The Malamute Saloon (U.K.)



by John Howland

I’ve known Dick Stout, and his fragrant wife Fay – a top notch photographer – from way back, about the time the Dead Sea first reported sick.  During our long association we discovered much in common, foremost perhaps, in both being published authors have scribbled a few lines about treasure hunting from time to time, but with the Old Boy himself knocking out several half-way decent tomes on the subject, I remain in his shadow.   My journalistic background is as a former Deputy editor of a consumer magazine with an abiding interest in military history, history both modern and ancient, the Cold War, espionage, and any other subject capable of turning a dollar or two.

Old ‘salmon and trout’ – Cockney rhyming slang – work it out for yourself,  is the only guy who’s ever got me to write for zilch.  Oh, a friend in need really is a pain in the ass, and there’s more than a few beers riding on this one!

We are both treasure hunters (or in these politically correct times, Detectorists), are aficionados of cold beers and grilling,  BBQ’s, and with a penchant for the odd glass or three of the red infuriator.  We both love cooking with wine, sometimes he’s even been known to actually put it in the dish he’s cooking.  So, with this heady mix of ingredients, a column is born.  Hallelujah!  So, if you’re offended by references to drink, sex, women, treasure hunting, this column ain’t for you.


Be sure to visit John’s new blog…

Detecting & Collecting


December 10, 2017


Hands Off Government

John Howland

Though I hate giving the loonier elements the oxygen of publicity, the following brand of fanaticism is well worth bringing to a wider audience. There’s no telling which one of the Heritage Journal’s (HJ) clique of barmy anti-metal detecting knuckle-draggers wrote committed the following piece of journalism garbage: Here’s a taster of the excremental dross: – Artefact Hunting: Who Should Make the Rules?

“Shouldn’t the rules be made by those who have only Society’s interest in mind?”, the “United Arab Emirates have just signalled so,” (the self-righteous anonymous clown asks). Following the evangelical house style, he/she/it trumpets the UAE’s new draconian antiquities legislation. So far, so good; but he/she/it fails to mention that the UAE is feudal kingdom and is anything but a democracy and zillion light years from the democratic freedoms the Heritage Journal enjoys. Nevertheless, the dopey writer summarises the legalities of the UAE’s antiquities legislation: –

“Antiquities are to be identified as items of national interest and importance and the ownership of both portable and non-portable items are for the nation regardless of who has found it.”

And there’s more!

 “Anyone in possession of an antiquity who does not properly register it, or who takes action regarding the antiquities without a permit, will face a minimum of two years in jail and/or a fine between £10,300 and £41,200″. [What, no lashes? ]

Running true to the HJ’s in-house style, the obscure buffoon spurts; – “No “negotiating” the rules with artefact hunters there! Only Britain does that. The rest of the world knows that allowing artefact hunters to influence the rules is about as logical as asking the Trump boys to draft rules on big game hunting!”

The idiot scribbler unsurprisingly fails to mention, “rest of the world knows that” the United Arab Emirates is an absolute monarchy where apostasy is punishable with death; where women found guilty of adultery are buried up to their necks, their heads exposed, then stoned to death. Homosexuality is a capital offence; where flogging is meted out for a wide variety of offences including kissing in public, and alcohol consumption to name but two,  with between 80 to 200 lashes administered.

The idiot clown again fails to mention, “rest of the world knows that” it is illegal for Muslim women – in the UAE – to marry non-Muslims. Such a marriage union, because it’s deemed to be fornication, is punishable under law (with the usual attendant lashes HJ).

The stupid scribe also fails to tell his/her/its parochial po-faced self-styled élites that “The rest of the world knows that” amputation of limbs is regularly used as punishment in the UAE, as is unbelievably, Crucifixion.

Yes, Crucifixion! And in an act of utter stupidity by a political naiveté, the Heritage Journal (nee, Heritage Action) puts forward the UAE as a worthy legislative example. Amazingly, the snooty shysters at HJ/HA somehow reckon they should be running the heritage circus and then snuffing out your hobby.

I doubt these idiots could organise a p**s-up in a brewery.




October 26, 2017


Next to getting married or divorced, buying a decent metal detector is probably the most money many of us will ever spend in a lifetime. If you’ve got the gear but no idea, or, are on the cusp of joining the illustrious band of international treasure hunters, here’s a few pointers.

Let the buyer(s) beware

There’s a lot of talk doing the rounds about the pros and cons of manufacturers producing metal detectors with all the whistles and bells imaginable coupled to stratospheric price-tags. Me? I really don’t give a toss. If manufacturers can convince the more gullible to part with their hard-earned ‘Nelson Eddies’ based on advertising puffery, then so be it. Luckily for the manufacturers, that many people aren’t strict enough with their budgets, or, unwilling to draw a fiscal red line over which they will not step.

So what’s the pricing ‘red line’? For me, that’s around £750-ish. Most detectors in this price bracket, irrespective of make, will deliver. If you’re any good at what you do, then the price should be recouped in twelve to eighteen months if you’re so minded to sell what you find. Once again, I’m going to hammer home the bleedin’ obvious fact that; even a Ten Grand machine won’t find what’s not there! A high price is no guarantee of success. Good quality ‘finds’ with sound provenance always attract top dollar. Remember, quality sells.

Customise your detector requirements and pare down the add-ons to match where you’ll be hunting (beach or inland) and what you expect from your chosen machine. For example, do you really need a built-in GPS system? Does it need to be ‘All-terrain’? What about interchangeable coils etcetera and don’t forget the dealers either? Checkout their reputations and after sales service and back-up. Whatever else you may do, NEVER EVER invest cash in a machine based solely on the so-called ‘Field Tests’ appearing in the treasure press. Many, and for good reason, are written anonymously. Some of these ‘write-ups’ are not only potential contenders for the MAN Booker Prize for Fiction, but marginally less exciting than watching paint dry.

On the other hand, look for any reports by well-known and respected experts such as Bob Sickler, Ty Brook, or Jim Fielding for example. Oh, yeh, anything by Ole Stouty too is well worth a peek.

When doing your research check-out the many treasure hunting videos out there on the web. Take care though, there’s a lot of dross amongst the decent stuff, but there are some good insights into metal detector performance. Beware of the video that purport to show the same Tekkie(s) (but rarely their faces) finding endless goodies in every release. You can bet the ranch they are dealers, but for some reason, always fail to mention the fact.

One the best treasure hunting video sites belongs to Chicago Fireman, Ron Guinazzo, and you’ll find it here: – There’s a link on SS too. Jim Fielding’s blog is another site worthy of a visit. You’ll find Jim at Detecting an Attitude and there’s a link also on SS.



The old man hunting in sunny ole England

There’s a trout-fishing adage that runs when arriving at the riverbank, spend some time observing the water and see what’s going on. Read the water. The same applies to success in metal detecting.

Thirty years ago I had the opportunity to legally hunt a US Civil War battle site. The hunt window was about three hours and my search was to concentrate on finding Minnie Balls. The metal detector I was using was a hip-mounted Tesoro Golden Sabre. I spent several valuable minutes looking at the scene fathoming where were the combatants were positioned? Where were the bullets likely to fall? I soon had the answer.

To my front was a high ridge some 100-yards away atop of which was a barn contemporary with the 1863 battle, though the area I was hunting was the scene of a skirmish. Immediately in front of me were several huge boulders well capable of protecting infantrymen from rifle-fire coming down from the ridge.

Being familiar with firearms especially rifles, I knew the place to find the Minnie Balls would about 15-ft behind the boulders; having drawn a mind’s eye line down from the ridge as though I was firing down at the boulders. Anyone aiming at an infantryman from the ridge and not hitting the target, follows that Minnie Balls would strike the ground 15-ft or thereabouts behind the boulders.

Hunting a path at the distance I’d estimated soon revealed a Minnie Ball. The photo(s) shows a ‘star’ stamped into the base of the Minnie that I was told indicated a Confederate armoury. If anyone knows anything to the contrary, please advise.

The moral of the story is not so much about my being a smart-arse, or the metal detector itself, but more about how, and where you use it. Had I walked onto that site with the most expensive bit of kit then available it would still not have found that Minnie Ball. In that scenario I brought to bear two things; detecting experience and knowledge of firearms.


Great news from the UK’s National Trust #1

The National Trust in an encouraging display of backbone, has put two-fingers up to that busy-body outfit, UNESCO, by passing a resolution to accept the ‘short tunnel’ option which will improve the landscape and environs around Stonehenge enormously. The Agincourt salute was a magnificent snub to the mouthy, propagandist, archaeological lobby whose behaviour throughout was appalling, campaigned against the short tunnel. They lost the vote and are really pissed-off! Guffaw! Guffaw!

Hooray, doubles all round.

Great news from the UK’s National Trust #2

You couldn’t make this up. The anti-hunting-fishing-shooting yobbos tried to influence the National Trust’s members to ban trail hunting (at the Trust’s AGM) which as some of you might already know involves fox-hounds chasing a laid scent where no foxes are killed by the hounds as hunting foxes with hounds is illegal in the UK. They lost the vote and are really pissed-off!  Guffaw! Guffaw!

Hooray! Doubles all round.


This also applies to treasure hunters: –

There are three types of baseball players: Those who make it happen, those who watch it happen and those who wonder what happens….Tommy Lasorda

August 6, 2017


One man’s treasure hunter is another man’s…treasure hunter?

Treasure seekers come in all shapes, sizes, and guises; some see themselves as higher mortals opting for that thin veneer of BS masquerading as ethically correct (ethics?! Depends on whose. He, he!). Some have in the past made and served the tea on an excavation and now believe themselves to be ‘proper’ archaeologists complete with the usual hypocritical bovine scatology; “One is not in it for the money” they chorus, (yeah, right!)  but others – those with an eye to the main chance – are less mendacious and come straight out with it saying – refreshingly – “Yup, I’m here for more than the beer.”  Whatever their pretensions, there’s a particular Mother Lode they’d all like to get their mitts on…and it’s still out there…somewhere. Waiting. Better it’s found by a died-in-the-wool treasure hunter methinks, rather than some po-faced arkie.

The Mother Lode in question is the ‘Treasure of Lima’ estimated to be worth north of £160 million, or $208 million, is many believe, still out there. Back in the 16C when Spain dominated the Americas, she amassed a huge fortune in gold and silver bullion, all shipped back to the king of Spain’s coffers. By 1820, Spain’s grip on Peru and Lima loosened resulting in the evacuation of Lima, and this is where the facts become blurred.

Central to the story is William Thompson, a Newfoundlander, appointed to transport the fabulous riches to Mexico aboard his ship the Mary Dear. Unable to resist the temptation, Thompson and his crew slit the throats of the treasure’s on-board guards along with the accompanying priests and dumping their bodies overboard. With the dirty deed done Thompson laid a course for the Cocos Islands off the coast of Costa Rica.

Here, he and his crew hid (or buried) their murderously ill-gotten gains; then laid low while the heat died down. Later, so their plan went, they would divvy-up the treasure in fair shares for all. As with the best of laid plans, fate strode in and Thompson and his crew were captured along with his ship. Only Thompson and his First Mate escaped retribution; defeating the hangman by pleading they would reveal the location of the treasure. The rest of the crew ‘Danced the Hempen Jig,’ on the gallows.

Thompson and his First Mate led the authorities to the Cocos Islands but managed to escape into the island’s jungles. Neither Thompson, nor his First Mate, or indeed the treasure, were ever seen or heard of again.

The ‘Treasure of Lima’ has been a cause celebre’ in treasure hunting circles ever since, with hundreds of hopeful treasure hunters spending weeks, years even, in the fruitless search for this el dorado bankrupting many in the process.

Of all the treasure hunters, one who had much in common with Thompson was the infamous US gangster and racketeer, Ben ‘Bugsy’ Siegel, a suave mobster who rubbed shoulders with Hollywood’s elite. He detested the nickname ‘Bugsy’ and few dared defy him and for good reason.  “My friends call me Ben,” he once said, “strangers call me Mr. Siegel, and guys I don’t like call me Bugsy, but not to my face.”

“Bugsy Siegel (left) with famed Hollywood actor George Raft.”

Siegel’s reputation gained ground in 1938, when he, along with selected Hollywood ‘faces’, set out aboard a luxury schooner to the Cocos Islands. Here they spent many days digging, drilling, even dynamiting, in what turned out to be another fruitless venture.  The Lima Treasure remained safe.

Siegel’s treasure adventure ended in chaos – at least it seemed that way –  with his schooner having to be rescued and towed to a Mexican port for repairs. Some reckoned Siegel’s crew mutinied (which I strongly doubt!), others think the whole enterprise was a cover for some large-scale narcotics smuggling operation; even a gun-running trip.

Siegel was terminated with extreme prejudice on the night of June 20th 1947, when a hitman unloaded an M1 carbine magazine into his head and body while he was relaxing on the sofa reading the Los Angeles Times in the Beverley Hills home of associate Allen Smiley. The murder remains unsolved.

So, get your super-sized coils on – it’s still out there, just waiting for yer!


My new digging tool

Just thought some of you might like to see my new treasure hunting pal, Chesney. He’s a Cockapoo; his mum’s a Cocker Spaniel and his dad’s a Poodle (both pedigree of course!). He is at the time of my writing this epistle, ten weeks old, and unlike me, he’s fully house-trained; something I mention before Stouty gets in with one of his cheap jibes!


I’m hoping to train Chesney in Beach Target Retrieval techniques to dig in the sand on the command words “77”, “58”and “65” – all ‘goodie’ digital readouts on my ATPro.

Why the name Chesney you might ask? It’s like this; Chesney Allen whose birthday, co-incidentally, was the same as my late father’s, was a music-hall entertainer and member of the Crazy Gang. For many years Allen performed a renowned comedy double act partnering ‘Bud’ Flanagan, whom he met by chance in a Poperinge café during a few days leave from the trenches of the Western Front in 1917.

Over a plate of egg and chips the two men got into conversation and found they had a common interest; both having ‘trod the boards’ of the pre-war music halls. The other soldier’s name was Chaim Reuben Weintrop, whose post-war stage name was an act of revenge on a particularly unpleasant, anti-Semitic Sergeant by the name of Flanagan. “You’re a bastard,” he told the sergeant, “and one day I’m going to make your name the laughing stock of England.” And so he did, finding fame and fortune as ‘Bud Flanagan’, in an enduring comedy partnership with Chesney Allen.

‘Bud Flanagan’ was born 14th October 1896 at #12 Hanbury Street, Spitalfields, in London’s East End. In another of those odd quirks of co-incidence, eight years earlier on the 8th September in 1888, the mutilated body of 47-yr old of Annie Chapman was discovered in the backyard of #29 Hanbury Street; the second victim of the Victorian serial killer, ‘Jack the Ripper’.


Après hunt – Tuna steaks

Down at the beach hut after a few hours detecting and as the sinks in the West, this BBQ recipe is one of our favourites and goes down well with a can of beer. It’s Antipodean – of course, by Gordon Holland, who recommends serving the tuna medium rare.

You’ll need:

(Serves 4)

4 tuna steaks about 3cm thick

3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon each of salt, and ground black pepper

juice of 1 lime

handful of bbq wood chips. Hickory is fine. Put the chips in a smoke box, or wrap them in foil in which you’ve made several slits with a knife, then submerge the package/box in a bucket of water and leave for an hour to soak and absorb water.


  1. Put the tuna steak and olive oil in a large re-sealable plastic bag. Seal and put in the refrigerator for an hour, or in cool box if cooking at or near the beach.
  2. Preheat the bbq and when the coals are ashen put the smoke box/foil package on the coals and close the bbq lid. Leave for 20 minutes.
  3. Lightly oil the steaks. Season them and place on the grill and cook for 6-mins on each side. Transfer to a serving platter and drizzle with the freshly squeezed lime juice. Serve straight away.


A dour arkie who lived in Eastern Europe had pretensions of becoming a great writer. When asked to define “great” he replied, “I want to write stuff the entire world will read, stuff that people will react to on a truly emotional level, stuff that will make them scream, cry, and howl in pain and anger.”

He’s now writing error messages for Microsoft.  Allegedly.


I’ll see y’all in the bar

July 26, 2017


Old & Bold

John Howland

The so-called Poole ‘Jackdaws’ are an unofficial, non-aligned treasure hunting group with an average membership age of around 56-yrs, populated by retired folks all of whom distinguished themselves in their chosen professions. Rule #1 of the group’s Rule Book is …” There are no rules.”

That’s it. All done. Finito.

As they’ve all lived by strict rules throughout their working lives they ain’t going to self-impose any now in the running of their group, though adherence to the prevailing laws governing the finding of ‘treasure’ are strictly respected, as is the reporting of any artefact to the PAS that might have a historical significance. The ‘Jackdaws’ don’t have a set meeting place – they meet wherever and whenever they feel thirsty.

Some of them at one time or another, or guise, served democracy against Soviet communism. “Freedom of choice is vital. I’m against faceless bureaucracy,” says one, adding, “Ask any East Berliner, Czech, or Pole.”  

A ‘Jackdaw’ working the cuts….

The two latest recruits to this jovial ensemble are a former forensic investigator who helped bring to justice nine murderers, and a former professional diver and adventurer one of whose diving pals helped recover the £45million in gold bars from HMS Edinburgh sunk in 800-ft of water in the Bering Sea.

Remarkably, neither of them has ever watched a ‘YooToob’ detecting video apart from Garrett’s, nor witnessed any ‘Face-ache’ treasure hunting cr*p. So what’s motivated them to take up the metal detector? “I’ve always wanted to have a go ever since seeing a couple of them on the beach,” says Tony, while the other reckons it rekindles his old adventure days. Both however agree that treasure hunting with a metal detector presents a real opportunity for getting out-and-about on the coast, good companionship, fresh air, coupled with gentle exercise and the added prospect of ‘treasure’ at the day’s end.

“The kind of artefacts to expect in the right parts of the coastline.”

So what machines do the new recruits own? Both have opted for Garrett’s 400i with its DD coil, Iron Audio, and Digital Target ID readout. At 2.9lbs this detector is ideally light for extended sessions on the beach and easy to tote to the remoter parts of Dorset’s Jurassic coast – a veritable ships’ graveyard.

The 400i’s 10-kHz frequency provides increased sensitivity to gold targets – an important consideration for beach work – and its so-called Pulse-Width Modulation gives sharper, responsive audio.

My thanks to Garrett Metal Detectors and REGTON’s Nigel Ingram, Garrett’s UK agent, for helping and advising. For further information about the 400i, go to or


Finding Treasure is GOOD for YOU

Who says so? Ed Huffman does. Who he? Ed has a Bachelor of Science Degree from the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga, and is currently working on his Master’s Degree in Archaeology at the University of Leicester, England. He has researched and recovered artefacts/relics throughout the United States and hopes to go on to recover artefacts throughout the world. The majority of his recovered artefacts/relics he has in his personal collection, or has donated to Museums, Private Collectors and Businesses. Ed reckons that your recreational activity can easily turn into an activity to boost your physical health.

This from Ed’s blog and excellent website: –

Increases Bone Strength and Keeps off Depression.

You cannot hope to find buried riches in your backyard, he says, you have to get out of your house and do the hunting. Beaches, farmlands, parks, underwater, are some of the places where you will get immense scope of finding precious items. So you will get fresh oxygen, which is extremely helpful for your health. Along with that you will be exposed to the sun, thereby getting more Vitamin D. This will keep your bones from degenerating. You will also be able to keep depression at bay as your feel-good hormones will be released with sun exposure.  


Muscle Toning

While searching for metal detecting tips, you can also increase your knowledge regarding the various health benefits of metal detecting. If you desire toned muscles, this hobby can be beneficial for you. When hunting down treasure, you have to walk for a long distance and time and you also need to carry your top metal detector with you. With long distance walking, your leg muscles will be toned and when you use the machine, your arm muscles will get toned, as the equipment will act as weight.  This will lead to a fitter body.  Also the constant bending and squatting from digging and retrieving your finds will strengthen your legs, back and heart.

