Friday, February 28, 2014

2/28/13 Report - $400 Million Missing, Bitcoin and Summer-like Beaches.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Bitcoin Tokens.
From Reuters story linked below.
As expected, the earlier predictions found on the surfing web sites that predicted up to a nine foot surf for next week on the Treasure Coast has disappeared.   The predictions are now only for a four foot surf.  I don't know why they can't fix the model.  There is an obvious and consistent flaw in the model.

You've probably heard something about bitcoin, but if you're like me you don't know much about it.  If you found a bitcoin token on a beach would you know what it is?  Would you know how much it is worth?

The value of a bitcoin is now somewhere around $500, down sharply after Tuesday.  A one point it had been around $1200.

Here is an article that explains bitcoin.

The bitcoin exchange in Tokyo recently filed for bankruptcy protection after 850,000 bitcoins went missing.  The missing bitcoins would be worth around $400,000,000 at recent prices.

On a related topic, money seems to be disappearing.  With all the credit cards, debit cards, and different things we have these days, people carry less cash and pay in cash much less often.  Sunpass is a good example.  In the past when you traveled on the Florida Turnpike you threw your change in buckets at the toll both.  No more.  You can use Sunpass and the fee is deducted automatically from your account when you drive through the tool booth.

That kind of thing means there will be fewer and fewer coins lost on the beaches and most other places.
Treasure Coast Beach This Near Low Tide Today

This beach looks like a summer beach - convex and mushy.  That is how it has been lately.  Poor beach detecting conditions.  Makes it easy to get in the water even if it is sandy.

The weather is about as pleasant as it can be.

I did see a few small and insignificant cuts - less than a foot.

The tide is big and getting up pretty high and the low tide is lower than normal.

I didn't see many shells though.

I need to get some time to continue my series about beach dynamics and reading beaches.  I have been hurried lately and haven't found the time.   I'll do it whenever I get the time and energy to do some serious writing.

I think that will be all for now.

Happy hunting.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

2/27/14 Report - Another Hoard, Factors Affecting Movement of Debris in the Ocean and Big Surf Predicted.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Yesterday I mentioned how it seemed that there were a lot of treasure stories in the media lately.  Here is another.

A large hoard of Roman gold and silver jewelry worth around a million euros has been recovered after being found in a forest in Germany.

All of the rare coins, rings and brooches contain gold or silver, and many date back more than 1,200 years.

The article says, Experts say the find could be the largest and most magnificent collection of late antiquity pieces ever found in Germany. It also includes a solid silver bowl set with gold and stones and a set of gold and silver plated statuettes which formed part of a military commander's portable chair.

Here is the link.

This find was made illegally.  That isn't good but something like the Portable Antiquities Scheme might have prevented the unfortunate way the whole thing went down.

Scientists have been tracking ocean debris caused by the Sept. 2012 tsunami in Japan.  They made improvements to the initial model to take into account the different shapes and buoyancies.  The amount of surface area exposed to the wind and currents causes the objects to drift at different speeds and trajectories.  The model predicted the timing and type of material that would wash up on the shores of Hawaii, which included very buoyant pieces such as oyster buoys, crates, small fishing boats and parts of refrigerators.

You might remember some of my discussions concerning the types of factors that affect how things will move and be distributed on a beach.

For example, a watch might act something little a refrigerator.  A watch can be fairly heavy, butsince it can contain air pockets and provides a lot of surface area relative to their size and weight, it would be moved more by currents and sink less quickly in sand.

If you've been reading this blog over the years, you've heard me discuss factors like these that are usually left out of the equation when people talk about "heavy objects," "density" or even "specific gravity," as if all objects were simple lumps.

Here is the link to the article about tracking the tsunamis debris.

You also have to take the same factors into account when trying to figure out where shipwreck debris will end up.   To some extent, different types of objects will be separated and distributed separately on the bottom of the ocean and along the beach.\

Did you know there are things that it is illegal for Americans to sell?  You probably know some of them but might be surprised by others.  Here they are.|hero&par=xfinity

While the seas around Florida have been very calm this winter I've talked about the rough seas, flooding and erosion in the North Atlantic on both sides of the pond.  25-foot waves have been pounding the shores of Lake Michigan.

Here is an article about those dangerous conditions.

Thank goodness our beaches aren't frozen.  I remember a few winters ago when it seemed my toes were freezing and had to go back to the car and get footwear.  Usually the water is warmer than the air on cold days, so I would dip my feet in the water for temporary warming.  This time I thought I could take it but didn't realize I was getting too soft and accustomed to Florida weather.

We've had some cool days, but not many cold days.

For the Treasure Coast there is a period of six to nine foot surf prediction about a week from now.  As I've often mentioned, when the surf web site predict a big surf a week or more in advance it usually never happens.  Only time will tell.

Happy hunting,

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

2/26/14 Report - Ten Million Dollar Gold Coin Cache Found and The Amazing Success of the Portable Antiquities Scheme

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Mint Condition Gold Rush Era Gold Coins in Container.
AP Photo:see links for more photos. 
Approximately 10 million dollars in Gold Rush era gold coins were found by a couple walking a dog.  The mint coins were buried in metal containers under a tree on the couple's property.

The amazing cache is now being called the Saddle Ridge Hoard.

Below are some of the links to that story.

Thanks to those who submitted the following links.

I don't post news about discoveries like this simply so you will be up on the news.  The reason I post them is because there is always a tip or lesson to take away.

In this case, note that the couple had been at this location many times.  It was on their own property.  And one container was brought into view when it was uncovered by recent erosion.  Each of those things provides a lesson, or at least a good reminder.

I've talked many times about detecting your own property, keeping your eyes open, inspecting any new erosion, etc.

Imagine a hoard like that.  If you didn't visually spot it first but rather detected it, imagine what the signal might have been like.  Were the containers iron?  Would you have dug it or passed it up?

If you saw a small part of the containers sticking out of the ground, would you have investigated it or ignored it?

This find was made about a year ago but is just going public before the coins are sold on

Treasure is in the air, or should I say in the media.   Mike F. from NJ sent me the link to this great article from the BBC News.  Thanks Mike.

The article says, ... Amateur archaeologists with metal detectors found 990 items classified as treasure during 2012, according to figures from the British Museum.

