Sunday, December 17, 2017

12/17/17 Report - Clumps, Conglomerates and Encrusted Objects and Some Tips on Cleaning.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Bottle Attached To Conglomerate
The most unusual conglomerate I ever found was the one shown above.  A modern soda bottle was firmly attached to the clump.  What caused it to adhere so firmly is not clear to me.  It is a good example of how various types of objects and materials can get stuck together.

In the past I've shown a variety of conglomerates containing a variety of objects.  One of he best is the one shown below from the Wreck of Queen Anne's Revenge.

Source: North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources
Appearing in Popular Archaeology )

I recently showed a couple of bolts found by Darrel S, that had a half reale attached.  That one can be found in my 12/6/17  post.

Wish we had a picture of Clint's 1984 find.  That would be amazing.

John C. sent the following photo of a clump with void left by a dissolved spike or something.

Crust Around Void Probably Created by Dissolved Iron Spike.
Find and phioto by John C

Encrusted objects are for me can be both interesting and frustrating.  They can be mysteries and can present problems.  They can provide pleasant surprises.  You never know what might be hidden by the crust.  It can be difficult to figure out how to treat them.  Archaeologists can use x-rays to get an image of what might be inside, but, of course, we don't usually have that.

When the original object has dissolved, leaving a void, you can get an idea of the shape of the original object even if the object no longer exists. When the object or objects remain within the crust, the problem is removing the object without damaging it.

Darrel sent the following picture of an object in an electrolysis tank.

Object in Electrolysis Tank.
Photo submitted by Darrel S.
My tank isn't nearly as nice.  For a small spike I was using an old ice cream container (below).  Looks like it was time to change the water.

Making Rust Soup.
Darrel wrote up the following instructions for cleaning encrusted objects.

Simple way of cleaning encrusted objects.

You will need gloves, eye goggles, container large enough to put EOs in, distilled water, pliers, and muratic acid.

Place EOs in distilled water to rinse salt water and allow minerals to escape.

Allow EOs to dry and place in empty dry container.

Put gloves and eye goggles on and pour acid slowly into container. Be sure objects are totally submerged.

Use channel locks or pliers to grab objects out of acid. Check time to time. Some objects may take a day or more. Some only hours.

Once completely dissolved, rinse with water and then allow to dry.

Object may revert back to rust color due to lack of electrolysis process (professional way of preserving.)

If you want to keep the object, soaking in Osthmo will preserve for a while.

Once you practice and perfect this process, you will enjoy finding EOs, knowing you can clean them.

REMEMBER,  add water to acid, NOT acid to water.

Darrel also has a long process for restoring iron objects. He says, "Iron's natural state is grayish silver. The black color comes from oxidation. Some of my objects took up to a year or more."

Below are some objects restored to gray.

Iron Objects Restored to Gray Color
Photo by Darrel S.
I'm going to quit there for now.   As I recently explained, I can only do so much in a blog post.  We've only barely touched on the subject, but I hope that helps get you started in the right direction.  Check out related posts and other resources that I've provided throughout the years.

How far you want to restore an item is a matter of personal preference.

One additional thing I will say is if you do electrolysis or otherwise clean an iron object, it is still iron and will rust again if you are not careful.  You might choose to coat it to prevent that.

I better wrap this up.

Happy hunting,

Saturday, December 16, 2017

12/16/17 Report - Transforming the Ordinary. Posts and References. More Info About EOs.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

There are times in life when ordinary things are transformed by something special such as the Magic of Christmas.  One example I'm thinking of is an old orange buoy that I once found that was laying around with a lot of other junk but was recently transformed by a coat of reflective silver paint and black tape into a shiny Christmas bell highlighted with a red ribbon bow and is now a bright focal point between colored lights and blinking snow flakes.  So it is in the lives of men who on rare occasions are momentarily transformed - or so it would seem.

I always remember the time many years ago when I was in Pensacola on business and after work I went out to a remote beach to do some detecting.  It was an isolated beach.  The small parking lot was nothing more than a packed surface big enough to hold maybe six or eight cars at max.  There was only one other car there when I arrived.

I just got out of the car and started towards the walkover  when I noticed an elderly couple and a child leaving the beach.  They had their hands full with beach blankets, a cooler, toys and I don't know what all. 

I saw them struggling and took one of the items ( I think it was a cooler), and took it to their car.  As I returned to my own business, I remember the man commenting to his wife something about how surprised he was at my actions.  In retrospect, I find it a little surprising myself - not that it was any kind of big deal or something that should be surprising.

Having helped them to their car, I headed towards the beach but soon became aware that they had a problem.  They couldn't find the car keys.

I don't know what all transpired, but I ended up following their tracks back to where I could tell they were on the beach and started detecting for the keys.  It didn't take long until I found them.

It would have been a problem if the keys were not found.  It was a remote beach away from businesses, homes and traffic, and since this was in the days before cell phones, they couldn't just call for help.