Strengthens your Heart 

Your heart as well as your respiratory system will be strengthened immensely when you go metal detecting. As mentioned earlier, you need to walk long distances. Not only this, your hobby will require you to hike and climb mountains as well. All this activity provides a great form of aerobic and cardio exercise. These types of exercise will lead to a strong heart and respiratory system.

Decreases Stress

When you are pursuing a hobby with your heart, you tend to forget about any anxiety. It will also help you to concentrate and the headphones will keep out noises from your surroundings. You can carry out your hunting without any disturbance thereby giving you mental peace. This in turn will decrease your stress significantly.

Still not convinced? Then give this one a go:-

Good, eh?


What’s the difference between a good treasure hunter and a great treasure hunter? A good treasure hunter knows the law. A great treasure hunter knows the Coroner…..


The driving force on some fact-free blogs: “Prejudice is a great time saver. You can form opinions without having to get the facts.” …  E.B. White

That’s all folks!

I’ll see y’all in the bar.

June 25, 2017



John Howland

Size Matters #1

Back in May this year – on this upmarket blog – I wrote that I’d swapped Garrett-made coils between my ATPro and ATGold. Even taking into consideration these detectors’ respective operating frequencies, 15kHz and 18kHz, the results were excellent. The ATGold performs spectacularly well when kitted out with the ATPro’s ‘standard’ coil with oodles of depth, but, quite not so vice versa. But, read on!

Whilst the ATPro when kitted out with the ATGold’s standard 8”x5” coil it suffers only a slight drop-off in depth, BUT, has the advantage of being lighter thus affording longer hunting periods and better target/junk-separation – a win, win, situation. BUT, there’s more!

Size Matters #2

What follows might come in handy if you own both an ATPro and an ATGold but only have a Tornado coil for the ATPro. Give this a go, all is far from lost; you won’t be disappointed!

Made in the Ukraine by the NEL company (Neoteric Electronic Labs), founded in 2009, began life producing ‘after-market’ search coils with the intention of improving  stability and depth.

Currently NEL produces a comprehensive range of these coils suitable for use on nearly all the major manufacturers’ metal detectors in sizes ranging from 5-inch ‘Sniper’ types up to those nearly half the size of the Ukraine itself.

I use one of their factory tuned coils, the 12”x13” ‘Tornado’, on my ATPro, BUT, when I fit it to my ATGold, the performance is stunning – despite the frequency differential – and is the one I choose if hunting on pasture where depth is paramount. So, if you own a Tornado 12”x13” try popping it on to the ATGold…you’ll miss very little and the faint tones will be deep targets. Imagine the results you’ll get with a Tornado specifically tuned for the ATGold!

The downside however is weight; Tornados because of their increased size are heavier, a fact unfortunately, that goes with the territory. The upside – greater ground coverage per sweep – is significant. NEL’s ‘Big Coil’ at 15” x 17” is a specialized bit of kit that is even heavier in use; a salient fact that MUST be seriously considered before buying at around $230-ish. Designed to locate large targets at depth – hoards and caches spring to mind – it is nevertheless, a valuable tool in the treasure hunter’s armoury.

Tornados for your ATPro/ATGold are at current UK prices: – £125.95.

NEL 12”x13” Tornado Coil for Garrett ATPro


NEL coils are available in the UK from: –

REGTON Ltd, 82 Cliveland Street, Birmingham B19 3SN. Tel: 0121 359 2379

http://www.regton .com

*Photo courtesy of REGTON Ltd


Animal Welfare 

I don’t know how true this story is, but it does seem to have the ring of Truth about it.

Apparently, some months ago a certain zoo [name deleted] had a female Gorilla from which it hoped to produce baby Gorillas, this primate being on the endangered species list. The problem was after searching the country for a zoo with a suitable male mate, none was found.

Following a top-level meeting with the [name deleted] Zoo’s Trustees, one of them, who we’ll call him ‘Fred’ (to protect his identity), reckoned he could solve the problem and would report back in a few days’ time. Apparently, he knew a ‘heritologist’ who we’ll refer to as ‘Paul’ (to protect his identity), who was a known lover of animals in the fullest sense of the word and phoned him. The conversation went thus: –

Fred: “Hi, Paul, Fred here, how would you like to have sex with a gorilla to help us out?”

Paul: “Hmm, well, I dunno. But it sounds interesting.”

Fred: “Would you do it for £1,000 [$1,300]?”

Paul: “Hmmm, if I did there’d have to be certain conditions.”

Fred: “Such as?”

Paul: “I wouldn’t want anyone to know about it – that’s most important. Also, there’d be no kissing on the lips. If the resulting baby was a boy I’d want him brought up to study archaeology.”

Fred: “Ok, that all seems fair enough. Is there anything else?”

Paul: “Yes, you’ll have to give me a week or two so I can raise the £1,000!”


If only some on our side could take this on board…

Never hold discussions with the monkey when the organ grinder is in the room….Winston Churchill

I’ll see y’all in the bar!


June 12, 2017



John Howland

Jesus H Christo!

I love Bourbon. I love Makers Mark.  I went on to the MM website and they actually – and I can hardly believe this – but they advocate COOKING WITH IT! If I was MM’s CEO I’d have the proponent of this desecration dragged out into the street and shot in front of his family.

Jesus H Christo, this fabulous Kentucky juice is for sipping NOT for putting in to crappy recipes. Such criminality is only once removed from putting lemonade in to TALISKER Scotch single malt, and I hold in high regard the barman at a certain hostelry not a million miles from Inverness, Scotland, who resolutely refused to commit this sacrilege when my wife asked for a Scotch and lemonade.

If the guys at MM want to contact me with samples, I’m easily bought. Just sayin’. Ok?



If you’d have been caught doing this stuff in Salem in 1692 you’d have been neck-deep in doo-doo – the Devil’s doings; a black art. Practitioners say it only works if you truly believe it does. Seemingly, there’s no in-between position; either you’re ‘in’ or ‘out’. Don’t ask me to explain how it works, I simply don’t know. Map-dowsing, the subject herein, is spooky off-the-wall stuff.

I first encountered this hocus-pocus some years ago when I was asked to recover a couple of buried vintage shotguns. During the search I was asked if I could find a wooden cap to a very deep well (located somewhere on the gravelled forecourt of a large 17C house) which posed the danger of collapse. No one had any idea of its location, hence the urgency to find it. The idea being that any iron bolts in the cap might register on my metal detector. The search failed to locate the well-cap.

On behalf of the mansion owner, I contacted a friend who had the reputation as an accomplished map-dowser so I sent him a chart of the area in question, about half an acre. It came back to me with a single ‘X’ marked in a circle. When the ‘X’ location was later examined by the building contractors, the wooden, and by now rotten cap, was uncovered!!

Significantly, my map-dowsing friend was totally unaware of the mansion’s location. Equally staggering was that he’d previously located the positions of treasure sites, which in turn and following searches with metal detectors, proved accurate. He claimed that he could even give the depth for that which was searched for! Some practitioners claim they can even narrow down the precise type of treasure – gold, silver, or whatever, even burial sites.

In every case the final recovery is made at the marked position using a metal detector.

For more information on map-dowsing your local library, or, online, will prove a good starting point.  Good luck.


Up With This You Should Not Put!

Little pisses me off more than half-witted Tekkies, the Neanderthal ‘knuckle-dragging element’ who leave holes unfilled and worse still, after finding junk targets, move on, leaving the recovered junk target alongside the hole. Who breeds these imbeciles?

These cretins are either newbies to treasure hunting in which case there is a modicum of forgiveness due to their ignorance, but when a seasoned member is involved there’s no excuse whatsoever.

We don’t need these people who regard congenital cretinism as a Badge of Honor. By their inconsiderate behaviour, they demonstrate to the world their brand of idiocy. Fortunately in a minority, these Tekkie morons roam the beaches and countryside generating bad publicity which the rest us must shoulder.

The UK’s Government-recognised NCMD Code of Conduct, and the US Code, are simple rules to follow. Rocket science it ain’t! If anything at all, these morons simply prove the adage that… you can’t educate bacon.


That’s the way to do it!

One Tekkie friend, now sadly passed to the Grand Hunting Ground above, was flawlessly proficient. I saw him invited to search a manicured lawn resembling a putting green at St Andrews to the rear of a Georgian mansion. He retrieved a huge solid silver piece of jewelery, returned it to the house owner, leaving absolutely no trace of where he’d been. The owner of the house, deeply impressed by his skill gave him permission to search several hundred acres at his leisure whenever he fancied.


Let’s hear it for Edith…

“I am patient with stupidity but not with those who are proud of it.”

Edith Sitwell

I’ll see y’all in the bar!



June 5, 2017



The Ties That Bind

John Howland

Wireless is the future. No doubt about it. So, some months I thought I’d join the charge and shelled out my ‘hard earned’ for the Deteknix system and very good it’s proved to be, BUT, the system maintains a charge for only six hours. I went further, buying the special receiver unit that allows the use of non-wireless headphones. Again, an excellent innovation.

And what happens next? Garrett launch their dedicated Z-Lynk system – a system that maintains a charge for up to thirty hours allowing any set of headphones to be used in wireless mode on almost any make and model of metal detector. Now they’ve incorporated the Z-Lynk system into their latest ATMAX detectors along with other innovations.

The big dividend with any wire-free system is that it allows the user – not being tethered to the detector – to move freely when digging or extracting a find from the ground. I’ve yet to examine or try the Garrett Z-Lynk system but knowing how the ‘Big G’ operates, then build quality I’m certain, is 24-carat.

Waiting in the wings and due for release is the new Garrett MS-3 Z-Lynk Wireless Kit (Part Number 16277200 MRSP $189.95 (US)

And will include: –

  • Garrett MS-3 Z-Lynk Wireless Headphones
  • WT-1 wireless transmitter
  • 2-pin AT connector to Micro USB cable—connects AT detector to transmitter
  • 1/4″ Jack to Micro USB cable—connects detector with 1/4″ jack to transmitter
  • USB charging cable
  • Mounting band

Which Garrett tell us is suitable for any style metal detector with 2-pin AT connector, or, 1/4″ headphone jack.

Garrett’s UK distributor is REGTON Ltd, 82 Cliveland Street, Birmingham B19 3SN (Tel: 0121 359 2379)

So, if you’re not into bondage … go wire-free!


“Buried treasure hope for Brexit farmers”

Was a headline that caught my eye on page 12 of Saturday 27 May’s edition of the UK’s Daily Telegraph.

It went on to say that, “Farmers reliant on EU subsidies are plugging the gap caused by Brexit by inviting metal detectorists on land in the hope they find treasure.” Mike Barker, who runs the metal detecting club, Midweek Searchers, was quoted in the write-up, “Attitudes have definitely changed. Farmers might not get the grants they are used to. Now they might let you on to find some treasure, and if you do, they are made.”

The report also quoted Minette Batters of the National Farmers Union who warned, “Farmers must be aware of restrictions which apply.”

In their search for increased incomes, farmers are diversifying into providing camping and caravanning sites, golf courses, driving ranges, along with and many other country pursuits; so why not treasure hunting/metal detecting. The advantage with treasure hunting and metal detecting is there’s no financial outlay to hit the jackpot…just say ‘YES!’ and get a written Finds Treasure/Agreement signed.



Employ every economy consistent with thoroughness, accuracy and reliability.

Arthur C. Nielsen

(Demonstrably, not all those who should, do!)

I’ll see y’all in the bar!


May 22, 2017


This time around John Howland talks Garrett, a Viking hoard and would yo believe tuna? 

Son of ATPro – AT MAX International

John Howland

My crystal ball prediction wasn’t a million miles off target. The fruit of the ATPro and ATGold’s loins produced twins – AT MAX and AT Max International! They look a bonny pair but we need to know a bit more about their futures and with whom they’ll likely be rubbing shoulders as they grow up. But for our purposes we’ll be looking AT MAX International.

Among the countless ATPro (USA) and ATPro International (European) owners worldwide, many own dedicated after-market NEL coils of various sizes representing sizeable monetary investments to the users concerned. These excellent after-market coils are specially tuned to the frequencies of the machine on which they are intended. The ATPro models for example operates at 15kHz*; the ATGold at 18kHz* and the new AT Max models at 13.6kHz* though NEL have yet to produce a range of dedicated coils for these new kids on the block it’ll only be a matter of time I suspect.

Some of you will already have ‘sussed’ where I’m going with all this particularly if you’ve invested a sizeable wedge of your ‘hard-earned’ in after-market NEL coils. The big question is will they prove satisfactory on the new AT MAX if you’re thinking of upgrading? It’s a bit of a conundrum and no-one yet, has a definitive answer. I put the question to Steve Moore, Garrett’s Marketing Communications Director.

He tells me; “The frequency adjustments are very minor tweaks, not that big a jump. As far as I know, the NEL coils should work […].” adding that he was scheduled to be out in the field with the MAX and would consider the question in more detail. Though I’m unqualified to give an authoritative answer to such a technical question; what I can tell you is that when I’ve swapped Garrett-made coils between my ATGold and ATPro bearing in mind these two operate at different frequencies, the results were astonishingly good. Consequently, and based on this coil swap experience, the differential between the two operating frequencies – 15kHz and 18kHz – certainly seems to bear out Steve Moore’s assertion that in practical terms it’s “…not that big a jump.” The implication is that NELs should be okay.

Pressing on for clarity, I had a word with Nigel Ingram, Director of Garrett’s UK distributor, REGTON LTD, who reckons it’s; “…too early to know what will work and what won’t sadly, my guess? Yes it will work fine, however, maybe not to the maximum potential as NEL are masters of making coils to exact frequencies enabling every last inch of performance.” So, it’s not all bad then.

Apart from being fully wireless, the MAX also sports a couple of great features lifted from the ATGold; an adjustable threshold tone and the more than useful Ground Cancelling ‘window’ allowing little or no change when say, moving from dry sand to saltwater soaked sand.

The Garrett blurbs have it thus: “Near-zero delay (17-milliseconds) from your detector to your headphones. Six times faster than Bluetooth speed, and up to four times faster than other wireless headphones.” I have absolutely no idea what 17-milliseconds is comparable to, except that it’s Speedy Gonzales’ “Ándale arriba” fast!

*Data source: – Garrett website (


£2,000,000 Treasure Payout for UK Detectorist

Metal detectorist Derek McLennan who uncovered a cache (in UK-speak, ‘hoard’) of more than 100 gold and silver items of Viking jewellery in the south-west Scotland in September 2014 – who at the time of finding the fabulous cache was accompanied by two detectorists; churchmen Rev Dr. David Bartholomew, and Pastor Mike Smith – is now well on track to receive, quite rightly, a £2,000,000 Treasure Trove reward. The find is described by distinguished experts as Scotland’s most significant find of the Viking era.

Derek McLennan

The fabulous cache, duly and correctly reported to Scotland’s Treasure Trove Unit initiated an excavation by county archaeologist, Andrew Nicholson, assisted by Derek McLennan. Digging deeper they discovered further items jewellery. Following the initial removal, Derek McLennan undertook a further search with his metal detector and discovered more treasure buried beneath the first items.


Sending Coins Abroad

Do you remember that Dupondius of Domitian that wrote about some months ago? Well, it’s currently winging its way across ‘The Pond’ as a gift to a treasure hunting friend in Florida.

Dupondius of Domitian

If you ever send coins by post, anywhere and especially overseas, it helps to mark the envelope….’Numismatic Specimen’ rather than ‘roman coin’ thus helping to deflect the attention of prying eyes.


Marinated Tuna Steak

…in a mixture of orange juice, soy sauce, and garlic.

Chef John

Got this from a pal of mine and thought y’all might like to give it a go. It’s brilliant. It serves four.

60ml orange juice (Tropicana with juicy bits is great)
60ml soy sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice (NOT the bottled cr*p)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
Four tuna steaks weighing about 110g each

In a large ceramic dish, mix together the orange juice, soy sauce, olive oil, lemon juice, parsley, garlic, oregano and black pepper. Place the tuna steaks in the marinade and turn to coat. Cover and chill for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat barbecue to high heat. Grill the tuna steaks for 5 to 6 minutes (in one of those square fish basket thingies), then turn and baste with the marinade. Cook for an additional 5 minutes, or to your desire.

Ice cold beer goes well too!



For some the ‘YooToob’ generation of treasure hunters, this will doubtless fall on stony ground…

“There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.”…..Colin Powell



May 4, 2017


“Where’s the best place to find coins and relics?”

John Howland

It’s a common enough question and one that’s often asked by newbies to our pastime. If I’d a dollar for every time I’ve been asked that question I’d sure be a rich man. The answer of course depends on what type of coinage, or relics, you’re looking for; modern spendable cash, or historic. Most of what follows is broadly applicable to all in our pastime. For the sake of illustration I’m using Roman Britain as an example and the parallels can be applied to any period of history in any country.

In the first instance if it’s modern spendable coinage or other trinkets you’re after then head for the thousands of miles of coastline and beaches. In the second however, particularly if you want to find say, Roman coins and relics, then look closer to home. In Britain, there exists a network of Roman roads totalling an estimated 10,000 miles, comprising main arterial highways; inter-connecting local roads and tracks linking villas, temples, farms, and other habitation sites to the main Roman highways themselves. This road network is a rich seam and always repays careful investigation.

Denarius of Antoninus Pius and The Man Himself: Emperor Antoninus Pius

Along this road network at roughly 15-mile intervals you’ll discover the remains of the Roman equivalents of modern motorway service stations, comprising the sites of mansiones favoured by the wealthier travelers, and mutationes, the less salubrious stop-overs generally frequented by robbers, cut-throats, assorted dodgy-dealers, pimps, and whores.

It all kicked-off in 43AD when a Roman invasion force consisting of four legions stormed ashore in southern Britain. The legions were the II Augusta; the XX Valeria Victrix; the IX Hispana, and the XIV Gemina, amounting to 20,000 fighting men with a similar number of auxiliaries. By 82AD, the Romans had built a network of fortresses serviced by 1,200 miles of roads. The Romans remained in Britain until 410AD.

With thousands of miles of Roman roads for hobbyists to explore and scores of habitation sites – many yet to be discovered – the relic and coin-finding potential is superb. But how do you get your hands on all this stuff? First, arm yourself with a map of your locale; either a 1:25000 OS (Ordnance Survey) map, or the OS map of Roman Britain. Now find a marked Roman site; this could be a town, or a wayside stopover. Measure on the map about 15-miles in either direction from it, but be aware that Roman miles are not quite the same length as modern miles (1,760-yards); they being 1,613-yards. The word mile comes from the Latin, milia passuum, meaning one thousand paces.

Carefully examine the map at a point two or three miles from the 15-mile point. This is best done by homing-in on the selected area using Google Maps’ satellite option arguably the best treasure hunting tool second only to your metal detector. Having found your suspected site make a visit to the area and walk any footpaths in the vicinity to get a feel for the place. Indeed, the presence of a short, straight road/track no more than five miles long leading off the main road and coming to an abrupt end, is an important indicator of a Roman habitation site, or possibly a temple site.

Roman pottery and a 3rd Century AD bronze brooch

While walking the area look for mussel shells, pottery shards and rusting iron nails in the plough soil. Both indicate habitation. The presence of natural springs also signposts temple sites and many of these remain undiscovered. Other tell-tale signs are votive offerings; coins, miniature figurines, pottery, and glassware, all left at the site as offerings to the gods without any intention of recovery. The fact that votive offerings were rarely, if ever, declared Treasure Trove by a Coroner, was the archaeological lobby’s driving force behind the introduction of the 1996 Treasure Act. Prior to the ’96 Act, votive offerings – items of gold or silver deposited without intention of later recovery – were always returned to the finder who was then free to sell them much to the infuriation archaeology.

