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Norfolk centuries of treasures unearthed by detectorists

PUBLISHED: 14:23 25 November 2018 | UPDATED: 09:30 26 November 2018

A Roman denarius coin found by detectorists from Norfolk Heritage Recovery Group in Old Buckenham. Picture: Godfrey Pratt

A Roman denarius coin found by detectorists from Norfolk Heritage Recovery Group in Old Buckenham. Picture: Godfrey Pratt

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Buried treasures from down the centuries that shed light on one Norfolk village’s fascinating past have been unearthed by amateur metal detectorists.

A cabinet of finds made by detectorists from Norfolk Heritage Recovery Group who hold regular digs across Norfolk. Picture: Godfrey PrattA cabinet of finds made by detectorists from Norfolk Heritage Recovery Group who hold regular digs across Norfolk. Picture: Godfrey Pratt

Members of Norfolk Heritage Recovery Group spent two scorching hot summer days scouring two sites in Old Buckenham on digs in aid of charity.

Amongst the fascinating finds unearthed were two Roman brooches, a decorated Anglo Saxon strap-end, and 12 medieval hammered silver coins. These included a 13th century Scottish penny of Alexander, a Queen Elizabeth I sixpence dated 1574, still in remarkably good condition, and a 16th century Venetian soldino.

Among the more prosaic finds were numerous thimbles used to protect fingertips while gleaning, animal bells, buttons, horseshoes and coinage from the 18th century to the present day.

Detectorists from Norfolk Heritage Recovery Group undertook two digs in Old Buckenham in August and September. Picture: Godfrey PrattDetectorists from Norfolk Heritage Recovery Group undertook two digs in Old Buckenham in August and September. Picture: Godfrey Pratt

A number of archaeologically significant finds have now been lodged with the Finds Liaison Officer at Norfolk Historic Environment Record for recording on the national database.

Group chairman Godfrey Pratt, who lives in Old Buckenham, said: “Most people walking across the land probably didn’t even realise that they were passing a few inches above two Roman brooches for example. There was also an Anglo Saxon strap-end that I found and quite a few medieval hammered coins.

“Our land has been intensively populated for a very long time and all the people who went before us left traces of having being here. It gives us direct contact with people living hundreds of years ago and every find tells us a story. For example, in Old Buckenham we also found a coin from Venice. What is that doing in Old Buckenham? But it helps us to understand that Venice was a very successful trading nation and their coinage was the soldino that was widely trading in Britain in the late medieval period.”

A Queen Elizabeth I sixpence dated 1574 unerathed by detectorists from Norfolk Heritage Recovery Group in Old Buckenham. Picture: Godfrey PrattA Queen Elizabeth I sixpence dated 1574 unerathed by detectorists from Norfolk Heritage Recovery Group in Old Buckenham. Picture: Godfrey Pratt

Also discovered were several artefacts associated with weaponry including Civil War period musket balls, a gunpowder measure, a dagger chape and a pistol handle.

From a more recent period of hostilities Mr Pratt’s grandson George Bunn, 11, the youngest detectorist taking part, found a silver technician’s badge from the Second World War.

The group was given permission to dig by landowners Tom Baron and Stephen Askew and their £900 dig fees were donated to the Raise the Roof project to replace the rare thatched roof on All Saints Church in the village.

George Bunn, 11, the youngest detectorist taking part, with a silver technician’s badge from the Second World War unearthed in Old Buckenham. Picture: Godfrey PrattGeorge Bunn, 11, the youngest detectorist taking part, with a silver technician’s badge from the Second World War unearthed in Old Buckenham. Picture: Godfrey Pratt

• Find out more about Norfolk Heritage Recovery Group


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