Tag Archives: detecting

Dallinghoo/Wickham Market Hoard – metal detecting find fund-raising

Metal detecting find fund-raising – The Dallinghoo/Wickham Market Hoard

Dallinghoo/Wickham Market Hoard, 840 Iron Age gold staters of the Iceni tribe, found by metal detectorists in 2008.
Dallinghoo/Wickham Market Hoard, 840 Iron Age gold staters of the Iceni tribe, found by metal detectorists in 2008. Photograph courtesy of the Portable Antiquities Scheme.

Colchester and Ipswich Museum Service have apparently begun a fund raising effort to secure the Dallinghoo/Wickham Market Hoard of 840 Iron Age gold staters found by two metal detectorists in 2008. The Dallinghoo/Wickham Market Hoard is one of the largest hoards of iron age gold staters ever discovered. The 840 gold staters date from around 40 BC–15 AD.

This metal detecting find received a fair bit of coverage in the news after a very public falling out between the two finders, Michael Darke (or Dark, depending on source) and Keith Lewis.

The BBC reports that Colchester and Ipswich Museum Service hope to display this fantastic metal detecting find at Ipswich Museum, but I have not been able to find any details or information about the fund-raising effort on their various web sites as yet, so if you want to support the campaign to keep this find in Essex, you could try getting in touch with Ipswich Museum directly:

Ipswich Museum
High Street
Ipswich IP1 3QH

Tel: 01473 433550
Fax: 01473 433558 [Wow, people still use faxes? wtf?]

I’ll update if an online fund-raising campaign is launched.

An ancient Greek metal detecting find – revisited

An ancient Greek metal detecting find – revisited

I posted this picture a few days back, probably my favourite metal detecting find of all time, an ancient greek coin minted in Italy. I found this coin almost 20 years ago and didn’t notice until just now – there seems to be writing just above the bull’s back:

An ancient Greek metal detecting find - Thurium bull ancient greek coin
An ancient Greek metal detecting find – Thurium bull ancient greek coin

Can’t believe it took me this long to notice! The writing isn’t ‘eye visible’ on the coin itself, but the camera certainly seems to have picked it up. Time to break out the flatbed scanner and photoshop, wonder if I can enhance it enough to make it readable?

Metal Detecting UK

Cartwheel penny found with a metal detector for comparison

Cartwheel penny found with a metal detector for comparison

Cartwheel penny found with a metal detector
Thought this coin would make for an interesting comparison with the Cartwheel two pence coins I posted a few days ago. Above and below: A cartwheel one penny coin found with a metal detector. The pitting and corrosion on this coin is a testament to the hostile soil conditions found in many places in the UK, and the high quality copper used by the Soho Mint in its manufacture. On a long enough time line, copper coins and artefacts exposed to hostile soils conditions, not to mention the chemicals used in modern intensive farming, dissolve away to nothing.
Cartwheel penny found with a metal detector

These photographs are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. Which means you can take them for use on your own web site etc. as long as they are properly attributed.

Metal Detecting UK

An ancient Greek metal detecting find – coin from Thurium or Thurii

An ancient Greek metal detecting find – coin from Thurium or Thurii

Thurium bull ancient greek coin metal detecting find
This one is still my favourite, and oldest, metal detecting find of all time. A coin minted in Thurium, a Greek city in modern day Italy, in the 4th century BC. The bull charging right is a recurring motif on coins minted in Thurium. How it ended up next to a canal in Hertfordshire, I guess we’ll never know…
Thurium bull ancient greek coin metal detecting find

When I found it, I was absolutely convinced I’d found a Celt, but the British Museum later identified it as being an ancient Greek.

Metal Detecting UK

Frome Hoard Fundraising – The 1st of February 2011 deadline draws closer

Somerset Museum in Taunton has until February 1, 2011 to raise the £320,250 purchase price of the Frome Hoard. On top of the purchase price, money also needs to be raised to cover the ongoing costs of conserving the 52,503 third century Roman coins, discovered by metal detectorist Dave Crisp. You can donate to the Frome Hoard campaign fund online via the Art Fund web site. Not only has the Art Fund already donated £40,250 to the Frome Hoard campaign fund, but they will match, pound for pound, donations by members of the public up to a total value of £10,000.

Another way of supporting the campaign to keep the Frome Hoard in Somerset is to buy the Frome Hoard book: The Frome Hoard by Sam Moorhead, Anna Booth and Roger Bland on Amazon.co.uk, a snip at £4.49 delivered. 50p from every sale of the Frome Hoard book goes towards the campaign fund and the cost of conserving the coins. Worth every penny of the cover price for the stunning photographs of the coins of Carausius alone!

