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Metal Detecting - Dig For Treasure Or History

We've all heard of those farmers or lucky metal detectorists digging up Roman coins, a Saxon spear or precious silver or gold jewellery over the years. Do you remember the Silverdale Hoard in 2007 in Harrogate, North Yorkshire when David Whelan and his son Andrew discovered 617 silver coins and 65 other fine silver items from 900 AD? They and the farmer, who's land the discovery was made on, were paid £1 million between them by the Yorkshire Museum who now display them for all to enjoy. Do we ever really believe that it could happen to us 'little old amateurs' though?

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This month we read that David Hall achieved just that three years ago when he was only 14, uncovering an exciting trove of Roman silver and importantly re-writing what we understood about the Roman empire’s boundary and diplomatic relations with the Picts. The silver fragments from the 3rd century AD were discovered in Dairsie in Fife, beyond the edge of the old Roman Empire. The silver fragments, or “hacksilver” where silver vessels were cut up to use as bullion, would have been used as a form of frontier diplomacy, a century after the practice was believed to have ceased. This important historical hoard has been curated by the Scottish National Museum and partly restored to recreate a fluted bowl, a beaker an intricate dish, which are now on display. This treasure seeker first got in to detectoring when he saw a TV show, bought a budget metal detector and was lucky enough to locate this significant find only a few months later. He says "It's great to have unearthed a piece of history and I'm looking forward to seeing it on display at the museum." (BBC News)

The Treasure Act 1996 rules will determine whether an important hoard is deemed as 'treasure' or 'portable antiquities' and whether a payment will be made to the finders or not. There's lots of useful information online, on what you can and can't do and also a voluntary Code of Conduct, for any budding detectorist. So, whether you’re digging for treasure, or are just a history buff and would love to discover any artefact of a bygone era, metal detectoring could be a new hobby for you and the family, with exercise thrown in too!

We’ve got the perfect beginner’s metal detector in the Denver MET-100 waterproof metal detector, at £27.49 +P&P

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It's a versatile metal detector, lightweight and easy to use, making it the perfect companion for beginner treasure seekers. The visual and sound indicators and the headphone jack gives you the option of crystal clear listening when searching in a noisy environment. The high sensitivity sensor has the ability to detect metals up to 12 cm beneath the ground. The discrimination setting differentiates between ferrous and non-ferrous metals enabling you to search solely for the more precious objects such as silver and gold, or include all metals such as iron and steel.

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You can adjust the tuning to suit your surroundings and the 170 mm water-resistant coil means you can even search for treasure under shallow water, so don’t forget your wellies! The sound sensor has an adjustable volume and you can plug in your headphones if you’re treasure seeking in a noisy environment. There’s also a visual sensor that will indicate when metal is detected so you really won’t miss a thing.

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The Denver MET-100 waterproof metal detector operates on 6 x AA batteries (not included) and has a low battery indicator to give you advanced warning, so you don't set out unprepared. The adjustable stem can be set to suit your height and the built-in arm support can give everyone hours of comfortable treasure hunting!

Happy detectoring, from the team at 3wisemonkeys

(Sources: BBC News, The Detectorist website, GOV.UK)

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