Metallic Objects In Building Material

Crotal Bell Packed with MortarHistory frequently records humans placing metal objects in building material as they are being constructed – a sort of ritual. Examples of this include several extremely rare Edward V111 pennies allegedly placed in the foundations of buildings that were constructed in 1936. Another example is several 17th Century Trade Tokens thought to have been found in building debris during demolition. I have two of my own examples of this, which have a varying degree of curiosity about them.

Last year I got a signal from a piece of concrete in a remote rural field. After the Second World War there were many buildings demolished on the nearby airfield and the debris was ground up and spread over local fields. The chunk of concrete I got the signal from still had adherent plaster so it was fairly safe to assume that it was a wall fragment. The signal came from a 9mm pistol round that was embedded in the matrix. You could even see the attempt to fill the hole. Finding it made me wonder about how it got there – who was discharging such a weapon indoors, was it an unlucky ricochet, or (even more fascinating) was it evidence from a violent quarrel between two airmen, perhaps over the affections of a local girl?

Metallic Object

If the pistol round made me wonder then I was even more curious when yesterday I found another metallic item firmly stuck in a large lump of Georgian mortar debris from a long ago demolished mansion house. The signal revealed itself to be half of a silvered scaled crotal bell, the interior of which was packed full of mortar. I couldn’t help but think how strange this was and that it must have been deliberate. Although perhaps it was just sheer devilment or one of those things we just do for no reason at all apart from some sort of inner satisfaction. So, has anyone else had any finds attributed to metal objects being placed into buildings?

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.

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