Its been another dazzling year of Metal detecting finds and information finally being reported to the public in 2019. Some fascinating additions to the UK’s history and inspirational to all Archaeologists and Detectorist’s seeing all that has been hidden and what could be remaining.
And the Archaeology and Metal detecting magazine have been privy to many, we were lucky enough to break the news of the Hambleden hoard thanks to the North of Tyne metal detecting club on Facebook.
So without further ado and preamble, we introduce some of the best metal detecting finds of 2019, we hope to add video’s to some of the segments with full thanks to the YouTuber’s for their videos.
The Hambleden Hoard
A group of detectorists discovered a hoard of more than 550 rare gold and silver coins in Buckinghamshire. The exciting find has been dubbed the ‘Hambleden Hoard’ and is reported to be the largest gold and silver collection found in the UK for around a decade.
The group of four metal detectorists were taking part in Spring Detectival, held near Hambleden, and were moving from one spot to another when their detectors signalled that they may have found something. They were excited to initially discover twelve beautifully decorated silver coins from the time of Edward I and Edward II. However, after digging a little deeper over the next few days, they discovered even more coins, including twelve ultra-rare gold Noble coins dating from the time of the Black Death.
When news of the discovery first broke, the group of men had to fight off competition from other detectors in the area, and even took to camping out in tents to protect their hoard as they continued the search.
Over the course of four days of hard work digging in the earth, the team gradually unearthed a total of 545 full silver coins, a few fragments, and twelve gold nobles. Experts suspect that the Hambleden Hoard may have been stashed in the location for safekeeping over 600 years ago.
The 545 silver coins are all reported to originate from the reign of Edward I and II, dated between 1272 to 1327, and are a mix of mintages from Birmingham, Ireland, Scotland and Lincoln. Each coin, depending on the rarity of the coin, could be worth between £20 and £50, but some could be worth around £500 each.
The 12 rare gold Nobles are from the reign of Edward III until 1377 and may be worth around £10,000 each due to their gold content and historical value.
The hoard is currently being held for safekeeping in a museum and will be officially evaluated and sold. The proceeds of the sale of the coins will then be divided between the four men, as well as the landowner. The total hoard has an estimated value of around £150,000 and is one of the largest found in the UK for around ten years.
Thanks to Scott and Kimmie Dubay – YouTubes Dirt Diggers UK. for the use of their video of Spring Detectival and the footage of the hoard being discovered.
The Chew Valley Hoard
A hoard of coins dating back to era of the Battle of Hastings in 1066 reveals evidence of early tax evasion.
Thousands of silver coins unearthed by a metal-detecting couple offer a glimpse of life in the aftermath of the Norman invasion, the British Museum has said.
The coins depict both defeated King Harold II and triumphant conqueror William I and were found in a field in the Chew Valley, Somerset.
The 2,528 silver coins were found in the Chew Valley, north-east Somerset, by a group of metal detectorists.
Lisa Grace and Adam Staples, who unearthed the bulk of the hoard, said: “We’ve been dreaming of this for 15 years but it’s finally come true.”
The British Museum said it was the second largest find of Norman coins ever in the UK.
Mr Staples, from Derby, added: “It was totally unbelievable – to find one would be an exceptional day metal detecting.
“To find two unrelated coins would be almost impossible. And when there were more beeps, from two to 10, from 50 to 100, to wow how many are there?
“From then on it was just crazy.”
We were lucky to be in communication with Mike Wolstencroft, Mike rescently discovered a hoard of Medieval Groats in Cumbria. An extract of the full article appears here –
“Honestly, the next hour is a blur. Just the two of us in the middle of nowhere shouting “Another one” several times and stopping a couple of times to try and tot up how many we had found. Eventually we both ground to a halt as the slope took its toll on our old bones. We ended the day with 31 coins in total. Most of the coins were Henry VIII 2nd coinage groats, mainly Lis and Arrow mintmarks with a couple of Sun marks thrown in, but there were also several 3rd coinage groats. We are guessing then that the coins will date from 1540 to 1547 and were lost or deposited sometime in the early 1550s as most don’t show excessive wear with several showing really nice portraits. My main question is why only groats, is it common to find 30+ coins of the same denomination. I guess that may be answered in the FLOs write up.”
The full story can be read here – A Medieval Groat hoard in Cumbria
A Bronze Age Hoard
Our friend and well known YouTuber Addicted to Bleeps – Mr Kris Rodgers discovered a quite phenomenal hoard this year.
Whilst filming for his channel, Kris came upon a beautiful 4000 year old bronze age hoard of Axe heads, Sword parts, tools and much more.
Its easier to view his 2 videos of the discovery. The first part is the actual footage of the find and the second introduces the archaeological excavation and Geophysical survey.