If I put myself in their place I night think about how unlikely it was, and how fortunate it was that a fellow came along at just the right time  with a metal detector to find the keys.  I would have wondered if it was just coincidence or something more.  And being the type of person I am, I'd wonder if it might be something spiritual in one way or another.  It was definitely out of line with my normal or natural behavior.  Was it more than coincidence?

I didn't tell you what I did so you would think that I'm a good person.  Quite the contrary.  The good deep was not the norm.  It was the exception.  That is too bad.  It need not be so.

There are many opportunities in daily life to transform unexceptional moments into memorable mements.  One way you can do that is by responding to some of the many opportunities to lend a helping hand.  The Christmas season is an especially good time to try it.


There is only so much I can do in a blog post.  Posts are short and I write one almost every day.  That means that I can not say everything that needs to be said or even everything I might want to say about many topics.  I can't even take the time I would like to take to refine my posts like I wish I could. That is just the nature of a blog, especially one done on a daily basis by a single person with a lot of other more pressing responsibilities.  That is just one important reason that I usually post my sources as references.

The sources that I post provide many details that I don't include in my text.  A perfect example was my recent post about encrusted object.  At the top of the post I provided an illustration showing the stages of development of an EO taken from a thesis for a Master's degree.  A thesis like that is much more lengthy and detailed than any post that I might provide and will usually answer any questions you might have about the topic to the est have been answered in academic circles.  A thesis like that normally takes close to two years to complete, will include a comprehensive overview of the existing academic literature on the topic and is completed with the assistance of an academic team of professors in the field of study.  Therefore you might expect the thesis to provided the best scholarship on the subject that exists anywhere.  That is why I provide the sources and references.  If you have any questions, you can consult the original sources, not only the one source, but also those listed in that source.  An academic thesis must contain a review of the relevant literature, which you will find near the end of the thesis.

The illustration I provided at the top of the post from the thesis on EOs was good, as far as it goes, however the thesis also acknowledged that things are actually more complex.  Here is a paragraph from the same thesis as the illustration commenting on that.

As you can see, there is more.  You can use the following to link to continue reading.

When you have questions about something I post that is from another source, I usually give you a link so you can check the source for more information.   You will often find tons of additional good information.

Here is the link to the thesis on EOs that I talked about in my post a couple days ago.

You should note that the thesis was based upon a survey of 2000-year-old items - not 300-year-old items.

I often get questions about cleaning objects.  I know it can be too detailed or difficult to understand at times, but the best over all resource that I know about for information about cleaning and conserving objects is the Texas A and M Nautical Archaeology Conservation Laboratory web site.  I think I've mentioned that web site several times.  There you will find extensive discussion about cleaning and conserving almost every type of material.  The main problem with that web site is that it has too much information and would take a long time to master.  I will therefore continue to provide brief instructions, but you should realize that there is always more that could be said.  When you need to know all the ifs, ands and buts, you might want to consult the best academic resources.


If I judged my posts on the number of emails received, I would have to say that the recent EO posts were popular.  They are certainly interesting objects that inspire a lot of questions.  I will be doing more posts on EOs in the future.

Happy hunting,

Thursday, December 14, 2017

12/14/17 Report - Beaches From John Brooks to Palm Beach. EO Mystery Find. New Post in Top Ten.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

John Brooks Beach
Joe D. sent me these beach photos going from John Brooks to Palm Beach.  They were taken just a day or two ago.

Thanks much for the great photos Joe.

Ignore the little triangles in the middle of the photos.  That is the result of the way I snip them when I'm in a hurry.  It isn't Joe's fault.

Frederick Douglas Beach.

Jupiter Beach.

Juno Beach.

Palm Beach.

Palm Beach.

I haven't been out for a while so I especially appreciate the photos.  Thanks again Joe.


I talked a lot about EOs yesterday.  Here is one found by Nancy M.  She was wondering if anyone had any ideas about what it might be.  I had no idea.  

EO found by Nancy M.
Photo by Nancy.
She has started to clean it off and saw some amount of detail. She thought it might be a part of a musket.


The 12/6 post telling about Chris N's find and return of the Fairleigh Dickinson Jr. ring got a lot of attention.  Nearly a thousand readers checked that post in a single day.  It is now one of this blog's all-time top ten most popular posts.

Congratulations to Chris on the nice ring find and the good deed or making the return.


The surf on the Treasure Coast will remain small for a few days. 

Happy hunting,

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

12/13/17 Report - All About Encrusted Objects. Sail Grommet(?) Find. One Man's Garrett AT Max Experience.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Source of illustration: Master's Thesis (See link below)

Iron objects don't hold up well in salt water.  Besides rusting and corroding, they can eventually become totally covered by encrustation and eventually dissolve.

Those lumps of encrustation formed around old objects are commonly referred to as EOs (encrusted objects).  You'll miss a lot of them if you are discriminating iron, or you might discard them at first sight.

I find them interesting for a number of reasons.  One is figuring out what object is inside or was inside the clump before it dissolved.  Another is that a variety of objects can be in such a clump - including coins.

