The Ancient Door Hinge
Emily Chambers (Instagram: @metaldetectingemily)
I have been detecting for five years so far, but the most memorable find I have uncovered was near the beginning of my digging career. Dad and I had been searching some woodland in an area we had previously found Roman coins. We came across a strong non-ferrous hit on the top of a bank and after digging for over twenty minutes, we pulled out what I first thought was an old door hinge. Dad muttered a word which I won’t repeat on here, and I thought it was due to his frustration of digging for a long time to only find a piece of trash, but it was because he knew something that I didn’t….we’d found a Roman brooch. After he told me what it was, my heart started racing. As we brushed the dirt off, we could see gems still encrusted in the brass and a beautiful pattern appearing. I will never forget the feeling of handling an object for the first time after being buried in the ground for over two thousand years and it is a find that I will cherish forever.
Another very memorable moment was the time that Dad and I were digging a good non-ferrous signal on the top of a hill during a thunderstorm. We both wanted to get back home to get out of the heavy rain and the danger of being stood on a tall hill holding metal poles with lightening around us, but we were eager to find out what we had found, considering this was a hill that we had found multiple hammer-coins on in the past. We dug and dug as the rain got heavier, only to finally uncover a shotgun cartridge. After that, we fled back home, but it is a funny memory that we still talk about to this day.
One final find that always plays in the back of our minds is when we found a Charles I silver shilling. Dad had already packed up his detector and was heading back to the car when I had a strong hit that I just wanted to quickly dig before we go, despite the fact I was sure it would going to be rubbish – luckily we did as we unearthed the hammered coin in beautiful condition. Now, whenever we want to go home after a day of digging, I always check one last time in case another shilling could be hidden somewhere nearby.
When the Detecting Bug Bit
Stacie & Rob Partlow (Instagram: @fathersondetectorists)
April 2018, we were on the Isle of Wight when George, his Dad (Rob) and his Grandad (Wayne) went on an adventure to the beach with a metal detector. This was the first time that George had been detecting and he genuinely could have spent all day looking. The excitement of the unknown, the wonder of what could be next and the “what if’s” and “can you image” whirring through his mind and spurring him on. After returning home it wasn’t just George that had been bitten, but Rob too. He joined a local metal detecting club (there’s more than you may think, and probably one in your area!) and each week George would eagerly anticipate a picture from his Dad on the finds of the day; and couldn’t wait to help him carefully clean the finds and talk about where they came from, how old they were, and who could have been the last person to have them in their possession.
We returned to the Isle of Wight in August 2018 and George simply could not wait to get back onto the beach and hunt for more treasure, it was practically all he spoke about. It was at this point it became crystal clear; detecting was the perfect hobby for George and something that we could do as a family. George is on the autistic spectrum and has ADHD, the amount of interest and passion he shows in his new hobby gives him something to focus on, talk about and look forward to.
He was rewarded for all his hard work on that holiday as he found a small treasure trove of goodies! 3 Three pence coins from 1946, 1954 and 1960. 2 one pence coins from 1860, and 2 half pennies from 1881 & 1899. Quite the haul!
The 3rd of November came around and it’s George’s birthday. It was an obvious choice that one of his presents would be a metal detector, a Garrett Ace 150. If ever you wanted to see excitement, happiness and joy within a 10 second window this was the moment. The very next hour was spent calibrating his new best friend, listening to the multitude of tones when different metal types were found and of course, giving it a kiss for good luck. The following day he was itching to get outdoors and see what treasures his new detector could help him unearth. He was out with his Dad and it wasn’t long before the first picture came up on my phone, George’s first find with his new detector, a half penny dated 1940. Looking down at the screen it wasn’t the coin that caught my attention, but the enormous smile on my little boy’s face, holding the coin with a real sense of pride - It melted my heart and made me incredibly happy knowing how overjoyed he was. I never thought I’d get emotional over a half penny!
So after reading the above, if anyone out there is looking for a new hobby, or simply looking to spend more time outdoors with your own family, I can personally recommend trying out detecting and getting involved. If you’re not out on the hunt you can find yourself researching the history of a past find, learning about a new dig site or dreaming about what a “holy grail” find would be for you. George assures me that his dream find would be a Bronze Age axe head! Here’s hoping…
Metal Detecting Down Under
Jacob Ure (Instagram: @digging_australia)
My passion for metal detecting was found through my interest in history. I first got my hand on a metal detector in 2013, although basic, it immediately became a hobby I really enjoyed. Since then, I have owned 4 different machines across a range of brands, and I am enjoying the pastime more than ever. With all the questions I receive that are along the lines of “what’s your most expensive find”, “do you find gold”, “how much money do you make” it seems people assume my passion is built on the monetary value of finds, where in fact I value the history and experiences much higher. It is through metal detecting that I have met hundreds of people, many of which have become close friends. Some of the most memorable outings resulted in minimal finds, but involved meeting new, like minded people, with similar interests. Since I joined the hobby much younger (12 years old) than the stereotypical detectorist, I used to fear being seen as ‘weird’ and ‘different’ by my school peers.
