Tuesday, May 26, 2015

5/26/15 Report - Vanished Freedom and Family Cache. Scabbard Tip Find. Santeria Yemaya. Sand & Seaweed.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of treasurebeachesreport.blogspot.com.

John Brooks Park This Morning Near Low Tide.
I received a number of very good responses to my Memorial Day post.  Thanks for all the comments.  One very personal email was from Alberto S.

Alberto said,  ​I enjoy reading your posts everyday and today was no exception, actually I think it was great. Freedom is something I don't take for granted, I come from a communist dictatorship that took ​our freedom away and destroyed a flourishing republic; Cuba. 

As to metal detecting, I can only imagine the treasures that are probably buried in Cuba, as an example I left the island when I was 12 years old and only returned last year at the age of 62, I did so at the insistence of our son who wanted to learn about his roots and I realized we were getting older. Anyways, went to my hometown and walked back in time visiting my grandparent's home we were allowed to walk in and when I stepped into the backyard, the lady that is living there now told me that once they were planting a tree and uncovered a metal box with jewelry in the form of gold rings, gold ear rings and a gold chain, surely buried by my grandmother or some other relative, she apologized to me and said they had to sell it out of necessity obviously I told her not to worry and was even surprised that she even told me, you just have to wonder how many other backyards that still remain without construction hold buried treasure. Sorry for the long email, and thank you for your comments on the value of Freedom.

Thanks for sharing Alberto.  

There are a lot of seniors stashing away cash and other valuables in the U. S. these days too.  Near zero interest rates and the "death tax" are two causes.

Photo of finds submitted by Pavo.

Pavo thought the odd accumulation of nearly 300 coins that I recently found in one small area might be the result of Santeria or something like that.  I agree.

He sent this photo of his finds from South Florida.  Some, if not all, are Santeria Yemaya tools.

See my 2/24/15 post for similar finds.

You can find stores that sell those online.


I've received a few emails on the recent silver find made by the crew of the Capitana.  I originally thought it might be an aglet.  Bill P. thought it was something like that too.

William M. thought it might be a tip to a scabbard.  I now think he is right.

Dan B. send this picture of a rapier scabbard.  Notice the tip.

Rapier Scabbard.
Picture submitted by Dan B.

Here is a picture of the find as posted in my 2/24 post.

Photo by Captain Martinez
of the Capitana.


Trivia question.  Who built the first transcontinental railroad.

Answer (according to wikipedia).  The rail line was built by three private companies: the original Western Pacific Railroad Company between Oakland and Sacramento California (132 mi or 212 km), the Central Pacific Railroad Company of California eastward from Sacramento to Promotory Summit, Utah Territory (690 mi or 1,110 km), and the Union Pacific Railroad Company westward to Promontory Summit from the road's statutory Eastern terminus at Council Bluffs on the eastern shore of the Missouri River opposite Omaha Nebraska (1,085 mi or 1,746 km).


I went out to the beach this morning and took a look at our different beaches.  None were very promising for older finds.

Of course the beaches yesterday were crowded and there were some recent drops to be found.

Most beach fronts were built up and mushy.  The bigger surf (3 - 5 feet) hadn't done much good.  The waves have been hitting almost directly from the East.

At one beach there were a few dips, but they were sandy too.  Not very promising at all.

There was a lot of sea weed on most of the beaches.  That is not a good sign.

There were a few nice shell piles at one beach.  This odd piece of pottery or whatever was in a shell pile.  The bright red color is unusual in my experience.

Red Pot Shard Found In Shell Pile.

I checked the area where the hundreds of coins were found.  I left a few coins just so I could check when I went back and see if anything was happening.

They were still there, a bit of a surprise in itself considering the number of detectorists that hit that beach daily, but they were deeper this morning.  I could tell that a little more sand had piled up on top of them.

Another Beach This Morning - Looks About the Same As the Other.
There were scattered showers along the coast this morning, but nothing very lasting.