All of the rare coins, rings and brooches contain gold or silver, and many date back more than 1,200 years.
The public reported more than 74,000 other historical items to the Portable Antiquities Scheme, which experts say has "revolutionised archaeology".
More than 900,000 objects have been reported since it started in 1997.
The verification process takes several months, which is why the items submitted in 2012 are only being detailed now...

That's what can happen when the archaeological community works with the public.  They say it has "revolutionized archaeology."  Yet in the US we have nothing remotely similar.

Here is the link Mike sent.

Thanks again Mike.

I have a lot more to post today but got a very late start and am going to have to continue with these and other topics some other time.

It seems a lot of people are reading the previous post on groins and honey holes and want more.   I'll have to continue that some other time too.

That is all for now.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

2/25/14 Report - Beach Dynamics: Groin Honey Holes & Kerosene Lamp Parts Found

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Parts Found at Different Times That Might Go Together.
Sometimes you'll find an item and have some idea what it is but won't really know for sure.  Then maybe you'll find something else that goes with it, and then again, something else.  Or you'll get some clues or learn something and start putting it altogether.

Not long ago I showed a photo of a piece of what I thought was a part of an oil lamp.  Then a couple of days later another piece, which could have been from the same lamp.  Well, I think I found more of the same lamp, and this time it had a patent date and other information on it.

The glass globe at the top was found years ago, and I don't think it was part of the other item, but I don't know for sure.

The part in the front row on the far left was found a week or so ago.  Then the part on the far right in the front row a day or two later.  The a few days after that, the tube and the top, the two parts in the middle.  The glass globe was found in the same area years ago.

The wick turner on the part of the left still turns.

The fortunate thing is that the last piece found, shown here shows a patent date of Nov 80 and the letters B & H.

Not having the first two digits of the year it could have been either 1984 or 1884.  From the look, I guessed 1884.

With a little research I found the web site, which is a real gem for research.

I learned that B&H was the Bradley and Hubbard Manufacturing Company that began in 1852 making clocks and then later made other household items, including lamps.

I encourage you to visit the site.  It really provides a lot of information.

Here is the link for the Bradley and Hubbard information.

And here is a little of what it told me about B & H.

So it seems that the parts in the front row are parts of a kerosene lamp.  I still don't know if the globe goes with it.  At this point I think not.  Notice the ceramic element in the base of the globe.

If you can tell me more about the glass globe, I'd like to hear from you.  Thanks!

The ceramic thing in the bottom of the globe has a spring below it that extends down a glass tube in the bottom of the globe.

New topic.  More on Groins and Beach Dynamics.

Understanding beach dynamics will help you a lot.  It will help you know where to detect. It will also help you to know which beaches to check first.

If you know and understand the different beaches in an area very well, you'll pretty much know what to expect at different beaches from what the wind is doing and how big the surf is.  Not always but a lot of the time - enough to save a lot of otherwise wasted travel.

Source of illustration:
Yesterday I was talking about groins and how the sand shifts from side to side depending upon the waves.  The back and forth movement of sand between the groins, or a cove or between other obstacles can be a very helpful phenomena.  Hunt the one side until the sand moves and then hunt the other side.  If you get an unusually big movement of sand in between the groins you can be in for a big gold bonanaza.

Notice the direction of the sand in this illustration, which goes from the upper left corner towards the lower right corner.

If you get a big movement of sand and get back into areas that haven't been uncovered for a long time, especially near the base of a groin structure but also in the middle between groins, you will be in the money.

No change in beach conditions on the Treasure Coast.

Happy hunting,

Monday, February 24, 2014

2/24/14 Report - Iron Flakes or Silver, Driftwood, & Groins and Beach Dynamics

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Example of Nice Piece of Driftwood That Could Be Easily Sold
Before I get into my main topic today, you might remember that I talked a little about the market for driftwood.  Here is one of my favorite driftwood finds.

It is flat on the back and could be easily hung on a wall as is, but I have another idea for it.

You might be able to see the quarter shown for size.

A couple of days ago I posted some pictures of flakes of iron that people often ask about.

Pete L wrote and said,

  I was thinking back a few years when I found my first two 1/2 reales.

I remember vividly that both of those 1/2s looked exactly like the piece

of iron to the right of the dime in your photo!  I actually almost tossed them

but looked closely and saw the tell tale little cross in the middle of them.

  Now, whenever I find something like that i simply try to snap it in half.

If it snaps it's most likely iron but if it resists snapping there's a good

chance it's Silver!

Thanks for the good tips Pete.  Most half reales if they show nothing else will have some sign of the cross showing, but not always. 

My first Spanish silver was not a cob, or if it was it was what is sometimes called a razor because it is worn so thin and featureless.  No sign of cross or anything else could be seen on it, but it is silver.  I did an acid test on it.

Many detectors will tell you if an item is iron or silver.  And another quick test is a magnet.
I always say don't throw an item away if you aren't sure about it.  You won't regret holding onto it as much as you'll regret throwing something good away.

Two or three days ago I showed how sand moves back and forth up and down a beach with each wave and with the tides.  I said there are normally additional factors.  Today I'll address one of those additional factors.   It is long-shore, or littoral, drift, which I observed while detecting long before I knew what it was called.

Here is a simple animation that shows how sand moves with the waves and with long shore currents, assuming a straight beach line.

When you go to the link, click on the graphic to see the animation.'sl%20guide%20to%20folly%20beach/guide/driftanimation.htm

You will see that zigzag pattern while detecting near the water.  If you dig a target, in the moving water and the target falls out of your scoop, it will move either up or down the slope and in the same direction as the water north or south on the beach.  I've seen that a million times.

Sometimes I'll throw a coin into the waves on the beach just to see how they move the object.  Sometimes they'll move a lot and sometimes not as much.   I've done a lot of experimenting and observing.

If you lose something like a pull tab out of your scoop it will be moved farther than some other objects such as coins.

If you want to keep the object from moving when it is on or near the surface when a wave comes, quickly put your foot on it.  I've talked about that before so I won't repeat all of that.

Another thing you can do to keep from losing the object is to keep sweeping your coil over it and track it while it moves.

