Wednesday, January 18, 2017

1/18/17 Report - A Few Tips For Finding Modern Jewelry On Dry Sand Beaches.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Somebody mentioned that I hadn't talked about finding modern jewelry much lately.  That is true.  I've been talking more about shipwreck treasures and old things, so I decided to do something different today and talk about a subject that I haven't addressed for quite a while.

You can find a lot of jewelry on a beach, but more of it in the water.  Hunting in the water and in the wet sand requires a little more technique to do it well than working on the dry beach.  Yet there are some things that can help you find more jewelry even in the dry sand.

It goes without saying that most jewelry will be lost where more people frolic.  Both the quantity of people and their activities are important factors. And of course there is a vast difference in the quality of jewelry at different beaches. It is also obvious that you can't find much expensive stuff on a beach visited only by people of modest means. 

I mentioned volleyball courts the other day.  They are good places to find jewelry.  

Most of the people that I've seen detecting volleyball courts, detect the middle of the playing area.  I wouldn't skip that area, but you will find a lot to the back and well outside of the court itself.  Think about it.  Where do people dive after balls?  A lot of that happens outside of the boundaries.  And that is a place where things are often lost.  

Another place to check on a volleyball court is the area right around the base of the posts that hold the nets.  That is where people tend to lay things.  Then sand gets kicked over the items.  A lot of detetorists don't check that area, especially if the polls are metal.  You can make adjustments to detect where others won't or can't.

A third tip I have for volleyball courts is to look in the morning right after rain or watering.  Fine chains and other things are sometimes exposed.

You might choose to grid the busier areas.  Nothing wrong with that, but don't neglect the areas that a lot of other detectorists might neglect.  Beach chairs are often made of metal or have metal parts that make detecting difficult.  Many detectorists will not detect close  or under beach chairs because they don't know how.  You can learn to do it.  I also would always check where beach chairs have been moved.  Look at the tracks in the sand if they are still there.  Often a high tide or something will cause chairs that are normally in one location to be moved.

I've found a lot of pairs of ear rings around beach chairs.  That is the main place where there is a good chance of finding a matching pair.  It seems people take them off and lay them down or else drop them there.  They are often very good earrings.  Other places you'll usually just find a single earring.

When hunting dry sand, DON'T discriminate out watches!  There are Rolex watches and other valuable watches in the dry sand.  They won't likely be found real often, but there are more of them out there than you might think.  I don't know how they get buried, but they do.

Another tip that I've found productive is to detect very trashy areas that a lot of people will avoid.  

Get to know the life guards and beach concession workers.  They might tell you about items being lost and where.  I always remember the time when a fellow that rented jet skis and other water toys lost the keys before he opened for the day and said he'd give me fifty dollars if I found them for him.  I think this was back in the eighties.  I found them in just a few minutes and he gladly paid me.

Some of the old timers that I knew would sit where they could see what people were doing and where and then detect at the beach at the end of the day.  You'd be surprised how often you'll see people obviously looking for something they lost.  And often they'll ask you  if you can find it for the.

There are a few tips for finding jewelry in the dry sand.  All of those things hve been productive for me.

Happy hunting,

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

1/17/17 Report - Florida More Than 50% Chance of Hurricane in 2017. How Metal Detecting Is Something Like Battleship Game.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of
Predictions for 2017.
Source: See link below.

According to predictions, the state of Florida has a 51% chance of a hurricane hitting in 2017, and a 21% chance of a major hurricane.

Here is the link.


Some people say there is no way to tell where things are going to be found when salvaging shipwreck treasure.  They talk as if the shipwreck remains are distributed randomly.  That isn't the case.  You might where you will find any each and every item, but it is not random either.  And you might not know how things ended up being where they were found, but there is a reason they ended up where they did.

The people who salvage shipwrecks as a business try to understand things like how a ship came apart, where it hit the reef and which direction the wind was blowing when it wrecked.  They study charts like the one shown below to see where holes have been blown and what was found at each location. They wouldn't study such things if they didn't think it would help.

It reminds me of the game Battleship.  That is a game where one player places his ships on a grid, and the other player selects grid locations attempting to hit the other player's ships.

When you try to hit the other fellow's ships, you might start out with a random selection, but when you finally make a hit, you have some information and your next selection won't be random - at least not if you make use of the information you gained.

