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*Archaeology News*
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This website is brought to you by a team of very passionate historians and metal detectorists. We are not part of the grab it and run brigade.
History is extremely important to us and recording finds and working alongside archaeologists is of utmost importance.

Sunday, 28 February 2010

Rally Day

Well the day has come. I think the weather has played kind with us. It seems quite mild out there. No sign of any way and none really forecast until late on today. I was informed late last night of some finds very local to were the rally is to be held today, including Gold Coins, Hammereds, Roman and Celtic, which has somewhat wetted the appetite. The local Finds Liason Officer is on hand today so if anything nice is found it will be recorded correctly.

I'm taking my camera with me today so I'm hoping to get some footage. It is really so difficult to predict how these rallies will go. I'm hoping for upto 100 detectorists which will raise some much needed funds for the air cadets, but you never can really tell. Provisions are in place for a lot more, and to be honest upto 200 turning up wouldn't really surprise me.

Anyway must go. It is an hours travel to get there, and a lot of work to do.


Friday, 26 February 2010

Bolesworth Rally - getting close!!

Well the rally is very close now. All details have been posted before so I won't repeat myself but just to remind detectorists

*you must be a member of the NCMD
*there will be over 150 acres of land to detect on
*refreshments will be on site
*lots of parking available

I look forward to seeing many of you there this Sunday.

First conviction in relation to Treasure Act

I was reading today of a Shropshire woman called Kate Harding, 23, from Ludlow who yesterday appeared in court and was convicted of failing to report Treasure. The lady concerned had found a 14th century piedfort 'coin' with her mother in a garden in Tenbury Wells years ago and had argued it was of great sentimental value. It was NOT found with a Metal Detector.

She only found out in January last year what it actually was when she visited Ludlow Museum with the artefact and spoke to expert Peter Reavill who identified it as a 14th century piedfort which is of historical significance. After establishing what it was Mr Reavill wrote to Harding and told her she must report the find to the coroner within 14 days under the 1996 Treasure Act. She failed to do so.

A similar coin was discovered in West Clandon, Surrey in 2007, and bought by the British Museum for £1,800. However in the circumstances she has now been forced to hand over the 'coin' under the instruction of the magistrates.She may now not receive any reward as the the Treasure Valuation Committee has the power to cut or cancel any payment for "wrongdoing".

Full story


This story did surprise me when I first read it. If you find just ONE silver coin more than 300 years old, which is not associated with other coins or treasure artefacts, you do NOT have to report it to anyone.....and you cannot be instructed to. So why did this case come to court. Firstly the 'coin' is being reported as a 'find'. The item in question is a piedfort. It is not strictly a 'coin'. 'They are unusual objects and their actual purpose has never been clearly established. In most cases, they are objects struck from the dies of a currency coin, but using a blank of unusual thickness and weight. However, the weights of surviving piedforts do not seem to relate to the weights of the currency coins'.(PA & Treasure Annual Report 2007)

Personally I would have liked to have seen the young lady hand over the item when she was advised of its importance. However I do think that if this case had gone in front of Crown Court rather than a magistrate, the decision may have been different. This would have then been upto the jury to decide as to whether the item was in fact a 'coin'.

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Rain, Rain and wind

Well looking ahead at Sundays rally it looks like a mixed bag of wind and rain - not the snow I had feared. At least this means the rally is not at risk of being cancelled. It might be a bit of a cold affair though, so wrap up well and don't forget your boots. I have a map of fields along with a few guidelines when you arrive.


Sunday, 21 February 2010

Metal Detectorists help find the real site of Battle of Bosworth

It is official. After four years of study and Metal Detecting on a muddy piece of farmland belonging to Alf Oliver, archaeologists have now discovered his field is the true location of the Battle of Bosworth.The exact location, which has been the topic of much debate amongst historians for years, was discovered as part of a groundbreaking archaeological survey to locate the Battle of Bosworth, funded by a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The announcement came yesterday after a four-year study of the area.

It has ended years of speculation over the location of the historic clash between King Richard III and Henry Tudor in 1485.

The site was pinpointed by the discovery of a concentration of cannonball and gun shot, remains of an ancient marsh and the star find – a small silver gilt badge shaped like a boar, which was the emblem of Richard III.

Battlefields Trust archaeologist, Dr Glenn Foard, said:

"Using the new techniques of battlefield archaeology we have recovered evidence which proves exactly where the iconic English battle was fought. The site, never before suggested as the battlefield, straddles the Roman road known as the Fenn Lane, near Fenn lane farm. It is three kilometres south-west of Ambion Hill and a kilometre west of the site suggested by Peter Foss.

"The crucial archaeological evidence came from our systematic metal detecting survey. There may be relatively few finds from the battle, each of which has taken the team dozens of hours to locate, but several of the objects are amazing. The most important by far is the silver-gilt boar, which was Richard III’s own badge, given in large numbers to his supporters. But this one is special, because it is silver-gilt. It was almost certainly worn by a knight in King Richard’s own retinue who rode with the King to his death in his last desperate cavalry charge. It was found right next to the site of a small medieval marsh - and the King was killed when his horse became stuck in a mire.

"Other objects discovered as part of the survey include silver coins of Charles the Bold of Burgundy, a silver-gilt badge found close to where we believe the Duke of Norfolk was killed, and the largest collection of round shot ever found on a medieval battlefield in Europe. These artillery rounds, which range in size from 30mm - 94mm have redefined the importance of artillery at Bosworth and open a new, archaeological avenue of research into the origins of firepower on the battlefields of Europe."

