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*Archaeology News*
*Metal Detecting 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.

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

A few days without posting so I thought I'd update!!

Well the last few days have been pretty uneventful to be honest, hence the reason why I have been a bit quiet on here. My wife hit 40 over the weekend which we celebrated by spending a day out, in Nantwich. In the meantime my metal detecting club was busy 'hoovering up' a field close by in the village of Lawton Gate. I understand in total there were about 30 of them on the site. It was overcast but mainly dry and a few bits came up - not allot though!! Here is a pic of an Elizabeth I Penny that was found

OBVERSE : legend reads,

E : D : G : ROSA : SINE : SPINA :
( Rose Without a Thorn )
Colons used to segregate words.

Greek cross mint-mark
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

REVERSE : legend reads,

CIVI / TAS / LON / DON
London mint

The outside of the coin is 14mm which suggests a Penny
Coins of this size with :
No date on REVERSE and no rose on OBVERSE are PENNIES

ELIZABETH 1st
SILVER HAMMERED PENNY
4th COINAGE
1578-1579






So have I heard of much else to tell you about. Well it has all been kept pretty well hush hush, but a nice hoard was found in Selby a couple of weeks back. It hasn't really hit the press - maybe they are bored of hoards now:-)The Roman hoard included two pots containing hundreds of silver coins including denarii of the Emperor Hadrian and Empress Domitia Lucilla. They will be worth quite a few thousand pound are were found by guys at Gateshead’s Blaydon and District Search and Recovery Association. Well done lads. Keep them coming!!!

Friday, 26 March 2010

A Medieval Tumbrel

For those of you following my blog you will know that I spent a few days away with my brother and my Mum and Dad. Although myself and my brother have long since flown the nest, we still look forward to the days we can escape with my Mum and Dad.

Although my Mum and Dad do their best to keep up with us, they do often retire back to the car. In stark contrast I'm actually usually up at dawn and detect until dusk.

Moving quickly back on to the reason for this post. Last week whilst detecting on one of our fields my Dad showed me an item of which I was unsure of its identity. It was certainly medieval. Different ideas crossed my mind, however this week I have had it identified as a tumbrel. In short a tumbrel was a coin balance to make sure the weights of coins back in medieval times were correct.

Here's a pic below (a little out of focus) and details of a similar one.



Tuesday, 23 March 2010

A few days away!!

I was fortunate to get away for a few days detecting last week. I say fortunate, because I have a young family and it really is difficult finding the time to do so. Fortunately my wife was in a good mood (spring is in the air) and was happy for me to go on my travels.

I travelled down last Monday and was fortunate that it was dry for the 3/4 days I was detecting. The site itself was located near an old monastery and I have been fortunate to find some nice finds in the past. Unfortunately on this occasion I never found a great deal. I found an Elizabethan hammered, Crotal Bell, Roman Coin - but not a lot to be honest. I also went detecting with my Mum, Dad and Brother. They found a few more bits. More hammered. More Roman. Jettons and a Medieval Candle Holder (I think). All will be recorded with our local FLO.

Here is a picture of the Elizabeth Half Groat. Not a great find but another to add to my collection.

Saturday, 13 March 2010

Lost Keys!!

I had an email during the week from a Farmer who lives up in Cumbria, who was doing some work locally to were I live (Lancashire) and had lost his keys in a field. Would I find them for him? Well of course I was going to try and help. These farmers are extremely important to our hobby. Without them Metal Detecting on farmland would cease to exist.

After a few emails back and forth trying to get a better idea of their possible location, I travelled to the farm yesterday. I met the owner farmer and his lovely wife, and was pointed to the spot in question. It was about 30 acres in total, some plough and some stubble, and I went about searching. The area in question was not steeped in history, so the idea was to find the guys keys ASAP and move off.

A few hours later. Still no keys. I had a small bag seal and a shilling, but that wasn't what I was looking for. In the afternoon my Mum and Dad took over detecting (they are both keen detectorists too) but sadly no luck for them either. I have been in touch with the farmer and I will go back again. Next week I am going Metal Detecting for a few days, so it will be on my return. I have also arranged to detect on more of the land come September.

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Rally Video

I'm still struggling at the moment uploading the few minutes of DVD I have of the rally. It is a bit fragmented and needs putting together. In the meantime here are a couple of photos.


Monday, 1 March 2010

New Club: Gwent Detecting Club

Dear Sir/Madam

It is with great delight that we are pleased to announce the long awaited rejuvenation of The Gwent detecting Club.

A new Chairman, Vice Chairman and Treasurer have all been appointed and meetings are held regularly at : 5/7 Commercial Street, Old Cwmbran,Torfaen,NP44 3LR. The meetings take place on the 1st Wednesday of each month and start at 7.30 - 8.00 pm. We are a friendly bunch and new members are always welcome.

