Metal Detecting Finds (6/8)
This chapter gives an overview of some selected finds.
In the creek bed near point 2 I received a large though somehow vague signal. I dug and dug and dug … and found a stone. At my search places it is (luckily) very unusual to encounter rocks that give a signal. Here is a picture:
This iron item is not positively identified yet. It has a socket. It could be a crude projectile but I opt for a lance shoe. A lance shoe is attached to the bottom end of a lance or spear.
The item was found in the creek coming from the north, just a few meters before it meets the one from the west. The find spot is very close to the place where the Roman bridge can be assumed. At presence it cannot be dated or even assigned to the Roman period.
The blade is damaged but the general condition is satisfactory. Knifes of that type were used in Roman as well as medieval times.
At the western slope of the station’s hill, between point 1 and point 6, several hand forged nails were found. While these nails were excavated by chance a piece of grey ceramic was found. I think it is medieval. The sherd comprises part of the vessel’s bottom.
The cross section of the find.
Within the former station some 10 hand forged nails and, to my surprise, two pieces of sponge iron (raw iron pre 1500) were found. These finds were charted on a separate map. It seems some small scale iron ore processing was done at this place.
The greatest surprise was a Roman silver coin from Gratian (murdered AD 383), minted in Trier (Germany). I had found some nondescript Roman copper coins before but a silver coin with legible detail was a new experience for me. It was found adjacent to the older route where it reaches the highest point. Maybe toll was collected here. The coin was some 20 cm deep. My detector did not give a clear conductivity reading – probably the coin did not lie flat - so I was not sure what to expect. Luckily, I dug anyway, found a small silverish plate, turned it and looked into the face of a Roman emperor. Moments like these make this activity so unique.
In view of the few made finds it is very fortunate that such a find was among them. Just one relevant non iron find and then of such calibre.
From the historical point of view this find is so important because it helps to date the Roman former presence at this place. At the end of the fourth century the Roman empire was collapsing. Money was in circulation for a long time, so maybe this coin was in use from AD 375, when Gratian became emperor, to the middle of the 5. century. Roman finds from the 2. and 3. century are no surprises at this road but late 4. or even 5. century is interesting. So I sent a detailed search report to the monument protection authorities.
(C) Thorsten Straub www.metal-detecting.de 2006-2011.