In the game, when you get a hit at one location, you know that the rest of the same ship must be at an adjacent grid location. That is because the hit gives you information that tells you that the adjacent locations have a higher probability of being where you will find more of the same ship.

It isn't exactly the same with treasure salvage.  There isn't always an adjacent location that will also contain an item,  You still have a better chance of finding something good when you excavate near a good find than if you picked a random location anywhere in the sea.  It is about probabilities.

There is almost always some type of clustering when it comes to metal detecting.  While an individual item might show up anywhere and have no particular known relation to any other object, generally speaking there will be clustering.

If you look at the chart above showing holes and coded to show what type of object was in each hole, you'll notice that both holes and colors are sometimes clustered.  People use that kind of information to figure out where to dig next.

You don't find ballast rocks randomly distributed over miles of ocean, for example.  There will more than likely be a pile somewhere.  And other heavy items will likely be with the pile, such as cannons or heavy silver bars.  That might be partly because they were stored in the same part of the ship.

There are principles that determine where things will end up.  There are a variety of factors.  That is what makes it complicated.

There is also clustering of items in wet sand areas, whether they are ancient or more modern.  The water will shift and sort things over time.

The longer an item is in a high energy environment, the more it will be sorted.  As a result the pattern will become more defined.  That is how coin lines and coin holes are formed.

There is also clustering of new drops in the dry sand.  Those items have not been affected by Mother Nature, but they are clustered by human nature.   People congregate together and lose items where they congregate.  People participate in different types of activities - volleyball, for example.  More items are lost on volleyball courts than in wide stretches of sand where nothing much takes place.  Furthermore, more items can be found at certain areas on and around volleyball courts.

Since things are not generally randomly distributed, your search should not be random.  The more you understand about how items were lost and the forces that might have acted on them after they were lost, the more you will find, as long as you spend the time.


The surf is now down to 2 - 3 feet and will continue to decrease for a few days.

Happy hunting,

Monday, January 16, 2017

1/16/17 Report - A Recent Relic Hunt. Memorable Mistakes.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Finds and photo by Dan B.
When the salvage season is over and Dan B. isn't working on the Capitana bringing up gold coins from the 1715 Fleet, he does some relic hunting. Here is a group of finds he made very recently at a railroad site.

There are some neat things in there. Notice, for example, the eagle button and the strap buckles.

I visited an old RR spot today. Since I have already picked the area clean of easy hits, I spent some time hunting the most difficult and messy areas.  Nails and iron are usually enough to deter people including myself from detecting thoroughly. These are usually old structures and hold some goodies if you can differentiate the quality hits. Well worth the time today, but rarely so lucky. 

A lot of people would be scared off by a bunch of nails, but they can protect good finds for the more patient and persistent hunter.


People often think that you have to be at a site the day it cuts or it is too late.  That is the casesometimes, but not always.  Some reallygreat finds have been made days after people think it is over.

When Turtle Trail recently cut and produced some nice finds last week, most was found in the first couple of days, but not everything.  In fact an eight reale was found Friday - days after the very best hunting.

A lot of things can be found when a site hits its peak, but time after time  great things are still found when most people have given up and think it is over.


I did a post one day on some of memorable finds.  They were finds that I lways remember for some reason - often because they were firsts of some kind.

Some of my memorable finds were memorable because I made a mistake that I continue to regret. Those are the kinds of things that make you wish you had known better at the time.

One that always sticks out in my mind was a musket hammer.  I don't know what I was thinking, but I didn't pay much attention to the hammer when I found it.  I wasn't sure what it was.  Then I found the flint nearby.  The rusted hammer was my first musket hammer, and I wasn't sure what it was right away, but as I always say, keep anything if you aren't sure you know what it is.  Well, back then, I made the mistake and didn't keep the hammer and not even the flint.

I found the musket flint after digging the hammer.  That confirmed to me that it was a musket hammer, but why I didn't keep the hammer or the flint, I don't know, and I still regret it.  I was hot on a trail of some good buttons and things at the time and that might have something to do with the fact that I didn't pay them much attention.

Another regret is an 18th century medallion that was so encrusted when dug, that I didn't know what it was.  It looked like it could be a coin.  It went into the tumbler with other a bunch of coins, and when I took it out, I saw what it really was.  Fortunately it wasn't badly damaged, but it should have been treated better.  It lost some gilt and a little detail in the tumbling  process.  What an idiot!  Hopefully, I wouldn't make that type of mistake today.

