Sunday Salmagundi…


At a Crossroads

Went out detecting last Thursday, revisiting a vacant lot/homesite just down the road. I came home with two clad dimes, two pennies and a lot of frustration. Frustration because despite losing 35 lbs. it’s still difficult getting down and up and frustration because I have to find better places to hunt.

Not sure what I need to do to make the digging process easier but I better figure it out or hang up the detector and please, no home remedies or physical fitness fixes. My maladies are inherited, pretty much non-fixable and apropos for a 77-year-old wino.

Over the past three months I mailed out a sh*t load of requests for permission and didn’t receive a single reply. I tried calling, left messages and received three polite but direct “no thank you’s”. Damn I miss New Jersey!

I know somewhere around here there has to be a site or two worthy of my comical, moan filled, up and down show but damned if I know where they are. Perhaps it’s back to the library or the Dairy Queen….I have no clue!

Look for my video on the above adventure….when I get ten likes I will give away the entire 22 cents!!


Encouraging sign from Finland… 

“We are developing a user-friendly and open database that encourages metal detectorists, but also other finders of chance material, to record their finds in the SuALT database. These finds have a high scientific potential but are not used in academic research at present. By engaging meaningfully with metal detectorists and other stakeholders, the project hopes to ensure that more finds are reported than at present, including retrospective recording. Through our citizens science approach we also hope to contribute in democratizing archaeology….”

Helsinki Archaeological Seminar


Anybody else remember when….

the depth capability of a detector was determined by a head to head challenge at a club hunt and not on social media?

there wasn’t anyone to impress other than yourself and your family?

ten to fifteen pieces of silver was the daily norm?

going detecting wasn’t a major production?

many of today’s treasures were thrown in the junk box?.

you could detect and didn’t have to constantly look over your shoulder?

running into another detectorist was a “good” thing?

we didn’t need “likes” to be successful?




Filed under Metal Detecting

11 responses to “Sunday Salmagundi…

  1. Bob Sickler

    Dick… You are not unique!… I’m 11 years your junior and I find it hard to get up off my knees when recoveries take longer than expected. I hunt mostly forest and field sites and I can safely use a long “T” handled spade for recoveries… It has become an invaluable aid to helping myself off the ground. I guess after 50 years of doing this many, many times on each outing exacts a price on one’s knees!

    As for hunting all day and finding clad? Guess what, things have become deeper than then they were when we started. In parks, I find aluminum screw caps at the depth I used to find Wheat cents and silver. Silver coins lay at deeper depths than ever before and you truthfully need a detector with increased transmitter gain and sensitivity and the ability (via faster circuit recovery speed) to separate good targets from concentrated trash. I spent last weekend hunting a private 80+ year residence yard that “supposedly” has never been hunted. After quite a few hours I had all kinds of lost items and discards along with clad/silver at a ratio of 5 to 1. Two silver quarters were found, one 1963 was in the hole with a 1965 clad quarter. These were found easily at 8″ deep. The other 1941 quarter was deeper in a layer of coal ash. Part of the property had been landscaped via “fill-ins” which only further adds to the loss of targets. There should have been more silver if this yard had never been hunted, but I think my silver finds were somebody’s indecision to recover. All-in-all, I was happy to be outdoors on a great warm sunny day, have a place to hunt, and to be finding something. Could be worse in the future! 😉

    • Bob if I was hunting a site that had the potential for older finds I think the getting down and up would be more bearable. I just don’t have a place like that. This is not New York or New Jersey…

      I might have to save up my shekels for a small shovel.

      • Bob Sickler

        Dick… Or maybe save for a metal detecting vacation back home in New Jersey! 🙂

        Actually I find the spade cuts a cleaner, deeper plug than I can cut with a knife and it looks way less threatening to onlookers than a military K-bar knife. I open a 7″ deep three-sided plug, find the exact location of the target with my pinpointer, remove with a hand tool, close the plug intact, and on to the next. Fact is, the ground is less disturbed than having to extract a lot of soil from the hole in search of the target. Unless you have a huntsite that has not been affected by time, the days of extracting shallow silver coins with a screwdriver are pretty much over. However, with that being said, I still do not recommend using a “shovel” of any kind on park and public lands… We have enough damage to our image from other behaviors.

  2. Joe

    +1 what Bob said. By far, most of the silver and old coppers we find here in NJ are in the 6 to 10″ depth strata. Unless we’re detecting a private yard, farm or similar type of old site which hasn’t been hunted by the masses (where we’d dig any signal above iron regardless of depth), at most public venues it really doesn’t even pay to dig anything shallower than 6″, unless you’re looking for jewelry. And we don’t hunt for jewelry on the turf.

    As to the permissions – or lack thereof…

    I believe you’d have more success doing live, in the flesh visits, via door knocks. It can work wonders. Writing for permissions still has its place, but IMO, it’s much easier to turn someone down via a letter, versus when they’re eyeballing you on their front porch.

    Even here in Northern NJ, where people can be colder than a harsh winter’s night, if you’re genuine in your approach, are polite, and don’t look like a total slob, it’s common to get a “yes” on 1 out of every 4 or 5 homes you knock at.

    I saw a fella clearing brush on his property a few weeks back – a mid 1700’s house that’s on the historical register. Approached him, made some small talk, and 30 minutes later I was hunting his yard. Found a draped bust largie, a matron head and some killer relics in a couple of hours. I honestly believe if I would’ve sent him a letter he would’ve shot me down.

    Just my two cents!

    • On a few of the properties I couldn’t knock on doors…long story and not something I want to get into here, nor is it that important.

  3. Tony

    Dick, I know the feeling, you get all dressed up and the site looks terrific and then nada…’s real difficult these days to locate a good detecting spot. Even some parks or fields look like they have plenty of targets and our efforts go unrewarded. But I take it with a grain of salt. I got out and that helped quiet the mumblies. Hopefully your correspondence will produce soon before it gets too hot.

    • Tony, don’t know. Think the hobby has passed me by.

      • Bob Sickler

        Naah! Dick, we don’t want to hear talk like that from you… We don’t want you gaining back the 35 either!

        What Joe says (above) is true, the best sites are won in person, not by pen. I find once you hunt a site gained by in-person permission, it leads to more because people get to know you. It often helps to share something you found with the owner of the property too. I tried to do this at one old picnic site years ago, but the owner had to leave before I was finished and I couldn’t show and offer some of what I found. Instead, I lined the floor of his rural mailbox with a few Indians and Wheats… Needless to say he was thrilled next time I came to hunt and he suggested other areas of his property to search…. You lose some and gain a whole lot more!

  4. You just gotta stop knocking on doors while sipping from a bottle of Thunderbird! Worked for me!
    Take a break Old Pal and haul yo’ ass down to one of them lakes near you and hook into some big bass. Take a cold beer along too. If it’s good fishing gimme a call, eh?

    Tight lines!

  5. For the record…half the properties I called were owned by “building groups, investors, etc., and while I was able to track down a name and home address they were not that local. The responses…“No we don’t want anyone trespassing”…”we don’t want the liability” and “NO”.

  6. That’s the problem. Ambulance Chasing shysters.

    No commercial group or investors want Tekkies wandering over their land in case they might be held responsible for injuries incurred. The same applies to arkies.

    Perhaps insurance issued by a national body, as in the UK by the National Council for Metal Detecting, or, the Federation of Independent Detectorists to members, might help improve the situation. Problem in the US, is there ain’t a national body with any balls or identity.

    It’s all in the hands of the US Tekkie.

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