You want to know how the sand and objects are moving so you can look at a beach and get a good idea of where to spend your time.  You can learn to know where any hot spots are likely to be.

The littoral drift along the Treasure Coast as well as most of the Florida East Coast is north to south.

So what happens if you don't have an entirely straight beach, but instead there are obstructions to the flow of sand.  One good example that illustrates what happens is when there are groins.

I learned about groins a long time ago.  The sand will pile up along one groin or another depending upon the direction of the waves.  By the way, groins and similar structures create some very good hot gold spots.

Below is a good diagram from this web site.

First,notice the direction of the waves.  That is a critical factor.

Second, notice the direction of longshore transport (the direction that long-shore currents are carrying sand.) that in this illustration goes left to right.

Focus on the first two areas in between the first groins.  I don't want to get into tapered groins or other complications now.

The sand is tilted between groins, as is usually the case.  It will usually pile up more on one side but will change sides if you have a change in the direction of wind and waves for a long enough time.

When the waves come from the left they are going along with the longshore transport to some extent.  If the waves were hitting more from the right, they would be going against longshore transport.

Although I won't elaborate on that now, Ive touched on some factors that partly explains the differences between the effect of nor'easters and southeasters on Treasure Coast beaches.

As shown in this illustration, with the waves hitting as they are in the illustration, a small amount of sand will be removed from the left of the area in between groins and a greater amount of sand added to the right side of the area.

As I said, this will occasionally reverse to some extent when conditions are extreme enough.  That will uncover pockets of heavy accumulations.

Groins provide a good illustration.  A similar thing happens with coves or simple curves in the beach or other situations that cause a protected  pocket of some sort that prevents a natural flow of sand along the beach.  It could be rocks or sand bars or other things.

There are still a lot of factors I haven't added to the system.

Here is an extra reading on Cross-shore and longshore sand transport.

We are stuck with a small surf on the Treasure Coast.  That is bad for beach detecting, but it is good for water detecting and there is still gold coming from the water at swimming beaches.

Happy hunting,

Sunday, February 23, 2014

2/23/14 Report - New Side Scan Sonar, Diggers, Medallion Find & Cargo Lost to Big Waves

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Metal Detector Find.

Here is a shallow water detector find.  Do you know what organization this comes from?

It reads, To thine own self be true.  And, Unity, Service, Recovery.  That is a pretty good hint.

It is about the size of a silver dollar.

I'll show you the other side and give you the answer below.

While the calm weather on the Treasure Coast has been a pain in the ankle for beach detectorists, the guys down in the Keys are getting extra opportunities to hunt this winter. 

The crew of the Dare, as part of the Fisher salvage efforts in the Keys on the Atocha and Margarita, got some new equipment.  Side-scan transducers were mounted on the hull.  This sonar does not require the usual "fish" owed by a cable.  That means she can collect data anytime she is going.  They are planning on working the area around where the gold chalice was found on the Margarita site.  I showed a scatter plot of this wreck not long ago.

Of course one of the most important determinants of detecting success is being at a good site.  You can't find much if it just isn't there.  That is obvious enough, but I was reminded how important that is when I watched a few shows of the Diggers Saturday.  I guess National Geographic was showing Diggers all day.  Anyhow, all of the sites I saw them detect were sites of known historic importance.  They were civil war battlefields and all sorts of things. That is at least half of the battle.

A new series of Diggers is beginning Tuesday.

At the end of many shows they showed the archaeologists or museum curators their finds.  Most of us don't have access to to well-known archaeological sites, but the they did because of the TV program.

Flakes of Iron.
One person recently found these three items on the Treasure Coast.  There have been a lot of them on the Treasure Coast beaches lately.

The reason I am showing them is because one of the questions that I get asked the most is about pieces like these.  People wonder what they are.  If you are walking the beach and see one, before you look at it closely it can look very much like a cob.  Unfortunately there are many flakes of iron like this to be found all along the Treasure Coast.  You can see many of them along the water line some days.  They can be from various sources, but there are a lot of them where the beaches have been renourished.  All of those big pipes and the equipment used during beach renourishment causes a lot of them.

Back two or three decades ago, Douglas and John Brooks beaches used to have a lot of iron flakes.  There was a barge that was used in salvage operations that rusted away.  That produced many of the flakes that were found on those beaches.  They are not so prevalent there these days.

Anyhow, so many people ask about iron flakes like this that I thought I would post a few pictures and give the answer here.  

As far as I know there is no way to know which ones are really old or where they came from.  Therefore they are just flakes of iron. 

Here is the other side of the object shown above.

This side reads, God grant me the serenity to accept the things I can not change.  Courage to change the things I can.  And wisdom to know the difference.

Great advice!  

See the AA in the middle.  That stands for alcoholics anonymous.

As I was watching Diggers yesterday I was also reminded how much the significance of interesting finds depends upon what you can learn about them and where they came from and how they ended up where they did.  (More on that in another post coming soon.)

Figuring out the source of finds not only helps you appreciate those finds more, but it also helps you to find more.  That is especially true when finding artifacts, and less important when picking up coins or jewelry.

I'll also post more on beach movement and how coins and things get distributed on a beach.  I spent a lot of time on my last post on beach dynamics.  It takes a while to make that kind of information clear.

On the Treasure Coast we still have a small surf.  That is good for water hunting, but not detecting treasure beaches.  

Maybe I'll show some more gold water finds tomorrow or soon.

They are still having huge waves on the other side of the Atlantic.  One cargo ship lost a lot of containers off of coast of France.  Not all were full.

Here is that link.

I remember some times when ships lost cargo off of the coast here and people were running around picking up whatever was washing in.  One time is was wood furniture.

Happy hunting,

Saturday, February 22, 2014

2/22/14 Report - Vero Beach History, Driftwood Inn, McKee Jungle Gardens, Sherds, and Driftwood

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Source of photo:
Sometimes the obvious is completely overlooked.  Most of you know about the major 1715 wreck beaches, but did you know that in years past Spanish cobs have been found right on the beach in the center of Vero Beach?  Some were found directly in front of the Holiday Inn. 

But what I wanted to mention today is a place that is right in the middle of Vero Beach that is listed on the National Historic Register - the Driftwood Inn.

