Treasure Hunting in Southern Ural Mountains, Russia, page 5

Metal Detecting Ghost Town Svoboda (Story 7)

From studying the topographical map, I knew of another ghost village that was located 3.5 miles away. I told my friends about it. We were afraid of not having enough time for search but, being so curious about the site, we decided to hike there anyway after a short discussion.

According to the map, in order to get there, we had to cross a bridge over the creek. But the map was 30 years old and, therefore, availability of the bridge was questionable. Yes, the bridge had been destroyed but we managed to get on another side. I wish I did take pictures of our adventurous crossing the creek.

The rest of the hike was not difficult at all. When we got to the location of another abandoned settlement, the first strange object we came across was a huge ditch in the ground. The ditch was 50 yards long, 10 yards wide, and 5 yards deep, its walls were inlaid with stones. It had many fell rotten wood logs, remains of some structure, inside. We did not know what it was.

Strange Object

Retaining Stone Wall Of Some Structure

Retaining Stone Wall of Some Structure

As we were walking further towards the village center, we noticed the foundations on each side of the road. We had only two hours of searching time so I began metal detecting without delay.

A Big House Used To Stand Here, Now Just Piles Of Bricks And A Foundation.

Site Of A Big Brick House

Another Homestead Used To Stand Here

Site Of Another Homestead

To any treasure hunter, such a site would look like a dream site. But the more I was searching the site the more I was getting disappointed as I was digging only modern trash.

I hoped to find at least one old belt buckle or a spoon. It did not happen. All finds belonged to the 20th century time period. After two hours passed, I recovered only four keepers-early Soviet coins.

Oldest Coins Found At Both Sites

Soviet Coins Dug At Both Sites

After I had analyzed my finds from this metal detecting trip, I concluded that both settlements were not built until after the Great October Socialist Revolution took place in 1917 and communists took power in Russia.

The dates on coins could prove my theory. Perhaps a collective farm was organized at the location of the old Nunnery during the Collectivization in 1930s.

The village was probably named Freedom following the initial idea of setting the Nunnery as a religious refuge in the middle of nowhere, away from any civilization, in the 18th century.

Most likely, the nuns did not possess coins as they did not have to use them back then. They could farm and grow vegetables in the surrounding fields, make dairy produce from livestock, and exchange the excess for goods and other essential foods at the markets in the villages around. That could explain why the old coins were nonexistent at the site.

This experience was one of those rare occasions when the site looked so promising in the beginning but produced nothing at the end. Sometimes, it is hard to avoid such results. A substantial research could help in avoiding the Empty Hand situations.

Still, I considered this outing a great one. I finally satisfied my 2-year old curiosity about the place. My friends were introduced to the great hobby of metal detecting and got a small taste of it. They enjoyed it! And we all just had a good time being in a beautiful place away from the hustle and bustle of civilized life, just for a little while.

Happy Hunting!

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