Sunday, December 20, 2009

Tales of the riverbank and how it led me to dump digging.

Added To World Metal Detector Community by Ted Gurski

I first started metal detecting in the early seventies after seeing an advert in Exchange & Mart for a new metal detector. The advert boasted everything, “Find buried treasure, coins, gold” etc. etc. I posted the coupon along with cheque for £19 I think it was and a while later the box arrived and I couldn’t contain my excitement.
On opening the parcel was a bit disappointed to find basically a plastic stick with a plastic loop on the end. It was the BFO type and ran off a minute battery but unperturbed I was off out to seek my fortune and to be honest when I tried it around local land it did find coins and all other metal too. Having had a little success on land I thought I’d try the beach so was soon off to Redcar beach and it was then for the first time I met other detectorists. Well, when I saw what they were using and then looked down at my bit of flimsy plastic, embarrassment set in, so soon after it was relegated to the attic and I bought a second hand Whites TR/IB machine for £65.
All this has nothing to do with my story I just wanted to let you know how I got started.
One day years later I was walking along the banks of the river Tees and in the mud bank I spotted the neck of a green bottle sticking out so I waded in up to my knees and extracted a very nice Cod bottle. For those of you who don’t know, this is the type that has an internal marble stopper. Looking round further I saw lots of broken pottery and more broken bottles and half of a pot lid marked “WOODS ARECA NUT TOOTHPASTE”
All of this led to many more visits to the same place with a spade and fork and along with a friend, we started amassing a nice collection of bottles, ginger beers and pot lids. Then we travelled further a field for new places to dig and had many happy days at places like Harrogate, Darlington and even as far as Scotland. After a while I had so much stuff in the house the wife was threatening divorce so I hired a stall in Stockton’s Flea market which was held every alternate Saturday and sold all except the best over a period of 3 weeks. My dump digging era came to an end one day while digging at Darlington with my friend Dave. We were digging alongside each other at a depth of about 9 feet when suddenly the wall of earth in front of me caved in and I was buried way over my head. I will never forget the feeling of terror and was sure I was going to die there. Luckily, Dave saw it coming and was able to raise his hands and spade in the air and save himself. It took him 20 minuets to get himself out and a further 45 minuets to save me. I’d had other near misses before at Harrogate so I decided to end it all that day. (Don’t mean I was committing suicide, just stopped dump digging)
So I was soon back detecting again but my curiosity got the better of me and I had to have one more look at the mud bank, after all, I knew from going there that every tide
could change the look of it. This time I went a bit further down close to the Transporter bridge which is a cable bridge that ferries vehicles across the Tees. I donned wellies and waded in just for a look. The tide was just receding and on the wet mud I spotted a coin and then another and another. In less than an hour I picked up over 20 coins eyes only.
They were all late Victorian up to early 1950s. This was the first of many many trips there over the years always without a detector. The place has so much metal in it, iron girders etc that there’s not a detector in the world would work there.
I know a lot of you won’t believe me but this is the honest truth, in all the times I went there, the least I ever found was 8 coins and my best day was 52 coins eyes only.
As I said nothing special, pennies, halfpennies, brass thruppences and the odd tanner and shilling and once a nice Spanish coin. Also, a very nice Victorian brooch, lead soldiers, lead motorcycles which I believe were from an old Monopoly game, a fireman’s badge, porcelain dolls heads (3) lots of clay pipes and lots more I’ve forgotten about.
We live in Italy now and I’m still 100% into metal detecting but have so many happy memories of both dump digging and detecting in the UK and if anyone from Cleveland Discoverers club reads this I’ll see you all again in March.

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1 comment:

john god said...

As a detectorist and former member of Cleveland Discoverers I would love to hear more I am from Stockton on tees Now a member of a great forum the Northern relic Hunters based in the North East and a lot of local members that detect the local beaches like Redcar.