Friday, January 27, 2017

1/27/17 Report - Finding That Fine Line of Good Judgement To Minimize Metal Detecting Mistakes.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Yesterday I mentioned several different kinds of mistakes that I've made.  They included (1) not paying enough attention to a dug item in the field to get the significance of the item,  (2) not keeping an item when it isn't known for sure what it is, (3) not digging carefully enough, (4) not being careful enough when you clean an item, and (5) not storing an item properly, and then I added another, (6) leaving good targets in the ground.

So what is the solution?  How do you keep from making those kinds of mistakes?

There are always trade-offs.  Take the first type of mistake - not paying enough attention to a dug item in the field.  You can carefully inspect every item you dig and try to figure out what it tells you about the site, or you can quickly pocket every dug item so you can spend as much time as possible detecting. Those are the two extremes, and either one could be a big mistake.  The optimal solution is somewhere in between.  You will want to analyze finds but not waste too much time especially on less significant items.

Research and experience will help you more quickly analyze finds and make good decisions.  If you do your research, you'll have some familiarity with the most likely targets, and you'll have a good idea of the significance of those finds and what you should do if you find a particular type of object.

Consider the musket hammer and flint that I mentioned.  If that wasn't my very first hunt in a target rich colonial battleground site, I would have been better prepared to quickly identify the find and its significance.  If I had read more and studied relevant pictures before the hunt, I probably would have correctly identified the musket flint as soon as I saw it.  If I found the same hammer and flint under the same conditions today,  I would have stayed in the same spot for a while and looked for other related items, perhaps more of the same musket.  I would have adjusted my hunt as the result of the find instead passing them over as two isolated insignificant objects.  The fact is that I wasn't well prepared for that hunt and made some mistakes.

On the same hunt I also made the mistake I have listed above as number three.  I was not careful enough about digging an item that was found just a few yards from the musket hammer and flint.  I damaged a very nice find.  The musket and flint, had I realized their significance, should have told me that there could be some very nice old items in the area.

The solution for that kind of mistake also involves trade-offs.  You can dig everything with great care, or you can try to recover every item as quickly as possible.  Again, there is another option.  If you analyze the signal and the situation, you will know when it would be wise to exercise extreme caution. You can't be right every time.  It is a matter of probabilities and using the information you gather to make adjustments.  You will be wrong at times, but you can definitely cut down on the number and seriousness of the mistakes that you make.

If I had correctly identified the hammer and flint, I should have known to be more careful with my digging.  If I was finding nothing but pull tabs and clad coins, and there was little indication of anything very nice being in the area, I could be a little more careless and not be in too much danger of making a really big mistake.   A lot of factors can affect how carefully you dig.  If you have all the time in the world to explore a site, you can dig as if every target is precious.  I prefer to adjust as I go.

I'll jump now to the mistake of leaving exceptionally good targets in the ground.  There is always that possibility if you don't dig everything.  As I explained the other day, the very best finds, such as Rolex watches or gold bars, won't be identified by a metal detector's readout and they are rare enough that you probably won't identify them accurately from the signal.  The very best finds are like that.  They are rare and usually come as big surprises.

This type of mistake is very dangerous.  You will probably never know that you made it.  The treasure remains silent in the ground and you go on your merry way happy that you did not have to dig another piece of junk.

One way to avoid leaving the very best targets in the ground is to really learn how to use your detector and how to interpret the signals.  That will help, but I recommend the utmost caution in passing up targets that you don't recognize.  Analyzing the site and the situation will help.

I encourage people to dig everything, but that is not always possible, and it is not always wise. A lot of the time I just sample a site and make a decision knowing that I might miss something good.  Skill and experience can help you minimize mistakes, but  there is still some amount of luck or chance involved. That is part of the fun and what makes it so interesting.  It is a game that you can never completely perfect.


Darrel S. says he has been having trouble with a SeriousDetecting store.  Here is what he said.

I have been going through a horrible 2 months with this company. I ordered a coil last year. Was defective and they paid for return shipping (sent a label.) Sent back and they rejected the package. They claim never delivered. Local PO said they refused it. It is on the way back and I have to pay return shipping. I will probably contact CORS in Ukraine and go from there.


I don't generally comment on companies much, but will repeat that I was not at all happy with Tesoro, who advertised a lifetime guarantee, but they don't honor it if they decide the detector is obsolete.  That is not what I call a lifetime guarantee.  I have two old Tesoro detectors that they determined were obsolete even though they were purchased with a lifetime guarantee.


One person wrote mentioning that mangroves are protected.  That is true.  Don't cut or damage them.


Nothing new to report about beach conditions.

Happy hunting,