Saturday, November 17, 2012

11/17/12 Report - New Gold & Did You Ever Find a Cremation Tags

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

New 14K Ring Find.
Old items brought to the surface by Sandy are becoming more scarce and detectorists along the Treasure Coast are having to make do with modern finds.  Here is a 14K gold find with some type of pinkish stone. Although it is undoubtedly worth more than a lot of the old junk that you could dig up, it just doesn't seem as much fun as the old stuff.  It doesn't have the same kind of history behind it.  Yes, there is a story behind it, and yes there is research to do if there is any hope of finding the owner, but somehow it just isn't the same as finding something really old.  Yet the story of this type of item can come alive - if and when the owner is found and the item returned.  Then it has a personal story and significance beyond any material value.  Some items are found not long after they were lost and are sometimes returned to their owners, others remain hidden for decades or even centuries to become antiquities, while others possibly remain lost forever.

Here is a nice general article about metal-detecting.  Nothing much to learn from it, but it is a pleasant read.

You can find all kinds of things on a beach or in the ocean. Did you notice the part in the article mentioning cremation tags.   I don't think I've ever mentioned those before even though I've found a number of them, mostly in shallow water.     If you dig up a small metal tag with a hole in it and a serial number, you might have found one yourself.

One reader of this blog (Will) recently wrote in about finding some of those cremation tags. He also provided some information that I didn't know.

Here is part of what Will said.

I found my fifth and sixth cremation tags this week. I don't recall you ever mentioning them, so I thought I would share what I know about them. A cremation tag is placed in the container with the ashes of the deceased, for identification purposes, while the ashes are being processed. The fact that they end up in the ocean is incidental, not intentional. By law, you're supposed to be at least 3 nautical miles from shore before releasing the ashes into the ocean, and in many parts of Florida, the water has to be at least 1800ft deep. After finding 6 tags in 2 years, I doubt that very many people actually go the 3 miles out. I know that in the case of my father, a couple of years ago, my brother and I just kayaked out a couple of hundred yards offshore...

Unfortunately I can't find Will's photos right now or I would post them.   Cremation tags come in slightly different shapes but are often round, are usually a little over an inch, can be stainless steel or aluminum, show serial numbers and sometimes a funeral home name. 

As you know, after Sandy a lot of things were showing up on the beaches. Here is a nice piece of copper sheeting found by Joan T.

I'm studying pot shards to learn to better identify them.  It is often difficult to tell how old a pot shard might be.  There are so many types.  I've studied scientific reports that tell about the paste that was used to create Spanish Colonial pottery but would like to see any and all photos that show good closeup photos of shards.  Many of the pictures don't show the composition of the paste in detail.  If you see any photos of shipwreck pot shards, I'd appreciate it if you would let me know about them.

The swells are running around three to five feet on the Treasure Coast.  They will decease a couple of days and then increase again around Thanksgiving Day and a little after.

The tides have been high continuously.  The very front of the beach should be fresh for whenever we get some smooth seas and low tides.

For now, no change in detecting conditions.

Happy hunting,