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Welcome to the 2010 American Digger Sampler A note from the publisher Dear reader, We hope you enjoy this compilation of various bits and pieces of American Digger, 2010. Our goal was not to bring you the most spectacular finds, or best written articles, but rather an average sampling of what was seen in American Digger Magazine, Volume 6, Issue 1-6. If you have not read this popular publication before in its hard copy bi-monthly version, we hope this gives you a taste of what you are missing. If you are a reader or subscriber of our magazine, we hope this helps bridge the gap between a hard copy magazine and an online version. We certainly feel that, at the least, you’ll enjoy this recap of American Digger, 2010, in full color and online free. Since 2004, American Digger Magazine has brought you the best in relics, bottles, coins, arrowheads, fossils, and more in high quality print, and we intend to continue doing so. To satisfy online demand, our intention is to put an annual Year in Review online every year as long as the demand is there. This will be the first of what we hope will be a long running venture. Throughout this special online issue, advertisers have been given an active hyper link to their respective web sites. Please support them by not only clicking the hyper links, but also by utilizing their products and services whenever possible. It is because of them that we are able to bring this to you at no charge. Above all, tell them you saw it in American Digger. Help them to help us to help you! Also included in this online special is an index of all articles published in 2010 by American Digger. This was a highly requested item, so we bring it to you here. If you would like to read any of these articles not included here, please click the links given to order a particular back issue. You may also call 770-362-8671 or visit www.americandigger.com. Note that back issues often sell out, so we suggest you order as soon as you find the issue (s) that you desire. If an issue is sold out, don’t despair! We also offer our entire archives on CD. Just remember this is but a fraction of the quality reading that in in American Digger Magazine each year. In 2010 there were well over 50 full length articles, 30+ regular columns, and hundreds of Just Dug (or found) items. If you really want to experiance the hobby magazine America is talking about, we suggest you subscribe and have each issue delivered to your home or office. If you like digging, collecting, or just keeping abreast with artifacts, you won’t be sorry! Regards, Butch Holcombe. Publisher American Digger Magazine



2010 American Digger Magazine Sampler

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The general composition of meteorites can range from a solid chunk of iron that rings off loud and clear on metal detectors to rocks that are mostly stony. _________

34 American Digger Magazine

Vol. 6, Issue 5

in a bit of history ourselves. We were quick to off- surface each time. After spirited discussions, the group load our gear and check out the rooms. Next came a picks which farms they want to hunt each day. They brief lunch and a short walk to the local post office to can vary from places that have never been detected to exchange some money. Then we were digging by one known Medieval, Roman, or even Celtic sites. o’clock sharp and dug every day after from 8:00 AM On each day of the dig, our group was not only until dark. accompanied by Peter and Alan, but Peter would also Let me tell you about our guide, Peter Welsh. He is invite a few of his other knowledgeable friends along a full time detectorist and loves for the day. They were always a the hobby. He not only invites us cheerful and dedicated lot. They Yanks over to detect, but he also certainly added to the ambiance is the owner and operator of a of the hunts, and were able to group called The Weekend Wananswer all of our historical and derers. Peter approaches farmers cultural questions. Almost every all over the country and rents scrap we dug was immediately their farm for a day or two of and correctly identified. They digging for his group. They have also possessed extreme patience hunts every weekend and many while watching and helping us hunts have hundreds of memall day as we were digging. bers show up. We were lucky The first thing I noticed to be able to join Peter and his when I started detecting was that group on one such occasion. It This Celtic Potin (token) is made of a the ground here is often covered was one of the most memorable copper tin alloy and dates to 100 BC. with white flint nodules. These hunts I’ve ever been on. It was are naturally occurring very hard attended by people of all walks of life varying from rocks that, when broken open, look a little like glass. children to the very elderly. Since they were all English They were used in building construction and also as and thus had mannerisms and speech patterns foreign to a base for the ancient Roman roadways that crisscross us, many humorous and memorable events occurred. this section of the country. To a digger the stones repreIt is partly because of these hunts that Peter has so sent a small obstacle to digging in that, when pushing many farms from which to choose to bring his American down on the shovel and striking one, they are very hard groups digging. These farms are always composed of and unforgiving to the hands and arms. I mention this big open fields and can range up to several thousand because it is one of the things that I remember well and acres in size. It’s not unusual to hunt pasture, bare dirt will not soon forget. The second thing I noticed was all and shin length stubble all on one farm. But these are of the iron signals. Most every place we dug was the site mostly crop fields, and as such are turned over every of thousands of years of human occupation. Six of our year with another bounty of relics being brought to the group used Fisher F-75 metal detectors. This machine

American Digger A

These five meteorites were fou the author at the Texas site. The s it turned out, the meteorites were not hard to spot if you walked over one. They were of the “stoney” type, and barely signal on the metal detector mostly roundish in shape and very black with what is called a fusion crust. While the meteorites are moving through space they have a very low temperature, possibly as low as -455 Fahrenheit, net attached to one end. If I saw an interestin but as they enter our atmosphere, the friction of the would touch the stick to the rock. If it attach air causes the exterior to heat up and a black fusion magnet, it was likely a meteorite. crust forms on the outside. This layer is usually very Most detectorists are not aware that mete thin and is quite distinctive, greatly aiding in the visual scattered all over the earth. It is very comm identification of meteorites. We walked field by field western US deserts for detectorists to go out looking for black rocks lying on the ground. specifically for them. Generally, they a The general composition of meteorites can range noticeable out there because there is less vege from a solid chunk of iron that rings off loud and clear far fewer targets to sort through than in other p on metal detectors to rocks that are mostly stony like country. But, they can occur almost anywhere the ones found here. We you find a “hot tried to use metal detecmay be a meteo Thus, the piece of carved lead tors on the ones we were Texas Turtle.” it up and bring finding, but realized that Check it with The turtle is the symbol of lo these meteorites didn’t to see if it is ma in the ancient civilizations of contain very much metal so,Private there are m It is possible that Giles and would barely sound thatluck will himself, in searchonline of good off on our machines. I in the identificat the odds are staggering that he d tried using my Fisher F75 stone. Letonly no ho artist is lost forever now; h and Technetics This T2 while uninvestigated. stream was used by soldiers Little is known of Giles a Derik swung his trusty I found two th comrades of the 4 Texas that Whites MXT. We didtogetmeet their camp needs. ites that first ev after the Army surrendered, faint whispers, but as there Derik found an joined thousands more on the lo wasn’t much vegetation stayed out in devastation and until an unknown an growing yet, we decided to the last bi future. But it can be hoped just walk around and eyeand were that, greet behind so many years ago,how th ball them. Another inter- A close up of the interior of aleft meteorite camp by the a long, long way yipping off. esting aspect of meteorites that broke apart after burning through of a nea

For Diggers and Collectors Of America’s Heritage COLOR They Came From Outer Space

COLOR 35

2010 Sampler

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39

By Beau Ouimette Pg. 26 Glass-on-glass: Forget alien abductions and close encounters. These space visitors Glass shelved curio cabinets make a grea are more than a rumor or fuzzy photo: they are here now. for almost any light to moderate weight

On The Slopes

By Bob Roach Every site has its challenges. But few are as tough as hunting in the desert while dealing with police who speak a different language.

A Mile In His Shoes

An Interview By John Velke If you want to find out about the roots of relic hunting with a metal detector, listen to William Gavin, the one who tried it first.

The Texas Turtle By Dennis Cox

Pg. 30

is that almost all of them the Earth’s atmosphere. Notice the of coyotes. We w are magnetic. They also metal flakes button in the rock as well as the exited and staye A “local” Texas contain various amounts thin fusion crust described in the article. into the night found the two site. Devoidare almost alwaysAbout the Auth of iron and almost always at These indicators digging stories Dennis Cox hasing been ofupany manufacturing nickel. I had made a present in meteorites. for digging the follo Civil War history since 195 walking stick withbackmarks, a magare to move each from one wall, I saw that I had a pastel blue these and yellow to see what was undern Fredericksburg, VA, he spen 34 American Digger Magazine Vol. 6, Issue 2 insome several variations. room. It looked like I’dfound need to do painting, once I a possible avalanche at worst the time traveling to siteson rangi in search figured out what color best compliments riker boxes and I thought, doVirginia I needtotoFlorida go to look for recoveries, and often spends 3 rust flecks. Being that I had a set (low) bud each year metal detecting f

