Tuesday, August 02, 2016

Treasure of Charles I

Another major project of Jimmy Longton's was locating Charles I treasure in the Firth of Forth,Scotland. Almost everyone knows that Charles I, the only British Monarch to be executed by his subjects, lost his head but very few know that he also lost a vast treasure, not once, but twice! The second treasure was melted down by Cromwell and largely consisted of an expensive replacement for the first, lost when a ferry, The Blessing of Burntisland, sank in Scotland’s Firth of Forth in 1633. Jimmy located a definite wreck believed to be the ferry and some seventeenth century artefacts have been recovered from the site but diving conditions are extremely difficult and there have been no reports of treasure as yet.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

King John's Treasure

Continuing Jimmy Longton's search for treasure... In 1216 King John's court - contained in several large wagons laden with royal regalia - was crossing the River Wellstream, now part of the WashEast Anglia. They got caught by the tide and went down in the quicksand. Legend says the remains are still there - somewhere, beyond the range of metal detectors and ground penetrating radar. Another method is needed. Here two enterprising entrepreneurs, seeking to restore ancient English heritage, ask Jimmy to find the spot. Enjoy the three videos:

Friday, June 03, 2016

Jimmy Longton

It is my sad duty to report that my good friend, Britain’s foremost treasure dowser, James (Jimmy) Longton, passed away suddenly on 02 May 2015 at the age of 84 years. He was buried in the churchyard of his home village of Euxton, (pronounced Exton) Lancashire, UK, on 15 May 2015 following a service at Euxton Parish Church attended by around 200 family and friends, myself included. Rest in Peace, Jimmy.

I could relate many tales of Jimmy’s exploits but I’ll just stick to his main achievements in treasure dowsing for now. Jimmy’s major claim to fame is his part in the finding of the Viking (c. 930 AD) silver brooch hoard near Penrith, Cumbria, in 1989. The two largest (i.e. longest) thistle brooches in the picture were found in 1785 and 1830 (largest) in a field called silver field. Jimmy and his friend Gerald Carter located and investigated the field in 1989 and recovered five more brooches, which were subsequently declared Treasure Trove. The award was more than £40,000 GB Pounds ($60,000 US Dollars)...

The Penrith Hoard in the British Museum Copyright 2010 Ealdgyth and reused under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license 

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Hot Mirrors

False color infrared image of 1759 British Fort at Crown Point, New York © 2015 by cfastie and reused under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

I often get asked if the hot mirror should be removed from a digital camera to photograph auras. Digital cameras are as sensitive to near infrared radiation as they are to visible light, so ALL are fitted with an internal infrared blocking filter or hot mirror. If the hot mirror is removed the camera is HIGHLY UNLIKELY to photograph auras simply because it will flood with the full spectrum of infrared and we won't be able to see the infrared generated by buried metal. Removing the hot mirror does have an application for false color photography, which may show ground anomalies but this is very different to aura photography. For aura photography, what we are looking for is the older, lower specification digital camera, where the hot mirror is less efficient then the higher spec and more up to date camera and will allow enough infrared through to show an aura in the photograph.


I have invited treasure hunters and researchers to come forward with their tests on digital cameras for photographing auras but unfortunately I still have no reliable information on cameras other than Canon and Olympus, although recently I have seen some encouraging results from Nikon cameras.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

NEW BOOK – Tokens and Traders of Kent in the Seventeenth, Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries

Coins traditionally contained the value of the metal they were made from, less a nominal amount for the monarch and mint master and could only be produced by Royal decree. By the sixteenth century the penny and its fractions had been reduced in size by inflation becoming inconveniently small to manufacture and use. The general population resorted to using token coins containing less than their intrinsic value of metal until the monarch provided sufficient usable coinage for the needs of trade.
Trade tokens were issued in three distinct periods, the first during the seventeenth century, 1648-1672. The second in the eighteenth century, 1787-1801 and finally the nineteenth century, 1811-15. As well as being collectable, like coins, tokens issued by tradesmen contain personal information such as name, location, trade and even spouse’s forename initial in many cases and will be of interest to genealogists as well as family and local historians. Metal detectorists are a large group of regular finders of these tokens, who will also be looking for a means of identifying their metal detecting finds.

