[UPDATE 7th Jan 2015: Although this blog is about collectors, not for them, metal detectorists who have come here following a link from the three detecting forums where this is being discussed - you might like to know that you'll find other posts on the topic linked here. Warning: there are long sentences and no emoticons used on my blog. There are no emoticons which can express what I feel about what happened here. You might like now to read this too and think about what it means for you and yours]A Saxon hoard (reputedly 5252 coins of Cnut and Ethelred) was found on Sunday's Weekend Wanderers Christmas commercial rally at Manor Farm, Lenborough near Buckingham in Buckinghamshire - billed as the site of a deserted medieval village, Norman manor house and medieval windmill - so three known archaeological sites were targeted here (Weekend Wanderers Christmas dig- Saxon hoard found).
|Hoard under 'excavation' image posted by "Metal Detectives" on |
BAJR Facebook page. Note hole is at least elbow-deep
before the hoard is reached
MDF Forum member "somopoppy" (Sun Dec 21, 2014 6:26 pm) reports:
A lead bag/bucket was found deeply buried on top on a mounded area. The FLO got involved straight away. The area was cordoned off by the organisers. The dig went on very slowly for most of the day. Lots of documentation made at each stage. News soon reached other members of the dig and a small crowd was watching all day. By late afternoon the lead covering had been removed and around 25/30 bags were filled with coins. These medium sized bags filled a Sainsbury shopping bag. Everyone was taking it in turns having their pictures taken alongside the hoard.If the lead container still had its lid on, it was below plough level in a part of the field described as a "mounded area" - was this a ploughed out earthwork? If the excavation was going slowly with lots of documentation down to the point where the coins were, why were they being hurriedly removed at the end of the same day? Better archaeological results would have been obtained exploring the actual coin deposit and its surroundings in less haste the next day. It turns out that the hoiking was done by an archaeologist, who should know better:
The FLO who dug it all out identified two coins as being Cnut and Althelred (the unready). They were all in excellent condition by the looks of things- all shiny and new looking and they jingled as they were tipped into the 25 or so bags needed to contain them all. Then the whole lot filled a Sainsbury carrier bag. The FLO took them all away in a large box. I think it's the largest hoard of saxon coins ever found in this country.
So, what's this about the PAS teaching metal detectorists about the value of finds in their context when the context of the deposit was not explored even when the FLO took over the excavation? This is the hole that was dug. Look at the depth, note also it is dug through grass. Is this what FLO Ros Tyrell thinks an archaeological investigation looks like?
|Hoik hole, image posted by "Metal Detectives" on BAJR Facebook page|
|Bin bag full of unlabelled polygrip bags, photographed by |
detectorist; this suggests no attempt was made by the PAS
archaeologist to bag up coins in a way that would
reveal any internal structuring of the deposit.
Lenborough (Anglo-Saxon Edingeberge ~ Ledingberge) and Padbury.
Online archaeological records show that the fields closest to us at the village of Lenborough feature the site of a Norman manor house dating 1000 AD to 1199 AD that was held by the Bishop of Bayeux (of tapestry fame) in the reign of Henry 11.(sic)
Adjacent land to this manor house site shows eroded field earthworks delineating a medieval deserted village and aerial photos appear to show a north-south street running up the hillside to the east of Manor farm flanked by rectangular house platforms and tofts, and surrounded to the north and south by furlongs of ridge and furrow. Further west to the DMV is the site of Lenborough windmill but notably an earlier feature on one of this farm's fields is a rectilinear earthwork probably of a much older origin.
Interestingly there is an Iron Age enclosure at Padbury called Norbury Camp described as 'the mutilated remains of a univallate earthwork, formerly sub-circular in shape' This is presumed to be a defended enclosure/settlement of dating to the Iron Age.
Sources of research Copy and paste the following:Also featured:
Finds Recording in the barn: FLO Ros Tyrrell will also be along so come over and get your stuff identifield, recorded and entered onto the PAS database!Hurrah !!
Dei Gratia Coins and Artefacts: Dave will be in the barn with his stalls all set with a great spread for you to choose your Xmas presents from!Or flog yer stuff to at once - Hurrah !!
There is the usual rash of comments indicating that just below the surface veneer of "history enthusiasts not in it fer the munny" concerned about protection of the archaeological record, there is a whole bunch of money-hungry Treasure Hunters on the forums. One comment is particularly revealing:
Hurrah!! All deliberately done on a known archaeological site.Nice find.was there a thread about not digging below the plough depth.just shows dig till you find it ..
TAKE A GOOD LOOK at this behaviour, for these are precisely the sort of people the PAS wants to grab more and more millions of public quid to make into the "partners" of the British Museum, archaeological heritage professionals and to whom they want us all to entrust the exploitation of the archaeological record. Take a good look and decide what you think about that as a "policy".