A lot of people said they liked yesterday's Memorial Day, and it is already tied for the most Google Plused post of the year.

Thanks to all!

I had a lot of other stuff but will have to hold it for another day.

Happy hunting,

Monday, May 25, 2015

5/25/15 Report - Memorial Day Post

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of treasurebeachesreport.blogspot.com.

I was thinking today that I'd talk a little about freedom, first because it is Memorial Day and we respectfully remember those who fought to preserve our liberties, but also because freedom  is a topic that I've been touching on in different ways in recent days.

We all want life, liberty and to be able to pursue happiness, but sometimes the things we do endangers our freedoms.  Lack of responsibility and good judgment puts freedom at risk.  Not that all restrictions on freedom are wise or just, but restrictions are often, not always, a reaction to something done without good judgement.

On smaller matters such as metal detecting, we often lose our liberties because someone somewhere did something stupid or harmful or maybe something that just didn't look good.  Leaving unsightly holes is one small example.  The hole might not actually be dangerous, but someone, perhaps too many someones, or someone with too much power, might see it that way.

I don't want you to get the idea here that I'm putting something like our metal detecting issues at the same level as wars and the loss of life suffered by those in the military.  I'm definitely not, but this is a blog on metal detecting and many of the same principles apply whether we are talking about large or small freedoms.  I often heard, "Take care of your pennies and the dollars will take care of themselves."  Take care of the small things and the large things will be taken care of as well.

Ronald Reagan once said,  “I hope we once again have reminded people that man is not free unless government is limited. There’s a clear cause and effect here that is as neat and predictable as a law of physics: as government expands, liberty contracts.”   

H. L. Mencken said, “The urge to save humanity is almost always a false face for the urge to rule it.”  I believe we face a lot of that these days. 

We get more rules, laws and regulations when we need them, or when we don't need them but when someone has been able to convince enough people that we do.  

Not all decisions are made with honesty, good judgement or knowledge.  That is true for each of us and governments too.  The result is that there are at times conflicts, and there are issues worth fighting for.

Government seems to have fewer and fewer limits as people are crammed closer and closer together and more and more people depend upon the government for more and more.

I find it interesting to listen to talk shows and hear how so many people are willing to give away freedoms and liberties these days.  People give their lives for our freedoms and then we give the same freedoms away because of fear, laziness, convenience, or stupidity.

I guess there will always be that tension.  Freedoms will always be at stake.  It will require vigilance and good judgement, whether we are talking about the basic freedoms of life and liberty or smaller things.

Of the smaller things, we often think it really doesn't matter, but maybe it does.  What are you willing to let slide?  Where do you make your stand?

Big things matter, but so do little things.


Sunday, May 24, 2015

5/24/15 Report - Shipwreck Salvage Season Off To Good Start On Treasure Coast. CSS Georgia To Be Raised.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of treasurebeachesreport.blogspot.com.

Silver Object Found By
The Capitana Thursday

Captain Martinez and the crew of the Capitana had their first day of the new salvage season on the Treasure Coast Thursday and already hit silver.  Here is what the Captain Jonah said.

 We took advantage of the good weather with some new and old crew mates. We wanted to shakedown the boat and make sure everyone gets in step. Already seem to run across ship wreck silver and a couple of other piece of wreckage. We are ready for a awesome summer of finding lost  treasure. We will keep it coming up and sending pics. 

Congratulations on a great first day and thanks for the report Jonah!

I'll have more on what I think the silver object is in the very near future.

There is still plenty out there to be found.


Salvaged Grapeshot
From The CSS Georgia

See link for source.

The CSS Georgia will be raised by the U. S. Corps of Engineers.

A team of Navy divers spent a week in mid-May preparing for an historic salvage of a Civil War ironclad scuttled more than 150 years ago. Mobile Diving and Salvage Company 23 will deploy to Savannah, Georgia, on June 1 to free the Confederate States Ship Georgia from her watery grave.