The next step in your quest is making contact with the landowner, in person, for permission to detect. Don’t expect to get it if you turn up looking shit-order; go smart and remember you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression! Leave the camo, sweaty T-shirt and trainers at home. When asked what you are looking for, say straight out and with a smile, “Gold, and lots of it.” Explain that should your research lead you to a find within the meaning of the Treasure Act rewards are shared equally between the finder and landowner. Mention that all other finds belong to the landowner and you will show them following each detecting session. Ask if there is any objection to your reporting finds. Respect that decision, whatever it might be.

Success in coin and relic hunting depends entirely on you and the accuracy of your research. The more thorough you are, the more successful you will be.

Sniper-type coils are invaluable when search nail-strewn habitation sites

Always carry a notebook to jot down snippets of local information, gossip, place and field names. Often these morsels of information lead to bigger things. If you have a camera on your mobile phone then so much the better. A small pair of pocket binoculars of say, 10×25, size can prove invaluable. Good hunting.


Overheard in downtown Rome: –
Mark Antony: “Where’s Cleopatra?”
Man Servant: “In bed with laryngitis.”
Mark Antony: “Damn those Greeks!”


Sports result from the Coliseum: Christians 25. Lions nil.

If you must break the law, do it to seize power: in all other cases observe it. Julius Caesar

Faciam te in taberna

April 20, 2017


The Times are a-changin’

by John Howland

Contrary to how I’m usually depicted by archaeology’s Warsaw wing as a wholly unsavoury anti-archaeology bast**d (not that I give a damn anyway) I’m more than happy to report that mutual co-operation continues to grow between ‘us’ and ‘them’.

Over thirty years ago at the height of the Council for Archaeology’s ill-starred STOP (Stop Taking Our Past) Campaign when they tried to snuff out the hobby in the UK, I was in there, unlike some gutless, modern ill-informed commentators, kicking and gouging for the freedom to detect. We won!

During my many meetings as General Secretary of the National Council for Metal Detecting with representatives of British archaeology, I touched base with a couple of influential arkies, who like me, shared a common interest; enjoyed a beer or three played Second Row in the amateur game and who, also like me, knew some of British archaeology’s ‘pretty boys’ were, tossers.” The consensus was that the ‘pretty boys’ were effectively (at the time) steering archaeology into the abyss and taking the detecting/archaeology debate nowhere. I asked my Rugger chum, “Why not say so?” He replied, “Are you taking the piss? This is my career. I’m sorry, but I can’t, officially. Not yet.” I got the message.


For UK ‘Hoikers’ Only

For those beachcombers operating Garrett ATPro Internationals I can tell you that the new £1-coin reads at ‘77’ or ‘78’ depending on distance from the searchcoil; ‘77’ over 3-inches from the coil and ‘78’ closer or immediately under it.


Son of ATPro?

The ‘Big G’ has a new machine in gestation and due on 6th May. Precise details are currently rarer than rocking-horse sh*t and unsurprisingly, the Men-in-White-Coats in downtown Garland remain resolutely tight-lipped about the new arrival. However, the images in my crystal ball suggest the Marketing Midwife will deliver the new kid on the block in the shape of a wireless, all-terrain jobby, with added depth and even more whistles and bells.

Sired by the ATPro and born of the ATGold, I name this child…ATPro II. Maybe.


Rare flowers discovered in Roman hoard

Published by PAS Wednesday 8th February 2017


The two stories below underline the extraordinary degree of mutual respect, co-operation and artefact reportage existing in the UK between Detectorists, right-thinking archaeologists, and heritage professionals. It also serves to illustrate why the loony wing of archaeology eking out a living on the barren slopes of insanity along with the increasingly dim-witted Council for British Archaeology (who’s Director, Mike Heyworth, curiously supports the fact-free, laughable, guess-work based Artefact Erosion Counter) has become the entertaining, amusing, Vaudeville act so widely enjoyed by Britain’s thousands of Detectorists and I dare say, FLO’s.

In contrast, the Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS) website carries (among many others) details of yet another amazing recovery by metal detectorists this time in the County of Wiltshire, a find consisting of a bronze cauldron inside which were carefully packed and padded with foliage, two other vessels – possibly cooking utensils. What follows regarding this major find is taken from the PAS website written by Finds Liaison Officer, Richard Henry:

“…The bronze vessels had been removed from the ground by the detectorists, but crucially, they had not attempted to clean the bowls and the delicate remains of the packing material were preserved in place. Finds Liaison Officer Richard Henry has led the exciting quest to discover more about the find. He brought in a team to excavate the site of the discovery, led by David Roberts of Historic England and with the Assistant County Archaeologist, members of the Wiltshire Archaeology Field Group and the finders. Richard then brought in more experts, including Dr Ruth Pelling of Historic England and Dr Michael Grant who identified the plant remains and pollen. Peter Marshall, also of Historic England, coordinated the radiocarbon dating of the flowers and undertook analysis of the results. The project has been led by the British Museum’s Portable Antiquities Scheme and supported by Historic England, Southampton University, the Association for Roman Archaeology and Wiltshire Museum.

Museum Director, David Dawson, said “Richard Henry has led this remarkable partnership project, drawing specialists from across the country to piece together the fascinating story of the burial of Roman bronze cauldrons that took place on a summer’s day 1,500 years ago. We are thrilled to be able to display this important material”.

Richard Henry said “Such discoveries should be left in situ to allow full archaeological study of the find and its context. The finders did not clean or disturb the vessels which has allowed us to undertake detailed further research. If the vessels had been cleaned none of this research would have been possible”

Ruth Pelling commented that “It has been an absolute pleasure to examine this unique assemblage. By combining the plant macro and pollen evidence we have been able to identify the time of year the vessels were buried, the packing material used, the nature of the surrounding vegetation and the likely date of burial.”


Launch of PAS and Treasure Annual Reports

(Published by PAS Monday 28th November 2016)

“The PAS has recorded over 1.2 million archaeological finds to date (since 1997). This data has been widely used by academics, students and many others by searching the PAS database ( PAS data has been used in over 528 research projects, including 25 pieces of large-scale research and 110 PhDs.

The PAS is a partnership project, managed by the British Museum working with at least 119 national and local partners to deliver the Scheme’s aims. It is an important part of the British Museums’ National Programmes activity which extends across the UK.

As part of the HLF [Heritage Lottery Fund. JH] funded project PASt Explorers, the PAS is working with volunteers across the country to record archaeological finds made by the public and get involved in archaeology. In 2015, 259 volunteers, including 100 self-recorders (metal-detectorists who record their own finds on the PAS database), have contributed to the work of the Scheme.

Tracey Crouch, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Sport, Tourism and Heritage said “It is fascinating to think that, thanks to the PAS and Treasure Act, the public are rewriting the history and archaeology of this country. That so many amazing finds are made each year is testimony to the diverse and long history of England and Wales and it is marvellous that these finds then end up in museums across the country for all to enjoy”.


To paraphrase the legendary ‘Yogi’ Berra (success in our pastime like Baseball is); “Ninety percent mental: The other half is physical.”

I’ll see y’all in the bar.


March 28, 2017



by John Howland

A Great Read: –

“Dean Crawford – Living among the Dobunni: A discussion with one of England’s most successful metal-detectorists”

Renowned Canadian author, antiquarian, academic, and numismatist, John Hooker, is a serious advocate for the mentally mature and meticulous wing of our pastime (that’s the overwhelming majority), has written and ably assisted by Dean Crawford, one of Britain’s most successful finders of ancient and Celtic coinage, a superb Kindle E-book that not only puts metal detecting where it should be – in the ranks of serious historical research – but also lets loose metal detecting’s cat among the heritage circus’s anal-retentive stool-pigeons and all for the must-read, bargain price of £2.42.

Oh yes, it’s a belter.

The mouth-watering photos of Celtic gold staters and medieval hammered gold coins that have fallen to Dean’s searchcoil are testimony to his near legendary expertise. The writing style is superlative and easy to understand (always the hallmark of a gifted writer).

I have little doubt there’ll be a serious wailing and gnashing of teeth, whining, and moaning; toys chucked out of ‘academic’ prams at what is surely destined to become a reference work for serious students of the genre; penned by a forward thinking Celtic coin expert, and an equally dazzling, expert detectorist.


Dates to Remember!!

The UK’s new twelve-sided, bimetallic £1 coin that went into circulation on 28th March this year is heralded as the world’s most secure coin bristling with anti-forgery features including a hologram.

The old ‘round’ pound coins remain in circulation until 15th October 2017, whence they cease to be legal tender. People are urged to cash-in their ‘round’ pounds to the banks before the 15th October.

It’s reckoned that around 1.3 billion ‘round’ pound coins are out of circulation across the country stashed away in piggy banks, jam jars and bottles; a figure that must include countless millions of round pound coins lost on the UK’s beaches.

After October this year, we’ll no doubt be cursing finding the old ‘round’ pounds much as we do with pull tabs! Never thought the day would dawn when I’d whinge at finding a £1-coin (‘76’ on my ATPro International).


Consider: –

Every narcissistic pseudo-archaeologist wants a detectorist to look down on.

March 16, 2017



by John Howland

The very young John Howland

They say that there’s no future in getting old; and they’re right. But age is no bar to a fulfilling and healthy lifestyle evidenced by some sturdy 90-yr olds running Marathons. I know man who has regular sex at 78; the problem is he lives at number 72!

Though metal detecting is hardly in the Marathon category, it is nevertheless, widely recognized as both a health benefit and an enormous contributor to the overall archaeological record. In the UK alone over one million detector-found artefacts are logged with the Government sponsored Portable Antiquities Scheme database. There are definite health advantages to the pastime as any detectorist will testify; it provides fresh air and gentle exercise. For those of a certain age it’s a ‘well-being’ windfall.

The temptation, as we get older, is naturally to lift our foot off the gas but reduced inactivity can also be an unintended and premature invitation to the Grim Reaper. Absence of physical activity in old age – and for our purposes here we’ll define old age as ‘60’ – leads to more time spent in doctors’ waiting rooms; increased medication; more lotions, potions and Heaven knows what else to alleviate all manner of ailments. One day we all come face-to-face with ‘The Reaper’ but with a canny outlook, that date can be delayed by simply following a few basic health rules.

Health professionals tell us that as we age so we should aim to be as physically active as possible. Regular physical exercise is proven to be important both to physical and mental welfare especially for ‘Oldies’ and by remaining active, many long-term health benefits are up for grabs; even improving in some cases the well-being of those who already have minor problems.


As exercise and physical activity are among the healthiest things we can do, some ‘oldies’ are loathe to exercise, often in the mistaken notion that exercising is in some way harmful. There is no need to take out gym membership or invest in expensive or special equipment, though both options are extremely valuable. Nevertheless, repeated research shows that leading a sedentary life in old age is a precarious undertaking and ‘undertaking’ is this instance being operative word!

So how much exercise should ‘Oldies’ engage in each week? Well, how long’s a piece of string? It’s reckoned that at least a couple of hours of moderate exercise a week is about right; and a couple of sorties walking and swinging a metal detector, bending and digging to retrieve targets would seem to fit the bill with the added attraction of hoiking out some treasure – maybe!

There are countless clubs and societies catering for ‘Oldies’ whose members are simply aching for speakers to address their meetings. Everyone loves the thought of finding treasure – elusive as though that might be in reality – and I guarantee that taking along a few finds and a couple of detectors to say an Over 60s Luncheon Club, or similar, will be welcomed.

Why not then, get your club to get involved in what is a great PR initiative for the pastime?

February 28, 2017


After a Few Beers….

John Howland

“The times they are a changing” as Marshall Dillon (I think) once said, and today, the Intertube rules with de rigeur homemade videos on the pastime. It’s the new media – “Turn on, tune in, drop out” as some smart-arse 60s icon once spouted. I’m a 60s child too, and lived through the so-called ‘swinging era’. I once asked my then girlfriend if she really believed in free love, “Have I ever charged you?” she replied. Sheesh!

These Intertube hobby videos are fun to watch with many of them high calibre productions and certainly interesting. Some of course are the ‘kin pits, written by knuckle-draggers for knuckle-draggers – but that’s enough about archaeology! The Intertube is the way to go and why shouldn’t detecting enthusiasts record their experiences and/or finds online? Every other conceivable hobby or pastime has them, so why not ours?

What I’d really like to see – apart from more cammo and wet T-shirts – is a Night-hawking video. How do these people find this alleged ‘treasure’ in the black of night? Jeez, I have enough difficulty finding it in broad daylight let alone in total darkness. Better still, I’d like to know why, when they find this alleged ‘treasure’ they risk their liberty for a fraction of the items’ actual monetary worth.

To my way of thinking, if you’re staring at being a guest of Her Majesty for potentially six-months (or longer), having been nabbed in flagrante at a protected site, then perhaps you really do deserve what’s hurtling down the track towards you. Consider the ‘receiver’ of your ill-gotten gains – sometimes a bent archaeologist (yes, they do exist). He paid you in used, untraceable notes, at a fraction of the true market value and all risk-free. Who’s the mug?

Some years ago, when I wrote the regular angling column for a major magazine, I received an email from a guy who’d been caught fishing without a licence. “What can I do?” he wailed. “Simple’” I wrote back,” Wear a suit and tie in court, comb your hair, plead guilty, pay up, and look big.” The moral being, if you are detecting where you shouldn’t and get caught, my sympathies are with the authorities; you deserve all that’s coming.

The publication of the so-called Nighthawking Report, undertaken by Oxford Archaeology (OA) at a cost of £60,000 was the best thing that’ happened to the hobby in years. This influential report exposed ‘Nighthawking’ in the UK as being almost non-existent. The report confirmed that alleged looting incidents averaged out at less than two a month; but only if one assumes (without hard evidence) the holes in archaeological sites were indeed dug by rogue detectorists; though the more probable explanation being the natural, nightly doings of badgers, rabbits, and the like. The report was effectively, a kick in the teeth for metal detecting’s opponents.

I doubt the address of OA’s Oxford headquarters, Janus House, Osney Mead, has been lost on some of the ‘antis’ ensconced in the depths of the Council for British Archaeology; Janus being the Roman God who’s often depicted as having two faces. Oh, how I feel their pain!


In one hilarious media incident, some years ago, holes that regularly appeared overnight in the grounds of a ruined abbey were attributed to illicit detecting by one prominent archaeologist – widely known for his opposition to metal detecting. The culprits were in fact abbey ‘residents’; a healthy colony of rabbits. To the casual observer his ludicrous assertions appeared factual. To the less relaxed – including some in his own sphere – it raised questions about his ability as an archaeologist; if he couldn’t differentiate between shallow holes in close proximity to rabbit droppings, what price then his excavation reports?

Indeed, the Nighthawking Report proves what we in the hobby have known for over three decades; that a well-connected and noisy claque of anti-hobbyist ‘spinners’ – mostly comprised of jaundiced and undistinguished archaeologists and the heritage circus’ Luddite faction are still trying to feed the media with diet of fact-free propaganda to counter Oxford Archaeology’s excellent report.

The UK’s Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS) has left these rabble-rousing activists in its dust as the metal detecting hobby and the PAS continue to gain in stature while adding considerably to the UK’s archaeological knowledge. The PAS’ database is now eagerly sought out by free-thinking researchers and unprejudiced academics who recognize the magnitude of detectorists’ extensive input to the common good.

February 14, 2017


Sensitive souls

John Howland

You can almost always find John Howland on the beach (if not there check the closest pub)

John Howland

High ‘Sensitivity’ settings equate to deeper and increased finds? WRONG! BIG STYLE!

Of all a metal detector’s controls, proper understanding and dexterous handling of the ‘Sensitivity’ knob is crucial. This vital element to success is arguably the most widely misunderstood control of all. Trying to persuade a detectorist to ‘turn it down’ to usable levels, or, desensitizing the machine to make life easier, is harder than trying to nail jelly to the ceiling. It’s easier to get a treasure hunter into Heaven than to persuade one to turn it down or knock it back a few segments.

Here’s an analogy. If yours is an automobile sporting quartz-iodine or halogen type headlights, then you’ll know these state-of-the-art illuminators are absolutely piss poor on ‘main beam’ in heavy fog; reflecting a near-impenetrable wall of dazzling glare. However, drop the beam to ‘low’ and you’ll see further ahead. The same goes for lowering the ‘sensitivity’.

If you’re an experienced hand at the game, go and put the coffee pot on the stove and come back later while I try and convince the newbies.

Let’s take an actual machine – the Garrett ATPro. Mine is the International version. There are certain stretches of local coastline where old coins regularly put in an appearance but only when the Sensitivity control is knocked back three or four segments from ‘Max’. Such is the contamination and spurious electrical interference, that the ATPro starts chirping as soon as I take it out of my car’s trunk in the car-park!

First of all, ground balance the machine to the prevailing conditions then, if it’s still chirping away, lower the Sensitivity until the machine becomes stable. At this point you’re ready to go and the machine is correctly set up.

If your particular metal detector doesn’t sport a ground balancing facility, simply drop the Sensitivity if the detector ‘chirps’ or becomes ‘noisy’. Some time ago, I read a field test on the Garrett Ace 250; it was a serious contender for the Booker Prize for Fiction with the ‘advice’ not to use it anywhere near saltwater! The Field Test, so-called, said more about the reviewer’s shortcomings than those of the machine describing it as an entry level machine (read here, ‘not serious, for newbies only’).

The Ace 250

The Ace 250

In fact, the Ace 250 is probably one the finest medium-priced metal detectors on the market and in the right hands, will outperform any of the most expensive machines in a novice’s hands. Some years ago, Whites brought out a 4000D as I recall, and those in the know, realised it was huge value for money in performance terms. Nowadays, this niche, medium priced market has a choice of machines and nearly all of them are excellent buys proving high price tags are no guarantee of success.

Recently I met up with a beachcomber armed with two Grand’s worth of metal detector.

“How do you like it?” I asked.

“Yeah, brilliant,” he replied, “But this is a bad beach. Nearly unworkable. You won’t find much here. Lots of false signals.” We said our farewells and he headed off to an ‘easier’ beach.

Curiously, my finds pouch was stuffed with assorted spendable ‘shrapnel’.


Another one bites the dust


For some inexplicable reason the following story which has been in the national UK press for some weeks, has failed to make it to the pages of the smugger, holier-than-thou anti-detecting, anti-collecting blogs. Odd that, innit?

Under the headline, ‘Historian jailed for theft’ (page 17, Daily Telegraph 11 February) Alexander Bateman, 48, earned himself a two-year stay at one of Her Majesty’s hotels for stealing a ‘treasured document’ – an aircrew log-book – from the widow of airman, F/Sgt John Fraser, who was a bomb-aimer with the RAF’s 617 Squadron and who took part in the famous World War Two ‘Dambusters Raid. John Fraser died in Canada in 1962.

Shere Lowe, John Fraser’s daughter, flew in from Washington State to attend Bateman’s trial at Wood Green Crown Court and saw him sentenced. Bateman has steadfastly refused to reveal the whereabouts of the log-book which has yet come to light.

Sentencing Bateman, the Telegraph quoted the Judge: –

“It is in my view this offence is so serious as to call for a term of imprisonment […] It will, be plain to you that I consider this a despicable offence […] abusing the trust placed in you presenting yourself as a genuine historian by the widow of a war hero. You decided to keep the log-book, misleading the family when they sought for its return. It remains a mystery as to what you did with that log-book.”

More proof then, if proof were needed and regardless of the despots’ lies to the contrary, this particular criminal case shows yet again that detectorists and treasure hunters don’t have the monopoly of the heritage villainy.