I posted one example that Darrel S. showed us of a reale attached to two bolts.  You probably also read my post on the 1984 Thanksgiving storm in which Clint described how he found a keg-size conglomerate that contained a bunch of amazing goodies.

The trouble is that it is so hard to tell what might be inside and not knowing if the object or objects survived at all.  Another problem is trying to remove the encrustation, if that is what you choose to do.

I found a resource that will help answer many of your question about EOs.  It is a Master's Thesis entitled Recontructing the Assemblage of Iron Artifacts From the Late Hellenistic Shipwreck at Kizilburun Turkey. 

The illustration above is from that thesis and illustrates the process that an iron object might go through.  There are a variety of factors that can influence the rate of corrosion and encrustation, so you can't estimate how old the object is by just looking at how much it has deteriorated.

When the object has totally dissolved, you can pour plaster or some other substance into the void and create a mold that will show you what the object looked like.

I think you'll benefit from quickly reading through the thesis.

Here is the link.


Partially Encrusted Object
Find and photo by John C.
John C. sent me this picture of one of his finds since I had been talking a lot about sailing making and sail tools and related things.  He thinks it might be a sail grommet.

Interesting find.  Thanks for sharing John.


Steve from Sebastian ordered a Garret AT Max and shared his experience and observations.  Here is what he had to say about that.

Sadly...I had to return the new Garrett AT Max. They have a known screen issue of having un-viewable screens if you wear Polarized sun glasses, which I must. The AT Pro had this issue already. Too was a very nice machine. Probably not the best for wet salt beaches anyway. You had to do a special "7 step plan" that was not in the manual to tame it down (excessive falsing) on the wet salt sand beaches and in the salt water.

So... I now have a 185 page manual to digest on my new/used 2017, 10 month old CTX 3030! With all 3 coils and 3 CF shafts. I've come a long ways... from a Relco $19.95 kit, with a little plastic bag full of resistors and capacitors that you had to feed in through the little circuit board, solder and cut off the a powerful "walking computer" in the guise of a metal detector. That tracks your path on GPS, laying down "bread crumbs" so you don't miss any spots, and learn to walk in straight lines, and stores your "find points" with a touch of a button, that not only has the exact GPS coordinates, but the date and time, what reading the detector had over the target (like 12-43, ferrous/conductive scales) ...ratchet pin-pointing that keeps closing down the target strength on each pass to get you set up perfect...and on and on. Many things that I haven't even found yet!

And now...just tonight...I was contacted by Minelab to be the -first beta tester- to do test analysis on their first ever Apple Mac version software! Quite an honor for me.

Thanks for the report Steve. I always appreciate detector reviews. And congratulations on becoming a beta tester.


Happy hunting,

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

12/12/17 - Y2K Treasure Recovered in Back Yard. Very Old Chisel. Old Metal Detecting Records. Artifact ID Guide.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

2000 Year Old Chisel
Source: web site (link below)

Archaeologists Find 2,000-year Old Chisel Used to Build the Western Wall

The metal tool was discovered at the bottom of the wall, which hadn't been build by Herod at all, other evidence shows...

Here is the link for more about that.


I can't believe it.  I just ran across what has to be some of my first metal detecting records.  It seems like it would have been from the first days or weeks that I had a serious metal detector.

My records include the detecting site, date (day, month), total face value of coins found up to that time, number of each type of coin found on each hunt broken down by the decade of the coin and a few additional notes.

Old Coin Shooting Records.

At that point, I would call myself a coin shooter.  ( I don't anymore.)  That is mostly what I was finding and recording in considerable detail.

On 9/26, near the beginning of the entries I had $7.53 total face value of coin finds, and on the back of the page the last row shows that by 1/3 I had found a total of 2653 coins with a total face value of $197.48.  including 432 quarters, 622 dimes, 300 nickles and 1299 pennies.  Dollar coins and halves were not included in the total value (don't know why except possibly their relative rarity).  Foreign coins were noted by not counted.  I see some Susan Anthony dollar finds, for example. The math seems to be off by less than a dollar.

As I said, I recorded the number of coins from each decade for each denomination.  Most of the hunts resulted in coins from the 60s, 70s, and 80s.  As I scan the records, I see that the first time I got many coins from the 20s, 30s and 40s was when I made a trip to Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

Old Coin Shooting Records.

Well, that looks like it was my very earliest detecting.  I was surprised to see that I kept so much data when I started and can see from the records that I improved steadily and fairly quickly.  It wasn't long after that when I started targeting jewelry and quit keeping records on common coin finds, and then I only recorded jewelry finds.

I vaguely remember counting and recording finds, but I didn't remember keeping so much detail.

This goes along with very well with my 12/4 post on focus, goals, feedback loops and analysis.

Keeping good records helps you to know which sites are producing, what they produce and when they produce.  Consistent record keeping provides feedback that helps more than you might expect.  If you are trying to keep your weight or blood pressure down, for example, just monitoring those levels on a regular basis might help.

You might also want to take notice of things such as when you start to get older coins at a particular site.  That can be an important clue.

The data will also bring up important questions.  If you are seeing a decrease in finds, it will cause you to ask yourself why and what is going on.

