American detectorists in the UK…

There’s been a lot of discussion of late about the validty of the finds uncovered when those of us from the US travel to the UK.  I say a lot of discussion, but I am really talking about one discussion by my good friend in Warsaw, and we all know we can take what he says with a grain of salt.  He again was trolling the websites and forums,  looking for something, anything, and decided he he would try to divide and conquer, pitting the British hunter against his US counterpart, by accusing anyone  sponsoring trips to the UK of “planting” finds to keep the hunters happy.

In one of his recent blog posts he targets Ron Guinazzo, a.k.a. Chicago Ron, a good friend, and an avid treasure hunter. Not sure why Ron was targeted, but I suspect  it was because he is high profile, and very successful. I know Ron, and any attempts at trying to discredit him is a waste of time. Then again some people  apparently have lots of time on their hands, and feel the need to discredit anyone who has more “skins on the wall”.

Way back when the FMDAC first ventured overseas it was thanks to Leisure Promotions, Ltd., and Mick Turrell.  Leisure  Promotions was at the forefront of putting together treasure hunting trips and rallies, and is still going strong today. Mick is also one of the founders of the  famed Newbury Rally, and is highly regarded by most every detectorist in the UK. I decided to ask Mick about the potential for seeding sites to induce hunters and to keep them coming  back.

He replied…

“Back in the 80’s we were copying our American counterparts and burying tokens and modern coins for the British detector users to find. This quickly changed as the  Brits would rather find nothing at all than to find a planted coin. It was easy to spot, as you cannot bury a coin today and make it look like it has been in the  ground for hundreds of years. No rally organiser would do this, as it would be quickly spotted and he would be shown the error of his/her ways.

We occasionally mark off  an area where we bury small coins and artefacts so that beginners to the hobby can try out their new detectors to insure they work correctly.  If they do not already  do so, I would recommend that archaeologists do the same in test conditions so that students can practice their skills to ensure that nothing is missed. We find loads of items in their spoil heaps so the practice would do them good.”

So, take what you want from this discussion, and make your own decisions. I will personally stand behind Chicago Ron, and state that he is an honest man, and is  a hero of mine as well….



I just finished chatting with Ron, and he forwarded the following videos and photos from 2012. Keep in mind too that  when Ron’s group travels to the UK  they spend a full day detecting, often from dawn to dusk. With that kind of effort and concentration anythng is possible.

The following 5 Roman Silver coins (Honorius from 395 to 423 A.D.) were found on one field, and were considered a hoard…

The following Saxon gold coins were found on a three week trip to the UK, and they are with the British Museum, awaiting inquest, and will probably  be purchased by the museum. Early estimates of value are 3 to 8 thousand pounds each. The finder and landowner will split the procedes (there are now 5 saxon  gold coins in the hoard).

Two of the five Saxon coins found….







I feel very privileged to be the guest on the American Digger Magazine’s Relic Roundup this coming Monday, December 3rd. Hope you will tune in and phone in.  Ask me all those questions you have had over the years….I probably won’t answer them, but will sure as hell give you a response of some sort (All kidding aside,  hope you will tune in and participate). Looking forward to it….

Once you click on the American Digger link above, scroll down to Relic Roundup, hit the green arrow, and give yourself a name, real or otherwise. That’s all there is to it, and there’s a phone number to call in  and ask questions. I have instructed Butch not to accept any phone calls from Warsaw, Poland or from any pregnant women. Other than that I am good to go…..



Filed under Metal Detecting

17 responses to “American detectorists in the UK…

  1. bill from lachine

    Very good write up and I agree that for obvious reasons seeding sites would backfire and most seasoned detectorists would catch on if it was happening.
    The hardcore detectorists who hit the UK sites 12 hours per day for a week or more are bound to make some great finds….we have to keep in mind also that most of these fields have been in continuous use for 2000 years or more and span Roman, Celtic, Saxon, Medieval and modern era periods….lots of finds waiting for the coil.

    Regards + HH


  2. wintersen

    I wish that those organisers accommodating foreign tourists would allow indigenous detectorists to attend … in the last 12 years I have found only ONE gold coin. But then, maybe I lack the expertise, search on barren land, or am just plain unlucky!

    • John I get the gist of your comments, but I still standby my comments about Ron. I think if you spent three weeks hunting a field, 12 hours a day, you are bound to find more, and I hardly think that someone would plant gold coins like those shown in his submissions…….

  3. bill from lachine

    Just a few additional comments….one of the main locales for these trips happens to be in Colchester which was the Roman capital of the UK back in the day….probably improves your odds of finding the killer finds.

    Regards + HH


  4. John Howland

    The mischief-maker-in-chief must be sitting back with a large Polish vodka and laughing at the wedge he’s driven between US and UK treasure hunters. Smart move I have to say. He’s a ruthless man after my own heart. Yo, respect. Gimme five!

