OF METAL DETECTING
IN THE UNITED KINGDOM
WILL BE A 'NO HOLDS BARRED' PERSONAL VIEW)
these pages build over the coming months I hope to give my personal account
of the rise of metal detecting as a recreation in the United Kingdom.
The intention is to cover as much ground as possible without having to
take account of advertisers, organizations or personalities, as so often
happens in magazines and other media. I hope it will prove
interesting, I do not care if it offends and I trust it will serve as a
WARNING to the
next generation of detectorists not to make the same mistakes as mine.
IN THE BEGINNING
patents for metal detectors were taken out on both sides of the Atlantic
during the latter half of the 19th century (believe it or not! some actually
worked). It was not until the need to find and eliminate
the cruelest of man's inventions, 'MINES', that engineers really put
their heads together and developed equipment that would locate them, and
by the end of the second World War they had really become quite sophisticated,
even though the technology of the time dictated that they would be heavy,
usually requiring more than one person to operate them.
the late 1940s some archaeologists started to take an interest in mine
detectors and a few started to experiment with them as an aid to their
interests. One such was the flamboyant and eccentric
Professor Barry Cunliffe who used a team with metal detectors on his excavations
at the iron age hill fort Maiden Castle, (Now a scheduled site) in Dorset.
was not until the 1950s that any real progress was made in England into
using metal detectors to recover small objects like coins.
Two young men from Berkshire (the Brothers Caiger-Smith) used ex-army mine
detectors in the fields surrounding the Romano-British town of Silchester
and on Parks and Commons in the Newbury area. Not only did
they recover quite a quantity of Roman and more modern coinage but they
wrote and published a paper on the metal detectors and what might be achieved by
in using them in the future. In later life one brother became a
teacher at a local school (St Bartholomews Grammar School), while the other founded and ran, until his death
the famous Aldermaston Pottery. They had sparked an interest
in metal detecting that could not be put out and is probably one reason
why Newbury, and local detectorists have played such a prominent part in
the hobby from the earliest days!
LINK TO PAGE2
(THE DETECTING EXPLOSION!)