_______ Pg. 36

The desk I’d been using was an old army steel desk. proceeded to the local thrift store. O Luckily I found someone who wanted to get rid of an exI lucked out and found two used b ecutive style wooden desk which needed some refinishing for sale. Each five drawer cabinet m work done to the top and trim. inches. Numerous intact ancient rings Also were found atmythe I bought the desk for $100 and pur Turtle” camp was dugmyself. at the site. Many more had each It did the refinishing Guards button. Or My computer, sitting on top damaged or broken. up. I did been part of the 7th Texas of this newly refinished desk, added fe examples have bee now helps me with research, To identification and cataloging riker bo in areas occupie th of my finds. It also helps me to the the 4 that it’s like ing to be found. Finally, as the light was just starting to h see other people’s finds on distinguishedshelving grou I found The site had the fade, various forums I visit,the in day’s one and only ring. Waco, TexasUsing servei turnmade giving me inspiration 12 Be inch both regiments. a bit tospoiled; asKnowing it had been so generthathitherto most relic hunters wouldn’t have searched “Saber Guardme Dance” get out and feed my digging shelves this miserable spot very long, it fit the definition of past good soil conditio ous in giving up quantities of rings, I thought it stingy evenrain more. relic hunter’s weakness number 2. Tossed fromviewing passing Two monthsaddiction later, heavy returned the swampy button retains almo Now important stainwere lef vehicles, accumulated beer and soda cans portion of the ravine to it itsthe for-most of to present me just one onyears thisofday. its origional gilt of all redecorating question: project everywhere beside the road. It mer “boots only” landscape. A th to best display my finds? how which h was proof positive of my “exwindow to the 18 century was May-June 2010 the years, mat cuses/laziness” theory.alsoAmeric closed and timeOver was needed to my displays week later, my head now had morphed I ke Multi-tasking, my explorecharge my enthusiasm. Holi-into a type of consisted shuffling stuff-storage. hunting days passed and, on an unsea-For instance, I healed, Iration made my ofsixth along, monitoring detector sigsonably warm drizzly had a February curio cabinet that was for disp and last nals tripwhile to the hill filling of a tediously day, I awoke my wife with with aso much stuff packed aquarium garbage bag withback. a vari-I “grin and talk.”that Double-checkyou couldn’t see it all Jewelry also displays in the curio rings.wellIplastic arrived slightly ety of metallic trash items. Onlya ing my gear, before knewboxes it the sitting on top cabinets...at least, the pieces andIriker shells, that your an for occasional vehicle whizzing highway’s whiteofline wasother weavpast midday, temperature waswear. still in the each so that youbut, had though and a p spousethe doesn’t confiscate by interrupted the boring routine. ing a hypnotic trance. Sept-Oct 2010 American high 90s, a slight breeze made the goingDigging bearable. I had all signals, including One hundred and ten miles nails, my Minelab’s meter conlater, a soggy morning search remembered my hat, had plenty of ice-cold water, and firmed a 4½ inch deep target. Reproduced nothing. Detector Brass cartridge box plate of the movingwith an odd-looking piece of in hand, I beganevery searchinginch of my exposed skin was coated a layer British 7th Royal Fusiliers. metal from the loose black soil, the blacktop road’s perimeter.

Pg. 42

During the Civil War, the 4th Texas Infantry suffered greatly. Yet the artifacts from their Fredericksburg camp show hope and pride.

Go Clean Your Room! By Mike Harvey

Pg. 52

Digging the finds is half of the job. Displaying them is something else. There’s no reason to break the bank if you visit a few thrift stores.

One

Gold Celtic Stater coins, circa 58-57 BC, recovered by the author. Both depict a highly stylized horse on the front with a crab under the horse’s belly.

Footprints of the French

Front and back of a Roman brooch, circa 100 AD. The circles on the face would have originally had a brightly colored enamel filling when new.

By Charles Salerno Although the Light Infantry Corps was from New England and New Jersey, the commander was French. Now, a relic hunter revisits the camps.

An American Digger in England

By Beau Ouimette To find the really old metal artifacts, go to England. Learn what to expect and how to get the most from your trip from one who has been there.

Pg. 46

Pg. 61

of sun Vol. block. So I was as prepared for the elements as I 6, Issue 5 Vol. 6, Issue 5 could be, but it was a good 45 minutes before I received Bottles, Jugs, and Bugs By Joe Baker my first signal, an ancient coin in such very bad shape to be unidentifiable, and another half hour before I A cold day in the waters of Massachusetts brings history, bottles, fun, as and received the second signal, a very small piece of a broeven fine dining to this group of durable divers. Join us in this article for ken bronze bracelet which had been lying exposed on an adventure so exciting you can almost...ahem...taste it. top the rocky soil. In the following several hours, in between frequent, needed rests, I received only a few more signals. These produced just two additional piecBack to Back By Butch Holcombe es of broken bronze, one piece of a ring, and a bottle Traditionally, Diggin’ in Virginia relic hunts are held twice a year. What cap or two. Where, I asked myself, were the rings and happens when two pieces of property become available at the same time? good coins? I began to believe my detector might be malfunctioning, but this was not the case; there was just very little or nothing left to find. American Digger On The Road: Connecticut By Butch Holcombe When I had wearied to the extent that much more Connecticut holds plenty of evidence of our country’s past. Join us as digging we would have been unpleasant and difficult, I betravel there todiscover a magnificent past...and present. gan my trek back down the hill to my car, detecting as I went. I was about a third of the way to my destination when my headphones produced a loud, crisp audio sig 2010 American Digger Magazine Sampler nal, exactly the same type I’d heard, before, whenever 22 American Digger Magazine 22 American Digger Magazine

Pg. 62

Pg. 70

Pg. 78

American Digger

American D-Mail……….6

Publisher

Just Dug……………........8

Marketing Director

Q&A....……….….……..20 Stumpt.............................24 News-n-Views.................84

Founded in 2004 by those that love the hobby

Butch Holcombe Anita Holcombe

Marketing Assistant

Bob Roach

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Digger Dealers ................51

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The Savage Facts...........86

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The Hole Truth………...90

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Our Mission:

“To promote the responsible excavation and collecting of all artifacts related to America.”

American Digger (ISSN# 1551-5737) published bi-monthly by Greybird Publishing , PO Box 126, Acworth, GA 30101. (770) 362-8671.

Cover Photo

Six covers of six issues of America’s magazine for diggers and collectors, American Digger! In each and every issue you’ll find a wealth of artifacts recovered and collected by folks just like you. Arrowheads, Civil War relics, Colonial items, bottles, coins, fossils, meteorites and so much more. We hope this complimentary online sampler gives you a better idea of what we are all about. Call us at 770362-8671 or visit us online to make sure you never miss another issue!

Periodical postage paid at Acworth, GA and at additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to: American Digger Magazine, P O Box 126, Acworth, GA 30101 We respect our readers’ privacy, and never sell, rent, or publicize subscribers’ names or addresses. Yearly subscriptions USA, $33.95 Canada, $53.95; Europe $73.95 Mail subscription payment to: American Digger Magazine PO Box 126 Acworth, GA 30101 Or pay online at: www.americandigger.com Phone orders also welcome using most major credit cards: (770) 362-8671 No part of this magazine may be reproduced in any way without the written consent of the publisher. American Digger has no affiliation with any hobby groups or websites other than our own. While we strive for accuracy, American Digger cannot be held liable for inadvertent misrepresentation. Reader submissions are encouraged, and you may write or visit our website for guidelines. E-mailed submissions should be sent to adpublisher@att.net. We reserve the right to reprint photos and text as needed. Unless otherwise requested, all correspondence to American Digger is subject to publication We strongly oppose illegal recovery and wanton destruction of artifacts. Please dig responsibly. Our hobby depends on it!

