Surprisingly coherent he served coffee and cake when I arrived some time before lunch at his place Saturday morning. Watching his squirrell picking fights with the birds around the feeding station we drank coffee and made plans for the day. We knew of a long ditch that someone had been raiding last year, but not completely finished, and decided we should begin with that. And so we did. We will never know what the other diggers had found there, but they had left behind a very nice looking insert for a German soup container, lots of bottles and gaming pieces, a Norwegian coin, a silver razor, tent pegs and a whole bunch of other relics.
We completed the ditch, tidied up and started hunting for more metal around in the forest. It was not far between the signals, and the ground was easy to dig even if we could feel the frost in the top centimeters. I picked up some food tins while Jimmy dug up a stunner of a Finnish Pukko in a leather scabbard. Behind a tree the detector picked up a weak signal, it wasn`t a great signal, but interesting enough to open it up and have a look. Of course the tree had an oversized root just above the signal. Thick as a fat ladys thigh. I tried widening the hole in the ground to the oposite direction, but there was another huge root. Luckily there were space enough between them to poke around and bring up rocks and handfulls of soil. Soon bits of cloth came up together with the sand. 7.92 casings, full stripper clips and small pieces of leather as well. Then a small glass jug and a full leather k98 ammo pouch. With all these good bits of metal coming out from the ground I pondered over how weak signal this metal had given, and landed on that the thick roots and the rocks must have blocked it considerably. I dug up a canteens drinking cup, the early metal version, then the field flasks screw cork and two RG34 rifle cleaning kits. Directly under the root, quite deep, I felt it. The round shape we love to feel. The iconic German helmet. Even though it is far from the coolest item for me to find, I much more prefer trench-art, EKMs etc, but this is the relic that gives me the biggest excitement and adrenaline rush. Probably because it was the main thing I dreamt about finding for so many years. I had to work a little to get the lid loose, but when I tried to get it to the surface it wouldn`t fit between the massive roots!! I could feel the frustration growing, desperately looking around for my saw, but realizing that it would never make it through the roots. I took away a little more soil, cut away a thinner root going between the fat ones, and then I managed to lure the helmet out. It was in a great condition, winter camo showing and the liner looks to be intact.
I opened up the ground on the other side of the root and found a porcelain dinner plate. Jimmy had come by to have a look and we were both sure it was a German plate, but were disappointed when I turned it around and it only had a small Norwegian producer mark. But now the relics seeped out from the rest of the ditch which I dug along the roots. First up was a steel hand plane for wood work. Then came civillian porcelain coffee cups, several ski goggles, a small porcelain hen, two more rifle cleaning kits, toothbrushes and tubes, buttons and bottles and the last piece to come out before it was empty was a late war canteen. Usually they were made of red laquered steel, but this one was green, which I have never seen before.
While I was completing the hole, Jimmy had started tunnelling straight down. At first I thought he was drunk and wanted to check the depth of the forest, but it turned out it was actually a signal down there. I had to run to the car to bring the Fiskars shovel that was much longer than his shovel to be able to actually reach the item down there. From almost exactly one meters depth we managed to pull up a gas mask container, it was empty but had a little bit of color showing.
There were more signals coming from the hole, but it was late afternoon and Jimmy had to leave because his squirrell had gotten himself into the house and was making a chaos in the kitchen! So now I had to deal with the well he had been digging. I dug down a step so I could easier reach the bottom and had to struggle with a large rock on the side to where the canister had been. In the end I could move it a little and reach behind it. Another helmet!! Woohaa! It wasnt as perfect as the other one and missing the liner, but a lid is a lid :)
I was getting hungry and it slowly began to be dark, but I knew this was the very last chance before winter so I ran around a little picking up signals. I found a small Juwel primus, a few PPSh rounds and on the last signal this season I won a small lot of relics that had been dumped 80 years ago. A canteen together with two toothbrushes, a battery and a small bottle with its lable intact, which is not often I am finding.
Suddenly it was a lot darker. It goes so fast. It became difficult to see all my stuff, so I hastily collected it and had to make two trips to get it all back to the car.
Before driving home I sent Jimmy a pic of the last helmet and a few hours later he called me back. Slightly on the wine I think, he raved on about how evil winter was and that he wanted to dig all season through, so he had ordered several industrial heating mats, a generator and 5000 liter diesel! I cant wait to see how that will unfold :D
Have a good winter everyone :)