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September 2013

January 2013

I've just bought a Garrett Ace 250 metal detector

Garrett 250 ace metal detectorI absolutely love garden history.

Whenever I took on a new project I always looked out for evidence of a previous era. Whether that's a change in levels, indented lawns where pathways used to be or overgrown borders hiding something mysterious.

Luckily I got to see hundreds (if not into the thousands) during just over 20 years of business. I found quite a few interesting things excavating for patios and walls etc

I once bought a C-Scope metal detector (not long after they first started to become popular). A lack of success and the because I'd bought a cheap machine meant I gave up.

I've just bought a metal detector to search our land - the law's a little different here in France and it's not totally clear what the rules are. As I understand it you can search land with the permission of the land owner.

However you cannot search land where there are known to be archaeological relics or sites of national importance. It's also an offence to search for objects over 300 years of age (however this is policed I cannot imagine).

I had an hour before dark this afternoon. I wanted to set the machine up and have a play.

It was a bit confusing and sounds were coming from the device's speaker. I decided to search for all metal and not discriminate so I could get a feel for the different sounds.

I eventually found a few bits. Mainly bottle tops and the like.

Well I struck lucky and found a ring of Donna's that my daughter lost in our field not long after we bought the property. We never thought we'd see it again.

I also found this heel plate off of a lady's shoe (I'm thinking Charleston).

Then this lid off of an old toothpaste tin. It's engraved with the words 'Savon dentirfice Paris.


and I found my first coin. It's difficult to pick out the detail but my son's young eyes established it is an 1853 Napoleon III 2 centime piece

All in all quite chuffed:-))

Have you any tales of finds?

Metal detecting holiday France

Garrett 250 ace metal detectorHow would you like to spend your days in beautiful peaceful French countryside detecting for lost coins and other artefacts?

We have 20 acres of currently virgin un-searched land, bordering on a major pilgrim route from Spain to France. There is also evidence of Roman activity within half-a-mile of our property.

There are two ways you can enjoy a metal detecting holiday with us:

Come with your family during the normal holiday season (book here) and use the pool, enjoy the peace, quiet and rural tranquillity of this special corner of France.


Come out of the holiday season, on your own or with fellow enthusiasts.

You'll have complete freedom to search anywhere on our land (some areas may be out of bounds depending on the what stage of development and growth the crops are). I also have permission from our neighbour on adjacent.

Conditions of searching

Access to our land is included as part of your rental. No extra fees will be payable except in the case of firewood or extra heating costs should it be required, depending on the time of year.

All guest detectorists will leave the land as they find it. Charges may be made if reparations are necessary after your visit.

Keeping within the law

There is still much debate about the legalities of using a metal detecting in France. As we understand it it is fully legal providing it's with the land owners permission and no search activity takes place within the vicinity of or on sites of archaeological importance.

Under French law it is an offence to search sites without the landowner's permission.

It is an offence to disturb sites of archaeological importance and no one shall search for objects older than 300 years of age. If during your visit any important archaeological artefacts are discovered you will be requested to stop detecting and your find will be reported to our Mayor and also, possibly, the regional Prefecture.

No refunds will be given should you be requested to cease searching due to any major find of archaeological interest.

However, should any archaeological artefacts be found that is deemed to be state property you will be kept informed and if it is declared at a later date that you are entitled to a reward then you will receive 50% of its value. The remaining 50% will be payable to us.

In the case of finds made on neighbouring land, any rewards will be split three ways (this is subject to change).

Please do see our Chez Nous page for details on booking the Pigeonnaire or email [email protected] if you have any questions.

Saturday 20 July 2013

Rob Wheatman, was on holiday near Sarlat with his wife Di and and daughter Mel.

Both Rob and Mel are enthusiasts and came to detect here at Jean Blanc.

Ground a little hard

(image: Rob has just stumbled upon a 1960 one franc coin)

With the temperatures topping 30C for the last ten days the soil was understandably hard to dig. However, unperturbed, Rob ventured out for a couple of hours.

It didn't take too long before Rob had found a few objects. Nothing of value but of interest to me as I try to conjure up a view of what went on on and around our land in previous years.

I'd already found a 1853 Napoleon III 2 centime piece but today Rob doubled the coin count by finding a 1960 One Franc piece. Interestingly in a spot I'd already detected at least twice. It goes to show there's always something that's likely missed, just waiting to be found.

Some of the finds so far....

(1 Franc found by Rob)

(1 Franc found by Rob)

A couple more interesting items...

(image: A blue enameled brooch (looks like it had a stone or some other centre piece) found by Rob

(image: End of spoon - nothing of value but interesting pattern) found by Rob

(image: 1853 Napoleon III 2 fiest coin but sadly lost again!)


A 5 centime coin from around the French revolution 1795-1799

Is this silver or just plain old aluminium?


A souvenir from Lourdes?

I'm hoping this is a cononball (slightly smaller than a golf ball)

Hammered coin? (it's very worn so difficult to identify)