Shouldn’t Someone Look For Jo & His Crew?

At precisely thirty-five minutes past eleven on the night of January 23rd 1944 it was bloomin’ chilly and, if you were still up and outside, you would have been able to see the warm plumes of your breath in the cold, still night air. A fine sparkling frost coated the countryside and the occasional cock pheasant called from the numerous small copses in the locality. If you lived in or near the village of Shingay in Cambridgeshire and you looked up into the night sky you might well have wondered what that aeroplane was doing just circling round and round. Exactly two minutes later, making the time now eleven thirty seven, you would have witnessed the aeroplane – or at least heard it – enter a very steep dive. After a few seconds, hearing the engines start to scream, you might have thought “come on guys pull out of that.” At eleven thirty eight it would have become clear that the steep dive had been terminal for both aircraft and anyone inside it as a colossal explosion shook the window panes in local houses and a massive billowing orange fireball lit up the surrounding countryside. Read more of this post

When a coin is spend worn

Half Penny William IIITwo decades ago I came up with a phrase I use a lot today: “Spend Worn.” It was born from finding Roman Sestertii that, although they had retained very little detail, curiously still had a lustrous smooth glossy green (or other) colour patination. It’s a term that does not apply to corroded, deliberately filed, defaced or mutilated coins, just coins where the details have been gently and gradually eroded. Since then I have used the term on numerous occasions and, while I don’t claim to have invented it, I first had it published in a Treasure Hunting magazine in 1999. So, if no one used it prior to that well maybe I can take the credit…. Read more of this post

Using and interpreting Google Earth

Metal Detecting FindLike many metal detectorists I use Google Earth to have a look at the land that I search and to scope out potential new sites. The Time Shift icon on Google Earth allows you to essentially go back in time, sometimes as far as 1945, which is fascinating research. This icon is particularly useful with crop marks, as some show up better under certain light conditions, with specific crops and when there are certain moisture levels in the soil. On one of the estates I searched, for example, I noticed a field that clearly had strip lynchets on it. These medieval plough lines normally show up as lighter and darker soil stripes across an arable field – on pasture they are best observed as the sun sets and shadow falls across the lines. Read more of this post

Metal detecting, whatever will you find next?

Out DetectingI guess many of us have had that so called ‘X-Factor feeling’ when a certain find just pops into your thoughts – a few minutes later you find it! Sometimes it might not be quite as quick – maybe you were talking to a mate a week ago about it, or perhaps even in the car on the way to the site. Whatever the case, doesn’t it feel good to show that find to the very people you talked to about it? It’s almost as if you have a rather satisfyingly psychic aspect to your personality…I chat a lot about Celtic Torques and Roman Coin Hoards but so far the X-Factor spirit has not helped me with these. Read more of this post

Changes Over Four Decades

I’ve been detecting for a little more than 35 years now, and often reflect back to the days when I first started (though I shan’t disclose which machine I used because that’s just too embarrassing). I fell in love with the hobby as soon as I took it up, and still feel the same way today. I also laugh at some of my early antics. Read more of this post

Imprints From The Past

Like many of us do, I sometimes stumble upon curious things when out detecting. Pottery fragments and other ceramics are always interesting – even more so after I’ve cleaned them at home with my specs on! Read more of this post

To Be A Hoard, Or Not To Be A Hoard

Many people have found collections of buried coins, all over the world. Here in the UK, such finds have been dated as far back as Celtic times. Large quantities of coins discovered in a single or several pots are classed as ‘hoards’. Read more of this post

2014 – A Look Back

Well, here we are in 2015 and 2014 was quite a year with, once again, a few choice finds that kept me ticking over. Although it must be said, for the 36th year now, the Celtic Torque and large hoard of Roman Aureii that I have been searching for have once again evaded me.
However, that’s ok as it’s the smaller things I often derive the greatest pleasure from. So whilst I’m sure that the Torques etc lie in wait, for the time being it is these smaller items that make me ask questions I enjoy so much such as, “why is that Heraldic Pendant pierced” or “how did a Dutch coin get way out in a rural Cambridgeshire field?” Often the answers cannot ever be established but it’s the guessing and consideration of possibilities that make this great hobby so fascinating. Read more of this post

If You Just Don’t Have That Feeling About A Site….Don’t Give Up!

Coins in HandAs metal detectorists, we all sometimes have that special feeling about a specific area of a field or a whole site. Many referred to it as ‘the X Factor’ long before that cheesy talent show arrived on our screens. To give you an example of this, five years ago I was trawling Google Earth and using the time shift clock icon on a large estate that I have permission to search on. For those who don’t know, the time shift icon is a little yellow clock at the top of the page; click on this and Google Earth will show you a slide bar – if previous photos of your site have been taken then you can use the slide bar to go back in time and have a look. It is particularly useful for viewing different sites from the perspective of different positions of the sun and also with a range of different crops. Read more of this post

Finding Treasure… Well… Sort Of!


Metal detecting has certainly taken me to some wonderful places, ranging from the flat fields of Cambridgeshire to the hot arid deserts of mid Jordan. What I did not expect on this journey was to find myself metal detecting in the attic of a huge house in Cockfosters. So, how did this happen…Well, a few days ago I had a phone call from a lady called Diana, whose husband John had hidden some valuables away when they went away on vacation. Months later she had asked him where these valuables were and so John went up into the attic to get them. The trouble was that he had put them in such a safe place that he couldn’t actually locate them at all.

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