Sunday, December 7, 2014

12/7/14 Report - Comparing and Contrasting Beach Object Distributions On Two Different Metal Detecting Outings.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use

Comparison of Find Distribution Pattern On Two Different Days

Friday when I went to the beach, I got a signal in the first three swings.  I remembered the time that I walked onto the same beach and in the first three swings got a silver shipwreck cob.  Well, this one wasn't a cob.  It was a nickel.  From that first signal, three swings into the hunt, I started to evaluate the picture which would guide the rest of that hunt.  Most every target means something to me and helps determine what I do next.

The first thing I did was evaluate the find.  Where was it found?  What was it?  And what might that tell me?

As I said it was a nickel; a plain modern nickel.  It was crusted green though.  That told me it was not just dropped that day but had been on this particular heavily hunted beach for a while.  Yet it was found right very near the walkover and would very likely have been detected if anyone had detected that beach very well before me.  My conclusion, or should I say working hypothesis at that point, was that (1) modern items were washing up or out on that beach and (2) nobody had likely detected the beach since the coin was uncovered. 

I always take into account any signs of what other detectorists have done or not done as well as what nature is doing when I detect a site.  There are adjustments to be made in both cases.

I noted how far from the face of the cut the nickel was and how deep it was.  It was not far from the face of the cut and was in the top inch or two of sand.

Since this was the first target I found, the next thing to determine is if it was part of a pattern.   Searching immediately around the same area revealed no additional targets. 

Moving down the beach a ways, I got another signal.  It sounded like a shallow coin and it was.  This time it turned out to be a penny. 

I forgot to mention that I did not have my long handle scoop with me.  I forgot that I took it out of the trunk, so I was using a trowel. 

The nickel and this penny were both removed in the first scoop.  They were both shallow.  And they were both fairly close to the face of the cut.  Checking the immediate area revealed no other targets very close. 

A pattern is emerging.  Two modern but crusty coins were found close to the face of the cut, but a good distance apart.

On down the beach the next signal results in a lead sinker being dug.  Again it was shallow and retrieved with the first dirt removed with the trowel.  It was also several yards from the previous find.

Hmmmm.   The sinker is found at very nearly the same distance from the cut as the coins.  Does that suggest anything?

In my 11/25/14 post I presented an illustration (a copy of which is shown above at the top) of a coin distribution pattern, the dug items were found from the toe of the cut down to the water line.  The objects I dug today were all up near the face of the cut.   The pattern I showed on 11/25 was that of what I would call a coin hole, Friday's example would be what I would call a coin line.  I've described both coin lines and coin holes in previous posts.

In the top illustration from 11/25, the red dots represent sinkers and the yellow dot a gold find. 

In the bottom illustration above (from Friday), the red dot represents a bottle cap and the blue dot a sinker.  (Not totally consistent.)

From what I have described of Friday's hunt so far, I concluded that things were washing out of the cliff, but they weren't being moved much and the erosion had not been going on for very long.  It appeared to be a forming coin line.

Continuing along the cut, resulted in similar finds and observations.  Coins were spread along the cut, not far below the cut.  One bottle cap appeared in the coin line too.  The bottle cap and the sinker were the only non-coin finds in the coin line on Friday.

My main point is that every signal can be a source of information.  From the first signal you can begin to formulate ideas about what might be going on.  The more quickly you can accurately assess the situation, the better use you can make of your time. 

Patterns do not always emerge so quickly.  Sometimes you will find things that do not fit a pattern, and sometimes you'll have to revise your theories.

If there was enough water force acting upon the slope for a long enough period of time, the bottle cap would be moved a greater distance than the sinkers.  If the trigger point for the bottle cap was met while the trigger point for the sinker was not met, bottle caps would be washed away while the sinkers remained put.  If the force of water was great enough to move both objects, bottle caps might still be moved a greater distance than the sinkers.

As I've shown with experiments in the past, not only does density determine who far an item will be moved, but also the item's shape.  Round sinkers will often roll down a compact slope and be found down near the water line where the sand flattens out.  Rings sometimes do the same thing.

On Friday the fact that both a bottle cap and a lead sinker as well as all the coins were in a fairly narrow line made me conclude that the line was newly formed.  Objects had not been moved or classified by shape or density yet.  They were simply laying in front of the cliff were they came from.  If the same forces continued, as the face of the cliff continued to erode, the coin line could have turned into a coin hole.  I doubt that happened though, since the cliff was barely eroding and the tide was going down.


The Treasure Coast surf predictions look interesting.   The surf will increase slightly up to a peak of about seven or eight feet by Wednesday if the surf predictions are correct.  Not only that, but the wind will be pretty much out of the North during that time.  Maybe we'll actually get some significant improvement in beach detecting conditions in a few days.

Happy hunting,