This find was from a while ago but I have only just gotten around to putting it together. Most people who metal detect dream of finding certain coins, for me there are a few but one that was on the list has now been crossed of due to a great spot where an old wattle and daub house once stood. The story of the first settlers here is that they came out from England but only stayed a short while before heading back home to England, after a few years in England they decided to return and give it another go and this time they stayed. Now to explain a wattle and daub house, it was a simple structure made by making a frame of straight upright timbers stuck in the ground approx 2 feet apart, a wicker like wall was then made from thin wattle sticks by weaving them around the timbers. A plaster like mixture of chopped straw and well worked clay that they called pug, this was then daubed in layers to fill in all the cracks and bind everything together, they then smoothed it off with a trowel and whitewashed it all over. I have helped a friend make mud bricks before and it sounds like a very similar principle.
I had know idea of where to start, as the only evidence of a dwelling being here was an old fig tree and an old willow tree. I started to zigzag between the trees to maximise my chances of locating something in the ground to indicate where the house may have been. The first couple of targets were trash bits of lead but that is always a welcome sign because you know that someone had been here and where there are bad targets there should be good targets somewhere. Not too long too wait and and nice high tone came squealing through my headphones but it was telling me that it was deep, it kind of sounded like a silver but I didn’t want to get my hopes up just yet. After digging down about 250 mm my propointer was starting to make that beautiful continuous squeal that lets you know that you are about to see your treasure, yes I was right an excellent looking 1880 English shilling. It is always good when you find an early silver, it just makes everything worth it, the hours of research, late nights studying Google maps and all the relationship building with land owners to get permission.
There was a steady flow of relics and a couple more early half pennies 1854 and an 1806, before I was joined by the farmer to see what I had found, I like it when they show an interest in what I am doing. We talked for awhile and he had a look at what I had found and decided that he liked the half pennies and asked if he could have one, so I gave him both of them because after all it is his land. I found an excellent looking snake buckle that was still joined to the belt part, which is quite rare as most of them are just the snake part on their own.
Below is how they would be worn on the belt.
As the day was getting on I planned on giving it another half an hour before heading for home. There was a bit of a slope facing towards the willow tree that used to be beside a spring fed creek (now a dam) and I could just picture someone sitting there in the cool of the evening looking out across their land. I started working up and down the slope and found a couple more small buckles and then a squeal that nearly blew my eardrums, it was a solid 1:45 on the E-TRAC which could have been either a traders token or a large Victoria young head penny. Something didn’t seem quite right though as it was just so loud, the tone was right, the ID was good and solid and the pinpoint mode on the E-TRAC was telling me it was a solid target about coin size but it just seemed different. Now in hindsight I now wish I had filmed the whole dig but it was the end of the day and I just didn’t expect what was about to come out of the ground. As I flipped over the dirt there sticking half out of the base of the plug was a very large silver coin, I hadn’t seen a Crown or half Crown in real life before only in pictures, but there it was an 1850 Queen Victoria Half Crown, I couldn’t believe it. I was pretty sure it was because of the shield but I quickly sent picture by text to my mate in Melbourne to confirm exactly what it was.
Oh happy day now just to find that elusive gold Sovereign and remember to keep positive because you never know what your next swing is going to unearth.