Digging into the past for 40 years
METAL detectorists who started their own society to uncover the area’s underground history are celebrating 40 years of discoveries.
The Severnvale Historical Research and Detecting Society, known as SHRADS, aims to use the buried items members find to increase our understanding of historical events.
The society has uncovered items from pre-history, such as flints, and many items from Roman and medieval times. Anything over 300 years old is logged on a national database. Several musket balls found indicate historic hunting, as well as conflicts that have occurred. It’s known that several Civil War skirmishes took place in the area, and when the finds are mapped, it shows where these events took place.
Members of the group have also found items from far more recent history.
Chairman Nick Keeler said: “One of my more interesting finds was a silver christening bracelet, which I found near Charfield. Inside was inscribed the name of the recipient and, through a local appeal, I managed to track down the owner and reunite her with the bracelet. She had lost it some 40 years earlier, whilst playing in the field where I found it.”
The society started out in 1979 on the Berkeley estate, with support from its farmers, but it now covers a larger area, with both farmers and landowners giving permission for members to search their land. It’s rare for a find to be of major historical importance or to be worth a lot of money, but if it is then the farmer and landowner get an equal share with the finder.
The group can be seen out detecting most Sundays in nearby villages.
Nick said: “Not only does metal detecting add to the local history of the Severn Vale but it also gives members an opportunity to exercise, reduce stress, spend time in the countryside and engage in social events. The hobby also allows us to connect with people.”
SHRADS also supports local charities, raising over £2,800 for St Peter’s Hospice, as well as making donations to the Great Western Air Ambulance and the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Society (RABI).
For more information go to www.shrads.org.uk.