The Fish and the Shekel

Many detectorists have taken up the hobby via their love of angling. And that is why the anglers amongst you may find this story particularly interesting and thought-provoking.

The Israeli government has recently announced a ban on fishing, claiming that stocks have fallen to a dangerous low because nets with small holes have exceeded legal limits. The ban came into effect at the end of last year, thus ending a tradition that has continued virtually unchanged since Biblical times.

The Sea of Galilee – actually a freshwater lake – happens to be the site of several miracles described in the Bible, including the place where Jesus told his disciples that he would make them the ‘fishers of men’. The area has long been known for its plentiful stocks of fish and the most common catches are known as St Peter’s Fish, so named after the Bible passage in which Peter, one of the disciples, hooks a fish with a coin in its mouth. It was hailed as a miracle and enabled him to pay his temple tax. You can check out the story in the good book at Matthew 17: 24-2

Jesus said to PeterBut so that we may not cause offence, go to the lake and throw out your line. Take the first fish you catch; open its mouth and you will find a four-drachma coin. Take it and give it to them for my tax and yours.” – Matthew 17:27

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A Load of Baloney

  • being a typical metal detecting news story

A monumental hoard. How the press often report such stories

I remember when local and national media reported the finding of a ‘monumental hoard’ of more than 5,000 silver coins buried during the English Civil War, and uncovered in a Lincolnshire field. Maybe you remember this remarkable find. Paul Coleman, finder of the Lenborough Hoard, found the coins on a Weekend Wanderers rally in 2014. When he told the journalist first on the scene that he had shared petrol money with friends in order to attend, this was reported that he was on the skids and ‘broke’.

Lenborough Hoard of 5,248 Saxon Coins found by Paul Coleman in 2014

When asked about his job, Paul said he was self-employed and looking to expand and that he was, ‘between projects’. This was interpreted as ‘unemployed’. The sad thing is that this mis-reporting was picked up by others and perpetuated! When Paul protested, the journalist said that was the sort of thing that sold newspapers and made the story more interesting. My advice is not to believe everything you read in the media. I hope my account in the The Searcher Magazine was fair and accurate.

Usually, in situations like this, the first journalist picking up the story concentrates on the find and embellishes his report with innocuous words like, ‘the haul was found in a muddy field’. The guy who discovered the hoard is rarely, if ever, referred to as a metal detectorist and, as in this case, only the finder’s name was stated, but with the appellation, local treasure hunter .

Speculation on the money the hoard or artefact is worth is also a perceived newsworthy factor. I reported the story of a detectorist who found a ‘very rare’ Roman ingot. The MailOnline, that arbiter of good taste and fine reporting, stated that the ingot would sell for £60,000. Buried in the text was the information that the auction wasn’t until the end of the month! At the auction it sold for £25,000. Still a tidy sum, but way short of £60,000.

more jiggery pokery


Regular readers of this blog will know that I love ‘coins on the palm of the hand pictures’, simply because I can hone up on my fortune telling abilities. The hand is always in focus and the lines pin-sharp. Doesn’t matter about the teeny blurred coin.

A couple of years ago I published what follows. I was reminded by my Texas buddy and doppelgänger Dick Stout, Keeper of Blog Standards, who had enjoyed the post. It also gives me a great cop-out by repeating scribblings you’ve seen before.


You may not recognise the word, but I’m sure that you will recognise the genre

10 celebrities who have aged badly; 20 ways to insult someone without cursing; 15 signs that you are not a nice person, or 10 things to make out of a discarded Garrett probe boxes’.

You get the gist; the world seems to have gone list crazy. But it makes for lazy writing … and easier to do a blog post, of course! Not only that, listicles suit hard-pressed writers and time-poor readers. At the end of the day it’s a win-win situation, innit?

With this in mind, I have been looking closely at the listicles that regularly frequent newspapers, magazines and the Web. For those who don’t know, the word is made up of ‘list’ and ‘article’. Followers of Lewis Carroll will recognise the form as a ‘portmanteau’ word. The Oxford Dictionary defines the word as ‘an article that takes the form of a numbered or bullet-pointed list.’

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