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Author Topic: Reavealing treasures of the past  (Read 599 times)
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« on: April 29, 2011, 04:39:30 PM »

Coin collection: Roman, Saxon and Celtic coins found by Danny with his trusty metal detector


Revealing the hidden treasures of the past
 Coin collection: Roman, Saxon and Celtic coins found by Danny with his trusty metal detector GITB20110416A-028_C

By a metal detectorist from sheppey found himself in court in canterbury last month after unearthing treasures dating back to the 7th century.

But far from being in trouble, Danny Larcombe was simply explaining to a coroner how he and brother Stephen had unearthed coins and a gold pendant in farmers' fields near Canterbury.

Here Danny speaks to the Gazette's Jim Palmer about his enthusiasm for treasure hunting.

WALKING up and down a field waiting for a bleep may seem unusual to some but metal detectoring is becoming more and more popular.

Islander Danny Larcombe, 25, spends most weekends looking for treasure across north Kent with his brother Stephen, 28.


Danny, a shopfitter who lives in Sheerness with wife Stacey, said: "It is not as unusual as you might think. It is becoming really popular."

There are approaching 30,000 detectorists nationwide, he said.

Danny unearthed the hobby when he was just 9.

"It was passed to me by my father," he said. "He used to do it and came home with things I found interesting.

"He got me into it and then I got my brother into it and he has been doing it for years now."

Despite the familial link to the pastime, Danny said he is not overeager to pressurise 20-month-old son Owen into it when he is old enough.

He said: "I certainly won't push it on him but if he wants to get involved I won't stop him. Certain things are not for everyone, I have got friends that have kids who are not interested."

Stephen and Danny regularly spend weekends searching fields with friends, in places like Wingham, Herne, Aylesham as well as on the island.

Most often the group find items that have been dropped and are of no real value, although recently they found some coins in Wingham which were taken to the British Museum to be valued.

They were declared as treasure trove by a coroner in Canterbury last month and could be put up for sale, with the proceeds divided between the brothers and the landowner.

Danny said: "I like things that are going to tell you about history. For me, coins can't really tell you much history. All they can tell you is someone years ago lost a coin.

"I like personal items."

One piece that sparked Danny's enthusiasm recently was a small, old silver ring with an engraving which he was able to trace back to a manor house in Wye, near Ashford.

"It is that sort of thing which does it for me," he said. "You can get a lot of information from something like a buckle.You can tell what sort of status someone had who walked or worked in a field."

For any prospective detectorists, Danny advises not buying the equipment until you have some land to search.

When you do invest, it is best to go for middle-of-the-range equipment, Danny reckons, which could set you back 500.

Then join a club. Clubs often have access to land or can organise rallies.

Danny is a member of Swale Search and Recovery Club, which meets every other Thursday in Gillingham. It used to be called the Isle of Sheppey Metal Detectorists' Club but had to change its name after moving venue.

A responsible metal detectorist, Danny is also a member of the National Council for Metal Detectorists and the Federation of Independent Detectorists, from whom he gets public liability insurance.

He said: "Not everyone has the insurance. You don't have to have it but I do. For example, if you go onto land and leave the gate open and some sheep get out and cause damage then you are covered. Not that I would be that careless."

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