Saturday, February 2, 2013

2/2/13 Report - Dig or Discriminate, Florida CAP & Emeralds

Written by the TreasureGiude for the exclusive use of

Beach  Find.
If you read this early enough, you might want to join Bernie at 8 AM for a hunt at Jensen Beach just south of the snack bar.

There were some groups that petitioned Florida Senator Hays to create legislation for a Citizen Archaeology Permit (CAP) at a meeting that was held on May of 2012.  I haven't found anything concerning the CAP since and suspect that there has been no progress on that matter.

Does anyone have more information on that?

A judge ruled on emeralds claimed to have been found at sea.  The Fishers examined the emeralds and determined they were not from the same source as the Atocha or Margarita emeralds, and the judge ruled that the fellows could not prove that the emeralds were actually found at sea.  The finding reduced the value of the emeralds since they couldn't show that they came from a shipwreck.

Here is the link for the whole story.

I've talked about using discrimination a lot in the past but not so much lately.  I just read about some tests of the discrimination capabilities of one new high-end metal detector with some very impressive target identification (discrimination) capabilities and wanted to respond in part.

First of all, as I've said in the past, I rarely use discrimination.  I think that the majority of people use it too much.  They don't need it as much as they might think since there are other ways to do things and some of them are better.

Don't get me wrong.  I'm not totally against using discrimination.  I use it a little myself, especially for special situations.

My discussion on discrimination immediately below concerns beach detecting, not hunting junky urban demolition sites or other different situations.

Besides differences in sites, I also have to acknowledge differences in detectorists.  Different people have different operating characteristics and some detectorists have what I consider pull-tab phobia and go into an absolute panic at the site of a pull-tab.  I won't attempt to persuade such tormented souls, but will say that  as all neurosis, that type of irrational behavior diminishes personal effectiveness.  I say that with some small attempt at humor but also to make a point.

I'll try to be brief even if impassioned.

First, junk provides information.  It can tell you how things have been sifted and sorted by the forces of nature, how much and how well the area has previously been hunted, and even give you information on how long things have been accumulating at the site.   A predominance of the old style ring pull-tabs over the new little flip tabs, for example, would tell me something about a site, when it was most busy and how long it has been since the site was well hunted.  I can use that information.  Also, I probably wouldn't spend much time in an area where aluminum is accumulating, in MOST cases.

Digging a few items, even junk, tells you something about where to spend your time detecting.  It is a part of sampling.  As I said, even the difference in type of pull tabs can make a difference in the analysis.

Second, no discrimination that I am aware of is perfect.  It can lead to mistakes - expensive mistakes.

Third, it often takes no more time to remove a trash item than it does to discriminate it.  Most trash items are close to the surface of the sand and can quickly be kicked out of the sand by one flick of  the toe or one quick scoop.  It takes like two seconds to do that, and then the item is removed from the beach.  That means   that the beach will be cleaner, and you won't be bothered by the same trash items every time you visit the site.

I also want to remove non-metallic items that draw my attention.  If I take a walk to look for sea glass or fossils, for example, and notice an item that I am not interested in, on the way back, the same item will draw my attention again.  Distractions are distractions.  They will draw your attention and cause you to miss other more interesting items.   That is also why I like to remove trash - metallic or non-metallic.

If I think a site is worth detecting, I'd prefer to clean it up so that I'm not running over the same trash items every time I visit the site.  It just makes no sense to me.  And don't forget the matter of masking. Even though progress has been made, I don't believe that the effect of masking has been totally eliminated, even by the best detectors.

Fourth, I do not want my vision focused on a readout or screen.  I prefer to scan the site visually while listening for signals.  I've found a lot of items visually that I would have missed with my detector.  It strikes me as being something like a person who travels a scenic path while looking at their mobile device the entire time and not taking in the surroundings.  There are a lot of visual cues on a beach.  Also tactile.  The firmness of the sand, for example, is important information.

Fifth, when you dig trash you are at the same time refining several skills, including pin-pointing, target recovery and signal analysis.  I must be a slow learner because I am still improving skills like that.

I'll conclude there for today.  There is a lot more that could be said, but I think you get my point.  I do acknowledge personal differences and the fact that different situations will recommend different approaches.  I also realize there are trade-offs, but you should be aware of both the pros and cons of discrimination.   Overall, I find discrimination most useful when I simply don't have enough time to do a more thorough job.

One added note on cleaning up a beach.  If you simply don't have the time or patience to remove all trash items you encounter on the first visit, at least remove some each trip and eventually you will make some progress and have a cleaner beach to detect.

On the Treasure Coast the wind has been mostly from the North, shifting a little to the East and West from time to time, but the surf remains down in the area of 2 feet.  Therefore I don't expect any significant changes in beach detecting conditions yet.   Nothing real soon expected either.

I do need to get out to take a look very soon.

Happy hunting,