Thursday, 14 April 2011

Deus Ex Machina

I said on Wednesday's blog that the suspense was killing me. Little did I know that a couple of hours later I would be sitting in FACT Liverpool watching The Silent House and thinking that the suspense might well do just that. Talk about a scary movie! The audience (me and Marion included) were jumping out of their skins. But more of that later. The suspense in my headline referred to my excitement in trying out my new metal detector for the very first time. I arrived at the field at around ten o'clock and after a brief chat with the farmer about our replaced hips (he has two and now has one leg shorter than the other) I was off. The grass was a bit longer than I had hoped which meant that the detector was higher than I would like but it wasn't long before I started to get signals and started learning to use the machine.

I searched the field in the photo and found a nice little buckle which probably dates to the 18th century and a few buttons, washers and bits of bullets. Not a lot but, as I said on Wednesday, I expected nothing having searched this field on and off for twenty years and with the detector a good two inches higher than the ideal I was happy with the results. I moved on to an area which is grazed by sheep and the grass is much shorter. My brother Pete and I have found a number of Roman artefacts there but again I expected little as our last two or three outings had drawn blanks.

This was the result. I can't overstate how impressed I was with the machine - the XP Deus (hence today's headline). From a place that yielded nothing to two of us, I found over thirty items. As you can see, some of them are clearly junk but amongst that junk was the following.

A Romano British umbonate copper alloy brooch with traces of blue enamel from around the second century.

Three Roman coins (the third illegible).

A very old riveted strap end (probably from the same period).

An old copper coin. This is known as a Conder Token and dates to around 1792. It depicts John Of Gaunt Duke Of Lancaster.

As well as these items I also found £1.22 in spendable money and some old pre-decimal coins.

So the wait to try the new detector was well worth it. If I had found one of these items I could put it down to coincidence but to find them all indicates that the new XP Deus detector is certainly a winner and has reopened for us the sites that we thought were worked out.

I mentioned our trip to FACT to see The Silent House on Wednesday. It's a Uruguayan film with subtitles but don't be put off by that - there's very little dialogue. It's a short film and it is supposed to have been shot in one take which is a great achievement but not particularly relevant. It involves a girl and her father visiting a derelict house to do some tidying up before it is sold. But are they alone? There's no power and only a couple of lanterns and the director creates an extremely scary atmosphere as things go bump in the night. Although the suspense is extreme  - and it's worth watching for that alone - the plot is confused and you will certainly leave wondering what exactly happened but if you get the chance and you like a good fright, give it a try.