Earlier this month I had the pleasure of leading a detecting tour in Essex County, England, and I must say, it was simply amazing. When you combine a talented team of detectorists with site knowledge and patience, the results can be spectacular. It had been over a year since I’d been to our sites (I’ve been busy with another project), and a late-season trip was a risk because many fields were high in crop and inaccessible. Nevertheless, the guys I led trusted my advice and really racked up on some great finds by sticking to the good sites and detecting like ninjas sneaking up on their targets.
Early on we started hitting “hams,” hammered silver coins (Texas Josh found the first one!) dating back to the medieval period and quality artifacts. A fibular brooch, shield pendant, an IHS clothing fastener, and buckles, mounts, and the like kept us busy on the first few days. I had a bit of a scare thinking I had a gold coin but discovered it was a rose gold locket back. The next day, Ontario Mike dug up our first pieces of ancient silver, a Celtic silver coin with a fragment missing, and a Roman silver coin in similar condition, both on the same day. The next day, Texas Scott J. blew our minds by finding a Celtic gold coin. It is a rare trophy type from 40 BC. Meanwhile, Oregon Jerry found another partial Roman silver coin.
We had our brains sucked out chasing that Celtic gold for another day but continued to find hams (Texas Scott W. had a knack for digging in trashy areas with buttons and greenies and squeezing out some amazing hams), Roman bronze coins, unusual bits like coin weights, and even a Saxon stirrup mount. Texas Ali found most of a gold signet ring with engraved initials. Ontario Mike turned the heat back up when he found a Celtic Gold Morini Boat Tree Quarter Stater (70 BC). It is super crisp and is a very fine example of this particular coin. His face when he found it was like a kid at Christmas. He said it took him almost an hour to calm down.
The hunt continued with more quality hams and wrapped with me uncovering a nice-sized fragment of a Saxon silver penny. That marks my oldest silver coin to date. I’d been keeping in touch with Sal the entire time and sent him a photo. He was cheering us on and helping identify finds the entire time.
So there you have it, folks: four gold items (two ancient), one Celtic silver, two Roman silvers, one Saxon silver, amazing artifacts, and 38 hammered silver coins for a group of seven detectorists in 10 days. Am I bragging? Of course. I had a blast with some committed hunters who stayed optimistic until the end. I can’t wait to do it again.