Hate is the complement of fear and narcissists like being feared. It imbues them with an intoxicating sensation of omnipotence. Sam Vaknin

I’ll see y’all in the bar


January 24, 2017



John Howland

The UK Highways Agency’s plans for a 1.8-mile tunnel to ‘bury’ traffic on the busy A303 arterial trunk road by diverting it away from Stonehenge, the World Heritage Site in Wiltshire, is well under way. The multi-million-pound scheme will, it is hoped, return the surrounding historic landscape to much as it was 4,500 years ago, leaving the ancient stones to dominate. The plan has widespread and influential support.

The United Nations cultural organisation, UNESCO, along with the International Council on Monuments and Sites, for example, recognise the benefits of the scheme which is also supported by the National Trust among other prominent supporters.


Retired Minnesota architect and site visitor Paul Tunison reckons, “If this was a monument in the US, we wouldn’t have vehicles passing so close by. This is the place to visit in the UK […] a tunnel seems a very sensible option. I’d go for it.” He is not alone.

But not everyone’s happy; oh dearie me no! Opposition to the plans emanates from all the usual quarters – mainly dissident archaeologists, undistinguished archaeo-bloggers and their fellow travellers, who cite all manner of ills ranging from famine, to plagues of locusts and death of all the firstborn.

But as so amusingly happens (and often) within archaeology, not everyone’s singing from the same hymn sheet. Not wanting to be left on the side-lines of the argument, the Council for British Archaeology’s, President, the television presenter and historian, Dan Snow, wades in to the debate with unfortunate, ill-judged, lily-gilding comments by comparing the UK’s Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling’s tunnel option plan, to that of the terror group Isis’ destruction of the ancient city of Palmyra, likening the tunnel scheme to, “vandals and zealots who destroy ancient artefacts.”[1] To use a football manager’s vernacular…”the boy dun bad.”


[1] Simon Jenkins writing in ‘The OBSERVER’,The Stonehenge tunnel is monumental folly’

Mike Heyworth, the CBA’s Director, on the other hand, shows a deal more diplomacy (the boy dun good-ish) than his President, having found it seems a comfy seat on a nearby fence, “There are potential benefits from a tunnel to bury the A303 in the area of Stonehenge, but any proposals need to be carefully scrutinised and we need to think of the long-term implications, not just the short-term needs.” Heyworth told The Telegraph[2] that he even favours the longer 2.7-mile tunnel option, adding that “obviously” he had to be “realistic about the state of public finances.” Evidently Heyworth is familiar with the old adage that ‘you catch more flies with honey than vinegar.’

In further sidelining the hapless Snow, Mike Pitts, British Archaeology magazine’s editor who directed excavations at Stonehenge told The Guardian newspaper that, “When you visit Stonehenge now you see traffic, you feel traffic […] but the tunnel is not just about that traffic. It will open up an extraordinary landscape to the south of the road that is known to only a few nutjobs like me. It will change the way we engage with that whole landscape.”

A spokesperson for the UK’s Department for Transport tells us that, “Stonehenge is one of Britain’s greatest treasures and it is important to note that English Heritage and National Trust support our plans. It is essential that we ensure this site of cultural and historical significance is safeguarded as we progress with the upgrade.”

“As with any road scheme, we will consult with interested parties before any building begins on the A303.”

Therefore, if given the chance, all UK Stout Standards’ readers can cast their votes and make their voices heard and so to a lesser extent can US readers, all in support of the 1.8-mile tunnel option (I have already done so).


2 Stonehenge tunnel given green light after nearly 30 years of delays, by Steven Swinford, Deputy Political Editor – 12 January 2017

January 2, 2017



First off, my best wishes to you all for the very best of health, wealth, and good fortune in 2017. This year is promising on several fronts not least with the Portable Antiquities Scheme which looks set to remain as the role model for the rest of the world despite ill-mannered, loutish comments by those who don’t know any better and sadly, from those who do.

You can almost always find John Howland on the beach (if not there check the closest pub)

You can almost always find John Howland on the beach (if not there check the closest pub)


2017 could be a ‘vintage’ year. Size really does matter…

This year could also see US hobbyists putting together a viable lobby group to represent the much-needed voice of rank-and-file detectorists at national government level. Indeed, such a group will be welcomed by Capitol Hill since they have no way of gauging hobbyists’ views when considering legislation. Their only way of gauging what the hobby entails, or what it’s is all about, is by asking archaeologists! Now that’s like asking a Vegan to recommend a decent cut of steak.

Rights or wrongs don’t make laws…but lobby votes do!


Judging from the promos and from Garrett’s own site, their new ‘Garrett Z-Lynk™ Wireless System’ (wireless headphones) looks a winner; one where you can use your own favourite headphones. With the systems’ rechargeable batteries lasting up to thirty hours from a single charge puts them, in one respect, well ahead of their nearest rivals. The claimed response speed with a 17-millisecond delay (six times faster than Bluetooth it is claimed) is superfast but how this compares with the rivals I know not. But knowing the big ‘G’ as I do, they won’t want to be anyone’s runners-up!

The UK price has yet to be sorted, but I reckon somewhere in the £120.00 region. Garrett’s UK dealer, REGTON Ltd (0121 359 2379, or,, might be worth an enquiry. 0121 359 2379


Hanky-panky in York, or, who’s working late again at the office? Ho, ho!

I can’t help wondering whenever I hear or read about the so-called damaging ‘hoiking’ allegedly perpetrated by detectorists, whether the accusers (usually the Brothers Grim) are less concerned with archaeology per se, or more concerned with trying to pull a fast one over what is seen by many in archaeology as a chummy, but gullible media, with fatuous and carefully crafted malicious, fact-free stories.

The sheer desperation to smear legitimate detectorists along with the Portable Antiquities Scheme is plainly evident in one loathsome individual’s vile name calling and personal attacks, clearly suggesting irrational and near paranoid behaviour. It’s also clearly evident that some in archaeology are incapable of conducting both themselves and their arguments in neither a civilised, nor gracious manner, choosing instead to employ craven ad hominem attacks of the kind they wouldn’t dare utter face-to-face. Neither are archaeology’s mandarins keen to censure this dishonourable conduct. Cowardice is fast becoming a common facet in archaeology.

Despite the ersatz hand-wringing angst within its ranks, archaeology is not a science nor ever likely to be, despite attempts of some to scam casual observers into believing otherwise. It all amounts to guesstimation. Even imbeciles can hazard inaccurate guesses, but such guesses are hardly science and since the archaeological world in the shape of the Council for British Archaeology (CBA) lends tacit approval to that monumental fraud masquerading as ‘fact’ – the so-called Artefact Erosion Counter (AEC) – it’s small wonder that archaeology is ridiculed, lampooned and gets the drubbing it does.

They’ll keep the Red Flag flying high…

…but the huff ’n puff of those who apparently lead the CBA by the nose, is in reality, a cunningly devised smokescreen to mask their ultimate goal; that of gaining complete control over all private property. One advocate writes: –

“…property of the state on behalf of ALL of its citizens, a point which the dealers and their idiot lobbyists fail to understand because of their perception of the state as an instrument of repression.”

A noble and honest political sentiment you might think. But coming from someone who voluntarily left the liberal West in the 1980s to live under to the distinctly intolerant Communist regime then in power in Poland for money and position is indeed as bizarre as it is revealing. Simultaneously as he was climbing into bed with the CommissaЯs, the Polish people were fighting to free themselves from communism’s yoke of tyranny; their perception of the state, was indeed, as an instrument of repression. Strange, eh?

Idiocy is not it appears, the monopoly of ‘dealers’ or their ‘lobbyists’.

Does it really matter…

…that the CBA is enjoying a bit of ‘extra-marital’ on the side with the fraudulent AEC notwithstanding that some AEC devotees are the political progenies of the tyranny who murdered Tsar Nicholas II, his wife Tsarina Alexandra and their five children in 1918? By their comЯades shall we know archaeology.


…It might be wise for all archaeologists of a royalist bent, to keep a beady eye on the comЯades should they ever take political power.

I’ll see y’all in the bar!

December 8, 2016


santabubbaMany will I’m sure be relieved to know that this is my final write-up for 2016 (emergencies excepted) and I suspect many of my US readers will already be thoroughly pissed-off with ‘that bloody Limey’ (me) again pleading for the unification of US hobbyists to get organised at national level. I make no apology. There has to be people out there with the balls and fire of Roger Barbrick. There has to be people out who won’t take shit off anyone. Surely?

J.H., Bournemouth, UK


For those you who like me, love extracting the urine out of the archaeo-blogosphere’s dim-witted slack-jaws, here’s a heart-warming tale:

One afternoon an archaeologist was riding in his limousine when he saw two poor detectorists eating grass at the roadside. Disturbed at the sight, he ordered his chauffeur to stop, and got out to investigate.

He asked the first, “Why are you eating grass?”

“We don’t have any money for food,” the poor detectorist replied. “We have to eat grass.”

“Well, then, you must come with me to my house and I’ll feed you,” the archaeologist said.

“But sir, I have a wife and two children with me. They are over there, under that tree.”

“Bring them along too,” the archaeologist replied.

Turning to the other poor detectorist he stated, “You may come with us, also.”

The second detectorist, in a pitiful voice, replied, “But sir, I also have a wife and SIX children with me!”

“Bring them all as well,” the archaeologist answered.

They all entered the car, which was no easy task, even for a car as large as the limousine.

Once underway, one of the poor detectorists turned to the archaeologist and said, “Sir, you are too kind. A wonderful, warm, human being. Thank you for taking all of us with you.”

The archaeologist replied, “Glad to do it. You’ll really love my place. The grass is almost a foot high.”

Oh, come on, grow up! You didn’t really think there was such a thing as a heart-warming archaeo-blogger story, did you?


Forewarned …

“Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves; and under the rule of a just God, cannot long retain it.” Abraham Lincoln.


In 1986 the metal detecting hobby had become firmly established in the UK following a hard fought battle against archaeological lobbyists; many of whom had impeccable Socialist credentials of an extreme nature. Some – often widely described as ‘scumbags’ – even espoused communist sympathies.

Simultaneously on mainland Europe another freedom fight was well under way: –

“Thirty years ago Poland’s Communist government was forced to release 225 political prisoners. Following the amnesty on September 30 1986, Lech Wałęsa created the first public, legal Solidarity entity since the declaration of martial law. Soon afterwards, the new Council was admitted to the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions.

“By 1988, Poland’s economy worsened. International sanctions, combined with the inefficient government’s unwillingness to introduce reforms, intensified the old problems. There were no funds to modernize factories and the promised “market socialism” materialized as a shortage economy characterized by long queues and empty shelves. Reforms introduced by Jaruzelski and Mieczysław Rakowski came too little and too late, especially as changes in the Soviet Union had bolstered the public’s expectation that change must come, and the Soviets ceased their efforts to prop up Poland’s failing regime.

In February 1988, the government hiked food prices by 40%.” (Source in part: Wikipedia).

I’m not alone in wondering why anyone – apart from the most dyed-in-the-wool apparatchik apple polishers – would want to live under the heel of the Soviet’s repressive political regime; one that enslaved millions in the Communist Bloc during the Cold War?

But in all fairness I have to say that the Stasi, KGB, Vopos, SB, StB and all the other dedicated communist enforcers, never shot anyone climbing over the Berlin Wall to get into East Berlin. Plenty died trying to get out of the ‘Workers’ Paradise’ though.


An apparatchik is a full time employee in any position of bureaucratic or political responsibility who served either in Communist Party structures or in the government.…

The importance of being an apparatchik (or worker bee)

“However, there were also some educated apparatchiks. They were university professors whose job was lecturing factory and collective farm workers on the advantages of Socialism. Most of them preferred to tell people about interesting things that the workers missed in their life. One of these apparatchiks said: “I’m pleased with my job because I’m giving people something they don’t have. And I see smiles on their faces. “Though the Soviet era is over, many apparatchiks have survived. They quietly transferred themselves to well-paid jobs and posts and prosper to this day. Nevertheless, their memory lives on, and apparatchik is still used to describe a person, who causes unnecessary trouble with a bureaucratic approach to work.”

When I first read this piece, for some reason I thought of UNESCO.



There’s a nasty disease doing the rounds and it’s rearing its ugly head predominantly in Southern England. In common lingo, it’s a real bastard. Period. It goes by the name Lyme Disease.

Those at principally risk of infection are walkers, ramblers, dog-walkers, and others who enjoy the Great Outdoors; a list that unfortunately includes detectorists. The southern counties, principally Hampshire and the New Forest are hotspots for this at present incurable disease.

So what is Lyme Disease, or Lyme Borreliosis?

It’s a bacterial infection spread to humans by infected ticks. I quote from the National Health Service (NHS) website: –

Ticks are tiny spider-like creatures found in woodland and heath areas. They feed on the blood of birds and mammals, including humans. Ticks that carry the bacteria responsible for Lyme disease are found throughout the UK and in other parts of Europe and North America.

It’s estimated there are 2,000 to 3,000 new cases of Lyme disease in England and Wales each year. About 15% of cases occur while people are abroad.

Lyme disease can often be treated effectively if it’s detected early on. But if it’s not treated or treatment is delayed, there’s a risk you could develop severe and long-lasting symptoms.

Early symptoms

Many people with early-stage Lyme disease develop a distinctive circular rash at the site of the tick bite, usually around three to 30 days after being bitten. This is known as erythema migrans.


The rash is often described as looking like a bull’s-eye on a dart board. The affected area of skin will be red and the edges may feel slightly raised. The size of the rash can vary significantly and it may expand over several days or weeks. Typically, it’s around 15cm (6 inches) across, but it can be much larger or smaller than this. Some people may develop several rashes in different parts of their body.

However, around one in three people with Lyme disease won’t develop this rash.

Some people with Lyme disease also experience flu-like symptoms in the early stages, such as tiredness (fatigue), muscle pain, joint pain, headaches, a high temperature (fever), chills and neck stiffness.

Preventing Lyme disease

There is currently no vaccine available to prevent Lyme disease. The best way to prevent the condition is to be aware of the risks when you visit areas where ticks are found and to take sensible precautions.

You can reduce the risk of infection by:

  • keeping to footpaths and avoiding long grass when out walking
  • wearing appropriate clothing in tick-infested areas (a long-sleeved shirt and trousers tucked into your socks)
  • wearing light-coloured fabrics that may help you spot a tick on your clothes
  • using insect repellent on exposed skin
  • inspecting your skin for ticks, particularly at the end of the day, including your head, neck and skin folds (armpits, groin, and waistband) – remove any ticks you find promptly
  • checking your children’s head and neck areas, including their scalp
  • making sure ticks are not brought home on your clothes
  • checking that pets do not bring ticks into your home in their fur

When to see your GP

You should see your GP (doctor) if you develop any of the symptoms described above after being bitten by a tick, or if you think you may have been bitten. Make sure you let your GP know if you’ve spent time in woodland or heath areas where ticks are known to live.

For more information on this horrible affliction please visit: –


James Bond walks into a bar and takes a seat next to a very attractive woman.  He gives her a quick glance, then casually looks at his watch for a moment.

The woman notices this and asks, “Is your date running late?”

“No,” he replies. “Q’s just given me this state-of-the-art watch and I was just testing it.”

The intrigued woman says, “A state-of-the-art watch?   What’s so special about it?”

Bond explains, “It uses alpha waves to talk to me telepathically.”

The lady says, “What’s it telling you now?”

“Well, it says you’re not wearing any panties…”

The woman giggles and replies, “Well, it must be broken because I am wearing panties!”

Bond tugs, taps his watch and says, “Damn thing’s an hour fast.”


There are certain people in the archaeo-blogosphere who are a living proof that total brain failure does not always lead to physical death.


Q: Why won’t sharks attack archaeologists? A: Professional courtesy.


Q. What’s the difference between the Treasure Trove Awards Committee and terrorists?  A. You can negotiate with terrorists.


A treasure hunter goes to his lawyer and tells him,

“An archaeologist owes me $500 and he won’t pay up. What should I do?”

“Do you have any proof he owes you the money?” asks the lawyer.

“Nope,” replies the T’Her.

“OK, then write him a letter asking him for the $5,000 he owes you,” says the lawyer.

“But it’s only $500,” replies the T’Her.

“Precisely. That’s what he will reply and then you’ll have your proof!”


Bubba’s Bournemouth Beachcomber’s Cake

(great for Christmas)


  • 1 Tsp Sugar
  • 1 or 2 Quarts of Rum (My favourite is OVD Demerara Rum)
  • 1 Cup Dried Fruit
  • 1 cup Brown Sugar
  • 1 Tsp Soda
  • 1 Cup Butter
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 1 Cup Baking Powder
  • 3 Juiced Lemons
  • 1 Cup of Nuts

Before starting, sample rum to check quality. Now proceed…..

Select large mixing bowl, measuring cup, etc..

Check rum again. It must be just right to be sure rum is of proper quality, pour one level cup of rum into a glass and check sample.


With electric mixer, beat 1 cup of butter in a large fluffy bowl. Add 1 seaspoon of thusar and beat again.

Meanwhile, make sure rum is still alrighty. Try another cup. Open second quart if necessary

Next add leggs, 2 cups of fried druit and beat til high. If druit gets stuck in beaters, pry loose with drewscriber.

Sample rum again, checking for tonscisticity.

Next, sift 3 cups pepper or salt (really doesn’t matter).

Sample rum.

Sift 1/2-pint lemon juice. Fold in chopped butter and strained nuts. Add 1 bablespoon of brown sugar-or whatever color you can find. Wix mell. Grease oven. Turn cake pan to 350 gredees. Pour mess into boven and ake.

Check run again and bo to ged.


My best wishes to my readers for a happy and peaceful Christmas.

I’ll see y’all in the bar!



November 9, 2016


The Ultimate Coin?

howlandscriptBy spring of 2017 Britain’s current £1-coin will have undergone a facelift; a coin the Royal Mint is confident enough to brand it as the ‘most secure coin in the world’ – a counterfeiter’s nightmare.

The new £1-coin will have a number of features making it virtually counterfeit free. Departing from the current circular design, the new coin is 12-sided, a distinctive shape that makes it instantly recognisable even by touch. It’s also bimetallic – made of two metals. The outer ring is gold coloured (nickel-brass) and the inner ring is silver coloured (nickel-plated alloy) similar to the current £2-coin.


It’s Latent image – like a hologram changes from a ‘£’ symbol to the number ‘1’ when the coin is viewed from different angles. On the lower inside rim on both sides of the coin features micro-lettering: One pound on the obverse ‘heads’ side and the year of production on the reverse ‘tails’ side; for example, 2016 or 2017. The coins’ milled edges have grooves on alternate sides and a hidden high security feature is built into the coin to protect it from counterfeiting in the future. The new UK £1-coin is scheduled to enter circulation in March 2017, and The Royal Mint will produce 1.5 billion of them.

The coin’s final specification and method of introduction followed a ten-week public consultation period which looked at the physical and material characteristics of the coin, as well as the parameters for the transition. Her Majesty’s Treasury and The Royal Mint are continuing to work with industry to introduce the new coin in a manageable way. Vending machines, slot machines and parking ticket machines will all have to be adapted to take the new coins. To view the government’s published consultation response please visit the below link.

The new 12-sided £1-coin’s dimensions differ slightly from the current round £1-coins.

The new coins will be thinner and lighter; with a thickness of 2.8mm and the weight reduced to 8.75g. The diameter however, at 23.43mm, is slightly larger than the current £1-coins; the maximum diameter (point to point) is 23.43mm.

In metal detecting terms, the increased diameter means most metal detectors will be able to locate them at slightly greater depths – especially on beaches. Currently, £1-coins register at ‘77’ on the Garrett ATPro International.

