10 things that happened on this day in History… April 3rd:

We love our History, and we love to find out about interesting facts or events that happened on this very day back through the years. We picked 10 interesting things that occurred on this day throughout history, along with a handful of births and deaths. Swat up on your facts take a few minuets to think back on how this day might have been once…

1043 – Edward the Confessor is crowned King of England

1882 – American Old West: Jesse James is killed by Robert Ford. He was shot in the back by Bob Ford, one of his own gang members, reportedly for a $10,000 reward.

1895 – Trial of the libel case instigated by Oscar Wilde begins, eventually resulting in his imprisonment on charges of homosexuality.

1922 – Joseph Stalin becomes the first General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.

1933 – First flight over Mount Everest, a British expedition, led by the Marquis of Clydesdale, and funded by Lucy, Lady Houston

1948 – President Truman signed the Marshall Plan, which would foster the recovery of war-torn Europe.

1954 – 100th Boat Race Oxford wins the 100th Boat Race by four-and-a-half lengths from Cambridge in rough conditions on the River Thames.

1968 – Martin Luther King, Jr. delivers his “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” speech to a rally of striking sanitation workers in Memphis, Tenn., less than 24 hours before he was assassinated.

1973 – Martin Cooper of Motorola made the first handheld mobile phone call to Joel S. Engel of Bell Labs, though it took ten years for the DynaTAC 8000X to become the first such phone to be commercially released.

2000 – United States v. Microsoft: Microsoft is ruled to have violated United States antitrust laws by keeping “an oppressive thumb” on its competitors.

Born on this day:

1366 Henry IV of England (d. 1413)

1643Charles V, Duke of Lorraine (d. 1690)

1924Doris Day, American actress, singer and animal rights activist

1924Marlon Brando, American actor (d. 2004)

1946John Virgo, English snooker player

1964Andy Robinson, English rugby player

Died on this day:

963William III, Duke of Aquitaine (b. 915)

1287Pope Honorius IV (b. c. 1210)

1606Charles Blount, 1st Earl of Devon (b. 1563)

1950Carter G. Woodson, American historian, author, and journalist, founder of Black History Month (b. 1875)

Can you think of any interesting things that happened on this day in History? 

What is the best Metal Detector?

Let me set the scene….

It’s Wednesday morning, the sun is shining like mid July and whilst the kettle boils we decide to discuss what we think is the best metal detector. Now, i say discuss, but discussion soon turned into debate and debate into protesting and justifying our choice.

Unfortunately, whilst we could have continued to discuss what is the best metal detector out there all day, we sadly had to crack on with work; so we asked you…

Here’s what some of our Facebook friends had to say… Let us know what YOU think is the best metal detector and why, and see if you agree with any of the choices below…

Andy Holbrook: It’s got to be the minelab explorer 11 with a pro coil you can’t beat it!

Paul Rambo Campbell: Minelab Explorer XS with S.E.F Coil. But still think laser B3 & Power max 2 are worthy detectors switch on and go.

Graham McCall: Fisher F5 brought from you of course!    Thanks Graham!

Rob Capper: F75 for depth, F5 for coin shooting. Love em both thanks J.A. 🙂    Cheers Rob! 

Marcus Virgo: Xp goldmaxx power awesome machine deffo number 1 in my book! 

Hugo Fernandes: For starters, nothing like garrett ace 250! 

