Digging the dirt even before Inside Out returns.
It's about as close as I'll get to a silver medal.
The coin had lain underground for some 700 years until I and a handful of others started digging around an archaeological site in Coquetdale, Northumberland.
I decided to use my extra few weeks away from work to start a fresh hobby. As you'll see from earlier blog posts of mine, my last project was to produce a history documentary and I finally decided I should get hands-on and do some actual archaeology.
As the presenter of Inside Out I'm used to digging the dirt on our investigations, but this is real dirt and real digging.
There are lots of community archaeology groups where enthusiastic amateurs carry out digs under the guidance of professionals.
Chris Jackson with trowel in excavation site
The Coquetdale Community Archaeology group has been excavating an old fulling mill and this month we returned to see if we could take previous years' work even deeper.
As we unearth more and more stones, walls emerge and so do some mysterious lines and structures, changes in soil colouration. I leave it to the experts to see if they can made head or tail from it.
Every now and then we come across something a bit more tangible.
My first "find"
A fragment of medieval pottery. From the curvature it was clearly a section where the pot wall met the base.
My imagination started to fill in the rest and of course you start to wonder who might have handled it centuries before I did?
This was my first ever "find" and whilst it was being bagged, numbered and filed, I was still in the afterglow of feeling connected with the past in an incredibly unique way.
Emotions can run away with you though. That high was soon replaced by serious "find envy", when a fellow volunteer only feet away from me let out a yelp as he unearthed something shiny and round.
What he'd found was a silver coin from the reign of Edward I. That much was evident as soon as the mud was cleared away because the coin was in fantastic condition.
With a bit of investigation it was narrowed down to having been minted in Durham between 1280 and 1281.
Such a great discovery helps date that part of the site and it fits in perfectly with the general feeling that this was a fulling mill from this particular period.
Sadly this dig came right at the end of my leave and now I am back in the office preparing for the next series of Inside Out which starts in October.
Digging in Coquetdale
Archaeology gets you outdoors into some spectacular scenery and you can't do much better than digging amongst the sheep in Coquetdale.
As much as I love my job, it's hard to beat getting your hands dirty amongst the clarts, even in a British summer!