Unadorned Fundamentals…

Want to be a successful detectorist without a lot of fanfare? Well here’s my take and guess what?  You can do it alone. No need for a posse, fan base or groupies and in fact with all the new participants it just might be the way to go….


a.k.a.words and wisdom from a creaky old tekkie


The key word here is “decent”. Not expensive, not complicated and not too heavy. Just a model that is a notch or two above entry-level, that is comfortable  to use and is easy to understand and operate.

Price? Depends on your pocket-book (and past due bills). If you have to go into debt to buy it it’s probably not the one for you. Remember too it doesn’t matter how much you pay for a detector. What matters is where you use it.


This sounds like a “well hell yeah” statement but you must have a fire in your belly. A desire to find stuff and the will to do whatever is necessary to find it. Metal detecting/treasure hunting is often hard work, time-consuming and you must be willing to go where the leads take you.


Not everyone has access to colonial cellar holes or salt water beaches but I have no doubt there’s treasure where you live. It’s up to you to find it. Of course if you are happy with just hunting parks and schools then by all means buy a turn on and go and have fun. If however you want to find the older, more valuable treasures research is a must and with the technology available today there’s no excuse for not being successful. You can literally sit on your ass, go online and not only find clues, maps and/or sites, you can sometimes see them thanks to Google Earth. Years ago it involved time, gas and often a quick turnaround with a few curse words thrown in.


Owning a metal detector does not automatically mean you’re going to find treasure. It simply means you want to and the process that one usually takes to be successful demands patience and stick–to–itiveness. Remember too the more expensive your detector is the more complicated it is to learn and maximize its full potential.

If you are an easily frustrated individual you will probably not enjoy being a treasure hunter though many today just love being labeled one, no matter their finds or expertise. It’s called social media.


Best definition of humility is the urban dictionary’s “remaining teachable, knowing that you do not have all the answers….”  All of the successful detectorists I’ve run into over the years were quiet (for good reason), unassuming and down-to-earth. Today everyone’s a roaring success. Just ask them.

Wisdom is the ability to make good judgments based on what you have learned and honestly it takes time. Usually years. One day in fact you will come up with your own guide to being a successful detectorist. That is if we even have a pastime then….


What is your definition of successful? I’ve been at this hobby for over forty years and I like to think I’ve been successful but what baffles the hell out of me is how it ever happened without hashtags…..



First, thank you all for your emails enquiring about our Fay and I. We are fine. We’re in the Dallas area and far removed from all the devastation taking place on the coast. Unfortunately thousands are now in need of assistance and I would urge you all to take a few minutes and contribute to any one of the charities involved.  Here’ s vehicle to help you decide….




Was saddened to learn of Stu Auerbach’s passing. He wasn’t just the originator of Kellyco he was Kellyco. When I worked for Garrett we didn’t always see eye to eye but he was always a first class gentleman and first-rate businessman. RIP my friend…



Treasure hunter, singer/song writer, dancer and author Whit Hill was recently featured on NPR. Click on the photo and give it a listen….great interview





Filed under Metal Detecting

17 responses to “Unadorned Fundamentals…

  1. Great reads to start the weekend. Motivational even!! Thanks!!

  2. I still have my copy of “Stout Standards – Piss & Moan” in hardcover. Those are getting harder to find all the time, with one used bookstore in New Smyrna Beach, here in Florida, asking about $150 for the leather bound version. I still prefer THer’ over detectorist. The detector is just another tool in the treasure hunters bag. I also use a shovel and a coin probe, but I’m not a “Shovelist” or “Probe-ist.” Of course, I may be wrong 🙂

    • Seriously Jim that much huh? Maybe I need to do a Piss & Moan, Volume 2? And you are right we are indeed treasure hunters…

    • Oh Jeez, Jim….don’t mention “leather bound” – y’know how it gets the Old Boy fired up! And that, at his age, could be serious!

    • Bob Sickler

      Yes, some of us (folks like Mel Fisher and Barry Clifford) do hunt and successfully locate what most of us would call “real treasure”. When the rest us publicly call ourselves “treasure hunters”, those who would like to take away our hobby/sport just get a little more ammunition to do so. When I wrote and titled my book “Detectorist” 27 years ago, I could have simply titled it “Treasure Hunter” to get more mileage from and attention to it. Instead I chose to be more concerned about what people who didn’t metal detect would think of us… I tried to purvey/share a more down-to-earth depiction of what we do. During that time, things were starting to go wrong with our image and the archeological community. Our host can tell you a lot about that! It’s not to say what we all dig up isn’t “treasure” to each of us personally, it truly is in our collective hearts. For me, it’s always been about presenting and suggesting a lower public profile to preserve what little resources we still have left to enjoy. It’s not my place to decide what we call ourselves, I can only offer some advice.

      • Thanks Bob. Well said, as always. Unfortunately most tekkies today love the treasure hunter label. Some even preface it with “professional”…

      • Bob Sickler

        Dick…. Can you imagine what goes through the mind of a landowner when someone with a metal detector knocks on the front door and says, “Hi, I’m a professional treasure hunter and I want to hunt your property.” The average person says to himself, “What’s he know about my property and isn’t telling me?” “Will he or she dig up something extremely valuable and not tell me?” The landowner decides to say no and puts up more posted signs, buys a detector and looks for years for a treasure he can’t find! Sound unrealistic? Happened to me and I only presented myself as someone who loves outdoor exercise to stay healthy and enjoys finding history!

      • Bob I think social media has entered the fray and the pastime has become very competitive. Everybody wants to be popular, famous, rich and yup, a treasure hunter.

        Check out paragraph four….http://www.express.co.uk/life-style/life/849769/british-want-quit-jobs-start-again-somewhere-new

  3. BigTony

    Early on and it probably was in one of your books – one fact that was taught many years ago – whatever machine you purchase just test it out. Use different targets and learn where they hit on screen and in your ear. Man when I finally did that I started to make better finds and with more frequency, no brag at all. Thanks for that tip – it really helps to get you going. So you are right it doeasn’t matter what machine you purchase but it does matter what you will do with it,

  4. Joe Patrick

    Dick, I always wondered what that volume control knob was for. I usually just set it fully counter-clockwise and just left it there. No sense in messing with something I didn’t understand.

  5. Bob K

    Great article and great reminder
    Be safe my friend

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