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Archaeology in the back yard.

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#1 Spartancrest

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Posted 29 May 2020 - 05:05 AM

Just doing a trawl on the 'net' and came across this little snippet from 2014

https://www.minelab....e-samurai-tsuba

 

This is something we won't get to do here!

 

 

"Stop the presses" - this is unbelievable - I only down loaded my latest book last night to Blurb and it arrived at 1.20 pm today! Now that is not service that's witchcraft ! ['Additional Early Articles for Tsuba Study'] Now the proof read!


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Dale

#2 Ken-Hawaii

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Posted 29 May 2020 - 07:13 AM

I have a metal detector, & you wouldn't believe the things that people lose!

 

Diamond rings =  3

Gold necklaces & bracelets = 5

Gold & silver earrings & jewelry = dozens

Krugerrand = 1

Coins = Lost count years ago

Watches = 8, including a nice Rolex

Tsuba = 0 (Oh,well)


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Ken Goldstein

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#3 Geraint

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Posted 29 May 2020 - 09:18 AM

I have two stories for you.  Firs,t a neighbour of my father in law turned up a very nice tsuba in his back yard, presumably lost by someones children playing with it.  To my bitter regret he told the guy about another collector he had heard about and din't send it my way. Some time later I met up with the chap who bought it who told me it was one of the best tsuba he had ever had.

 

I did get to handle an o tanto belonging to a friend who had nearly got it stuck into himself while working as an agricultural contractor.  They were muck spreading and this came flying out of the spreader and whirred past his ear.  Needless to say it was out of polish!

 

Ho Hum!  Keep digging!

 

All the best.


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#4 ChrisW

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Posted 29 May 2020 - 09:38 AM

Brings a new meaning to the phrase of "throw enough crap at the wall and something will stick"...


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#5 Bugyotsuji

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Posted 29 May 2020 - 10:13 AM

In Cirencester I found three Roman coins while metal detecting. The museum authenticated them but they were suspicious as to where I had found them. "Outside the city walls, by the By-pass, in the road works", I said, and the curator relaxed. There was apparently a row of shops there in Roman times, and the soil was full of oyster shells and bits of Roman brick.

 

Another nice find was here in Japan when they emptied the castle moat for the 300th anniversary of the building of the adjoining gardens. As I was finding bits of this and that, I saw what I thought was a very rusty sickle/scythe blade pointing up out of the mud. It was a bent Tanto; one character on the nakago was just legible through the rust. Eventually I gave it to my sword appreciation Sensei.

 

Generally though I did not have much luck in Japan. Mostly Coke tabs, plus a rusty kitchen knife, and a 10-yen coin.


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#6 Ken-Hawaii

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Posted 29 May 2020 - 10:39 AM

I guess while people are on vacation out here, they don't pay much attention to their belongings. I've also never seen an ad that something has been lost, on CL or the local papers.


Ken Goldstein

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#7 Bugyotsuji

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Posted 29 May 2020 - 10:52 AM

That's quite a haul Ken.

 

Reminds me of how on holiday I found an earring with a detector among the dead leaves along a canal footpath in Cornwall. I showed it to the lady where we were staying, our friend, and she was amazed. A potter, she herself had made it some years before and sold it to a customer, who had subsequently lost it and had been wanting her to create a match for the other one. Not however doing pottery any more, and without the materials, she had been unable to oblige.  The woman who had lost her earring was naturally delighted to get it back.


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#8 Spartancrest

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Posted 29 May 2020 - 12:08 PM

Nothing is ever truly lost - well, apart from memory !  :doh:


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Dale

#9 Bugyotsuji

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Posted 29 May 2020 - 12:35 PM

Dale, it has been said that almost every coin ever minted anywhere probably still exists somewhere.

 

Many tsuba were probably lost or damaged in earthquakes and fires.


Piers D

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#10 peterd

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Posted 29 May 2020 - 04:49 PM

I used to have a metal detector. In the new forest found lots  of pennies, hundreds of musket balls, a few crotal bells  and a jews harp.

Oh and half a sterling silver cigarette case.

However having your eyes on the ground does bring some other surprises.

A flint arrow head and pixie loaf (fossil).

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#11 SAS

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Posted 29 May 2020 - 06:59 PM

All i ever find around here is garbage :(


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#12 Ken-Hawaii

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Posted 29 May 2020 - 08:46 PM

Early mornings after a long weekend are almost guaranteed to find a good stash. Well, except during lockdown, but our beaches were reopened last weekend.


Ken Goldstein

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#13 raynor

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Posted 29 May 2020 - 09:05 PM

My stepfather's uncle in law is a farmer in southwestern Norway. Some years back he blew up a large boulder on his land and among the debris where the boulder had sat he found several flint arrowheads and one large pristine spearhead in white stone, looks like it was carved yesterday, about 8-10 inches long. Apparently someones hoard from way back, several experts agreed on it being a late stone age or so hoard.

 

A couple tearing up their living room floor last week for refurbishing found a viking grave under it, and now that the glaciers are melting people are finding items from the viking age, middle ages and iron age almost daily here in Norway.

 

"Biggest" find is probably the first viking ship being excavated this summer since about a century. Going camping this summer cause of covid and plan to drive by that excavation and peek since it is right by a road.

 

People loose the strangest things indeed!


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#14 Surfson

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Posted 30 May 2020 - 05:51 AM

Ken, I hope you are using plenty of sunscreen!  


Robert S.

#15 Ken-Hawaii

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Posted 30 May 2020 - 07:28 AM

Big hats, & gallons of sunscreen!