There is also a brand new website/forum for anyone interested in detecting, whether it be for information, rallies or a friendly chat, why not take a look at WWW.Gwentdetecting.co.uk.

The Gwent club has plenty of land/farmland for members to enjoy and regularly holds organised rallies and upto 6 charity rallies a year, the last charity rally having raised over 400 pounds for Cancer Research.

If you would like more information or are in the area please come and see us, check out our finds and chat about the local area and what it has to offer.

Please feel free to browse the site at your leisure.

Yours sincerely

Gwent Detecting Club Commitee

Update on the prosecution under Treasure Act 1996

An email doing the rounds to all the press guys at present. Very interesting and many valid points.

Dear Sir / Madam
I believe this young lady`s prosecution to be extremely shaky at the very best. I have been a detectorist for 30 years and have much experience both with making finds and the Treasure Act 1996. My comments are as below. I can be contacted on ................in the event of any additional information being required. This is a landmark legal case and the back ground to it requires modification to the afore mentioned Act before serious problems are encountered.
Kind regards Julian Evan-Hart

In relation to the recent publicised case of Kate Harding being prosecuted under the Treasure Act 1996 for failure to surrender a French “Piedfort” coin dating from 1322-1328 to a Coroner. I was surprised and concerned to hear of this incident and immediately realised it raises quite a few questions. Having been a metal detectorist for over three decades I am of course always interested in such issues and the consequent actions and resulting opinions of persons involved. Therefore in the light of this I have a few opinions which are solely my own, but I hope will have some relevance to the issue.

Firstly as we all know single isolated finds of silver coins whether modern or ancient do not concern the parameters of the Treasure Act 1996. The key word here is isolated....if you find a single coin that is definitely from a hoard, discovered in the past, right then, or in the future then rightly so this would hopefully concern the Treasure Act as its correct that hoards should to the best of all opportunity be retained as a whole. Now I know nothing of the finder, the finding or resultant actions or non –actions in this issue, my primary concern here is the case of something clearly not being covered by the Treasure Act due to the latter`s wording... and therefore being wrongly classified, and the whole incident undoubtedly being held up aloft by the critics of coin collecting and metal detecting and a prosecution levied for which I believe the results will cause more damage once again to the highly beneficial hobby of metal detecting...even if such finds are or were not made by such methods .

Now according to the Treasure Act 1996 a “COIN” includes any metal token which was or can reasonably be assumed to have been used or intended for use as or instead of money”

“MONEY” is defined as something in this case metallic ....used to obtain goods or services or to repay debt and in the case of silver or gold backed currencies can be used to trade back a representative amount in value of either metal.

Now before this all gets wildly too complicated there are a number of issues to be raised here it is perhaps wise to seek some established definitions of the word PIEDFORT.

Wikipedia- PIEDFORT- “Is a COIN often exactly twice its normal weight and thickness-not normally for circulation but for presentation.

MIMI.Hu – PIEDFORT- a COIN struck on a thicker blank than usual-It’s fascinating to see a COIN twice or more times its normal thickness.

Eurocoins.co.uk – this website has a British Euro Pattern Piedfort 5 Euro COIN for sale.

EBay- PIEDFORT- Heavy weight COINS

Royal Mint in 2009 struck a PIEDFORT Proof COIN “in celebration of the 500th anniversary of Henry V111 and another in 2010- “The 2010 Girlguiding UK 50p PIEDFORT silver Proof COIN.

So whilst it seems the entire rest of the World considers PIEDFORT`s to be COINS...they don’t seem to fit the description of a COIN under the 1996 Treasure Act. This is where we seem to have the problem. However if under the Treasure Act Miss Harding’s find was not a COIN then its seems it must be classed as an ARTEFACT....which in itself seem somewhat unusual, surely such terminology applies to things such as: rings, axe-heads, medals, jewellery incorporating coins i.e. pendants, rings and bracelets, brooches etc. But of more consequence is the application of this modern definition of PIEDFORT. Just because today we produce PIEDFORTS not meant for circulation (SO NOT CLASSED AS MONEY), and or as presentation pieces or gifts...I would very much like to meet the people who have decided that our modern day definition and classification can be 100% case proven and is applicable to a find manufactured some 700 years ago, and more importantly that English Law can base a prosecution on this. I think it`s a tad pompous of those responsible here to give themselves the wholly unsubstantiated authority in claiming this knowledge in relation to this coin. Miss Harding’s find fits the modern day definition of PIEDFORT it would seem, but how can one apply that to a past scenario...we have no idea how why or what this find relates to precisely. A single similar coin was also found in UK recently, but who is to say several pieces were not trialled on thicker flans, were even tariffed at double value (hence double thickness) and meant for circulation as normal coins. This reminds me of academics stating that all plated Celtic and Roman coins are contemporary forgeries.....what rubbish...in thousands of years time will the finder of hundreds of our 1p coins class all these as forgeries just because they are copper plated now.. There is a rather ignorant and somewhat almost desperate flavour to Miss Harding’s treatment that I find rather unpalatable....to make an example from someone who honestly declared their find initially is akin in this modern day Britain to likes of the issuing of tickets in hospital car parks to relatives of sick and dying persons......morally inappropriate!!!! To some people it would appear more important to make the “First Showcase Example” than to discuss the reasons. Certainly seems to me that this case declaring it a PIEDFORT in this legal issue will result in some museum acquiring an exhibit for free at the finder’s expense...one ponders. Just because it fits our modern day definitions of a PIEDFORT does not mean that the ancient find actually is one......

