Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Metal detection

We met an English ex-pat recently who is a keen metal detector, and invited him over to take a look at our fields. He spent a short afternoon here doing a quick scan, and promised to come back later in the year when the grass has been cut, with the rest of the crew from his club for a more thorough search. Did he find anything? Yes, this Napoleonic ten cent coin, not at all rare, but interesting none the less.

Incidentally, Paul is a professional electrician, who has been recommended to us. If you need his skills let me know and I'll put you in touch.


Lia said...

I watch a show on Channel 4 which was about the Saxon Gold that was found in Staffordshire. It was very interesting and the guy who found it said he couldn't understand why him. It became very clear that he was indeed the right person to have found it.
You can still get the show on 4OD
here's the link for you.

I think you might enjoy that show if you have a spare hour.

much love

Jonathan said...

I have very mixed feelings about metal detectors being used in this way. As an archaeology student the other side of the coin (sorry!) was drummed into me by my professors. This is that removing an item from its physical context in this way deprives it of its back story. In situ a coin is often part of a bigger picture to which it can add information, especially regarding dates. Any object, if removed from its context without due process, loses most of its value in building a broader historical picture. It is reduced to a mere curio.

Finally, damage can be caused to a site by digging into it as well. It also 'contaminates' it: evidence from layers that have been disturbed in later periods cannot be trusted to give an accurate picture.

Of course metal detectors have turned up major finds that would otherwise never have come to light and that should be celebrated. And your coin, in all likelihood casually dropped, has probably already been turned over by a plough. But the above hopefully explains why archaeologists groan whenever these instruments are mentioned.

Robyn said...

sounds like a fun way to spend a few hours

i hope you are rewarded for the efforts... more so than the lovely coin ;)

best wishes

Robyn said...

ps.. i like what johathon is saying here also as it is an interesting perspective.

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