Julian Evan-Hart: I’ve been detecting for about 36 years too. I started off with several different makes including the then legendary Arado 120B. “The best metal detector eh?” now theres a question. I reckon the effectiveness of all machines is influenced by a combination of mental frame of mind (good or bad mood) determination, and Lady Luck. What then assists these come from the manufacturer and are performance and build quality. These have to be balanced good build quality and poor performance and excellent performance with poor build quality are non -runners. As a detectorist I feel that since I invest hundreds of hours researching and searching then Im at a stage where I deserve to have the best equipment on the market. Not what others say is the best what I feel and know from my experience to be “the top kit” For me and all my close detecting colleagues this perfect balance and “top kit” is provided by Minelab products. The X-TERRA series is unbeatable in its price range and the upper echelon models are in a league of their own. I remember my first Explorer 1 and how it destroyed the finds rates of my colleagues, so much so that they all went and got one…..well that was well over a decade ago now and Minelab have never let us down since….consistency, quality and top finds rates what more assistance could we ask for?….Jules

Peter Wathall: minelab couln’t agree more

Antony Provan: Dowsing stick.  Ladies and Gentlemen, Antony Provan… *round of applause*.

Chris Hughes: For 36 years I have only ever used C-Scope and don’t intend to change now. Current machine is 1220R.

Andrew Longman: XP Maxx power for me!

Alan Miller: Digging deeper with the DFX.

March 23rd – On this day in history:

At Joan Allen we love our History! Whilst you sit enjoying your elevenses, have a look below at 10 things that happened on this day, March 23rd.

Can you think of any interesting things that happened on this day in History?

1657 – France and England form alliance against Spain; England gets Dunkirk

1808 – Napoleon’s brother Joseph takes the throne of Spain

1840 – The first successful photo of the Moon is taken

1956 – The Islamic Republic of Pakistan becomes an independent republic within the British Commonwealth (National Day)

1963 – The Beach Boys release Surfin’ U.S

1976 – International Bill of Rights goes into effect (35nations ratifying)

1977 – The UK’s Labour government survives a vote of ‘no confidence’ in the House of Commons thanks to support from the Liberals

1991 – Saddam Hussein is defeated by allies fighting in the Gulf War, and he steps down from his position as Prime Minister of Iraq.

1998 – The motion picture epic Titanic wins 11 Oscars at the 70th Academy Awards

2001 – Russia’s Mir space station ended its 15-year orbit of the Earth, splashing down in the South Pacific.

Source: BBC, Wikipedia, historyorb.com, infoplease.com, history.co.uk, brainyhistory.com, on-this-day.com

Metal Detecting Law in Scotland and Northern Ireland

In this blog post I will cover the Law for Scotland & Northern Ireland.


What to do if you make a find

  • All finds, whether made by chance, by metal-detecting, fieldwalking or archaeological excavation are the property of the Crown and may be claimed as treasure trove
  • If you have found a coin and/or object which is likely to be of historical or archaeological interest or importance you must report it for treasure trove assessment.
  • If you are not sure what type of find should be reported please contact the Treasure Trove Unit (TTU) for advice in the first instance.
  • It is important not to dismiss a find if you don’t know what it is. The most unpromising find can turn out to be an important missing piece of the past.
  • The Case archive shows examples of recent finds which have been claimed as treasure trove and details of the museums to which they have been allocated.

How to report a find

What will happen next

  • The TTU will contact you to acknowledge receipt of your form
  • If the find is suitable for further assessment or for recording purposes, arrangements will be made with you for the find to be delivered to the TTU.
  • If the find is not appropriate for treasure trove purposes (eg Victorian and modern coins, Victorian and modern horse gear, brasses, buckles and fragments of machinery etc,) you will be advised.

Finds which are claimed as treasure trove

Finds which are not claimed as treasure trove

  • Finds which are not claimed by the Crown are returned to the finder by the along with an individually numbered certificate stating that the Crown is not exercising its right to claim.

Treatment of finds

  • Please do not clean or apply substances such as wax or lacquer etc to coins or objects you have found. Rewards will be reduced or waived for finds which have been treated and/or damaged by cleaning or the application of such substances.
  • Please consult Treatment of finds page for information.

Illegal removal of finds from Scotland

  • Under the Dealing in Cultural Objects (Offences) Act 2003, it is a criminal offence to remove any coin or object from Scotland, see http://www.hmso.gov.uk/acts/acts2003/20030027.htm
  • Finders should make themselves familiar with the Legal position relating to treasure trove in Scotland where finds are the property of the Crown, not the finder or the landowner.