NB My thanks to the Royal Mint for allowing the use of the photograph of the new £1 coin. For more information, visit their website at


Winter Draws On

If like me you’re undaunted by the depths of winter, then you’ll also know there’s little more warming than a decent hot drink après hunt as a reviver. My favourite cockle-warmer is a teaspoon of Bovril in a mug of boiling water into which is poured a generous measure of medium/dry sherry. The equivalent measures can be made in a thermos.

Contrary to popular belief (a falsehood put about by Stouty) I never drink alcohol while out hunting – it lowers the body’s temperature after the initial ‘warming’ rush. Nevertheless, back at home after the hunt it’s a vastly different story; two-fingers (vertical) of Jura, feet-up, by the fire.

Now part of the Unilever Group their website ( gives a brief history of this superb product: –

Bovril has been exported to countries around the world for many years. As well as expatriates looking for a taste of home in countries like France and Spain, Bovril is extremely popular in Malaysia, Singapore and China where generations of people have grown up with the iconic British drink.


Way back in 1871, Napoleon ordered a million cans of beef for his hungry army. A Scot, John Lawson Johnston, rose to the challenge with his invention “Johnston’s Fluid Beef”. This was renamed Bovril back in 1886, and so the beefy drink we know and love was born.

16 years later, on Christmas Day of 1902, and far, far away near the South Pole, Captain Scott and Ernest Shackleton supped on a cup of Bovril after a chilling four-hour march.

By 1909, it wasn’t just explorers and soldiers that took strength from Bovril – hundreds and thousands of football supporters up and down the country were gulping down steaming hot cups of Bovril. In fact, by this time, Bovril was so popular with Brits that an electric advertising sign was erected in London’s Piccadilly Circus.

By 1968, the Bovril empire owned Argentinean beef ranches that totalled the equivalent to half the size of England. Production was also moved from London to its current home in Burton on Trent.

Today, Bovril is as popular as ever, providing three and a half million jars of strength every year to Brits in need.




“There’s one way to find out if a man is honest – ask him. If he says, ‘Yes,’ you know he is a crook.”…….Groucho Marx


October 16,2016




News to gladden the hearts of all treasure hunters.

Lee Rossiter who discovered the so-called Hammerton Ring – a 15th century Tudor gold ring – with his metal detector near Harrogate, Yorkshire, in April 2015, has sold it to for a hefty undisclosed sum in a private sale to a firm of Mayfair, London, dealers.

The ring, a double-bezel chased finger ring, is set with an emerald and a ruby and is engraved in the medieval French style. Mr Rossiter correctly reported his find to the appropriate authorities in accordance with the prevailing Treasure Act whereupon it was declared ‘treasure’ under the Act. It was later returned to him. The money raised from the sale is being shared with the landowner.


UNESCO branded ‘shameful.

The consortium that seeks to internationally restrict metal detector use, is once again in the news and serves to show that it’s in no position to criticise our hobby. The United Nations Educational Scientific Cultural Organisation (Unesco) is again embroiled in yet another scandal; this time in a vicious spat with Israel over a Unesco resolution slamming Israel’s policies regarding the al-Aqsa Mosque compound, while supposedly rejecting Jewish ties to the holy site in occupied East Jerusalem and recognising Israel as the occupying power.

The respected News Agency, Aljazeera, reported on the row that: –

“The resolution, which was submitted by Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Qatar and Sudan, was voted through on Thursday with 24 votes in favour, six against, and 26 abstentions.

Estonia, Germany, Lithuania, the Netherlands, the UK and the US voted against the resolution, while China, Russia, Mexico, South Africa and Pakistan among others voted in favour.”

In a sharply worded condemnation of Unesco, Israel’s education minister, Nafti Bennet said that it was a ‘shameful decision’ and that ‘Unesco members’ were denying thousands of years of Jewish ties to Jerusalem and the Temple Mount.

Aljazeera further reported Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, as saying in a statement that Unesco has lost its legitimacy by adopting this resolution, and was further quoted:-

“The theatre of the absurd at UNESCO continues and today the organisation adopted another delusional decision which says that the people of Israel have no connection to the Temple Mount and the Western Wall,” he said.”

Palestinian critics argue that Israel uses the Jewish connection to Jerusalem as a cover for its political policies that have displaced Palestinians from their homes. However, Unesco’s director-general, the former Bulgarian Communist Party member, Irina Bokova, distanced herself from the resolution: –

“The heritage of Jerusalem is indivisible, and each of its communities has a right to the explicit recognition of their history and relationship with the city,” she said in a statement.

Dogged by scandals, cronyism, and corruption; both Britain and the US must stop pouring millions into Unesco which is little more than a money pit.


British Academy Honours PAS Founder

A Press Release from the University of Leicester informs that Professor Roger Bland OBE, a former British Museum Keeper, has been working with the University’s School of Archaeology and Ancient History, contributing to research involving coin hoards, such as the Hallaton Treasure – a collection of more than 5,000 silver and gold Iron Age coins found in Leicestershire.

But it was for his work establishing a hugely successful online database for archaeologists and others to share information about new finds which secured him the British Academy’s President’s Medal – awarded annually for “outstanding academic-related activity”.

The citation from the Academy outlined the reasons why he had been chosen.

It said: “This award is for Roger Bland’s contribution to the protection, and academic and public understanding, of Britain’s cultural heritage…”


The Portable Antiques Network scheme comprises a website – – and an archaeological database, supported by a nationwide network of finds liaison officers who identify artefacts brought in by the public. The work is funded by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport through the British Museum and a range of local agencies.

Since its launch in 1997, it has amassed information about some 1.2 million objects in England and Wales, recorded by 45 dedicated archaeologists, as well as members of the public.

“It has proved to be a very rich resource for archaeological research,” said Prof Bland. “The website details more than 500 academic projects, which are using the data.”

The President’s Medal will be presented to Prof Bland on Tuesday 27 September, at the British Academy headquarters, in St James’s, London.

Previous winners include the former Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams, in 2013, and broadcaster Clive James, in 2014, in recognition of major contributions to Britain’s cultural life.

“I am humbled to have been honoured with this prestigious award,” Prof Bland said, “Mainly because it recognises the success of the Portable Antiquities Scheme in harnessing the efforts of amateur searchers for archaeological objects who use metal detectors in transforming our knowledge of our archaeological heritage.”

However, over on the vile PACHI blog, the brainchild of our old pal, Paul Barford, the Warsaw-based English language teacher who likes to be known (according to his blog) as an ‘archaeologist,’ is less than thrilled at Prof Bland’s magnificent award. In a bitter remark, the undistinguished Barford, comments on Prof Bland’s statement, Well, that is a falsehood for a start,” as the preface to one of his usual bitchy, abusive, slurs on the Portable Antiquities Scheme and on anyone else who follows the metal detecting hobby.

Whilst the metal detecting community congratulates Prof Bland’s significant award and recognition; there’s no fury, it seems, like an undistinguished language teacher scorned.



On the seventh day He went treasure hunting….

I’ll see y’all in the bar!


September 7, 2016


Metal Detecting – ‘Everyman’s Archaeology’?

by John Howland


Archaeology is the study of human activity through the recovery and analysis of artifacts, architecture, and cultural(?) landscapes. The method one chooses to examine any of the aforementioned facets can be either orthodox, or unorthodox, and for hundreds of thousands of people across the globe, the latter equates to the leisure pursuit of metal detecting. There will always be archaeology in its orthodox form and likewise there will always be metal detecting – but whether they will ever rub along together in harmony is a moot point; so much of what follows will undoubtedly send some of archaeology’s old war-horses apoplectic.

Unquestionably, a handful of archaeology’s Luddite intransigents want full control over, or a complete ban of the pastime and fiercely resist any method of searching for the Past unless it conforms to their outdated attitudes. Mercifully this absurd Luddism is inexorably though slowly giving way to free-thinking and refreshing outlooks and mutual respect; the rays of dawn’s early light are slowly becoming evident on both sides. The American archaeologist, Lisa Macintyre, is a glowing example.

Flushed with Success

Many hobby practitioners are specialists in particular aspects of history whose knowledge is often sought, not so much by the Luddite wing of sniffier archaeological clique, but by film producers, writers, authors and the like, wanting accuracy in such things as period dress particularly with shoe buckles, old military cap badges and buttons. The hobby has also produced many informed and respected writers on all aspects of history and their books and works proliferate. Unsurprisingly, fewer people are regularly involved in orthodox archaeology than in metal detecting, which has its own methodology, ideology, and terminology. It empowers the ordinary man to seek and search out his own Past, in the way of his choosing. This new breed of heritage enthusiast asks pertinent questions of orthodoxy often putting it embarrassingly, under the spotlight. There’s an old adage that reckons, ‘BS baffles brains,’ but not so with these guys; they are educated in the ways of archaeology and want answers; and the Luddites (with apparently something to hide) don’t like it one bit…no Siree!

In the UK the metal detecting pursuit has over the past three decades become firmly established. During this time and owing to the huge and valuable contribution its practitioners have made to the common heritage, has led to the formation of the UK’s Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS) backed by government funds and run under the auspices of the British Museum in London. The PAS has a million-plus detector-found artifacts on its database becoming the model template for the rest of the world and I’m given to understand – at the time of writing – that some countries previously ‘anti’ are now looking at what the PAS has achieved and the benefits derived from this kind of modern heritage thinking and public involvement.

It’s important to mention that once an artifact is properly recorded there is absolutely nothing wrong whatsoever in selling it on to a collector, or putting it up for auction, or indeed starting one’s own collection. When a landowner baulks at finds-data being handed to ‘officialdom’ (apart from the legal requirements of the Treasure Act) then keep your own records.


Imagine for the moment you’ve been given access to acres of land, a ranch even: You’ve countersigned the mutually agreed profit-sharing Landowner/Searcher agreement with the landowner. So what’s the next step? Probably not what you think. Keep your metal detector securely locked in the car; pull on your boots on and go and explore the lay of the land, map in hand.

Seasoned hunters know instinctively where to look first; anglers too have a similar uncanny knack of knowing where the best fish are hiding-up which is probably why so many former anglers have turned detectorist. For example, I can look at the rolling chalk downlands of Wiltshire, and Dorset (where I live) and identify with more or less certainty where ancient coins or other artefacts have an odds-on chance of turning up. These areas I mark on a large-scale Ordnance Survey map with a soft-graphite 2 or 3B pencil and further comparison at home with Google Maps. Other detectorists use drones to identify cropmarks; sure signs of former habitation.


Keep an eye out for pottery pieces, especially the broken bases; these if stamped with the potter’s name are highly prized and collectable.

Areas of land under the plough repay attention especially on chalk downlands where flint tools and arrowheads will surely put in an appearance. Don’t assume that you have stumbled on a stone age site either. Stone tools being cheaper and easier to fashion than iron or bronze were being made well into the roman era as evidenced by the numbers of these implements that regularly come to light on non-scheduled Celtic and roman sites where hobbyists have unfettered access. This is not so much an ‘archaeological’ reality but a fact derived from metal detecting. Once again ensure these flint tools are reported to the landowner (they fetch good prices at market) and to the PAS subject to the landowner’s permission; many landowners have – and in some cases rightly so – an uncompromising distrust of archaeology so be aware of your responsibilities to your farmer or landowner. Look after them and they’ll look after you.

Fieldcraft – dating hedgerows

Hedgerow dating is an essential tool in the wise detectorist’s armoury and to my mind is crucial to success. The best way of doing this – though not a precise science – is as follows.

Place a maker in the ground then pace out one hundred yards along any part of a hedgerow bordering the field. Then place another marker in the ground and count the number of prominent hedgerow plants and shrub types (not grasses) between the two markers – and be thorough. For every plant-type add one hundred years. For example, five different plants equals to (roughly) five hundred years.

Fieldcraft – field names

In the UK – and I suspect the same is true in the US – that every field and plot of land has a name. In the UK, field names date back many hundreds of years. Names such as ‘Drop shot’, ‘Shot over’ and ‘Drop short’ indicate fields where medieval archery practice took place. ‘Drop shot’ and ‘Drop short’ is where you’ll uncover iron (ferrous) arrowheads. The field names indicate that the arrows either ‘dropped short’ or ‘shot over’ the targets – so don’t hunt such fields with the DISCRIM turned up, or on! Go, All Metal!

The Enclosure maps dating to the early 1800s repay close inspection and comparison with modern large-scale maps of ‘your’ newly acquired land. Similar maps also exist in the US. Where an area features a patchwork of small fields is indicative of Anglo-Saxon origins and the coins will be likely as not, early hammered silver types. That said, and with the grubbing up of hedges to make larger fields for agricultural machinery, this patchwork feature will be less obvious, therefore so reliance on Enclosure maps is vital.


Keep It Simple Stupid. Back in the ‘70s and ‘80’s my detecting pal ‘Pete the Hat’ (who’s exploits are mentioned in earlier Mal Sals) owned an Arado 120b arguably the best inland use metal detector of its day and could still certainly outperform many of today’s machines. By modern standards it was uncomplicated; certainly deep-seeking, and featured as I recall, just a couple of knobs and a large easy-to-read meter. Neither did it come cheap.

Above all, especially if you’ve only recently discovered the pastime, please realise that expensive machinery sporting twiddly knobs, SatNavs, or even a micro-wave oven, is no guarantee for success. Neither is a high retail price.

Remember; the watchword is…KISS!


  1. What’s the difference between ‘erotic’ and ‘kinky’?
  2. ‘Erotic’ is when you use a feather; ‘Kinky’ is when you use the whole chicken.


Good hunting, I’ll see y’all in the bar….


August 10, 2016



‘Tell a lie a thousand times and it soon becomes the truth’… by John Howland

… was Communism’s propagandist mainstay. The more astute among the UK’s Communist archaeological community dropped it like a hot brick once they realised their obscurantist game had been rumbled and ran for cover. For the dimmer, more zealous ’Reds’ in their midst, the maxim stuck fast like shit to a blanket. It still does.

Some US treasure hunters are doubtless thinking at this juncture, “What the hell is this Limey talking about?” Listen in Bubbas; what happens here in the UK, sooner or later happens Stateside. It’s perhaps for the same reason that US detectorists can’t or won’t go on the offensive or organize a defensive barrier, that US archaeologists can’t change up to a higher offensive gear. Luckily for the hobby it’s down to archaeological apathy. For the moment.

I’ve been fighting these people for the best part of forty years. From the late ‘70s when the Council for British Archaeology’s ill-advised and ill-fated anti-metal detecting STOP campaign was in full swing, the metal detecting hobby was, and to a certain extent still is, media blitzed with all manner of supposed ‘facts’ and ‘figures’ designed to bamboozle the public at large. Nowadays, this scatology comes courtesy of a mish-mash of ardent, vocal, but dim-witted claquers populating archaeology’s anti-collecting, anti-detecting, anti-US, anti-capitalist, (and some say anti-Semitic) periphery. Many commentators see them as ‘basket cases’. One in particular belongs in a secure mental hospital.

Their meagre media gruel is not so much as dug up, as made up; comprising a mix of personal abuse, personal insults, ad hominen attacks, and lies; prompting many on the receiving end of this lunatic barrage to believe there are serious psychological issues at play. One such ‘basket case’, and the libel laws forbid me from naming names, is an utter, out-and-out, ‘nut case’ – completely off his trolley.

The portrayal of Detectorists by many of these ‘fruitcakes’ who pose Detectorists as the major threat to the heritage by alleging all manner of illegal activities leading to the haemorrhage of valuable (but as always, unspecified) relic data is unsurprisingly, simply untrue. Their adherence to Soviet leader ‘Uncle’ Joe Stalin’s dictum that, “The people who cast the votes don’t decide an election, it’s the people who count the votes who do,” these claquers have had limited success (it must be said) in spinning the truth. Of course, you can fool some of the people…

So what is the ‘truth’ behind heritage theft in the UK allegedly carried out under cover of darkness (known colloquially as Nighthawking)? It depends on who you ask: But if you want it kosher and straight from the horse’s mouth, look no further than the Nighthawking Survey.


Some eight years ago an investigation into ‘Nighthawking’ was commissioned and paid for by:-

English Heritage; Cadw; Historic Scotland; National Museum; National Museum of Wales, and the Portable Antiquities Scheme, are funding Oxford Archaeology, with support and help in kind from Archaeology Guernsey; Jersey Heritage Trust; Manx National Heritage; National Museums Scotland and Northern Ireland Environment and Heritage Service, to undertake a project entitled Nighthawks and Nighthawking: Damage to Archaeological Sites in the United Kingdom and Crown Dependencies caused by illegal searching and removal of antiquities.

All of them chipping-in where possible, to raise over sixty Grand to pay for it.

Oxford Archaeology Ltd (OA) is, as their website claims; “one of the largest and longest established independent archaeology and heritage practices in Europe” and was chosen to undertake the investigation. OA’s report, The Nighthawking Survey, was published in 2007/8. It makes for sobering reading, not for detectorists I hasten to add, but dissident Luddites in the archaeological community on the fringe (of what I’m unsure, but certainly not reason).

So what did OA uncover about detectorists’ alleged felonies? I quote from their report:-

The Nighthawking Survey

Nighthawks are not to be confused with responsible metal detectorists. It is clear that many metal detectorists follow good practice guidelines, record and/or report their finds, abide by the Treasure Act (1996) and are valued contributors to archaeological understanding.

A total of 240 sites were reported affected by Nighthawking between 1995 and 2008 of which 88 were Scheduled Monuments. The number of reported attacks on Scheduled Monuments has decreased from 1.3% of the resource to 0.41% since the last survey in 1995. A total of 152 non-scheduled sites have also been raided (this category was not examined in 1995). Results suggest that from 3-6% of archaeological excavations are also raided, although the number of archaeological units that reported instances of Nighthawking was down from 37 out of 50 in 1995 to 15 out of 54 in 2007 (19 units responded, reporting 35 affected sites).

The figures are official. No question. The data reveals startling results when closely examined and doubtless came as a bitter disappointment to some of the Survey’s commissioners. OA seems to have put a brave face on things and to their credit, reported the data ‘as found’.

For example:-

240 sites are cited as being “affected by Nighthawking” over a 13-year period (1995-08). Thus, 240 divided by 13 equates to an average of 18.461 incidents per year.

Or put another way:

If the number of sites, “affected by Nighthawking” per year (18.461), is divided by 12 (months in a year) it equates to 1.538 incidents per month.

Or put another way:

If the number of sites per year, 18.461, allegedly “affected by Nighthawking” is divided by 52 (weeks in a year), averages out at LESS than ONE incident a week: That figure being 0.355.

Yes…that’s 0.355 incidents a week. A crime tsunami? Nope!

Nevertheless, those who responded to OA’s questionnaire might well have confused the ‘evidence’ of so-called looting with that caused by nocturnal animal activity – and there’s no evidence in the survey either way apart from photographs of holes in the ground. This of course is the Survey’s major investigative flaw rendering the whole Survey utterly misleading and useless.

But let’s be generous here; let’s go along with the data and let’s further suppose for the moment the ‘looted’ sites really were excavated clandestinely; so what was stolen? Anything, or, nothing? No one knows.

The Nighthawking Survey – despite its imperfection – clearly shows metal detecting (in the UK at least) is not, nor has been, a threat to the heritage. So when next some archaeological dingbat shouts the crap, quote the Nighthawking Survey in reply.


You can prove anything by statistics except the truth.

George Canning


July 25, 2016


“Oh, what a beauty, I’ve never seen one as big as that before…”

…Is a line from popular risqué song made famous by the legendary ukulele-playing entertainer, George Formby.

Now, I know there are certain names we don’t mention here on Stout Standards, but this one really is too good to miss and a prime example of scatter-gun insults, not to mention possible libel. A certain émigré Brit currently resident in Warsaw since 1986 who now teaches English and who describes himself as an ‘archaeologist’, regularly heaps invective and venom on detectorists, coin collectors and relic hunters in the manner of a kindergarten brat unable to have its own way, has thrown his toys out of the pram yet again. Only this time the target of his child-like spite is Britain’s archaeological community – yep, he’s ‘arkie’ bashing, the same ones who ran to his defence when the dodgy science behind his now widely-derided Artefact Erosion Counter was lambasted and expertly unpicked by experts in these columns.

