Friday, January 13, 2017

1/13/17 Report - Gold Cross Pendant Found. Site Analysis and Sampling: Brief Case Study.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Find and photo by Duane C.
Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Just yesterday I mentioned that I hadn't been posting much on modern jewelry lately.  Well, I just got the photo of this nice find.

Duane said, Found on east coast 18k lots of makers marks age unknown. 

Congratulations Duane.


This isn't a story about a valuable find.  It is a story about site analysis and investigation.  The particular site showed signs of being "right."  By that I mean if anything was in the area the chances of finding something was good.  I could tell that the site was "right" by looking at it.  

The base of a cliff was eroded.  Below the cliff was hard sand slanting down to the water at a very slight angle.  Then the sand flattened out.

As I explained not long ago, a visual site analysis should be the first step.  That can tell you a lot about where to spend your time most efficiently.

When I walked by the area and noticed the washout, I recognized that it was an area that would probably reveal something.  After my attention was drawn to that area, it was just a few minutes before I noticed the bottle shown below.

It is a small bottle, embossed "WHITEHURST."  It originally contained a cough medicine.  The bottle is from the early 1900s.

I already knew something of the history of the area.  There could possibly be something there from almost any time period, but most human activity would have most likely been late 1800s and early 1900s.  The bottle was consistent with that.

So, the area looked right, and it revealed an older item in almost no time.  As is often the case, the first clue was glass or ceramic.   

The water was coming in and covering the area, but I didn't expect it to completely disappear, so I decided to return the next day to look it over a little more.

On my return visit I took a metal detector.  The area was covered with junk, both metal and non- metallic - some on the surface and some buried.  The detector was constantly giving signals.

I wasn't digging anything at first, just getting an idea of the situation.  Then I decided to dig a few - I think it was five or six, of the better signals.

Notice that so far, all I am really doing is sampling.  I am analysing the situation.  First visually, then with the detector.  I do not believe at this point that there is any reason to spend much time or effort on this site.

Part of my analysis is knowing something of the history of the area.  The people that lived in the area in the early 1900s were not wealthy at all, and worked in agriculture.  The site accumulated a lot of junk.  There is not reason to expect gold coins, good jewelry - only a small chance of finding a coin or two from the 1900s and a smaller chance of finding a coin from the 1800s

Knowing what went on at a site in the past can be a big help.  How many people were there and what were they doing?  This is not a fancy resort visited by many people over the centuries.  Just the opposite.  This site has a very small chance of revealing anything valuable, but there is some chance that something from the late 1800s or early 1900s might show up.  If I was trying to find something valuable and if this site wasn't very close to my home, I wouldn't bother with it at all.

There is almost no chance of finding something like the gold cross pendant at this site, so if that is what you are after, forget this site.  This is a relic hunter's site.

There is more chance that a pre-contact sight find would be made there.  A check-stamped shard was found not too far away.

Detecting in this area was very difficult because of all the junk.  Much of the area was also now covered with seaweed. 

After spending a  few minutes just scanning the area with the detector, I decided to dig some of the better signals - very few though.

Small Compact Dating To 1925

One of the things I dug was this Princess Pat compact, in surprisingly good condition.  The hinges still worked.  I opened it up and the broken mirror was still in it.  I was very surprised that it would still open.

It was easy to find out about Princess Pat.  This particular compact is the style that was sold in 1925. The date of the compact is very close to the date of the Whitehurst bottle.

My conclusion is that the compact was on the bank, where it was preserved - not in the water.

The compact is shown above.

So far I have spent about half an hour looking at that area and will investigate it more in the future since it is so convenient to me.  I wouldn't bother if I was serious about making a good find, but there is the slimmest possibility that something much older will show up, and maybe even something like an older coin.  The likelihood of either of those is small, but there could be some sort of interesting relic to be found.  

While these were no great finds, the case illustrates some of the steps and factors to consider in site analysis.

Here are a few.

1. Visual site inspection.  Determine if current conditions are good or not, and what spots might be most promising.
2. Consider history of the area and types of activity that took place at the site.
3. Sample with metal detector.
4. Evaluation of finds.  Age and whatever else they might tell you.
5. Consider future opportunities for additional searching.  Is immediate intensive search indicated or not?


The surf is supposed to increase up to seven feet today.  Not bad, as far as size goes.

There will be big tides too, including a nice negative tide.

Happy hunting,