Treasure Finds and Stories
In your last Minelab Times, I read with interest the article "Staffordshire Hoard" accompanied by a photo of detectorists in a field near Corfe Castle in Dorset. That photo has special significance for me, as I was privileged to attend the Minelabowners Rally at Corfe last September and detected on that very field as well as surrounding fields where permission had been gained by Minelabowners (MLO).
A memorable find for me on that field was my first cut quarter hammered silver coin and my detecting friend found a very bent Medieval hammered Silver Penny there. I was suprised how thin those hammered coins are, making them easily damaged by farm machinery. By this time I had realised that any old coin we might find here in Australia is modern in comparison to England where 1800-year-old roman coins are commonplace. One bloke let me hold a 2000 year old Gold Stater he had found a month or two earlier. Wow!
high ridge next to the Castle ruins produced Roman coins for some of our group, which is quite surprising, as I was told it had been detected for 30 plus years. Just goes to show that you never get it all.
best coin I saw at Corfe was a gold Guinea from the 1690's,which was found lying on the surface. Needless to say, the next day everyone rushed to detect that field, but no more were found. Another memorable find for me at the Corfe Rally was a small Roman brooch. I didn't know what it was at first, but was soon told.
ave been a member of Minelabowners.com for a few years because I've always been fascinated by all the old coins and relics dating back hundreds, if not thousands of years that are detected in England. So, early in 2009 when I found out that the annual Corfe Rally was coming up in September, something inside of me said I had to go, at least once, to check out the UK Rally scene and give it a go myself. As I'm getting older I realise that life is short, and if you really want to do something, just get out there and do it!
er having been out of Australia before, all this world travel thing was new and exciting to me. I couldn't find any restrictions about taking my E-TRAC to England, so it was packed up with all my other gear and on 31st August I left Australia for the long 24-hour flight to London via Singapore.
I spent three days in London soaking up the sights. Then on to the Central Searchers Rally at Raunds, Northamptonshire where I met and got to know a small group of Minelabowner members, who had only been names on the website till now. Finds were a bit lean at Raunds with most, like myself, only finding a collection of buttons and buckles, although I did find a coin weight. (I found out later what it was).
After Raunds our small group travelled down to Salisbury via a short visit to Stonehenge. Couldn't believe how many people and how much traffic there was at Stonehenge. But then again, all of England is busy. With 61 million crowded into an area the size of Victoria, it has to be!
At Salisbury we detected a field that has produced thousands of roman coins for detectorists over many years. All of our group found Roman coins there also. Great excitement for me, as these were my first Roman coins. It seems Roman armies camped on this site, which is on an old Roman road that leads to the old town site, now called Old Sarum. This was located on a nearby hill. Those Romans must have been careless with their coins! Unfortunately, a lot of the Roman bronze coins are in poor condition, but I did see some with good detail.
After Salisbury it was down to the Minelabowners Rally, as mentioned earlier, with the weather being great most of the time. Sunny days about 18-22 degrees C.
When Corfe was over, I stayed at a MLO member’s house and spent a few days detecting with a fellow from Holland. During this time I made some good finds including three rather battered silver sixpences (I think) dating from Elizabeth I, one dated 1601. Also my best find, a silver Denarius of Emperor Geta (approx 200 ad). After 1800 years in the ground, it came out in almost as new condition. Amazing!
When we were driving around. I was told things like” This was a Roman road because Romans only built straight roads", or” That’s a hill fort over there”, or "Those are burial mounds in the fields". There’s so much history, going back thousands of years in England that just blew me away, coming from a land where early 1800's European settlement is old.
But, like they say, all good things come to an end. So after 3 weeks in England, it was time to take that long flight home again. A day or two after I returned home, news of the Staffordshire Hoard broke. Some people asked me if I found similar treasures, to which I had to reply no. But I'm still thrilled with my finds, which are far older than any coins or relics I've detected before.
Now I'm left with many wonderful memories of the people I met and the great time I had detecting in England. Perhaps this was a once in a lifetime trip, but I'd like to think it might be possible for me to return one day and have another go at detecting more of those old coins and relics.