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It’s that time again, our Forum Member of the Month Feature. This month we are pleased to have Alloverover! Ever the helpful hand on the forum here with IDs and amassing over 4300 posts I think you’ll agree he is one of those members that is an asset to have on here. I hope you like reading his interview as much as I enjoyed compiling it. A special thanks to Liam Nolan who helped me in preparing the questions.
Where does the Name Alloverover come from? Its not a sad story about one of your dogs is it? Lol
Absolutely correct Stephen…………….its not about a dead dog, it was thought of after a few beers one night for a couple of reasons, one being that I travel a lot (or did) with work and always get a bit of detecting in if I can, so I go all over, also, it was partly something that happened to me when I was in the army years ago so not sure what reminded me of it, we were out on exercise and turned our Landrover over . We obviously had to radio back to HQ to let them know, the conversation went something like this, whilst trying not to split our sides laughing,
We’ve tipped the Landrover over, over.
Say again, over.
The rover’s over, over .
…………………. Say again, over?
The Rover’s gone over, over.
And on it went, over and over, very Catch 22
That’s a good one! I’m glad I asked you that now!
You’ve been 18 months on the forum now with over 4350 posts to your name. You are probably one of the most popular members on here. I take it you enjoy your time on the forum? Is it part of your daily routine now?
Ah, thanks very much for that Stephen, to be honest with you if you had said to me 19 months ago that I would join a metal detecting forum on the computer and sit there night after night and catching a sneaky glimpse any other time I could, I would of said you were barking mad mate, but here I am and enjoying it very much thank you.
You have helped many members with identification of finds, so thanks very much for that. How did you get into that particular area?
That’s what attracted me when I first looked at the forum really, I thought, I know the answer to that, I know that too, if I look it up I know the answer to that as well, hmmm, I could give people a hand here and learn some new things at the same time. It’s mostly just stuff I have picked up over the years really, I’ve been lucky enough to find quite a bit of Roman stuff and have not done badly on the Celtic front, so its knowledge I have acquired for a reason really. I am sure many forum members are the same but just don’t get involved in giving IDs . I am always learning though and this is a good place for it, I can only look at a book so many times without a reason, but here you have a reason ……… as somebody has asked a question.
Do you use books or other means to help with your IDs?
Absolutely, I find Wildwinds website ( thanks Dane), invaluable for Roman coins and UKDF great for most things, I use the PAS website quite a bit but would use it more if it were a bit more user friendly, although it had a major overhaul fairly recently its still be a bit of a longwinded pig to use at times. If I look on the shelves above me then the most used books are Spink, Hattatts books on brooches and Robert Van Arsdell’s Celtic Coinage of Britain (among many others).
I believe you have been detecting for about 14 years? How did it all start?
Something like that Stephen, 14 or 16, not 100% sure, I’ve always been interested in old things, as an infant school kid I used to have my own ‘Museum’. My Brother used to have an old (new at the time) Blue C Scope, he never found much but I do remember going to Shoeburyness beach ( of all places ) once with my Dad and Brother, he got a signal and we dug down to reveal a rusty tube shaped object ….. we left it and the beach in the dust from the wheels of the Morris Marina, that was the early 70s!
We also used to go out on the mudflats off of Canvey Island to a crashed B17 Flying Fortress and pick up bits of it eyes only, I have just always loved things you can pick up for free, let it be fossils or the Matchboxes I used to get from Pub bins for my collection when I was 6 or 7! : )
How many machines have you owned over those years and what have you ended up with now?
Well, I have the Deus now, started off with a Whites Classic something, that really struggled to find anything and then was saved from jacking the hobby in ………. Tesoro came to the rescue and I started to find stuff, Silver Sabre to start, then onto a Laser B3, after that and well ahead of its time was the Lobo Supertraq, a great machine, had a small problem with the Lobo after many years and although it was hard I thought I would try XP and got a GMP, I don’t normally buy French, be it Wine or Cheese just as a matter of principle but I thought I would see what all the fuss was about and am pleased I did.
We have many new members asking advice on selecting their first machine, what advice have you got for them?
Buy a recognized make and don’t discount second hand machines, also, and this is the biggy, make sure you’ve got somewhere to use it before you buy it.
What type of land do you have on your permissions and what is your favourite terrain to search?
Arable, but I never miss an opportunity if it presents itself, be it a building site or a garden I am working in, I always have my machine with me. In the last couple of weeks I’ve had a Saxon brooch, a Sword Scabbard Chape, 3 lead tokens and 3 hammered off a very small site they have scraped the topsoil off for building, detecting is like the lottery, you’ve got to be in it to win it and the more tickets you buy or hours you put in, the better chance you have.
Did you have any problems with getting permissions when starting out? Any tips on how to get that first elusive permission?
I didn’t have a problem as I knew a Farmer but I made sure it was ok and THEN bought a machine. I’ve also knocked literally hundreds of doors in my time, very difficult where I live as people have a lot of uninvited guests on their fields.
Have you still got a Wish List? What would be your Dream Find?
It would have to be a hoard of rare Staters, or a single unique Stater would be nice, something rare and Iron Age anyway …………… or anything I could retire off of!
Do you have any interaction with the Archaeological groups, perhaps to help on any ID?
I take all the early Medieval coins I find to Martin Allen at the Fitzwilliam in Cambridge to be included in the early Medieval Corpus, he is always a pleasure to deal with.
Members enjoy rallies, is that something that you like doing?
Not so much now, I used to love them, didn’t detect much but loved the social side, its difficult now with a Wife and Child.
In the UK we have a very wide range of temperatures and weather conditions, what type of clothing have you got to cater for all that?
