton after only a couple of steps on the field:

ImageWhen so many people are working a relatively small area there is a temptation simply to wander over the field. Bolstered by the jetton find, however, I worked a disciplined swath of the field near its eastern border with a small stream. After half an hour, a mid-range signal turned up the find of the day (and my treasure hunting career to this point), a king’s head buckle:

ImageI had the feeling that this was a special find, so I took off one of my gloves and slipped the buckle inside a glove finger to protect it. When I returned to the staging area, Peter and a few of the club oldtimers confirmed that it was a rare find; one fellow suggested that it reflected a decorative trope of the 14th century. Soon a small crowd had gathered, enthusiastically passing the buckle from hand to hand (the first time this has happened for anything I have found)!

I also found a mini flat button and an iron buckle of indeterminate age. Junk finds included two modern bullets, half of a badge reading ‘BABY’, and a sort of modern rivet/ring (top ring?). Kurt and Kathleen arrived rather late, but they managed to turn up a musket ball.

I am eager to turn the king’s head buckle over to the PAS for evaluation and recording. Altogether it was a thrilling day!

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(3.5 hrs)

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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!