Use of a metal detector in Scotland

  • Under Section 42 of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act (1979) it is a criminal offence to use a metal detector on a scheduled ancient monument or a monument in the guardianship of the State. It is also an offence to remove from such a monument any object of archaeological or historical interest found using a metal detector. If in any doubt as to whether a site is scheduled you should check with Historic Scotland or the landowner.

Northern Ireland:

The   Treasure   Act   1996   came   into   force   on 24  September 1997 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, replacing the common law of treasure trove.

This leaflet provides a summary of the main points of the new law: further information will be
found in the Code of Practice on the Treasure Act, which can be obtained free of charge from the
Environment & Heritage Service (EHS).   Metal detectorists are strongly advised to obtain a copy of
the Code of Practice which, among other things, contains guidance for detectorists and restrictions
on searching for archaeological objects, sets out guidelines on rewards, gives advice on the care
of finds and contains useful addresses.

What is the definition of treasure?
The following finds are treasure under the Act (more detailed guidance is given in the Code of

1.  Objects other than coins: any object other than a coin provided that it contains at least 10
per cent of gold or silver and is at least 300 years old when found. (Objects with gold or silver
plating normally have less than 10 per cent of precious metal.)

2.  Coins: all coins from the same find provided that they are at least 300 years old when found
(but if the coins contain less than 10 per cent of gold or silver there must be at least 10 of

An object or coin is part of the same find as another object or coin if it is found in the same
place as, or had previously been left together with, the other object. Finds may have become
scattered since they were originally deposited in the ground.

Only the following groups of coins will normally be regarded as coming from the ‘same find’:

hoards that have been deliberately hidden;
✦   smaller groups of coins, such as the contents of purses, that may have been dropped or lost;
✦   votive or ritual deposits.
Single coins found on their own are not treasure and groups of coins lost one by one over a period
of time (for example those found on urban sites) will not normally be treasure.

3.  Associated objects: any object, whatever it is
made of, that is found in the same place as, or that had previously been together with, another
object that is treasure.

4. Objects that would have been treasure trove: any object that would previously have been treasure
trove, but does not fall within the specific categories given above. These objects have to be made
substantially of gold or silver; they have to have been buried with the intention of recovery, and
the owners or their heirs cannot be traced.
The following types of finds are not treasure:
✦   objects whose owners can be traced;
✦  unworked natural objects, including human and animal remains, even if they are found in
association with treasure; and
✦ objects from the foreshore, which are wreck.
Metal detectorists should be aware of the restrictions imposed by the Historic Monuments and
Archaeological Objects (NI) Order 1995. If you search for archaeological objects without a licence
issued by the Department you may receive a fine of up to level 3 on the standard scale. If you are found in possession of a metal detector or similar device on a
protected site without such a licence you may receive a fine of up to level 4.

What should I do if I find something that may be treasure?
All finds of treasure must be reported to the coroner for the district in which they were found
either within
14 days after the day on which you made the find or within 14 days after the day on which you
realised that the find might be treasure (for example, as a result of having  it  identified).  The
obligation  to  report  finds
applies to everyone, including archaeologists.

How do I report a find of treasure?
Very simply. You may report your find to the coroner in person, by letter, telephone, fax, etc. The
coroner or his officer will send you an acknowledgement and tell you where to send your find. The
Code of Practice has a list of all coroners with their addresses, telephone
and fax numbers. A police station will also
be able to provide details of the local coroner

You could also bring your find to a museum or to EHS for examination and, if such a body determines
that the find might be treasure, they will report it to the local coroner on your behalf.
Where will I take my find?
You will normally be asked to take your find to the Ulster Museum, a local museum or EHS, if you
have not already done so. The body which receives the find on behalf of the coroner will give you a
receipt. Although they will need to know where you made the find, they will keep this information
confidential if you or the landowner wish.
The body receiving the find will notify the Sites and Monuments Record in EHS as soon as possible
(if that has not already happened), so that the site where the find was made can be investigated by
archaeologists if necessary.   If the find was not brought originally to the Ulster Museum, the
receiving body will deliver it to them for investigation.