Grapeshot dispersed as it was fired from the cannon. The shot was held together by cloth, which released the rounds as it burned, or disk-like caps which sits below rounds in this photo.

The above quote and the picture is from the web site accessed by using the following link. You'll find more information and pictures there.



Finds and photo by Leoanard G.

Leonard G. noticed a beach that he thought might have been overlooked up until now.  He tried it out and found this bunch of coins shown below in about an hour and a half.  His next step is to wade in.  Looks like it could be promising.

Thanks for sharing Leonard.  Let us know what you find in the water.


The biggest surprise I had about the nearly three hundred coins that I dug yesterday, besides the fact there were so many in one spot, was that nobody else had removed them.

As I said yesterday, some were encrusted, so I know they had been there for a few days at least.  Zinc pennies do corrode quickly, but still most of the main Treasure Coast bathing beaches are getting hit multiple times daily and are very clean.

That just goes to show once again what I always say about not just detecting in front of the main crossovers in front of the beach.  There may be areas not too far away that might not be cleaned out as thoroughly.

When I was digging yesterday I noticed an area where a good number of people gathered, and they even set up a volleyball net.  It was an area where I have never looked before because I didn't know people congregated there.  I plan to check that area the next time I'm on that beach.


Well the summer season is in full force and the Treasure Coast shipwreck salvage season has started.

Next week we'll have something like a three to five foot surf all week long.  That won't put any old stuff on the beach, but it might shift sand around a bit.  I'll welcome that.  We'll still have to wait for a storm or something to give us access to older objects again.

Happy hunting,

Saturday, May 23, 2015

5/23/15 Report - Cluster Hunting and A Strange Coin Hole Containing Hundreds of Coins In One Small Area.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of treasurebeachesreport.blogspot.com.

Jensen Beach This Morning.
I've been thinking of talking about cluster hunting and today provided a good illustration.

The first thing I normally do on a beach after looking it over and checking any spots that might look especially promising is run a loose scan with the intent of finding any clusters or hot spots.  I'm not so much interested in single finds as I am interested in finding clusters such as coin holes or coin lines.

To find a cluster first run a very loose pattern over large areas.  If you hit one good target then you can check to see if it might be part of a cluster.

Well, I  went to the beach this morning.  There were a few thunder showers in the area but I didn't think it would last and was prepared anyhow.

Not seeing cuts or any signs of hot spots, I quickly ran a loose scan over a hundred yards or so.  I  didn't hit a single coin until I came to a spot where it sounded like there was either something very big or a bunch of items.

When I started to dig, I found shiny new coins.  There were more and more.  At first I thought it was a spill, but then it got bigger than what I thought a spill would likely be.  By the time I quit I dug nearly 300 coins, which were distributed in an oval shaped area no bigger than fifteen by thirty feet that ran from near the water line to near the high tide line.

It seemed like it was too big for a spill, and if a coin hole, it was the most dense coin hole that I've ever seen on the Treasure Coast.  The coins were often so close that several would sound like a single large item.  The detector I was using isn't great on target separation anyhow.

I just realized that I probably should have switched to non-motion mode.  I don't know why I didn't think of that.  I guess I got too caught up in trying to figure out the hole.   Nearly three hundred coins packed into a small area and most of them, especially the first hundred or so dug close to the water line, looked like recent drops.

At first I thought there were only nice new coins, but as I moved up the slope some of the coins closer to the high tide line were encrusted or discolored, looking like they had been there a while.

I was thinking about leaving the coin hole without finishing it because the coins were so new looking that I didn't think there would be any gold there, but the coins were packed so close together that I was curious to see how many there were.  And I wanted to figure it out.  That is why I stayed as long as I did.

Beach Where the Coin Hole Was.
I couldn't see any beach features that would explain why the coins accumulated at that one spot.

Was it a spill?  Who would spill 300 coins?  But then there were some encrusted coins in with the new coins, so maybe it was a genuine accumulation.  I was curious and puzzled.