As I think about some of the regrets, they were often also firsts.  That is part of the reason the mistake was made.  I didn't recognize or appreciate the item, and as a result didn't save it or properly treat it.

Other regrets came from not properly cleaning and storing items. I can think of couple of very nice items that were not stored carefully enough and broke while in storage.  Store your nice items carefully. Don't have one type of metal touching another.  That can result in discoloratation.  It can happen to reales, for example.  Don't keep a reale touching another type of metal.

Store nice items separately and so they won't be under too much weight.  Coin holders help.  It is also a good idea to keep artifacts in separate plastic boxes or bottles.  You can't be too careful if you don't want any accidental damage.

Another type of regret to avoid, is damaging items during recovery.  Some very nice items can be damaged or destroyed by careless digging.  You might not know what it is until you dig it up, so be careful.  Remember, it might be something precious.  Even metal items can be fragile.  I've made that mistake too.


The surf will be decreasing for a few days.

Happy hunting,

Sunday, January 15, 2017

1/15/17 Report - Plenty of Copper and Iron Found Along Shell Line. St. Augustine Discovery. Surf Decreasing.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

John Brooks Beach Yesterday Afternoon.

John Brooks Beach Yesterday Afternoon.
The ideal for me is to be out on a windy rainy ripping beach all by myself.  I don't like being out on a beautiful day.  I don't like being on a beach with a bunch of sun bathers or other beach goers, even though that won't stop me if I really want to be there.  Sometimes you just have to do it.

Yesterday I was out with a bunch of other people.  I was the only one detecting though.

The first beach I visited was one of the popular 1715 Fleet beaches, John Brooks, but after looking at it, I decided to move on to another beach.  The second one wasn't eroded either.  It didn't look much good, but it was different than the first beach in one notable way: there was a shell line running for a long distance along the beach.  It was one of the longest and best shell lines I've seen in months, if I correctly recall.  Yet it wasn't the best shell line in the world.  The shells were on the small side and scattered relatively thinly.

The shell line was thin, but when I dug a hole in the shell line, I found that under a thin layer of sand the shells were another foot or two feet deep.  It resulted in a hump at the bottom of the beach.  (Unfortunately I forgot to take  photo of it.  I got busy detecting and digging.)

As I detected along the shell line, and even along the front of the beach where the shells were not on the surface, there were a lot of signals. A line of targets ran for at least a hundred yards.  Among the targets in that line were a lot of larger and deep targets.  A good number were too deep to easily recover, being one of two feet deep and below the water table.  I ended up leaving a good number of the deeper targets.

Recovered targets included a number of pieces of copper sheathing and about an equal number of rusty encrusted objects.  That is what almost all of the targets that I dug were.  I think some of those that I did not dig most likely included at a least a few spikes, and who knows what else.  If I wanted to get them I would have been better off taking a shovel.

Below is a small piece of dug copper (about one inch by one inch) that shows parallel lines near the edge.  I didn't notice that until I took a closer look this morning.  It is always a good idea to carefully check finds for marks.  In this case, it doesn't mean much.

Small Piece of Dug Copper Found in Shell Line.

Some times you need to switch detectors or digging equipment.  Yesterday I would have been better off with a shovel than the scoop I had.


Ancient human remains possibly dating back to the 16th century were discovered in St. Augustine during work on a water line.

Here is the link.

The surf will decrease a little today and more gradually for the next few days.  We still have some nice tidal variation and negative tides.

Unfortunately they have already started to dump sand up by Sebastian.  I'm expecting almost all of our beaches to get tons of replenishment sand by the end of summer.

Happy hunting,

Saturday, January 14, 2017

1/14/17 Report - Good Rough Surf Today. Recent Treasure Coast Finds and Condition Report.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Awesome Treasure Coast Finds by Mark M.
Photo by Mark M.
I was hoping to get some reports from the Vero/Sebastian area since I didn't get a chance to get up there.  I just got this report from Mark. 