It was created in the 1930s by Waldo Sexton, partly from driftwood found along the beach.

The cannons that you can see on the property today were said to be dug up on the same property. 

If you've never been there, I think you'll enjoy seeing Sexton's fascinating collection of beach combed items and antiques that decorate the unique local landmark.

Also, you might be interested to learn that Art McKee, who I've mentioned in the past along with the treasure museum that he had down in the Keys, started McKee's Jungle Gardens near Vero back in the 20s.

You can learn more about those by using these links.

I received some responses from readers about the items found by Eva S that I posted a couple of days ago.  First, William M. did not see any evidence of Native American pieces among the finds.

Bill S. sent the following.

Hi, Treasure Guide!

Concerning the post on 2/21 with photos of materials found by Eva S, I find the photo of what appears to be earthenware ceramic sherds with a green glaze, or what is left of a green glaze, interesting. The photo has a penny in the center for scale; I think it was the 4th or 5th photo down from the top.

I have seen a large number of earthenware ceramic sherds from the 1715 wrecks. All are either unglazed (or the glaze has been completely worn off), or have traces of red glaze. None has any green glaze, or traces of green, at all. The sherds I examined are primarily from two 1715 wreck sites, but I am convinced they are representative of what has been found all along the cost at 1715 sites.

I read a paper a while back on the history of Spanish colonial period olive jars, by Dr John Goggins. He was an archaeologist or anthropologist from Florida, and his study concentrated around the cache of complete jars found on a 17th century wreck site in the Bahamas. This paper indicated green glazes were more common in the 17th century than in the 18th. So, if Eva's finds are earthenware ceramics, and if they are from the Spanish colonial era, they may pre-date the 1715 fleet.

They are interesting finds, regardless. Thanks for sharing them in your blog!

Thanks Bill and William for sharing your observations.  It really helps!  People love to learn more about the things they see on the beach.

I'm one that believes in making good use of what you have.  I like preserving old items and making new items out of old items.  As a result I like to pick odd things up on the beach that might have some value or use. 

It seems strange to me that people will spend their day looking for coins and pick up a few cents here and there but pass up other items that are actually worth more.  That is one reason that I mention things like sea glass.  It has value too and can be more valuable than modern clad - not that economic value is the big thing for me.  Sometimes it is just an item that is unique or that I like or that I can use of make into something else.

Anyhow, one thing that I sometimes pick up is driftwood.  I sometimes make things from driftwood but was not aware that of the market for driftwood. 

If you look on eBay, for example, you'll see many pieces for sale.  Driftwood is used in aquariums, both fish and reptile, as well as used in crafts. 

Furniture and other items are also made of distressed or reclaimed wood.  That makes sense to me.  I like the look of wood, especially old weathered wood.

I was just surprised to learn how big the market is for driftwood and thought you might want to take another look at the wood you see on the beach. 

I've done posts before on old shipwreck wood that rarely but occasionally washes up after a storm.  Sometimes it will still have spikes, nails, or sheathing.

Don't forget that you can search old posts in this blog (there are really a lot of them) by using the blog search box.

On the Treasure Coast we still have around a three foot surf.  That will be decreasing very slightly for a few days.  Don't expect beach detecting conditions to improve in that time period.

Happy hunting,

Friday, February 21, 2014

2/21/14 Report - More on Reading Beaches for Detectorists and 2 Dug Class Rings From Same School

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Source of diagram: . 
I heard from some readers that wanted to hear more about reading beaches or what I might call beach dynamics for detectorists.  I decided to do some more of that today even though I haven't been able to upload the video clips that I made for the purpose.  I'll use this diagram again instead.

I added the A and B labels to the original diagram to point out the advance and retreat of waves that hit the beach.  Point A is the most advanced point of one wave, and point B shows the point to which the water of that wave recedes down the slope again.

I also added the small black arrows between A and B and the x.  Those arrows show the advance and retreat of the most mobile sand during the surge and retreat of one wave.  The x shows the start and end point of the mass of moved sand at the beginning and end of each wave.

Most of the time the beach is in a state of relative balance.  It isn't in precise balance.  There is always some gain or loss of sand along the beach, but usually it isn't a huge gain or loss and wouldn't be noticed by casual beach-goers unless they had a special interest and made careful measurements.

I'm talking today about what happens when the waves are hitting the beach at something near 90 degrees - not when the water is hitting from a good northeast or southeast direction, which is an entirely different situation.

If you watch successive waves that hit the beach straight on, you'll see that normally each wave transports sand (which my video that I wanted to upload clearly shows on a micro level).  Each wave normally moves some sand up the beach a little (towards point A), and then as the wave recedes, a small amount of sand retreats back down the slope about the same amount (towards point B).

It is almost like there is a smaller wave of sand (black arrows) within the wave of water.  The sand moves a smaller distance than the water, but also advances up the slope and then retreats with each wave.  Point x, where the bulk of moved sand settles after each wave, does not change much with  each wave that hits the beach, but does advance up the slope as successive waves move up the slope with the tide.  And it retreats down the beach as the tide goes out.

The amount of sand that moves with each wave is small, of course, but the accumulated effect of many waves can be considerable.

When I was making my video clip the distance that the wave of sand moved was a fraction of the distance that the water moved with each wave.  The wave of sand was something like 20% of the distance that the water moved, but varied considerably depending upon things such as the timing of waves and how they came together.

The distance that most of the moved sand will move (length of the small black arrows) with each wave depends on a variety of factors.

Remember, what I am talking about is when the waves are hitting the beach at a 90 degree angle.  The movement of sand is small and the advance and retreat of sand pretty much balances out. Another way of saying that is that point x does not change much with each wave, but does change more with the tides.

In the video I took to illustrate that common situation, there was one notable shell that was in the area where the sand moved with each wave.  It must have been a hundred or thousand times heavier than the grains of sand that were moving.  How do you think the shell moved in relation to the sand under these circumstances?  Do you think the shell moved more or less than the lighter grains of sand with each wave.

The answer is neither.  Under those conditions the shell moved very much with the sand.  It moved up the slope about the same amount as the wave of sand and then back down with each wave the same amount as the bulk of moved sand.