There was one wheat penny.  It didn't look like it had been on the beach long though.   Maybe it was a recent drop too.

Part of The Coin Hole
The coins were so close together that sometimes two or three would come up in one scoop.

I filled the holes several at a time as I went from water line up the slope.

Some of The Coins Dug This
Morning Just After Being Rinsed Off.

The coins appeared so new that the accumulation couldn't have taken long.  The hole was so dense that it appeared to be a spill, but the spill was bigger than a normal spill.

I found a cluster of some sort.  Not all clusters are the same though.  Some clusters contain old coins and things.  Some clusters contain gold.  This one showed no signs of gold and little evidence of older items.

I don't know the last time I dug continuously for hours in wet packed sand, but I was getting tired.

Finally I think I figured it out.  What I think happened is a few days ago, but not long ago, a beach wedding took place and people threw coins instead of rice wishing the married couple prosperity.

Maybe they weren't interested in fertility. :)

Or maybe it was something else.  I'm pretty sure now that it was not caused by natural beach processes.

That is about the only way I can account for 300 coins so closely packed without much movement of sand.

One of my main points today is that clusters are not all the same.  Some are not worth the time.  Those that contain older items or those that have accumulated over time are more promising.

While I dug these these coins I only dug one piece of junk - a beer bottle cap.  That is amazing too.

If you know of any traditions or anything else that could account for this strange cluster, let me know.

The surf on the Treasure Coast will be increasing a bit - up to near five feet or so next week.

Happy hunting,

Friday, May 22, 2015

5/22/15 Report - Preserving Mining, Prospecting and Outdoor Recreation on Public Lands. Prehistoric Casino. Beach Erosion & Refilling.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of treasurebeachesreport.blogspot.com.

In the last few days I've received emails from different parts of the country including places as far apart as New York and California.

I  heard from a fellow that operates an organization that does the kind of work that is much needed.  The organization is called Public Lands for the People.  He didn't ask me for publicity, but I don't mind giving it.  I'd like to make sure our public lands are open for prospecting, mining and other outdoor recreation including metal detecting.

The organization received a treasure coin that they are going to auction and what he asked about was getting the coin authenticated.

You might want to take a look at the PLP web site.  Here is the link.


Sharon P. found what appears to be an antique fire hose nozzle. She did a lot of digging to get it.

Can anyone tell us if it is antique?

Find and photo by Sharon P.
She said she went back to the beginning of this blog and started reading through it.  Others have told me they are doing the same thing.  Nice find Sharon!


Prehistoric casino?

A cave on the shore of Utah’s Great Salt Lake is giving archaeologists a rare glimpse into a seldom-studied aspect of life in the ancient West — prehistoric gambling.
Researchers exploring the cave, known simply as Cave 1, have identified hundreds of dice, hoops, carved sticks and other trinkets used in indigenous games of chance and skill.
Based on what they’ve found so far, they project that there are more than 10,000 such items still waiting to be uncovered, making it likely the largest deposit of ancient gambling artifacts ever found in the western U.S.
Here is the link for the rest of the article.



Not too long ago I found an erode dune that had released a lot of coins onto the beach front.  The coins extended from the base of  the cut and down into the shallow water.  In the drawing the red indicates where the coins were on the sloped beach.
One day I returned to the same beach and it appeared that the water was lower.  It wasn't.  Instead of the water being lower the beach was higher.  The cut had filled in to a large extent.

The only objects that I found after the beach refilled were along the very base of the cut.  (Small red line.)  Those targets fell out of the face of the cliff after the beach had refilled, so they were found on top of the new sand.

That kind of erosion and refilling occurs over and over again.  Keep a mental record of the different levels of the beach as they occur.

As I've said before, stumps and rocks and other relatively stationary objects can help you gauge the coming and going of sand.


