Another legend passes on…

Just received word from John Howland that Roy Lagal passed away  last month.  Not sure how that information got by me, given so many of his friends. Roy was a treasure hunting legend, author, and Charles Garrett’s sidekick for many, many years.    Roy Lagal, RIP



Butch Holcombe from American Digger Magazine posted the following article on Facebook, and needless to say  it brought a lot of responses. Click to enlarge….

Butch’s response was as follows…..

How sad that such ignorant ideas should come from such a high position as the VA state archeologist. Hear me out:

(1) as far as the Civil War, WHAT context? Most sites have been plowed, or at the least picked over since the fighting stopped by souvenir hunters. Besides,  there are volumes of records from that war. A bullet is just a bullet: if you want to know where it was fired from or who lost it, read the records.

(2) I know numerous relic hunters and have never seen anyone make a living of their finds. Those that do sell items make pennies on the dollar for  the time put in. Bullets and most buttons sell for $1-$5 on the retail market. Rare “$1000” items sell for that much because they are RARE. Most relic  hunters never find those.

(3) Iron artifacts Do, DO, DO deteriorate in the ground! Any archeologist doubting this, don’t take our word for it: ask a metallurgist! Even brass and  lead deteriorate, just not quite as fast.

(4) Museums sell off their extra artifacts, to the private market. Yet that is ok in the professional’s eyes? Can someone explain the difference?

(5) Yes archeologists are slow because they do record every detail (and must wait for funding). Part of that is commendable, but if a site is being destroyed  is it not better to salvage SOMETHING than nothing? This reeks of a “If we can’t have it neither should you” mentality.

(6) Oh, I see, he says that such sites should be off limits because it encourages selling relics. So, this means it is better that they be destroyed by bulldozers?  What kind of logic is that?

(7) Ah, and the “Reality” TV shows! If archeologists really believe that is what relic hunters do, then relic hunters should believe Indiana Jones does what real  archeologists do.

Sorry, I had to vent…and you should too! Share this as much as you want, the truth must be told!


I think you all know my take on this subject, and won’t bother getting carried away anymore. It’s taken me 35 years to discover that the archaeological community  has no respect for what we do, and has no interest in working with us. We hunt on private land, with the landowner’s permission, and as far as I am concerned, what  we find is none of their business. If that sounds harsh, so be it.

Archaeologists want to lay claim to every square inch of ground and what for? They will never, ever get around to surveying, nor digging it all, so better  we find it and preserve it for generations to come (unlike all those artifacts in drawers at so many universities). If that happens to irritate them, I really don’t  care! Trying to communicate with them is like “pissing in the wind”.

I know many of you still think we need to find a way to work with this group, and that’s fine. Have at it. As far as I am concerned, you can  only try so many times, over so many years, until you just get tired and fed up. I am both!



A couple of weeks ago I received an email from John Howland (a.k.a. Bubba) telling me to be on the lookout for a package, as he was sending something to me,  and adding “I have been to a great deal of inconvenience and expense to obtain it”. Knowing he was aware of my tastes, I dug out the 24% lead crystal scotch  glass, and just in case, I also pulled out the Riedel Bordeaux glass I use on special occasions.

Angst set in, over the ensuing days, and each day I would run out to catch the mailman to see if he had a package for me. Finally two days ago I went out to the mailbox,  and wedged inside was a small package with international credentials. It was from Bubba. I could see from the size of the box it was not a bottle of anything,  but then I thought, perhaps it was a watch, or something along that line.

I carefully and nervously unwrapped the box, trying not to disturb whatever was inside. Like a coin, one scratch could reduce one to crying…. After removing  the final piece of tissue paper I had a coffee mug. One from France. Ste Mere Eglise to be exact. It had the famous 82nd Airborne, and 101st Airborne patches on it,  as well a picture of the infamous church where Private John Steele became entangled during the D day invasion….

Will he send a third one next year?

Oh well, no Scotch, no Bordeaux, but a memento or souveneir none the less. Then, as I looked at the mug, I did a double take. I went to cupboard and there staring me in the face was the  same mug, sent to me a year ago by guess who?

Then I figured it out…the guy has a case of these, and periodically sends them out to people with a story attached, as in “I have been to a great deal of inconvenience,  etc”… John is a walking encylopedia of knowledge when it comes to British History, but never ceases to amaze me with his ability to pinch a penny, and “baffle them with bullshit!”  Oh well, now Fay has a mug like mine too.

I am just now putting the scotch glass back in the cupboard, putting the Riedel glass back in it’s special box, and the tears have dried up….



Filed under Metal Detecting

8 responses to “Another legend passes on…

  1. Robbie

    If an artifact is in the ground ( let’s just say a Civil war button)–unknown to the archaeologist for 150+ years, why does it upset them for a metal detectorist to find it and retreive it?? As far as they know it is NOT there….they don’t have X-Ray eyes to see it in the ground!!! But now, if a metal detectorist digs it up…..all of a sudden it is IMPORTANT to them.
    Where was their concern and just how important is the artifact to them, when for 150+ years the item, which they had no clue it was in the ground, has been in the ground??

    • When I recently told one arkie that he was jealous, his reply…

      “Of what? Finding Barber dimes, wheaties and corroded Confederate buckes and uniform buttons? He really has to be joking.”

      Problem is they will not butt out of our business….especially since they haven’t anything else to do.

  2. Robbie

    I have a few of Mr. Lagals books, and they are very informative.
    R.I.P. Roy.

  3. He’ll dine out on that Mug Caper for years!

  4. Sad to hear about the passing of Roy Lagal…he was a Legend but besides that he was very Nice and Down to Earth type person…he could have had a big head and a big ego but he did not…I met him in person at a Flea Market in Wimberly, Texas back in the late 1990’s…..he autographed one of his books for me…very nice fellow…

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