What if I do not report a find of treasure?
If you fail to report a find that you believe or have reasonable grounds for believing to be
treasure without a reasonable excuse you may be imprisoned for up to three months or receive a fine
of up to level
5 on the standard scale, or both. You will not be breaking the law if you do not report a find
because you do not initially recognise that it might be treasure, but you must report it once you
do realise this.

What happens if the find is not treasure?
If the object is clearly not treasure, the museum or EHS will inform the coroner, who may then
decide to give directions that the find should be returned without holding an inquest.

What happens if the find is treasure?
If the museum curator or archaeologist believes that the find may be treasure, he will inform the
Ulster  Museum.  It  will  decide  whether  it wishes to acquire the find. If it does not, other
museums may express an interest
in acquiring the find.

Metal Detecting Law in England & Wales

Following my previous article on “etiquette in metal detecting” I thought I would touch on the law surrounding metal detecting and how it affects the metal detecting fraternity in the UK.

Please be aware that the legislation is different if you live in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

  • The following finds are Treasure under the Act, if found after 24 September 1997 (or, in the case of category 2, if found after 1 January 2003):
  1. Any metallic object, other than a coin, provided that at least 10 per cent by weight of metal is precious metal (that is, gold or silver) and that it is at least 300 years old when found. If the object is of prehistoric date it will be Treasure provided any part of it is precious metal.
  2. Any group of two or more metallic objects of any composition of prehistoric date that come from the same find (see below)
  3. All coins from the same find provided they are at least 300 years old when found (but if the coins contain less than 10 per cent of gold or silver there must be at least ten of them). Only the following groups of coins will normally be regarded as coming from the same find:

    • hoards that have been deliberately hidden
    • smaller groups of coins, such as the contents of purses, that may been dropped or lost
    • votive or ritual deposits.
  4. Any object, whatever it is made of, that is found in the same place as, or had previously been together with, another object that is Treasure.
  5. Any object that would previously have been treasure trove, but does not fall within the specific categories given above. Only objects that are less than 300 years old, that are made substantially of gold or silver, that have been deliberately hidden with the intention of recovery and whose owners or heirs are unknown will come into this category.
  • Note:
    An object or coin is part of the ‘same find’ as another object or coin if it is found in the same place as, or had previously been together with, the other object. Finds may have become scattered since they were originally deposited in the ground.2) “of prehistoric date” means dating from the Iron Age or any earlier period

Etiquette in metal detecting

Etiquette in metal detectingI was asked if there was any particular etiquette when starting out in metal detecting, so I have done some research and found the following list from the National Council for Metal Detecting.

Most of it is common sense, but it is a great “refresher” or introduction into the exciting world of metal detecting as we have come to know it.

I also feel it sums up our hobby by showing that we are a respectful and mindful bunch of people. Over the next few articles I will also be expanding on some of the legislation surround our exciting hobby

“NCMD Code of Conduct

  1. Do not trespass. Obtain permission before venturing on to any land.
  2. Respect the Country Code, leave gates and property as you find them and do not damage crops, frighten animals or disturb nesting birds.
  3. Wherever the site, do not leave a mess or an unsafe surface for those who may follow. It is perfectly  simple to extract a coin or other small object buried a few inches below the ground  without digging a  great hole. Use a suitable digging implement to cut a neat flap(do not remove the plug of earth entirely from the ground), extract the object, reinstate the grass, sand or soil carefully, and even you will have difficulty in locating the find spot again.
  4. If you discover any live ammunition or any lethal object such as an unexploded bomb or mine, do not disturb it. Mark the site carefully and report the find to the local police and landowner.
  5. Help keep Britain tidy. Safely dispose of refuse you come across.
  6. Report all unusual historical finds to the landowner, and acquaint yourself with current NCMD policy relating to the Voluntary Reporting of Portable Antiquities.
  7. Remember it is illegal for anyone to use a metal detector on a designated area (e.g. scheduled archaeological site, SSSI, or Ministry of Defence property) without permission from the appropriate authority.
  8. Acquaint yourself with the definitions of the following documents: –

    (1)Treasure contained in the Treasure Act 1996 and its associated Code of Practice, making sure you understand your responsibilities.

