Monday, April 8, 2013

4/8/13 Report - Swash Cluster Illustrated

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

1714 Mexico 8 Escudo in Current
Sedwick Coins Auction.
To the right is one of the escudos expected to sell for $10,000 or more that is up for sale in the current online Sedwick Coins Treasure Auction.

You can see the last three digits of the date, as well as the mint mark (oM) and the Assayer initial (J).

Nice example.

Wouldn't that look good in a sand scoop?

Below is an illustration of a swash cluster.  It isn't a great illustration, but hey, it's free!

This is what I was talking about yesterday.  As I said then, you'll sometimes find clusters of items on a beach at what appears to be a small bend in the beach in the low tide zone. 

Besides the bend in the beach that might appear as a small dip in the beach, you might also notice a patch of rocks and other debris accumulating at the water's edge.  I attempted to show that in the illustration by the two small ovals above the circle labeled "rocks and shells."

Under a thin layer of sand, you'll find an accumulation of rocks, shell pieces and larger shells.  The layer of sand will at times be removed or added to. 

Mixed in with those rocks you'll often find a variety of types of metallic objects.   Some will be junk.  Often there will be a good number of sinkers.  And often there will be a few coins near the surface of the sand.

Typically lighter objects such as aluminum and zinc pennies will be around the edges of the cluster but not so much near the center of the cluster.  You can use them as an indication of the border of the cluster. 

Side Profile of Beach Illustrating Swash Cluster
Remember what I've often said about the value of detecting junk -  it can tell you something about the distribution of objects on a beach.  And that can be useful information.  It is also one reason that I seldom use discrimination.

I should point out that I was using discrimination a good bit the day I picked up the copper spike after I found the cluster and knew its boundaries because I was running out of time as the water got rougher, and I didn't have enough time to work the cluster properly before it would be too difficult to work it at all.

When the water is not too rough, the water will still be very active over at least part of the cluster making it a little more difficult to work.  You might well hit a few larger targets that will be impossible to remove because of the moving water.

You can work the cluster by detecting right on top of it, or if it is a place where you can get in the water, you can detect the dip, which will most likely also have some good targets.  You can also work the face of the little cliff.

The dip will be a good place for gold rings, but also a lot of sinkers.

Before or after the best time for working a cluster, the dip will often be filled with a layer of loosely packed pieces of shells and course sand.  That will tell you that you just missed the best time.  If the layer of shells in the dip is not too thick, you could still have some good luck, but if you are off too much, you probably won't get much besides light materials such as aluminum.  Watches also often show up in filled dips.

You will notice that your detector will not seek as deeply in a course shell sand.  It will detect objects more deeply in nice fine hard packed sand.

A swash cluster is vulnerable to any movement of sand and can quickly disappear.

I'll try to get an actual photo of a swash cluster the next time I go out.  The last time I got so busy trying to work it before while I still could that I forgot to get any pictures.

The price of gold dipped a little against the US Dollar early Monday, but did not lose much of Friday's sharp rally, ending at $1577 per ounce.

Silver bullion was at $27.30 per ounce, 2.5% above last week's 9-month low.

People tend to think of a dollar as an absolute quantity, but remember that the value of the dollar changes daily too.  And over months or years, the change can be and has been very significant.  The dollar is losing a lot of value these days as the government pushes it lower to pay for the debt.

Today on the Treasure Coast the wind is from the southeast.  You know what that usually means.

The surf is about two to four feet today.

That all means that there is no real chance of overall improvement in beach detecting conditions.

Happy hunting,


On a side note, I read that one Florida lady was arrested and faced the possibility of a $500 fine or six months in prison for riding a manatee.  It is illegal to mess with manatees.  They are considered an endangered species.   It never occurred to me that anyone would bother a manatee.  Just never thought of it.