Well done buddy
An Irish Hoard
A metal detectorist was looking for a friend’s lost wedding ring but instead discovered a haul of gold coins worth an estimate of £100k
Paul Raynard, 44, a businessman, screamed “‘there’s millions—’this is the moment we dreamed of!” to his best friend, Michael Gwynne, 52, when he realized the scale of the find.
Paul “broke down in tears” when he stumbled across his very own pot of gold—a cluster of 84 coins in a field near Ballycastle, Northern Ireland. Stunned Paul and Michael found the coins—dating back to the 1500s—whilst looking for the wedding ring a farmer friend had lost in his field.
Unfortunately, the pair failed to find the ring but instead ended up digging a horseshoe and a 5p coin. After just 90 minutes of searching, they found the collection of coins.
Video footage of the moment Paul found the underground treasure shows him pulling out muddy coin after coin from beneath the soil. He then beamed at Michael, who was holding a phone, and struggled to contain his excitement.
The coins have been sent to Ulster Museum for official identification and valuation by a team of experts. It will take several months for the 84 coins to be valued in full.
The Wem Hoard
The Wem hoard is, experts say, one of only six finds in the country of hacked up silver and coins, the system of payment by bullion after the Roman left in the fifth century.
It was discovered when three metal detectorists – Steve Lord, Steve King and Andy Bijskerbosh made their way to the furthest corner of a farmers’ field at the detecting rally near Wem last October, however the announcement of the find was made public this year.
So important was the find that archaeologists returned to the area last week and unearthed further silver remnants. The site of the find is being kept secret.
Mr Peter Reavill, praised the men for helping to unearth part of Britain’s history.
“This is a hugely important discovery from the Dark Ages,” he said.
He said the 200 broken fragments included siliquae coins and a halved, well-worn denarius made in the first century and pressed back into service as a piece of bullion.
“The presence of a denarius in a hoard mainly comprised of siliquae is close to unique in Britain,” he said.
Mr Reavill explained that when the Roman left Britain they took with them their coinage monetary system the people that were left in the UK could no longer use coins and so instead cut or hacked up silver, whether coins, jewellery, cups or rivets from boxes to used as weighed bullion. There were also pieces of melted down silver ingots.
The find also included a fifth century brooch that, Mr Reavill said had probably been used to pin together a piece of fabric or leather to carry around the silver. It has probably been hidden, under a marker stone or by a tree, by the owner, intending to return for it later.
Once the crop on the field was harvested last month archaeologists returned to the land last week for a dig at the site of the find.
More fragments of hacked silver were found and are now being sent to the British Museum.
The organiser of the charity metal detecting rally, Mr John Parry, said the find was the culmination of six years of believing that there was treasure to be found on the land.
Pembrokeshire chariot burial
Another friend of the magazine and radio show is Mike Smith. And again, although discovered in 2018, this find of National historical significance has been reported prominently throughout the year.
An Iron age chariot burial was found by metal-detecting enthusiast Mike Smith back in February 2018, and a small excavation to confirm the site (which remains unnamed to protect its integrity) was carried out by archaeologists from National Museum Wales and Dyfed Archaeological Trust that June.
These initial probes unearthed several bronze horse fittings, highlighted in CA 349. They included fragments of a large horse brooch, a terret (rein guide), a bridle bit, strap unions, and harness fittings. All decorated with designs linked to late La Tène-style art, they are the first objects of this type to have been found in Pembrokeshire.
Archaeologists returned to the site – this time with the help of students from Pembrokeshire College and with funding from Cadw and the National Lottery Heritage Fund – in spring of this year, hoping to find more clues. They were not disappointed: their discoveries included two iron tyres, which would have covered the chariot’s wooden wheels, representing the first evidence of the chariot itself. The team also discovered an iron sword, which may have been placed on or near the human burial that would have accompanied the chariot.
The finds were declared treasure by the local coroner in January of this year. You can listen to our interview with Mike on the BIG Metal detecting radio show, where Mike was able to discuss new archaeological findings from the burial site.
UK’s ‘largest’ gold nugget discovered in Scottish river
A gold hunter claims to have discovered the UK’s largest gold nugget in a Scottish river.
The lump of pure gold, which weighs 121.3g (4.2 oz), was unearthed in a mystery location in May this year.
The two pieces form a doughnut shape and could be worth £80,000. The previous largest find, in 2016, was the 85.7g (3oz) Douglas Nugget.
However, gold panning experts are remaining sceptical until its provenance can be confirmed.
The treasure was discovered in two pieces but fits together perfectly, earning it the name The Reunion Nugget.
The gold-panning community is renowned for its secrecy, and the name of the river where it was found has not been revealed. The lucky finder is also remaining anonymous.
A Henry VII full gold Angel in Derbyshire
A treasure hunter has unearthed a 500-year-old gold coin from a field near Ashbourne that could be worth more than £4,000.
