Thanks to my background (a former professional archaeologist), and my recent induction into the hallowed echelons of the Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS) as a trusted self recorder I am invited to take part on exciting projects. One such occasion occurred recently, where I was asked to help out my friends at CAFG (Cambridge Archaeology Field Group), as they field walked a new site in a nearby parish.
A distinct pottery scatter had been identified, with shell tempered ware and general roman detritus in abundance over a complex of LIDAR discovered cropmarks. What was unique, was the constrained abundance of the scatter. The site started and stopped very distinctly in an area of approximately 20m2 .
Fellow detectorists will know what I mean next: I had that feeling…that anticipation…the almost certain knowledge that this was going to be a good spot…The first find was a childs silver finger ring (now inside the treasure process); next a fabulous sestertius of Marcus Aurelius in amazing condition…then more coins and then brooches placing the site in use between the 1st Century AD right through to the 4th …Yet I still had that nagging feeling…there was more, and better, to come.
What came up next took my breath away. An early Iron Age bucket mount !
These pieces are rare, especially with such a primitive style. The mount is in the form of anthropomorphic stylised human face on the head of a bull or ox, with side projecting horns.
The horns run across the forehead of the piece and an inscribed line curves between the base of each horn section for a length of 22.27mm. The right side measures 12.99mm from the side of the head outwards. The left horn is slightly more worn and truncated, measuring 10.11mm. Beneath the incised line between the two horns is an eyebrow ridge which measures 11.51mm in length and 1.81mm in width. Two close set eyes sit either side of a nose ridge. The eyes are 2mm in diameter and 1.8mm in depth, and 1.8mm apart. The nose ridge runs for a length of 9.29mm towards the mouth area. No mouth is apparent, however the chin of the face juts forward emphasising the human nature of the representation. The brow area extends forward 6.62mm from the rear of the piece, compared to the chin being 13.08mm forward.
The head is delimited by a neck area which measures 12.89mm in thickness. This area then expands to form two stubby arms which extend laterally from either side of the body. The arms extend 5.8mm from the torso of the piece. The arms measure 5.5mm in thickness at their base, but taper to end points, essentially forming pyramid shaped arms.
The torso of the mount has a concentric circle pattern inscribed upon it. Two inscribed circles surround a centralised dot. The larger of the circles measures 9.55mm in diameter. The inner circle measures 5.95 in diameter. The central dot, 1.62mm. The torso flares out slightly at its base before an area of iron corrosion is present. The iron corrosion extends a further 7.77mm at the front of the base of the mount, and 19mm up the back of the mount.
The total length of the copper alloy mount at its longest point is 32.43mm. As indicated above the iron corrosion extends this length at its maximum point by 7.77mm. The rear of the copper alloy mount only extends to 22.46mm, suggesting the mount itself was cast with a base set at 45 degrees, to enable it to be set within an iron base.
The reverse of the mount is flat and entirely plain.
But …there was more…within a few feet out came a beautiful gold stater. My first full stater, previously I had only been lucky enough to find a quarter stater.
Middle Whaddon Chase gold stater, struck by the Catuvellauni tribe c. 45-40BC.
The coin is slightly convex on the obverse face, and as a consequence, concave on the reverse face. Overall the striking is good on the reverse, however the obverse has an area where the striking is less clear. There are two slight chips to the rim of the flan. The obverse shows an abstracted head of Apollo right, whilst the reverse, a romanised horse right.
So you see…doing things “right”…being helpful and being honest…opens up amazing opportunities…think on that my friends…and be a “good” detectorist.