A number of eminent numismatists (including Atkins, Boyne, Conder,Dalton,Davis,Dickinson, Hamer, Pye and Williamson) have studied these tokens and produced extensive catalogues, generally covering the whole of a series. Until now the only solution to identification was to wade through these catalogues. The asking price for any of these catalogues, new or used, can be upwards of £50 per volume. These catalogues can be borrowed free from the Library but there are few copies in circulation and waiting times can be lengthy. Many of the catalogues were compiled in the 19th and early 20th centuries so some have been scanned and are available online. The problem with scanning old texts is that the scanner has no real comprehension of what is written and so records what it perceives and the result can be gobbledegook! A further problem is that genealogical information and full token details have been abandoned in more recent catalogues to keep the printing costs and cover price down. This serves the collector well but disadvantages not only the family and local historian but also the finder of excavated tokens where only parts of the detail may be visible.

The nature of tokens is that they circulated very near to their place of issue so that the merchant concerned could exchange or redeem them for regal coins. While 18th and 19th century tokens did travel far and wide, especially those redeemable in several major cities, they remained common in their home county. Seventeenth century tokens, those of London excepted, generally only circulated within a seven mile radius of their place of issue. Seven miles was the typical distance between markets where the tokens would have been accepted.
This book is written for the token finder, family and local historian ofKent. It catalogues allKent token details available including all genealogical and local information recorded in earlier books (details of some taverns, inns, and hotels have been updated). In all some 600 recorded seventeenth and around 50 eighteenth and nineteenth centuryKent tokens are included, many of which are illustrated.

An illustrated section on popular token designs aids identification and the layout allows you to quickly scan through to visually locate the token. The great advantage of the electronic book version is that you can use your reader’s search facility. If you find a token that has been excavated, it may not be completely legible. Using what you can see you will usually very quickly track the token down via the search facility. You can search on any string of letters or numbers, design, quantities of lines, shape, unusual metal, value, etc. and providing it is a Kent token, I am confident you will find it!


Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Antique English Spoon Found in Sweden

Spoon with touch or maker’s mark inset
I recently received this letter: 
My name is Anders from Stockholm, Sweden. I am writing to you with hope that that you might be able to bring some further clarity over a find my great grandmother made some 70 years ago. While digging in her garden she suddenly found an antique spoon made of latten, which has been kept in the family ever since, this was in the 1950s. The find was made in the village Hov close to the town Vadstena by Lake V├Ąttern I Sweden. This area was an important center of power in Sweden some centuries ago.
From reading your book, The Essential Guide to Old, Antique and Ancient Metal Spoons, I have come to the conclusion that it is a latten spoon from the later part of 17th century, with a strawberry knop and a maker's mark of three spoons, one inverted, surrounded by a dotted circle. Visible in the mark is also one initial, an "R". The second initial is no longer visible. There is also a line along the "handle".
From your book I understand that the spoon might be British made, both the spoon itself and the maker's mark looks very similar to some of the specimens in your book. Is there anything else that you can tell us about our spoon? For example more precisely when it was made, where and by who. And what kind of person could own a spoon like this back in those days? And do you know anything about spoons or other British object of this sort to have been found in Sweden or the rest of Scandinavia. Just any piece of information would be of great value to me and my family.
 Dear Anders,
Many thanks for your email and pictures. Your spoon is a really lovely find. Unfortunately I am not going to be able to add much to what you have already deduced from my book. While I have found more information on silver spoons, I have yet to find anything else on base metal spoons up until the receipt of your email.
On the balance of probability I agree with your identification. The spoon was most likely made in London, England. Continental spoons rarely have a touch mark or maker's mark. I am a little concerned with the apparent roundness of the bowl, which suggests it may be earlier than 17th century but the maker's mark ties in very well with the RS triple spoon motif with decorated bowls, active in the 17th century. If you look closely you can just see the letter S. Unfortunately the register of makers' marks was destroyed and it is now almost impossible to determine who the maker actually was.
Base metal spoons before the eighteenth century would have been used by the middle classes of society - merchants, yeomen, etc. The upper classes would have used silver (and gold) and the poorer classes, wood or bone.
If anyone can add anything further to this find, Anders and I would love to hear from you.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Cameras & Accessories for Photographing Treasure Auras

