Soil Type and Effect on Items

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Metalablis
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Soil Type and Effect on Items

Post by Metalablis » Fri May 19, 2017 7:24 pm

Just thought I would ask people views on soil composition and how quickly finds deteriorate when in different ground types.

I have noticed that the coins I find local to me ( West Sussex - Clay) seem to be generally in very poor condition even when only a few years old, and coins older then 1900 it is a real lottery to even be able to date them.

I guess my question is, is this just unlucky, and some finds will be better preserved, or is this something I just have to accept or seek other area's ?

Also I am mostly referring to halfpenny and farthings ( all I have been lucky enough to find as yet), do other coins fair better in the same environments ?

Any advice would be appreciated.

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amphora
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Re: Soil Type and Effect on Items

Post by amphora » Fri May 19, 2017 7:59 pm

You can't say anything about it.

Found me brass coins from around 1900 which were hardly readable, were a meter or what furter on the next 1700's coin i've found was from very good quality.
Same farmland, same soil, same hunt, same day, same hunter, same detector, same shovel, ...

Doesn't matter wich type of soil. Black fertilized sand, light hardly fertilized sand, clay, always the same story.
Doesn't matter where that soil is. I've hunted half my country, and sometimes outside that. Always the same story.
White (beach) sand mostly is dry cause the rain runs through it quickly, so there quality can be better. But yet again, beach = salt = bad quality again.
Only acidic soil make the coins worst quickly. Like pine woods. But although less, even then surprisingly good quality coins can be found there slightly regular.

You can't realy tell! It's just luck.
Last edited by amphora on Fri May 19, 2017 8:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Good luck hunting.

Metalablis
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Re: Soil Type and Effect on Items

Post by Metalablis » Fri May 19, 2017 8:02 pm

Great that is a relief then, just keep looking then ;)

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Re: Soil Type and Effect on Items

Post by Wigeon » Fri May 19, 2017 8:30 pm

In the past ten months I have spent a lot of time searching on peat fen edge. The peat itself is acid, which is bad enough, but add fertilisers and modern agricultural machinery and it is a very harsh environment for metals.

Copper takes an absolute hammering with anything prior to George V being difficult to read. George III half pennies are mainly illegible and anything earlier, no hope at all. A William IV silver groat was readable but had taken a pasting on the reverse.

Now lead, well that's a different matter all together, lots of musket balls and medieval net weights seem untouched by corrosion, other than the usual white/grey coating of lead oxide.

One category that does survive well though is (18th/19th century) Tombac buttons (copper/zinc) however their outer coatings are usually corroded away so unidentifiable. ;;z

I am starting to think that old, permanent pastures may be the kindest to metallic finds, however others may think otherwise.

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Re: Soil Type and Effect on Items

Post by littleboot » Fri May 19, 2017 9:11 pm

I'm afraid the worst enemy is modern agricultural activity.
So many chemicals are sprayed on the land and they are corrosive,
I think if you talk to anyone who began to detect Back In The Day (the 70's and 80's) they will tell you that Georgian coppers, for example, often came up in good nick and now its rare to find one that is any more than recognizable.
GMP, Tesoro Invincible, wellies.

Metalablis
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Re: Soil Type and Effect on Items

Post by Metalablis » Fri May 19, 2017 9:59 pm

I do remember detecting as a child and didn't have the same issues, I was starting to wonder if I was remembering through Rose tinted glasses :-/ , thanks for your answers through that does make sense more now.

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amphora
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Re: Soil Type and Effect on Items

Post by amphora » Sat May 20, 2017 12:05 am

littleboot wrote:
Fri May 19, 2017 9:11 pm
I think if you talk to anyone who began to detect Back In The Day (the 70's and 80's) they will tell you that Georgian coppers, for example, often came up in good nick and now its rare to find one that is any more than recognizable.
Can't it also be that that day's there weren't that many hunters so the better finds were still there?
I in about 10+ years too experience that. Not only less quality, but also less amounts (so less quality part).

On football fields i also find less to none money from 30 years ago were i picked up many oldies 10 years ago.
In playground sandpits i to find less to none older coins and almost all recent, also were i picked up many oldies 10 years ago.
And that field were i found 40 coins each harvest with 20% (so 8 very nice coins) reasonable among them, nowadays the amount quality coins is still 20% but of hardly 5 coins (so only one).
The amounts of holes i find from previous hunters are growing, were there were mostly none 10 years ago.
The earth is getting more emty, and with that the amounts 'quality finds'.
Good luck hunting.

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Re: Soil Type and Effect on Items

Post by Wigeon » Sat May 20, 2017 6:43 am

littleboot wrote:
Fri May 19, 2017 9:11 pm
I'm afraid the worst enemy is modern agricultural activity.
So many chemicals are sprayed on the land and they are corrosive,
I think if you talk to anyone who began to detect Back In The Day (the 70's and 80's) they will tell you that Georgian coppers, for example, often came up in good nick and now its rare to find one that is any more than recognizable.
I think you have a point there littleboot. Last weekend the farmer showed me a George III half penny that he had picked up from the peat fen field, as a surface find, thirty years ago. The monarch's head was easily recognisable and overall, in reasonable condition.
When one thinks that the coin may have been lost as long as 200 years ago, it had survived remarkably well. Thirty years on and its a very different story.

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littleboot
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Re: Soil Type and Effect on Items

Post by littleboot » Mon May 22, 2017 10:23 pm

Can't it also be that that day's there weren't that many hunters so the better finds were still there?
Its about quality not quantity. In some places there are clearly less finds because of people detecting the land previously. That is natural enough. But that doesn't explain the relative poor quality of coppers, especially Georgian 18th century ones, that come up today as opposed to a few decades ago.
My main permissions are all located in a valley that has never been detected before I started detecting it in the last six years. Some fields were ancient pasture and orchard and early coppers came up in excellent nick, good patina etc. However, some of this land has now been ploughed and put to arable. It is then a race against time to hoover up as much as I can. I have to go on it when it is rough plough because not long after it is sprayed with slurry and all sorts of stuff and then it is rolled and the corrosion starts. Then the Rape is growing and is being sprayed a cocktail of chemicals 3 or 4 times while the crop stands. By the time it is harvested and I can get back on to the field many of the coppers are effectively ruined I am afraid. In a few months the quality of preservation has plummeted.
GMP, Tesoro Invincible, wellies.

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amphora
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Re: Soil Type and Effect on Items

Post by amphora » Tue May 23, 2017 1:36 pm

littleboot wrote:
Mon May 22, 2017 10:23 pm
Can't it also be that that day's there weren't that many hunters so the better finds were still there?
Its about quality not quantity.
I know. But if the quantities get less, the part quality ones among them get's less too.
I found more quality 10 years ago. Simply because in general i found more those day's. :D

And yes, more manour and bigger machines will ruin the quality too off course.
Good luck hunting.

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Re: Soil Type and Effect on Items

Post by Steve_T » Tue May 23, 2017 6:05 pm

Metalablis wrote:
Fri May 19, 2017 7:24 pm
Just thought I would ask people views on soil composition and how quickly finds deteriorate when in different ground types.
Have a read of this ::g

viewtopic.php?f=10&t=84211

Regards Steve
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