Ferrous Metal Detecting Finds (4/7)
Next find of the day was a trigger of a 19. century firearm.
The last find that day were four small iron bars each 30-40 g of weight and some 10 cm / 4” long. All were found in one hole.
They do not look very impressive, do they? But I think, and other knowledgeable detectorists agree, that these were small iron ingots made by an ancient blacksmith who used the nearby creek to operate his business. This person lived when iron was very valuable so it made sense to invest the work to make such small ingots. In short, I believe that these are either antique ingots or intermediate products. In literature similar items were declared as files.
When I reported this find to the monument protection authorities they liked to hear about it. As always they were very cautious with any identification but considered an antique origin possible.
The search was resumed the very next day. Again, large portions of the forest were barren and some hours passes without any finds besides modern junk.
At the edge of the forest there is a small creek. This creek can be seen on 200 year old maps as well. Just 10 meter / 11 yards away from the creek my detector found multiple targets. They were so close to one another that no conductivity reading was to obtained. I started to dig and found – a grape shot 1” iron ball! (As all finds these shots are pictured in the group picture at the end of the article.) Grape shot ammunition was very effective against closed infantry formations on short range.
I re-scanned the hole but there were still multiple targets. I dug another ball, and another one! To make it short, seven of these balls were found in one hole. In the last 1.5 years I had found just one of them and today I got seven! Seven in a hole, this cannot be the consequence of a shot. Either the group of balls were placed there in a container today deteriorated or they were collected after the battle and dumped there. At a different site I had a similar experience when I found nine fragments of a hollow cannon ball in one hole. Possibly the very poor population of the days of the battle collected metal to sell it afterwards. We know for sure that the population took away clothing, especially leather items, and everything valuable from the dead soldiers in the forests. While the French took care to collect equipment after the battle they did not care for the dead soldiers. The local population was forced to find and bury dead corpses. So weeks after the battle dead naked men where laying in the forests. Also, suddenly many farmers had firearms after the battle and started to poach. Of course all these things were prohibited but it happened nevertheless.
Just 5 meters / 5.5 yards away I found another multiple-target area. Another group of grape shots were found, this time no less than 17! They were buried so close to one another that some corroded to became twins. These grape shots, too, will be shown below.
(C) Thorsten Straub www.metal-detecting.de 2006-2011.