A Rare Find Indeed

SundialRecently my detecting colleague and I acquired some new land. It was pasture land and I had to admit at the time that I’ve never been keen on metal detecting on pasture, despite the fact that finds are often in much better condition when pulled out of the earth here than when they’re discovered on arable land. 

Now our new site seemed predominantly Georgian but a few hammerheads popped up as well, so the chance for a find that dated back to an even earlier date looked promising. In the end it was Steve with his Minelab Safari who uncovered what, at first, looked rather like a large plumbing grommet. However, luckily Steve had experience in these matters, as he had found these things before and new exactly what he was looking at. He informed us that the object that lay in his hand was no less than a 17th-18th-century Pocket Sundial – a very rare find indeed. Also recovered from the same hole was a section of its supporting loop.

The main body of the sundial is made from bronze, whilst the loop is pinkish grainy copper. This is the best example we have ever come across of a find like this, with its delightful glossy green patination. It is an artifact that harks back to the time of before watches (can you imagine it?!) when the sun (and the stars) were the only methods that human beings could use in order to have a moderately good idea of what time of day or night it was. Interesting to note about these pieces is that the ‘J’ for January, July and June is depicted as an ‘I.’ These types of sundials are normally found in a twisted or fragmentary form, rather than whole like this, and it was really fantastic to see an almost complete example at last.

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About Julian Evan-Hart
Julian is from Hertfordshire, England and has always been interested in fossils and antiquities. Julian has written a number of books on metal detecting, and is an avid user of Minelab products.

4 Responses to A Rare Find Indeed

  1. Ozarks says:

    Amazing find, HOW COOL!

    • Julian Evan-Hart says:

      Hi Ozarks yep sure agree this is well cool and what a privilege it is to unearth such old things all the best Jules.

  2. Liam says:

    Dated to when, do you think?

    • Julian Evan-Hart says:

      Tricky one that Liam generally references state they date from around 1580 to say 1740. Personally I reckon this one is around the 1680 period only a guess tho made possible by finds and coins in its vicinity. Thank you for taking time to comment Cheers Jules.

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