© 2010

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DiggingThrough Through Our Our Mail Box… Digging Box… Got or e-mail e-mailus! us! Gotaacomment commentor orquestion? question? Write Write or On The Road To A Great New Hobby The Roadday ToatAthe Great New home Hobbyplace Thanks forOn a wonderful old Seitz Thanks for a wonderful day at the old Seitz home place in in Catawba County, North Carolina (American Digger Catawba County, North Carolina (American Digger On The On The Road, Vol,5 Issue 3). The detecting was fun; Road, May-June 2008). The detecting was fun; however, however, I feel more fortunate to have spent a day I feel more fortunate to have spent a day outside in God’s outside in God’s beautiful creation andfriends. to have madefor beautiful creation and to have made new Thanks newshowing friends.me Thanks for showing me the tricks of the tricks of the trade. All of our family the had a trade. Allday, of our familymy had a great day, especially myold great especially wife’s father, who at 91 years wife’s 91 years was share wasfather, glad towho shareatsome historyold of his oldglad hometoplace and somebehistory of his old home place and be involved. involved. I’m almost ready to be hooked on detecting; it I’m won’t almost ready it won’t take muchtotobe puthooked me over on the detecting; edge! takeDavid muchLink to put me over the edge! David Link NC Conover, Conover, NC (VolTo 6, those Issue who 1) didn’t read the article, David had always wanted to go detecting and when AD on the Road showed up in his town, we did our best to get him involved in the To those who didn’t read the article, David had always hobby at his family’s old homesite. It didn’t take much work wanted to go detecting and when AD on the Road on our part and we expect in the not-too-distant future to showed up in his town, we did our best to get him see finds by David in Just Dug. But he’s already discovered involved in treasure the hobby at hisoffers: family’s homesite. It the real this hobby fun,old family, friends, and didn’t work on our part and we expect in the thetake greatmuch outdoors.-Ed not-too-distant future to see finds by David in Just Dug. But he’s already discovered real treasure this hobby The Greatestthe Treasures of All offers: family, friends, the hobby great outdoors.-Ed Thefun, friendliness of peopleand in this was experienced after I visited Florida for the holidays and while there, contacted someone through a local metal detecting club. Not Framed only was this person exceptionally helpful with Little the local I have a Civil War bayonet found long ago near do’sTop, and don’ts, but also of their favorite Round and was told invited years me agotototwo treat it with a hunting locations! After searching chemical and battery charger process. Others say don’t the first area hours, I can do anything tofor it aatfew all. What is the correct way to say I have done my part to clean preserve it? I’d like to frame it but want to know what forest.I do. The second site was to dothebefore more favorable with the discovery Brent Kedzierski of an early 1800s musketball, a (via email) ball button, and a thimble. These (Volfinds 6, Issue 5) were great, but the best find was a new friend. Also I have We’re glad that youofasked. Thering first step in preserving enclosed photos my first iron and is that active corrosion must a button marked “1865.” Anybe halted. A common mistake is information coating anonuncleaned help or the button iron piece, in effect sealing the corrosion in the iron. The exception are would be great! thoseNance relics, Jo usually Ogozalekearly finds or battlefield pickups, which exhibit no active corrosion. But on most, if Tennessee

coated as is, the deterioration will continue unseen 4 American Digger Magazine Vol. 6, Issue 1 until one day the damage will manifest itself, usually by chunks of metal falling off of what you thought was 

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Beepin ’

Steve Meinzer

Finding a stranger hunting his special secret sweet spot, Charlie felt a duel was in order. a You, solidtoo, relic. twoare different articles haveWe thehave rightpublished idea. Friends by far the best ontreasure electrolysis (similar to the process you describe) out there. As to the button, we’ll see what our asreaders a wayhave to remove rust it. (AD to say about -EdVol. 1, Issue 3 and Vol. 5, Issue1). Once that process is done, the relic can be safely sealed,Just preferably with waxSolved or tung oil. If your Dug Mystery artifact is already metalinfo through rust, time is of I just found somelosing interesting on Dan Patterson’s the essence. With all the historical pieces being lost “Charles M. Kain” identification tag found in Mississippi daily, we as in collectors diggersDigger must do parts5,to and shown Just Dugand (American Volour 5, Issue preserve these fragile pieces of our past. -Ed page 12). It is a mail order “German silver check’ from “Peck & Snyder, 126 Nassau St. New York,’ listed in a 1886 catalog as itemWhodugit? # 75, and selling (at that time) for .25 cents. I found it listed on War page soldier’s 475 of thestencil Standard I recently purchased a Civil (see photo) dug near Fredericksburg, VA, probably in the Prospecting & Detecting early 1980s, and bought atMaps a show near Fredericksburg by a NJ collector from a digger who was selling his

GOLDMAPS GOLDMAPS WWW. Prospecting & Detecting Maps

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finds. The owner had the soldier misidentified, as this stencil belonged to Pvt. James F. Geralls, Company A, 13th New Hampshire Volunteers. Geralls died in Feb 1863 in Newport News of typhoid fever. His unit fought at Fredericksburg, the only battle Geralls fought in. Have any of your readers ever seen this stencil? Was it found on the battlefield or at the 13th’s camp near the Phillip’s house? I would also like to know who dug the stencil and when. Any information on the stencil or Geralls would be greatly appreciated. Chris Carroll Wilmington, NC (Vol 6, Issue 4) We urge anyone with information on this stencil or the digger to contact Chris at nchistory@hotmail.com. One of the sad things about buying relics several times removed from the digger is that important information is sometimes lost along the way. This is not to say that buying or selling relics is wrong. Far from it, as it is important that they find a new home with someone who will cherish them. We do urge all diggers, dealers, and collectors to keep pertinent information with the relic at all times. While a log book is good, it can not take the place of having all information included with the relic. Most important is the digger’s name. We understand the desire for anonymity, but questions may later arise that only the digger can answer.-Ed

Snow Days

I thought you might want to see what I was doing on our first real big snow day this winter. Snow days are a great time to relax and read about digging. I was out scouting the hills the day before and it was about 50 degrees. I found one common plain coffin flask, but I just know there’s treasures yet to find, come next Spring! James Campiglia Bozeman, MT (Vol 6, Issue 2)

We hope that reading AD got you through the gloom in good shape, because thanks to the magical delay of print, Spring should is right around the corner! -Ed

Golden

Being a newbie, I just have to ask, what kind of detector is needed to find a gold dollar or any of the other gold coins like the ones pictured in your magazine? R.L. Flournoy via Email (Vol 6, Issue 6) Although any good detector will find gold, the key word is “good.” Go with the top manufacturers, most of whom advertise in this magazine. It has been proven that even a low end model from a reputable manufacture will outperform the most expensive “noname” unit. Also remember that to find gold also takes skill, luck, and determination. While some detectorists find multiple gold coins in their careers, others find none. But the most important thing? Keep swinging that coil. Nobody ever found a gold coin while sitting in their easy chair.-Ed

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Just Dug Here’s what our readers are finding... :

Beau Dabney was metal detecting at an old housesite south of Fredericksburg, Virginia when he recovered this impressive array of buttons. Among those shown are a Virginia Military Institute, an 1812 Artillery, and a British 64th Regiment of Foot button. Having only been digging about three years, it looks as though he is doing quite well at recovering a wide array of Virginia history. Photo by Dale Jordan (Vol 6, Issue 1)

Bruce Deem had a good week in the fall of 2009. The Confederate officer’s button was found at a housesite in King and Queen Co., Virginia. The Waco Guard button was found only a few days later in a Confederate camp near Richmond. The Waco Guards (Company A of the 7th Texas) saw service in numerous theaters of the Civil War, including the Occoquan Defensive Lines near Richmond. Photos by Bruce Deem (Vol 6, Issue 1)



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Casey Couch was at a hunt in Gadsden, Alabama, put on by the Gadsden Relic Hunting Club. He began searching what was once a ferry landing on the nearby Coosa River. In just a short period, he dug a 1900 V nickle, 1916 Buffalo nickle, 1942 Mercury dime, 1945 quarter, 1890 Indian Head penny and a gold ring. Photo by Charlie Harris (Vol 6, Issue 1)

Bob Roach was searching abroad at a World War I site, finding only a few rifle cartridge casings, when he got a surprise from a distant era: a cache of three ancient Greek or Roman bronze spear heads. Also shown in the photo is one of the WWI rifle casings, which gives an idea as to the spear heads’ size. Photo by Bob Roach (Vol 6, Issue 1)

Bob Spratley spends his days in Northern Florida searching for Spanish and French treasures, and is no stranger to Civil War relics. But they are scarce in Florida, so he was surprised to stumble into a small camp and dig this medical fleam. Used for the medical practice of blood letting, these are scarce finds. But even more amazing is the condition of this one. After a thorough cleaning process involving crushed walnut hulls and corn cobs used in a pressure blaster, the item now appears in almost non-dug condition.

Bob Lewis found this 1850s militia buckle this past August...and also two years ago. Let us explain: Bob dug the tongue portion two years ago at small muster field about a mile from his New Hampshire home. For the rest of that summer, he desperately searched for the missing half, with no luck. Then, in August 2009, he was hunting an old housesite not far from the muster field when it happened: he unearthed the rest of the buckle. Bob theorizes that the owner of the buckle, after losing the tongue at the muster grounds, got home after the event and threw the other half out with the trash behind the house. Photo by Bob Lewis (Vol 6, Issue 1)

Photo by Bob Spratley (Vol 6, Issue 1)

Elaine Harvey was detecting in a field in Colleton County, South Carolina with her Tesoro detector when she recovered this George Washington inaugural button. The historical relic is bent but complete. Photo by Anita Holcombe (Vol 6, Issue 1)

Billy Smith dug this example of American ingenuity. It is a broad axe of the 1700-1800s and sports a repair made after the handle socket broke. The owner fixed it with a piece of strap iron He recovered the unique relic in a trash pit at an old housesite in Central Virginia. Photo by Ran Hundley (Vol 6, Issue 1) www.americandigger.com



Tom Williams has been hunting in Nashville near the campus of Western Military Institute for over two years, as construction projects opened up new ground. On one of the last jaunts, he dug this tiny lead filled gold shield. It is from the Agatheridian Literary Society and likely lost by a cadet in the mid 1850s.

