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Right place, wrong time. No, right place anytime!

September 26, 2012 10:40am

Julian Evan-Hart
Julian Evan-Hart metal detectorist

No doubt we can all think of a situation where we have been in the right place, but at the wrong time, or even perhaps wrong place at the wrong time. Several days ago I got a call from a farmer to say one of his fields was ready for us. In my sheer enthusiasm and in thanking him I forgot to ask just what "ready" actually meant.

Arriving there we found it wasn’t quite "ready" as we would have liked. The field in question which is a huge Romano British settlement site was covered in stiff yard broom like stubble.

Metal detecting finds - Large silver shilling from the reign of William 111 dated 1700.Large silver shilling from the reign of William 111 dated 1700.

Walking out over it you could see the dark sandy soil liberally scattered with pottery, shells and tiles. But this rich coin packed soil seemed to be just out of our reach. My colleagues armed with an X-TERRA 305 and an Explorer SE Pro were going to have a real tough time on here. To be fair they lasted about an hour before moving off to some nearby meadowland... this was partly because the stubble was just defeating their efforts and partly because I had started to irritate them... just a little.

This was because I had the CTX 3030 with me that day, and even better I had brought along the small 6-inch Smart Coil in my bag. This was soon fitted, and boy was it a help.

Metal detecting finds - Copper Half Penny from reign of William 111 and Mary 11...sadly no date can be made outCopper Half Penny from reign of William 111 and Mary 11...sadly no date can be made out

The small coil easily glided between the stiff stalks and accessed the compacted soil surface below. Now I’m not one to boast, but I was having what one might quite literally say a "Field Day" here. I was in the right place and because of Minelab`s nifty accessories I was also able to say it was definitely the right time too.

My first find of note was a silver shilling from the reign of William III this example was a bit worn, but had the date 1700 on it. Ten minutes later I had yet another coin from the joint reigns of the same King William III, but also when his wife Mary II was alive. This was a real gem as it is the first example of this coin I had found. It has side profile busts showing the two ruling monarchs.

Metal detecting finds - Delightful Billy Butlins holiday camp badge dated 1953Delightful Billy Butlins holiday camp badge dated 1953

My next little find was something of a rather more recent date, a tiny enamelled badge from one of the famous Billy Butlins holiday camps this one being at Skegness. The holiday there was experienced by the poor person that lost this charming little badge in 1953.

Then as is usual with metal detecting I was swung back another 1700 years or so with a Roman coin from the reign of Claudius Gothicus. A brilliant day, walking back to join the others I was detecting sort of listlessly, full of excitement when the CTX 3030 registered a find on the edge of the field. Looking down I spotted a piece of coarse Iron Age pottery, lying right next to it was a small Roman coin called a Minim. What a finale!!

Metal detecting finds - Silver washed antoninianus coin from reign of Emperor Claudius GothicusSilver washed antoninianus coin from reign of Emperor Claudius Gothicus

There are some moral issues here perhaps it’s always best to seek confirmed status of land you are intending to travel out and search on. Or alternatively if not just take out the CTX 3030 with its superb accessory coils, so nothing that the land can throw at you will stand in the way of your determination to succeed.

Metal detecting finds - coarse pottery and Roman Minim coinIn this photo can be seen a piece of coarse pottery, to the right of this a small white stone and further to the right of that a pale greenish disc. That little disc is in fact a small Roman coin, if you want to scale it up there are several Barley grains nearby and they are 7mm in length

Basically I had recovered important items before they may have been lost once again when the field is deep ploughed in a few weeks. My colleagues had made several interesting finds in the meadows, but that was to be expected. What was not expected that day was the opportunity that had been given to me.... a critic might say "any old detector with a small coil would have done the same". In theory that could be true, but it wasn’t any old detector in this case it was the CTX 3030 and its 6-inch Smart Coil and that’s all I’m interested in.

Julian Evan-Hart


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