He demonstrates what skills he has with the English language with this sample of his expertise:-

“There is actually a great silence from the British archaeological community (apparently for the most part, limp-wristed, pandering jobsworths who could not give a tinkers[sic] about any of this). It is good that there are archaeologists elsewhere [in Germany, apparently] keeping their eye on the ball.”

Thus, according to our English language teacher most of Britain’s male members of the archaeological community are “limp-wristed”, which for our US readers, means effete, mincing, homosexual, or in the current patois, ‘gay’.

How he arrives at this conclusion is anyone’s guess? A little extra-curricular activity on the subject perhaps? Does he include HRH The Prince of Wales, heir to the throne? HRH studied archaeology while at Cambridge University and who went on to become the Patron of the Council for British Archaeology?

And what about all his so-called pals in amateur archaeology; you know the ones, all those well-meaning folk who gather for Megameets at Standing Stones in Wiltshire….?


July 22, 2016


A Real Gobsmacker!

I was recently browsing the ‘Club Websites’ section (above) and one US club, the Tidewater Coin and Relic Club ( ) really grabbed my attention. Its homepage is simply stunning and I being an avid beachcomber it really made an impression. I absolutely recommend you give it try. It’s phenomenal, moody, sets the tone, and best of all, it makes you want to pick up your detector and head for the surf.

What’s even better is that someone at TC&RC has thoughtfully provided a link to local sea fishing conditions, tide tables…the lot. The Tidewater Coin & Relic Club (TC&RC) was established in 1973 and meets on the second Tuesday of the month at the Mary Pretlow Library, 111 W Ocean View Ave, Norfolk, Virginia. Doors Open at 6:30pm and meetings kick off at 7:00pm.

To discover more about this superb club, log on to the link above or give the club’s Facebook page a whirl at Interestingly and something I’ve never come across before is that this club awards special pin badges to members who have found, and reunited Class Rings, wedding bands and other valuables to their owners.


That which sets this club apart from many others is PR, certainly one of its officers (presumably) is wearing his/her Baseball cap hat at the right angle. In this hobby, image is king and the TC&RC leads by example.


And now for something completely different…

Okay, all you oldies who’ve been in the hobby from the time when Long John Silver’s parrot was an egg, go and put the coffee on, or pour two fingers – what follows you may have heard before; this is for newbies and those who have the occasional ‘Senior Moment’. (That’s you Ricardo, er… 20 Bucks. Remember? Huh? Huh?)

Back in the late 70s and early 80s it was discovered (by a detectorist, I believe) that high pH (alkaline) readings in soil indicated evidence of human presence. Where there’s human presence or habitation… it’s highly likely that tangible evidence in the form of coins for example, will show. Sure enough, there was a mad rush to get one of these pH gizmos from local gardening centres. They were back then and still are today, available at nickel and dime prices. These pH meters are invaluable little gadgets for determining human habitation/activity in a given area. What do high pH readings make? Yep, you got it, prizes!

Using a pH meter will increase your finds potential. Though not an exact science – much like Dead Reckoning navigation – it will give you a definite edge and is probably the most useful bit of kit you can have after your metal detector.

pH Range

  1. Ultra -acidic….3.5
  2. Extremely acidic….3.5 – 4.4
  3. Very strongly acidid….4.5 – 5.0
  4. Strongly acidic….5.1 – 5.5
  5. Moderately acidic….5.6 – 6.0
  6. Slightly acidic….6.1 – 6.5
  7. Neutral….6.6 – 7.3
  8. Slightly alkaline….7.4 – 7.8: humans probably
  9. Moderately alkaline….7.9 – 8.4
  10. Strong habitation evidence….8.4 – 8.5
  11. Strongly alkaline….8.5 – 9.0
  12. Very strongly alkaline….9.0 Settlement site. JACKPOT!

Take several readings across the area you intend to search so as to ascertain its acidity or alkalinity, or to ‘outline’ the habitation area. Readings above ‘7’ are indicative of human existence. The higher the pH reading, then the higher the probability of extended human habitation; settlements, turnpikes, and the like, all of which transmits to…FINDS.

Areas reading in the acidic ranges, 3.5 to 5.1-5.5 are corrosive to metal objects (coins, etc.), so don’t expect them to be pristine. Many areas are also corrosive owing to the use of agro-chemicals and in those areas detectorists are doing a brilliant job in saving relics and coins.


The Ashes of Self-importance

However, the self-proclaimed experts on metal detecting, the Council for British Archaeology (CBA), an educational charity, has its head firmly up its rectum in advocating that detector-found artefacts are better off left in the ground. Why? Here’s their encyclical:-

“As long as it remains safe then it is better to leave the evidence for future generations to investigate with better techniques and with better-informed questions to ask.”

Idiocy? You do the math.


July 15, 2016


For the moment at least, we’ll leave our two ‘favourite’ serial whingers to wallow in their own unique brand of vulgar and loutish prose that sets them apart from ordinary society while we get on with the serious biz of treasure hunting. The two aforementioned mites though good for the occasional chuckle really are too tiresome for regular inclusion in our blog. Indeed, it makes little sense to regularly bestow their piss poor down-market, semiliterate blogs, with the exposure they are unable to achieve.

Roman/Iron Age

Many British newcomers to the hobby read Dick Stout’s blog, along with those US enthusiasts heading over here on holiday and looking for advice. In my experience the most efficient way of extracting roman coins from ploughed fields is by using a SMALL (4”) coil.

Two of the loudest indicators that you have a roman site on your hands is when you begin finding small pieces of lead dross (often used in roman pipework), closely followed the presence of well-rusted nails both of which scream out, “Use a smaller coil”.

Garrett ‘Sniper’ coil (other coils are available).

Smaller coils work well by getting in between the ferrous junk; their highly concentrated electro-magnetic beams miss nothing and by working them slowly, will soon repay the investment.

Another signpost that screams “roman habitation” is the profusion of (usually) freshwater mussel shells suggesting the presence of a temple and thus, votive offerings – gold and silver coins in abundance. Find such a place and both you and he landowner will be in clover as the finds will always be declared ‘Treasure’ under the provisions of the ’96 Act.

The most successful machine I ever used on a roman site was Tesoro’s Golden Sabre hitched a 4”coil. Designed to run without a threshold tone, the Golden Sabre featured a built-in null on ferrous targets, only sounding-off over non-ferrous targets. We called it the what-you-don’t-hear-you-don’t-miss system and what a great system it was: No distracting spurious noises, it sliced through the ploughsoil like a hot knife through butter.

My preference was for large-scale OS maps on which to plot finds plot when on inland sorties, though nowadays some of you might prefer the latest sat/nav gizmos. By using a large-scale map provides all the data you need to see the broader picture of the area on which you will be hunting. Footpaths that seemingly end in the middle of a field for instance demand investigation, not so much the path itself, but the place where it ends abruptly. Buckles, buttons, and casual losses abound on paths so it’s back to clipping on your larger coil in these circumstances. Paths can be dated from the finds, so plot them all especially coins, and slowly you’ll build a greater in-depth picture of the area.

pic1 (1)

Footpath coins…..

I’m not a supporter of private reporting schemes as alternatives to the PAS, though I understand the reticence of some to confide in local FLOs. Sharing data helps to build a greater picture of the area and helps us all locate other lucrative areas.

Provided you have reported your finds there’s no reason why you shouldn’t sell them for profit and if you do manage to drop onto a decent find which makes a few quid, the look on your farmer/landowner’s face when you press a ‘century’ into his hand will stay with you for years. Be aware too for flint tools and arrowheads as these are highly collectible especially on sites on the chalk hills known as downlands. The term particularly describes this chalk common to the countryside of southern England. Areas of downland are often referred to simply as ‘Downs’, deriving from the Celtic word for ‘hills’

Roman pottery and bronze brooch.

Some amateur archaeology groups especially those who campaign vociferously against metal detectorists, field-walk farmland collecting flint tools without telling the farmer what they’ve found, or their financial worth. Worst of all they do not record their finds with the PAS – check the data! It’s always as well to drop a word in your farmer/landowner’s ear to keep these woolly-hatted grubbers out of the loop.

Gold or silver Iron Age coins (staters) are often present at or near roman sites and these types have even been found on sites dating from as late as AD 200 and well after the roman invasion of Britain and doubtless used as trading pieces.

At the end of the day, report any finds to the local Finds Liaison Officers (FLOs) though I realise some of you prefer to play your cards close to your chest. Above all, get familiar with the Treasure Act and if you are a visiting detectorist from the US for example, ensure you don’t board the plane back home with unreported finds as you’ll undoubtedly fall foul of antiquities export licence legislation. If you are fortunate enough to make any finds, the FLO will explain the rules of the game. You’ll get them back…eventually, but you’ll be legal and above-board.

The Portable Antiquities Scheme offer this advice (taken from their website)

“It is best practice for finds to be recorded with the PAS before they are exported, although the Finds Liaison Officers (FLOs) may be selective in recording finds shown to them, especially if the objects are less than 300 years old or precise findspot information is lacking. Whilst FLOs welcome the opportunity to records finds prior to export and can provide advice on the export licensing process, they are not able to make applications on behalf of exporters/finders. Exporters/finders (particularly those based abroad), including those attending metal detecting rallies, should make arrangements themselves (perhaps via the landowner or a metal-detecting tour operator) to deposit finds with the FLO for recording. It is the exporters/finders responsibility to collect the finds from the FLO, apply for an export licence, and post them overseas.”


A man in a butcher shop: – “I would like bull’s testicles”

Butcher: “Yeah, me too pal.”



I don’t read books by people who have betrayed the Motherland.

Vladimir Putin


July 6, 2016


howlandscriptGive a dog a bad name.

The Ancient Monuments & Archaeological Areas Act became law in 1979 whereupon swathes of countryside were designated ‘off limits’ to anyone using a metal detector without official permission. Consequently, many prosecutions followed and some people found themselves branded as thieves picking up criminal records along the way.

However, someone in the depths of the Civil Service having responsibility for Scheduling the UK’s 166,000 monuments and archaeological areas to bring them under the umbrella of the 1979 Act, didn’t! In consequence, there are people probably reading this who were convicted for illicit detecting when in fact no offence was committed.
If you think you fall into this category, then maybe you need the services of a lawyer with a view to compensation for having your name besmirched by an undeserved criminal record?


Q. What’s the difference between a large pizza and a degree in archaeology?

A. A large pizza can feed a family of four.


Don’t be a Muppet!

A Surrey man has been ordered to pay a fine and legal costs totalling over £1,000 by local magistrates after having been found guilty of theft and failing to report a find to the Coroner. The man who had been metal detecting on private land without permission found a gold Bronze Age ring which he failed to report to the Surrey Coroner. He was summoned to appear before magistrates in April but failed to turn up at court and an arrest warrant was subsequently issued; he was arrested some days later.

To avoid getting into the kind of scrape the Surrey man got himself into, become firm friends with the Treasure Act; it’s not rocket science. By understanding your legal obligations; by liaising with the PAS and FLO’s, avoids any later misunderstandings. Inadvertently straying onto neighbouring land where permission to hunt hasn’t been granted or sought and finding an object within the definitions of the Treasure Act present is undoubtedly problematic. First and foremost report the find to the FLO and take advice. The fact that you have reported the find despite it being found in a place where you did not have permission to detect demonstrates a degree of honesty on your part which goes a long way in your favour.

Navigating and map-reading errors happen; if you’ve strayed inadvertently, admitted the error, and reported the find in accordance with the law, that to my mind is the end of the matter though you may receive a ‘reminder’ from officialdom to take more care in the future.

The vast amount of significant discoveries made by detectorists – numbering over one million registered on the Portable Antiquities’ database – illustrates the colossal contribution they have made to our cultural heritage. Most level-headed people recognize detectorists are Treasure Act literate as the PAS statistics show, something that has catapulted the metal detecting hobby into the limelight; they being the prolific heritage contributors.


Two blokes were walking through a cemetery when they happened upon a tombstone that read:

“Here lies John Sweeney, a decent man and an archaeologist.”

One asks the other: “Why the hell have they put two people in one grave?”


Bah! Humbug!

The Council for British Archaeology’s website cites four reasons for parting with one’s ‘hard-earned’ in order to become a member which includes is this little gem:-

‘Encourage good practice in reporting archaeological finds.’

Which of course raises a couple of salient points:-

1. This strongly suggests bad reporting practice actually exists in archaeology (as many of us already suspected).

2. For the po-faced CBA to sniffily suggest detectorists are lacking in good reporting practice is unalloyed humbug especially when their website also carries this:-

Evidence from the past is fragile and should not be damaged or lost in an attempt to generate financial profit for individuals.

To which I say….physician, first heal thyself! It’s entirely wholesome to generate or make a financial profit from the past; the CBA is not the arbiter of good taste, moral values, or ethical standards despite its lofty imaginings.

Being an educational charity, the CBA ought to follow its own dictum and gets its reporting house in order. Its high-horse posturing might be taken less risibly if for example it withdrew its tacit support for (as a start) the widely discredited, bizarre, and inaccurate, Artefact Erosion Counter, a cock-and-bull story masquerading as scientific. Presumably the AEC in the CBA’s eyes constitutes ‘…good practice in reporting archaeological finds.’ So much for archaeology being a science you might think.

Quite how, as the CBA puts it that: ‘The best way to extract evidence from the ground is via controlled, high-standard archaeological excavation,’ gels with both the aforementioned AEC and the CBA’s desire to, ‘Encourage good practice in reporting archaeological finds,’ is anyone’s guess. The CBA should ensure good practice among its members in reporting archaeological finds by aligning itself and its members to the PAS and by taking a leaf out of metal detecting’s book.

In the meantime, it’s still, Bah! Humbug!





If and when you visit the UK make it a point to stop at Regton Ltd., and tell Nigel Ingram I sent you. His shop will knock you over. Be sure to peruse the goods in this 365 tour…




Hypocrisy is great fodder for comedy (Mo Rocca)



June 9, 2016


Dinosaurs Facing Extinction? You Betcha!


One archaeological blogger who’s vehemently opposed to an eminently sensible piece of planned UK legislation, is predictably apoplectic judging from his panic-stricken banner headline plastered across his dire and ‘silly’ blog:-

“Sign this Petition to Stop Destruction Of British Archaeology” he yelps.

The truth of course is that ‘British Archaeology’ is far from facing extinction (more’s the pity, some might say). In his now familiar, tedious, teenage over-the-top style, the Prophet of Doom forecasts all manner of dreadful things facing the UK’s army of diggers should the proposed Bill become law; it can only be a matter of time before he announces plagues of locusts, and death of all the firstborn. He urges people to sign an on-line Petition in protest:-

“The current requirements that force developers to carry out archaeological and wildlife surveys before starting housing projects are to be abolished in the new Neighbourhood Planning and Infrastructure Bill.”

The On-line Petition however reads: Stop Destruction Of British Archaeology. Neighbourhood and Infrastructure Bill. But there’s a problem; the Neighbourhood and Infrastructure Bill doesn’t exist. However the Neighbourhood Planning and Infrastructure Bill does.

Nevertheless, if the Prophet of Doom’s claims are correct that the proposed Bill will seriously clip archaeology’s wings, then this is indeed, excellent and exciting news. At last, here’s a potential victory on the horizon for those in the collecting/detecting/treasure hunting fraternities who have for years maintained that archaeologists have had their size twelves wedged in legislators’ and developer’s doors forcing them to subsidise archaeological surveys, excavations, and jobs.

With UK archaeological units having morphed into private, for-profit businesses (er, making money out of the heritage) many people now believe that archaeology is little more than a lucky dip; not so much for the sparse data they uncover, or the excavation reports that regularly fail to appear, but for the big money rewards forcibly wrenched from house-buyers, councils, and local authorities who have to acquiesce to the archaeologically inspired laws.

Current legal requirements maintain archaeological jobs – unlike everyone else’s – safe and secure bringing in shed loads of folding dosh (nice work if you can get it – and they do) leaving developers with the dubious privilege opening their wallets and repeating the archaeologist’s chant, “Help yourself.”

If this proposed Bill passes into law it will be the long-awaited good news signalling the end of what amounts to years of legalised mugging. After all, if archaeology ceased as of midnight tonight, what effect would it have on everyday life? NONE! Would that really matter? NO! Would the hungry be fed? NO! The sick healed? NO!


“The World has just lost a great man who was arguably, the most charismatic sportsman of all time…Mohammad Ali. Many readers will know I am a boxing aficionado; I regard Ali as the supreme Heavyweight of his generation. Moreover, he was a great wit, humourist, and a man of principle. I doubt we’ll see his like for many a year. Rest in Peace…Mohammad Ali.”

I’ll see you in the bar…..


May 23, 2016



by John Howland

Is the name of the campaign to take Britain out of the European Community in June’s UK Referendum. Anyone who enjoys metal detecting ought to support BREXIT in order to return Britain to the sovereign position of being able to make its own laws, protect its own borders, and to be governed by UK ELECTED representatives and not by UNELECTED European bureaucrats who cannot be voted out of office. So how does this affect British detectorists?

Easy! Older detectorists will remember Alan Beith MP who presided over a Stasi-like enquiry to limit the hobby of metal detecting over twenty-five years ago. Beith, a Liberal, called ‘witnesses’ from across the European archaeological spectrum to give evidence at what effectively was a ‘show trial’. Mysteriously, and perhaps unsurprisingly, no-one from the detecting community was invited put counter views. That is, until the Detector Information Group (DIG) got to hear about the ‘trial’ and rocked-up on their European doorstep demanding to be heard which really put the detecting cat amongst the archaeological pigeons. In the event, Beith and the Gang allowed DIG limited time to give evidence mainly for cosmetic purposes to ward off accusations authoritarianism and of doing a done deal. Effectively, Europe’s detectorists were ignored. The serious limitations we don’t enjoy today are direct descendants of that ‘show trial’.

Many believed back then – and still do – that Beith was the poodle of the politically motivated archaeological lobby determined to snuff out the hobby across Europe. Having seen European ‘democracy’ in action I urge all UK detectorists to vote…. OUT! Say NO! to David Cameron and his Remain in Europe Group and (‘F*** Off’) to Brussels’ dictatorial, red-tape loving Eurocrats.

Council of Europe/1981 Metal Detectors & Archaeology


Now ‘Ere’s a Funny Thing

Dining recently in a halfway decent eatery in Ipswich, East Anglia, I was privy to a curious incident at a nearby table where a boisterous but merry group of specialist dealers in antique Japanese prints and museum types, were apparently enjoying a reunion of some kind and playing host to a couple of guests of whom the older of the two was a bearded fellow in his early 80’s and a farmer by all accounts. The other, who I reckoned to be in his early 70’s, bore the smarmy sartorial style of a 1930s Brighton ‘lounge lizard.’

I couldn’t help but overhear and fell about laughing at the following exchange when the waiter asked the group’s leader for their order:-

“What will you have, Sir?”

“We’ll have the steaks,”

“How would you like them Sir”

“Medium, please.”

“What about the vegetables?”

“Oh, those two will have same as us.”



There is no act of treachery or meanness of which a political party is not capable; for in politics there is no honour.

