Tuesday, July 27, 2021

A Guide to Metal Detecting


A Guide to Metal Detecting is a comprehensive beginner friendly primer by Graeme Rushton. Due out later in 2021 from Pen & Sword on their White Owl imprint, it's 80 pages and will be available in paperback format. 

This is a well written introduction to tools, materials, techniques, and hardware necessary for metal detecting as a hobby. The author writes well and presents information in a logical and accessible manner. Although the legalities and codes about which he writes are slanted to readers in the UK (he writes specifically at length about England, Wales, and Cumbria, and includes links to information for Scotland, Northern Ireland, and the Isle of Man) the general theory about seeking/gaining site permissions, beach searches, registering finds, finding a group/mentors, and good behaviour are applicable to detectorists anywhere in the world. 

The book has a good basic primer on choosing the right detector (including a very short understandable section on the technology), some guidance for sweeping techniques, registering finds, sensible clothing choices, finding search locations (and getting permissions), and other nuts-and-bolts considerations when starting with the hobby. 

Additionally (and what fascinated me most), the book is FULL of really excellent photos of finds which the author and acquaintances have made over the years. The last chapter has a selection of the really amazing hoards and spectacular finds which have been made. The Grouville hoard weighed in at a stupendous 750kg. There are also descriptions and photos for the Middleham Jewel, the Frome hoard (shown in-situ in the huge urn in which it was found), and the Silverdale hoard. Interspersed between these descriptions, the text is peppered with really cool detail pictures of period coins which had me looking at online resources.

I guess for most detectorists, the tantalizing promise of maybe making an important find and contributing something of real worth to our understanding of the distant past sits side by side with maybe actually holding a tangible link with something which has been lying hidden for more than a thousand years. I also liked that the author spent some time talking about beach finds of modern jewelry, wedding bands and the like, and about the satisfaction of reuniting them with their owners. 

Five stars.This would be an excellent selection for library acquisition, walking and local history groups, or home library.

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.

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