Wednesday 11 April 2012

Focus on Metal Detecting: Me and My Mate Dug it Out

Continuing the series of "Focus on Metal Detecting" posts initiated by UK metal detectorist "Steve the Barford-Slayer's" attempts to silence this blog, and again drawing on a story sent to me by Paul Zoetbrood, a reader in the Netherlands with the comment "And a second 'responsible' partner". He gets the idea. Like the one below this, this is also up in CBA-land (York region). 455 fourth century coins dating from between 354 and 445AD (sic) found near Kellington North Yorks by "metal detector enthusiast" (artefact hunter) Stephen Hutchinson. It's the usual bla-bla. This hoard is an “UNBELIEVABLE” (capitalised) "haul", "officially classed as treasure", "items currently being valued" (for the reward), "interest shown in the collection by the British Museum". Yawn.  Here's the obligatory "almost gave-up-before-having-one-last-go" bit:
Mr Hutchinson said: “I’ve only been metal detecting for just over 12 months, and I went out as often as possible. I found the usual old pins and things like that, but this is the most significant thing I’ll ever find. “I worked through one field and didn’t have much success, and my batteries went flat. So I decided to search in another field with new batteries and discovered the initial 28 coins. They were all on the surface and down to about 12 inches, but then I hit rock.”
Then there is the bit where responsible journalism would point out what the Treasure Act Code of Practice says (The PAS has surely sent a copy to every journalist likely to cover such cases with the relevant passages highlighted with a fluorescent highlighter). But no, on the text blunders:
Mr Hutchinson said that once he “discovered the magnitude of the find”, he phoned a fellow metal detector friend to come and help him. He said: “We searched probably about 50 metres square, but all the coins themselves were within about five square metres. Judging by the condition of them, they had probably only recently been turned over by the plough. It was unbelievable.” Mr Hutchinson and his friend, Brendan Griffin, worked on the site on and off for the following two weeks, and eventually unearthed 455 coins...
After which (?) they reported it to the Coroner?

I would very much like to know why the terminus post quem of the hoard is placed as late as 445AD in this report, if true, making it one of the latest coin hoards in Britain and thus tragic that it was recovered under such conditions. What was the latest coin in it ? Marcian? Pulcheria? Petronius Maximus? Where was this latest coin within the scatter in relation to the other coins?  

Anon, '455 Roman coins dug up in field near Kellington', York News, 10th April 2012.

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