Detectival is the highlight of the Metal Detecting calendar year. A must visit experience where manufacturers, retailers, magazines and collector’s come together with the detectorist to celebrate the hobby in its yearly festival format.

Not to forget the Metal Detecting that fills the weekend. One of last years participants had only recently acquired his new machine and came to the event as a complete amateur. Here’s Douglas Naismith’s story.

“Happy new year to you all. I have been following the Archaeology and Metal Detecing Magazine on Facebook and noticed your recent request for people with stories/finds to get in touch. Anyway, here is my own first find ever story, and it is a bit amusing given how ignorant I was at the time.

Back in 2019 I was bought my first metal detector by my wife, a Garret 250i with a pinpointer. This was an attempt by her to get me out the house as my job is sedentary and I was barely any more active when at home.

I had always fancied giving the sport a go and was thrilled by the gift. I had no idea where or how to start, but purely by accident I came across the Detectival advert for 2019. So, with time free I booked it up and went, completely on my own, with tent, to see what it was all about.

Luckily (although this is not technically true, everyone I have met in the sport has been lovely and supportive), I met a great bunch of guys whilst waiting in the queue to register including Arthur Graham and Alex Savage (including the lovely Sally-Ann and doggos). Anyway, those guys really took me under their wing as I had barely even unpacked my detector let alone had any idea how to use it.

Lots of beer was drunk the night before and I set off, trailing Arthur (who promised to show me the ropes) the next morning. Anyway, there appeared to be lean pickings, and by the end of the day Arthur was having problems with his detector and was heading back to the camp for beer and food (probably in that order).

I decided to look at a grass field, which was very stoney and had only ever been a grass field, and had never been turned over. Other detectorists had allegedly found great things, but I was having little to no luck at all, but loving every minute of it.

Anyway, as I walked passed another detectorists filled dig hole I swung my detector over it and got a nice signal from it. As I hadn’t done metal detecting before I was completely unaware then that it was not unusual for certain detectorists to dig a signal, find its junk and simply fill the hole back up again. I decided that the previous explorer had missed something (although given how cracking the signal was I should have thought that it was ‘suspect’).

I duly set abut re-digging the previous hole. As was to be expected digging someone else’s work back up was very easy and I looked into the hole and saw nothing. I knelt down to use my new pin-pointer and as I leaned into the hole I glanced at the plug. There – sat on the top of the plug, at the deepest point if it was reinserted was a small object.

I remembered Arthur talking about this sort of thing the night before, so I took a picture and sent it to him. ‘Is this one of those fibula things you mentioned?’ I asked. Straight away I got a delighted message back and demand as to where I was.

Arthur headed straight back to me and I was waving excitedly at him as he walked onto the field. Anyway he did take his time getting to me but that was only because his first swing in that field unearthed a lovely roman Hammy so he was delighted at the call back. So my first find was a complete fluke and found out of true ignorance. I never did discover what the previous detectorist thought that missed it. Since then I have re-dug other re-filled holes, but alas, plough blades and junk is all they have held since.

I asked  our new Finds Liaison Officer about it and she requested the nice measured pictures included. She seemed almost as happy as I was and my first find was registered on the Portable Antiquities Scheme.

The rough picture of the Fibula on my hand is the one I sent to Arthur.”

Thanks kindly to Douglas for submitting his find. If you would like to include your finds or stories in Arch MD Mag, you can contact us at

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