When I first started metal detecting I was told:
..never throw anything away until you are 100% sure what it is..
We’ve all heard it – it’s something of a metal detecting commandment. However, many of us are likely unaware how remarkably easy it is to ‘miss’ an important find. Through personal experience, it is advice worth repeating…
My wife (Carole) and I were on a club dig not long after we had started our hobby, when I asked her if she’d found anything.
Only this piece of pipe, shall I throw it into the hedge?
I looked at it and, rubbing some mud off it, thought I could see some figures on it – so, we kept it. After some further cleaning at home, we could – tantalisingly – see figures all around it. After showing it to our F.L.O. we discovered it was a Roman Dagger Quillon, specifically the bit between the handle and the blade!
Give your find some room
A couple of years later we were on a friend’s farm near Pwllheli. Carole showed me a small piece of metal that looked a bit like a buckle or strap. Our F.L.O. soon identified it as an Anglo-Saxon strap joint. Recently, I found a small circular piece of lead [don’t we all?!]. I put it in my bag with all the other pieces to ‘weigh in’. On cleaning and checking it at home I spotted an inscribed figure ‘1’ on it.
Again, our F.L.O. identified it as a Roman or Medeival trade weight – nothing valuable but a nice find nonetheless, and one which offers historical context. It could easily have been thrown straight into the hedge.
So, give your find some room. A little space. Never throw it away in the first instance until you are absolutely sure, and don’t be afraid to ask others for their opinion.
Not just a boys game!
About six years ago, when my husband said he was buying a metal detector, I thought ‘boys and their toys!”.
He joined the Mold Historical Society and seemed to be enjoying finding all manner of rubbish, along with the odd nice oddity.
I dutifully showed interest but had mixed feelings when he presented me with a Garret Ace 250, similar to his, for my birthday.
So, off I went with him to my first club dig. The day progressed and, amidst the lead and the rubbish, I also found coins of Victoria and other Monarchs. As I continued to scan the fields and tracks, I also seen the coins, oddities and artefacts other detectorists were finding.
It was a catharthic experience, and – quite unexpectedly – the centuries peeled back. The historical context was fascinating. Yes, I certainly enjoyed myself, but I don’t think I ever anticipated acquiring an addiction in just a few hours.
I had to get used to a few things of course. On my first outing I spent ages looking for the toilet before a fellow member pointed vaguely to some distant trees and bushes.
But part of the charm of metal detecting is just that. You’re truly ‘out and about’ and the pull of the Countryside in itself defines this hobby. On one dig I remember thinking how wonderful it was to be searching under blue skies, past sweeping fields of six foot maize.
And my hobby has progressed. I can’t really describe the excitement of finding my Roman and hammered coins, as well as a genuine Anglo-Saxon artefact. The facilities have progressed too, we now have a ladies only toilet – luxury!
This is a hobby where woman and men are on equal footing, but we need more women in the club. So ladies, if you are interested in an interesting, healthy outdoor hobby, amongst friendly people with the tantalising possibility of the odd valuable find, come and join us!