Backhoe Ballyhoo…


I posted the following link to my Stout Standards Facebook page, and it wound up garnering almost 375 views…..

That might have been because it was shared elsewere….as in the archaeological community. I find it curious that the topic (not really a new one) has caught the attention of so many (see the followup comments to the article), and I wonder if it’s because both parties are getting more fed up with one another, or just maybe, we are trying to find a solution.  Unfortunately, my bet is on the former.

Tracy Short.

The cast of Rebel Gold…

I was anxious to watch the Rebel Gold show, and if I remember right I held on for one and half episodes. At that point the purpose, the plot, the premise, and the scam became apparent. It was just another one of those “to see what happens next tune in again next week” reality shows. All of which will never have a conclusion because to do so would stop you from watching, and undermine the folks who advertise…i.e., those that put money in the pockets of the executives at the History Channel, the Discovery Channel and unfortunately even the folks at the National Geographic channel.

I have written more than a few blog posts about metal detecting reality shows, and it’s no secret I am not a big fan. I think it’s great that someone even thinks our hobby is a topic worthy of a spot on TV, but I have yet to see a TH’ing TV show that wasn’t over produced, over scripted and over acted. I am also aware that filming a typical detectorist doing his thing would put viewers asleep in a heart beat.

So what do we do? First of all, we might not need to do anything, if we continue to support and star in these “made for TV” series. The bad PR and corny scripts might be enough that the problem will take care of itself. There’s only so many phony “holy cow look at that”, or “do you see what I see?” and “do you believe that?” segues that viewers can take.

Those tekkies that strive to be or choose to be TV stars need to know that they are merely a pawn in the hands of those producing these shows. They are being enticed by TV fame and fortune, and understandably, they want to be famous (don’t we all?). What bothers me, and what I wish they would do, is to state upfront what they will be party to, and that they would like to have some input in writing the script. Otherwise they might as well apply for a role in Mountain Monsters or Finding Bigfoot.

My good friend Neil Schwartz responded to my Facebook post with….

“I’m not condoning the use of the backhoe, but it’s private property and was not a protected site. I’ve been denied permission to detect due to “historic significance” and weeks later found it was paved over or a strip mall has gone up. Some people were arrested near by for disturbing a historic mill, and less than a year later 27 luxury homes went up at the site.”

Neil is correct of course, but the archaeological community will never address the larger issues because they know what they are up against. Detectorists on the other hand are a small, rag-tag group of hobbyists that continue to throw meaty bones their way.  A photo of uncovered holes in a park, or a newspaper article about a relic hunter caught detecting a protected site is all they need to wage battle, and we are traditionally weak-kneed when it comes to responding or defending our position. Too busy swinging that coil to give a damn.

I have no idea what will happen down the road, but I can assure you that there are people watching us, just waiting for another chance to take us down another notch…





Way, way back when, Ron Womer and I met in a park in Ringoes, New Jersey, and decided to start a metal detecting club.  The club was and is the Mid Jersey Research and Recovery Club. Proud to say it’s still going strong, and now has a new updated website.  Give is a look see…it’s a good one.  Old friend and club president, Amy Maruso, should also be familiar to many of you, as she is a contributing editor to Western & Eastern Treasures magazine.

Forgive me for promoting and being proud of a club that is very dear to me…



Filed under Metal Detecting

2 responses to “Backhoe Ballyhoo…

  1. Bigtony

    Hello Dick, I did watch one or two of he shows of Rebel Gold, I enjoyed the scenery of where they shot those episodes but that is about it. The story doesn’t add up for me to be a treasure story at all. Let alone to use a backhoe to dig for it.

  2. Greg

    Knowing the “leader” of that cast, nothing surprises me. The BS runs deep!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.