The sun streaming through my bedroom window woke me nice an early on this August morning looks like a scorcher. I needed to be up as I had a 50 mile drive ahead of me. It was promising start to the day, I had been looking forward to a day detecting with the club at Twycross, Leicestershire.
The conditions were perfect the soil was moist and the turnout was good, there were at least 50 detectorist milling around patiently waiting by the burger van consuming vast amounts of tea and bacon butties, some old friends and new then it was time for a quick chat “fill your holes be respectful report treasure” and we were off swarming on to the field like ants on a hot summers day. It was a massive field at least 5 football pitches long, some of us were told that some old pottery possibly Saxon had been spotted at the far end of the field when it was field walked a few days earlier and I decided to detect myself slowly down to that rough area. I soon came across some shards of pottery confirming I was in the right place and decided I would concentrate my efforts in that vicinity.
I patiently continued covering the ground for about an hour and a half the going was slow and signals were sparse, finding the usual bits and pieces, few bits of lead a couple of Vicky pennies and eventually my doggedness paid off a great signal 4 inches or so down I dug out ¾ of a lovely circular Saxon ring and dot brooch. I continued hoping to find more in the same area keeping a lookout further up the field. I noticed a small group of detectorist forming and assumed that someone had found something of interest and they were having a chat about it. When I looked up again the group had grown in size, and a lot of people seemed to be concentrating their efforts in one particular area this was obviously more than a casual chat. I decided to investigate. I mooched on up the field. As I got nearer to the group I heard someone say, ‘another one,’ then someone else ‘and me’. I picked up my pace, my curiosity now in overdrive. ‘What’s going on?’ I asked. Someone said we have a hoard, a scattered hoard, and it looks like it could be a good one. He showed me a freshly dug coin, a minter, ‘this is more like it,’ I thought, ‘how many I said?’ he smiled ‘at least 20 that I know of’.
Looking down I could see the ground all around was already covered in footprints; every square inch had been trodden on, even some holes left open in peoples hurry to find that next signal. Silver fever was gripping everyone, it has a strange effect on some they forget how to detect waving machines wildly a foot off the ground! I slowly and deliberately started to cover the ground away from the main area after all I didn’t want to encroach on the main find spot so with my trusty Goldmaxx power, coil to the soil off I went with high hopes. Almost immediately I noticed how much iron there was in the ground typical of a roman site got a signal, not a great one, but worth digging. Three to four inches down I found a corroded shotgun cartridge, oh well I thought but if this has been missed what else has! Undeterred I continued, another signal a good clear one, but worryingly it was in a hole that someone else had already dug. Still I have found many good things on or near previously dug holes so I dug it anyway. Smiling up at me was a ring pull from a can. I dropped it in my scrap pouch.
I carried on meticulously covering the ground and I came across a man, well to be more precise he came across me and he wasn’t happy. I knew that by the way he was striding towards me waving his detector in the air. ‘Your machine is interfering with mine.’ Well, keeping my cool I pointed out to him that he had the option on his over complicated machine to change his channel and that I wasn’t experiencing any problems I couldn’t help pointing out how simple yet effective my machine was. He trudged off muttering something under his breath. I continued with my search, a signal, a really clear tone I recognised it immediately and it was in one of his size 10 footprints he had just left behind. For a split second I considered the idea of calling him back. That moment quickly passed and I started digging. It was only an inch or 2 down I could see it was a coin a silver one, but was it Roman? Was it part of the hoard? I picked it up rubbed the soil gently off with my thumb and yes, it was a denarius of Septimus Severus in lovely condition also a minter wow I was so pleased, he was Roman Emperor from 193 to 211 and interestingly in 208 he visited Britain to strengthen Hadrian’s wall and fight the Caledonian’s. I was well chuffed and glad that my Goldmaxx wasn’t having any problems picking up signals. Sadly I never saw the chap again pity really as I am sure he would have been pleased for me! I knew I had to declare the find to my Finds Liaison Officer (FLO) as Treasure Trove* part of a scattered hoard but at least I had found one as many didn’t that day. I detected all around this area for the rest of the afternoon, I didn’t find any more in fact to my knowledge I don’t think anyone did maybe if I had stayed at the top of the field instead of rushing off to the bottom end who knows.
Later that afternoon I heard that there had been around 50 Roman coins found. It was announced that this hoard was treasure and as there wasn’t an FLO in attendance we should take our coins to our own FLO’s and report it so that the coins and the find spot could be accurately recorded, the coroner would later decide the outcome of the hoard. Sadly I don’t think all the coins were handed and as a result has taken several years for the treasure process to track down most of the coins found on that day. I was happy that I had found and rescued a coin of antiquity that more than likely would have been damaged by the plough if left in the ground any longer. I believe the collection of coins is still with the BritishMuseum. Hopefully one day they will be returned to Twycross and put on display for all to see.
Since the hoard I have been fortunate enough to find another piece of treasure a Gold padlock circa 15th century only the second one of its type, an incredible find of a lifetime. I have had many great days out with my XP Goldmaxx Power and have lost count of the hammered coins I have found with it, now I have upgraded to the more powerful XP DEUS incredibly light machine full of features and so far I have already had some lovely finds and hope to post my progress with it in the very near future.