Dr Michael Lewis of the British Museum when he quotes “This is a landmark case and sends a clear message to those who fail to report treasure” Well unless this issue is sorted I would say yes it could well be a “landmark” or even a “milestone” and for all the reasons that it shouldn’t be. In this case Miss Harding’s find would by almost all other sources be classed as a COIN. Just because modern day PIEDFORTS are not used as money does not mean that PIEDFORTS (if that term or object even existed then) were not classed as COINS and used as money 700 years ago. However I believe the time has come when PIEDFORTS should obviously be classed as COINS and not ARTEFACTS and think that if this area is going to cause such problems, then the Treasure Act 1996 needs a minor adjustment firstly so that PIEDFORTS are classed under the term COIN

And secondly we don’t have a repetition of this rather embarrassing issue for COINS are quite clearly what they are......they are round in shape and were struck on official dies so they are COINS!!!

Therefore whilst I believe a PIEDFORT issue is a COIN, it may not actually be MONEY in modern times or terms, and as for past old/ ancient issues NO ONE KNOWS.....one thing we can be sure of though and that is such issues are most certainly not an ARTEFACT or OBJECT.....and to class them as such is ludicrous.. I re-iterate that if the Legal world is going to treat all such issues or suspected issues irrespective of how old ...as PIEDFORTS then the Treasure Act surely has to class them as COINS irrespective of whether they served a monetary purpose....otherwise for sure there will be far more prosecutions based on this foolishness and many more people wondering about the so called legal position concerning silver Jettons and silver and gold Celtic Staters no doubt

If those responsible for Act amendments fail to heed this and fail to recognise PIEDFORTS as such then they most certainly award themselves the age old adage involving the words Law and Ass. It is blatantly obvious that the Treasure Act needs amending now as its flooded at the tax payers expense with hundreds of repetitive finds such as broken silver bodkins, roman rings, spoon bowls etc that are wasting all our time....so we hardly need PIEDFORTS jumping on the time wasting band wagon....do we ??

Excepting MEDALS, ROMAN CUBE MATRICES, AND ROMAN DATING SHEETS OF LEAD BEARING COIN DIE IMPRESSIONS / TEST PIECES ......if its Metallic, thin and round (in most cases) and bears stylised designs, Monarchs heads or other official design, and it was struck on a die...and IT IS NOT KNOWN WHAT IT IS OR ITS PRECISE PURPOSE WAS......THEN UNTIL YOU DO.... IT MUST BE CLASSIFIED AS A COIN AS THIS IS THE CLOSEST ESTABLISHED AND IDENTIFIED CATEGORY THIS APPLIES TO PIEDFORTS, STATERS AND JETTONS.....CRIKEY EVEN THE VICTORIAN GAMING COUNTERS / PLAYING CARD SERIES STRUCK IN BRONZE ARE CALLED “TOY MONEY”

Finally and perhaps very importantly brought to my attention by a fellow metal detectorist

The data base of the Governments....Portable Antiquities Scheme contains the following statement as relates to a previously found PIEDFORT

"Piedforts are unusual objects and their actual purpose has never been clearly established"

Therefore surely it would be seemingly unfair to prosecute and award a given category of fine under a legal Act that cannot itself seem to establish the nature and category of the item in question.



As promised, here is the report.

The morning rally was to be on one side of the road. The afternoon would be the other side. The only exception was the field were the parking was. That went to plan, except a few wanderers who needed reeling in.

There were 140 detectorists who paid on the day, including a couple of us who paid but never actually got to detect. The finds were thin on the ground, although the land we had was undetected. It had a lot of potential.

I personally saw (or heard of) a victorian gold ring, viccy 1/2 sovereign, few hammered, a couple of roman, the roman wirral brooch, a piece of engraved saxon hack silver, medieval matrix and lots of other bits and pieces. Not as much as we had hoped. Our local FLO was on hand to make a note of any finds. There were 2 medics (including a nurse) who were made available to us, in the event of any problems. Limited hot food and drink were made available, along with toilet facilities in the pub very close by.

The day raised about £1,500 in total. Except for a few holes, the behaviour of everybody who turned up was exemplary and a credit to the hobby. It was a very cold day but it stayed dry for us.

Sorry more didn't come up. Maybe another day, another field.