Ken Goldstein

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but it takes a special kind of human to rise to life's challenges for a lifetime.

#16 Surfson

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Posted 30 May 2020 - 12:38 PM

Also, never, ever figure out how many hours per dollar you are making.   Just have fun!


Robert S.

#17 Ken-Hawaii

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Posted 01 June 2020 - 02:28 AM

Yup, that's what retirement is all about!

 

Oh, forgot to mention that I first used the metal deector in my own back yard, & found two huge lead ingots, about 20 pounds each. I have no idea why they were buried back there.


Ken Goldstein

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#18 Surfson

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Posted 01 June 2020 - 04:25 AM

Probably holding large quantities of long half life radionuclides!


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Robert S.

#19 Spartancrest

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Posted 07 June 2020 - 01:09 PM

Getting this thread back onto tosogu -

 

https://www.reddit.c...etal_detecting/

 

Just a suggestion, but don't trawl through the rest of that tag - there is a dead nihonto in it, shot !  :sad:


Dale

#20 IanB

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Posted 07 June 2020 - 01:33 PM

When I was gainfully employed at the Royal Armouries, a lady wrote to say she had dug up what she thought was a very corroded sword blade in her garden. Since she lived in Edgehill, the site of a large battle in the Civil War (the real one not the American one) I wasn't unduly surprised except that a photo she enclosed showed it had an habaki and was about the size of a wakizashi. Now I am fully aware that it could have been lost in the garden at any time since the 1860's, especially since I have no idea how corrosive the soil in that garden is, but the degree of corrosion was impressive. It is just possible that it was a relic of the battle of Edgehill in 1642 which as improbable as that sounds, a portrait of Alexander Popham, a general in the Civil War at the Royal Armouries shows him wearing a Sri Lankan kastana. We know that Capt. Saris and probably others, brought back a wakizashi but it disappears from the records after he recorded being given it by the Shogun. I even checked Saris' will and despite him being presented with various weapons before leaving Japan, not a single Japanese item is listed.

Ian Bottomley.


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#21 Spartancrest

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Posted 07 June 2020 - 03:48 PM

Ian B.

 

This is from 'Catalogue of a loan exhibition of Japanese sword fittings held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City, August 1 to December 31, 1922'


INTRODUCTION: A SUMPTUOUSLY illustrated folio volume by John Ogilby was published in London in 1670, made up of English translations of collected journals and reports of embassies from the Dutch East India Company to the "Emperor of Japan"— presumably the reigning Tokugawa Shogun, to whom the Dutch paid annual tribute as part of the price for the exclusive privilege of trading with the Japanese. In the early part of the book extensive quotations are made from "a good author, Johannes Petrus Masseus." Among the characteristics of the Japanese observed and noted down by this good author are these: "They much delight in war; Their arms, besides Guns, Bows and Arrows, are Faulchions and Daggers, which they begin to wear and exercise at twelve years of age ! Their Faulchions or Scimeters are so well wrought and excellently temper'd, that they will cut our European Blades asunder, like Flags or Rushes, the edge being neither rebated nor notch'd. "They also have javelins tipt with gold or silver and their Pikes, which are longer but lighter than ours, they know how to handle dexterously." "They also set a strange rate upon Sword-hilts, especially when made by some peculiar masters."

 

As this publication dates from only 19 years after the English Civil War it would seem reasonable that the English knew of the quality of Japanese weaponry from both the Dutch and Spanish traders who were dealing in Japanese swords at least,  since 1600, as the 'San Diego' wreck would prove https://tsubakansho.com/tag/ship/  And it is also likely that, as now, weapon traders find a ready trade in times of war. Those traded swords would find a ready market in Europe in the 17th century.

 

And not only Europe it would seem from:  'American Anthropologist' by  Bishop, C. W.  1917-01-01

"A piece of evidence of Japanese relations with Indo-China is presented by a Japanese sword guard found at Angkor Vat." [Wat]

The KHMER kingdom spanned the years 802 CE to 1431, Angkor Wat as its capital. So the Japanese were trading weapons as far back as the 15th century.

Dale


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Dale

#22 IanB

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Posted 07 June 2020 - 05:43 PM

Dale,  Whilst I agree to some extent, the Japanese were in fact a bit cautious about their weapons leaving the country. There was a demand for staff weapons in South East Asia and the Japanese met it when trading for incense woods, deer skins etc. The Royal Armouries has two of the 'naginata' that came from that area and I have seen one other on the antiques market.The blades are exactly as you would expect of a normal Edo period naginata in shape and size until you examine the tang, which is riveted into the shaft rather than being pegged. These tangs are horrible thin un-tapered things about 12" long and like the blades are of soft iron rather than steel and hence are untempered. The shafts are round in section, black lacquered with an assortment of gilded and blackened fittings at the top together with a tsuba that is a sukashi chrysanthemum shape in a soft metal that is blackened but not shakudo in my opinion. In the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam are two more as well as two 'yari' owned by a Cornelis Tromp and displayed on a board with guns from Vietnam with two 'katana' and a wakizashi. The former are in red saya with gilded koi guchi and kojiri and have gilded tsuba and fuchi / gashira. Again they are not real and have no mekugi ana. The Museum authorities are of the opinion they are Vietnamese but I think they are Japanese export items. The wakizashi is rather nondescript but appears real. In Russia (I think in the Kremlin) are a couple of katana blades in regular saya but with black lacquered hilts as would be found on a Burmese dha. I have never seen these in the flesh but I bet again these are soft iron. 

Ian Bottomley


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