Besides all of that, old records bring back memories.  I just wish I would have included the year along with the day and month.  When I made those records I never would have guessed that I would be looking them once again after thirty or forty years.


I got this interesting note from Stephen L.

Thanks so much for your daily posts, very well done.  I bought a detector a while ago to find some treasure that I buried in my back yard before Y2K.  I am embarrassed to say that I could not find it when recently tried, after a grid of about 15 test holes with a post hole digger, but after I bought my detector, found it within 30 seconds.  Since then I have only used my detector on private property with permission, relatives and such...

Thanks for writing Stephen.


Iron Tools From 1770 - 1813
Source: An Identification Guide to Recovered Colonial and Revolutionary War Artifacts.
I've been talking a lot about pointed iron tool finds from the Treasure Coast.  One good source that might help with the identification of such artifacts is the identification guide by Timothy J. McGuire.  The picture above show shows an awl in the middle along with some files and a chisel (right) found at the site of the battle of Brownstown Creek in Wayne County Michigan.  Good resource.


Small surf on the Treasure Coast today.  Not much change expected for a week or two.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

12/10/17 Report - Ole Timer Talk: 10 Different Gold Items One Short Hunt.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

I've posted a few Ole Timer Talk pieces in this blog, but haven't told any of my experiences that way.
A few came to mind last night.  I've referred to parts of those experiences to illustrate some things I wanted to explain, but I haven't described them as completely as I could.

The experience I'm going to talk about today happened on an otherwise normal day about thirty years ago, so I'm sad to say that I forgot a lot about it.  That is mostly why I haven't told it this way.  Fortunately I have some written records to refresh my memory and help me get the most important parts right.

My records were scribbled in cursive with a lead pencil.  The paper is now old yellow crinkled tablet paper.  The entries are labeled with the month and day, but not the year.  That was a big mistake that didn't seem like it would be a problem at the time.

One sunny day near low tide in early February I arrived at a beach that I detected frequently back in those days.  I don't recall any, people on the beach, which is kind of strange for a nice day down south, so I would guess it was early morning.  The parking fee there was something like four dollars, so people mostly parked elsewhere if they could.  There were no other detectorists there.  That I know for sure.

The surf must have been calm.  I don't remember it being an issue at all.

I was in South Florida and was targeting modern jewelry in those days.  I had a few years of detecting under my belt, but was not much more than what I would consider to be a beginner.  I was using a Fisher Aquanaut 1280 at that time, I think.  Maybe I had started using a modified Nautilus.  I'm not sure about that.

When I arrived at the beach, I noticed a good bit of erosion.  It wasn't what you usually see.  The erosion was right at the front of the beach.  There was no slope between the cut and the water.  The cut was right at the waters edge.  The front of the beach had been cut back and the sand spread out in the shallow water.  Very often there is a cut farther back on the beach and then a slope down to the waterline.  In this case the cut fell off into the water.  It was more like the beach had been moved back a few feet.
Red angular line shows surface after erosion.
Grey line shows target distribution.

I stepped over the cliff and into the very shallow water.  It was only up to my ankles or lower leg.  I mostly hunted in shallow water back then.  I moved my coil.  Bingo.  Good target on the first swing.  I dug it up.  Blackened coin.  Without moving on, I took another swing,  Bingo again.  Another blackened coin.  There were targets everywhere.  I'd say every square foot had a target.  In the next four hours of the hunt, I picked up twenty dollars in quarters alone.  I remember telling somebody (Kevin Reilly) that, which is why I remember that number.  But it wasn't only coins.

The targets were not deep - at least not the ones I was digging.  I don't remember digging any big holes.  I didn't get around to that.  There were so many targets that I never got to the deeper ones that day, if there were any.  

I don't know what the total face value of the blackened coins was that day, because  I only recorded the nice jewelry finds and the general location.

Below is what my notes show for that day.  The notes are pretty much as they are written, although they were scribbled and not real easy to decipher.  Maybe that was intentional. 

2/4 -  at North picnic area below new play equipment - blue star sapphire ring, 2 gold ear rings,"SC" signet ring, and 10k band in water  Also silver double heart ring.

2/4 - middle picnic area just south of walkover -  14 k black pearl and diamond ring, also silver and turquoise ring.  In water.

2/4 - south picnic area by life guard station by turtle cage in water - silver love knot ring, silver and turquoise ring, gold religious charm, 2 class rings, 1 14k band.

What I recorded for that four hour hunt was 10 pieces of gold jewelry.

I left after about four hours.  I don't know why I left (maybe I had to do something), but I'm sure I dug less than 20 percent of the available targets in the area that day.  I was going to return the next day, and I did.  I have a couple entries for 2/5.  

I didn't record how many coins I found.  When I first started metal detecting, I recorded the number of each denomination of coin that I found.  From those records I knew when my Aquanaut paid for itself in clad coins, which it did in one year.  It cost me something over $600 for the detector, if I correctly recall, and I knew when I found enough change to cover the cost of that detector.

