Friday, April 5, 2013

4/5/13 Report - Copper Spike Found & How to Hunt a Swash Cluster

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Here is an old and broken copper shipwreck spike dug yesterday.

Notice the heavy green patina and where the patina rubbed off of the corner.

This one shows a lot of heavy wear besides the recent corner rubbing.

Below (left) the same piece of spike is shown with a couple of iron spikes and a piece of what appears to be a copper drift pin.  All were dug yesterday.

And below (right) is another photo of the copper spike and maybe a piece of drift pin.

These were all found in a small area on the front of the beach.

I've talked about and illustrated coin holes and lines in this blog in the past.  These came from a slightly different kind of hole than those I've described.  These came from what I call a "swash cluster."

I remember one time when I was visiting the Pensacola area on business and one of the fellows up there had been hunting the site of an old hotel that had burned down.  He wasn't finding anything of interest and wanted me to show him how to detect the area.

When I arrived at the site, it looked like the site had been hit by carpet bombing.  There were big holes spread around everywhere. 

After I spent a little time at the site and \pulled out some old coins, tokens and other things from an area of only a few square yards, he said, "You spend a lot of time in one spot."

There are definitely times to spend a lot of time in one spot.  But there are also times to quickly scan a large area.   This was a site to stick really cover the area.

I don't know if the other guy had a decent detector or if he was only listening for big targets.  It looked to me like one of those was the case.

When you quickly scan a beach, you are looking for a good spot to really concentrate.  You might not find a good spot on a particular beach, and when that is the case you move on to another beach.  But if you do find a good spot, you need to really slow down.

Yesterday I found a good spot.  Not a great spot, but a good spot - a spot good enough to spend a lot of time in just a few square yards of beach, carefully covering every inch of that good spot.

I've talked before about how to work a coin line or a coin hole.  This good spot was a bit different from those that I've described before.  It was not what I would call a "coin" hole, although some coins were found in it.  It was more of an artifact hole.  And there was no cut.

This hole was not so easily visible.  There was no real cut that could be seen.   There was however a subtle visible sign or indicator.  I'll try to describe and illustrate that in a future post.

Today my main point is when you do find a good spot, really slow down, cover it very well, going over the same spot again and again.

If the hole is in the swash where the water is coming and going, it is very important to go back over it multiple times because in moving water, you can not grid an area as well and you can not see where you have been because the holes, foot prints and other marks quickly disappear.  Also things can get washed up or moved while you are working.

Here is a good article about a puzzling shipwreck find.

We aren't the only ones that get puzzled.  In fact that is a large part of the fun of it all -  putting the pieces together and eventually solving the puzzle. 

I've posted some of the things that have puzzled me.  Some of the puzzles were solved, and some, not yet.

And here is a web site on the historic use of copper and other types of sheathing for ships..

The catalog for the upcoming Sedwick Treasure Auction is now available online.

You can bid now but the auction goes live on May 1.

On the Treasure Coast the wind is now out of the south/southwest and the surf is only 1 - 2 feet.  The surf will increase later this weekend and into next week, but it won't be a big increase.

The tides won't change much.  The low tide today will be about 11 AM.

No real change in beach detecting conditions will occur.

Happy hunting,