Ever since the great Gold Rush of the 1800s, people have been fascinated with the idea of finding hidden treasures underground. In fact, it has caught on so widely that metal detecting is now considered a legitimate hobby. Those who practice it are known as metal detectorists. Metal detection is not only practiced as a hobby. In fact, it has been proven to be highly useful in several other areas such as archeology, forensic police investigations, and even military purposes.
There are many different models of metal detectors available on the market, but they all generally use the same principle to locate objects deep in the ground. A part of the machine passes a magnetic wave into the ground. When it hits rocks or other similar objects, it does not react. However, when it strikes a piece of metal, it creates an electric current, which triggers the machine’s sensory system. The detectorist can then pinpoint the object’s exact location and dig to find it. Even so, it takes a trained detectorist to tell the difference between what might be the tab from a pop can or a valuable coin aged a few hundred years old, without first digging. Some hobbyist detectorists learn to do this so well, that they even occasionally volunteer their services and equipment for local police investigations. When detecting is carried out for fun, it is a thrill to see what comes up out of the ground. Quite often, people have found items such as coins, Civil War-era bullets, buttons, metal toys, and of course fragments of tools.
All responsible detectorists have to abide by certain rules and ethics. In an official sense, each state has their own laws when it comes to metal detecting. Some specify which areas are open to detectorists, while others forbid recovered items of historical and cultural value from public property to be kept by the finders. It is always wise to thoroughly research these laws before heading out with your metal detector. Even beyond this, detectorist groups follow various rules regarding obtaining permission, digging up carefully, leaving the search area clean, and generally avoiding any disruption that their activities might cause. Novice detectorists typically start out in their own backyards or at the beach. A great way to find potential sites is by checking online or the city’s office for historical maps. Looks for areas where old school buildings would have been situated, as well as other common gathering spaces like churches, parks, town halls, and factories. Keep in mind that any roads on the maps would most likely be long changed by now, so rely on natural landmarks instead. The following resources will help you to learn more about this wonderful hobby, as well as how to get started.
An Introductory Look at Metal Detecting
Metal Detecting Organizations and Clubs
Conrad S. Mackie