James Campiglia spotted a coffin flask in a pile of big mining rocks and felt certain that it must be broken. As this photo shows, it was intact, as was another recent find, an old Chinese soy crock, which he found on a construction site. Both were found near Bozeman, Montana. Also shown on the far right is a flask he found earlier. Photo by James Campiglia (Vol 6, Issue 2)

Photo By Charlie Harris (Vol 6, Issue 2)

Rick Weaver found his first Civil War relic with his Fisher F-75, and it was a nice one: a carved lead 18th Corps badge. He made the find in a Union campsite in Central Virginia. Rick also looks for the non-metalic artifacts, as shown by these two recent stone finds. The massive blade on the left was found in 2 pieces and put back together, while beside it is a Virginia broad spear point. Courtesy of Sgt. Riker’s Civil War Shop (Vol 6, Issue 2)

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Peter Schichtel has been digging at a mid1860s dump site in the Morris County, New Jersey area for quite a while. One of his latest finds there is this brass sash buckle showing two gentlemen playing cricket. Photo by Peter Schichtel (Vol 6, Issue 2)

Jules Razquin was searching a small New Hampshire field with a friend from the UK, Alan Glass, when he found a badly corroded late 1700s Large Cent. Not content with that, he kept hunting and within 20 feet had dug a much better coin, this Silver 1782 One Reale.

Arthur Cook was told that a Portland, Tennessee site was hunted out, so he set about to prove otherwise. 621 bullets later, he had proven his point. The mix includes both fired and dropped bullets, a spur, Infantry insignia, and a bullet fired into a tompion. Used to keep water out of the musket barrel, tompions were supposed

to be removed before firing. This one was not. Photo by Charlie Harris. (Vol 6, Issue 2)

Photo by Jules Razquin (Vol 6, Issue 2)

Travis Johnson was using a Minelab Explorer SE detector at a house built in 1879 in Deer Lodge, Montana when he recovered this selection of history. In the top photo are some of the better coins he dug while searching there, and below them is an 1889 Garfield Beach token. Garfield Beach was a health resort on the shores of Salt Lake in the late 1800s and early 1900s. One side of the brass token shows a bathing scene with the pavilion in the background, while on the obverse is a representation of the Mormon Tabernacle. Photos by Travis Johnson (Vol 6, Issue 2)

Nathan Schuessler, 15 year-old son of News-n-Views columnist Mark Schuessler, was hunting with his dad on Labor Day, 2009 at a New York homesite when he found his first silver coin: an 1875 Half Dollar. He then switched gears and dug his first lead coin: a counterfeit Indian Head penny cast from lead. He was using a Garrett Ace 250. Photo by Mark Schuessler (Vol 6, Issue 2)

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You gotta’ love American ingenuity. Doug Stokes does, especially after digging this spur leg which has been fashioned into a coat hook. It was recovered in a Culpeper winter camp, and was likely used in a Federal soldier’s hut.

Christopher Nixon has been waiting to dig his first Confederate button and although this one is prewar, it certainly qualifies. It is an 1837 Republic of Texas Artillery button. He dug it using a White’s MXT (with a 6 x 10 coil) on January 18, 2010 on an old roadbed in Chattooga County, Georgia along Hood’s retreat route after his defeat at Franklin. Photo by Christopher Nixon (Vol 6, Issue 3)

Photo by Charlie Harris (Vol 6, Issue 3)

Jordan Simpson, having turned 14 years old, decided to do some arrowhead hunting at his Grandpa Don Hays house in Randleman, North Carolina. As you can tell from the large stone blades Jordan found in the tilled ground there, he was successful. Photos by Don Hays (Vol 6, Issue 3)

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Jack Spence found a snake while relic hunting, but unlike most serpents, this one made him happy. That’s because it was this “happy” snake’s head, skillfully carved by a Civil War soldier from a three-ring bullet. Note that the intricate carving even includes a tongue. Carving lead was a popular way to pass the time in camp. The artifact was found at a camp near Cripple Creek, Tennessee. Photo by Charlie Harris (Vol 6, Issue 3)

If there was any doubt that some Confederate Cavalrymen (a) used double barrel shotguns, or (b) believed in getting full service from an item, look closely at this relic dug by Foster Fleming at a Spring Hill, Tennessee Cavalry site. It is a 2½ inch section of barrel which has been cut off to continue use of an otherwise damaged gun. How was it damaged? Look again and you can see where a spent bullet or ball has impacted the barrel. Photo by Anita Holcombe (Vol 6, Issue 3)

Drew Walls is new to metal detecting, but he’s starting off right. He recently found his first Large Cent in a field in Central Virginia. He was using a Tesoro Tejon metal detector. Photo courtesy of Sgt. Riker’s Civil War Shop (Vol 6, Issue 3)

James Benjiman was metal detecting in Chattanooga, Tennessee when he found this piece of 20th Century history. It is an early 1900s token for a local company, good for “2 ½ cents in trade.” The token is made of aluminum and likely dates to the depression era. Photo by Charlie Harris (Vol 6, Issue 3)

Jason Brown dug both the pretty and the not so- pretty at an 1860s site in Dickson, Tennessee this past October. First the not so- pretty (but very rare) bullet-struck sword plate, which suffered a dead center hit. As the impact came from the backside, it was likely not being worn at the time of impact, and might have been used as a target for practice. Below that is the pretty: a onepiece silver plated Virginia button. Photo by Charlie Harris (Vol 6, Issue 3)

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Eric Steele was detecting near Chickamauga, Georgia when he found this Civil War relic. It’s a broken sword, possibly of Confederate manufacture. It is not known if the damage occurred in battle or if it was destroyed to prevent its capture. Photo by Charlie Harris (Vol 6, Issue 4)

Eric Wilson was hunting in Stevenson, Alabama and found this Knights of Honor seal. Measuring two inches across and ¼ inch thick, it reads (in a mirror image) “Stevenson Lodge No. 2518, K of H/ Stevenson, Ala./ Inst. Aug. 3, 1881.” If this looks familiar, a similar seal appeared in American Digger Volume 6, Issue 2. Photo by Charlie Harris (Vol 6, Issue 4) 14

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Dennis Morrison had been metal detecting at the site of a mid-1800s one-room schoolhouse not far from Lime, Ohio when he found this livery tag. He also found two General Service Eagle buttons, circa early 1860s, at the same location. Photo by Anita Holcombe (Vol 6, Issue 4)

Dennis Nunnery dug this grouping near Ft. Donelson, Tennessee where General Pillow attacked the Union right wing on February 15, 1862. These items were all buried together about a foot deep: 43 Eagle “I” buttons, six glass buttons, 22 buck and balls, a gun flint, a brush and pick used with flintlock muskets, miscellaneous iron buckles, a mechanical pencil, and a piece of a spring scale. At top right in the photo is an Eagle button in a clumpof dirt showing the attached cloth. Photo by Dennis Nunnery (Vol 6, Issue 4)

Byron Hendrix dug this at a site near Cleveland, Tennessee. The coin is an 1834 Dime and exhibits evidence of a small die crack on the date. It also shows an uneven stamping during the minting process, resulting in a high front rim at the 8 o’clock position. Photo by Charlie Harris (Vol 6, Issue 4)

Cliff Condra was metal detecting near Stevenson, Alabama and found this Confederate officer’s button. At 22 mm, it is a coat size, and retains 80% of its original gilt finish. The backmark is “W. Dowler * Superior Quality.” Photo by Charlie Harris (Vol 6, Issue 4)

David Bryan thought he’d dug a Civil War era 6th Corps badge when he found this piece. Closer inspection revealed that it was made from a modern silver dime. Since “In God We Trust” is foremost on the face, it seems this was made for use as religious jewelry. David dug the artifact near Cleveland, Tennessee. Photo by Charlie Harris (Vol 6, Issue 4)

Billy “Smitty” Smith made two stops recently: one at a Central Virginia War Between The States site to do some relic hunting and another stop at Sgt. Riker’s Civil War Shop in Ashland the next morning to show off this 2.85 inch Confederate Reed Parrott projectile he’d dug the previous day. Photo by Ran Hundley (Vol 6, Issue 4)

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Glenn Daniel was using his Nautilus DMC II metal detector in Charles City County, Virginia when he recovered this enviable Civil War relic: a .44 Colt revolver, which is still fully loaded and capped. Photo by Ran Hundley (Vol 6, Issue 5)

Edward Redman was sifting at a site in Aiken County, South Carolina when he found these stone points in June, 2010. All the examples here show a high degree of Native American craftsmanship with serrated edges, fluted bases, and careful notching. These pieces are believed to date to at least 7500 BC. Photo by Anita Holcombe (Vol 6, Issue 5)

