Saturday, 5 May 2012

Metal detecting in Staffordshire, with my son 2 detectors and lots of Parsnips.


8.30 am on a dreary Saturday morning.
After making the decision last night to cold call a couple of properties, we set out with some trepidation.
I started the Green Meany (my Green Renault Kangoo car) and headed about 12 miles from home. This was an area bang in the middle of 4 medieval hamlets. I pulled at the first farmhouse and parked on the main road (i don't like parking too close to the farmhouses I feel it makes the farmer wary of you). A short walk down a typical farm track led me to the barns and cattle sheds. There before my eyes stood a 4ft6 70 year old lady pushing a barrow of manure towards a gate in the cattle shed. I had to do a double take as it was hard to believe she could push a barrow. I had a bottle of Rose' in my hand as I asked her if she allowed detecting on the land? She did not say no, so i pursued the issue, telling her I did not mind if it was pasture or plough as land was so hard to get on. She said it was usually up to her husband, but she did not know where he was. At this point I realised she was beginning to worry. I thanked her for considering it, and said I would not push the issue if her husband was not about (one for the future). I moved on to the next farm up the road which had a retail business running from one of the out buildings. On the drive way to the farm a field was in the process of being seeded with potatoes. I stopped to ask the gang who were doing the work if any of them were the farmer? They informed me they were working for a farm who rented the field from the farmer whose drive I was on. They said I should ask in the shop on the farm. 

 flint still as sharp as a knife.
Parsnips galore.
Grim conditions
When i got to the shop it was quite busy, so I waited for it to quieten down before I made my move. I noticed the lad who had been serving was now free. I approached him with wine in hand and asked about permission? I said are you the guys who came on before? Immediately I knew I was halfway onto the fields. I said no, but if the farmer would be kind enough to let me on I would bestow upon him the finest bottle of chateau Walsall Rose' wine. The lad said he would try to find the farmer and ask. 2 mins later he came back and said he could not find the farmer! My heart sank, as I said "never mind, and thank you so much for trying". He then said let me have another look as he disappeared into another building. Again he came back and said sorry, but I will allow you to go on, if anyone asks say Mat said it was ok. I handed him the wine and thanked him profusely. He ran about 400 yards to some fields at the back of the farm, and then ran back and said "ok I have just looked and you can go on those fields but their boggy".

We drove to the field and parked the Green Meany well out of the way. The fields were indeed well waterlogged and well rutted. We were suited and booted within 5 minutes and off we went. Within 5 minutes I noticed some worked flint on the floor which I showed to my son saying there looks to have been some occupation on here for a long time. He then found a modern 10p (1980s).The whole field had been under a crop of Parsnips which littered the place. It amazes me how many get left behind when the harvest them. We found plenty of buttons and a whole bucket load of lead. Every now and then we would happen upon another flint lying on the surface. After 6 hours we had 3 spindle whorls, 1 Roman grott, three coppers (unrecognizable) a 1861 Vicky farthing, a musket ball, possibly a small fragment of Roman broach and various other regular field finds.

Vicky pendant farthing
flint shard


On our exit we stopped at the farm shop and Mat came out to greet us. I showed him our finds, and the flint. I said that there was sure to have been occupation in the Stone Age. He said that probably explains the axe head that another detectorist found. He then showed me a photo on his I phone of a lovely Bronze palstave axe had. I bid Matt farewell and asked if I would be welcome back, to which he said yes.

decorative button.
spindle whorl.
grot.
its amazing what you find in the woods.




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