If I encountered the same situation today, I would do some things differently.  First of all I would try to hunt as long as it took to clean the area of all targets.  If for some reason I couldn't do that, I would  try to cherry pick the gold.  At the time I didn't have the skill to do that very well.   I'm sure the second approach would have meant missing some gold because the target density was so high.  You'll find more than you think after you clean out a lot of the louder targets, so the best practice would have been to spend the time to clean it all out properly even if it took more than one day.  Problem with that is that you never know when conditions will suddenly change and it all disappears.

As an aside, the only problem I ever had with the 1280 was, after I first got it, I kept breaking the plastic things that the upper forearm fit into.  They finally sent me metal ones to replace the plastic ones.  It was very reliable.  Fisher did a tune-up on it for me once.  I sold that detector after a few years and got nearly the purchase price for it.

I'm glad I have my records for that hunt.  They helped refresh my memory so I could tell the story.  It was a long time ago but a time to remember.

It s funny how some details stick so vividly in memory while other fade.

The second day I don't remember as well and my records do not seem to be as complete, but I do have entries showing an 18k charm, a crucifix with gold chain, a 10K band, a Jesus and Mary medallion, and a 14k nugget band.  I don't know what other coins or what else was found.

The one big thing I remember about the second day, and I remember it very clearly, is the end.  As I walked back to the car I looked up and noticed a weather front coming in.  A thick layer of clouds was arriving from the north.

The next day I returned to the same spot, and quickly found that it was all over.  No more targets at all.   It opened up suddenly and closed just as suddenly.  That is the way it goes, and why it is so important to make hay when the sun shines.


The cold front definitely arrived to the Treasure Coast.  The wind has been out of the west and north. We have some nice cold air.  The surf is small.

Happy hunting,

Saturday, December 9, 2017

12/9/17 Report - Hoard Uncovered by Roadwork. Finds: Tools of Sailing Ships and Sail Making. Jacksonville Area Conditions.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Hoard Uncovered by Road Project.
Source: See link below.
A Swedish farmer has been awarded thousands of dollars after roadworks on his land uncovered a Viking treasure trove that included hundreds of silver coins.

Here is the link for more about that.

Thanks to Norbert B. for submitting this link.


Chris N. said, Here is the rather large needle either Upholstery or a Sail Needle, it was rolling in the surf whence I found it. 

Broken eyelet curved needle point, some corrosion, especially on needle point end. I cleaned up best I could with out destroying item.  

Below are three pictures Chris sent of that needle.

 Found Needle

Pointed End of Same Needle.

Other End of the Needle.
I don't know much about sail making tools, neither new or centuries old, but because of recent posts I've been doing some research and learning a little.  

I found the following on a site having to do with sail making.  The author used the name Savage24.

A sail needle has a 3 sided point, like a leather needle, except the edges are rounded off.
They slip between the fibers of canvas or heavy sail cloth without tearing the fibers...
A properly tempered sail needle will last for years I have some that I have been using for 10-12 years. 
They will cost you a couple of dollars each for the larger sizes, but you get what you pay for.
I would recommend from size 12 - 14 for general use. That's about a 3 to 3 1/2 inch needle that will take the inner strands of 550 cord.
As a sailmaker I use them for sewing sails and sailor stuff, they also make a dandy vent pick for your flintlock. 

Savage24 is talking about needles that you can get today, so they might be a bit different than those used centuries ago.

Another source said,

Sail needles are used for canvas repair work by hand sewing, it is generally much thicker as compared to normal machine needles to provide a comfortable finger grip. The body of the needle is triangular in shape with a sharp triangular point for sewing onto the fabric using minimal force. The eye of the sail needle is also ...
While sails were made on land, I would expect tools for maintenance and repairs to be carried on a ship or brought in after a wreck for various uses.

Here is a good list of sail making tools from the web site (See link below.).

The additional hand tools used by a sailmaker are:
  • Sail needle: a strong needle with a sharp triangular point.
  • Sailmaker’s thread: strong thread for sewing up the sails, leech ropes and grommets.
  • Sailmaker’s palm: a strip of leather with a metal pad with an indentation that is used to force the needle through the sailcloth. The strip is strapped around the palm of the hand.
  • Awl, to create a hole in heavy sailcloth or multiple layers of sailcloth before inserting the needle.
  • Pliers, for pulling through a needle inserted into heavy sailcloth or multiple layers of sailcloth.
  • Seam-rubber: a wooden handle with a strong 'scraper', made from strong lignum vitae (tropical type of wood) for creasing down seams in the edges of the sailcloth.
  • Fid: a cone-shaped piece of lignum vitae for splicing rope or opening up holes in the sailcloth. The fid is inserted between the strands of a rope in order to create space through which another piece of rope can be inserted. The fid can also be inserted into a hole in the sailcloth and will open it up wider, so that the hole becomes larger.
  • Marlinspike (also known as a marlingspike): a wooden handle with a piece of metal that tapers to a point in the form of an awl and which has a hollow in it and which is intended for splicing stranded rope. The marlinspike is inserted between the strands of rope, a strand is inserted through the hollow section of the marlinspike and is thus fed through the gap in the rope.
  • Hollow punch: a metal pin with a round hole at one end with a sharp edge and a flat face on the opposite end so that it can be hit with a hammer. Hollow punches are available in various sizes and diameters to make small and larger holes.
It appears that one of the diagnostic features of a sail making needle would be a triangular point.  I can not usually see that in pictures of either new or found needles.

