Sunday 25 August 2019

Ring Surfaces after 40 Years, Landowner's Family Due for Surprise Refund

Steel-toed boots for fieldwork
 and a pocket full of keys
Poor confused metal-detectorist in UK is "surprised" to find a gold ring in his garage (Chiara Giordano Pensioner discovers ring found buried in field is medieval artefact worth up to £10,000' MSN 19 hrs ago)
 A metal detectorist dug up a rare gold ring and kept it in his garage for 40 years only to discover it was medieval treasure worth up to £10,000. Tom Clark, 81, first found the piece of jewellery in 1979 while searching a plot of farmland just outside his home town of Aylesbury, in Buckinghamshire. Without realising its true value, he put the ring inside a metal tin and left it inside a garage, where it remained forgotten for decades. It wasn’t until he began sorting through items from his mother’s house after her death that Mr Clark came across the seal ring again by chance. [...] Mr Clark said: “I had completely forgotten about it. “At the time I’d only been metal detecting for 10 years and didn’t realise the ring was anything special. It was all twisted and broken when I dug it up. 
Oh really? So this guy did not recognise gold when he saw it? That'd make him the thickest metal detectorist in England, I'd say. How much longer than "only ten years" would the average leather craftsman (which is what the BBC says he did) need to learn that the yellowish shiny metal that some things are made of is called "gold"? Twisted and broken, he says - so when and by whom was it repaired - was that before or after the garage storage? But it has a stone in the bezel, so it cant have been 'that' twisted that the latter fell out. Anyhow Clueless Tom:
decided to get it valued and was shocked to discover it was a 670-year-old medieval artefact dating back to 1350 [...]. It is now set to be sold at Hansons Auctioneers’ Historica and Metal Detecting Finds Auction in Etwall, Derbyshire, on 27 August for an estimated £8,500 to £10,000. 
And the family of the landowner on whose land this was found - will they be getting a cut? Why was this not declared under the pre-1996 Treasure Trove laws? Oh, yes, it was "all twisted and broken", so nobody knew what it was....
I took it to a museum along with a lot of other rings I’d come across so they could record the finds. “I went back a week later and they told me the rings were all fairly modern and gave them back to me. “So, I put them all in a tin and left them in the garage at my mother’s house where I was living at the time. Back then I would have been in my 30s. 
Ah, still living with his Mum in his thirties, that explains a lot. In fact though, if the ring was found in 1979, he'd be in his forties and living with his mum. This "a museum" would presumably have been Buckinghamshire County Museum in Church St (Aylesbury HP20 2QP). Now there the archaeologist was at that time, if I am not mistaken, Mike Farley, and from what I know of him personally, I find it totally incomprehensible that in 1979, he'd not have spotted a gold ring with an intaglio and said it was "modern" and did not need reporting as Treasure Trove, no matter if it was allegedly "twisted and broken".  What's going on here? Maybe Bucks Museums can tell us what records they have of local objects brought in by Tom Clark in and around 1979. Anyway, he says:
“A few months ago, I was sorting through some stuff in my own garage that had come from my mother’s house and there it was – the tin with the rings in it.” Mr Clark said he knows a lot more now after 50 years spent metal detecting and realised “straight away” that the ring dated back to about 1350 when he came across it in the garage. He added: “I took it back to my local museum and the find has now been recorded. 
The ring does not, apparently, figure on the PAS database, despite having been found forty years ago. I'm looking at the surface finish of this object that had been found unrecognisable "all twisted and broken" and wondering just where it has been repaired, on the shiny polished hoop for example? On the delicate (thin) collar holding the intaglio? On the edge of the bezel with the inscription, which part of that has been restored to make this "all twisted and broken" ring look like it does now? I wonder what kind of objective "condition report" Hanson's can give to show which part of this restored "all twisted and broken" object are in fact authentic and as made? That (rather odd) intaglio with its intriguing toolmarks for example?

The ring reportedly bears a Latin inscription 'NVNCIE.VERA.TEGO' which the metal detectorist passing as a finds expert at Hanson's say may translate as ‘I hide the true message’. It does not, but this find does indeed have a message or two for us about metal detectorists

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