The hunt, organised by Robert Bytner, detectorist, history lover and our colleague from Swedish metal detecting club SMF – Sveriges Metallsökarförening, took place in Rzucewo in northern Poland. 40 detectorists from Sweden, England and Denmark gathered at the Castle “Jan Sobieski” outside Gdynia, to detect during three days on historic grounds.
Detectorists received permission from the archaeologist authority in Gdansk to search for metal artefacts in the castle’s parks and nearby fields. Everybody met on Thursday evening, where after a three course dinner Robert held a briefing about the search fields and the way of reporting findings. The evening was spent in the castle pub where detectorists acquainted themselves with the varieties of Polish beer. On Friday morning the proper search began in the local park. The castle’s owner had informed detectorists that the current castle was built in 1840, but there was a residue of an earlier castle ruins in what are now the paddocks. The park provided many finds, but the most interesting was a Roman silver coin from the time of Emperor Antoninus Pius 138 – 161, found by Duncan Patey. The next day Martin Theures found another Roman silver coin, this time it was Antoninus wife Faustina. A fibula found by Stefan Agurell was the third Roman discovery, which proves extensive trade contacts with the Roman empire. Polish archaeologists, who were accompanying and overseeing the search, were very impressed by the finds. Since most of the searchers had not been in Poland earlier, Robert organised a special briefing about the history of Poland in general and the area visited in particular. He mentioned that Napoleon’s Grand Armée marched there on their way to Russia in 1812 so nobody was surprised when one of the participants found a French button from Napoleon’s artillery regiment the next day. There were many finds, ranging from the Bronze Age (one piece raw bronze artefact) to communist-era aluminium coins. Traces of World War II were discovered in the shape of a Wehrmacht button and ammunition.
In Robert’s own words: “For me the biggest benefit of the trip was an opportunity to meet with other detectorists. Most of them I hadn’t met before, but already during the first evening, after a few Polish beers, we were like a big family. We were loud and had many laughs. To live in a real castle, dine on three course dinners and lunches, and have a lot of history under your feet make this a memory for life. I have already been asked to organise a new rally in the area and I’m planning it for the fall of this year.”
All found artefacts have been handed over to Polish archaeologists for detailed examination. All participants were awarded a special diploma by the authorities for their effort to enrich the Pomeranian history.
Organisers wish to thank Zamek Jan Sobieski Rzucewo and the archaeologists Dorota Szmyt and Edyta Przytarska from Pomorski Urząd Wojewódzkiego Konserwatora Zabytków.
Photos: Robert Bytner, Olavi Virta, Aarno Orell, Stefan Agurell, Hans Rosie, Jimi Wentzel Johansen, Joakim Henriksson, Patrik Svantesson, Martin Andersson, Jesper Zettergren.