Bronze Age hoard found below plough soil in Essex field (the Burnham hoard)

Bronze Age hoard found below plough soil in Essex field (the Burnham hoard)


A rare Bronze Age founders hoard, buried in a pot in an Essex field, has been excavated by archaeologists after being discovered by metal detectorists. The excavation was recorded by 360Production who uploaded the following video to YouTube:

Laura McLean, Finds Liaison Officer (FLO) for the Portable Antiquities Scheme, told the BBC that “This is a really exciting find and a good example of metal detectorists and archaeologists working together to uncover and record our history, making sure it is not lost forever”

Founders hoards are usually found scattered in the soil of ploughed fields, the vessel or bag they were originally buried in having perished in antiquity, to find one not only intact and in its original context, but also still in the pot, is highly unusual!

Well done to Mr J. Humphreys, the finder, and everybody else involved! Check out the story on the BBC website and the excavation video for further details.

Metal Detecting UK

Auction Day Arrives – Christie’s Sale 5488, Lot 176: The Crosby Garrett Helmet

The Crosby Garrett Helmet at the Christie’s web site:
“Lot Description
Composed of two sections, helmet and mask; the tinned bronze face-mask with idealised youthful features, the openwork eyes with irises formed of delicate perforated rings, the upper and lower lids with incised lashes, the eyebrows arching from the bridge of the nose to the hairline with incised herringbone detail, the nostrils pierced, the fleshy lips slightly parted, with filtrum indicated, the face framed by three rows of tight corkscrew curls, the individual strands finely incised, the lower edge with remains of iron rivets on either side, probably for attachment of a strap for fastening to the helmet; the bronze helmet in the form of a Phrygian-style cap, with curved tip, surmounted by a solid-cast griffin, on an integral base, seated on its haunches, with finely incised details of the fur and mane, an attachment loop on the back of the neck, his wings outstretched with incised feather detail, his right paw raised and resting on the rim of a fluted amphora, an oval recess below with pierced loop at the tip, the back edge of the cap delineated by a raised ridge, curling inwards at the corners, terminating in incised button finals and decorated with pairs of vertical lines bordered by tongues, a row of hair curls emerging from underneath, the back and sides of the cap decorated with five rosettes, with groups of punched dots at the tips of the petals, with narrow flaring neck-guard, pierced in the centre and left corner, the perimeter decorated with incised diagonal dashes and tongues, with original hinge for attachment to the face-mask, mounted 16 in. (40.7 cm.) high

Lot Notes

This remarkable cavalry parade helmet, with its enigmatic features, is one of only three that have been discovered in Britain complete with face-masks. The others being the Ribchester Helmet, found in 1796 and now in the British Museum, and the Newstead Helmet, in the Museum of Antiquities, Edinburgh, found circa 1905. The Crosby Garrett Helmet, found in Cumbria earlier this year is an extraordinary example of Roman metalwork at its zenith.

The Crosby Garrett Helmet sets itself apart by virtue of its beauty, workmanship and completeness, particularly the face-mask, which was found virtually intact. In addition, the remarkable Phrygian-style peak surmounted by its elaborate bronze griffin crest appears unprecedented. H. Russell Robinson, formerly the curator of the Royal Armouries, cites only one other fragmentary helmet found at Ostrov in Romania, dated to the second half of the 2nd Century A.D., in the form of a tall Phrygian cap. Representations of similar helmets can be found at the base of Trajan’s Column among the captured Dacian and Sarmatian armour (cf ., H.R. Robinson, The Armour of Imperial Rome, London 1975, pp. 134-135, pls. 409-410). The openwork eyes and facial features of the Crosby Garrett Helmet find their closest parallels with Robinson’s Cavalry Sports Type E helmets, and in particular with a helmet from Nola, in southern Italy, now in the British Museum, dated to the late 1st to early 2nd Century A.D., (ibid., p. 124, pl. 361). However, the rendering of the hair in large tight curls is comparable to that of the Belgrade mask, now in the Archaeological Museum in Belgrade, belonging to Cavalry Sports Type C, and dated to the 2nd Century A.D. (ibid. p. 115, pl. 326).

These helmets were not for combative use, but worn for hippika gymnasia, (cavalry sports events). The polished white-metal surface of the Crosby Garrett face-mask would have provided a striking contrast to the original golden-bronze colour of the hair and Phrygian cap. In addition, colourful streamers may have been attached to the rings along the back ridge and on the griffin crest. Arrian of Nicomedia, a Roman provincial governor under Hadrian, provides us with the only surviving contemporary source of information on cavalry sports events. He describes, in an appendix to his Ars Tactica, how the cavalrymen were divided into two teams which took turns to attack and defend. He suggests that the wearing of these helmets was a mark of rank or excellence in horsemanship. Participants would also carry a light, elaborately painted shield, and wear an embroidered tunic and possibly thigh-guards and greaves, all of which would contribute to the impressive spectacle. These events may well have accompanied religious festivals celebrated by the Roman army and were probably also put on for the benefit of visiting officials. The displays would have been intended to demonstrate the outstanding equestrian skill and marksmanship of the Roman soldier and the wealth of the great empire he represented.”