Monday, May 20, 2013

5/20/13 Report - Vikings Hoard Found by Detectorist, Historic Fort & Book Treasures

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Viking Coins Found By 16-Year Old Detectorist
Photo from FoxNews Story.  See link

A sixteen year old boy with a metal detector in Denmark found one of the biggest Viking treasures to be found in many years.

60 rare coins (See photo.) plus many other items, including a silver Thor's Hammer medallion, were found in the cache to be displayed by a Danish museum.

Thanks to Christopher P. for submitting the link to this story.

The site of a historic fort near the Oregon Trail in Wyoming is being excavated.  Volunteers are being trained to help with this work so the site can be studied before a housing construction project begins.

A TV show planning to visit St. Augustine to dig artifacts on the private property of home owners who wish to participate was being planned back in early 2012.  As you might expect, that caused a lot of discussion, with the city archaeologists reiterating their outrage that somebody would do something like that. 

Here a link to the article telling about that.

One archaeologist said the program's activities would be unethical because it would rob the city of its heritage and would disrupt important archaeological sites despite the fact that representatives of the TV program said they would stay away from archaeological zones.

I understand and respect the desire to preserve archaeological sites.  Nobody should do that and only a very few would do so knowingly.  After all, the detecting community is a part of the citizenry and would be robbed right along with anyone else that was being robbed. They are a group that is very interested in history, and undoubtedly more than most of the general population. 

The treasure hunting community has contributed heavily to our knowledge of Florida history.  They have contributed heavily to the collections of the state of Florida and other museums and displays enjoyed by the citizenry, and have made many important discoveries. 

The problem is that the metal detecting and treasure hunting communities are frequently mischaracterized and villanized despite their many contributions.  There would be a much better chance of making really significant discoveries if the eyes and ears of all willing and interested parties were involved.

In the one article above it was shown how volunteers can help to preserve history before it is too late.  Volunteers can be useful.  Detectorists are being utilized more frequently to survey archaeological sites.  That is the way to go.

Hundreds of police and national guardsmen could not find one terrorist in a few city blocks of Boston, but one citizen did.  No matter how well trained and how long you look, you are not likely to find a carved mammoth bone giving evidence of the simultaneous existence of man and mammoths, but one amateur did.  The archaeological community would do much better to inform and involve the citizenry.  The idea is to protect history for the people, not FROM the people.

It is time to realize that there are more items in the earth than can ever be properly studied.  Objects do deteriorate and sites are lost if they are not found in time.   Who knows what undiscovered unstudied site will be destroyed next.

18th Century Map Recently Sold by Sothebys
Most detectorists and treasure hunters would love to be involved in making finds and learning what those finds can tell us.  Most would welcome training and input from professionals.  Most would freely offer their time and skills if they were utilized and appreciated rather than mischaracterized and villanized.  It is time for a change.

On May 14th an auction concluded that sold many old and rare travel books, atlases and maps.  Of course those are treasures.   They sold for thousands of dollars each.  But they can also be valuable research tools.

Here is an example of an 18th Century map of North America.   Close inspection reveals much about the past that could be useful to a detectorists.

Besides being a research tool, old books and maps are works of art and treasures.

It used to be easier, but you can still occasionally find real bargains in thrift stores.  Sometimes you can purchase a book for a dollar and sell it for hundreds of dollars.  Of course you have to know what to look for.

I once wrote an article for a treasure magazines on the topic.

Look for books that are signed by the author or other famous person.   Of course look for old books, but most old books aren't worth much unless there is something rare about them or they are well over a hundred years old.

First editions of books by famous authors such as Hemmingway or Dickens are usually good.  You will have to study in order to learn how to identify a true first edition.  Reprints usually aren't worth much.  And condition is important.

Look inside old books.  Sometimes you can find photos, cards or even money.

Happy hunting,