Although I've learned a little, I'm not yet able to say if the needle in question today is a sail making needle or an upholstery needle or how old it might be.  Perhaps somebody more familiar with those types of items can say.  If so, please let me know.  Perhaps the above information will help some one identify the item.

Here is the link I mentioned above.


Chris N. also sent a beach report from up around the Jacksonville area.  Here it is.

Went out a little bit today,, not very much.. Very sanded in.. this storm is bringing the sand up and covering were all the good material is, except down by the very low water tide line.  I did not stick around to wait.. really early out in the surf in and around Jacksonville. I bet although Anastasia Island and further south conditions may be better...

Bad weather still on the move unfortunate for folks who live in homes by the ocean... Major construction all over Northern Coast from Irma.. there finally establishing Sea Walls for folks who pay for it..

Note* When I find a lot of fossilized bones, larger sharks teeth etc Items I usually get good hits on my detector... "Just a thought".. 

On the Treasure Coast there is lot of thunder, wind and rain this morning.  It looks like we'll just have a two foot surf for a couple weeks on the Treasure Coast.

Happy hunting,

Friday, December 8, 2017

12/8/17 Report - Erosion at One Renourished Beach. Ole Timer Talk: Crate of Dishes. Benefit of Reading Broadly.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Fort Pierce South Jetty Beach Erosion
Photo by Gaylen C.

You might remember Gaylen's find that looked something like a Marlinespike or maybe an engraving tool.  Galen sent a message and some photos from his hunt yesterday.  Here is what he had to say.

Went back to the same area as my relic find. Found another nail or spike, but it may prove to be fairly modern. Lots of signals. Picked up a few things. The dunes look like this from the south jetty for a long way and then gets a little more slope. High tide was within a foot or so of dune. Really undercut in some places, with lots of sand falling to the foot. Several different layers showing. The piece I got was among larger rocks at the base.

The following photo shows how high the cliff is and the various layers.  Note the rocks at the bottom of the cliff.

Thanks for the report and photos Gaylen.


Brain M. sent the following Ole Timer Talk.

Here is a quick little treasure story that happened to an old friend of mine 20 + years ago on the treasure coast. He was out metal detecting after a storm . Big cut on the beach and if I remember correctly it was at night. He noticed something that stood out as strange. There partially exposed in the wall of the cut was a stack of dishes. He told me when he saw it he figured that someone had a pic-nick back in the 1930’s   and must have left them on the beach. He didn’t mess with them he was looking for coins and metal. Days later he was talking to another treasure hunter and was told of Chinese porcelain dishes were cargo. I don’t remember what dynasty he said it was from. He told me they looked like they were stacked and the crate must have rotted away and left the stack of dishes in the wall of the cut. From what he told me they were worth a fortune had he only known what he was looking at. When he went back the sand was in and the cut was gone. We wonder if they are still there waiting to be found intact or did the incoming sand and surf knock them out and smash them to bits.

We most likely will never know.

Thanks Brian.

A stack of well preserved Kang Hsi porcelain would indeed be worth a lot.

I've been very much surprised by how often I already know something about these accounts that go back twenty years or more or the people involved.

I knew the fellow who found the eight escudo in Clint's account, for example, and I also heard about these plates.  I don't remember now when or where I heard about the plates, but I think I might have even posted something about them in this blog years ago.

The lesson Brian's account provides is that you should get to know as much as you can about various types of treasure so you will recognize them and their possible significance when you see them in the field. There have been a lot of times when I failed to recognize something good.  I regret some of those failures to this day.

One example that came to mind yesterday was the time when I was on Pigeon Island at a battle site from right around 1800 when I dug a rusted twisted piece of metal that I later realized was the hammer from a flintlock.  Right beside that piece was a squared piece of flint.  I can see it in my mind's eye today.  I was hanging on the side of a steep cliff, with an old Tesoro detector, which I fitted out with a short board as a rod stem.  ( The short stem helped since the face of the cliff was right in front of my face.)  I was using a screw driver as a dig tool.

I didn't pay much attention to either the rusted metal item or the flint when I dug them.  I wish I had realized their significance and kept them.  If I found the same items today, I know I would have kept them, and better realizing their significance, I also would have hunted the immediate area more thoroughly to find other pieces of the musket or other items.

It is easy to get so focused on coins or some other particular kind of target that you miss other types of items that can actually be more valuable, not to mention being significant clues.

Those dishes, as Brian pointed out, could have been worth a lot, but they were ignored because of a lack of that realization.  They could have also been a clue that other good things might have been buried in the area.