I've often said that weight is not the most important factor that determines how an object gets moved on a beach.  This illustrated that point very well.  The shell was much heavier than the grains of sand that were being moved, but it stayed right with the moving wave of sand wave after wave.

I won't go into that entire discussion again now.  I don't want to complicate this too much at this point.

Here is a big factor to add to all of the above.  When one of these 90 degree waves recedes, it will  hit another wave coming in behind it.

What do you think happens to the carried sand and other materials when the incoming wave hits the receding wave?

The momentum of the water stops and the carried materials drop out.  At that point you will get a little pile of material.

Also, despite its much greater weight, the shell stayed on top of the moving sand, wave after wave.

Back to the movement of sand.  From what I've said so far, it would appear that you would neither lose or gain sand during a tidal cycle.  It would balance out.  And it often does.  But there are other things that could change.  For example, the surf might be rough during the incoming tide but then calm down during the outgoing tide.  Or the period between waves might change.  Or the direction of the wind and waves might change.  All of those things can affect the flow of sand and other materials.

That is all for that topic today.  It takes me quite a while to make that understandable.  I hope I succeeded.

Here are two class rings from the same school but many years apart.

If you do much water hunting, you'll find a fair share of class rings.

They can be fairly heavy.  I've found a few over an ounce.  These two are closer to .75 oz.

I think they are making a lot of lighter ones these days.  And even a few are made of silver or stainless steel now.

But class rings are among the more common finds for water hunters.

On the Treasure Coast today the surf is around three feet.  It will be about that this weekend too.

I'll keep trying to figure out how I can get the beach dynamics videos done.

Happy hunting,

Thursday, February 20, 2014

2/20/14 Report - Fossil Shark Teeth From Beach, Shards Found In Shell Piles, and Bits of Florida History

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Fossil Shark Teeth and Pot Shard Finds
by Eva S.

A few days ago I posted a note from Eva S. who has been finding fossils and shards on the beaches between Sebastian and Vero.  Here are a few of her finds.  (Many more are shown below.)

That is the kind of thing you are likely to find these days.  I'm sure the detecting snow birds, who are on the Treasure Coast in great numbers now, are disappointed with the beach detecting conditions.  Since our good detecting back in November conditions have been consistently on the poor side.

You just can't control beach conditions.  You have to adapt and make the best of it.  Another alternative is to take a little trip.

Yesterday I talked about abandoned and hidden beaches.  Some were not ideal beaches to begin with.  I'm thinking of some of those that you'll find in parks where they tried to make a nice beach on a lake, bay or stream by bringing in nice white sand and and spreading it.  That usually doesn't last long.  The weeds will come up right through the new sand and nature will reclaim the beach.  I can think of a few like that.  Beaches like that might look nice at first but they aren't used much by people because the area just beyond the dumped sand is still muddy or mucky in the shallow water.  The result being that they give up on maintaining the beach before long and it is reclaimed by nature.  You can identify those beaches by the unnatural white sand on one part of the shoreline.

I can think of one abandoned beach inside the property of a very large Florida amusement park.  At one time there was a life guard station and dock at that beach.  Now you can hardly tell there was ever a beach there.  I first detected that one when it was in full operation.  Now it is very over grown, there is no sign of the life guard station and the dock is gone.

I'm still working on uploading my video clips of how objects move on a beach.  No success yet.  I also plan to make more videos and do some experiments to illustrate the processes of beach dynamics.

A few notes on Florida history follows.

Between 1513 and 1565 at least eight Spanish expeditions were sent to Florida with the aim of establishing Spanish rule.

In 1565 Menendez massacred 130 people at Fort Caroline, a French outpost near Jacksonville.  Nine days later he led the killing of 110 more Frenchmen near St. Augsutine, inspiring the name of  Mantanzas (massacre) Inlet.

It appears that Europeans had been to Florida before Ponce de Leon.   Many believe that John Cabot (Giovanni Caboto) was the first European to see Florida.

Several maps appear to show Florida years before its supposed discovery by Ponce de Leon.

They include the Juan de la Cosa Map, published in 1500.

The 1507 Waldseemuler Map that is housed in the Library of Congress and appears to show the peninsula of Florida.

And the Peter Martyr Map, which was circulating in Europe as early as 1511, two years before Ponce's supposed discovery of the area.

More than one hundred Florida missions were established by the Franciscans and the Jesuits beginning in 1566.  By 1705 they had all disappeared.

All of this is in J. D.Allman's book on Florida history that I referred to back a ways.

On the Treasure Coast the surf is increasing a little for a couple of days.  It looks like it will be up to about four feet or so.

The wind will be out of the south and southeast, so if anything, expect beach building.

Below are a number of photos of pieces that Eva has picked up along the beach.  You can look through them and see if you can help with identifying anything that might be older or interesting.  Note in the last photo, the couple of wooden handles, for example.

Here goes.

Happy hunting,

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

2/18/14 Report - Finding and Detecting Old Hidden Abandoned Beaches and One-Ton Million-Dollar Gold Coin

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

One Ton Gold Coin Created By the Perth Mint

The Perth Mint created this one ton gold coin.  It is 99.99% pure gold and has a face value of one million Australian Dollars.

One Australian dollar is worth close to 90 US cents.

I never particularly liked detecting with the crowds and when given the choice would select the less populous areas.  Certainly the popular spots have a lot of people and a lot of targets, but they also generally draw a lot of detectorists who thin out the targets.  It isn't the thinning out of targets that bothers me so much, because there are still a lot of targets left, I just prefer the solitude and finding older things, and also finding out where things used to be.

You might be surprised how many old abandoned and hidden beaches there are to be discovered.  Things change over time.  The landscape changes and the popular spots change.

In metropolitan areas, the popular areas sometimes become run down and the crowds move.  That doesn't mean you can't still find a lot where the in-crowd used to congregate, especially when conditions are good and the older objects become accessible.

In the days of segregation there were "colored beaches in many communities.  I've mentioned colored beaches at least once or twice before.  They weren't the best beaches.  Sometimes they were rocky or muddy or something.  But people congregated there in great numbers.  And when segregation ended some deteriorated even more and were abandoned.

I've detected some of those beaches, and as you would expect you don't find expensive jewelry on those beaches, but you do find a lot of silver coins from the era. And you also find a few (very few) more modern items on top of the older items, and sometimes even some nice items from even earlier days deeper down.

