Metal Detecting in Russia - Treasure Hunting Stories

It Was Incredible To Feel 1000 Years Of Eventful History Under Search Coil

Remains of Russian Orthodox Wood Church, circa 18th Century

The following pages have treasure hunting stories and pictures from my metal detecting trips that I made to various locations in Russia between 2003 and 2010. You will see and read about the unique items I found, and the techniques I used to locate them. I hope that from reading these stories you will learn some new ideas and tips for detecting in your own locations.

NOTE: Here is bad news...


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On July 23rd, 2013, the Russian parliament enacted a harsh Federal Law - N245-FZ, prohibiting amateur metal detecting altogether in Russia. Now a Russian detectorist may face a 4-year jail term or $200,000.00 fine for digging up a coin, circa 1913 or older, in a farm field. Over two millions of law abiding citizens got deprived of the greatest hobby in the world... :((( In case you wish to read this law in English, I do not think it is possible as there are no pages for the Russian laws published in English on internet. Here is a link to the Russian newspaper ("Rossijskaya Gazeta") website which officially publishes all Russian laws upon their inactment, but it is in Russian language:
According to this law, in order to conduct any metal detecting search, one must be a certified archaeologist who is officially granted a special license called an "Open List". Anybody else, including "professional detectorists" (btw, this term does not exist in Russia), are not qualified to get the "open list", and, therefore, not allowed to metal detect (meteorite hunting is also prohibited) and even pick up a coin in the dirt of the plowed field if the coin was accidentally eyeballed. The preposterousness of this law is especially reflected in a statement about the "cultural layer" - an upper soil layer reflecting former presence of humans: "if it is 100 years old or older, it is archaeological!" This statement makes the entire country, except, of course, areas where no human activity took place, an archaeological site so that anyone without the "open list" CANNOT dig up or recover any coins or relics. (The off-limits areas also include any Water bodies: brooks, creeks, rivers, ponds, lakes, seas!) If one conducts the search and recovers finds, he or she becomes a subject to severe prosecution. In the worst case, the prison sentence for digging coins may be longer than for homicide (5 years).
Claimed to be the law to "protect the cultural heritage and values", this federal law on the contrary does more harm than good. First, this law deprives a few generations of hobby enthusiasts, and will deprive the upcoming generations, of their right to pursue learning of their cultural heritage and values by means of the metal detecting hobby. The hobby truly inspires enthusiasts not only to study both local and national history, but also learn numismatics, cartography, types of artifacts and methods for their cleaning and preservation, etc. Nothing to say about how the hobby kept thousands of youngsters from being enslaved by computer games, and adults from drinking and turning into "couch potatoes".
Secondly, now many coins and artifacts that still remain in ground will not be spared from getting destroyed by plough action, fertilizers and weathering in the fields. Russian archaeologists do not conduct any search in the farm fields not only because there is "nothing interesting" for them there, but also because there are only 600 certified archaeologists in the entire country! And even some of these guys now admit that the Russian archaeological community is currently in such a poor state of affairs due to lack of funding and manpower, that without usual help of metaldetectorists who regularly inform the scientists of new archaeological sites and discoveries, and supply the archaeologists with rare artifacts to be described in scientific papers and dissertations, the post-Soviet archaeology may just fall apart as well...

My Web Stories on Metal Detecting & Treasure Hunting in Russia

Siberian Photo Galleries:

There was nothing like treasure hunting in Russia! 1000 years of eventful history, vast historical areas with numerous ghost-villages, availability of good historical maps, diversity of coin and artifact finds, absence of the "Posted" signs (vast territories have no ownership) - all that used to make the process of metal detecting in Russia truly enjoyable... until July 23, 2013.

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