I promised I would respond to Lisa MacIntyre’s recent post….

First I think you all know of my love for archaeologists.  This is the result of years and years of trying to talk to them, understand them, work with them and cooperate with them.  At this point in my life I no longer try.


Tekkie vs. Arkie

I came to know Lisa after debating her on the American Digger Magazine’s Relic Roundup show. Labeled the Tekkie vs. Arkie showdown we did two hour long shows that ended with no clear winners.  Didn’t change my mind at all but I came away with a lot of respect for Lisa.  Why?  Because she was a receptive, considerate listener and understood our plight. She did not attempt to belittle or diminish what it is we do, and seemed willing to compromise and work with us….surely not endearing her to her archeological friends or peers.

I was familiar with the Florida artifact case having seen it promoted on a Polish blog a few months ago.  Of course the blogger in question was drooling all over his keyboard because that type of write-up causes people like him to have orgasms.  I thought then and still think now that the methods used to arrest the accused were over-the-top and seemingly unnecessary.  I use the word seemingly because just maybe there were circumstances that led the officials involved to believe that there might be resistance or weapons involved, although I find no mention of that being the case in any of the articles.

I have read and reread the original article that started this firestorm and I must now agree that it was somewhat slanted.  Didn’t change my mind or my feelings but it was pretty obvious.  Not being familiar with the newspaper in question one can assume it’s just another case of biased journalism, which seems to be norm anymore.  Likewise the responses from the archaeological links were what you would expect as well.

I think it’s important for all of us to look at this particular issue and try to see both sides.  Not easy to do I know.. A few excerpts from the article links below…

“This is not the situation of a family out hiking and finding an arrowhead or other artifact that they want to take home”, Brown said.We did not target the casual collector. These subjects intentionally destroyed lands and rivers for their own personal gain. Some even made their entire living on these illegal sales.”

“The methods used by those charged were extremely damaging to the environment”, officials said.They were operating on state lands, illegally dredging rivers and digging massive holes in pristine wooded areas.”

Bendus said the laws against illegally grabbing artifacts were strong enough, but that the state needs to get better about working with collectors and archaeologists to make a dent in the practice. “I think we need to come up with some creative solutions beyond the laws,”


I think somewhere there’s a working solution for all this, and it’s probably coming up with a program similar to the UK’s PAS, but I doubt anything like that will happen in my lifetime. One can only hope. Interestingly enough Heritage Harry offered up this  post today.  It’s a joke just like his Artifact Erosion Counter and typical of what obsessed and vindictive people do.  He and his Polish counterpart obviously have way too much time on their hands but that’s understandable when you don’t have any friends.

Anyway I have mixed feeling and emotions about all this.  I am a detectorist and I will always stand with my fellow tekkies and collectors.  On the other hand we are a nation of laws, and we cannot and should not arbitrarily decide which of those we will honor or break.  We don’t have to like them but we must obey them.  The answer I believe is finding a way to change them so that all parties have an equal say, if that’s even possible…

Sarasota Man One of Thirteen Arrested

Florida Busts Artifact Thieves

Illegal Artifact Ring Broken Up



Finally spied three more boxes of UMO’s in the garage, and decided to sort through them and see if maybe I overlooked any goodies.  I used to use plastic shoe boxes to store these unknowns and somewhere I still have a few more stashed away.  Where they are is anyone’s guess.

Anyway, sorting through these boxes took a lot more time than I’d anticipated.  I found myself looking at things a little closer, and yep, found a few keepers, as in coins.  Not sure how they wound up there but they did.  When I look at all the miscellaneous items in these boxes I now understand why my back hurts so much!


clockwise, pen knives, scouting items, sinkers and watch parts…

Amongst the trash I found two old large cents, pretty much dateless, as well as a holed silver quarter and a 1926 Philadelphia Sesquicenntenial International Exposition coin or token.  Not worth a great deal but a nice memento that needs a separate place among my keepers. I also found three very dark toned Kennedy half dollars and a 1972 Eisenhower dollar (same condition).  No idea again why they look as they do or how they wound up in these boxes, but then again I cannot remember what I had for breakfast this morning.

Sesquicenntenial Souveneir coin

Sesquicenntenial Souveneir coin

Keys seemed to make up the majority of my UMO’s, along with a few bullets, shell casings, scouting clasps and match box cars. There were also a few pieces of junk or cosmetic jewelry scattered throughout but nothing of significance or of value, and oh, what was left was still UMO’s.