The artefact has been logged by Derby Museum after Gareth Millward unearthed the rare find, which he says has been the highlight of his four-year hobby.
The 35-year-old said he had a hunch the piece of land he was inspecting was about to come up trumps as he headed out on the hottest day of the year last summer.
He had been scanning the area for six weeks and his friends had found rare sovereign coins – but, he says, his find was something a metal detectorist dreams of digging up.
He said: “After only 20 minutes in the field I got a deep, iffy signal with my metal detector.
“I dug down around six inches of rock hard pasture, the signal was still in the bottom of the hole so took another two inches out expecting it to be deep lead.
“As the bone dry dirt hit the ground next to the hole it crumbled to pieces revealing a flash of gold.
“I knew instantly what it was, I picked it up and looked at it in amazement. It was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen in my life.
“A solid 68 on the surface – I had unearthed a Henry VII full gold Angel, 1485-1509.”
The hammered gold coin would have been used during the Tudor era and features an ancient ship with the Royal Arms on its sail.
Inscribed around the coin, in Latin, a passage reads: “By the cross save us, Oh Christ our Redeemer.”
Bronze Age gold necklace
I don’t know why, but this discovery was one of my favourite reports from 2019.
A metal detectorist celebrated the find of a lifetime after discovering a beautiful 4,000-year-old gold torc worth tens of thousands of pounds.
Billy Vaughan, 54, was stunned when he unearthed the gleaming 22 carat gold band in a remote field near his home town of Whitehaven, Cumbria.
The Bronze Age piece of twisted jewellery was nestled 5ins below the surface.
Mr Vaughan at first thought it was a piece of climbing equipment and it wasn’t until he sent a photo of it to a fellow detectorist that he identified it as a torc.
What seems like more than 3 years ago, a chap I know, who attended several metal detecting events I organised for the Mayor of Rochdale, hit quite the run of form, discovering gold items on a few back to back digs. Little did all who knew him realise what significance one of Mark Thompson’s finds would actually have.
Mark was attending a Find a Field metal detecting group organised event near Sherwood Forest, whilst using a Teknetics Eurotek Pro he discovered a gold ring. After brushing off the dirt he was happy to find it was made of gold with a massive sapphire in the centre, as well as an engraving of an infant Christ on one side and a female saint on the other.
Mark, whose day job is spray painting fork lift trucks, had taken up metal detecting as a hobby and never really expected to get much out of it apart from a bit of pleasure. The ring, which has been dated as far back as the 14th century, was given conservative estimates placing the ring at around £20,000, with upper valuations hitting £70,000.
Read the article in full with additional images at Iconographic Medieval ring sold for £30,000 at Christies
A gold armorial ring
A gold ring found by a metal detectorist is expected to fetch around £10,000 at auction.
In November last year, the 17th century ring, which has links to King Charles II, was discovered by Michelle Vall from Blackpool while she was exploring Loch Lomond with her husband.
Vall declared the ring to the Scottish Treasure Trove Unit at the National Museum of Scotland but was told in June that the museum did not want to buy it.
Vall then decided to contact auction house Dix Noonan Webb (DNW), which discovered the crest belonged to the Colman family of Brent Eleigh, Suffolk.
“When I unearthed the ring, which was close to the surface, I knew straight away that it was something special,” Vall said.
“It shone with a distinct bright yellow colour as I carefully lifted it out of the dark muddy hole, where it had waited for at least 350 years.
“My calm mind changed to one of excitement as I shouted Tony over, he was surprised to see the ring lying in the palm of my hand.”
According to DNW, the ring is thought to have belonged to Edward Colman, who served as a bodyguard to King Charles II in 1661.
By 1673, Colman was appointed secretary to Mary of Modena, the wife of James II, who was the younger brother and King of England, Scotland and Ireland from 1685.
In November 1678, Colman was found guilty of treason following accusations of involvement in plots to assassinate the King, and was subsequently hung, drawn and quartered
We met Ellis at Detectival 2019. An absolutely lovely boy, who sadly suffers from a condition called Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congenita (AMC). This is a term used to describe over 300 conditions that cause multiple curved joints in areas of the body at birth. It varies from person to person with the commonality being stiff joints and muscle weakness.
Mark and Karen Becher , the Team at the Metal Detectives and organisers of Detectival were able to raise a large amount for Ellis at Detectival 2019 in Ellis mums words – “Well what can I say.. this amazing family is just something else.. myself and Andrew Williams would like to say a MASSIVE Thank you to Mark Becher & Karen Becher for including Ellis in Detectival 2019.. the final figure of £9001.32 has now been added to Ellis just giving fund..🥰
The amount of effort they put in every year to help charities is phenomenal they really don’t get enough credit for all they do!..