The Successful Treasure Hunter’s Secret Manual: Discovering Treasure Auras in the Digital Age - Printed Book - £17.47 GB Pounds plus postage. http://www.truetreasurebooks.net/amazon-shop 

Recommended camera: Canon EOS350D (Digital Rebel XT) camera. The camera usually comes with the Canon 18-55 kit lens, but you can buy the camera body only (or one with an alternative lens) and perhaps buy the kit lens separately. BUT be careful as there are newer lenses with a different specification that may not work as well as the original basic lens. Avoid lenses designated IS (image stabilisation) or STM If you buy a camera body only, or a different lens. 

Here is a link for the kit lens (it may be attached to a camera though):

You will also need battery, charger, and compact flash card. Often these will come with the camera but if not you will need to buy them separately. 

Here is a link to batteries and chargers:

And here is a link to Compact Flash cards:

Downloading Images from Canon EOS/Rebel/Kiss Cameras to Computer. Although many digital cameras can be plugged into your PC and will act as a removable drive, Canon does not. The Canon camera was originally supplied with a software disk. The EOS 350 disk was Canon DIGITAL EOS Solution Disk v 10.0 containing software compatible with Windows 98SE through XP and Mac OS X. The disk contains several programs but the downloading one is EOS Utility, which also controls the camera remotely. If ‘download all images’ is selected in Windows, the images are down loaded by default to a new folder in ‘My Pictures’ identified by the date of the images. If you have the disk it should install on your computer. If you have a newer operating system you will need to visit your local Canon website and download updater software. This is the Canon UK website: http://www.canon.co.uk/support/consumer_products/products/cameras/digital_slr/eos_350d.aspx From there you will need to select your camera model, select downloads, select software, select operating system (Windows Vista seems to be the newest), select language and click search. Look for EOS Utility Updater for Windows (or Mac) click on the link, accept the licence agreement, download and install. You will need a USB Data Sync Cable to transfer the images to your computer.

If you do not have the software disk, or do not want to install it, a quick fix is to use a card reader that accepts Compact Flash (CF) cards. I have one as part of my all-in-one scanner/printer. You remove the card from the camera and insert it in the reader, which basically acts as another drive and allows you to (at least) transfer the images to your computer. BUT you need to be very careful with these CF cards as they are symmetrical apart from the pin sockets. If you insert the card in your camera the wrong way round you will bend the pins in the camera and not be able to use the camera. That means either buying a new camera body or getting your camera repaired at a cost of £80/$120. I have seen plenty of cameras for sale with damaged pins -YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!

You will also need an infrared filter holder and adapter ring (58mm for the lenses mentioned). Genuine new Cokin P007 filters are round and need to have the edges of the plastic frame trimmed slightly to fit the holder (easily done with household scissors or craft knife). There are some substitute square filters around which I haven’t tried.

Here is a link for the three slot square filter holder and 58mm adapter ring. I use the plastic ones.

That is all the kit you will need to get started. Some optional extras. You will need photoediting software to enhance and reduce the redness in the image to let the aura show through. Most , if not all, photo editors can be used successfully, however the one I use is Arcsoft PhotoStudio 5.5 (and no other version) It is a bit old now but I have it working OK on Windows 7 and earlier Windows Operating systems. Here’s a link:

You don’t need the Sigma 105mm EF DG Macro lens (as fitted to my camera in the picture above) to get started but if you want the option of shooting over longer distances and smaller targets here is a link: Avoid newer OS HSM lenses, fittings for cameras other than canon and other focal lengths.

Good luck finding those treasures.