I didn't know what my first fossil find was, but I kept it.  I just kept it out of curiosity.  I didn't find out what it was until probably at least ten years later.  I undoubtedly passed up other fossil finds before that one, not knowing what they were.

I also failed to recognize the first enameled ring I found from a 1715 Fleet wreck site.  I thought it was modern because I incorrectly thought that enameling was a modern process.  Even though it was gold and very attractive, I didn't pay very much attention to it when I dug it.  I just slipped it into my pocket not thinking much of it because I was targeting shipwreck items.  How wrong I was!

Enameling is actually a very old process.  In fact it is believed to go back to at least the 13th century BC. (See

I used to hear people say that if something is plated, it is not hundreds of years old because plating is a fairly modern process.  That might be true of some types of plating, but gold and silver gilding is a very old process.

I think you get the point.  Knowing something about a wide variety of types of objects can be very helpful.  The failure to recognize items you see in the field can be a big mistake.

I'm sure I sometimes talk about items that a lot of people are not interested in.  You might not have any interest in iron artifacts, for example, but those rusted old items might provide important clues to a site and other types of treasure.  They might also hold more economic value than you think. 

You might not be interested in sea glass, but a piece of black glass washed up on a beach might be a good clue to the presence of other historic items nearby.  If you do a lot of reading, you might be better prepared to recognize various kinds of treasure when you see them and be better able to interpret what the item is telling you about the site.


We're going to be getting a cold front.  The wind will be coming from the north for a couple of days, but the surf will be small.  The tides are pretty good yet.

Happy hunting,

Thursday, December 7, 2017

12/7/17 Report - Sebastian Fisher Treasure Museum Admission Free Sunday. Analyzing Cut Marks. Coastline Angles.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

I just received an email announcing the open house yesterday.  Admission free Sunday.


John C. sent his thanks for helping to identify his USMC ring and wanted to especially thank Sherry, who came up with the answer.

He sent the following picture and said, Here is What happens with discarded fishing line ,This turtle washed up at wabasso beach in 2010 ,It looks like heavy test 80 or a 100 pound ,I think it's from long liners, But I'm not sure .

Turtle On Wabasso Beach Back A Few Years Ago
Photo by John C.
I just happened to see a TED talk where they showed small pieces of plastic in a fishes gut.


You probably know about Vero Man and what that is all about.  It all started when a local collector noticed carvings on an old fossilized bone.  I've found what appears to be shark bite marks on Dugong and other bones, but just the other day I picked up a vert and later noticed what appears to be bite marks on it (See below.).  Of course that is nothing scientifically significant.  It was just interesting to me, and goes right along with an article I was going to post today anyhow.

Large Vert With Cut Marks.
By the way, if you can identify what this vert is from, let me know.

The International Business Times reports that scientists have developed a method to analyze the marks on animal bones recovered from archaeological sites. The shallow marks left by stone tools are often “V” shaped, while those made by trampling animal hooves are usually “U” shaped. The new technique, which employs 3-D imaging, shape analysis, and Bayesian statistics, was shown to identify butchery marks made by volunteers with stone tools 88 percent of the time.

Here is the link.


Source: Google Maps

I was talking to somebody about beach and wave angles.  I often talk about the beach like it runs north/south, which is seldom the case.  As you can see from the map above, the Treasure Coast runs more to the northwest, while south of Palm Beach it is more north/south.

On the Treasure Coast it takes more of a northerly direction to get that slicing action that causes erosion.  If it is just a little to the north, it will actually be hitting most of the beaches pretty straight on.

Of course the coastline is not straight and there are many curves or bends.  That means that the waves will be hitting at a different angle as you go around a bend.  Before you get to the bend you might see accretion, but when you get around the bend you might see erosion.  The angles change.

Beautiful day.

I'm planning some experiments that will demonstrate some important things, but I don't know if I'll get it done by tomorrow.

Happy hunting,

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

12/6/17 Report - Ring of Well Known Person Found After Being Lost On A Florida Beach For Decades. Another Reale Find On The Treasure Coast.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Some Nice Coins and a Ring Found Sept. 25.
Finds and photo by Chris N.

Below is a message I received from Chris N. who found the items shown above.

I found this ring belonging to Fairleigh S Dickinson Jr of New Jersey. He was an avid fisherman, adventurer, businessmen, New Jersey Senator, and instrumental in laying out the plans for the Meadowland Complex along the Hackensack River in East Rutherford New Jersey. Also note His father was Farleigh Dickinson Sr. who help start Becton Dickinson Medical formally in that area as well as the University in Rutherford, NJ.  He attended the New York Military Academy in Cornwall,New York, and the Ring was dated 1937. .And was in the United State Coast Guard in the 1940's.