Thank you so much you’ve gave Ellis a huge step towards his active future from the bottom of our hearts we are forever grateful ♥️”
To donate to or learn more about the Lets get Ellis active just giving fund click here
We were proud to be a part of this fantastic event for the second time and get to meet so many people who we communicate with but have never met!
Watching Mark Becher whizzing around none stop was bewildering! Added to the new Minelab Vanquish being debuted by Viking women riders from a nearby forest and Nokta/Makro’s mermaid introduction of their new Simplex. This really was the event if the year.
And we were able to record for the radio show for the entire weekend!
Below is a link to our post from the event, we cant wait to be back!
We were honoured to be invited to The Rodney Cook Memorial Charity Detecting Weekender 2019 by that delightful chap Gary Cook. Organised by the Trowbridge & District Metal Detecting Club this was the second of a now annual event, this time near Bath. And what a fantastic event it was.
Last years rally raised over £27,000 for Bath RUH’s new Cancer Centre – The largest charitable amount ever raised by a metal detecting rally !
This year the rally was back and will welcome guests from America , Australia and Canada amongst other countries.
The event had the best part of 700 acres acres of historic land available to detect and featured trade stalls, raffles , token hunts and will have a licensed bar and nightly entertainment.
This year’s rally raised a massive £33990 for the Starlight foundation, CLIC Sargent and the RUH cancer care centre.
It was also fantastic to spend time with Gary Cook and Gary Blackwell, and for me, play with the XP ORX – Thanks to Regtons for that.
It was an honour to be involved. Below is our post with multiple links to our BIG metal detecting radio show coverage and much more. We Can’t wait til this years event!
Wow. What a year. There have been several occurrence’s that have brought this fantastic hobby into a negative light, but as well as all these discoveries, which have all been dealt with correctly from find to report to coroner, there have been some fantastic stories of Wedding rings being retrieved, monies raised for charity by a community of inspiring individuals and groups that make me proud to be a part of it. Congratulations and thanks to all, we hope 2020 is even better..
From ourselves its been a busy year, more so than anticipated. But we have been able to continue reporting and being a conduit for information. For Luke Higgins and myself – Dave Sadler. We have enjoyed it all. Our own highlights, being a part of Detectival and the Rodney Cook Memorial Rally and our own involvement in each, primarily being asked to produce our free paper editions of the Archaeology and Metal Detecting magazine, As well as the Detectival sponsors – Minelab’s own edition.
We have also really enjoyed our launch and subsequent episodes of the BIG Metal Detecting podcast We have now added to our broadcasts with a simultaneous Vidcast on our social media accounts, adding a more user friendly and visual experience. Thanks to Tim Le Vine, Tony Cawood, Leigh Hull and Tonbo Brue for their assisting in managing and posting on our Social media accounts.
We were also invited to a National Council for Metal Detecting meeting and were made to feel very welcome, as well as learning a hell of a lot about what the NCMD do for us other than insurance, and that is a hell of a lot. We were also asked to introduce the NCMD members Christmas raffle live on the BIG Metal Detecting radio show, which blew us away with the amount of listeners, our record figures to date.
Luke and his colleague Niall have also been very active, organising Metal detecting events for South East Metal Detecting Rallies Which have been very successful for all involved.
We have also made some valuable relationships, and I think Luke and I would both agree, friends with some people from many of the companies from the Metal Detecting world. Pete Turrell, Mark Becher, Dilek from Nokta/ Makro, Wiola from Rutus, Nigel and Marcus from Regton, Gary Cook, Gary Blackwell from XP,
Then there’s the community of detectorists and YouTuber’s who have allowed us to use their videos or been guested on our shows – Digger Dawn, Mike Smith, Addicted to bleeps, Scott and Kimmie Dubay – Dirt Diggers UK, John Webb, John Titchen, Scotty Bea, Jackie Smith, Treasure hunting magazines – Julian Evan – Hart, Arron Weedall of South Coast Detecting, Stephen Pettican, John Bradbury,Lance Goolsby, Mike Haer, Alex Savage, Kirst and Keiron from Find a field, John from Dudley Metal Detecting club, Graham Withers, Dave Clarke, John Rigby, Wendy Howard and the board of the NCMD. If I havent listed you, please don’t think we don’t appreciate you. There are so many people, and i’m going through lists to see who i’ve forgotten…
So. To all our readers, listeners, contributors and those who have offered time, effort and assistance we thank you all for your support in 2019.
2020 will see at least 4 editions of our free paper edition of the Archaeology and Metal Detecting Magazine, available at events throughout the UK. We will be on site at Spring Detectival, Detectorcon, Detectival and the Rodney Cook memorial rally. As well as other rally’s and Archaeological related events.
We will also soon be announcing several major entity’s who we will be working alongside in the coming months.