Jeremy Bond has only been relic hunting for a little over a year, but in that time, he has found over 250 bullets, a US cartridge box plate, a 12 pound solid shot cannon ball, and now this: two South Carolina state seal buttons with part of the Confederate uniform jacket still attached. Jeremy made the find in the vicinity of Atlanta, Georgia. Photo by Ray Bond (Vol 6, Issue 5)

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Chris Whitehead was searching in Benton Co., Arkansas, when he dug this Eagle “H” button. According to our consultant, William Leigh, these are very rare, with only five or six known to exist. The backmark, “Wadhams, Webster, & Co.,” dates the piece to 1838-1846. Chris dug this button with a Fisher F-75. Although some think this to be a “Hussars” button, most authorities, including William, believe them to be school buttons. Photo by Stephen Burgess (Vol 6, Issue 5)

John Foster dug these relics from two different wars. At left is a Federal 2nd Corps badge from the War Between the States, found in Central Virginia. Although the regulations called for a cloth emblem, many officers and some enlisted men opted to buy commercially manufactured badges like this one. Beside it is a shoulder sling buckle from the Revolutionary War dug in East Virginia. Photo by Ran Hundley (Vol 6, Issue 5)

Bryan Jordan was hunting in the South Carolina Lowcountry when he dug these two buttons. The early Navy is backmarked “Carter, Lombard Street,” and dates no later than 1802. The tombac button has a palmetto tree and a “C” scratched on the face. Bryan was searching a plowed field just after a rain and recovered these stone tools and points. Photo by Bryan Jordan (Vol 6, Issue 5)

Billy Smith had a busy four hours of detecting in April 2010 at a house site in Central Virginia. One of his first finds that day was a “local” Confederate “I” Infantry button, and then, in rapid succession, he dug 27 flat buttons, a toe plate, two small hammers, an 1853 Half Dime, an 1861 Three Cent coin, a Large Cent, plus an 1861 (and also 1862) Indian Head penny. This was in addition to the many bullets and other relics he found. Photo by Tom Goodloe (Vol 6, Issue 5)

On March 12, 2010, longtime relic hunter Dan Patterson was able to cross this item off of his “bucket list.” It is a massive clip point bowie knife of the type carried to war by many Confederates in the first few months of the conflict. This one measures 16 inches long, has a copper or brass guard, and was found in a hole along with numerous unfired bullets and a lone Eagle button. Photo by Dan Patterson (Vol 6, Issue 5)

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Bob Painter was searching a site in Orange County, Virginia, testing an old Whites 5900 that had been modified to give multiple tones. At high noon, he got a perfect “button” signal and dug this South Carolina militia button. It’s a scarce “plain field” variety (Albert’s SC5B) with 93% of its silver plated finish intact. The backmark of “Young Smith” dates it to being made between 1830-1858.

Robert Devilbiss was searching Uniontown, Maryland when he dug this 1875 “S” twenty cent coin. This unusual denomination was minted and released for circulation only in 1875 and 1876, although limited proofs were struck in 1877 and 1878. Less than 1.5 million of these coins were produced during those two years of circulation. Photo by Robert

Bobby Nuckols was at a Central Virginia Union camp when he dug his first Eagle breast plate. The curious thing is the inscription scratched on the back. Although rendered indecipherable by its many years in the soil, several geometric designs are cut into it. Photo

Randy Plyler was metal detecting at an 1860s farmhouse near Shippensburg, Pennsylvania when he found the three coins shown in the above. From left to right is a 1785 Connecticut Penny, a 1798 Large Cent and an 1839 Large Cent. For those who think a new machine is the key to good finds, Randy uses a five-yearold White’s DFX. Photos by Shannon Plyler (Vol 6,

Photo by Bob Painter (Vol 6, Issue 6)

By Rosalie Hundley (Vol 6, Issue 6)

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Devilbiss (Vol 6, Issue 6)

Issue 6)

Eric White and a friend were spending Father’s Day detecting a site in Maine. Eric heard a good target and proceeded to dig it. Seeing the back of what appeared to be a belt buckle, he flipped it over. It was a Civil War era US belt plate stamped with the maker’s name, “W.H. Smith Brooklyn.” Later research revealed that the family who owned the property in the 1800s had several men who served in the Civil War. Having narrowed the owner down to one of a few men, plus finding his first Civil War buckle in such an unexpected place, has indeed made this a special find for Eric. Photo by Eric White (Vol 6, Issue 6)

Bill Blackman recovered this Virginia Military Institute button and an 1864 twocent coin near Brandy, Virginia. Although the coin was found with a metal detector, Bill actually “eyeballed” the button. Photo by Charlie Harris (Vol 6, Issue 6)

John Chaplin celebrated his birthday hunting near Beaufort, South Carolina. After digging some junk, he heard a good signal. At 12 inches, he could see the edge of what looked liked a small clipped corner belt plate. Pulling it out, he was at first disappointed to see just a small piece of brass sheet metal with a hole in one corner. That turned to excitement when he saw it was a “CHARLESTON No. 329 MECHANIC 1833” slave hire tag. Photo by John Chaplin (Vol 6, Issue 6)

Joe Baker arranged to go relic hunting near Richmond, Virginia. Hunting the “Seven Days” campaign, in three hours he dug an Infantry insignia, New York and General Service Eagle buttons, and a 1798 Large Cent. Photo by Michelle Baker (Vol 6, Issue 6)

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Q&A With Charles Harris never before seen a Teetotum recovered in a Civil War site, it makes sense that some soldiers used them as a gambling game. Even today, forms of the game still exist. During research, I even found an online game of it. Some things, it seems, never really change! (Vol 6, Issue 5)

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found this brass item measuring ½ x 1¼ inches in a Confederate camp near Atlanta, Georgia. I think I know what it is, but wanted to see if you could elaborate. Michael Giannotta This is a “Put & Take” or Teetotum. They have been around in this form since at least the mid 1700s and possibly much earlier. English engraver artist, and writer Joseph Strutt, who was born in 1749, mentions a Teetotum being used in games when he was a boy. It is a form of the Dreidal, which originated in Israel for Hanukkah games. Originally a four-sided top, it evolved into this six-sided spinner. The instructions are on the sides: Two sides are “Take All” (player gets the pot), and one side each is “All Put” (player puts an agreed amount in the pot), “Put Two” (player puts two chips in pot), “Take Two” (player takes two chips from pot), “Put One” (player puts one chip in pot). Although I’ve 20

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his fired bullet measures about 1¼” long, has three rings, and a cone and pin type cavity. I have seen similar elongated bullets with a regular cone base, always fired. Just what is the story on these? Ran Hundley Like you, these bullets had always puzzled me, too. Although the cone/ pin “teatbase” was a new one, I’d seen a few cone base elongated bullets like this over the years, and like you said, they were always fired. Mason and McKee have a similar bullet that they note is a .58 bullet fired from a .54 bore. But neither our publisher, Butch Holcombe, nor myself could understand how such a bullet could be forced into a smaller bore. Butch’s

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theory was this: “I think this is a teat base bullet that hit mud. I’ve found bullets like this and think that if a projectile is fired into soft mud (or water) at a 90° angle, it might compress the sides, as this one is. Maybe a stupid theory, but I’ve seen many bullets ‘squeezed’ like this and can’t understand how or why someone tried to force them down the muzzles of smaller caliber muskets or rifles.” I felt much the same way: how did they force them down the barrel? But as it turns out, we were overlooking the obvious: not all guns of the Civil War were muzzle loaders. The answer came from bullet authority and author Dean Thomas: “We call these ‘stretchies.’ I think that was what Wendel Lang used to call them, anyway. They are .58 calibers fired thru a smaller bore breechloading carbine...most commonly the Sharps.” Bingo! While muzzleloaders must have a smaller diameter projectile than the bore (in order to load them), a breechloader usually has a slightly larger bullet as the breech is larger than the bore. So it is not a stretch (pardon the pun) to imagine a trooper attempting to use a larger .58 three-ring Minie in a pinch. While a teat base version is uncommon, there is no reason it couldn’t be utilized in the same way. One thing is for sure: I’ll bet such a combination had a kick like a mule! (Vol 6, Issue 5)

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have seen these before but can not positively identify what they are. Is is part of a sword hanger or scabbard? It is made of cast brass. Mike Harvey I have seen a number of variations of these dug throughout the years, often from Civil War sites. I’ve always had a gut feeling that they were some sort of equestrian devices, but was never 100% sure. I had heard them called scabbard rings and sword hangers, but never bought into that theory. Recently, I was examining an 1800s harness in my collection and there the item was, or at least a variation. It holds the leather strap that goes under the horse’s rear jaw and just in front of the rosettes. You can get a better idea of how this all works by looking at the photos I’ve in-

cluded here. The other ring used in conjunction with it is connected permanently to the harness by another leather strap. The nose strap goes from under this ring, through this item’s loop and back through the ring. Also notice the other iron buckles that have a single pin in the center rather than an iron tongue. This makes it easier for adjustments and eliminates having to get extra leather bunched up in order to loosen the buckle. As a side note, I also was intrigued by how the bridle rosettes were connected to this bridle; the split goes around the iron loop on the back of the rosette and another piece of leather goes over these split ends and through the iron loop on the back. Once again, the combined study of both dug and non dug artifacts have helped solve another mystery. (Vol 6, Issue 2)

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o you know what this cast brass item may be, or what its design signifies? I dug it in the Yorktown, Virginia area. Angela Foster

A similar device seen on a non dug harness in the Harris collection.

