I received a Fisher F44 metal detector for my birthday a couple of years ago. I’ve wanted one since I was about 12. But you can’t just run outside and start looking for lost stuff. You need permission to dig from a landowner, membership in a recognized detecting club, to be registered in a national database, signed forms, etc. But you didn’t come to this page to read about that. You want to see some of the things I’ve found with it. I’ll save you some time though, there’s no gold bullion, no roman hoards, no pieces of eight on this page. What you will see are some interesting bits of life from years gone by. Things that haven’t seen the light of day in a hundred years or more. I find this stuff extremely interesting whether it’s a 1p coin or a bit of broken china plate. It all speaks of a history forgotten and lost beneath our feet and it really sets my imagination in high gear to try to think of how that object ended up where it was found.
I hope you find this interesting too.
In a field where I’ve found a dozen or so Girl Guide badges I find this. It didn’t take a lot of Google FU to discover this is a Girl Guide Promissory badge. For potential recruits I guess.
It’s interesting to me because this design seems to be from the 1940s and the other girl guide badges I’ve found are from the 1970s and 80s. Banging good signals though…
Confidence in my hobby restored I endeavor to find more, preferably the gold and silver versions.
From Upper Left:
Victoria Ha-penny, George V Penny (1929), George V Farthing (1922), Elizabeth II Sixpence(1954), George V Ha-penny (1935), Trapezoidal buckle (17thc), Copper Alloy buckle, Various plain buttons (1750s-1800s), old old musket ball (16th c.)
I’m very chuffed to find my first clearly Roman coin today!. I think I’ve had others but they were so badly worn that I don’t think it really counts.
- Roman coin: antoninianus, or radiate depicting Diocletian, 284 to 305 AD
- A button that says “
GreshmanClub” on it. The Gresham Club was a gentlemen’s club in the City of London founded in 1843. It was named after Thomas Gresham and its last site was located on Abchurch Lane off King William Street.
- George V Half Penny 1918
- George III Penny 1701
- Lead cow’s head.
- Emerald green bottle, Icilma Vanishing cream, 1921-1953
- Nifty looking key or something.
- Not shown: Couple of musket balls.
I saw lots of people posting finds this weekend despite all the snow so when the temp climbed from -6c this morning to my minimal acceptable lower limit I dashed out for a quick 90 minutes in my favorite field. It was wet but I wasn’t actually cold between my layered coats, ski pants, and wellies. I found the almost obligatory coin, a nice stock buckle that still has a functioning clip and two buttons. Found an old piece of lead too, but haven’t cleaned it up yet. More on that later. If I hadn’t made it out today I was looking at 3 straight weeks without any detecting and it was kinda getting to me. 🙂
I scrabbled a lot in the gravel of a dry riverbed today. Not many finds worth commenting on, but this one is a bit remarkable. It looks like a ring but it’s not, it’s a finger ring from a candle holder. I found one a few years ago and it took ages to figure it out because it’s just a small part of the whole artifact. And curiously, it’s broken in the exact same way as the other one. This is today’s find:
And this is the one I found about 5 miles away:
This is what it looked like when still attached to the candle holder.
One guy on Facebook referred to it as a ‘partifact’ or ‘partial artifact. A word that bears repeating.
I’m amazed and proud to say I’ve been given a new permission. It has some interesting history around it and I’m really looking forward to seeing what it produces. I found the following items on my first visit. If it has this to offer after just two hours, there should be some amazing things waiting to be discovered.
I was out detecting today for a quick hour or two and found what I thought was a George V penny but when I got it home and cleaned some of the muck off it I found it was slightly older than that and not a penny at all. I had a bit of fun researching this and found that it is actually a halfpenny token issued by the British Copper Company. Which had smelting works at Landore, Wales, and rolling mills at Walthamstow, Essex.
Apparently, copper pennies and halfpennies were in short supply after the war with Napoleon of France — and the war against America in 1812 — and earlier coins had largely been melted down for their value as a metal. Nothing was done in parliament to alleviate the situation but c
I remember reading about sword hangers in John Carter of Mars. I had no idea what they were until now.