Sunday I went out, I drove south from Cocoa Beach south to look at the beaches. It was not too impressive. North of the Museum the sand replenish has started, lots of equipment on the beach and dump trucks moving sand (Monday).So I went to Wabasso to Turtle Trail. I could just start to see the blue bags so I went North up the beach. Just north of the yellow condos I found that small piece of jewelry (I think it is jewelry). I am sending you a photo. The next day I went back to Turtle trail, man there were a lot of detectorist on the beach when I got there. The bags where showing some completely showing. I was told by a friend there that a detectorist that an eight-real sliver around the bags. I followed the tracks of the others and found one old green nickel and one penny. I walk south of the second flag pole a short distance and found some lead sheeting, which I did not know what it was and tossed in the trash. In the same area I found the copper hinge about fourteen inches down. I can not say it is of the fleet, but it was deep. 

See Mark's finds in the photo above.

I love the hinge.  It has a nice design on it.

Sorry I didn't get up there sooner so I could have reported on this myself.  I missed this one. Had other things I had to do then and it seems that it was only this area that was producing.  Sometimes you can miss it by a matter of hours or even minutes.   

I did get up there Friday. (See photos below.)
South From Turtle Trail Friday.

Bags and Two-Foot Cut Between the Two Flag Poles Friday.
On the basis of Mark's report and what I saw yesterday, the Turtle Trail area had filled back in some by Friday.  On Friday there were very few signals.

It seems that area has been opening up when the fronts first come through.

Thanks much for the report Mark!

Sorry to hear about the replenishment projects starting again already.  I suppose they'll be doing every beach north of Vero by summer.


The surf today is supposed to be 5 - 8 feet.  That is pretty good.  Too bad the wind direction isn't more from the north.  I'm not increasing my beach conditions rating.  Might be wrong though.  It is close enough that a spot could open up at any time for a short while.

Happy hunting,

Friday, January 13, 2017

1/13/17 Report - Gold Cross Pendant Found. Site Analysis and Sampling: Brief Case Study.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Find and photo by Duane C.
Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Just yesterday I mentioned that I hadn't been posting much on modern jewelry lately.  Well, I just got the photo of this nice find.

Duane said, Found on east coast 18k lots of makers marks age unknown. 

Congratulations Duane.


This isn't a story about a valuable find.  It is a story about site analysis and investigation.  The particular site showed signs of being "right."  By that I mean if anything was in the area the chances of finding something was good.  I could tell that the site was "right" by looking at it.  

The base of a cliff was eroded.  Below the cliff was hard sand slanting down to the water at a very slight angle.  Then the sand flattened out.

As I explained not long ago, a visual site analysis should be the first step.  That can tell you a lot about where to spend your time most efficiently.

When I walked by the area and noticed the washout, I recognized that it was an area that would probably reveal something.  After my attention was drawn to that area, it was just a few minutes before I noticed the bottle shown below.

It is a small bottle, embossed "WHITEHURST."  It originally contained a cough medicine.  The bottle is from the early 1900s.

I already knew something of the history of the area.  There could possibly be something there from almost any time period, but most human activity would have most likely been late 1800s and early 1900s.  The bottle was consistent with that.

So, the area looked right, and it revealed an older item in almost no time.  As is often the case, the first clue was glass or ceramic.   

The water was coming in and covering the area, but I didn't expect it to completely disappear, so I decided to return the next day to look it over a little more.

On my return visit I took a metal detector.  The area was covered with junk, both metal and non- metallic - some on the surface and some buried.  The detector was constantly giving signals.

I wasn't digging anything at first, just getting an idea of the situation.  Then I decided to dig a few - I think it was five or six, of the better signals.

Notice that so far, all I am really doing is sampling.  I am analysing the situation.  First visually, then with the detector.  I do not believe at this point that there is any reason to spend much time or effort on this site.

Part of my analysis is knowing something of the history of the area.  The people that lived in the area in the early 1900s were not wealthy at all, and worked in agriculture.  The site accumulated a lot of junk.  There is not reason to expect gold coins, good jewelry - only a small chance of finding a coin or two from the 1900s and a smaller chance of finding a coin from the 1800s

Knowing what went on at a site in the past can be a big help.  How many people were there and what were they doing?  This is not a fancy resort visited by many people over the centuries.  Just the opposite.  This site has a very small chance of revealing anything valuable, but there is some chance that something from the late 1800s or early 1900s might show up.  If I was trying to find something valuable and if this site wasn't very close to my home, I wouldn't bother with it at all.

There is almost no chance of finding something like the gold cross pendant at this site, so if that is what you are after, forget this site.  This is a relic hunter's site.

