Tuesday, April 21, 2015

First Silver of the Year

    Had a great time a few afternoons ago, hunting my friend Richard's property with his three boys out in Washington. The majority of our finds consisted of pull tabs and old tractor parts, but I did turn up a silver Washington, dated 1941. Not terribly old, but hey, it's silver--the first silver of the year. 

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Fireman's Button

  The first genuinely old find of the season, a gorgeous heavy brass button with a beautiful swirling smoke octopus pattern on the front. The words "Orange Colour" are legible on the rear. I have yet to research the brand and origins, and even finish the cleaning. I will post results when I do. I was told that the site I was detecting was an old fire station at the turn of the century, now just an unsightly pile of dirt and rocks.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Treasure Hunter's Handbook

  I neglected to do a post about this when it happened last Fall, as so much of my life was upside down and I didn't have many chances to sit down at the computer and update my websites. Unfortunately, those same parts of my life are still upside down, but Spring is coming and I am going to try and at least stay on top of this blog. This business of treasure hunting--metal detecting in particular---is therapeutic and calming, and most importantly, distracts me from the deep sorrows and powerful losses of human existence; and I don't intend to ever give that up.
  Anyway, on the subject of treasure hunting--last Fall I was poking around my favorite local bookstore/coffee shop, Camden's Owl and Turtle, and I came across a copy of "Treasure Hunter's Handbook". Author Liza Gardner Walsh is a friend of mine and she had contacted me earlier in the year with questions on that very subject, as she was working on a book for young readers and was aware of my passion for metal detecting. I was happy to oblige and proofread her chapter on detecting. She also provided me with a questionnaire of inquiries into the origins of my interest in the field, reasons for pursuing it, and favorite finds, etc... She said the book was almost headed for printing, but that maybe she would be able to use some quotes if it wasn't too late. 
  So I was pleased to see her book in print and on the shelf in the "local authors" section of the bookstore. I picked up a copy and thumbed through it, thinking it would be a nice gift for my nephew Jaron, or any of my nieces and nephews for that matter, and was immediately impressed with the accessibility of the writing, the layout, the quantity and quality of the many large color illustrations, and the broad gamut of types of treasure hunting presented, from gold panning and gem hunting to metal detecting and geocaching. It seemed like a book that any kid with any sense of adventure would absolutely love. 
  At about the center of the book I turned a page to find a chapter titled "Aaron Marcy: A Treasure-Hunting Life". I then proceeded to read two pages of a well-condensed and edited-for-young-readers version of my responses to the questionnaire Liza had given me months earlier. I had to laugh. There it was in print, once and for all, "Aaron Marcy, Treasure Hunter". Perfect, I thought. I can finally quit my day job and pursue the life of riches and adventure I have always wanted.  I purchased the volume and headed out into the world to look for treasure, buried or otherwise.
  "Treasure Hunter's Handbook" by Liza Gardner Walsh was printed by Down East Books and can be purchased or ordered at your local book dealer, as well as online. Like I said, a great gift for any young people in your life. Get them away from electronic devices and out into the world, the woods, the mountains, under the clear blue sky, in the sunlight, get their hands in the dirt, their feet in the lakes and streams, their hearts and minds reaching out toward those infinite mysterious reaches of this magical and fascinating Universe we are flying through.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

The Curse of the Mummy

  I can't speak for anyone else, but I have a lot of little objects in my life. They seem to be everywhere; on mantles and windowsills, in jars and boxes, and basically just rolling around around everywhere I turn. Sometimes I'll open a box and start fiddling with the contents and one of the items will catch my eye, and I'll wonder, "Is this something special? Is this possibly rare or even valuable?" Often I don't even remember where the thing came from.
  In the case of this particular object, a small 3" stone or terracotta figurine that appears to be an Egyptian mummy, I recalled finding it at the bottom of a box of odds and ends I had purchased at an auction. I was examining it this morning and I noticed how old it looked, no, not old--ancient. I got online and sure enough, it matched perfectly with pictures of ancient Egyptian ushabtis I found on the web, particularly those dating to around 500 BC. Here is an excerpt from the Wikipedia article:

"The ushabti (also called shabti or shawabti, with a number of variant spellings, Ancient Egyptian plural: ushabtiu) was a funerary figurine used in Ancient Egypt. Ushabtis were placed in tombs among the grave goods and were intended to act as servants or minions for the deceased, should he/she be called upon to do manual labor in the afterlife. The figurines frequently carried a hoe on their shoulder and a basket on their backs, implying they were intended to farm for the deceased. They were usually written on by the use of hieroglyphs typically found on the legs.[1][2] Called “answerers,” they carried inscriptions asserting their readiness to answer the gods' summons to work.[3] The practice of using ushabtis originated in the Old Kingdom (c. 2600 to 2100 BCE) with the use of life-sized reserve heads made from limestone, which were buried with the mummy.[4] Most ushabtis were of minor size, and many produced in multiples – they sometimes covered the floor around a sarcophagus. Exceptional ushabtis are of larger size, or produced as a one of-a-kind master work."

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Flags For The Dead

  A beautiful little antique brass funerary flag holder found by my good friend and co-worker, Richard Ware, in the front yard of his 200 year old family farmhouse. He was using the White's Prizm metal detector I sold him last year. Not a great picture, as I took it quickly with my phone, but a great piece.