Time Capsule (6/10)
The search area is very large. One day I came to a hang. There were horizontal crevices in the rock outcroppings here and there so I decided to search these cracks as they make good and rather dry hiding places.
With some heavy breathing I climbed up through all the lose leafs, looked for crevices and searched these with the metal detector. It did not take 5 minutes up there that I got a large, deep signal. Slowly I moved the search coil to determine the exact center and outline of this object. It had a slim, oblong shape. Some stabbing weapon, a dagger maybe? At least this seemed not to be another small piece of junk. I started to dig, using my secondary detector, an inexpensive and insensitive hand-held device purchased for 20 $ at a do-it-yourself shop, as a digging tool.
The crevice was filled with some sort of sand and gravel, no doubt eroded stone falling down from the ceiling for centuries. In 5, 10 and 15 cm depth the hand detector did not detect anything. After having checked with the big detector I knew that something had to be there. The big detector’s signal was clear.
As the hole became to deep to dig without proper tools, I climbed down, climbed up another hang with my equipment on top, took the spade, and climbed down and up again. After some moments of regaining my breath I resumed digging.
When the hole was some 30 cm deep I checked it again with my small secondary detector. This time it gave a signal! As the penetration depth of this small device is very limited I had to be very near to the target. Avoiding the use of the spade I dug deeper, carefully and slowly. Then I saw the first piece of the objects surface.
This is one of the magical moments of metal detecting. At first, a small fraction of the found object is visible. While more and more is revealed new theories about the identity of the find are made and discarded. Hopes are created and moments later destroyed. This is similar to some TV shows where a small fraction of a photo of a celebrity is shown. Moment by moment more is shown and those who guess the depicted person first win.
Back to the find. By now I had removed enough sand to see a somewhat cylindrical shape. That did not look like a dagger. Slim tubes can be firearms barrels but this one seemed to be too thick for that. Usually such cylinders cause searchers to be very prudent as this is the typical ammunition form. A World War 2 dud grenade maybe?
No. it was no dud. To let the cat out of the bag it was just a tube. An ordinary plumber’s steel tube, some 30 cm long. There were pieces of newspaper attached to it. It was not possible to look inside as the ends were filled with some organic substance I did not recognise at once.
I was disappointed. All the time of searching and the effort of climbing around for an ordinary steel tube. What sort of joker climbed up here to get rid of his trash? With sinister thoughts I looked at the tube and was short of throwing the thing into the next bush. But something was unusual though I did not instantly noted what. Than I had it. The font. The font of the newspaper. These were not the letters used in today’s newspapers but old fashioned ones like those I had seen at the archive’s. They came out of fashion after the war. Was it possible that at least some parts of the newspaper survived for several decades in this crevice?
I started to study the remains of the newspaper intensively. Was there any date mentioned?
Just fragments of the articles survived. I found no date. For several minutes I sat there at the top of the hang, staring at the tube and trying to find any clue as to the date. Had there been any eyewitnesses present it would have been a somewhat strange sight.. It became dark on this short winter day. Then I found an obviously political article that started using the sentence “It has been 8 months since Adolf Hitler became chancellor.”
Hitler became chancellor January 30, 1933. So the newspaper originated from Fall 1933. Later all paper felt apart into stamp size or slightly larger fragments. One piece looked exactly as the dates of stock price lists, comparing the last two days. It were October 4. and 5, so I think the newspaper was issued October 6, 1933.
Suddenly the tube became interesting again. It looked as if someone 7 decades ago had intentionally hidden this tube. In that case it must contain something interesting enough for this individual to justify this effort. I put it into my backpack and drove home.
(C) Thorsten Straub www.metal-detecting.de 2006-2011.