Saturday, February 6, 2010

All that signals is not Gold - Ted Gurski

 A few years back, early eighties as I remember, I read in our local newspaper that work was about to begin constructing a new dual carrigeway through a shallow valley very near to my home.The area was called Billingham Bottoms and the new road was the A19 and it would replace the previous single carrige road known as the old A19.

When I studied the plan I saw the direction of the new road was to run directly over the remains of an old water mill known as Bishops mill, this referred to the Bishop of Durham who owned the mill in the 12th century. In fact the article stated that the remains of the mill would be buried under the road but a plaque would be erected to signify where it once stood.

So, although I was sure this area would have been detected before, I decided to do it again before all was lost. The day I went was bright and sunny and equipped with my trustee Whites TR/IB machine (which was the vogue then) I carefully went over every inch of detectable land around the foundations that remained of the old mill. The result was not good, all I found, apart from some modern coinage, was a rectangular buckle with some decoration on it and a 1939 half crown.

Coin Values

As I was about to pack up and leave I cast my eye across the valley, a distance of about half a mile, and noticed something I'd not seen before, at odd intervals I could see stumps sticking out of the ground and lining them up with my eye could see that they had probably been the remains of fence posts that once crossed the valley.

It had to be worth a try so I started detecting in a line that crossed through the stumps. At the third stump I was stopped in my tracks by a massive signal which sounded good in all metal and discrim. I was virtually sure it would be iron but my brain started thinking possibly a hoard, a good signal next to the remains of a fence post? who knows?, I started digging.....4 inches,nothing,...8 inches, nothing... at 10 inches swept the detector over and it was still there. Two inches deeper I saw something ceramic, blue and white, so began using my fingers to clear the dirt around it and was a pot, laid on it's side. This is the point when my heart started pounding. Tried the detector again over it and it screamed even louder. At this point my concern was to get the pot out intact so it was a finger and knife job. Finally I got to the point where I could get my hands under the pot to extract it. Getting a good grip with both hands I gave it a tug, and.................... it broke into a thousand pieces.

And what was inside?........................ a large amount of rusty nails welded together with age and a bunch of what looked like hair.

A good while later reading a local history book in our library I disovered it was once the custom for farmers to bury a pot near a fence post containing nails and horse hair. These were called 'witches pots'

and were placed to ward of evil spirits. I'm sure some of you may have heard of this.

So, up to date, that has been my only NEAR MISS hoard.

The quest goes on.

1 comment:

Net said...

Gold is graded according to its purity. Pure gold is 24-karat and is usually found in coins like full sovereigns, half sovereigns or in gold bars aka bullion.

Scrap gold jewelry