Detecting in the News – December 2020

A round-up of metal detecting stories in the press, with links to the original press article. You can comment on each article, where you see the green comment box.

December 2020

Coin find suggests medieval trade route from China

31 December, The Times {Paywall}

This copper-alloy Chinese coin of the Northern Song emperor Zhenzong, dated 1008–16, was found by a detectorist in a Hampshire field in late 2018. This type of Chinese coin circulated for several hundred years. The field had previously produced medieval finds.

The context of the find suggests that it was a medieval period loss and adds weight to the theory that there was a long distance trade route from China.

The PAS record for the coin is HAMP-C2BC79.

Detectorist reunites WW1 medal with family

<strong>29 December, </strong>Daily Mail
Detectorist reunites medal with family

Detectorist Mark Williams found a British Empire Star medal while detecting in his garden. The medal had been awarded to William Waters, who joined the Navy at the age of 12 (after lying about his age) and went on to become chief medic.

Mark used a genealogist to trace Mr Waters family and gave the medal to his grandson.

DNW to Auction Oliver Cromwell Pattern Broad

<strong>28 December, </strong>Daily Mail
DNW Auction Oliver Cromwell Pattern Broad

Dix Noonan Webb are holding an auction of the North Yorkshire Moors Collection, Part IV: Coins and Medals on 21 January 2021.

The star of this important auction is an Oliver Cromwell Pattern Broad or Fifty Shillings in gold, 1656, produced by Thomas Simon. The auctioneer’s estimate is £100,000 – £150,000.

Here is my review of the North Yorkshire Moors Collection.

Detectorist finds 1,300 gold coins while birdwatching

<strong>24 December 2020, </strong>Daily Mail
Daily Mail - Birdwatcher finds 1500 gold coins

A detectorist out bird watching spotted a gold stater in the ground. He went home for his metal detector and after several hours had unearthed a hoard of 1,300 staters. He carried the coins home in supermarket carrier bags.

The value of the hoard has been estimated at £800,000 and is currently going through the treasure process.

French detectorist accused of looting

<strong>16 December 2020, </strong><a href=”https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/dec/16/french-detectorist-accused-of-looting-on-vast-scale-after-haul-discovered-at-home?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Other&fbclid=IwAR0rS65vr6D8QPZb9GabLnEOMwWkIRtjn8NiV0zFbIe1uDRky1VU0SNCcWU” target=”_blank” rel=”noreferrer noopener”>The Guardian</a>

A French metal detectorist is awaiting trial after being accused of unearthing a massive haul of over 27,000 Roman artefacts while metal detecting in France. He had claimed that he had found them in Belgium, where hobby metal detecting is legal.

In France, metal detectors can only be used for scientific research and, if found guilty, the detectorist is liable to imprisonment and hundreds of thousands of euros in customs fines.

Galloway Hoard goes on display

<strong>13 December 2020, </strong><a href=”https://www.theguardian.com/science/2020/dec/13/fit-for-a-king-true-glory-of-1000-year-old-cross-buried-in-scottish-field-is-revealed-at-last?CMP=share_btn_tw” target=”_blank” rel=”noreferrer noopener”>The Guardian</a>
Observer - Fit for a King

The Galloway Hoard is revealed at last. It was found by a metal detectorist in 2014. Valued at £2 million, it was acquired by the National Museum of Scotland in 2017.

The exhibition, Galloway Hoard: Viking-age Treasure, will be at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh from 19 February to 9 May 2021, before touring to Dundee and Aberdeen. Entry is free with pre-booked museum entry.

Here are three items from the Galloway Hoard

Portable Antiquities Scheme Annual Report

<strong>9 December 2020</strong>, Press release by <a href=”https://finds.org.uk/news” target=”_blank” rel=”noreferrer noopener”>PAS</a>

PAS said 47,000 finds had been recorded of which 6,251 were recorded during the first lockdown when metal-detecting was prohibited. A lot of these were from finds from back-gardens.

Hartwig Fischer, Director of the British Museum, said “The Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS) is a unique partnership, that brings together archaeologists, museum professionals, landowners and finders, especially within the metal-detecting community, to better understand, appreciate and protect Britain’s rich past.

The following three finds were highlighted in the report:

Hoard of 64 Tudor coins found in garden

<strong>9 December 2020</strong>, reported in: <a href=”https://www.theguardian.com/science/2020/dec/09/tudor-coins-dedicated-to-three-of-henry-viiis-wives-found-in-family-garden?CMP=twt_a-culture_b-gdnculture”>The Guardian</a>

A family in the New Forest find 63 gold coins and one silver coin from the 15th and 16th century, while weeding the garden.

It might have been the worth the equivalent of £14,000 when it was buried but it would be worth considerably more to a collector today.

Metal Detectorists donate hoard of coins to Museum

<strong>7 December</strong> <strong>2020</strong>, reported in: <a href=”https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-beds-bucks-herts-55213688#:~:text=A%20hoard%20of%2047%20silver,dates%20back%20to%20129%20BC.” target=”_blank” rel=”noreferrer noopener”>BBC</a>, <a href=”https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/rare-hoard-offers-hint-of-boudicas-rebel-booty-g0c77j30s” target=”_blank” rel=”noreferrer noopener”>The Times</a>

A group of six metal detectorists donate a hoard of 43 Roman silver denarii and three Ancient British Coins to Hertford Museum.

Four of the coins are shown below:

Photos: PAS CC by 2.0

Government announces plans to redefine Treasure Law

<strong>4 December 2020, </strong>Reported in <a rel=”noreferrer noopener” href=”https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-55179360″ target=”_blank”>BBC</a>, <a rel=”noreferrer noopener” href=”https://www.theguardian.com/science/2020/dec/04/definition-of-treasure-trove-to-be-recast-to-protect-uks-rare-artefacts?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Other” target=”_blank”>Guardian</a>

Caroline Dinenage, the Culture Minister, announces that the government is to consult on widening the definition of Treasure. This will include objects made from metals other than gold or silver.

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