Monday 31 January 2011

Roman, George III and a Guano seal

Yesterday I attended a Weekend Wanderers dig at Twyford, Hampshire. It was a sunny day with a cold wind. We worked three fields. Within 20 minutes I had a George III 1807 halfpenny and a Roman radiate from the first turned over field. After that I had nothing until the end of the afternoon when a very worn George III halfpenny and a Guano (fertiliser) sack seal turned up from the second field. As usual it was well organised with FLOs at the refreshments table to identify finds and record those that were very interesting. They advised that my radiate was 260-274AD and recorded it. I saw several other Roman coins and heard there had been around 10 found. I also saw a lovely jetton from the second field.

Radiate - crowned head on obverse, figure of man on reverse
weight = 1.33g, diameter = 13.92-14.89mm x 1.39mm thick
description of radiates

George III 1807 halfpenny. 
Under flashlight you can see an outer coating on the obverse which is partially intact.

Obverse: legend: GEORGIUS III D G REX 1807, George's head right
Reverse: legend: BRITANNIA, Britannia seated left
weight = 8.66g, diameter = 28.61mm

guano bag seal
weight = 11.87g, diameter = 21.5-27.4mm
A lead seal of the 'bulla' type from a bag of fertiliser made by The Anglo-Continental Guano Works of Silvertown (London Borough of Newham). One side has an inscription, which reads ANGLO-CONT LATE OHLENDORFF LONDON GUANO WORKS. The other side depicts the company's logo, (possibly a flared spreader discharging fertiliser) with the words, TRADE MARK, above and below.
  Ohlendorff & Co., had been founded in 1873, and remained a German company until the First World War, when it was reconstituted under British control as The Anglo-Continental Guano Works. It was taken over in 1937 by Fisons Ltd. and closed in 1946. The present seal will therefore date to the period, c.1914-1937.
  The bulla - a disc with a tunnel from side to side through which a string is passed - became a popular form of seal during the 18th century. It was found to be more versatile than the rivet-type seals hitherto used on cloth, as it could be attached to a wider range of goods, including the bags, bales and sacks in which they were distributed. The method of sealing was to pass the ends of the package's tightened drawstring through the tunnel in the blank seal. The latter was then die-stamped to impress the design and grip the string.

Thursday 27 January 2011

Littlehampton Camera Club and Nabokov’s Blues

My new detector arm cuff arrived from the U.S. on Tuesday, so I have been catching the morning low tides to try it out, finding two pound coins and a 1933 sixpence.

I gave a talk to the Littlehampton Camera Club last night titled ‘The  Maldives – a Coral Reef Paradise’. It seemed to go down well as I had plenty of questions at the end. I met another underwater photographer, Wendy, and it was good to chat with her as she and her husband travel to exotic dive locations regularly. I used PowerPoint as usual which I find easy to produce and edit. I had music on a separate CD player rather than embedding in PowerPoint – Pan Flutes by the Ocean by Ken Davis, which I purchased in Australia years ago. I attended a meeting  at the same club years ago with Bruce Bailey when a professional underwater photographer gave a fantastic 3D underwater show.

A bad car week – a Surrey pot hole on Sunday cost me a new wheel and tyre - £322, then found an expensive dent by the fuel cap which was not there Sunday when I last put fuel in. I I noticed it last night and will probably leave it as the paint is not damaged.

“I found it and I named it, being versed
 in taxonomic Latin; thus became
 godfather to an insect and its first
 describer — and I want no other fame.”
– from “A Discovery by Vladimir Nabokov, New Yorker, May 15, 1943

Sussex Butterfly Conservation posted a link to a fascinating article in the New York Times about Vladimir Nabokov, who apart from being the author of Lolita, was a leading Lepidopterist in his spare time. Like many brilliant people he was not recognised by his peers. His hypothesis of the distribution of  Polyomattus blues from Europe and Asia to the New World in five waves, has now been validated by DNA evidence exactly as he postulated.

Monday 24 January 2011

Roman sestersius, Anglesey token and a crotal bell

We had a club dig near Washington yesterday. It was a new farm for us and we checked out some untouched fields. At the bottom of the first field I found my first Roman sestersius, a lovely large coin. 
sestersius, no markings on either side (21.14g, 31.81mm diameter, 4.45mm thick)
I decided to search the area thoroughly and found part of a silver chain with clasp (6.69g), a complete crotal bell and an 1885 halfpenny.
crotal bell (for livestock) 21.9g, 36mm tall, 28mm diameter
Meanwhile others were having a good time on the slope of  the second field. Frank had a lovely halfpenny sized hammered and Kevin a beautiful silver Roman denarius. 
Bob also had this George III bullhead shilling.
Frank's hammered (before and after cleaning)
Kevin's denarius of Domitian (before and after cleaning). 
This coin is in exceptional condition. Domitian ruled 81 to 96AD and his general Agricola attempted to conquer Scotland.

When I searched this area later I found a 1793 Anglesey Mines halfpenny token (diameter = 28.0 to 28.2mm, weight  = 8.92g). This is one denomination of a series of tokens known as Anglesey Druids which were issued by the Parys Mine Company (scrolled letters PMC on obverse). The reverse has the head of a Druid surrounded by  a wreath of leaves. 

see Late 18th Century Tokens (1787- 1797) halfway down this page

I also found 2 small buttons and  this 11½ ounce lead weight (64mm diam, 20mm (centre) to 11.7mm (edge) thick) with remains of black paint, plus something which looks like a primitive cartridge case, 17.8mm long x 13.7 to 12mm diameter:

Friday 21 January 2011

Arundel Gold ends sunset river walk

Sunset seemed a good time to resurrect our River Walk which ends at the Arun View. Two pints of Arundel Gold set us up for fish and chips on the way back.

Wednesday 19 January 2011

Reflections of a moon ring true

The day started with a great sunrise. There was a clear blue sky and at low tide this afternoon I headed for the beach. Two WWII 20mm cannon shell cases appeared plus a gold ring with six signs of the Zodiac on the outside and SPAIN  engraved on the inside:

Leo The Lion,      Virgo The Maiden,      Libra The Scales

Scorpio The Scorpion, Sagittarius Centaur The Archer, Capricornus The Sea-Goat

A pleasant couple of hours concluded with a full moon rising and another great sunset:

Monday 17 January 2011

A flood, sixpence and a Chiton

Heavy rain produced the 'best' flood I have seen yet on Sea Road by Norfolk Gardens. This giant paddling pool is a feature of this road whenever it rains for a few hours.
A couple of hours on the beach produced this very thin and worn 1912 George V sixpence. 
I also spotted a chiton for the first time. This primitive mollusc Acanthochitona fascicularis, looks a bit like a woodlice. Thanks to Ian Smith (see comment below) for correcting my species id.

Sunday 16 January 2011

No Kingfisher in these reflections

This morning I joined a work party at Butterfly Conservation’s recent acquisition near Lewes, East Sussex – Park Corner Heath / Rowland Wood. Details of future activities on this web page. I arrived halfway through the session and got in a couple of hours sawing and hauling. We were helping to widen the rides to 20 meters by cutting the smaller tree growth so the chain saw contractors can have the maximum effect when they come in. There were about 10 volunteers out.
Afterwards I toured the two ponds in the vague hope of spotting the Kingfisher Michael had seen earlier but no luck. It was a beautiful winter’s day, warm, plenty of blue sky and lovely reflections in the water.
This is where I thought the Kingfisher might perch