Shorts and T shirt for a few days of the year, for the rest it’s a pair of Muck Boots if wet, Windproof Arctic Combats and a Cowan Commando Barbour or a North Face Water/Windproof Jacket.
Normally unless it’s really cold I wear a Baseball cap to keep the rain off me bins or the sun out of my eyes.
You must have amassed a great number of top class finds over the years, any special ones that you would like to mention?
There are a few photos here of some finds, it took a while to get the bits together to take them as the finds I have still have are kept ‘in storage’. The sweetheart brooch is from The Staffordshire Yeomanry, I found that on an Essex site that’s seen a lot of military activity, I guess somebodys wife or girlfriend was in the dog house after losing it. There is a bit of Roman stuff there, mainly personal bits which I really like finding and a few Celtic silver units which I like finding even better.
The Kings head buckle is one of the best I’ve seen and the Circular Mount is awaiting recording at the moment.
What accessories have you ended up with and why?
I’ve got a rock climbing chalk bag for a finds pouch and a Garmin GPS, digger and machine. Most importantly though is a plastic bag to keep the bog roll in and a few for finds, that’s my detecting kit, less is more sometimes and the less gear I hump about the better, the more enjoyable the day is.
We launched the HAMMY CODE a while back to help with the ID process and to make the finds more enjoyable to read about, what vital information do you especially need for a quick ID?
A good photo, or two or three and the size.
Do you prefer to detect on your own or with a group?
I prefer to go digging on my own to be honest, I am not anti-social, in fact I am the opposite, sometimes it does make a nice change to have some good company, I’ve met a couple of forum members for a dig or two and really enjoyed it, thanks for having me Ray and Jez , both are fanatics so we have a lot in common but I do like to go out alone, I don’t normally have any breaks, maybe I will stop for a minute to re group my head if ive been running the machine too hot, but even when I smoked I wouldn’t wait till I’d finished a fag to start up again.
Do you belong to a club?
No I don’t.
Any preferences on times of day to detect?
I like early morning searching, especially in the Summer as there is still some moisture left in the ground, saying that I am like the Martini Girl really.
“Any time any place anywhere, as long as its above board”.
Are you a big believer in the “slow and low” detecting technique?
It depends what you are doing and what machine you are using, always low but not always so slow, if you have a new area to search you need to cover the ground to try and find the areas that you need to slow down in.
I have a recurring nightmare (seriously), I am detecting and whenever I look down my coil is at 45 degrees to the ground …….. Arrrrrrrrrrrrrgh!
Somebody recently said on the forum that everybody should go through a scuff cover every year, I make him right .
Do you use a strategy for searching a field i.e. The Union Jack Method” etc or do you tend to just search where you happen to wander when you go through the gate?
I have been known to Union Jack a field yes but with the size of fields these days you would have to split the field into many many flags for it work. I normally wander but always try to think what people would of done here in the past and where they would of congregated or lived.
Are there any animals in the fields you detect? Do you leave well enough alone and go onto the next empty field or do you they not bother with you?
I only have a few fields of pasture and they are used for sheep, I leave them alone during lambing but don’t worry about them at other times.
Do you tend to research an area well before going and asking permission? Are there any techniques that you find work well in researching an area?
I’ve researched a lot of Cambridgeshire, Norfolk and Essex over the years, as well as other places I’ve worked for a while, but all the research in the world is no good to you if you cant get permission. I find it better to get the permission first and then a bit of research and a lot of search, a lot of sites of interest are not documented so the more you are out there the more chance you have.
Have you taken your machine on holiday? Any problems with overseas detecting?
Have done a bit in Germany with no problems, easy to get permission there, apart from that I would of loved to have had it in Cyprus when I was working there, pottery all over the place and burials in underground caves being uncovered on site, very illegal though and I had no intention of ending up in a Cypriot jail.. ( I’ve heard what the Tunisian ones are like!)
How do you balance detecting time with job/family?
With great difficulty as anybody with a family (unless you are really lucky) will know, it’s like walking a Tightrope!
Any advice on helping members do their own ID's?
With coins, try and read them. With artifacts I suppose you either know or you don’t but the Internet makes everything so much easier and accessible these days, not like when I were a lad.
Experience or study is everything though really and by study I mean flicking through a book, the internet or just looking at the forum will give you a good start.
We have seen some disasters with amateur coin cleaning, how do you sort out your own finds and what should we all try to avoid?
Chemicals and over cleaning are things to be avoided I would say, I don’t even wax things unless they really need something on them these days. Having said that, I still make the odd mistake with cleaning, most things can be rescued if you know how though. The biggest revelation for me lately has been electrolysis, why I never used it before I really don’t know.
If you have a something special and are unsure though, take it to a professional conservator, it’s not as expensive as you might think.
What area of the UK do you think is best for detecting?
I used to think it was East Anglia Stephen but now know its Filey beach.
Any other hobbies, past or present?
There isn’t room for anything else Stephen, detecting is all I need!
Thanks for the Interview! Cheers Alloverover!
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Well done for putting it all together Stephen
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Hahahaha re the land rover is over made me laugh. Queens Own Reg brooch is just beautiful.
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In love with Mr Deus for ever.
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AS I often have said - You are one of the Icons her on forum, so well deserved.
Much knowledge and help shared with everyone from you.
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Well deserved member
If a robber ever breaks into my house looking for cash, i'll just laugh and look with him
You are usually one of the first to respond to members asking for help in IDing finds, we'll done and the forum of the month is well deserved.
Great interview Stephen, well done
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NfDUkR3DOFw" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
The land rover thing had me chuckling for while , great story
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