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hat makes a successful detecting lay lord of the manor, who would endeavour to keep
site? I think we all know what one a close eye on proceedings by holding the event at or
is, but like asking a travel agent for near “home”. Consequently, many sites also feature a
a holiday “somewhere nice” it is dif- manor or ecclesiastical site as a bonus. Further, people
ficult to define. I therefore asked the and goods had to get to and from these sites so there
question on UK Detector Net, a well-known Internet are networks of trackways and waterways leading to
detecting forum; not unexpectedly I received quite a them that would have seen very heavy traffic and an
few different answers. Some correspondents weren’t abundance of metallic losses. From my own experience
particularly bothered whether they found anything these sites have produced every one of my seven treas-
or not providing the search told them something; but ure finds so far, and hundreds of other exciting finds. In
most wanted some or all of those special finds that short, just one of these trading or meeting sites could
we often read about in Treasure Hunting: Bronze keep you busy and your finds bag overflowing with
Age axe heads, Iron Age gold staters, Roman finds, quality coins and artefacts for many years.
Saxon material, medieval gold and silver coins and
hoards. With this information in mind I would define Within the following pages I am going to give
a successful detecting site as one with the potential to you some details and approximate location of several
produce large quantities of quality coins and artefacts thousand trading and meeting sites. Except for a few
from all ages, Bronze Age to modern. close to my home, I do not know the precise location
of the sites and you will need to carry out a little local
Fortunately, I happen to know of thousands of research to pinpoint them; at least it gives everyone
such sites scattered just a few miles apart throughout the same chance of getting there first. Fortunately -
the habitable parts of Britain. They are basically out- although you cannot ask your local library, or search
door trading and meeting sites, founded from ancient the Internet for a successful detecting site - if you
times, which attracted crowds of people from peasants have some idea of what you are looking for it should
to princes, to trade, make merry and liberally scat- be relatively easy to find the location. The Victoria
ter metallic objects all over the ground. In detecting County History series is particularly good for finding
annals, the most famous of these sites yet found and these sites in England but if you want or need to go
searched is Stagshaw Bank in Northumberland, where further or deeper into research then I recommend you
many years ago in the 1970s, detectorists had a field get a copy of my book Site Research for Detector-
day, if you’ll pardon the pun. I have it on good author- ists, Fieldwalkers & Archaeologists.
ity that literally hundreds of hammered silver coins
from Edward I to James I were found including several One last point before we get on with the task in hand,
“pocket hoards”; one keen detectorist reputedly found you will need modern maps at least. Most metal detec-
over 20 hammered gold coins, and another a single tor retailers sell a wide range of maps and books and are
Henry VIII gold sovereign worth more than £10,000. well placed to help you select the item most suited to
your needs at a reasonable price. I always try and support
If that isn’t enough to whet your appetite, there’s these small businesses wherever possible and ask you
more, for the trading site itself is only part of the story. to do the same; without their knowledge and friendly
Many of these sites were controlled by the Church or advice our hobby would be much the poorer.
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