    Unsurprisingly, the ‘Goodies’ have fallen for his ruse. What’s incredible is that he still attracts detectorists like flies to a turd in support of his oddball views. Some in our hobby have recently proven they just ain’t too smart at reading the broader canvas; turkeys voting for Christmas….. and when the excrement really hits the fan, let’s see where the likes of Peter Twinn for example, stand, or horror of horrors, has the guts to go against him.

    Our man will rub Twinn’s nose in his own excrement. Something I rather look forward to!

  5. bill from lachine

    Good to see you haven’t lost your edge….lol.
    Even though you or myself and a few others could probably give this twit a go for his money….I couldn’t be bothered wasting my time or energy….he’s a lost cause insofar as a give and take exchange goes….likewise for his alter ego Swifty or whatever his name is.

    Regards + HH


  6. Thanks Dick.
    For all that you do to support and promote this great hobby. I too believe we need to show our best side at all times, even when they are not looking. The haters will always have something to pick at whether real or imagined.
    Keep on swinging!

  7. Gary Knoke

    I’ve been on 22 detecting trips to the UK in the last 20 years,with 3 operators still running trips. The question of ‘salting’ fields comes up frequently, with lots of opinions and anecdotes. Herewith a few of mine:

    1. Earlier this year I needed a fifth foreign coin to meet the minimum set by a grading service. I picked a florin I found in the 90’s. It came back “whizzed and cleaned.” I had to look up ‘whizzed.’ Found out it means cleaned with an electric tool. Very strong possibility it was salted.
    2. A guy on a trip found a Roman gold coin. Excited, he took it to the local Dover coin shop. Owner says, “I’ve seen that coin before!” and points to a distinctive line crack at about 4:00. “I sold it last week to ______”, naming one of the Brits who ran the trip on the England side, finding fields, etc.
    3. I found my first Roman (or so I thought) in an apple field. Told the same guy referred to above, and he was really surprised. “Not in the pea field?” he asked. “No,” I replied, puzzled. It took a while for me to realize he’d probably only salted the pea field. And it wasn’t a Roman. LOL.
    4. Two very experienced detectorists told me that they had found a suspiciously cleaned sestertius and a crotal bell with no dirt inside. I guess the worms cleaned out the dirt and kept it spiffy in the ground all these years (different tour operator than #’s 1-3 above).
    5. A group of Americans was having a tough trip, especially with dry soil conditions. Taken to a field they’d been on in previous years, they found 2 dozen denarii. Possible? Maybe, but very very unlikely. The field has been hit to the tune of thousands of detectorist-hours.

    • Gary, thanks very much for taking the time to respond…..

      Apparently “some” of your trips were not on the up and up. I certainly cannot guarantee that this sort of preparation doesn’t take place, but in the case of Ron’s trips, I am certain it does not.

      Having made 22 trips in 20 years I have to wonder why you still continue if you feel that a lot of it is a hoax or scam? Perhaps you have finally found one tour group that you feel is honest and above board?

      Thanks again for your input…’s apparently a topic that will continue to be debated.

      • Gary Knoke

        Hi again,

        Thanks for the kind words. Yes, I have found a tour group that I feel is aboveboard and honest. I’ve been on 2 trips with them, and the logistics, as well as the finds, have been fantastic. I’d give them a ‘plug’ but the tour operator wants to keep the trips “small and exclusive”, in his words, so I’ll just leave people to find them through Google, or detectorists can e-mail me directly.


  8. For the record, Gary’s email address is

  9. Deep Digger Dan

    I’m not taking sides, don’t have a problem with Ron and love the Americans but from what I have been hearing the reason some British are attacking Ron is not to do with the finds he has in England. It is that he was supposed to have said that when he comes to hunt in England no British are allowed to go on the hunts with him. I don’t know if that was said or not but that is the reason for his unpopularity in Britain right now.

    • Well first off, you are replying (in July of 2013) to a post from November of 2012? Not the best way to get your point across. I have sent a copy of your comments to Ron, and will see if he responds.

      My guess is:

      1. It’s an offer, a tour, drawn up by an American, for Americans that is designed to give them a chance to metal detect/vacation in a foreign country.

      2. That the Brits wouldn’t want to pay the fees listed, and could and would simply plan their own trips to Colchester.

      3. That it wouldn’t make much sense for someone from Chicago to put together an overseas trip package to the UK for people who live in the UK.

      Lastly, I wasn’t aware that Ron was unpopular in the UK. Maybe I missed something? Anyway stay tuned…I feel pretty sure Ron will respond to your question/statement/stirring of the pot, whatever…

  10. mainediggerrick

    I think what it is People from the U.K. dont what foreigners finding all the goodies and taking them before they do. I know its hard to find places to detect here in New England and if there were people hitting all the cella holes here I would try and say something to deture them from coming. so that being said I’m starting my own tour I’ll take you UKers to my cella holes I found for 10,000 pounds. Whatever that is U.S. money lol. Oh yeah no U.S. citizens

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