With help of the Police departments in New Jersey and a little research,we were able to get the ring back to the family, who were astonished that we went through all this trouble to get it back to them. They were surprised and happy that Metal Detector Enthusiast do their best to try and return items. "Thats what we do"

He passed away in 1996, and I was informed that they had no idea the ring would ever be found. We can assume that "Hurricane Irma and the Nor'Easter shortly between each other exposed the original hard pack in which we were able to pick it up on the Metal Detectors September 25, 2017. {Using a Garrett AT Pro, and Mine Lab Sovereigns  GT}

Extensive erosion inadated the Northern Florida coast where ring was found. 
Amongst other items found were old coins dated 1895 and later to Modern Clad, other Jewelry Items, Copper Sheeting, Ballast Rocks, but no Spanish Coins!!! Yet?

Found Ring With Name Clearly Inscribed Inside
Find and photo by Chris N.

Thanks Chris for all of the good work involved in getting it back to the family and providing some more good PR for the metal detecting hobby.

Congratulations of the great finds as well!

Florida beaches have long attracted people from around the country and around the world.  That is one thing that makes detecting here so interesting.


Below are some items found by Darrel S. not long ago. 

Fused Bolts.
Photo by Darrel S.
Darrel S. sent me the above photo of the two dug fused bolts or spikes and then the picture below of the same items after they were cleaned.

Bollts After Cleaning.
Photo by Darrel S.

Here is something else he found with the bolts.

Thanks Darrel.


We''re still having some big tides on the Treasure Coast, including a nice negative tide in the early AM hours.  The surf is going to be only around two or three feet.

Happy hunting,

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

12/5/17 Report - Wabasso Beach Report. Best Resource I Know Of For Overview of History of 1715 Fleet Salvage.

Written by the TreaureGuide for the exclusive use of

Wabasso Sunday
Photo by Eric H.

Eric H sent in these photos and a report on his Sunday Wabasso hunt.  Here is what he said.

Just wanted to let you know I went out to do a little hunting today ( Sunday ) at Wabasso beach and had plenty of targets, but nothing exciting...

What was interesting is that I was getting deep targets.  I found an 18 inch long piece of rebar that was buried 20 inches deep and my Sea Hunter screamed out the signal. I was really excited there for a while until I saw that it was rebar. 

I got one iron target that was about 22 inches deep (lucky for me it was high enough on the beach that I could retrieve it, if it had been in the wet sand I would have had one heck of a time getting it out.  As it was I had to dig a huge hole.  One thing that surprised me was that I found all the heavy items higher up on the beach, and the trash aluminum was at the low tide line in heavy shells (where I thought the better targets were going to be). There were virtually no items in the small holes and pockets in the low tide line/shallow water.

Miscellaneous Targets Frm Wabasso Sunday
Photo by Eric H.

Depth Eric Was Digging.
Photo by Eric H.
Thanks for the photos and report Eric.  Your report should help anyone interested in evaluating beach conditions.


Detectorists remove a lot of junk from the beaches.  That is a benefit that the public doesn't realize.

It doesn't hurt to pick up some of those ropes, flip flops and plastic bags while you are out there.

Here is an article about how such things endanger the sea turtles.


The best book on 1715 Fleet salvage history that I've seen is the 241 page large format The Rainbow Chaser's Tricentennial Yearbook by T. L. Armstrong and Tommy Gore, published by Signum OPS, 2015.  I was sent a copy of that book some time ago by Jon Morgan, who does the Lets Talk Metal Detecting podcasts after he interviewed the primary author, and I found it to be the best and most comprehensive summary that I have seen.  There are sections on the wrecks, the finds, stories, techniques, dig boats, and the finders.  

The first sentence of the foreword refers to the Donald Rumsfield comment,"We don't know what we don't know."  That is something I said in this blog before I knew anyone famous said it, and it is something good to remember, especially as it relates to treasure hunting.  Sometimes things become commonly accepted as fact and, but when new information turns up, we sometimes have to change our minds.

There is new information concerning the location of at least part of one 1715 Fleet wreck that will be coming out before long, but I can't say more about that now.  I'm sure it will be published.

If you have access to the Rainbow Chaser's book, you might want to check out page 152, which is part of a section entitled Anchoring.  You'll see a photo taken by the author entitled A Mangled Anchor, Destroyed by the Reef  that looks very much like the one Darrel S. found and which I recently posted, though Darrel's was not mangled.  

Anyhow, good book.  Thanks Jon.


In the past I wrote a lot about beach dynamics.  I learned a lot of that when I was hunting modern gold on the beaches of South Florida before I moved to the Treasure Coast.   In retrospect, I can see that it was a good place to start detecting.  The crowds left a lot of coins on the beach, which made it easier to identify patterns.  As I said yesterday, beside goals, you need a way to quantitative measure to evaluate what you are doing.  Careful monitoring will teach you a lot by itself.  Learning is easier when you have a lot of data points.  Careful observation and constant monitoring helps the learning process no matter what you are trying to do.


I have a good post started for tomorrow.  It is about a ring lost by a famous person eighty years ago that was recently found on a Florida beach and returned to the family.


Don't wait until later to do the things that you want to do.  You might think you'll have all the time in the world to do those things when you are retired, but things can happen and it might not turn out like you expected.

The moon is beautiful and the tides are big.  The surf will be increasing a little in the next couple of days.

Happy hunting,