David Sprason, Leicestershire County Council’s Cabinet Lead Member for Adults and Communities, said:

"The Battle of Bosworth is one of the most important moments in British history and Leicestershire County Council is incredibly proud to have secured the funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund to discover the true location of this pivotal battle. Now begins the exciting step of interpreting these findings at the Battlefield Heritage Centre, which will include an outdoor trail and a re-designed exhibition gallery with hands-on exhibits, where the archaeological items will be officially on display to the public from Easter. Thanks must go to all those involved with the project, including landowners, the survey team, volunteers and all the staff who have played their part in changing history."

Chair of the HLF committee in the East Midlands, Christopher Pennell, said:

"HLF is delighted to have funded this project which is providing Bosworth not only with a first rate Heritage Centre but also with a stream of exciting archaeological discoveries which will transform the story to be told about this pivotal battle in the nation’s history. Bosworth and its Battlefield will be transformed into a top quality heritage attraction where thousands of visitors will enjoy the area’s history and what can be learnt from our past by groundbreaking investigations. This project demonstrates again - as did recent successes at Melton, Snibston and Market Harborough museums - what can be achieved for heritage, for tourism and for the economy by HLF working with a County Council which cares about Leicestershire’s past."

The English Heritage Inspector of Ancient Monuments for the East Midlands, Jon Humble, said:

"Location - or location - or location? It has been hotly debated for years, yet today marks the end of the speculation and a new beginning for Bosworth Battlefield and our understanding of medieval warfare. This is ample evidence that archaeology can tackle big questions and cases that went cold centuries ago - and still provide magnificent answers.

A bit of a nervous week ahead!!

Well I woke up this morning with a couple of inches of snow in the gardens and roads around my house. I'm not sure what Chester is like but I guess it is much the same. Fortunately by lunchtime most of it had thawed but it got me looking at the long range forecast and it is as follows:

UK regions:
North West England
Northern Ireland
Central, Tayside & Fife
Yorkshire & Humber
East Midlands
SW Scotland, Lothian & Borders
West Midlands
North East England
Heavy Snow Wed 24 Feb
There is a moderate risk of severe weather affecting parts of the UK. Rain spreading north may turn to snow and has the potential to give accumulations of more than 15 cm of fresh snow in places.

Issued at: 1042 Sat 20 Feb

So it has me worried a bit. It is a week today that the rally is meant to be held and the weather doesn't look good. A few pounds has been spent out already and medics booked for the day. I really don't want it to be cancelled or a flop.

Saturday, 20 February 2010

Prince Charles and Camilla handle Staffordshire Hoard

I notice on the news that Prince Charles and Camilla on an official visit have been to look at the Staffordshire hoard which was found last year by metal detectorist Terry Herbert.The royal couple visited Stoke-on-Trent as part of the city's six-town federation centenary celebrations.

Among the 118 items in the hoard collection currently on display are 40 pieces that have not been previously displayed elsewhere.

Bolesworth Estate Rally Update

I am having a lot of interest in relation to the Bolesworth Estate Rally. I am pleased to say that all is going to plan. A representative walked the site yesterday to make sure that sufficient parking was available. An invitation was given to our local Finds Liason Officer,Vanessa, who has kindly taken up the offer and will be attending on the day.

All looks well. I am just hoping that the weather stays in our favour. Nobody likes detecting in 12 inches of snow!!

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Metal Detecting Rally - Bolesworth Estate, Cheshire

I am happy to bring to your attention a rally I am involved with on Bolesworth Estate, Cheshire. It will will held on 100 acres of land near Chester on the 28th February 2010. I am expecting approx 100 detectorists and they must be members of the NCMD. £10 per detector.

Full details

Pilgrims Ampulla

In all my years Metal Detecting and the thousands of hours I have spent walking Englands wonderful land, it took me nearly 28 years before I found my first Pilgrims Ampulla. Even in the Metal Detecting club I belong too, I have only ever seen a few of them found. So what is a Pilgrims Ampulla? What was its purpose and why is it that they are so difficult to find. Well hopefully I can answer some of these questions.

Here is the Ampulla that I found Metal Detecting. It dates to the 15th century AD. A cast hollow lead ampulla with suspension loops to contain holy water from a shrine showing a scallop shell design on one side.

Another example of a lovely Medieval lead pilgrim's Ampulla found in Lincolnshire (not by me).

A lead medieval flask shaped ampulla circa 15th century.Both faces have relief mouldered decoration,
one face has a petalled flower,the other has the letter W,which means the Lady Of Walsingham
with cross hatching design.

Another fine example of an ampulla. This time with initials S.B.

These Ampulla's were bought from various religious sites around the country. They were filled with either holy water or oils and taken back home. It was believed that if the contents were released onto the land, then a better harvest would be forthcoming.

The Ampullas were made of lead and came in many different varieties. Some were quite ornate, others were plain. They always had lugs to hang around the person. However many that are found are damaged. This is down to a few reasons. The first is that they are quite large and lead is quite easily damaged. The other is simply that often to get at the contents, the opening would often have to be damaged.

These Ampullas really are quite collectable.

Friday, 12 February 2010

Treasure Hunting TV - My Blog

My name is Steve and I live in the North West of England. I am a keen Metal Detectorist and Coin Collector.

I have been a Metal Detectorist and Coin Collector for about 30 years, ever since I was a youngster. It all started off when I used to go around to my Grandad's. He would go to the bank and buy bag loads of coins. He would then systematically go through them all, and take out any which were in lovely condition, or any rare ones. Also at the time there used to be a lot of silver coins in circulation. He would buy them and scrap them in bulk.

I would usually get his cast-offs. Some of them have proved to be extremely collectable. The Metal Detecting started slightly later, since the early 1980's and I have collected a lot of coins in this way too.

I hope to share some interesting stories and finds with you.

Thanks for reading.