My Article on Metal Detecting Sites & Research Published in the "Lost Treasure" Magazine
Metal Detecting the Obvious Sites with White's XLT: Program Settings
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When I metal detect the hunted out site, I follow a simple pattern of searching. First, I determine the perimeter of the site boundaries; the stone walls, the pathways, the waterways, the trenches, etc. The idea is to start detecting along these boundaries and follow their configuration moving gradually towards the foundation(s).
Whether or not the site have been searched before you arrived there, you would likely discover not only some "keepers" along the perimeter, but also a "hot" spot that was left undetected by others. To some inexperienced detectorists, this spot may seem inconvenient for metal detecting so they do not bother to search it. That is where you might unearth many interesting finds.
Recently, I chose the site of the blacksmith shop that operated in the mid-1800s. I had driven by the ruins of the shop before but never had time to check it out. The old-timers claimed that a cache of gold coins was buried on the location by the blacksmith.
I knew that this location had been hunted before but, while looking at its size, I intuitively knew that one "untouched" spot was left here. My intuition did not fail. As soon as I ground balanced my White's XLT, I got a solid signal.
Standing just five feet away form my car, I looked at the XLT's display that read "50" at the depth of 4 inches. "It cannot be real," I whispered in disbelief when I unearthed a coin-like object. It was a little bit larger than a half dollar.
Later after being cleaned, it turned out to be a "Good Luck" token of the "Don't Worry" club.
Within the next 15 minutes, I recovered five coins: 1843 Large Cent, 1855 2-cent piece and three Indian Head pennies dated 1863, 1883 and 1889. All five coins and the token were dug out from one spot, the "hot" spot, which was approximately 30-40 feet away from the foundation remains, and so close to the road that I could probably metal detect right out of my car's window.
After one and a half hours of searching the site, I dug out four more coins: two nickels and two Barber dimes, dated from the late 1800s, in addition to a few buttons, horse shoes and various iron pieces of tools. These finds were also recovered in the distance from the foundation. I randomly searched the area around the blacksmith shop's ruins and found nothing but many pieces of rusty tin cans.
When I treasure hunt the obvious site, I "crank up" my own "sensitivity," patience and persistence. To increase my chances of recovering the most difficult targets, I examine every suspicious signal, try not to swing the coil too fast and use the coils of different sizes.
To increase the detector's operational depth range, I set up Discrimination at the low level: from "-35" and up, including "+95." Not to be bothered by many signals from the small junk targets, I use Modulation. Along with Tone ID, it makes the targets sound more characteristic and allows me to take advantage of the accepted "+95."
By setting Bottle Cap Reject on 1, the lowest level, I improve the detector's ability to recognize the good targets masked by the junk. To be able to identify their sizes and shapes I turn Ratchet Pinpointing off.
As I metal detect mostly at the abandoned sites, my basic rule is to dig every target that produces a solid signal. I am sure you have heard a few stories about "beginner's luck." It usually happens because almost every novice to the hobby is eager to dig up all targets in order to learn the skills of metal detecting.
As we gradually gain experience in metal detecting, most of us change our attitude towards selective digging of targets. But we really should not do this as the "novice" attitude always pays off!
I would like to mention the importance of studying old maps, the ones that show the dwellings, school houses, etc. For example, the Beer's Atlas of the County is one of the most reliable maps of that type dated from the 19th century. By comparing a Beer's map to the topographic map of the late 19th century and then to the modern topo map, you can acquire the knowledge of where and when the housing grew or declined in your area in the past.
Searching the obvious sites during the cold months can be very rewarding. Just do not forget the treasure hunter's code of ethics and always think about your personal safety first. Happy hunting!
You can read my other article, "Exploring "White Spots" In Winter", published in the "Western & Eastern Treasures" magazine.
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