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Metal Detector Discussion / Re: Arado 130 on eBay! Classic metal detectors!
« Last post by Tascio on May 21, 2015, 12:10:42 PM »
With 8 hours and 11 minutes left the price is at £102.00, it could go a lot higher, most of the bidding will probably take place in the last few seconds!
Buying and Collecting Celtic Coins / Re: Two new books from Chris Rudd
« Last post by Tascio on May 12, 2015, 03:55:50 PM »
I have just ordered a copy of 'Britain's First Coins' directly from Liz at Chris Rudd and she takes PayPal payments, so you can order online after all!
Eurostar's problem with artillery shell collectors

 By Roland Hughes BBC News

When the Gare du Nord was evacuated on Monday after a passenger tried to take a disarmed artillery shell onto a Eurostar train, rail operators may well have let out a deep sigh and thought: "Not again".

International and domestic services were delayed because of the hold-up at the Paris railway station, which is Europe's busiest.

But it is far from the first time such an evacuation has happened.

Another delay occurred a little more than 12 hours earlier, in the northern French city of Lille, which also has a Eurostar station.

Again, an X-ray spotted an old artillery shell, trains were diverted and the station was evacuated.

Neither Eurostar nor France's interior ministry has a record of how many times stations have been evacuated in such cases.

But searches on social media show similar hold-ups at least twice this month, twice in April, and once in September 2013, May 2012 and December 2011.

In July 2010, a British couple even brought a live artillery shell to the Gare du Nord.
Services were delayed at the Gare du Nord - and not for the first time

An official with SNCF, France's national railway, told the BBC that such incidents were happening "fairly regularly".

"It's always Brits," he said.

"We have to teach them that it has to stop, the Eurostar has the same controls as Heathrow."

Soon after checking in at Eurostar terminals, every passenger's bag goes through an X-ray machine.

A Eurostar spokeswoman noted that there were also "clear posters up in Paris Gare du Nord letting people know what they can and can't carry when it comes to war artefacts".
Warning signs have been posted since the WW1 centenary last year

But the signs clearly don't dissuade everyone at a time when David Glover, a British dealer in war memorabilia, said interest in militaria had surged around major military anniversaries.

Last year saw the 70th anniversary of D-Day and the centenary of the start of World War One. The 70th anniversary of VE Day was last weekend.

More than a billion shells were fired during WW1, and an estimated 30% of them did not explode. Many continue to be uncovered in north-east France, the scene of some of the biggest WW1 battles.

One French website that chronicles the work of bomb disposal teams says France destroys an average of 467 tonnes of old ordnance a year.

Shells dating from WW1 are on sale online for between £45 ($70) and £85 ($133). One British collector said it was "not hard at all" to find old shells in French flea markets.
More than a billion shells were fired during World War One
Old shells are often uncovered when French and Belgian fields are ploughed

Much of it is found during the so-called "iron harvest", the time of year French and Belgian farmers accidentally unearth old shells while ploughing their land.

"The problem is, they look like the real thing," said Mr Glover. "So you should strip them all apart, and make sure all the components are separate, when you transport them.

"But if you're going to France, buying ordnance and intending to travel back with it, I wouldn't advise it. It comes down to common sense.

"If someone is as daft as to bring back a live grenade, for example, they deserve to have the book thrown at them."

A compilation of the best videos of the Chelyabinsk Meteor!

It's exactly 100 years since the teenage Willie Hutchinson stumbled across a few pieces of opal while walking in the Australian Outback.

There with his father to prospect for gold, the youngster's chance find led to a gemstone mining boom and the establishment of the town of Coober Pedy.

Today, the settlement even refers to itself as the "opal capital of the world", with the wider Australian deposits producing more than 80% of the world's precious opals.

Coober Pedy's gemstones are known for their clear or whitish colour, but some will dazzle like a rainbow. Experts talk of "church windows" to describe examples that mimic stained glass.

Already legally defined as Australia's "National Gemstone", the precious opals could be in line for a new status - that of Global Heritage Stone Resource (GHSR).

This is a designation being devised by an international group of geologists. The intention is to name and define those stones deemed to have particular significance in human culture.

The initial concept was to recognise the classic rocks used in building construction, such as Portland stone, Carrara marble, Sydney sandstone, and granites like Norwegian larvikite.

But there are also many famous ornamental and precious stones that could claim equally significant heritage, and as a consequence the geologists now find themselves examining the limits of qualification.

GHSR status - no stone has yet been designated - will be important for architects and conservators when they have to restore old buildings, for example.

It will make it easier for them to stipulate very specific materials, confident in how they will perform and weather over time.

It may also offer some protection to the quarries and mines from which the designated stones are sourced.

If nothing else, GHSR status would be a marketing fillip.

Only those marbles from Tuscany in Italy could rightfully lay claim to the name "Carrara"; "Welsh slate" would be just that; and, if awarded the status, only the precious opals from Down Under could say they were "Australian".

But not all geologists are happy with the idea of the gemstones' inclusion.

For these critics, the opals, with their limited supply and wide-ranging use in jewellery, are deemed to be too far removed from the original spirit of the initiative, which was to promote the classic dimension stones - those cut or shaped to be used for building.