There is a record of similar on the British Museum’s finds website:
Reported to the finds liaison officer (FLO) in Salisbury.
A complete set would have looked like this:
Royal Armoured Corp, 1939-current.
Fits in with the other military items I found on the beach. Here’s what it looks like all shiny and fresh:
I like to say that the farthing is the 5p coin of its day. Which is about what this one’s worth. Still, always a thrill to find coins that I’ve only ever read about.
Here’s a page with more details on it:
This is a manly dart! This dart means to do bodily harm. I remember darts like this as a child. I’m sure I have scars related to these things! Not as big as a Jart but just as dangerous in the hands of an amateur. I found this a dozen yards from the nearest backyard. Whoever threw this needed substantial upper body strength to heft it that far.
Found a pigeon ring. No pigeon though…
Today I braved the cold for an hour or so and found two Half Pennies within 50 feet of each other. One is a George the Fifth from 1931 and the other his son, George the Sixth, circa 1944. Here’s how they’ve faired over 70-80 years in the soil:
And here’s how they looked newly circulated:
They could have been dropped by the same person, but we’ll never know… Still interesting to find two different ha’pennies on the same visit that are also two different kings, and both a ‘George.’
The reverse of George VI’s coin has the Golden Hind on it:
I’m told it’s off a military uniform.
looked better covered in dirt!
I found this tiny (1/2 inch) heart charm on the beach. It might have had a stone at one time, might have been gold plated.
Not a shiny shilling but a shiny silver button. Haven’t found much on this design online but the style of loop on the back makes it circa 1760-1785.
Probably just a lead seal from a wine bottle, but I found it interesting because there’s a ship or galley on one side and the letters VEC on the other.
I think you can tell by the quality of my finds today that I’m obviously somewhere ‘Roman Adjacent.’ The accolades should start rolling in any minute now…
I’m calling this D.I.T.O:
Detectorist In, Trash Out.
The only thing of interest is the iron at the top of the pic, it’s a shoe for an ox. I didn’t know that useta be a thing. Also more small bits of the paraffin lamp I found last summer.
I think I found me a shiny silver button! There is faint text on it but I’m not sure how to pull up enough contrast to read it. I think I see an S, a space, and then an E at the ‘9 o’clock’ position of this shot. I also found what looks like the end of a small spade or shovel, some more random bits of a parafin lamp and a pull tab.
The rain made for a short day and I have no Roman hoards to report (yet!) But I did find an interesting bit of Horse Brass:I did a brief search online and found it listed as “Winged Crescent Moon with Centre Eye” The fine print says its Victorian, 1850-1899I also spent a long time digging up an old stirrup and some nails and staples which I will photograph and then recycle.
Found a bit of lead shot (Possibly a musket ball!), a dog tag and a copper ring. Also found more beer cans, an oil filter from a tractor and random bits of iron. The lead shot could be a musket ball which makes me hope that more things from that period await me. Was hoping for interesting finds but oh well, maybe next time.
Not the hot bed of lost coins I thought it would be but I did find a nifty 1907 penny which makes a weird kind of sense because the village post office was near the end of the footpath and you only needed a penny to mail something back then. This is the second penny I found in this general area. Third if you count the french 20p coin from the other side of the fence. I have a theory about that but I need to do some comparisons before I share it.
Not shown: Three flattened beer cans, an iron stake and a camera battery.
One of my query letters actually bore fruit and I was given the opportunity to do some exploring of a garden along Queen’s Road here in Salisbury.
I spent about two hours there and while a Roman hoard still eludes me I find it a very interesting dig. The garden had a lot of iron signals, especially in the lower third of the yard. Based on the number of nails, the door hinge and other bits of rust I dug up I’m thinking there was a building there at one time or perhaps some building materials were stacked there during the construction of the current cottages. The owners told me about the nearby mill and I think they said the bricks from earlier cottages were re-used in the current ones. I love hearing about local history like this, and I look forward to having another go sometime.
