Monday, January 16, 2017

1/16/17 Report - A Recent Relic Hunt. Memorable Mistakes.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Finds and photo by Dan B.
When the salvage season is over and Dan B. isn't working on the Capitana bringing up gold coins from the 1715 Fleet, he does some relic hunting. Here is a group of finds he made very recently at a railroad site.

There are some neat things in there. Notice, for example, the eagle button and the strap buckles.

I visited an old RR spot today. Since I have already picked the area clean of easy hits, I spent some time hunting the most difficult and messy areas.  Nails and iron are usually enough to deter people including myself from detecting thoroughly. These are usually old structures and hold some goodies if you can differentiate the quality hits. Well worth the time today, but rarely so lucky. 

A lot of people would be scared off by a bunch of nails, but they can protect good finds for the more patient and persistent hunter.


People often think that you have to be at a site the day it cuts or it is too late.  That is the case sometimes, but not always.  Some really great finds have been made days after people think it is over.

When Turtle Trail recently cut and produced some nice finds last week, most was found in the first couple of days, but not everything.  In fact an eight reale was found Friday - days after the very best hunting.

A lot of things can be found when a site hits its peak, but time after time  great things are still found when most people have given up and think it is over.


I did a post one day on some of my memorable finds.  They were finds that I always remember for some reason - often because they were firsts of some kind.

Some of my memorable finds were memorable because I made a mistake that I continue to regret. Those are the kinds of things that make you wish you had known better at the time.

One that always sticks out in my mind was a musket hammer.  I don't know what I was thinking, but I didn't pay much attention to the hammer when I found it.  I wasn't sure what it was.  Then I found the flint nearby.  The rusted hammer was my first musket hammer, and I wasn't sure what it was right away, but as I always say, keep anything if you aren't sure you know what it is.  Well, back then I made the mistake and didn't keep the hammer and not even the flint.

I found the musket flint after digging the hammer.  That confirmed to me that it was a musket hammer, but why I didn't keep the hammer or the flint, I don't know, and I still regret it.  I was hot on a trail of some good buttons and things at the time and that might have something to do with the fact that I didn't pay them much attention.

Another regret is an 18th century medallion that was so encrusted when it was dug that I didn't know what it was.  It looked like it could be a coin.  It went into the tumbler with a bunch of coins, and when I took it out, I saw what it really was.  Fortunately it wasn't badly damaged, but it should have been treated better.  It lost some gilt and a little detail in the tumbling  process.  What an idiot!  Hopefully, I wouldn't make that type of mistake today.

As I think about some of the regrets, they were often also firsts.  That is part of the reason the mistake was made.  I didn't recognize or appreciate the item, and as a result didn't save it or properly treat it.

Other regrets came from not properly cleaning and storing items. I can think of couple of very nice items that were not stored carefully enough and broke while in storage.  Store your nice items carefully. Don't have one type of metal touching another.  That can result in discoloratation.  It can happen to reales, for example.  Don't keep a reale touching another type of metal.

Store nice items separately and so they won't be under too much weight.  Coin holders help.  It is also a good idea to keep artifacts in separate plastic boxes or bottles.  You can't be too careful if you don't want any accidental damage.

Another type of regret to avoid, is damaging items during recovery.  Some very nice items can be damaged or destroyed by careless digging.  You might not know what it is until you dig it up, so be careful.  Remember, it might be something precious.  Even metal items can be fragile.  I've made that mistake too.


The surf will be decreasing for a few days.

Happy hunting,