This is a watch fob for the fraternal organization, the Independent Order of the Odd Fellows. The IOOF (as it is known) was formed in 1819 in the United States and is

still active today. The three links of the chain with the letters “FLT” in them are used only by the IOOF and stand for Friendship, Love, and Truth, with the links signifying that the three are linked together for all eternity. At the top of this fob is the “all seeing eye” which is also seen on our $1 bill and is heavily interwoven into the background of not only the IOOF, but also the Freemasons and many other fraternal organizations. But what about the skull and cross bones? Like most fraternal meanings, it goes far beyond the obvious. While I am a bit unsure of its true meaning to the IOOF or Masons, and even if I knew I would be hesitant to tell such secrets, I can say that many fraternal organizations trace their roots and traditions back to the Templars of the Crusades period. According to one legend, Templars searched the site of Jacques de Molay’s (last Grandmaster of the Knights Templar, leading the Order from approximately 1292 until its being dissolved by order of the Pope in 1312, after which Jacques was burned at the stake) burning and found only his skull and femurs. Among the other Fraternal organizations who use this emblem, one of the most well known is the Yale Skull and Bones Society, which was thrust into the national spotlight during the presidency of George W. Bush, who was reportedly once a member. As to the easier part of this piece’s identification, watch fobs were connected by a leather strap (note the top bar) to the watch, which made it easier to pull out of the tight watch pocket found in the pants near the belt line or on the vest. This style was widely used from the late 1800s up into the early 1900s. (Vol 6, Issue 3)

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ideas and related correspondence to: Stumpt, c/o American Digger, PO Box 126, Acworth, GA, 30101 We don’t know what they are. don’t know whatwhat theythey are.are. Weto: don’t know orWe e-mail adpublisher@att.net Charlie doesn’t know what they Charlie doesn’t know they Charlie doesn’t know what they Linker dug what this odd are. Do you knowLarry what they are? copper token at a site are? in Southyou know what they are? are. Doare. youDoknow what they Send your guesses, facts, theories, eastern Georgia. Although it is Send your facts, guesses, facts, theories, Send your guesses, theories, and badly worn, aideas, beehive horWe don’t know what they(or are. ideas and related correspondence to: Leo Necaise recovered this nets’American nest) can be seen on one ideas to: and related c/o correspondence to: Stumpt, Digger, odd piecerelated at an earlycorrespondence site Charlie doesn’t know what they Stumpt, c/o American Digger, side, along with the date “May Stumpt, c/o American Digger, in Sheldon, SC. Made PO of Box30,126, Acworth, GA, 30101 1776.” OnAcworth, the reverse, the words “Charlotte, NC” they can also are. Do you know what PO Box 126, GA, 30101 thin brass, it is about four PO Box 126, Acworth, GA, 30101 be made out, along with an unidentified statue. What does it orhave e-mail to: adpublisher@att.net.com are? Send your guesses, facts, theories, or e-mail to: adpublisher@att.net inches long. So far, we signify or commemorate? We at American Digger have never or e-mail to: adpublisher@att.net all struck out on it, and ideas andlike related correspondence to:identify it. seen a token it, but hope that our readers can now ask for your opinions. Steve Dawkins dug this in a Stumpt, c/oMississippi American Digger, Steve Dawkins dug this in a Civil War camp and Feedback Mississippi War camp and has already learned thatCivil it30101 was PO Box 126, Acworth, GA Richard Triebe sent thislearned feedback on the has already given out by Harper’s Weekly that it was or e-mail adpublisher@att.net cast to: lead/gun screws piece shown in our last given by Harper’s Weekly newspaper. It has out “Budd” on

! T T ! P T P M P U M M T S SSTTUU ! T P M STU

Patrick Harley dug this cast Stumpt column: “It appears to “Budd” be a crude newspaper. It has on Patrick Harley dug this cast one side (referring to cartoonist bronze piece in Beaufort, This appears to be a token, but soldier made set of ‘brass’ knuckles. The(referring smooth part would go one bronze piece ain Beaufort, C. J. Budd)little andside “Harper” onto cartoonist SC. He found it about more is known about it. into the palm of the hand. The screws would go between the fingers Budd) and on SC. He on found the other. ItItC.isisJ.thought to and be“Harper” foot down directly the it about a cast brass measures and protrude to hurt your opponent when hit...a nasty weapon!” the other. It is thought to be foot down directly on the a political .85 paperweight, but to flat. All waterfront under acast live lead oak, inch from flat This item was While there is no way to prove this, it certainly sounds plausible. a ispolitical but waterfront under a live oak, most puzzling that the paperweight, lower and as of yet, can’tby identify that ispuzzling legible are the letters found Byron Hendrix most is that the lower and as of yet,on can’t identify jaw resembles a man’sItleg, it. It has screw threads “AWS.” wasand recovered by at Missionary Ridge, GA. jaw resembles a be man’s leg, and it. It has screw threads on SOLVED! looks as though it could one end, andThe a hole that goes Frank Abel near itOoltewah, are actually gun looks as though could be one screws end, and a hole thatused goesas a bottle bottles came along Timopener. GarrettSince of thecrown-capped Pickett through it. screws The half(note dollar TN, and we are all came anxious to the parallel used as a bottle opener. Since crown-capped bottles along through it. The recovered half dollar Tom Carlton later, we suspect it had a different use. What do you think? Post in Fredericksburg, is shown for‘U’ size reference. learnuse. more about Any ideas shaped threads) of the later, we suspect it had a different What doit. you think? is shown for size this brassit item in reference. TennesVA, came to the rescue Judging from where was on its identity are welcome! period rather than common Judging from where itand was seesuspects several years ago, in solving a STUMPT found, Patrick that (Volume 6 Issue 6) wood screws. Is it just anSOLVED! found, Patrick suspects that so far, no one has made a from our last issue. Tim it is old, butother otherwise he is example of a soldier’s SOLVED! BillSoper Beardsley would gave us alike to know it is are old,we. but otherwise he positive identification onis says, “It is the brass trim Larry Stumpt...as boredom, or did it serve Larry Soper moreidentification about this thin sheet us irona of gave Stumpt...as are we. it. While the bust is obfor the door jamb side of positive Stumpt item (above left) shown aviously function? We invite our positive identification of he dug, so would we. It Leo item Necaise’s find,and shown Lincoln, what do a “Carpenter” rim lock beside the lock it was used on. readers’ input on this piece. Leo find, shown was found inNecaise’s a 1791 churchyard issue’s Stumpt. _______ the crossed sabers and from an early house door. in last in last issue’s Stumpt. Village Green th the topon portion ofmid in “50” mean? Some have These were widely used inIttheisnear 18the and into the 19thParis, cenItoutside is theclip. topUtica. portion of NY, just of It is a two-piece letter speculated it is part of a tury. I’ve attached a photo of one in place...” After looking at the aanumber two-piece letter itclip. marked withhethe initials R C’be and While resent photo of bracelet, others a reunion photograph sent, there‘ Larry can nothe doubt. As to‘4.’ several being Larry sent a photo of Lamar White is looking for sembles a shoulder epaulet plate, we doubt that is the case. We two that he has found, adding there are numerous styles. Our medal, but no one seems recovered at Civil War hospital sites, this makes sense as such Lamar White is looking for an ID on this castto brass item two that he has found, thereand areinvite numerous styles. Our hope that someone haslocated aadding better idea your response. us that these patented inthere. 1843, and still being know for sure. often hadwere houses an ID on this cast brasssources item tell sites found in North Georgia. sources tell us that these were patented in 1843, and still being marketed (if not made) at least up until 1919. found in North Georgia. (Volume 6 Issue 5) Although Civil War items marketed (if not made)6 at least (Volume Issue 4) up until 1919. Although were dug nearby, so Civil were War items This American 4.75 inch long cast 15 2010 Digger Magazine Clyde McFadden ofSept-Oct Relic Hunter’s Supply nearby, so were house items. were At firstdug glance it brass pieceHunter’s was Clyde McFadden ofaRelic Supply found this stamped brass piece couple of recovered house items. At first glance it looks like part of a sprinkler, at the site of a Civil War found this stamped brass piece a couple of Measuring about x 2.5 years ago, and is still looking for a positive looks like part of a 1.5 sprinkler, but we inspected the item field ago, and stillhospital looking forMarietta, a positive inches, this stamped th is ID. It wasyears dug in a 19 century site in in but inspected thebrass item and think itpiece to bewe something th Georgia by our publishIt has wasadug in a 19 motif. century site in was itdug Fulton, anddon’t think to beinsomething South CarolinaID. and horseshoe else. What? We know, er many years ago. The South Carolina and has a horseshoe motif. MS by Henry Nanney. The else.our What? We don’t know, The two slots may offer clues to what it is, but hope that readers words The twowe slots may offer“Carpenter” clues to what and it is, fouled anchor suggests a butushope but at this time remain Stumpt. can help out. that our readers “Patented” appear on the finished side, and a crude “7” on but at this time we remain Stumpt. maritime can theme, help us but out. what (Volume 6 Issue 6) the unfinished side. Since then, we have seen two other identiis it? The long brass attachcal pieces, also recovered at field hospital sites. As such sites ment looks as though it was Nov-Dec 2010 American Digger Magazine 15 24 attached 2010 American Digger Magazine Sampler often utilized houses of theNov-Dec period,2010 it’s possible the items are 15 to something else, American Digger Magazine