Thank you Vanessa and Piers!
I did find a coin just as I was wrapping up: a 1971 2-pence piece.
I’m very chuffed to say I finally FINALLY found a coin!
Two actually, though one is so badly corroded it defies identification. Both were in the bit of back garden that my father-in-law lets me dig around in. And here’s the kicker: The coin isn’t English, its French!
Check this out:
A silver coin still eludes me; this one’s bronze but its in pretty good shape. Here’s a link to some info about it:
The other one is very corroded and I can’t tell you what it is. The Mrs thinks she can make out “HALF PENNY” on it but I can’t see it. Maybe the F, not sure. If it’s a ‘pre-decimal’ Halfpenny that narrows it down to sometime in the past 600 years 😉 I could probably tighten that up based on the size and material but I’m gonna try to clean off some of the build up. Can’t really see how it’d hurt but “a coin’s a coin” eh? I’m a detectorist me.
(WordPress is still cropping my images, I’ll have to research how to turn that off!)
Had a few minutes to check out the previous dig in West Grimstead and about 3 feet away from where I found the broken bell last time I found another piece of it! No other finds to report except another bit of copper hose and some foil that somehow got buried 6 inches down. The pics look much darker here than in reality. I might re-shoot.
Had some time in the In-Law’s back garden and wanted to try going back to two spots where I found things before.
I walked up to the spot, passed my detector over the ground and immediately got a strong non ferrous signal. It took only about two minutes to dig it up. Still haven’t found a coin but I found what looks like a Dinner bell. It doesn’t seem to be silver and shows up as a 52 on my detector which is somewhere between nickel and zinc for what that’s worth. About 3″ diameter. Pewter Maybe? No easy or cheap ways to find out for sure. Still has some of its bell-like quality despite being less than half the original bell.
Near it was a small knob looking bit that I thought might be the ‘top’ of the hand bell but its not of the same metal, is magnetic and appears to have more than one layer. Was probably plated at one point.
After those two finds I went back to where I found the lamp mantle and near that I found two pieces of it though very small.
Its starting to look like someone’s setting the table out in the garden, maybe they left some silver spoons for me to dig up! Not pictured is a 8 inch piece of copper tubing.
Better view of my wanderings around Fovant.
The most exciting part was testing out my wellies in all the mud and avoiding cow patties. I saw about 15 people there during the three hours I was on site. My wife drove off with my shoes so I had nothing to change into when the taxi guy came to give me a lift home. He was really put out about it. I hated to do it to him but it was just too far to walk. My finds are : two bits of foil, a gun shell of some kind and a Roman Thermocouple. (Just kidding about the Roman bit.)
This is a hard hobby to love.
The spike out to the left is where I missed the entrance and had to walk back.
I got to go back to the paddock in West Grimstead and try out all the gear and clothes I will be taking to Fovant on Wednesday. I was warm enough I think barring gale force winds and rain (touch wood!)
The grass was wet and I got a lot of phantom signals but the main test was for my bluetooth headphones and transmitter. Those worked fine once I convinced them to pair but I only got about 90 minutes of air time before the headphones died. I switched to a regular set of earphones for the rest of the time. I did manage to find one interesting thing: A mantle from a lamp squashed flat over time and lying on its side about 5 inches down. It still has its knob attached and that I THINK says “Youngs Brilliant Burn” on it. Can’t find a company with that name on it with a quick google search but it could be my search terms. I think here in the UK they’re called Paraffin lamps instead of Hurricane lamps. I’ll keep plugging away. Renewed my hope to find something of value in Fovant.
I posted this photo on the Southern Detectorists Facebook page and one of the members identified the lamp this came from here.
Circa 1900. That’s over 116 years old at best though how long it spent in the ground is anyone’s guess.
I want to say a few words about my experience with Joan Allen, the company where my wife bought my Fisher F44.
I mentioned in another post that my detector had gone slightly mad; its actual behavior was that it would not shut off, you could not change the mode it was in and it seemed to be set to the highest sensitivity and the highest volume. The only way to turn it off was remove the batteries.