Don't forget that beaches can change again and again, and that can happen quickly in urban areas due to the amount of human activity.  A beach might have been a very nice area before it deteriorated.

Some abandoned beaches are just around the bend from a beach that is now heavily used.  I discovered beaches that look like they were never used as beaches but which were evidently the place to be in times past.   It is not uncommon for such beaches to be overgrown with grass.  Maybe the sand has been covered by silt or mud, yet if you detect there you'll find plenty of good targets, and that might be your first indication that is where the people gathered back in the day.

There are other things to look for.  Look for the remains of old structures, maybe an old rotting pole or two that was once part of a gate to a parking area.  Look for the remains of old groins or breakwaters.

Old paths and dirt roads become hard packed.  They might be over grown and hard to see now, but if you look carefully you can often see the remains of an old path.  Some now lead to out-of-the-way gay or nude beaches.

One place that I often hunted whenever the beach eroded had a packed surface that was once evidently a parking area or road up to the edge of the beach.  It only showed when the sand eroded.  Coins from the 1800s and 1900s were found there as well as jewelry from several decades.

As I think over those old abandoned beaches that I've hunted, I wish that I took photos of them.  Some were in parks.  Some were on bays or ocean beaches, some on lakes or ponds, and some were in the swamps.

Some were overgrown with grass.  Some were mostly eroded away.  One was over a coral outcropping that is usually covered with sand.  One was at the site of an old burned down hotel site.

Many of those old abandoned beaches may have been discovered, but since there is little or no daily replenishment of surface targets like at the more crowded areas, they are often overlooked by most detectorists.  Even those that have been discovered and detected, can continue to produce a lot of good targets, especially when there is additional erosion.

On the Treasure Coast we now have a one to two foot surf.  Out a week or so is predicted a five to eight foot surf.

If you've been following this blog very long you know that when a big surf is predicted a week or more in advance, more likely than not it never happens.  Maybe this will be the exception.

I just looked and they already decreased that prediction.

Sorry.  I'm still trying to get my video clip on how sand and objects move to load.

Happy hunting,

Monday, February 17, 2014

2/16/14 Report - Treasure Coast Beaches, Copper Sheathing, and Did de Leon Ever Land in St. Augustine

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

One Treasure Coast Beach Yesterday Near Low Tide
The Treasure Coast beaches haven't changed hardly at all for the past couple of weeks.

The weather is beautiful and there are a lot of snow birds on the beach.

The beach, though, still looks very much like a summer beach, as you might be able to tell from this photo.

It was mushy all the way to the water.

Another Treasure Coast beach was slightly better, but far from anything that would cause me to upgrade my beach detecting conditions rating.  The cut that I showed about a week ago was still in place, as was the sand bar in front of it.  Like I said, not much has changed.

There weren't many shells, but there were a few shells and small fossil pieces.

I mentioned a few days ago that people have been picking up shards and things like that.

Here is a piece of copper with nails found by J.K.   He wanted opinions.  What do you think?

I won't give you mine yet.  I don't want to influence you.

A few days ago I told you to go and watch how the water moves sand and things.  I made a video to illustrate some things about that but haven't yet managed to get it to load into the blog.  Hopefully I'll get that to work.  I was able to capture some good illustrations.

Even a very calm surf and small waves move things.  It is just on a smaller scale.

I'm trying to organize a good presentation on reading beaches. Until I get it done (there is a LOT to it)  I'll just throw a few more things out there from time to time.

They are saying that the jet stream has been moving farther south and that will bring colder and longer winters to the US.  That has happened this year.  We'll see what happens in the future.

Thanks to Pete R. who pointed out a mistake I made in my previous post concerning eyeglasses.  It should have read, " Previously they were found to date to as early as 1727 but have now been found to go back as far as 1714. "

Any help in dating items can be useful at some point.  It is always helpful to have an idea about how old dug items might be.

You can't always go by what our historic markers say.  That is one thing T. D. Allman points out in his book on Florida history.

Press releases by the Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park claim that the park is where "Ponce de Leon landed in St. Augustine in 1513 searching for a Fountain of Youth."

Allman claims that the Fountain of Youth myth was created by Washington Irving, who was not beyond embellishing history, to put it mildly, and Allman explains that there is no evidence that de Leon ever landed in Florida north of Cape Canaveral.

I've been waiting to see if my video clip would load today.  I'm giving up on it for now.

Happy hunting

Saturday, February 15, 2014

2/15/14 Report - A Little More About Treasure Beaches and Antique Valentines & Eyewear

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

There is a nice cool breeze this morning with the wind coming out of the west.

Last night was a full moon.  It looks like the low tides will be nice and low today, but the high tides not much different.

 February 14 to 16 the American Stamp Dealers Association is holding its convention at the Broward Convention Center.  All over the news is an 1857 Valentine's Day card that was being sold at the convention.  I'm surprised but glad that that is receiving so much attention.  I have a number of Valentines Cards from the 1910s.  I showed some of them last year in my 2/13/13 post.

Here is a link for a forum on Native American artifacts sent in by Bill M.

Thanks for the link Bill.
When were eyeglasses first used?  I'm not talking about spectacles that sat on the nose, but those with the side pieces that go over the ears.
Previously they were found to date to as early as 1727 but have now been found to go back as far as 1714.
Here is a great site on antique eyewear.
I'm taking a bit of a break from the series I started on reading beaches.  I've decided to organize it well so I could present it better.  There will be a lot of new information on that presented when I get the time to put it all together in one clear presentation.

I'll just add a few comments today.

Did you ever notice that if you look north and south from down around the water line, you won't be able to see forever?  Despite most discussions and illustrations the beach is not a straight line.  As you look one way or another along the water line, you'll see a bend in both directions which you won't be able to see around.  Those curves and bends make a big difference even if they don't look like they would.

I remember some time back in the eighties watching Mo Molinar on the Virgalona ( I think it was) anchored as close to the beach as they could get blowing holes.  Now that was 40 or more years ago.  And the beach right beside where they were working is still producing cobs.  That is forty years after they spent a lot of time working right in front of the beach there. 

I've seen other boats since then working right in the same area over the years. 