it.manufacture. It has screw threads on The words one end, and a REGIMENT” hole that goes “SECOND through it. The dollar appear over an half anchor and iscannons. shown for size reference. Can anyone tell us Judging where it piece? was more on from this intriguing found, Patrick suspects that it is old, but otherwise he is Stumpt...as are we.

States. A Confederate Veteran jaw resembles a man’s leg, and also once lived at the house. Itlooks appears show aitsoldier as to though could being be punished by riding a Since wooden rail horse, abottles common discipline used as a bottle opener. crown-capped came along in Cavalry regiments. it is made castdo brass, suspect later, we suspect it had Since a different use. of What youwe think? We don’t know what they are. that it is not a one-of-a-kind piece, but does anyone have an Charlie know idea what it was used fordoesn’t and from what era what it dates?they

! T P M U T S ! T P M U T S

SOLVED! are. Do you know what they are? Larry Soper gave us a Send your guesses,Greg facts, theories, positive identification of Heath found thisare. small We don’t know what they Leo Necaise’s find, shown piece of carved lead to: (note the ideas and related correspondence Charlie doesn’t know what they in last issue’s Stumpt. .577 bullet for size comparison) Stumpt, c/o American Digger, Itknow is of theHardee’s top portion at a camp Corpsofin are. Do you what they a two-piece letter PO Box 126, Acworth, 30101 North GA, Carolina, occupiedclip. just are? Send your guesses, facts, theories, Larry sent asurrendered photo of before Johnson or e-mail to: adpublisher@att.net.com two that and he hasrelated found, adding there are numerous styles.troops Our in 1865. Thereto:were ideas correspondence sources tell us that these were patented in 1843, and still being from Alabama, North CaroStumpt, c/o American Digger, marketed (if not made)Rat olina, bleast e rSouth t up H auntil rCarolina, r i s1919. d u g Georgia, what PO Box 126, Acworth, GA to be30101 aatbutton, yet we and 6) Florida this camp, and (Volume 6appears Issue can find no one familiar with a wide range of buttons and Confederate bullets have been Clyde of Relic Hunter’s Supply or e-mail to:McFadden adpublisher@att.net

Lamar White is looking for an ID on this cast brass item found in North Georgia. Feedback Steve Massey dugWar this items item Although Civil Sam Kehoe of Manchester, at a housesite in Marietta, were dug nearby, so were TN checked to tell us that Georgia, which occupahouse items. Atinsaw first glance it Atsuggest ½ brass inch that across, issewn castofto found there. The holes theit. lead it was foundinthis stamped piece a itcouple he believes the Missouri disc tion Union durlooksbylike part Cavalry of a sprinkler, brass and looks an something, probably a jacket or hat. But what is the ‘critter’ years ago, and isappears still looking for a had positive found RobWar. Stephens and ing the Civil A little This to to behave a token, but but we by inspected the item th iron shank or stud. It was dug and what significance does it have? So far it has been suggestID. It was dug in a 19 century site in shown init long, thebelast Stumpt over an inch it appears little more is known about it. and think to something in Kinston, NC, and was ed that it is a dog, a wolf, or a hog. The there latter made South Carolina a horseshoe motif. (AD Vol 6, Issue 2) is actuto show a soldier being punItrazorback is and casthas brass and measures else. What? We don’t know, th a 15 CT Infantry unit engaged us think it related to Arkansas, but then we discovered that the The two slots is, allyhope aby Missouri military colished riding aitem wooden .85may inchoffer fromclues flat totowhat flat. itAll This cast leadour was but that readers at inconception the Stumpt. Battle of Razorback moniker came with the of that but atabout this time we remain lar disc with the horse, aby common discipline thatthe is site legible are the letters found Byron Hendrix can help us attachment out. inItour 1865. The numbers state’s football team. So now Kinston we turn to readers, whom missing and likely dates in Cavalry regiments. Since “AWS.” was recovered bywe atpin Missionary Ridge, GA. th also look similar to those found on 15 British “Regiment of hope can give us some more ideas about this interesting piece. to the early 1900s.gun itThe is made ofare cast brass, we Frank Abel near Ooltewah, screws actually Foot” button, although the Nov-Dec similarities there. It has also suspect that notparallel a oneTN,2010 andend we are all anxious to 15 American Digger Magazine screws (noteit6isthe (Volume Issue 2) been suggested that it is a “date nail” used by the railroad, but of-a-kind but of what learn more about it. Any ideas ‘U’ shapedpiece, threads) the all that we’ve seen were iron, not brass. Any help readers May-June American Digger Magazine 15 was it rather used for and from on its2010 identity areour welcome! period than common can give about its identity is most appreciated. what era does it date? wood screws. Is it just an(Volume 6 Issue 4) other example of a soldier’s Bill Beardsley would like to know boredom, or did it serve FEEDBACK: Just prior to more press about time, this Brian thinPennington sheet iron a function? We invite our contacted us with some exciting news hisand findso(shown item about he dug, would here) we. It readers’ input on this piece. which appeared in our last Stumpt column. is now was found in aResearch 1791 churchyard leading to the possibility that thisnear is a the slave collar. Although this Village Green in Paris, had been previously suggested, NY, we hesitated to put forth that just outside of Utica. It is notion, due to the number of purported “slave” items now on marked with the initials ‘ R C’ and the number ‘4.’ While itthe remarket that aactually had nothing to do slaves. Brian sembles shoulder epaulet plate, wewith doubt that But is the case.has We contacted several reputable sourceshope which have nearlyhas identical all with identification that someone a betteritems, idea and invitethe your response. of “slave collars.” Rather than the name of the slave, these had the owner’s name engraved on the plate. By this means, a slave could be tracked to an owner via the collar. While definite proof is still forthcoming, this now seems a very likely identification. Also, weThis heard from reader 4.75 inch longLynn cast Stoner, who wrote us the following “In the 1920 Federal Census in Jefferson County, a John brass piece wasAL, recovered Stolenwerck (the name on the item) is noted: ‘John Stolenwerck, agesite 39,of black, laborer at the a Civil War Measuring about 1.5 xengraved 2.5 in store. Alla, wife, 36, Joseph, Pribose, 7, son, hospital in Quinton, Marietta, inches, this stamped brass 18, son, John E, 13 son, Willford, 10, son,field 7, son and daughter.’” As freed slaves sometimes took onGeorgia their owner’s or by ournames, publishpiece was Fannie, dug in 11, Fulton, named their children after them (assuming the owner was kind to his slaves and well-liked) it is er many years ago. The MS by Henry Nanney. The not too far a stretch to imagine census may be a son of the “Carpenter” and fouled anchor suggests a that the John Stolenwerck listed in that words originaltheme, slave. As information comes along onon thisthe historical willa pass it on. “Patented” appear finishedfind, side,we and crude “7” on maritime butmore what the unfinished side. Since then, we have seen two other identiis it? The long brass attach(Volume 6 Issue 1) cal pieces, also recovered at field hospital sites. As such sites ment looks as though it was often utilized housesJanuary-February of the period,2010 it’s possible the items are 15 attached to something else, American Digger Magazine www.americandigger.com no more than civilian hardware. Having exhausted all other 25 and likely holds the clue to

They Came From Outer Space! The news video clearly showed it: Extraterrestrials had landed on earth! But forget looking for the mother ship, or alternate life forms. These aliens are among us now... and they are called meteorites!