There is a sense, also, in which they are too "processed". And, in any case, the detractors argue, the opals are so diverse in form and colour that it will actually be very difficult to give them a clear and tight description.

Barry Cooper, on the other hand, believes his national gemstone just scrapes under the bar. The South Australian is the secretary of the Heritage Stone Task Group of the International Union of Geological Sciences.

"Some of my colleagues are up in arms," he conceded.

"Where's the limit? If you ask me, I'd say stones like diamonds and sapphires are far too manufactured. But stones like opal are not only jewellery gemstones, they can also be used in sculpture and mosaics - they broach across into art. And that gives them a deeper cultural significance.

"The crux is that there is probably some value in them being designated."

The Coober Pedy centenary certainly speaks to the opals' heritage. And Dr Cooper is quick to recall that Queen Elizabeth, the first reigning monarch to visit Australia, in 1954, was presented with an opal necklace from the South Australian Government. Opals are iconic, he says, and the ongoing mining means there would unquestionably be commercial and community benefits from the broader international awareness that came with designation.

What may help is the geological context. Australian precious opals result from very special conditions that pertained 100 million years ago when the great Eromanga Sea, then covering central Australia, started to dry out.

Highly acidic fluids dissolved silica from quartz-rich sandstones that then later precipitated as precious opal.

These circumstances are quite different from some of the world's other opal fields, which may trace their origin to a volcanic setting, not the sedimentary one seen in Australia.
International kudos

Whatever its merits, the gemstone will have to wait its turn.

The Global Heritage Stone Resource project formally got under way in 2008. Only seven years later are geologists close to acknowledging their first designation.

This is likely to go to Portland stone, the redoubtable English building block quarried in Dorset on the south coast of England.

The creamy-grey limestone has become, literally, the bedrock of the British establishment, used in the construction of Buckingham Palace, St Paul's Cathedral, the Bank of England, much of Whitehall - even the BBC.

Michael Poultney is the MD of Albion Stone Plc, its biggest producer.

"I see the designation as recognising those stones that have made a massive contribution to the built environment, not just locally but internationally as well," he told BBC News.

"Portland stone has been used across the world - in Belgium and in Holland, and even in New York in buildings such as the UN.

"Getting the designation would mean a huge amount to us on the international market. Foreign buyers assume it's not available in commercial quantities and we're trying to dispel that myth. Designation would also give us kudos."

Barry Cooper was speaking at a meeting of heritage stone experts at the recent European Geosciences Union General Assembly.

Underwater explorers in Madagascar say they have found what is thought to be the treasure of notorious Scottish pirate William Kidd.

Soldiers on Sainte Marie island have been guarding the 50kg silver bar after divers brought it to shore.

Madagascar's president as well as UK and US diplomats received the suspected treasure at a ceremony on the island.

Capt Kidd was executed in 1701 for piracy after returning from a voyage to the Indian Ocean.

The BBC's Martin Vogl tweets from the ceremony that the respected American underwater explorer Barry Clifford believes the 17th Century silver bar is from the wreckage of the pirate's ship.

Our reporter says there is much excitement in Madagascar about the discovery and Mr Clifford's team has no doubt that the discovery is genuine.

The team believes the bar has its origins in 17th Century Bolivia and that the ship was built in England.

However, there is bound to be scepticism and calls for more proof that the bar was linked to Capt Kidd, our reporter says.

One option would be to take samples of wood from the ship to check whether it came from England, he adds.

In 1984, Mr Clifford found the wreckage of the Whydah, a pirate ship which sank off the US coast in 1717.

UK ambassador to Madagascar Timothy Smart said he hoped that Mr Clifford's latest discovery would raise Madagascar's profile as a tourist destination.
Who was Captain Kidd?

He was thought to be born in Scotland's Greenock or the Dundee area in about 1645, and had been appointed by the Crown to tackle piracy and capture enemy French ships.

In 1698, he looted the Armenian ship the Quedagh Merchant, which was apparently sailing under a French pass.

However, the captain of the ship was an Englishman and Capt Kidd was executed in London in 1701.

The Quedagh Merchant had been carrying satins, muslins, gold and silver when she was attacked by Kidd.

It is thought that a large amount of the booty belonged to the British East India Company.

As well as the piracy charges, Capt Kidd was accused of murdering one of his crewmen during a row in 1697.

During Capt Kidd's execution, the first rope put around his neck broke, so he was strung up a second time. That rope also snapped but the third one held.

Capt Kidd's body was dipped in tar and hung by chains along the River Thames to serve as a warning to would-be pirates.

Legend had it that Capt Kidd hid much of his loot, which has prompted numerous treasure hunts around the world and inspired Robert Louis Stevenson when writing Treasure Island.

Blog post about this discovery here
Announcements - Read Before Joining or Posting / Metal Detecting UK Google+ Page
« Last post by Tascio on May 06, 2015, 04:10:25 PM »

Please visit the Metal Detecting UK Google+ Page, it already has over 35,000 views!

We also have a Google+ Community that you can join here:


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