If you stand on the beach there near the water line and look south, within a hundred yards is a bend where the beach curves a little to the east and then west.  You can't see around that corner without walking up to it.

If you look north in the same direction you can see farther, probably three hundred yards, the beach curves out to the east to make another point that you can't see around.

The hot spot is right around the most concave point of the U shaped curve.  It has been there over forty years, and I suspect a lot longer than that.

I'm not going to get into this real deep today, but I want to recommend that you take a look up and down the beach to get a sense of the curvature and direction of the beach.  None of the beach hot spots that I know about are on any of the sandy points that project out to the east.

Become familiar with the curvature of the beaches, especially as it relates to spots that produce.

You'll find that many spots, like the one I mentioned above, produce over the decades.

Well, I didn't really intend to get into that much today, but there it is.

I'm going to hold back on a lot until I get it well organized and produce illustrations and diagrams.

It always helps me to hear from readers.  I like to know what they are thinking and what they are interested in.

Happy hunting,


Friday, February 14, 2014

2/14/14 Report - Gold and Fresh Water Pearl Bracelet Valentine's Day Find, Dare Out To Margarita & Metals Prices

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

14K Gold and Natural Pearl Bracelet

Its a good day to find something nice for the wife.  And sometimes it happens just right.

Here is a part of a nice gold and fresh water pearl bracelet that popped up just in time.

Notice the pearls are about .75 centimeters long.

I didn't know if it was gold at first.  I put it under my Celestron and could see the 14K mark.  It is small.  There was no way I could have read it without magnification.

It is a beautiful afternoon on the Treasure Coast.  I found an web site that says there was snow on the ground of 49 of the 50 states today.  Hawaii has snow on the volcano peaks, in case you were wondering about that.  Florida is the only state without snow.

Here is the link.

And Key West has been having nice calm treasure hunting weather so the Dare is heading out to dive the Margarita site just west of the primary scatter.

Tiny 14K Mark on the Pearl Bracelet.

I might take a break from my Reading Beaches 101 series for a couple of reasons.  One reason is that it is getting long and I don't know if people are interested in all of that.  Also it is developing in my head so quickly that I can't keep up with it and I need to take a break to organize it better.  A third reason is that I realized that I am starting to go way beyond the 101 level.

The spot price of gold this morning hit $1320 before ten o'clock this morning.  It is on a run.

Silver is up this morning more than gold on a percentage basis.

This little bracelet is the kind of thing that is not easy to detect because the amount of metal is so small.  And individual links or beads, even if in a chain, are much harder to detect than a single lump of similar mass.

A lot of the time a chain is found because of a medallion or something on it.  I believe a lot of detectorists would miss most gold chains if they don't have a medallion or something larger on them than the links.

Even a small gold band will be hard to detect if it is broken.  The same band is easier to detect when it is not broken.

If you've never done it, try some experiments like that.  You might be surprised how hard it is to detect gold chains and broken bands.

The pearl bracelet is the kind of thing that can often be found in the swash.  It would go with the more easily moved and lighter thinner materials even though part (a small part) of it is gold.

The pearls are similar to small shells.  Being hooked together though, the item would move differently than individual pearls.

It is a really nice looking little bracelet.  Looks like new.  Doesn't look like it has been tumbled.

I guess I am back to Reading Beaches 101 material again.  I didn't mean to do that, but it is important stuff and determines where things will be found.

A lot of people miss watches too.  Watches often are found in areas with lighter materials.  Watches can have air trapped under the face or in the watdh and that will make them ride higher in water.  They can also be composed of a variety of materials causing detector signals that some might pass over.

The surf is only about one foot on the Treasure Coast today.  The afternoon is beautiful.

It is the type of day where you can go out and watch how things move at the edge of the water.  Not much will move, but you can see enough to learn a few things.

I might take a break from the Reading Beaches series for a day or so.

Happy Valentine's Day,

Thursday, February 13, 2014

2/13/14 Report - Treasure Coast Beach Combing, Time Capsule & Reading Beaches 101 (Part III)

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

I'll continue with my Reading Beaches 101 series below after a few other items.  If you haven't read the previous two posts on Reading Beaches you might benefit by doing that before continuing with this post.

This has been a damp and cool winter on the Treasure Coast.  Today the wind is from the West as much of the East Coast gets hit by ice and snow.  Storms and floods continue to hit the UK.

On the Treasure Coast the surf is only around two feet today.  The wind is blowing out.  That has been the way it has been much of 2014. 

Conditions for beach detecting on the Treasure Coast remain poor, but things like fossils, shells and pot shards are still available on some beaches.

Eva S. sent me an email saying, ... I live up here in Cape Canaveral and almost daily drive south to the beaches across Patrick's Air Force Base, the beaches south of Melbourne, Sebastian and Vero Beach.  One of the most productive beaches I've discovered up to now for those who like to collect truly beautiful shells are the beaches across Patricks Base.  I have the most beautiful Murex, Tulips, Olive, whelks...etc  I have also found pottery sherds and very interesting metal pieces.

I found my first piece of porcelain the other day on a beach between Sebastian and Vero Beach-- I was thrilled.  I then found my first ancient huge shark tooth on another beach between Sebastian and Vero.  These are very exciting finds for me. I love beach combing.

I was inspired to finally buy a metal detector.

My first day was a disappointment because I really thought I'd find my first Spanish coin!  I quickly realized how vast the beaches are and how unrealistic my expectations were!  It'll take a long time before I find anything, I'm now sure.

I found my first piece of porcelain the other day on a beach between Sebastian and Vero Beach-- I was thrilled.  I then found my first ancient huge shark tooth on another beach between Sebastian and Vero.  These are very exciting finds for me. I love beach combing.

I was inspired to finally buy a metal detector.

My first day was a disappointment because I really thought I'd find my first Spanish coin!  I quickly realized how vast the beaches are and how unrealistic my expectations were!  It'll take a long time before I find anything, I'm now sure.

Keep at it Eva.  As I've been saying, the beach conditions have been poor lately.  You never know when you'll make your first great find though.  It might be quick or it might take quite a while.

Thanks for sharing!

The price of gold has been making a nice comeback the last few weeks.

Back to beach talk.

