The club had searched most of the fields on this farm at Crondall in Hampshire with good results on most of them. New land had been promised for Sunday 26th September 2004 so it was with eager anticipation that the large contingent of Weekend Wanderers excitedly arrived at this undetected field. Sun ripened barley had been neatly removed leaving an aftermath of decapitated sparse golden yellow stalks. Parking cars was easily accomplished along the set-aside border of this interesting rolling ground ahead of us so it seemed that this field excitingly could have great potential.
The 9.30am start couldn't come round soon enough and shortly after, detectorists were heads down all over the field digging from the very off which is usually a relief to see. There's nothing worse than the sight of seeing nobody digging but the opposite proved to become the awful truth as the next two hours would reveal. An enlightening chat with a couple of guys who had resigned themselves to an early mid-morning break by propping up their cars and supping coffee said it all. ‘It's a landfill site! Nothing but squashed drinks cans and trash! It’s crap!’ The admonishing complaint stung somewhat especially as I heard the same from the hacked off fellows next to him who held out his condemning evidence, a pile of Lilt and Coke cans plus all sorts of non-ferrous debris. Times like this are uncomfortable for a dig organizer but it seems to occur more often these days especially on untried land and the increase of ‘green waste’ spreading.
A nearby digger on hearing our conversation also chipped in. Noting the complaints from the others, he held out his hand showing off two lovely silver Roman denarii. On seeing this, a guy nearby said he had found one too and said quite a few had come up. Energized by the reports of many silver coins, the group went off again to diligently cover the field in spite of the trash.
Later investigation revealed that gully emptying lorries had emptied their loads over this field as a sort of ‘green manure’ .
The upshot was that an overlay of roadside drain waste had masked the ancient finds hidden beneath. Squashed aluminium cans, ring pulls and foil were contended with but duly eliminated from the site but the hard work was worth it. Many Roman denarii had been gleaned from the trashy areas and FLO David Williams who was present on the day stated that this must be a scattered hoard.
This turned out to be the case as more and more people recorded their finds but some were unusual serrated denarii.
A great deal of excitement rippled across the field as Gary hit a large target deep down and right at the centre of the spread of coins. The growing crowd surrounded Gary who was now on his knees following his signal deeper into the ground. The positive target was perfect and all thought this was surely the big one! Rather disappointingly, this great sounding target revealed itself to be the tin lid from a gallon of emulsion paint. It is well worth digging those deep signals!