Although slightly true, the outcome of my dedication to the hobby is much worth it, and I have since paired it with my interest in filmmaking, in which I create YouTube videos related to metal detecting. As for my favorite detecting find, most people unfamiliar with the hobby would expect to hear about gold rings, jewellery and other items of substantial value, but in reality the most memorable finds are the ones that tell the best story. In 2016, I uncovered a button from the 46th Regiment of Foot, which operated in my hometown in 1818, only 12 years after its establishment as a penal colony! Although only worth a few dollars, it gives insight into the grim beginnings of Australia’s European history.
The most common reason I hear from young people for not pursuing their unconventional interests (in most cases either metal detecting or YouTube) is “I am worried what people will think”. I used to have the same thoughts, but have come to realise that the benefits heavily outweigh the negative judgement. Since starting the hobby I have met hundreds of people, learnt about untold history, and found a passion for creating content which has amassed over 170,000 interested followers across social media platforms. Also, metal detecting and the experiences I have gained had direct influence in my early entry into university, where I now study Archaeology. Also, I’ve had the opportunity to donate items to museums and other organisations. It is always great to give back to the community!
Overall, I have very much enjoyed my 7 years in the hobby, and hope to participate in it for decades to come.
The Golden Oak
George West (Instagram: @_georgewest)
It was a fresh morning with the sun fighting its way through the clouds, so I set off to my one and only permission hoping to discover a few more secrets of the forgotten past. I decided to spend the day on my favourite field which previously had unearthed some great finds such as a 1696 William III Sixpence & an 1882 Victoria Shilling all in one specific area of the field. So I headed straight for it with my Minelab Equinox 800. The first hour went by with a few nice finds; Watchwinder, Jews Harp & 2 Victorian pennies.
After a short break under an ancient Oak tree, I then got a striking signal which was indicating 6-8 inches in depth, I dug down assuming it would be a Pewter button as I found 3 earlier with the same recurring VDI. As I broke away the clod with my pinpointer I spotted a glint of gold, but like everyone I guess, initially I suspected a worn gilded button or at the very worst a crumpled bottle top. I broke the remaining clod apart in my hand - finally daring to look down I saw a beautiful gold ring! Pure shock & excitement! As I rubbed away some of the loose dirt on the inside of the ring I could clearly see that there was an inscription, therefore telling me it was a Posey Ring. A Gold dance was then performed and the excitement didn’t stop there as I was buzzing to know what the inscription said…
So here it is my 17th Century Gold Posey Ring with inscription in cursive text “I CANNOT SHOW THE LOVE + I O”.
Paddy Detects, the memorable & the best
Paddy (Instagram: @fun_detectors)
Hi everyone, I’m Paddy, I’ve been metal detecting for about a year with my Dad but recently I’ve got my own machine. My Dad can just be the camera man because now that I’m in town, or should I say in the field, he’ll never get a signal again, they will all be mine! 😉 I thought I’d share with you three amazing signals and one very memorable moment.
My first hammered – I’ll remember this day for a very long time, it was one of my best. I followed my Dad to the gate to go home when he stopped and swung his detector over a patch of earth. He said to me, “this is a very faint and deep signal so it will need to be our last as we are late for dinner!”. I watched him dig the classic circle of earth and pull the plug out saying, “just check that first”. I nodded, grabbed the pinpointer out of his bag and found the signal to be in the plug. I cracked open the mud and gasped! I ran a good ten metres before jumping and falling onto the floor shouting, “it’s a hammered!”. I had total tears of joy and that Elizabeth I 1567 sixpence sits so proudly in my collection.
I nearly binned it! – This amazing find was a huge surprise. I found a small signal with my pinpointer and picked up the metal. I threw it to my Dad, “it’s trash”, he rubbed his finger over it and threw it back to me, “take another look” he said. I gaped in disbelief, my suspected trash was in fact a John 1199-1216 hammered hapenny, my oldest and best condition hammered. To think I nearly threw it away!
Gold – We’d been out all day, it was really hot and stubbly. I moved to under some trees away from the stubble and got an amazing signal. “This has to be a coin” I thought. I routed around the hole with my pinpointer got a faint signal, then a stronger signal in the clod in my right hand. I caught a glimpse of gold, looked closer, yes it was gold. Could it be a stater? Excitedly I pulled it out and groaned……..trash!
New machine, first coin – my first find with my own machine has got to be my best. My Dad and I were on our local permission and Dad had already had some good coins but this signal was all mine. Dad helped me dig out the plug, I sifted through the mass and flicked a clump of mud, there it was, I saw it, a glint of silver. I couldn’t believe it, my first coin found with my new machine was a George V 1928 silver sixpence, and we caught it all on video, I was totally stunned.
I hope you enjoyed this insight into my detecting adventures and that every detectorist is lucky with amazing finds. Happy hunting