Friday, July 18, 2014

7/18/14 Report - Which Is Most Important: Search Strategy or Detector Capabilities? How Beach Detecting Is Similar To Detecting In The Mountains. Crucifix & Large Cent.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

1823 Large Cent Find

A few days ago I did a post about some views concerning metal detecting and metal detectors.  At the time I said I would talk more about strategies in the future.  I'll do that some today.  

Yesterday I told how I used an inexpensive metal detector in an old yard and in a woods and found a few wheat cents, an 1829 Large Cent, a brass relic and a ring in a few hours of detecting with a brand new detector that I had never used before. 

It is important to know your metal detector very well and metal detecting experience can be a big help. My previous experience with other metal detectors helped me quickly learn how to use the new detector fairly effectively.  I am still a relative novice when it comes to knowing this new detector.  It takes a while to learn all the ins and outs of any detector.

What helped me most, I believe, is my search strategy.  You might find it surprising that there is a lot about hunting a beach that can be directly applied to detecting a heavily wooded mountain.  Those two types of environments are very different, yet there are some commonalities when it comes to search strategies.

As you might know if you've been reading this blog very long, I do not put much emphasis on the detector I use.  I put more emphasis on search strategies than any thing else.  If you are in the wrong spot, your detector, no matter how good it is, can't do much for you.  I believe that the most important thing is to find the right spot to spend your time and avoid spending a lot of time in the wrong spots.  You can not do that with 100% accuracy, but it really makes a big difference if you spend your time in the most promising spots whether it is on a beach or a wooded wilderness.  Both present huge expanses that will be highly unproductive.

On a beach there is the wet sand area where the water comes and goes and sifts and sorts things.  On a beach, heavier items tend to get buried deeper in some areas and get uncovered in others.  There are also areas where things get covered or uncovered on a wooded hillside.

I like to eye-ball.  I've talked about that before.  To find old things by eye-balling, you have to find things that have been completely uncovered.  You have to find those areas where old things, instead of sinking, either remain on the surface or have been uncovered. 

Of course eye-balling is more difficult, because even if you find an area where things are being uncovered, a lot of items will still be under a layer of dust or under a little earth.   But if you do enough eye-balling to learn to find old things that way, you have probably learned to find and identify those good areas.  Eye-balling provides a good test of your ability to identify the most promising detecting spots.

On a beach, there are areas where the sand accumulates and older and heavier items are too deep to be detected.  In a woods, there isn't sand, but there are areas, usually flat areas or slight depressions, where leaves accumulate and the cover items quickly.  The soil quickly builds in those areas and old items are quickly buried.  Pull tabs and other similar light junk will stay in the top layers of humus or leaves just like light junk is often found in the top layers of accumulated sand.  There are a lot of similarities.

On the other hand, in the mountains there are streams and run-off areas on the hills where erosion occurs and where old items remain near the surface or are uncovered.  In the future I'll show you a very steep hillside where old things were found near the surface.  I'll do that as soon as I can ge my pictures transferred to this computer.  Right now the devices are not working.

I've given this analogy before.   I'd bet on an old Indian with a bow and arrow who knows how to track game and knows where game can be found over a city slicker with the best gun ever made.  Metal detecting is much like that.  I believe search skills are more important than detector capabilities.  That is one reason I showed what could be done with a relatively inexpensive detector.  It seems people tend to think they need a better detector if they aren't finding much.  In my opinion, that is seldom the biggest part of the problem.

Whether you are hunting a beach or a wooded mountain, there are good areas and poor areas for hunting and you can learn to find the good areas where old items will be near the surface.  I'll give more tips on that in the future.

If you learn to identify those good areas, you'll be able to find old things that do not require you to detect real deep and you won't have to dig big deep holes.  Talk about a time saver!

Here are two views of a broken crucifix from 17th Century Newfoundland believed to be a part of a rosary.  You can see extensive wear from rubbing, which suggests that it could be from a rosary.

Here is the link for more of that story and the source of the photos.

The Large Cent has a diameter of between 27mm and 29mm. The first official mintage of the large cent was in 1793.  Production continued until 1857, when it was replaced by the much smaller penny.

When I dug the one shown above it was covered with mud and when I first saw it, from the size I thought it might be a half dollar.  After rubbing off some mud, I saw the faint image on the front of the coin and knew it was from an older era.  I was eventually surprised to see One Cent shown on the other side.

All Large Cents were minted in Philadelphia.

People complained that they were too big for pocket change.

While Spanish shipwreck cobs will be much older than a Large Cent, for a US coin, it is one of the oldest US coins that you will find.

Treasure Coast beach conditions haven't changed yet.

Hopefully I'll get more find pictures uploaded soon.

Happy hunting,