We've been having a one to two foot surf along the Treasure Coast.  The surf was very comfortable this morning near low tide.  Very easy water detecting, even if not good detecting conditions.  Both the beach and shallow water is sandy.

This weekend will be a busy beach weekend with the holiday on Monday.

The surf will increase slightly this weekend, and next weekend we'll have something more like a three to five foot surf for a few days.

That won't change beach conditions much, but even a slight shifting of sand will be welcome.

Happy hunting,

Thursday, May 21, 2015

5/21/15 Report - Nautical Archaeology And The Rich History Of Florida. Great Resources For Shipwreck Research.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of treasurebeachesreport.blogspot.com.

Today I'm going to provide some information that will serve as background material for a future discussion on some shipwreck salvage topics.  I think you'll find it very interesting on its own.


Florida has a lot of interesting history.  Have you ever heard of Beard's raid?

The Civil War had devastating consequences for industrial northwest Florida. To prevent the local industrial complexes from being captured and used by encroaching Union troops, Confederate forces burned and destroyed the industrial infrastructure as they retreated (Rucker 1990). Among those destroyed were the immense industrial complexes located along the Blackwater River.  

The map above shows  Colonel William K Beard's path of destruction.

I had the opportunity to hunt that area when I was doing contract work for the Naval Air Station at Pensacola.  A fellow that worked there had done some detecting with little luck near Milton, which you can see near the top center of this map.  He was detecting an old site that was near the river.  The hotel had burned down years ago.  He wanted me to show him how to work the site.  I've told a little about that before.

I found some old coins, a silver plate, tax tokens, a gold plated lapel pin and other items in just the first couple hours of detecting.  It was obviously a good hunting location, and I wish I had more time there.

The area had a long thriving lumber business and was a shipping center.  A lumber mill was established in the area by the Spanish as early as the 18th century.

Here is a thesis that will tell you something about that.

Here is one good resource.  It is the thesis PARADOX ON THE BLACKWATER RIVER: THE HISTORY OF AN UNKNOWN SHIPWRECK By Marisa Lee Foster B.A., University of West Florida, 2009.

That thesis is the source of the map shown at the top of the page, as well as the quote.   Here is the link.


One of the best things about academic studies like this is the list of references that you'll find at the end.

Here is a thesis on abandoned ships in the same geographical area that I found in the reference list.

THE HISTORY AND ARCHAEOLOGY OF SHIP ABANDONMENT AT SHIELDS POINT by Paul Goodwin Sjordal B.A., The University of California, Davis 2000

And here is that link.


This is something I think you'll want to browse.

Here is the Palafox as it looked when being built.

 Below is the same ship as it looked years later.

There are numerous sunken ships in that area.

The next picture shows a lead draft marker.

I once found what I thought was a lead draft marker on a Treasure Coast shipwreck beach.  The one I found was in the shape of a V.  Roman numerals were used then.

In this thesis you'll see a good number of illustrations and photos.  It is very informative.

It also talks about the culture and evolution of wreck sites as well as many helpful concepts related to nautical archaeology.   That is something I'll discuss more sometime in the near future.

My main point today is the wealth of research material that you can find on the internet these days, including academic studies like the two I mentioned today.  And don't forget to check out the reference list at the end of each thesis.


On the Treasure Coast we have one or two more days of two foot surf then we'll get a slight increase.  We still have the negative low tides but they are moderating.  No big beach changes are in the forecast.

Happy hunting,

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

5/20/15 Report - Reveiw Of The Garrett ATX Extreme Part II. Gold Markings and Possible Confusion.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of treasurebeachesreport.blogspot.com.

ATX In Folded Position.
This is a continuation of the review of the Garrett ATX that I began yesterday.

As I said, the ATX does have discrimination.  It is simple linear discrimination with 25 incremental positions.   Low conductivity targets are the first to be discriminated.

There are 13 sensitivity settings.

For maximum detection of small and deep targets, use maximum sensitivity and zero discrimination when you can.  If there is electrical interference in the area, you can do a frequency scan to select the best operating frequency.

