Wednesday, 9 December 2015

More Treasure

All detectorists dream, like Lance and Andy of the TV series, of one day finding treasure. Their motives are not merely financial ones and the thrill of the find and buzz amongst the metal detecting community often far outweighs any pecuniary interests - many finders donate their finds to museums. It's interesting what actually constitutes "treasure". 

Whilst Lance's gold Anglo Saxon aestel undoubtably ticks every treasure box there is in terms of it's historic, aesthetic and financial value, most treasure finds unearthed are far less interesting. Since I moved down to Suffolk I have made three finds that had to be reported to the coroner as "treasure" - the definition being 'Any metallic object, other than a coin, provided that at least 10 per cent by weight of metal is precious metal (that is, gold or silver) and that it is at least 300 years old when found."

This ring, despite being gold, fell outside the scope of the Treasure Act as it is less than three hundred years old.


This silver tag from the end of a shoe lace or belt and this fragment of a medieval brooch were both declared treasure.

As was this medieval silver brooch that now belongs to the Colchester Museum

So what's the "more treasure" of today's headline? I had a few hours out in the fields again on Monday and turned up this.

Not exactly one to set the pulse racing is it? But it is now my fourth treasure find in the last three years. It is a solid silver bodkin dating to c1600. It would have been a beautiful piece before it was snapped at the eye and bent.

It has a couple of initials engraved on it. I have taken it to the finds liaison officer and he will be reporting the find to the coroner. I imagine that it will be disclaimed and returned to me in six months or so. 

It wasn't the only silver to turn up on Monday. I also found this Victorian four pence from 1852 and William III shilling from the 1690s.

We've had plenty more to keep us occupied. On Friday we went up to Framlingham College's Headmaster's house for a charity breakfast in aid of Crisis At Christmas. It was a great event with plenty to eat in the enormous open plan kitchen with one of the best views in Suffolk.

We joined some friends at The Crown on Friday evening to wish goodbye to other friends Carol and Ron and their daughter Lily who moved to Norfolk this week. We enjoyed a good meal with plenty of wine. We will miss Ron and Caroline's sense of humour very much. The exercise classes at the college won't be the same without Caroline's upbeat personality keeping us all going. 

As I had to take the "treasure" to Bury St Edmunds, we decided to give the Abbeygate Cinema a try. It's a great little picture house with a good cafe. The film was Bridge Of Spies. This is as old fashioned a movie as you will ever see - I'm surprised it wasn't in black and white. Tom Hanks is a character straight out of the Henry Fonda, Gregory Peck, James Stewart stable of good old Americans with pure morals and a strong sense of justice. He's a lawyer who is given the unenviable task of defending a Russian spy in the 1950s. Of course everyone wants the spy executed but Hank's character James Donovan is determined on a fair trial. It's a Spielberg movie and we see lots of his trademark lighting but not many of his trademark surprises as everything is very formulaic - American = very good, Russian = bad East German = bad and a bit comical too.The film has received excellent ratings and Hanks puts in a fine performance but to paraphrase another of this week's soundbites "it ain't no Mr Smith Goes To Washington bruv".