Gotta tell you it was fun looking over all these items and now I have a hankering to find the rest of my UMO’s!


Clockwise, keys, dateless large cents, junk and junk jewelry



Just got a followup tag from Howland to his most recent post, and you can view it by clicking on the Malamute Saloon link above and scrolling down to today’s date.  Believe it or not he gave a nod to Wally!



Filed under Metal Detecting

20 responses to “MHO & UMO’S..

  1. Dennis Morrison

    Good response Dick, I too have never met Lisa, but have chatted with her on The Relic Round-up. I have worked with Archies and I don’t mind giving them what ever I find on a area that we hunt with them. My question is this, where the heck do all those relics go? I mean, I have dug right along side of archaeologists, have given what I found to them, but I never see what was found, ANYWHERE!!! Where did it go, I guess on some shelf in a store room, never to see the light of day again. I read a story about the Middle Tenn. Detecting club, some of there members hunted the Shiloh National Park in 2002 and found a ton of relics. I have been to Shiloh many, many times and I have never seen any of the relics they dug, where did they go???

    What really make me mad, is the Archeologist gets paid for digging in the ground and as a metal detecting relic hunter we don’t, we just enjoy the time we spend in the fields doing what we like to do, find relics. I can’t for the life of me figure how the Archeologist would ever be able to follow every Relic hunter or ever do what we do, day in and day out and of course not get paid. I am sure there are lots or relic hunters who have helped Archies in the past and never received even a thank you for the hours of research they did to help the Archeologist find an elusive relic.

    Of course you will never see a write up about relic hunters and the good they do for local communities, museums, and the talks they give to local schools and groups. All because of a love of History that no Archeologist will ever be able to do properly.

    It’s too bad the United States can’t do what they do in the UK and work together, Archeologist and Relic hunter, enjoying what each other has to offer. So much good could come from the UK’s attitude toward the relic hunter.


    • Denny unless we can come together and put our money where our mouth is (and I don’t mean $5 a year), nothing will change. I get tired of talking about it.

  2. Lisa

    Denny. I agree with you in the ” where did it all go”. Yes, a whole lot of the artifacts are sitting in boxes. But they are useful. I’ll give you a few examples. Everything we collect is counted, weighed, measured, and catalogued into (usually) excel spreadsheets. Sometimes we have no idea what they are or what their purpose was to whomever was using them. However, many times another person will come along working on a theory and realize this school, or museum, has that same object. This happened with us with an artifact called a Long Nosed God Mask. We happened to find one here but didn’t know what it was. A few years later a grad student realized we had found one here and connected it to a trade network in Cahokia. It is now on display.

    We had another student who theorized she could study the reasons behind seasonality travel of a native group by counting the weight of a particular crustacean they ate that are found in different areas. She went back in our and others archives and by looking at the info and counting the booleans for weeks, she was able to show a pattern. She used it in an excellent presentation and proved her theory. Some day someone may come along and redo her work and either reiterate or maybe even disprove her work. To do that they would need those artifacts stored in a box. Does that help? And yes, we do get paid. But we are not in for the money, that’s for sure. By the time I pay off my student loans I will be retiring. But isn’t it like that with any job? I garden for fun but don’t get paid for doing it. We all have jobs we get paid for and hobbies we don’t. I chose to go to school to become an archaeologist. Anybody could do the same thing. But good luck finding a paying job. A lot of what we do is unpaid or contract work. When the contract runs out so does the job. And lastly, I agree 100% that everyone deserve the recognition. That should be changed. I’ll admit, I would love to see my name by stuff I have found when its sitting in a museum.

    • Dennis Morrison

      Thanks for you reply Lisa, those where very good examples. I know our hobby ruffles the feathers of Archeologists, but I hate it when they say something like, we are destroying CW lands by digging up the past. There is no way that the relics that we have dug are going to last long enough for Archaeologists to dig every CW relic. Most of what we find in farmers fields have already been compromised by fertilizers and they don’t last long after we dig them out of the ground. I keep wondering what they would do with the estimated 7 million fired rounds at Gettysburg? Have you ever felt what 40 rounds feels like, let me tell you it’s heavy and each soldier had that many in his pouch or more. Can you imagine 7 million rounds being stored somewhere, well the lead would close down the museum, LOL. Just give us a little room to enjoy our hobby. I know you have tried to show both sides and hopefully someday it will help.