I mentioned yesterday that pinpointing is not easy with the ATX unless you use the pinpoint mode.   That is true of the motion mode, which is what a lot of people will use.  In non-motion mode you can sweep slowly and will not need to use the pinpoint button.

There is another pinpointing trick that I might describe some other time.

I find the visual signal strength indicator most helpful for pinpointing. I can see the peak signal strength much better than I can hear it from the auditory signal.

The ATX is a heavy detector.  That will be a problem for many people, but I find it surprisingly easy to swing considering its weight.  It comes with a harness, so that might be a solution for some.

The controls and settings are easily accessed, for the most part with one finger while you detect.

You will dig deep targets with the ATX, both good and junk.  It can get a bit tiring.

It is good on gold.  It responds to small gold very well as compared to clad coins.  It can detect small gold and chains that would be missed by many detectors, however you must use it well to get maximum performance.

I use a test target to determine how well I have the detector tuned.  I talked about that before.

For some situations, such as dry sand, the default settings might be all you need.  Just turn it on and go.  If you don't want to miss a thing, turn up the sensitivity to the max.

However if you are in the wet sand or salt water, or highly mineralized soil, you might want to make some adjustments.   If using motion mode you might want to ground balance as you move from one area to another.  That is not necessary in dry Treasure Coast beach sand.  Again, I like using a test target to make sure I am getting near peak performance.

Once you learn to use non-motion mode in salt water, that will give you the best performance.  It takes practice though, and the threshold setting is very important.  Also expect to retune frequently when using non-motion is salt water.   You may encounter audio drift.

There are some cases when you might not want to detect everything, such as on a beach cluttered with small pieces of iron.  In that case you can decrease sensitivity.

To sum it up, the ATX is a very good detector that will detect small and deep targets and is very good on gold.  It is a bit heavy and requires some practice and skill for optimal peformance.  It can beat most of the detectors being used on the beach if used well.  Like I said yesterday, if you are a person that likes to use discrimination, I'd select another detector.  You can discriminate with the ATX, but then you are minimizing the power that you paid extra money to get.

In many ways the ATX is just the opposite of the Ace 250 that I once reviewed.  I would use the Ace when I don't need maximum depth and want a detector that is easy to use.   The ATX costs nearly ten times as much as the Ace.  Of course the ATX is more rugged than the Ace.

I've heard of problems with the ATX rod freezing but I have not had that problem.  The ATX eats up batteries, but comes with rechargable batteries and a recharger.


Often wedding rings will be inscribed with a date.  Did you know that 8-10-11 does not always indicate August 10, 2011?   It sometimes indicates the 8th day of October.  Some countries put the day before the month.

So if you see something like 20-10-2011 and are wondering how the month can be the twentieth month, it is probably the day rather than the month and your ring is from another country.

Gold purity is often given in either K (karat) or as a three digit decimal.

Karat purity is measured as 24 times the purity by mass, or in other words 24 times the mass of gold divided by the total mass of the item.   24-Karat gold is fine (99.9% Au w/w), 18-Karat gold is 18 parts gold 6 parts another metal (forming an alloy), 12-Karat gold is 12 parts gold (12 parts another metal), etc.

14k is approximately .5833% gold, but jewelers increase it to .585% for easier mixing.

Back in the old days there was a time when I used to see KP stamped on an item and thought it meant the object was gold plated.  That was a big mistake.  KP stands for Karat Plumb, where "plumb" indicates "exact."   So the KP mark is a good thing instead of a bad thing.

Look for and make good use of any markings but don't blindly accept them.  There are times when they are wrong.  Sometimes intentionally.

A lot of rings these days are 9K.   That might lead to some confusion if you do an acid test.  Normally the first container of test acid will be for 10K.


Expect more days of calm surf on the Treasure Coast.  This is getting old.  We do still have a good negative tide.

Happy hunting,