Metal Detecting Search (2/4)
Now to the practical side of the hunt. I drove to that place and searched from noon till dusk. Hours went by without any period finds. Did the painting exaggerate? Maybe in reality just some soldiers arrived and fired their muskets into the air which was sufficient for the civil population to panic? And later this incident became a ‘terrible battle’ in their memories?
I started the search at the hill top. Due to the modern building I found just modern junk. Next the slopes were searched. Very few metal objects. The ubiquitous horse shoes. A large non-ferrous target turned out to be a US WW II cartridge of the BMG 50, the heavy Browning machine gun calibre 0.5 inch. Apparently, these cartridges are everywhere.
At the western slope I received a multiple iron signal. I started to dig and found – a cannon ball fragment! While certainly not an earthshaking find by itself I was very pleased since I finally had my proof. This hill WAS under cannon ball fire this particular day some 200 years ago. One thing I like about battle fields is that you can put a precise date to the found relics. While in other areas you have to be content if you can narrow the time frame of a relic down to a few centuries here we have even the precise day.
I was so excited that I called a good friend of mine via cell phone. He shared my excitement.
The digging continued and a group of more cannon ball fragments came to light. Depth was some 30-40 cm / 12” to 16”. I finished the western slope without a single more find. Strange. Why this extreme concentration? The western slope is an area of 80m x 150m (88 yards x 165 yards) and the only battle finds are confined in a circle with 1 m / 1.1 yard diameter.
I encountered this phenomenon before, at a different battlefield of the same period. Is it possible that a grenade leaves that pattern? What about other splinters in a greater distance from the point of impact? Have they all been collected after the battle? Why should someone do this? Were collected fragments disposed in the impact crater to tidy up the forest?
Anyway, I resumed searching. Large areas contained no finds. Then, hours later, more relics turned up at the northern slope. More grenade fragments which were again very much concentrated. A single 1” grape shot was found very close to the fragments. And a single spur 10 m / 11 yards away. Dusk forced me to stop the search. I was very pleased with that day and decided to come back tomorrow. I really liked the idea to have my own skirmish site. Small but not searched yet.
The next day I returned to the finding spot at the north slope and used it as a starting point to search a very large area.
I did not find a single battle relic the whole day with the exception of a single cannon ball fragment! Very strange find distribution pattern. It can be seen in the detail sketch below. The green bordered area was searched. The red circles mark the spots were the cannon ball fragment groups were found.
The found relics in find state. Drink can for size comparison.
(C) Thorsten Straub www.metal-detecting.de 2006-2011.