There is more chance that a pre-contact sight find would be made there.  A check-stamped shard was found not too far away.

Detecting in this area was very difficult because of all the junk.  Much of the area was also now covered with seaweed. 

After spending a  few minutes just scanning the area with the detector, I decided to dig some of the better signals - very few though.

Small Compact Dating To 1925

One of the things I dug was this Princess Pat compact, in surprisingly good condition.  The hinges still worked.  I opened it up and the broken mirror was still in it.  I was very surprised that it would still open.

It was easy to find out about Princess Pat.  This particular compact is the style that was sold in 1925. The date of the compact is very close to the date of the Whitehurst bottle.

My conclusion is that the compact was on the bank, where it was preserved - not in the water.

Here is the compact.

So far I have spent about half an hour looking at that area and will investigate it more in the future since it is so convenient to me.  I wouldn't bother if I was serious about making a good find, but there is the slimmest possibility that something much older will show up, and maybe even something like an older coin.  The likelihood of either of those is small, but there could be something sort of interesting relic to be found.  

While these aren't great finds, the case illustrates some of the steps and factors to consider in site analysis.

Here are a few.

1. Visual site inspection.  Determine if current conditions good or not, and what spots might be most promising.
2. Consider history of the area and types of activity at the site.
3. Sample with metal detector.
4. Evaluation of finds.  Age and whatever else they might tell you.
5. Consider future opportunities for additional searching.  Is immediate intensive search indicated.


The surf is supposed to increase up to seven feet today.  Not bad, as far as size goes.

There will be big tides too, including a nice negative tide.

Happy hunting,

Thursday, January 12, 2017

1/12/17 Report - Ships' Fastenings: Spikes and Things. Atocha and Margarita Finds. Bigger Surf and Tides.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Source: See link below.

I recently talked a little about spikes. Spikes and other fasteners are among the more common shipwreck finds. If you know something about spikes and other fasteners used in shipwreck construction, it can help you identify the age and type of a ship.

The photo above, from the web site, shows a variety of types of fasteners for old wooden ships.

Besides the metal fasteners, treenails (wood pins) were also plentiful.

This is a good article which you might find very helpful.

They also describe roves and the details of how the fasteners were used.

If you find a piece of shipwreck wood, you will often see square and round holes as well as other interesting clues.


A variety of finds were recently made on the Atocha and Margarita sites.  The Dare found an eight-foot timber length of timber, ballast stones, and what could be  silver rim to a platter.  The Sea Reaper found numerous pot shards, some EOs, sword blade fragments, lead sheathing, Research indicates a second Margarita site that was worked in the 17th century.


Ships' Fastenings: From Sewn Boat to Steamship by Michael Mccarthy looks like an interesting book.  I previewed the chapter of carvels online and found it very useful.

Here is the link.


Somebody commented that I haven't been talking about hunting modern jewelry much lately.  That's true.  My posts tend to shift from one type of topic to another, but sometimes when I get on a topic, I tend to stay on it for a while as one thing just leads to another.  There are times when I get on the topic of how sand and items move, how detectors work, hunting strategies, bottles, coins, tokens etc. etc.  Sometimes it is because of what I've been finding or what I've been hunting or the research I'm doing or because of the comments or questions I've been receiving.  Sometimes I'll see or hear something that just sets me off on a topic for a while..  Sometimes I intend to talk about one thing and then something else just comes to mind.

No matter what I'm talking about there is a lot of overlap.  Old coins and jewelry move on the beach and in the water according to the same principles as modern coins and jewelry.

I sometimes talk about erosion when I talk about beach hunting, but many of the same principles apply when hunting the Mountains of West Virginia  In both locations erosion is something I look for.

I never know what my topics will be next week.  Sometimes I plan something and then I end up doing something else.  One thing I'm sure of is that my posts will change from time to time and I'll be doing some posts on jewelry hunting in the future.  It just haven't been doing much of it lately and it hasn't been on my mind.  That will change sooner or later.


Today we'll have a three to five foot surf and big tides.  There will be some good high tides and negative tides.  I'm hoping to get  good negative tide to check out a washout where I spotted  vintae bottle yesterday.

Tomorrow and Saturday we're supposed to get a 5 -8 foot surf.  That is big enough to improve hunting conditions if other things are right.

Happy hunting,