Saturday, October 8, 2011

Detecting Report: Saxapahaw Oct 8th

I got a call last night from my friend James who lives out near Greensboro.  We hadn't been out detecting together in a while and he wanted to search some sites in the red clay around Saxapahaw.  I took him to a field on Saxapahaw Bethlehem Church Rd. (for the non-locals, that would be the road that runs from Saxapahaw to Bethlehem Church!) where the targets in the past have been old, but spaced out considerably.

Fortunately for us, we managed to find a hot-spot amongst the cows where I now believe a building may have stood prior to the turn of the century.  The first sign was the threshhold hum of the detector dropping out, indicating discriminated targets (in my case, just iron).  One key indicator that we were in an old building site was the presence of broken glass and pottery.  We found several pieces of broken porcelain, thick clear and purple glass, and ceramics mixed in with our metal targets.  The best iron find (even discriminated, you still recover some) was a piece of a large hinge.  I've found hinges before, so in and of itself it was nothing special, but it did serve to cement the idea of an old building site.

We both recovered a fair amount of miscellaneous brass, including a broken harmonica reed, a toe plate from a boot, a lantern wick turner (1868 or 88 patent date), and what I believe to be the brass opening for a knife scabbard.  The small brass two-hole button was a neat find, though I don't know it's age.  James recovered his very first civilian flat button, missing a shank but otherwise very nice.  His button likely dates to the 1830-1860 timeframe, and perhaps a little earlier.

The find of the day was a flattened out Bingham School uniform button.  The site we were searching was within walking distance of the school, which operated at Oaks from 1844-1864.  It has script style "BS" letters on the front with a Scovill MF'G CO. Waterbury transitional (1860-1880's) backmark.  I have heard that buttons with broken shanks were sometimes flattened out for poker chips, though this one isn't perfectly flat like those examples that I have seen, so the damage may be naturally occurring in the ground.  Although this button has none of the original gold gilt remaining, it has taken on the most beautiful green patina, and I'm thrilled to have it in my collection.  This makes my 7th Bingham uniform button (a script coat and script cuff found near Mebane, and four script coats and a block cuff found near Saxapahaw).  I do intend to do a much longer post on Bingham, as a brief history in a detecting report would simply not do it justice.

Thanks to James for a great day out detecting with a friend, and to you all for reading!


  1. Tony thanks for the invite. We will have to do it again.