Back To Detecting On The Deserted Medieval Village Fields

According to information available online, one of my permissions has a field that was once the location of a long deserted medieval village. This particular field is set back away from the road and is surrounded by seven other fields, most of which I have permission to detect on.

Over the past year I have detected on all of these fields finding a variety of things, mostly dating back over the paste 150 years, which is to be expected, because, of course these fields have been in constant use for thousands of years. I have also found a few hammered silver coins on these fields as well as a few spindle whorls.

It is now mid February and due to work commitments and bad weather I have only managed to get out detecting once this year, and that was for a quick couple of hours in the rain by myself. So me and my detecting buddy Bob decided that it was time to put in a full days detecting together. We had a chat on the phone a few days ago to decide when and where. We decided on the DMV permission and met up there in the morning. It was a dry bright morning but rain was forecasted for later in the afternoon. After parking up I did a quick check to see which fields looked the best for the days detecting. Sheep were grazing on two of the fields so we decided to concentrate on two particular field, the sloping one nearest to where we were parked and the one at the bottom of the slope just below it. Both had recently had sheep on them and the grass had been cropped close to the ground by their grazing which was going to be a big advantage in easy coil swinging and the best depth possible.

We hopped over the gate and set up our detectors and set off. The first couple of hours was a bit tedious as we were just finding bits of modern scrap and very little else, in fact by midday the most interesting thing that I found was a four hole button that was probably less than 100 years old, but thats just how detecting goes, sometimes you find nothing of interest, but it was enjoyable to be out in the fresh air in good company. We stopped next to the hedge for a lunch break and compared our poor selection of finds so far.

After lunch we set off again. For some reason I set off heading back towards the gate where we had first entered the field. Bob and I had searched this part of the field several times before, and between had completely gridded it, so there shouldn’t be much left to find, but for some reason I just wandered in a diagonal line across it. I had a few scrappy signals that were obviously junk but then I hit a decent sounding signal, it was clean and steady so I decided to dig it. A few minutes later I was holding the item in my hand. I didn’t know what it was, but it was definitely something. It had almost a spoon like end with a stem coming off it, with a bump in the stem that could have been a crude animal head. I put it in my finds container and a few minutes showed it to Bob, he wasn’t sure either but we both agreed that it was something.

An early medieval strap fitting or 'socketed hook dating to AD 1000-1100

We continued to detect down the sloping field to the flat field beyond and climbed over the fence into it. For the next 3 hours we just wandered around in no particular way.

The rest of my finds for the day included a musket ball, a selection of buttons, a clog clasp, an early horse harness ring, a small 8 sided buckle frame, an 1860’s penny and a 1930’s half penny. So not an amazing day, but good fun. But what was that earlier something that I found?

Once home I carefully brushed off the loose soil with a soft toothbrush, no water used at all, then just a gentle rub between my fingers, so that any patina was preserved. I photographed and posted it in Facebook and very soon an identification was made. It was a an early medieval strap fitting or ‘socketed hook dating to AD 1000-1100 on the upper side is a zoomorphic terminal. The animal has a long neck which extends to a rounded head with eyes either side and large oval nostrils. This one find amongst all my trashier finds made it an amazing and worthwhile days detecting.

A very similar one can be see on the PAS database here – Early Medieval Strap Fitting

My finds for the day
My finds for the day