February 16, 2016


Knickers in a Twist?howlandscript

At first glance, this hobby particularly in the UK seems to be armpit deep in Codes of Conduct. There’s one from the UK’s national representative body, the NCMD, another from the Federation of Independent Detectorists, and the hobby’s sparring partners the Council for British Archaeology are in on the act by publically supporting the NCMD’s Code which is also recognized by the UK Government. In seemingly to be seen supportive there’s a lot of embarrassed hand-wringing going on in York as the CBA has to come to terms with Item 3 of the Code which states:

It is perfectly simple to extract a coin or other small object buried a few inches below the ground without digging a great hole. Use a suitable digging implement to cut a neat flap (do not remove the plug of earth entirely from the ground), extract the object, reinstate the grass, sand or soil carefully, and even you will have difficulty in locating the find spot again.

Finally, the CBA agrees with what detectorists the world over have been saying for years. For the sake of clarity these minor differences between FID’s Code and the NCMD’s ought to be identical?

NCMD Code of Conduct

  1. Do not trespass. Obtain permission before venturing on to any land.
  2. Respect the Country Code, leave gates and property as you find them and do not damage crops, frighten animals or disturb nesting birds.
  3. Wherever the site, do not leave a mess or an unsafe surface for those who may follow. It is perfectly simple to extract a coin or other small object buried a few inches below the ground without digging a great hole. Use a suitable digging implement to cut a neat flap (do not remove the plug of earth entirely from the ground), extract the object, reinstate the grass, sand or soil carefully, and even you will have difficulty in locating the find spot again.
  4. If you discover any live ammunition or any lethal object such as an unexploded bomb or mine, do not disturb it. Mark the site carefully and report the find to the local police and landowner.
  5. Help keep Britain tidy. Safely dispose of refuse you come across.
  6. Report all unusual historical finds to the landowner, and acquaint yourself with current NCMD policy relating to the Voluntary Reporting of Portable Antiquities in England and Wales and the mandatory reporting requirements in Scotland. See:
  7. Remember it is illegal for anyone to use a metal detector on a designated area (e.g. Scheduled Monuments (SM), Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), or Ministry of Defence property) without permission from the appropriate authority. It is also a condition of most agri-environment agreements that metal detecting access is subject to certain rules and regulations including mandatory finds recording. Details of these agreements and the access conditions they impose are detailed on the NCMD website.
  8. Acquaint yourself with the terms and definitions used in the following documents: –

(1) “Treasure” contained in the Treasure Act 1996 and its associated Code of Practice, making sure you understand your responsibilities.

(2) Advice for Finders of Archaeological Objects including Treasure 2006.

(3) The voluntary Code of Practise for Responsible Metal Detecting to which the NCMD is an endorsee.

(4) Advice for finders in Scotland: see

  1. Remember that when you are out with your metal detector you are an ambassador for our hobby. Do nothing that might give it a bad name.
  2. Never miss an opportunity to explain your hobby to anyone who asks about it.

Federation of Independent Detectorists’ “CODE OF CONDUCT”

  1. Get permission before detecting on private land. Never Trespass.
  2. Make an agreement on sharing finds with the landowner to avoid any later misunderstandings.
  3. Report all your finds to the landowner, even those that must be declared to the Coroner as well.
  4. Remember to shut all gates, never walk through standing crops, do not startle animals or nesting birds.
  5. Fill all holes, even on ploughed land or beaches. Never leave a mess or damage grass, a sharp trowel will cut a neat plug and once replaced and firmed in, the find spot will almost be invisible.
  6. Most metal rubbish can be recycled, the Planet belongs to all of us, so dispose of your unwanted iron, lead, cans, silver paper etc. With care for the environment, and never leave junk on the site.
  7. Never detect on a scheduled archaeological site, to do so is a criminal offence unless you have permission from the Secretary of State for National Heritage.
  8. Report all Gold or Silver artefacts over 300 years old to the local Coroner, also hoards of coins or plate of any age or material.
  9. All bombs, mines, ammunition or chemical containers, should have the find spot marked and be reported to the Police. Never attempt to move them yourself.
  10. As a FID member you have a lot to be proud of, so always be friendly to people who ask about your hobby, help them find lost metal objects when requested and never break this “Code of Conduct” or give the hobby a bad image.

The UK Government’s Department of Culture Media and Sport Guidelines :-

The Treasure Act 1996 Code of Practice (2nd Revision) ENGLAND & WALES

“If finders or others need further advice about any matters relating to the Treasure Act or this Code, then they are recommended to contact the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, the British Museum or (for Wales) the National Museums & Galleries of Wales or their local finds liaison officer. Addresses and telephone numbers are given in Appendix 2.”

Appendix 6: The National Council for Metal Detecting Code of Conduct

As Revised February 2000


What does the pompous Council for British Archaeology have to say? [Unsurprisingly, they simply can’t avoid archaeological arrogance and it races to the top. JH]

“Read our guidelines to find out more about best practice. If in doubt – it’s always best to ask the experts. [They mean, them, not you. JH ] “If you are thinking of rushing out to buy a metal detector to search an area near you and seek out your very own ‘treasure”, CBA Director Mike Heyworth comments, “There are reasons why you should think again or ask the experts.” [So that rules out the CBA then. JH] And so this institutionalised self-importance prattles on:-

“Contact us using the ‘to discuss’ any aspect of the search for finds, or the use of metal detectors, and we will be happy to guide you.” [I’ll bet! JH] But there’s more of this CBA tosh:-

Why should we leave archaeology buried?

“Archaeologists try to piece together information about the lives of people in the past from small fragments of evidence and it is important that we gather as much evidence as we can when opportunities present themselves. But in many cases, it is better to wait, to leave objects and other evidence in the ground where it has been lying safely for hundreds or thousands of years.”

“As long as it remains safe then it is better to leave the evidence for future generations to investigate with better techniques and with better-informed questions to ask.” [Some might think this is a bid to protect future employment. JH]

“Usually, intervention is only justified if the evidence is at risk of being lost or damaged, through development, climate change, or agricultural practices. In this case, any excavation work has to be carried out carefully to ensure that we extract as many clues as possible not just about any objects that are found, but about the full circumstances of the way in which they were initially buried and any materials or evidence buried in association with them.” [That then, puts the case for responsible metal detecting. JH]

Why should I leave finds where I find them? [Blah-de-blah-de-blah. More excruciating hogwash as the CBA tries to ‘Big-up’ its importance. JH]

How do I report a find?

[Here comes the U-turn of all U-turns. Having previously and piously preached about NOT digging and to LEAVE artefacts in-situ, is this little gem. JH]

“Report any object that is undisturbed in its primary context – in a container, or below the plough-soil – to the landowner and (with their agreement, unless it is a legal requirement) to an appropriate archaeologist.” [Legally, wrong! If it’s NOT ‘Treasure’ it’s up to you and the landowner whether to report to the Finds Liaison Officer. I recommend that you do. JH] “It is important to leave the find where it is so that the setting and circumstances can be assessed by an archaeologist.” [Nope! It’s only important to them. Not you. This one’s your call, not theirs. JH]

What’s missing from the CBA’s website, guidelines, and Best Practice sermons? There’s no advice for amateur archaeologists who field-walk removing thousands of pottery shards and flint tool every Sunday afternoon without record. Far better, these amateurs join a metal detecting club and learn how to do the job properly.

As CBA Director Mike Heyworth reckons, “If you are thinking of rushing out to buy a metal detector to search an area near you and seek out your very own ‘treasure there are reasons why you should think again or ask the experts.” That means, Mikey, the NCMD, FID, or any metal detecting club and NOT the CBA.


Well, Fancy That!

UN Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the general assembly in 1948 declares “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”

Article 17

(1) Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others.

(2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.



Two cannibals are eating a clown.

Says one to the other: “This taste funny to you?”


An elderly man is driving down the M1 Motorway when his mobile rings. Answering it (hands-free), he hears his wife on the other end.

“Albert”, she says, “Please be careful when you`re driving back. I just heard on the radio that there`s a maniac on the M1. He`s driving the wrong way!”

“It’s not just one” Albert replies, “There’s ******* hundreds of them!”


It has been so cold here in the UK of late, that I recently spotted an archaeologist with his hands in his own pockets.



…Pretend inferiority and encourage his arrogance.

I’ll see y’all in the bar!


December 17, 2015


Watlington Hoard Update: Nationally significant, say experts and archaeologists

by John Howland

Ed Vaizey, the UK’s Minister of State for Culture, announced the discovery of the highly significant Viking Hoard near Watlington, Oxfordshire, the contents of which date from when the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of Mercia, and Wessex, were fighting for their survival against the Vikings; a fight which led to the unification of England. “The British Museum now runs the Portable Antiquities Scheme, which puts online lovely images of thousands s of people’s discoveries,” adding reassuringly, “The future of the past has never been healthier.”

Watlington Hoard

The Watlington Hoard…. “Reproduced by courtesy of The Portable Antiquities Scheme/ The Trustees of the British Museum”

The hoard of rare silver coins of King Alfred ‘The Great’ of Wessex (871-99) and King Ceolwulf II of Mercia (874-79) also contained Viking silver bracelets and silver ingots. The hoard was excavated by an expert team from the UK’s world renowned Portable Antiquities Scheme, in response to a report by the finder, James Mather. The team lifted the cache in its entirety which was then taken for expert analysis at the British Museum where the soil-block was examined under laboratory conditions and the hoard’s contents – 186 coins (some fragmentary) seven items of jewellery and fifteen ingots – were studied by leading specialists from the Ashmolean and British Museums.

The PAS reckons, “The hoard was buried around the end of the 870s, in the period following Alfred’s decisive defeat of the Vikings at Edington in 878. Following their defeat, the Vikings moved north of the Thames and travelled to East Anglia through the kingdom of Mercia. It seems likely that the hoard was buried in the course of these events, although the precise circumstances will never be known.”

Detectorist, James Mather’s discovery of the cache dubbed the ‘Watlington Hoard’, said of his find:

“Discovering this exceptional hoard has been a really great experience and helping excavate it with archaeologists from the PAS on my 60th birthday was the icing on the cake! It highlights how responsible metal detecting, supportive landowners and the PAS contribute to national archaeological heritage. I hope these amazing artefacts can be displayed by a local museum to be enjoyed by generations to come.” The Treasure Trove reward which will be equally shared between the landowner and the finder could run to a six figure sum.

Gareth Williams, The British Museum’s Curator of Early Medieval Coinage is equally excited by the discovery:

“The hoard comes from a key moment in English history. At around the same time, Alfred of Wessex decisively defeated the Vikings, and Ceolwulf II, the last king of Mercia quietly disappeared from the historical record in uncertain circumstances. Alfred and his successors then forged a new kingdom of England by taking control of Mercia, before conquering the regions controlled by the Vikings. This hoard has the potential to provide important new information on relations between Mercia and Wessex at the beginning of that process.”

The PAS reports that since the introduction of the 1996 Treasure Act under which finders of ‘treasure’ have a legal obligation to report such finds, treasure reports (overwhelmingly by metal detectorists) have rocketed from 201 in 1998 – the first full year of the Act – to 1008 in 2014.

If the hoard is declared ‘Treasure’ as defined under the 1996 Act reports the PAS, the world famous Ashmolean Museum in Oxford along with the Oxfordshire Museums Service will be working in partnership with others, and potential funders, to try to ensure that this important find can be displayed for local people to learn about and enjoy.

Crucially, the significant words are “[…]…This hoard has the potential to provide important new information […]” and is yet another awe-inspiring find made by detectorist with a passionate interest in history.

Your Heritage Needs YOU! (And your metal detector)

Would you like to help add to our knowledge of how people lived in the past through the Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS)? You do? Then the PAS will be very happy to hear from you!

You can support their valuable work in two main ways: by reporting any archaeological objects (over 300 years old) you have found, or by volunteering to help record finds.

To report your finds get in touch with your local Finds Liaison Officer (FLO). They will identify and record your finds onto the database for you and others to see and researchers to study.

PASt Explorers

This is a five-year project funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to enhance the PAS’s volunteer programme. Under PASt Explorers, volunteers operate as Community Finds Recording Teams (CFRTs) based around their local Finds Liaison Officer and the teams are organised into ten regional training areas. Volunteers receive training in order to identify and record archaeological finds from their local area, increasing the number of objects recorded onto the PAS database. The teams also promote the activities of the PAS to new audiences in their areas, and recruit others to volunteer with the PAS and engage with the history and archaeology of their local areas. As part of the project, two Project Officers, an Outreach Officer and an ICT Officer have been appointed to help support and coordinate volunteers.

“Reproduced by courtesy of The Portable Antiquities Scheme/ The Trustees of the British

PASt Explorers….. “Reproduced by courtesy of The Portable Antiquities Scheme/ The Trustees of the British

If you are a detectorist with a passion for local history, or are concerned about the proper recording of your heritage, why sign up to this ground-breaking initiative. Britain’s metal detecting community are making enormous strides and contributions as the Watlington Hoard amply demonstrates. Contact the PAS for further details.


December 12, 2015


UK Metal Detectorist Rewrites Medieval History

John Howland

howlandscriptThere’s going to be a wailing and gnashing of teeth in certain pseudo-archaeological anti-metal detecting quarters following a detector-found mixed hoard. Note the words ‘metal detectorist’ and not amateur archaeologist, or even, professional archaeologist. Detectorist James Mather’s hoard find in Watlington, Oxfordshire, is set to rewrite the medieval history books with his spectacular find of 186 Anglo-Saxon coin, seven pieces of jewellery, and fifteen ingots. Why? Experts are saying that the find shows that Alfred the Great – one of England’s most revered historical figures – ‘airbrushed’ a rival king from history.

The little known Mercian king, Ceolwulf II, mostly forgotten by history and known only as the “Unwise,” helped Alfred to historical prominence not to mention a battle victory or two, but who Alfred later dropped faster than one of his hot, burnt cakes (US readers check put the Burnt Cakes story).

The British Museum’s early medieval curator and Viking expert, Dr Gareth Williams, said of the find, “Here is more complex political picture in the 870’s which was deliberately misrepresented in the 970’s after Alfred has taken over the whole of Ceolwulf’s kingdom.”

Detectorist James Mather alerted the Portable Antiquities Scheme and returned repeatedly to the scene to ensure its protection. The hoard is likely to be displayed in Oxford’s world renowned Ashmoleum Museum.

Ed Vaizey, the UK’s Culture Minister said of the hoard, “Fascinating finds like this Viking hoard are a great example of the one million discoveries that have been unearthed by the public since 1977.” The heavyweight broadsheet, The Daily Telegraph, said in its Editorial of the 11th December 2015, “The British Museum now runs the Portable Antiquities Scheme, which puts online lovely images of thousands s of people’s discoveries. The future of the past has never been healthier.”

Doubtless, the find will be declared ‘Treasure’ and the reward – which could run into six figures – will be equally shared between the finder and the landowner. All of which highlights the fact that detectorists, and NOT that ever-whingeing amateur rabble posing as heritologists are forcing the pace in advancing historical knowledge.

Well done Mr Mather (whether he was wearing cammo at the time of the find is unclear.).


If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it

Reading Andy Baines’ recent comment I was struck by his obvious and genuine common sense though I expect that much of what he said fell on stony metal detecting ground: That it’s local knowledge that gets the results and ANY machine in the right hands will confirm that knowledge.

What’s even more edifying is that Andy – who has been in the game for four years – not only understands what’s writ large but has taken on board what’s been handed down through generations of treasure hunters. When I and Dick have shuffled off this mortal coil, it’s good to know the baton will be picked and carried by someone who knows which way is up.

There’s nothing wrong with metal detectors costing a Grand or more. The problem is that some novices buy these expensive machines as a perceived shortcut to expertise – the ‘badge’ if you like that suggests to others…’Look at me, expensive machine, I am an expert’ only to discover they ain’t. Club meetings become painful when they realise others with lesser machines are coming up roses.

All I can advise is to start the hobby slowly and if your finds rate is satisfactory and you’re getting good results, why change? But if you need increased depth…buy a larger coil. If you really need in-built satnav…go for it.

Best of all, enjoy the pastime.


Showing the right image

“5. You night laugh at this one, but if you like to take a break for lunch, think about where you are. Nothing shouts out trouble like popping a beer on the tailgate of your truck. I’ve experienced that here in Texas, and I wanted to crawl under a rock….” writes our man Stouty.

He’s quite right, popping a beer can is just sooo coarse, whereas a civilised glass of lightly chilled foot alcohol, or methylated spirit….

Showing the bright image

Jim Fielding commenting under “A Spoonful of Sugar” with; “I promote the “Hiding-In-Plain-Site” uniform, bright neon-colored shirt (orange or lime-green), reflective vest, beige cargo pants, hiking boots, dark glasses and a beige cap with sun-shield on the back. I usually work busily and even along roadways, folks completely ignore me,” has it right on the money.

Firstly, wearing a Day-Glow vest when working near traffic and/or busy roads makes obvious sense that more people should follow. Indeed, decked out in a fluorescent vest you could probably stroll into any building unhindered if you top the whole caboodle with a hard hat, tool-belt, and a document board. When challenged you only have to say, “Hey, look, this Kowalski guy who runs your telecoms section ordered this urgent inspection. Look pal, just gimme your name and I’ll go back and report to our people.” Open sesame!

My detecting pal, Jack, once ventured onto a local beach wearing a fluorescent Day-Glow coat having forgotten to bring his usual beach hunting jacket. Throughout the session several people approached him asking if he might recover recently lost items and keys, thinking he was a local authority official. He was even approached by a detectorist asking if it was alright to hunt the beach and if a permit as needed. Keeping a poker face, Jack told him it would be alright to hunt but to get a permit later. “Aw, thanks mate,” says the detectorist.

I used to know a guy whose girlfriend, who also hunted, went and knocked on farmer’s doors asking for permission for them both. To say that she was attractive was something of an understatement; raven haired, with an hour-glass figure and (from behind) when she moved, she moved like a Swiss watch. The pair were only refused once because the farmer’s wife thought her husband was becoming overly accommodating and had suddenly developed an interested in metal detectors.


To Whom it Concerns:

Stupidity is when you can’t help it – ignorance is when you choose not to understand something…….Sarah McLachlan

I’ll see y’all in the bar!


December 2, 2015




BS Rules, OK!

The other day while taking a break with a flask of coffee, I noticed several detectorists (all using arm-and-a-leg jobbies) flogging the low tide foreshore apparently to no avail, when one shouts out (for the benefit of everyone else) that he’s made a find about 18” down. Ho, Ho, thinks I, 18” down in wet sand….who’s he kiddin’….he’d be lucky to recover anything eight inches down let alone eighteen…..

What big-mouth didn’t realise and had no way of knowing, was that I already had 7-grams of 9-carat in the bag recovered from the top end of the beach where the sea-weed decorates the high-tide line. Then again, I suppose when you’ve shelled out a shed load of hard earned mazuma and are finding ‘Henry Hall’s’ brother, a little embellishment rarely goes amiss.

And Talking of 18”…

There he was, coming towards me, like the Grim Reaper…swinging – or more correctly, flailing – one of those top-end machines that costs in excess of $1,500. “Found anything?” Says the Reaper?

“Nah,” I lie, “You?”

“Only a penny,” says the Reaper, then looking down at my detector, “These are so light I can go all day, and deep,” he says triumphantly, waving his machine aloft. Certainly the Reaper’s detector is arguably one of the lightest on the market with good depth. After exchanging further pleasantries he heads off down the beach a la, Dim Reaper, swinging the coil in an arc with lowest part a minimum of 18” off the sand and at the end of each swing his coil is 24” above the sand.

Why, I pondered would anyone spend the kind of money his brand commands, then use it in a manner that wouldn’t outperform a child’s metal detector? Beats me. On the downside, I see this technique replicated many times over. On the upside, the goodies are safe!

Consider…. (A real favourite of mine)

….Don‘t get mad, get even!

I’ll see y’all in the bar!

July 9, 2015



by John Howland

There’s a colossal fortune of unimaginable wealth in lost coinage and it’s up for grabs – quite apart from all the jewellery – hidden beneath the sands of the world’s beaches simply waiting discovery by anyone sufficiently savvy in the art of treasure hunting with a metal detector.