      I hope to meet you someday in person Lisa. Take care and thanks for being a good sport. Oh by the way, I like to arrowhead hunt too, but only on private property with the owners permission. The same as we hunt CW sites, on private property with the owners permission!

  3. Lisa

    Dick. I want to personally thank you handling your response with respect and grace. But mostly for keeping an open mind and seeing the other side. I agree with the PAS idea. My thoughts are even if only ten people reported its ten more than before. I really do not see the downside. Thank you allowing me to vent and posting my thoughts. And thank you for setting up a dialogue that allows us to remain friends even when we disagree. And. Love the pictures of your “stuff”. Would have a field day just looking at it all.

  4. Bob Sickler

    Hi Lisa…. I’m very Impressed you would venture here and I applaud your open mind on our behalf as Detectorists! Actually, as a child I wanted to become an archaeologist, but my financials would never permit it, so I became the next best thing I was any good at, a graphic artist. I got involved in metal detecting in 1968 as a teenager because those old childhood feelings of discovery and a link to my past were the next best thing to becoming an archaeologist. Those are attributes I think we all possess. Needless to say we Detectorists or “Tekkies” don’t always recover our discoveries in the same methodical educated fashion as you “Arkies” would, but our motives are still the same… Discover and preserve our history. Majority Arkie viewpoint is that all we Tekkies find is lost to the ages. I think most of us Tekkies love to display our finds and talk with just about anyone who is interested in them. Whether it be a curator at the local museum or a fellow Tekkie, communication and education are not lost to anyone who sees our finds. As a counter example…. My wife’s family gave a full-plate Ferrotype of her Great Grandfather in the Civil War to the local state-run museum on “Permanent Loan”. Rather than display it, the local museum chose to send the image of this grand artilleryman to an island to be warehoused. There it is to this day, away from the eyes of anyone who wishes to learn about the Civil War or geneology! Had my wife not been intelligent and not made a photographic copy, her own entire family would have been robbed of this artifact.

    I’m in total agreement with you, if laws are broken deliberately using metal detectors to profit from an historic site which could have added to or changed history, the archaeologist has a valid point-of-view about “some” of the people that use them. But in all fairness to our “recreation”, an army of Arkkies the size of Caesar’s cannot in anyone’s lifetime discover it all. Most of us Tekkies are thrilled at finding old coins, a buckle, button or two, but I think the majority of us would not plunder a sacred site. If some of us do, it’s more about the person and not the detector or the hobby of metal locating. This is where the archaeologist view has become distorted. I befriended an archaeologist in my past and when he departed to the “big dig in the sky”, I had the rare chance of seeing his personal collection. I can assure you many of the collectables he had in his home never got to the dusty drawer files and spreadsheets you speak about unfortunately. People who do the wrong thing are just people who chose to and unfortunately can destroy the label they acquire.

    I think if we all start being better people, tolerate and learn from each other, and utilize our vast talents, then both parties will cease to have these senseless monikers. Thank you for your bravery, progressiveness, and open-mindedness!

    Bob Sickler

  5. Lisa MacIntyre

    Bob…I agree there are bad seeds everywhere. Shame really. But I believe in my heart that most people are good, and given the chance they will do what’s right. That is why I feel so strongly that we should work together instead of against each other. Indeed, most of us are after the same thing. Teasing out a story from artifacts left behind. Adding the pieces together to form a culture of people long past. When I uncover a piece of pottery that is over 900 years old I wonder about the last person that touched it. It was most likely a woman, but what was her life like? Was she happy? Did she have children? How did she die? Was she alone? And that is the very same thing you are doing. To work against each other is so counterproductive. Like I always say, we will never outrun the bulldozers, so why not get all the help we can? Thank you for the very nice response!
    PS…How appalling that the museum did that to your wife! Maybe she should ask for it back. I would.

    • Bob Sickler

      Lisa… You are superior credit to your profession. You are the archeologist I wanted to become back then because I’ve always had a respect for the profession and those who came before us… Who knows, maybe someday I can be of help to you with my abilities and tools.

      How ironic you should say something about being the first person since the last to have touched something… I once found a non-metallic pottery shard that had been salt glazed while hunting for old coins in a local park. On the piece is what looks like a thumb print… If only we had a database of finger prints for early settlers! Actually the physical connection with someone who came before us is the preface I wrote for my book Detectorist! And Dick thinks his web site/blog is of little use and value! Thank you your reply and wishing you nothing but good diggings and a long life for your son!

