Thursday, 5 September 2013

Another Great Find

With no sign of “Bob’s” arrival anytime in the near future I decided to head off out with the metal detector. The fields around St Andrews are all either harvested or just about to be harvested so there was plenty of choice. I went along to my favourite farm where the farmer and his family always make me welcome and it was no exception today as I was invited to help myself to broccoli in a field that had been cut but still had plenty of fresh and edible stalks remaining that were uneconomical to cut professionally. I stocked up with plenty for Sarah and Duncan.

I wondered about trying a new field. My last outing had produced this selection of Scottish copper coins, musket balls and a nice medieval belt hook but it had been hard work in thick stubble – I can only admire the men who used to harvest wheat with scythes - they must have developed body builder physiques. The farmer suggested a field that was not too far from a church so I gave it a try. Two hours on and I had found virtually nothing other than bottle tops, ring pulls and drinks cans – the farmworkers must have been a thirsty bunch or maybe the rubbish was hurled from passing traffic. Although I had found nothing of note I had been entertained by low flying aircraft overhead probably practising for the Leuchars Air Show at the weekend.

So I decided to go back to braving the stubble. 

And within five minutes I had struck lucky with a hammered silver coin.

I think this one is John c1200. It has been struck way off centre but the king’s head and the voided cross on the reverse are both clear to see. I love the portraits on these medieval coins. I often wonder how the mint approached the kings with the new coinage. “Tis a good likeness of your Majesty methinks?’ as they present him with something that a three year old might have produced. It’s a good job they weren’t full-length portraits or the king might well have had matchstick arms and legs.

Sufficiently encouraged by the silver penny, I carried on through the thick stubble and found these bits and pieces which include several more coins (these were more modern being three Victorian pennies, a threepenny bit and £1.20 in modern coinage). Signals were sparse but I always feel that something good might turn up in this field and keep on swinging the detector here long after others might have given up. Just as I was about to pack in and head back to the caravan a very strong signal stopped me in my tracks.

I saw the glint of gold and signs of a pattern and knew straight away that I had found something nice.

It’s a very fine and large gilded medieval harness pendant. Sadly it is missing one of its four lobes but it’s otherwise in very good condition and I am sure that when I report it to the museum in Edinburgh under the Scottish Treasure rules they will be very interested in it and it will probably go to a local museum. It’s compulsory to report finds in Scotland and that is a good thing as long as everybody follows the rules.

This is one of the nicest finds that I have made. If new grandchild “Bob” doesn’t arrive soon I may get the chance to make more finds like it before we head back to Suffolk.