I had some theories about why this is happening but it was unusable in that condition so I returned it. I went to their website found the support contact email, sent them my information and the serial number which was tricky to find because it is displayed when you first turn the device off but you have only a second or two to record what’s basically a 10 digit number displayed two digits at a time. But that’s Fisher’s doing, not Joan Allen.
I got an email back within a day telling me to ship it in and they even offered a pickup service. I shipped it in on my dime and about a week went by before I called them and they’re technician was not in to take my question. Another week went by and found out it was the next one to be repaired. Their man Billy seems very busy. He sent me an email that it was being shipped back to me without any comment on what was wrong with it but as it turned out they replaced the whole unit. I was without it for about three weeks total and in the end got a brand new unit no questions asked. While they might have done better communicating with me the results were fine I suppose. This is a good spot for one of those at the end of the day phrases: The whole interaction was exactly what I expected from an in-warranty repair.
- Do not trespass. Obtain permission before venturing on to any land.
- Respect the Country Code, leave gates and property as you find them and do not damage crops, frighten animals or disturb nesting birds.
- Wherever the site, do not leave a mess or an unsafe surface for those who may follow. It is perfectly simple to extract a coin or other small object buried a few inches below the ground without digging a great hole. Use a suitable digging implement to cut a neat flap (do not remove the plug of earth entirely from the ground), extract the object, reinstate the grass, sand or soil carefully, and even you will have difficulty in locating the find spot again.
- If you discover any live ammunition or any lethal object such as an unexploded bomb or mine, do not disturb it. Mark the site carefully and report the find to the local police and landowner.
- Help keep Britain tidy. Safely dispose of refuse you come across.
- Report all unusual historical finds to the landowner, and acquaint yourself with current NCMD policy relating to the Voluntary Reporting of Portable Antiquities in England and Wales and the mandatory reporting requirements in Scotland. See:
- Remember it is illegal for anyone to use a metal detector on a designated area (e.g. Scheduled Monuments (SM), Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), or Ministry of Defence property) without permission from the appropriate authority. It is also a condition of most agri-environment agreements that metal detecting access is subject to certain rules and regulations including mandatory finds recording. Details of these agreements and the access conditions they impose are detailed on the NCMD website.
- Acquaint yourself with the terms and definitions used in the following documents: –
- Treasure contained in the Treasure Act 1996 and its associated Code of Practice, making sure you understand your responsibilities.
- Advice for Finders of Archaeological Objects including Treasure 2006.
- The voluntary Code of Practise for Responsible Metal Detecting to which the NCMD is an endorsee.
- Advice for finders in Scotland: see http://www.treasuretrovescotland.co.uk/html/finders.asp
- Remember that when you are out with your metal detector you are an ambassador for our hobby. Do nothing that might give it a bad name.
- Never miss an opportunity to explain your hobby to anyone who asks about it.
More fun in a West Grimstead garden. Still nothing of value but I’m getting better at digging holes actually near the find. And I have a White’s pin-pointer without which several of these finds would have remained in the dirt pile. Now if I can keep from detecting the keys in my pocket I’ll be ready for the wilds of Wiltshire. Yes I know this is all of zero value but its good practice. Now I want something that’s not iron to come up!
Tried some detecting in my Father In Law’s paddock today. Three digs but nothing of value. I did find a few odd things I that kept anyway. I need to get better at figuring out where within the sensor range the target actually is. Seems like when I find the item its more to the left that what I think ‘center’ actually is. Plus I’m making mole holes when I should be making plugs.
These were found in his front yard near two yew trees. One looks like a bit of spoon but probably isn’t. The other is a bit of metal with two holes in it. Reminds of a part to an old-fashioned thermostat or part of a distributor cap perhaps? Its non ferrous and has a thin metal ‘tongue’ welded to it. I’m thinking brass but no way to tell at this point. Both were about 5″ down.
Also find a nail. Not shown because I’m ashamed I spent 20 minutes digging it up.