The normal movement of wave energy in deep water is circular.  That is why it is not necessary to anchor yourself or fight the waves when water detecting.  (I've discussed that before.)  If you just go with it, the water will move you a little one way, then the other, and then return you to where you were.  That is if the water is deep enough.

Anyhow, as the waves get into more shallow water, they break.  The crest becomes more narrow than the trough and the crest falls in on the trough.  The crest crashes on the beach with good force and moves sand or whatever.   The water slows as it washes up the beach and drops whatever it was pushing.  The water then slowly flows down the slope into the sea leaving sand and other things behind.

When a wave crashes on the beach, even heavy objects can be moved.  In my experiment that I mentioned the other day to see how different lead objects of different weight and shape were moved, I used a bucket of water to simulate a single wave breaking on the beach, and saw that all of the lead objects moved a considerable amount.  That was nothing compared to storm driven waves.

You can see for yourself how the water moves different items differently.  Just the other day I was watching the swash near low tide on a day when there was very little surf.  I could see shells and other things at the edge of the water.  When the water came in, some would move up the beach very quickly, others less quickly, and other didn't move at all.

The less dense items, depending to some extent upon other factors such as shape, moved the most.  The light items up the slope quickly and then back out quickly as the water went back out.  I could pretty much tell what an item was composed of by the way it moved in the swash.  Try it sometime.

Shape did make a difference.  Rounded items easily moved up the beach and then rolled back down just as quickly.  It takes more to move a disk or coin shaped object.

We haven't yet considered cuts.  I've explained how the water creates cuts before.  I've stood there and watched them form.  I've also seen them disappear.  They can disappear very quickly.

Cuts occur only occasionally.  High water does not automatically create cuts.  I saw that for myself after hurricane Andrew in South Florida and saw it along the Treasure Coast when Sandy passed by.  The water got very high on the beach on both occasions but created only a few small cuts, and in many places no cuts at all.

Everybody talks about Nor'easters.  Why is a Nor'easter any different than a Southeaster?

I will discuss that in a future post and also talk more about cuts.

A time capsule buried by Steve Jobs was buried, lost and relocated and dug up.   It is now receiving a lot of attention because a new series of Diggers is about to begin and their first program is about finding Job's time capsule.

I have a hard time calling it a time capsule when it is only 30 years old.

Anyhow, here is more about that.

Thats all for now.
Happy hunting,

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

2/12/14 Report - Reading Beaches for Metal Detecting (Part II) and Important New Fossil Discovery

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of


Yesterday I started a series called Reading Beaches 101.  If you didn't read that, you might do that before beginning today.

I won't add all of the details to this discussion for a while.  The basics will be helpful enough.

I also recommend reading the web site that is the source of this diagram.  It only talks about beach building and erosion though.  I'll add details about the movement and distribution of other objects such as coins.

The lines showing the high and low tide change position of course, sometimes dramatically, and the water can get all of the way up to and over the rear dunes at times.  That can reshape the beach, including the fore dunes and everything in front of it.  At times there will be cuts, cliffs and dunes. and then they'll all be smoothed out and replaced again.

In the top part of this diagram it shows how sand is borrowed from the beach and the sand is dragged down into the water and deposited in shallow water.  Notice how the waves break on top of the newly formed bar.

Note also that during the storm sand comes in from deeper water and is dragged into the water from the beach (sometimes I might add).  There are more details that I won't get into now.

I will however mention my personal observation concerning the angle of the water being very important in determining how the sand and other items move.

The important thing here is that not only does sand move, but also according to the force of the water and other factors, other items such as coins also move.  Each type of item, as I explained yesterday, is different in terms of how much force it takes to get it to begin moving and how much force it takes to keep it moving.  Those things, along with other factors, such as the item's shape and weight and how deeply it was buried to begin with, will determine how the item is moved and where it ends up.  These are the forces that create coin lines and holes.

One of the reasons I discourage use of discrimination is that if you are not detecting a variety of different kinds of items, you will not be getting important information that tells you where different kinds of items are being deposited.  If, for example, you are finding thin light pieces of aluminum or whatever, that tells you something important.

A coin hole will normally have items that are more difficult to move  near the center of the hole, for example, lead sinkers, quarters or gold rings.  If you are in an aluminum or zinc penny zone, you are not in the sweet spot, assuming that there is one.  The information provided by the junk you find can help direct you to the sweet spot.

You might remember the experiment that I did to illustrate how the shape of an object as well as the objects weight helps determine how the object will be moved by water.  (See my 8/5/13 post.)

The bottom part of the above diagram shows how the sand that piled up after the storm gets redistributed again.  Some of it goes back up on the beach and some out into deeper water.

On the Treasure Coast right now there is one beach where you can see a large sand bar just off shore that was created not by any significant storm, but by beach renourishment sand washing out into the water.

If I was talking about shallow water hunting I would point out some important details here, but I'm going to stick to beach detecting for now.

I want you to see the news about a new fossil discovery so I'll leave off on my Reading Beaches 101 topic for now.

A historic new discovery of fossils has been made which reveals many that have never been previously seen.  New species are being discovered as well as new details of previously known species.

Here is the link.  If you like fossils, you'll love this.

I wonder if some or all of those fossils couldn't/shouldn't stay in situ?  Why cut up and remove examples that can be made into casts, photographed, or replicated and documented in various forms be cut out and removed to a remote location.  Is it so some museum or paleontologist can possess them?  I'm sure that some will say so they can be better studied back at the lab, but I don't know how true that is.  Perhaps if they stayed in situ they could be better studied in the future with the new technologies of the future in the location and situation where they were found.   A similar argument about archaeological artifacts is sometimes made.  They say they are better off being protected in situ for study in the future when there are new methods of study.  I suspect that someday these fossils will be able to be viewed using new technologies exactly where they were found while still encased in the rock.  Just raising some questions here applying the logic and ideas that I've heard from academics before.

All of that is entirely different from beach found items which are already dislodged from their context and are undergoing tumbling and the unrelenting destructive forces of nature at the oceans edge.

On the Treasure Coast today the surf is around three feet, which is a touch higher than expected.  The next couple of days expect a slightly calmer surf.  Beach detecting conditions remain poor.

Happy hunting,