Monday, 6 June 2011

What A Difference A Deus Makes

With Marion away at Center Parcs for the weekend celebrating the forthcoming wedding of friends' daughter Kate, I decided to go off on my own and do some metal detecting. I contacted a number of hotels, pubs and guest houses within about 20 miles of Ingleton and the most pleasant response was from John & Julia Yeadon of Scar Close farm in the tiny hamlet of Feizor between Ingleton and Settle. I haven't stayed in a B&B before and didn't know what to expect but the accommodation was spotless throughout, the room was well equipped with en suite facilities, the breakfast was fabulous and the host and hostess were extremely friendly and helpful and made me a great packed lunch. It's an ideal spot for walkers and I'm pleased to recommend it.   

The weather on Friday was incredible with temperatures running in the mid twenties and I decided to visit a couple of new farms and ask for permission to search. My brother phoned and said he would come up on Saturday for a few hours so, having been given permission by a couple of farmers, I decided to leave them for the next day and head for a field where I had once found an ancient buckle and try the XP Deus detector there for the first time. Although I picked up a few decent signals I was digging down to enormous stones and couldn't get to the objects and, after an hour in the baking sun and exhausted from the digging, I sat down for lunch. Lunch over and with a few hours to spare before I needed to get to the B&B I thought I would go back to the site that we have been to on and off for twenty years. My brother won't go there any more as he no longer gets any signals but on my first day with the Deus I had found a Romano British brooch and three Roman coins.

Within half an hour of getting there I found this super brooch. When I dug the signal and saw a green disc I thought it was just an old halfpenny but when I spotted the pin I was delighted. It may not look much to you but it's getting on for two thousand years old. Disc brooches are not rare (there are over 1,000 on The Portable Antiquities Scheme Website ) but there are only 38 recorded from North Yorkshire (two of them mine) so it's not a common find for the area. It's the best Roman period brooch I have found having a complete pin and a pattern still intact. I would have been happy if that was the total for the weekend but in the two hours I went on to find two further Roman coins and a thin copper disc that is probably an old jetton or token.

In the evening I went to the Game Cock Inn at Austwick for dinner. It's a very welcoming old pub. I'm not a moaner and perhaps I was spoiled by our recent holiday in France but the food was very disappointing with over cooked mussels to start with and a lamb shank in a watery gravy as  a main course. The people on the next table were moaning amongst themselves about the food but when the waiter asked if everything was OK they said it was excellent! Oh well I had come for a detecting break not a gastronomic experience.

This was the view from my bedroom window on Saturday morning. So like any detectorist I obviously had to go and ask the farmer if I could have a look around. He was very friendly and after breakfast I was on the fields. My brother drove up and joined me but after an hour or so on the fields we had only found a couple of buttons and a corroded cartwheel penny so we headed off to one of the new fields I had been given permission on. We gave it an hour or so but the grass was long and we were only finding junk so Pete decided to call it a day and I was stuck for somewhere to go. So, you've guessed it, it was back to the brooch field. Now this field is not that big and has been flogged to death by me and Peter for years now but again the Deus came good and I found another five Roman coins. And a lot of .22 cartridge cases. Now you can identify these cases by a number on the detector screen but on this field i tend to dig anything.

I took the farmer who farms that field along with his brother for dinner at the pub on Saturday night. The meal was better than on Friday but I deliberately chose simple stuff (pate and steak). I enjoyed learning about the farmer's large family. I was quite jealous as they all live within a few miles whilst our kids are both over two hundred miles away. It seems that son Steve is an ace marksman with the .22 and shoots rabbits by the score (thanks Steve). It would be great to find something of value to be able to reward the family for allowing us onto their fields for so long but our finds have only been of historic worth so far.

I was picking Marion up on Sunday afternoon so I didn't want to spend hours looking for a new site so I went and tried the field adjoining the one that had produced the Roman finds. I've not found a great deal in this field and was not too hopeful especially as there was a herd of cows in it. The weather changed for the worse which was good for me as the cows sheltered at the opposite end of the field. After digging just one signal I was covered in mud. But that signal was another Roman coin - only the second I've found on that field. An hour later I had another Roman coin, a couple of buttons, a musket ball and two bronze rings that where probably once buckles or fasteners. It doesn't sound a lot but for a field that was barren it just demonstrates what a good machine my new detector is. I was about to pack in when I caught movement from the corner of my eye. I turned to see a cow charging towards me. She was soon followed by the whole herd. I've read about those recent tragic cases of walkers being trampled and luckily for me I was right by the gate. I was through it within seconds of the first four arriving.  I decided to call it a day and went back to the car to eat the guest house lunch. 

I enjoyed the weekend. It wasn't great being away from Marion but it was good to learn how to use the new detector and I'm sure I got better as the days went on. Here are some photos of the finds. I will be asking the detecting forums for help with the id 

The nine ancient coins found over the weekend plus 5p for scale


The best coin. Can't tell if this is bronze of base silver

Another possibly silver coin

This one's definitely a bronze
This one's a bit of a mystery

North Yorkshire's now got less rubbish

Buttons and other bits from the weekend
Oh and finally, if you are Welsh Pigeon fancier and owner of bird with ring number WHU 2008 K03652, I am afraid he's not coming back.