    (2)Advice for Finders of Archaeological Objects including Treasure 2006.

  9. Remember that when you are out with your metal detector you are an ambassador for our hobby. Do nothing that might give it a bad name.
  10. Never miss an opportunity to explain your hobby to anyone who asks about it.

Appendix A to the NCMD Constitution
Revised February 2000
Amended AGM June 2007”

The best thing about metal detecting is…

Over the weekend, whilst having a quiet cuppa and listening to the dishwasher gurgling round, i started to think about what an old school friend I’d bumped into in the Supermarket had asked me after we’d updated each other on our lives to date…

“Metal Detecting? What is good about that? Don’t you just trudge through fields and dig up bits of old tat?”

Once those words had left his mouth, i remembered exactly why i had nothing to do with him and had ‘sadly lost touch’. He clearly had no idea about it and yet was making a judgement on me and my wonderful hobby. How dare he.

I carried my mood with me into Monday and into the office; along with my overly large packed lunch. The guys thought i was being tetchy and overreacting but I was still annoyed. I think what annoyed me more was that, when he had asked me the question, my answer as to why i go metal detecting and enjoy it was less than succinct and simply didn’t do it justice. Hence i turned to my colleagues and trusted Facebookers for support and reasons why our hobby is so great!

Here’s what you said…

Paul Vernon: “Getting out from the stress of every day life”

Peter Davey: “The best feeling for me is Holding that Roman coin i have Just found and thinking whys it here, who dropped it did his wife have a go at him when he got home? Love it :)”

Doogles Lydiate: “The whole thing, it’s a fantastic hobby, especially the fantastic surroundings.”

Allan Vint: “Uncovering and discovering hidden history”

Paul Rambo Campbell: “Discovering finds that people from my village can once again see and hold, they say that’s better than going to a museum when all you do is look at then through glass”

Jason Leach: “The getting out on a Sunday, having 2 disabled kids to look after during the week, i need the break! Once on the field, i’m in my own little world, surrounded by the Devon countryside & sea views & the excitement of not knowing what the signal could be…”

Trevor Jones: “Everything that we pull out of the ground has a history/story, even the shotgun cartridge (of which there are plenty) and I love working through it.”

Marcin Malkuszewski: “Definitely the connection with past, with people who held the same item hundred or few hundreds years ago…time travel in miniature?”

Metal Detecting gets a Bad Rep

A site in Ferring has been left in disarray after metal detectorists reportedly dug up several areas of turf at a cricket ground.

The Worthing Herald reports that several metal detectorists have been digging extensively at the cricket ground at Little Twitten, Ferring and instead of filling their holes, have just left it.

The situation came to the local councils’ attention when dog walker Doreen Doig, 78, saw the damage on the cricket pitch and reported it to Arun District Council.

Ms. Doig said of the area:

“Not only is it a dreadful mess and looks unsightly, it could also be very dangerous as the ground is now uneven.”

“There’s probably about 100 small circular areas which have been dug up, they’ve left no patch unturned and if there had been something valuable to find they would definitely have found it – they have exhausted the area.”

The council then wrote to everyone in the local area who holds a metal detecting license to tell them not to dig on sports pitches.

This all boils down to simple detecting etiquette. Any good detectorist knows that once you’ve finished detecting you should fill your holes and make sure the area is as you found it. They are also well aware of the golden rule of permission as well.

