Tuesday, July 5, 2011

7/6/11 Report - Metal Detecting Detective Work

Fleur de Lis Ring Metal Detector Find.

The blog survey about what got people interested in detecting has closed and the results are in. Unfortunately over 30% of the responses were in the "other" category. Nearly a quarter of the respondents got into metal detecting because of friends or family. That just seems like it would be right to me.

Of the other categories, "seeing someone detecting on the beach" and "TV or Internet" were influenced about 15% of the respondents for each.

Last was print media. It seems that books and magazines are losing ground. That isn't surprising to me. Print media is going the way of the Dodo Bird.

I like books and magazines, but they don't have the impact of TV or the internet anymore. It is very expensive to produce books, and it seems they quickly become out of date.

Excellent TV shows are produced that are very educational and the internet is interactive and offers a lot of multi-media capabilities.

I don't know what the "other" category includes. I'll have to try to figure that out sometime.

I ran across an article about communities that inhabited the Great Dismal Swamp of North Carolina. Indians and escaped slaves sought refuge in the swamp.

Sometimes people lived and in places where you wouldn't think anyone would ever live. There were reasons for that. The inhospitality of a place was sometimes what drew people - especially groups that wanted isolation or were seeking refuge.

The reason I mention that is that sometimes you'll find detecting sites where they are least expected. And if you complain about all the good sites being hunted out, you need to put on your thinking cap and look for some of these less obvious spots. There are a lot of good but unhunted areas, believe it or not.

It doesn't take much to deter most detectorists. You'll often find unhunted or little hunted spots where there are weeds, bushes or other obstacles that make detecting a little inconvenient.

I'm often surprised by how many spots remain undetected, even in areas where the main detecting locations are hunted to death. Often all it takes is walking a little farther than most detectorists are willing to walk.

Don't be afraid to try new spots. You'll strike out sometimes, but you might be richly rewarded by finding an unhunted spot that you will have all to yourself.

Here is the link to an article telling about the archaeological finds in the great Dismal Swamp.


Another thing that article made me think of is how the items that you find when detecting tell a story. In the case of the Great Dismal Swamp the finds tell of the Indians and escaped slaves who sought refuge in the swamp, but no matter where you detect, all of the items that you pick up tell a piece of a story and speak of a life.

The junk you find on a modern beach can tell you something important. Even a pull tab tells you that someone was there and it tells you something about what they did. It is a trace or echo of a life as it was being lived.

If you want to maximize success, you need to think. Squeeze all of the information you can out of every simple find.

A pull tab, tells more than you might think. First, it tells you that people were there in the past. Second, it tells you that either no one detected that area or that if they did they were using discrimination or detecting in a sloppy manner. Third, if you are in an area where the water has reached, it tells you something about how items were sifted and sorted. That is an important piece of information for a beach detectorist.

An item as common and simple as a pull tab can provide a lot of information. A lot of detectorist don't make good use of information such as that. In fact, if they use discrimination, they are discriminating that information.

Pull tabs have changed over the years. That means that they can also provide some information about the number of years of activity and how long it has been since someone did a really good job of cleaning up the area.

Of course, I'm not only talking about pull tabs. I just used the lowly pull tab as an example of squeezing information out of the things you find or observe while detecting.

There is a lot of problem solving that takes place when you are detecting if you do it well. Do your detective work. Make use of any and all clues. And remember, that any find, no matter how old or new, is a record or echo of some body's life.

Today's modern junk is tomorrow's antiquity.

Treasure Coast Beach Forecast and Conditions.

There were actually a few cuts this morning. They weren't big, but some sand did get moved. It wasn't enough for me to change my beach conditions rating. Finding cobs on the beach is still a low probability proposition, and I'll keep my rating at a 1 (poor).

I could see some places where the beach front was lower than it has been for some time. Some rocks and stumps were exposed more. That can provide a good clue.

I found some clad coins that were trapped by rocks. Always look for traps like that.

I saw cuts on two different beaches that were a little over one foot high.

I mentioned a few days ago that the slightly higher seas might freshen up some spots, and that is what happened. Enough sand was moved on the beach fronts to provide a few new targets - a good bit of old iron, and some lighter materials.

I've been working the same spot for quite a while now, and don't have it cleaned out yet.

The wind is from the east and the seas are running around two feet or less. By the weekend they'll be back down around one foot again.

No activity in the tropics either.

I wanted to get a photo or two this morning, but my camera batteries were dead.

Happy hunting,