Wednesday, November 9, 2016

11/9/16 Report - Some Basics On Detecting Strategies. Ancient Iron Tools Found by Metal Detector.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Iron Viking Tools Found by Metal Detector.
Source: see link below.

I started to talk about strategies one day not long ago.  The first thing I pointed out is that the selection of a strategy should depend upon how you value different things.  If you ask people if they'd rather find a valuable piece of modern jewelry or an old coin, different people will give you different answers.  Some people like to find things that do not necessarily have a high economic value, while others are primarily interested in the economic value of their finds.  Some people are analytical and have a good idea of what they want to accomplish and know how they value things.  In order to select the most effective strategy, you first have to be clear about how you value things and what you want to find.

Different people utilize different decision strategies.  The eternal optimist, for example, tends to use what those who study decision theory refer to as the Maximax strategy.  They consider the best possible thing that could happen and make decisions based upon the best possible outcome.  They think of big finds, and don't think so much about the possible cost.

Treasure hunters are generally optimists to some degree.  They have to expect finding something and probably dream of finding something in particular.  The prime example of the eternal optimist is Mel Fisher, who was able to search for the Atocha year after year without being discouraged and giving up.  He expected to find it and looked at every day as if that day would be the day.  Most people are not that optimistic.

If you are a pessimist, you probably won't be a treasure hunter very long, if you start at all.

The pessimistic person thinks of what can go wrong and thinks in terms of minimizing negative outcomes.  They will tend to go after safe and easy targets.

The best decision strategies are informed by data and a clear estimate of the value of different finds and the probabilities of different finds.  At sites that you have hunted many times and studied the signs, you'll have a good idea of the probability of different kinds of targets under different conditions.

The probability of a find can only be estimated.  The estimate should be heavily based upon past experience and analysis of the situation.

I once did post on math for metal detecting.  That was my 7/10/14 post if you want to take a look at it.  You can find that post by entering "math" into the blog search box.

One day not long ago, I was working a coin hole and decided to leave the coin hole to check another area.  The other area was an area that in the past had produced some older items.  Why did I decide to leave a coin hole when it was still producing?  The answer is that the hole would most likely produce modern coins and cheap modern jewelry.  How did I know that?  From past finds and what I had dug to that point.  I also knew the type of people that normally visit that site.

While you hunt, collect data.  I always recommend keeping detailed records of finds, most especially the first few years you detect.   After a few years you'll know a lot about different beaches and what they produce.  Always observe and be ready to modify your thinking.

One of my main strategies is sampling.  Even if I think I can tell by looking at a beach, I'll often make a quick check with my detector to make sure my assessment is correct.  Sample to learn, and sample to verify.


The exciting find first came to the attention of Holm and her colleagues when a couple of amateur archaeologists with metal detectors found a signal near to the fortress’ east gate.
“We could see that there was something in the layers [of soil] around the east gate. If it had been a big signal from the upper layers then it could’ve been a regular plough, but it came from the more ‘exciting’ layers. So we dug it up and asked the local hospital for permission to borrow their CT-scanner,” says Holm.
There suspicions proved to be correct and they discovered a large collection of iron that immediately looked like tools. Even though the toolbox itself was long gone--wood rots away over time--but the placement of the objects suggested that they were not simply random finds...

Here is the link for the rest of the story and see the finds cleaned.


Darrel S. reports that a number of detectorists were at Turtle Trail early Tuesday.  The blue bags were still showing, but it didn't seem anyone did any good.

Happy hunting,