Now this could be overzealous beginners, but surely people with a metal detecting license would know what they are doing and are not likely to leave the area in a mess.

The other thing is are the council sure it’s the detectorists’ fault? It could be animals burrowing on the pitch or just vandals trashing it?

What do you think of the story? We’ve had a few of our Facebook fans talking about this today. Let us know what your thoughts are and join in the conversation….

If you have just started metal detecting and want to know the rules and what you can and can’t do, check out our guide for beginners on the Joan Allen website.

A Beginner’s Guide to Metal Detecting – Your Thoughts

Two weeks ago Jon and Gabby set off on their first metal detecting mission on some land owned by a builder in the village of Pottespury, Northamptonshire. Armed with two metal detectors (the E-Trac and the X-Terra 705) and a vague notion of what they were doing, they set off to see what they could detect.

The response to the video has been great, and many people from the Joan Allen community on Facebook and Youtube have offered tips on how to grasp the art of metal detecting.

So if you’re a metal detecting newbie or want to take it up, here’s some useful tips to get you started:


Excavate out your signal

“One thing I would suggest you need to excavate out your signal with a little more care. Use your spade to remove the soil from the ground and your hands to find the item in the removed soil. If you bash the soil with spade you risk damaging or breaking the item you are looking for – I broke a rare nut silver penny doing exactly the same as you did in the vid….. Good hunting!”

Chris Keyworth, Facebook


Keep your detector coil close to the ground

“I’ve been searching for 36 years and found if you keep your detector coil as close to the ground as possible as you sweep and search you will easily lose 3-6 inches of detection depth if you are not focused – Good hunting.”

Mark Williams, Facebook


Take care of your search area

“Always remember to fill your holes & try to leave your search area as you found it as much as possible…..believe me, it can lead to more permissions by way of referrals as it has for me & many others!

The great thing about this hobby (from my point of view) is that it’s a total learning curve. Always something else to get to grips with in order to improve your performance/find rate, and loads of lovely research too!”

Phil Chapman, Facebook


Use your spade well

“When digging through grass, use the spade to cut a round plug that you can then pull back or take out. It makes it easier to fill the hole back in. Your find might be in the plug and not the hole.”

Ben Lovegrove, Facebook


Skim the ground

“You need a pin pointer probe – I see people swinging it sometimes 8 inches away above the stubble, so you are only getting a few inches depth, try and get the coil closest to the ground for deep penetration. Skimming the ground very close is the best way.”

grinder1234 – Youtube


Take a look at our beginner’s guide to metal detecting video below and feel free to share your tips and advice on how we can improve. Let us know what you think and comment below, on the Joan Allen Facebook page and on Youtube.

Metal Detecting – Fun for all the family




With half term this week, it’s now a better time than ever to go out metal detecting as a family.

Don’t let your kids sit inside all day playing FIFA on Xbox or Call of Duty on their PS3, get them out and about and a metal detector in their hands.

Metal Detecting is becoming more popular than ever with people of all ages, as it’s outdoors, educational, and a great hobby. It gets the kids outside and not sitting indoors sitting at a screen killing Russians or terrorists all day on Call of Duty.

Children's Metal Detecting Equipment from Joan Allen Metal Detectors

With a range of children’s metal detectors, and prices starting from £115 – the same price as a Wii (£115) and cheaper than a PS3 (£189) and an Xbox 360 (£179) – your children can learn about history in a fun interactive way get them outdoors and detect as a family. We’re even offering 10% off all metal detectors on our Facebook store.

It’s got so popular that kids’ TV favourite The Hive has featured metal detecting on its show, urging children to take part and ditch the Game Boy and go out looking for treasure. Peppa Pig and Fireman Sam have also featured metal detecting where Sam introduces Sarah and James to his new metal detector, and they get hooked on looking for treasure; check out our Facebook page where we have the video!



For all the latest news, reviews and metal detecting tips for children (and adults) go to the Joan Allen website at www.joanallen.co.uk and like us on Facebook