Something a Little Different From John Howland…

 I’ve known John for over 30 years and have discovered that you never know what is lurking in that beer clogged brain.  Just another example.  Thanks as usual Bubba…

A Real Gobsmacker!howlandscript

I was recently browsing the ‘Club Websites’ section (above) and one US club, the Tidewater Coin and Relic Club ( ) really grabbed my attention. Its homepage is simply stunning and I being an avid beachcomber it really made an impression. I absolutely recommend you give it try. It’s phenomenal, moody, sets the tone, and best of all, it makes you want to pick up your detector and head for the surf.

What’s even better is that someone at TC&RC has thoughtfully provided a link to local sea fishing conditions, tide tables…the lot. The Tidewater Coin & Relic Club (TC&RC) was established in 1973 and meets on the second Tuesday of the month at the Mary Pretlow Library, 111 W Ocean View Ave, Norfolk, Virginia. Doors Open at 6:30pm and meetings kick off at 7:00pm.

To discover more about this superb club, log on to the link above or give the club’s Facebook page a whirl at Interestingly and something I’ve never come across before is that this club awards special pin badges to members who have found, and reunited Class Rings, wedding bands and other valuables to their owners.


That which sets this club apart from many others is PR, certainly one of its officers (presumably) is wearing his/her Baseball cap hat at the right angle. In this hobby, image is king and the TC&RC leads by example.


And now for something completely different…

Okay, all you oldies who’ve been in the hobby from the time when Long John Silver’s parrot was an egg, go and put the coffee on, or pour two fingers – what follows you may have heard before; this is for newbies and those who have the occasional ‘Senior Moment’. (That’s you Ricardo, er… 20 Bucks. Remember? Huh? Huh?)

Back in the late 70s and early 80s it was discovered (by a detectorist, I believe) that high pH (alkaline) readings in soil indicated evidence of human presence. Where there’s human presence or habitation… it’s highly likely that tangible evidence in the form of coins for example, will show. Sure enough, there was a mad rush to get one of these pH gizmos from local gardening centres. They were back then and still are today, available at nickel and dime prices. These pH meters are invaluable little gadgets for determining human habitation/activity in a given area. What do high pH readings make? Yep, you got it, prizes!

Using a pH meter will increase your finds potential. Though not an exact science – much like Dead Reckoning navigation – it will give you a definite edge and is probably the most useful bit of kit you can have after your metal detector.

pH Range

  1. Ultra -acidic….3.5
  2. Extremely acidic….3.5 – 4.4
  3. Very strongly acidid….4.5 – 5.0
  4. Strongly acidic….5.1 – 5.5
  5. Moderately acidic….5.6 – 6.0
  6. Slightly acidic….6.1 – 6.5
  7. Neutral….6.6 – 7.3
  8. Slightly alkaline….7.4 – 7.8:  humans probably
  9. Moderately alkaline….7.9 – 8.4
  10. Strong habitation evidence….8.4 – 8.5
  11. Strongly alkaline….8.5 – 9.0
  12. Very strongly alkaline….9.0 Settlement site. JACKPOT!

Take several readings across the area you intend to search so as to ascertain its acidity or alkalinity, or to ‘outline’ the habitation area. Readings above ‘7’ are indicative of human existence. The higher the pH reading, then the higher the probability of extended human habitation; settlements, turnpikes, and the like, all of which transmits to…FINDS.

Areas reading in the acidic ranges, 3.5 to 5.1-5.5 are corrosive to metal objects (coins, etc.), so don’t expect them to be pristine. Many areas are also corrosive owing to the use of agro-chemicals and in those areas detectorists are doing a brilliant job in saving relics and coins.


The Ashes of Self-importance

However, the self-proclaimed experts on metal detecting, the Council for British Archaeology (CBA), an educational charity, has its head firmly up its rectum in advocating that detector-found artefacts are better off left in the ground. Why? Here’s their encyclical:-

“As long as it remains safe then it is better to leave the evidence for future generations to investigate with better techniques and with better-informed questions to ask.”  

Idiocy? You do the math.






Filed under Metal Detecting

5 responses to “Something a Little Different From John Howland…

  1. Doug Frantz

    I’m trying to think of a reason why the pH would be higher in areas of human habitation. The only one I can come up with is that cultivated land had lime spread on the fields. Higher pH makes the nutrients more available to plants. Are there any other theories to explain it? Of course, in some areas the pH is naturally high.

    • Doug, will let John answer that one. This whole thing is too much for this ole brain.

    • Hi Doug:
      I believe it comes from the traces left behind by habitation; such as ash etc, Anyway, try typing ‘Soil pH’ into Wikipedia. As I said, it’s not an exact science, but using one of these little cheapo meters will help when hunting new areas.
      Good luck.

  2. Great post there John very interesting indeed. Hope you guys are well? I kinda lost the treasure hunting bug over the last 6 months but I am back now and I have decided to start up with the blogging again. Just in case you can’t find my blog it is still there but has a new address which is now

    Keep up the good blog posts guys 🙂


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