Metal-Detecting Tourists Seek Saxon Brooches

August 20, 2009 at 9:42 am | Posted in Adventures, News | 2 Comments

article-0-061AF61E000005DC-696_468x309It’s a metal-detecting vacation … which the Daily Mail dubs “the worst holiday ever.”

According to the Mail, 21 American metal-detector enthusiasts [seen at left] “have paid more than £2,000 and flown thousands of miles to discover the treasures scattered across East Anglia.”

“Heads down and brows furrowed, the group spent most of their eight-day holiday patiently waiting for the small ‘beep’ that would tell them their efforts had been rewarded. Most appeared so deep in concentration that they were unaware of the glorious rolling countryside around them — and the rare sunny weather” in Norfolk. “Each was armed with their very own detector, which projects an electro-magnetic field into the ground and beeps when it comes into contact with anything metallic.

“The highly sensitive detectors are equipped with satellite positioning to pinpoint the location of finds. But although the Americans were determined to ‘touch the hand of history’ by finding an ancient artefact, most were left with just an old tin can or used shotgun cartridge to show for their labours. One enthusiast, Jim Normandy, 79, a retired pharmacist from California, said he was ‘thrilled’ to unearth a 17th century button. ‘We have been coming here for 19 years, first to Kent but mostly to Norfolk, because there is so much history here’ …

“He paid £2,200 for the trip, excluding flights, and stayed at the same Norfolk hotel the group have chosen for years. There, after hours of sweeping harvested rape fields, each find was meticulously logged. The Americans’ most spectacular discovery to date has been a 2-inch Thor’s hammer Viking pendant, made from silver and gold, which was found in the Great Witchingham
area. But they have also found objects dating back to the Iceni tribe, Bronze Age axe fragments, as well as Roman jewellery, Saxon brooches and medieval money….

“David Barwell, a former chairman of the National Council for Metal Detecting … selected the fields for US tour operator Discovery Tours.”

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