Tuesday, June 14, 2016

6/14/16 Report - 1715 Fleet Copper Bracelet Find by Capitana Crew. How "Stray" Finds of Historic Items Are Made.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of treasurebeachesreport.blogspot.com.

Three 1715 Fleet Artifacts Found Last Week by the Capitana Crew.
Photo by Captain Jonah Martinez
I talked about this silver spoon and the nested weight in previous posts.  Here is also a copper bracelet that was also found by the Capitana guys.

Notice the nice old wood too.

Copper Bracelet Find.
Photo submitted by Captain Jonah Martinez
I once found a silver bracelet very much like this copper one.

Good finds, and thanks for sharing!


James F. sent me a bunch of excellent links.  Several of those link to posts in a blog called Past Times and Present Tensions.

Here is a question for you.   What percent of stray coin finds of possible historic or archaeological interest are made by metal detectorists?  By stray, I mean to exclude those made as a part of a systematic archaeological excavations or salvage operations.  Just take a guess.  Try to come up with a number.

I found some numbers that might seem surprising.  I found those numbers in a post in the blog I just mentioned.  The author of the blog presented data that he found in the book, Iron Age Coinage in South-East England: The Archaeological Context by Colin Haselgrove, Oxford, 1987, p. 104.  It is data on "stray" finds of 286 British Celtic coins.

Here is how those stray finds were made.

Large scale earth-moving, including extractive industries and railway cuttings   4%
Building and construction works    14%
Cultivation and ploughing     16%
Digging and allotments, such as drainage trenches and pits    13%
Home gardening    10%
Coastal or riverine erosion    20%
Erosion or other disturbance to the grounds surface    13%
Archaeological prospecting (field-walking) and metal detecting    10%

To state the obvious, that means 90% were not found by archaeologists or by people metal detecting! Most of the finds are made in other ways.

The numbers are old, being from 1987, and they are limited to Celtic coins found during a single year. Those are serious limitations, but it appears that most "stray" historic finds are made during earth removal, construction projects, farming, gardening or just walking along an eroded beach or river.

It seems that the archaeologist's concerns about the detecting hobby is definitely misplaced.  The unfair characterization of detectorists as looters is not only unfair in the vast majority of cases, but detectorists are involved in very few finds of a historic or archaeological nature anyhow.  According to these numbers, home gardeners are every bit as likely to be involved in making such finds.  I suspect that it would be more difficult to villainize a petunia-planting granny, though.

Erosion accounted for about 33% or one third.  I frequently talk about erosion and we all look for erosion on the beaches.

Earth-moving, building construction and drainage ditches and the like, accounted for a little over 30% of the stray finds.

As I said, there are serious limitations to this data.  Nonetheless, it is eye-opening.  I don't know of any other similar data.  Maybe there is more somewhere.

Thanks for the links James!


Fort Pierce makes national news as another terrorist has ties to the Islamic Center in White City.



We'll have a smooth surf for a few days.  There is no significant tropical weather activity.

Happy hunting,