      PS….. I doubt the museum would give something back after it has been on “permanent loan” all these years. “Permanent Loan” is some kind of sadistic oxymoron I guess! 🙂

      • Lisa MacIntyre

        Bob…I would gladly make use of your expertise anytime! I will look for your book. Would love to read it. Pottery is what makes me drool.
        Thank you for the kind words regarding my son! He says he is living long enough to put me in a home. He has a great sense of humor. (or not!)
        Tell the museum that you thought they said permeated and it has done its job. It has permeated as far as it can. Now it’s time to come home.

  6. James

    I love metal detecting. I am not a relic or water hunter. I hate to see a site looted. I think it’s OK to hunt relics on private land if you have their permission. I also know that most archies do not want any disturbance, even on private property. I would like to see the archies and the detectorists come together on this . The posts here prove beyond doubt that it would work.

    I have hunted with archies on government sponsored hunts and loved it. It was hard work and all finds were properly GPS’ed, tagged and bagged. I am sure the relics were a help in determining something, I guess, but I have no idea where they went. I would guess they are sitting in a box somewhere. I guess what I am trying to say is that more of these relics need to be on display where people can actually enjoy them. They do no one any good sitting in a box after they have been properly examined by archies. I see this as a real problem for people weather they are into metal detecting or not. The archies work hard and have strict guidelines to go by but if the artifacts just sit in boxes for hundreds of years, they are useless. Our past is important, so lets work together and learn of the past but share the artifacts for all to see.

    • Lisa MacIntyre

      James…Thank you for the comment. I agree with you. I so wish more things were displayed. I think the problem is this. When I am on a site on NPS land, and we find over 60g of pottery sherds, many of which are very small pieces, who is going to display all that? Or if we find a thousand bullets, or 200g of clam shells. It makes useful research but we don’t have enough museums. And the nicer museums only display the “big stuff”. the stuff that pulls people in. As large as the Smithsonian is, their warehouse collection is triple that. Don’t get me wrong, I hate seeing stuff sitting in dusty basements, but it all comes down to money. Archaeology receives very little funding (usually the lowest in Universities) and relies on private funding for displaying and museums. That is where your camp could be very useful if we could come together. I know some of you have spectacular displays, and very well tended. Imagine if you could share that with the rest of the world? The stories and history we could uncover. And if we could just show you our procedures and protocol then the old “taken out of context” would be moot.

  7. Thanks Bob and thanks James for taking the time to respond and share your views. Great comments and just perhaps the start of more dialogue with Lisa and others in her field.

  8. Here I am going to go on and say stuff that will get me kicked out of my metal detecting club. So what’s new!

    I think it’s important that we tackle the issue of us vs them without attacking the honored and well proven scientific field of Anthropology (Archaeologists are Anthropologists for those who don’t know).

    I don’t like it anymore than you when we are all placed in the same bag with dumb butts who go on and illegally harvest artifacts. And I do agree that most Arkies act condescendingly towards us and wouldn’t give us the time of day. But I keep hearing people put down Archaeology and even, yes, they have done it, equate themselves with trained Anthropologists. The job of the Arkies is to paint a picture of what happened at a place at a certain time; and by that, I mean, an accurate picture. To that end, Arkies use a number of scientific tools that most of us don’t understand. As a science, they have to produce results that will be examined in detail by their peers and by the scientific press. So, no, we the metal detecting hobbyists are not in the same category.

    Now, if anyone is still reading this comment. I too want to continue to practice my hobby and I too want people to quit prejudging me. That is the issue we have to deal with, not with the science of Anthropology as a whole. I saw Chicago Ron’s video on the dig at Montpelier. That’s the kind of thing that lifts my spirits.

    • Lisa MacIntyre

      WOW! I don’t even know how to begin in the thanking! To acknowledge our science and education is something I rarely see and I, for one, am appreciative of the respect you have voiced. You are correct. We are all anthropologists. Archaeology is a subfield of anthropology of which there are four; cultural, linguistics, archaeology, and physical. I am a Cultural Anthropologist with additional training in archaeologist and physical anthropology. But my degree just states Anthropology. And I did indeed go through a lot of training and studies to get this degree. For you to make mention of this fact just leaves me in awe of your openness. Thank you so very much!
      I would love to start a program similar to Montpelier. I would love it even better if I could figure out how to do it for free!

      • I must admit the fee charged for tekkies to attend the Montpelier week bothers me. $700, not including food nor travel costs? They are giving their time and expertise to help and as such should be at least given free room and board. JMO.

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