In the UK alone for instance, official Government figures confirm that between 1983 and 1993 (when the last survey was done) 1,161.6-million £1-coins were minted. During that decade, 191-million of them went AWOL, all classified as “wastage,” meaning they went out of circulation for any one of a number of reasons. In its January 1995 report titled Economic Trends No. 495, the UK Government’s Central Statistical Office, attributed the “wastage” thus; “…they may be dropped in accessible places, taken abroad by foreign tourists, converted into souvenirs, put into permanent collections or lost in a number of other ways.”

If just 1/100th of the 191-million coins were lost on the UK’s beaches, and continue piling-up at the same rate as the ten-year study (1983 to 1995) then 1.91-million x 32 years (1983 to 2015) equates to 61.12-million £1-coins just waiting collection. US Treasury figures will be even more mind-blowing.

Therefore getting your hands on even a wafer-thin slice of this incredible stash largely depends on using the right kind of metal detector over the ground to which it is best suited, in much the same way that few self-respecting golfers would handicap their game play by using only one type of golf club.

Where to start then? Firstly consider Benjamin Franklin’s 250-year old political maxim, “Don’t think to hunt two hares with one dog,” is as good a piece of advice as you’ll find anywhere. Ideally, you’ll have a low-frequency metal detector operating around the 6.5 to 17 kHz frequency and a selection of coils: Standard, Sniper, and Large Diameter (for ground coverage over low tide wet sand). What follows will sound like a commercial for the US firm, Garrett Electronics Inc., and I make no apology for that whatsoever. I use their products and fully recommend them.

Arguably one of the very best metal detectors in terms of performance and price, is the Garrett Ace 250 (the World’s best-selling metal detector) fitted with the larger coil it easily outperforms many others (save another Ace 250 perhaps) costing twice the price. Some of the so-called ‘reviews’ of this little gem (along with some others) in parts of the detecting press beggar belief, scribbled by numbskulls who don’t know their arses from their elbows evidenced by the crap they’ve committed to paper and very wisely write under pseudonyms.

Given the fact that seawater holds all kinds of mineral in dilute form, including gold and silver, detecting in or over seawater-soaked sand is akin to trying to locate valuable targets against a vast sheet-metal background. But with the inexorable advance in electronics technology, this sheet-metal background can be filtered out allowing access to the coins and jewellery.

Without going into the rocket science of ‘treasure-onics,” pulse-induction machines have the overriding advantage of being unaffected by saltwater, punching their signals deep into the wet sand and because of this, many beach hunters own two machines; a pi, and a VLF. However, with the new emergent technologies coming onto the market, VLF’s are fast approaching pi performance, except perhaps for Garrett’s new ATX Extreme Pulse Induction model, a beast of a machine if there ever was one. I’ve not used one over wet sand (yet! Ahem, Garland) but it has an iron audio type gizmo.

Above the High Water Mark, in the dry sand areas where iron bottlecaps are over abundant, and bearing in mind the pi’s super sensitivity to all things ferrous, this is definitely not the best environment for the pi. Here VLF’s holds court, especially those machines equipped with ‘Iron Audio’ where wasting valuable hunting time by digging bottle caps becomes a thing of the past, and this is one of the reasons I use the fully water and dustproof (all terrain) Garrett ATPro International along with a selection of coils.


My Arsenal…

Where there’s muck there’s brass…

…Is an old saying meaning where there’s muck (of any kind), there’s money (brass). Now comes the difficult bit and no amount of engineers-in-white-coats, nor technology, can help – you are on your lonesome! And now for the obvious: No matter how thorough or forensic your search patterns, grids, circles or whatever else, you won’t find what’s not there; though some people actually believe a two Grand jobby will do just that!!! There’s no short cut to knowledge.

Working the cut....

Working the cut….

But to get you on your way first recognize and note the popular parts of the beach. Work the same beach day in, day out. It’s almost a living thing with its own moods and every visit will produce if you take the trouble to understand those vibes. Then recognize that people bring rubbish of all kinds, ring-pulls, bottlecaps, soda/beer cans et al ad nauseam. Because of this abundance of buried junk, most hunters give these places a wide berth and fortunately spend their time hunting for other stuff further down the less polluted beach. Now, if you remove your ‘standard’ coil, and clip on a Super Sniper coil of around 4.5” diameter, you are about to get rich.

Love my Super Sniper...

Love my Super Sniper…

On one of my local beaches certain areas are designated for BBQ’s and these places are crammed full with junk and crap of all kinds. The key to unlocking the vault where people play, get drunk, lose their coins, phones, and jewellery is the Super Sniper coil – it cuts through garbage as a hot knife through butter.

Once you have unlocked the secrets of your beach; direction of longshore drift; how the sands and pebble move; which winds denude the beach, the beach will be yours, and yours alone, forever.


Roman dupondius minted in Rome around 64 AD…

And it’s not just modern coinages that come within range either. The oldest coin I’ve found on a beach came from a Cornish cove, was a 2,000-yrs old Roman dupondius minted in Rome around 64 AD. This indicates to me that more are out there probably washed in from a Roman wreck. Why did I find it? Because I can read a beach and can spot the natural coin traps. This ability is not some kind of powerful ju-ju, just raw experience.

Enjoy your local stretch of coast.


A good treasure hunter knows the law; a great one knows the Coroner.



Arkies and Tekkies are working together on an archaeological excavation, when one of the arkies accompanied by a Tekkie, walk down to the nearby village bakery.

On entering the bakery, they notice that the cakes and cookies are very expensive so the arkie whips three cookies off the counter and into his back pocket with such lightning speed that the baker doesn’t even notice.

The arkie whispers to the Tekkie, “You see how clever we are? You Tekkies can never outsmart us!”

“Really? Watch this,” says the Tekkie. “Any Tekkie is smarter than any arkie and I’ll prove it,” and says to the baker, “Gimme a cookie, and I’ll show you a great magic trick!” The baker gives him the cookie, which he promptly eats.

Then he says to the baker, “Gimme another cookie for my magic trick.” The baker is getting suspicious, but he gives it to him anyway. The Tekkie eats this one too.

Then he says to the baker, “Gimme one more cookie.” The baker is starting to get angry now, but hands one over. The Tekkie eats this one too. Now the baker is really mad, and he yells, “OK! So where is your famous magic trick then?”

The Tekkie says, “Look in his trouser pocket!”


It was so cold today I saw an arkie with his hands in his own pockets.



“Strategy is buying a bottle of fine wine when you take a lady out for dinner. Tactics is getting her to drink it”……Frank Muir

I’ll see y’all in the bar


John Howland – 2012 Garrett video


May 20, 2015


Cammo? You Betcha!

Why do T’hers wear camo? Simple. When you go out treasure hunting in the country you need clothing that will stand up to the rigours of the outdoors and in the absence of other suitable clothing, moderately priced ex-military kit fits the bill. On the occasions I foray into the interior, I usually wear a waxed-cotton thornproof jacket, though not in summer. A British army Dennison smock over a T-shirt is English summer ideal.


In any case, why worry about what Joe Public thinks, or Joe Arkie for that matter. Take a look at the sartorial elegance of some arkies: Matted beards, filthy corduroy trousers, ragged sweaters full of holes, T-shirts reeking of BO, breaths stinking of booze, and unkempt hair – and the men are even worse!

So let’s have less of this ….”I don’t want to look like a looter’ balls. Don’t let’s get too precious about this. Personally, I don’t give a toss what the arkies say about the way I dress behind my back; just so long as they don’t say it to my face.


Patriot Games or the Idiot’s Delight?

Let’s face it, thieving of archaeological artefacts is – we are told by some pious arkies – is of epidemic proportions. Oh really! Compared to what’s going elsewhere in the world, it’s small beer and hardly a minor consideration in the greater scheme of things when stacked up against world hunger, disease, and despotism. UNESCO, allegedly the world’s heritage guardian is little more than a shambling, ham-handed, cowboy outfit with a history of corruption scandals. It’s general seen as a ‘gravy train’ critics say, awash with dosh where high salaries paid to utterly useless operatives is the norm, and where few UNESCO-ists dirty their hands doing what they supposedly are paid to do, preferring where unsurprisingly it seems living high on the hog is job perk.

UNESCO takes the easy way out by laying the world’s heritage ills at the door of so-called ‘looters’ and ‘collectors’ (always US collectors!) as the root of all heritage evil. UNESCO ought to be disbanded or put on show as the perfect example of ineffectual internationalism.

Why? Simply because the world’s heritage – comprised mostly of trinkets looted from nations, by other nations, that most normal people wouldn’t give house room. The miserable even myopic UNESCO is unable to take on board that a partisan archaeological agenda exists mostly for the benefit of politically motivated archaeologists and their wheeler-dealer henchmen. Ironically, treasure hunters are innocent of any involvement this international racketeering since archaeology’s fat cats have cornered the lucrative market. Those arkies who are balls-deep in the corruption are hell-bent on twisting the situation to persuade the world at large that it’s US collectors, and detectorists worldwide, who are the real heritage villains.

In truth, as some well-placed journalists now claim, countries such as Turkey, Greece, Syria, and Egypt, to name four in the heritage cess-pit, are corruption-rife from the top down. Now we have that pillar of the heritage community, and former coin collector, Lord Renfrew, wringing his hands and advocating that Syria’s’ heritage be protected by the UN. Oh yeah? Big deal. So who’s going to do the protecting Renfrew craves? Yep you’ve guessed it, the UK and the US …again.

Why not I suggest, let Renfrew raise a new regiment…Renfrew’s Fusiliers, recruited from archaeology’s ranks and let his wretched pals spill their blood fighting for what the rest of us call junk? Would you want your sons or daughters to be conscripted to die in the cause of protecting Middle-Eastern knick-knacks?

We’ve lost enough good men and women without losing more to the whims of the likes of Renfrew, et al ad nauseum. Renfrew…should resign from whatever it is he does, or retire from whatever it is he does; but for God’s sake go, and go now, shut up and take those like-thinking morons with you.

You are past your sell by date.


Some Treasure Hunters – Like Some Arkies – are Thicker Than Whale Omelettes

No matter what advice experienced treasure hunters try to pass on to newbies, some – to paraphrase the Good Book – always falls on stony ground. Take the new Whites detector due to come on stream soon as a prime example. Take the Garrett Ace 250 too. Both are superb bits of kit and will find you a fortune if you know HOW and WHERE to use it/them. Both are reasonably priced from two well-respected manufacturers. Sure enough, the price of those so-called ‘advanced’ machines that even purveyors of Columbian marching powder might find eye-watering, will find treasure, and in common with those aforementioned moderately priced jobbies, won’t find what ain’t under the searchcoil either!!!! In short, I’m afraid to say, price is no guarantee of success.

I use a Garrett ‘ATPro International’ that checks in at around the £500 mark. It gives me improved target data over the ACE 250, though the latter, produced a huge amount of coins. Indeed, it never ceases to amaze me that metal detector manufacturers allow their products to be test driven by (so-called!) near illiterate detectorists who don’t know their arses from their elbows. The detecting press is not above censure either. My heart sinks when the opening paragraph of a review begins…” I opened the box with excitement…..” God save me from these morons.

The new Whites will have good depth penetration…why? Read Dick Stout’s piece to find out. If you still look dazed and can’t fathom it out, read one of his books. One thing’s for sure, buying an expensive machine won’t compensate for ignorance.


Good Ole Fred

An archaeologist called Fred, dies in a fire and his body is badly burned. The morgue sends for his two best friends, archaeologists Wally and Harry, to identify the body. Harry arrives first, and when the mortician pulls back the sheet, Harry says, “Yup, his face is burnt up bad. You better roll him over.”

The mortician rolls him over, and Harry says, “Nope, that ain’t Fred.”

The mortician thinks this is strange. Then he brings in Wally to identify the body who takes a look at the face and says, “Yup, he’s pretty well burnt up. Roll him over.”

The mortician rolls him over and Wally says, “No, it ain’t Fred.”

The mortician asks, “How can you tell?”

Wally replies, “Well, Fred had two a**holes.”

What? He had two a**holes?!” exclaims the mortician.

“Yup, every time we went to town, folks would say, ‘Here comes Fred with them two a**holes.'”



Never underestimate the power of archaeological stupidity.

I’ll see y’all in the bar.


April 11, 2015


200 – Not Out! We’re on a Roll!


When Stouty first asked me for a contribution to this blog (unpaid of course) I foolishly thought it would be a one-off (Ha! Some hopes).

Working to the principle that ‘a friend in need is a bloody nuisance’, I went along with the con er, I mean…meagre offer. But now this – the 200th time I’ve pressed up to the Malamute Saloon’s bar – is something a milestone. I’m not precisely sure what it marks out, though I’m certain our favourite ‘dead-heads’ will have something to vomit about. Nevertheless, the journey’s been a whole lot of fun, still is, and along with some pretty astute readers, we’ve lifted a few scalps en route.

One favourite clump of hair hanging outside the Malamute Saloon’s tepee represents an illustrious victory for the hobby and a deservedly, inglorious drubbing for archaeology’s oafs. I am of course referring to the absurd Artefact Erosion Counter, that widely-derided, widely-discredited, piece of comical fibbery dreamed-up by the Brothers Grimm – Warsaw Wally and Heritage Harry.

Wally, along with his guru, Heritage Harry – who gives the impression of being marginally brighter than a ‘Toc H’ lamp in matters heritage – tried to pass it off as Kosher archaeological data. Nevertheless, its iffy chat-up lines got some to drop their knickers; not least among them, Prince Charles’ outfit, the Council for British Archaeology, who fell for it all faster than a drunken sailor for a $20 tart (my apologies to all $20-a-time tarts for comparing you to archaeologists. No offence intended).

This devastating exposé underscored the CBA’s key weakness; ravenous for any kind of BS that shows the hobby in a poor light. In my opinion, the CBA is no friend of ours, never was, and never will be. Indeed, why would detectorists would want to buddy-up with such a pack of ingrates is beyond me, particularly with their desire to inflict of what they think passes for a detectorists Code of Conduct? Cheeky arrogant sods! Look inwards, plebs, and see the thieving that’s rife within your own ranks.

Nevertheless, a side-effect has been to inspire other detecting-bloggers to develop a low-tolerance towards all kinds of arkie BS, and to speak out against the customary ad hominen abuse hurled by devious, self-styled heritage ‘experts,’ who along with the UK’s (and US’s) resident, heritage knuckle-draggers, apparently overburdened by that uncanny, archaeological inability to distinguish fact from fiction. Predictably the CBA demonstrates its commitment to its charitable status by remaining tight-lipped about the kindergarten antics of Messrs Barford and Swift.

Speaks volumes, Eh?


It’s Not Just Finds They are Good at Identifying….Julie Cassidy, a Finds Liaison Officer with the UK’ s Portable Antiquities Scheme sent an email to her colleagues which, according to the serial moaner and fierce anti-PAS/ collecting/detecting/US Foreign Policy/Malamute Saloon/critic Paul Barford, contained the following sentiment:-

“I tend not to read Barford. I have enough depressing crap to deal with without looking for more! Good luck with this one everyone.”

Well spotted and said, Julie! Hat Tip to you!

And there’s more…..

…. ComЯades! Gissa Job?

“As I have said before, we need a PAS. We need a PAS which has a fixed legally-constituted place within the UK’s heritage management (I use the term loosely) system and which has the ability to get tough with bad practice and of course steady and assured access to adequate resources to do the job while the need exists due to current policies. That is what needs to change, more than the personnel.” Blimey! Now there’s a fine piece of oily, grovelling, toadying, if there ever was one.

Is it possible the Warsaw Warbler, that pisspoor blogger, PAS-hater, anti-collector, anti-relic-hunter, anti-American, is going to take the British Museum’s shilling and a menial position with…. the PAS (perhaps one of his old comЯades in the former Polish Communist regime is about to take command). It remains unclear what precisely he’s qualified to undertake, or, more likely perhaps, it’s all simply nothing more than arrogant “depressing crap” from a non-UK resident; one who abandoned democracy years ago in favour of the delights of Polish Communism?


Would you buy a second-hand trowel from this man? Heritage Action’s (HA) blogger-in-chief and co-architect of the AEC the abysmal Nigel Swift, is evidently seriously embarrassed by the fact that HA’s cover – supposedly, that of a well-informed, heritage outfit – has been blown sky-high by the Portable Antiquities Scheme. Lapsing into its now familiar victim routine (the usual refuge when it’s caught in a lie), this sandaled ensemble of would-be heritage Polkovniks (полко́вник), treated us all to another, classic, lily-livered epistle. The first, and last paragraphs of their ‘Dear John’ are reproduced below (Have sick-bags at the ready). Here goes:-

“For years PAS has dismissed us as “trolls” and this week they have added “prejudiced and ill-informed” to the list. Their complaint is never about what we say (how could it be? If our PAS and thousands of detectorists misinform thousands of farmers weekly in that way and have been doing so for years and years and years.” There follows the usual “Depressing crap” al la Barford, concluding precisely with the very same ‘prejudiced and ill-informed’ claptrap the PAS rightly accuses HA of indulging in:-

“PAS and thousands of detectorists misinform thousands of farmers weekly in that way and have been doing so for years and years and years.”

Unsurprisingly, this kind of showboating baloney attracts the gullible – like flies to a turd. Being the vaudeville act they are, HA supporters wisely use aliases when leaving comments on the blog!

One could be forgiven for thinking that, somewhere, a village has misplaced its idiot.

Yup! The PAS got it right again: ‘Trolls.’ ‘Prejudiced and ill-informed.”


I’ve recently bought an Irish Setter pup. His coat is red. He belongs to a breed with a tendency to ‘play deaf,’ so careful training on mastering the recall is required before allowing him off-lead.

I’ve named him, ‘Barford’.


Ha, So!Whereas karate means ‘empty hand,’ the little known martial art, Wi Li, or ‘empty head’ developed from the indigenous martial arts of Ryukyu Islands in Okinawa under the influence of Chinese martial arts, particularly Fujian White Crane, has a minor following in Europe and on the UK mainland.

As opposed to karate which is predominantly a striking art using punching, kicking, knee strikes, and elbow strikes, Wi Li relies on non-contact techniques to overcome an opponent, by using language instead of blows.

Students are taught to use idiot phrases, hopefully to devastating effect, such as:

Moron. You’re a Thugwit.

Not all my fault….I only wrote half the AEC.

US collectors support ISIS

Just because I call you all morons, does not mean you can insult me.

I think perhaps it’s time I wrote a succinct statement about the PAS, as is my prerogative being a prejudiced and ill-informed troll, one which actively condemns bad practice and acknowledges for the information of taxpayers and landowners that the evidence indicates what a shower of bastards all detectorists are. If that doesn’t work, we’ll put on a show! So there!

Students are belt-graded as either White (Capitulator) or Yellow (Fabricator).


To all writers of “depressing crap” who avidly read this blog:

There seems to be no lengths to which humourless people will not go to analyse humour. It seems to worry them.

I’ll see y’all in the bar!


2 responses to “The Malamute Saloon (U.K.)

  1. Phil

    Hard to believe that those so called “educated archys” really believe the AEC is valid!! As a researcher myself I can honestly say if I tried to introduce something with the lack of empirical evidence that their counter is based on, I would be immediately discredited. They are obviously using cheap drugs! They are simply clutching at straws albeit thin ones. I’m sure if their AEC was sent to university professors to peruse with the arguments they currently use to validate the counter, they would be shocked at the negative responses. C’mon archys, shit or get off the pot! Use credible verifiable data to back your claims, or offer some compromise that will bring us all to the same end goal…the discovery and preservation of artifacts. We are willing to have intelligent dialogue with you, but not when you offer such bullshit as fact (or almost fact).