I

by Beau Ouimette

two with only two days between the trips. So wrangle was awed by the video. It was of a huge fireball I did. It was costly, but soon permission was granted streaking across the sky in Texas. The fireball was with a hearty “Good luck!” from my wife. captured on video by a news crew who were taping I had decided to drive across country while Derik an unrelated story. It was truly a sight to behold. flew. So he was waiting for me at the local pizza place As I was then preparing for an extended metal detectin West when I rolled in 23 driving hours later. He ing trip to England, I never thought of the potential was grinning ear to ear! He had just found another consequences of the sighting. But I was to be reminded meteorite and was anxious to get back to the fields to of the blazing meteorite as soon as I returned from my hunt. We gobbled down a quick pizza and out the door European adventure. It was my friend, Derik Bowers, we went. on the phone telling me We arrived at a large about his travel to the site farm that was likely the of impact in the town of center of impact. The West, Texas. farmer who owned the He and his wife had land was very convivial just returned with a box and welcomed anyone to full of freshly fallen rocks hunt his land, but for a from space. The giant price. He had been overfireball had broken apart run with collectors and hit upon entry into our atmoupon the idea of charging sphere and shattered apart $50 a day and $1 per gram into many smaller pieces. for each meteorite found in He had been so successful exchange for permission to and was so exited about search his farm. And what his finds that he was prea bargain it was! Most of paring to return to Texas the meteorites that were in a few days and wanted being found ranged from to know if I cared to tag eight to twenty grams and along. It wasn’t going to be even larger. The meteoreasy. I had just spent two Derik Bowers, shown here hunting the ites were already being weeks away from my wife and had to figure a way to meteorite impact area. It was Derik who sold and the market rate first invited the author to the site. seemed to be around $40wrangle another week or 32 American Digger Magazine Vol. 6, IssueSampler 2 26 2010 American American Digger Magazine Magazine Sampler 26 2010 Digger

Originally Published in Vol 6, Issue 2

A hunter spotted a freshly fallen meteorite on a nearby front porch. When questioned as to how it got there, the homeowner replied that her dog “Hopper” had brought in the rock from the field and put it there.

_________

50 a gram, but some had sold for as much as $100 a gram. He had over 500 acres and a single meteorite could more than pay for the trip. As Derik explained, the meteorites had entered the earth traveling from east to west and were strewn over an area of many miles. The farmer said that, when the meteorite arrived, he had been in the machine shed we were now standing near. Many rocks had hit and careened off of the roof of the building he was standing in. He had no idea what had happened until the first meteorite hunter showed up asking if he could take a look around his fields. The hunter knew he was in the right spot for two reasons. One, the path of the meteorites actually showed up on Doppler radar and two, a hunter spotted a freshly fallen meteorite on a nearby front porch. When questioned as to how it got there, the homeowner replied that her dog “Hopper” had brought in the rock from the field and put it there. Now that was a first, a meteorite detecting dog! Derik and I only had a few hours until dark, so we quickly moved off to the last spot where he had found

a meteorite. In less than 20 minutes, I had found my very first meteorite, which weighed 12 grams. It was a rock that had been zipping through space just a few short weeks before and part of the giant fireball that I had seen in the news video. I got out my GPS, fixed my location, and took a photo of the meteorite with the GPS before I picked it up. It is a general practice to record the exact location of meteorite finds with a GPS if possible. This helps scientists in their study of these extraterrestrial rocks and also adds an air of provenance to the finds.

This meteorite (to right of the GPS) was found by the author and photographed with the GPS indicating the exact site of the recovery. This creates a visual record of both the location and the find.

A closer look of one of the “space rocks,” shown here as it was found by the author. Because the fall was so recent, most of the meteorites were still laying exposed on top of the ground.

The author poses with “Hopper” the meteorite finding dog.

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The general composition of meteorites can range from a solid chunk of iron that rings off loud and clear on metal detectors to rocks that are mostly stony. _________

A

These five meteorites were found by the author at the Texas site. They were of the “stoney” type, and barely gave a signal on the metal detectors.

s it turned out, the meteorites were not hard to spot if you walked over one. They were mostly roundish in shape and very black with what is called a fusion crust. While the meteorites are moving through space they have a very low temperature, possibly as low as -455 Fahrenheit, net attached to one end. If I saw an interesting rock, I but as they enter our atmosphere, the friction of the would touch the stick to the rock. If it attached to the air causes the exterior to heat up and a black fusion magnet, it was likely a meteorite. crust forms on the outside. This layer is usually very Most detectorists are not aware that meteorites are thin and is quite distinctive, greatly aiding in the visual scattered all over the earth. It is very common in the identification of meteorites. We walked field by field western US deserts for detectorists to go out searching looking for black rocks lying on the ground. specifically for them. Generally, they are more The general composition of meteorites can range noticeable out there because there is less vegetation and from a solid chunk of iron that rings off loud and clear far fewer targets to sort through than in other parts of the on metal detectors to rocks that are mostly stony like country. But, they can occur almost anywhere, so when the ones found here. We you find a “hot rock,” it tried to use metal detecmay be a meteorite. Pick tors on the ones we were it up and bring it home. finding, but realized that Check it with a magnet these meteorites didn’t to see if it is magnetic. If contain very much metal so, there are many sites and would barely sound online that will aid you off on our machines. I in the identification of the tried using my Fisher F75 stone. Let no hot rock go and Technetics T2 while uninvestigated. Derik swung his trusty I found two meteorWhites MXT. We did get ites that first evening and faint whispers, but as there Derik found another. We wasn’t much vegetation stayed out in the fields growing yet, we decided to until the last bit of light just walk around and eyeand were greeted in our ball them. Another inter- A close up of the interior of a meteorite camp by the howling and esting aspect of meteorites that broke apart after burning through yipping of a nearby pack is that almost all of them the Earth’s atmosphere. Notice the of coyotes. We were both are magnetic. They also metal flakes in the rock as well as the exited and stayed up long contain various amounts thin fusion crust described in the article. into the night swapping of iron and almost always These two indicators are almost always digging stories and waitnickel. I had made up a present in meteorites. ing for the following day. walking stick with a mag-

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First light again found us out in the fields, heads down and gazing intently for little black nuggets. When we were lucky, they were meteorites. When we were unlucky, they were animal spore. _________ Although detectors were used at first, the metorite hunters soon discovered that due to the nature of this fall, walking the area with a magnet and looking at the ground was more productive. Shown here is a meteorite laying beside a walking stick with a magnet attached.

F

_______

irst light again found us in the fields, heads down, intently looking for black nuggets. When we were lucky, they were meteorites. When we were unlucky, they were often animal spore. I found two more meteorites the second day and a fifth on the third day. Derik also found a few more. After several days of wandering the farm, I soon grew tired of walking the grass fields with my head bent low, staring intently at each square inch of the ground and making false starts every time animal spore was passed. I had also developed a painful sun burn on my

Author Beau Ouimette is all smiles after finding this meteorite at the Texas site.

neck and ears. After a while, I decided to call it quits and head further west to visit the Big Bend National Park for some sightseeing, as it was nearby and I had never been there. But not Derik. He had become hooked on meteorite hunting here and vowed to continue his search. After I left, he spent another three days collecting space rocks from the greening grass of those West, Texas fields like a kid collecting Easter eggs. And collect he did. Besides, what can bring out the kid in us better than collecting artifacts of the past...or of the very distant?

About the Author

Beau Ouimette grew up in the historical Shenandoah valley near Harpers Ferry and has metal detected for Civil War relics for over 25 years. He also enjoys traveling in search of treasures and has been detecting in England several times. In addition, he likes diving for sharks teeth and other fossils.

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On the Slopes Finding the hill was only part of the battle. Dealing with the brutal heat, local police, and a language barrier was the rest of the story. By Bob Roach

My

m a i n passion is searching for military artifacts; this is what I like to do more than almost anything else. But occasionally, I have a hankering to find much older things. So, many months ago, after doing a good deal of research, I managed to learn the location of a small hilltop settlement site in the Middle East that had first been inhabited by the Romans, followed by the Byzantines, and lastly by the medieval Arabs. But locating the hill on maps and overhead imagery, and actually finding my way to it, were different things entirely. My first foray to this place was to start off by getting horribly lost while trying to navigate through a nearby city. Then, when I ultimately arrived to where I correctly believed to be at least the right general area, I started using my recently acquired, God-awful, difficult-to-use GPS unit. I had to pull off to the side of the road every few minutes to switch my Ray-Bans for my reading glasses in an attempt to make out the data displayed on the unit’s tiny screen, and more than once accidently turned the silly thing off while trying to use one of its many utterly confusing functions. Then I either read the GPS map display wrong or had entered the coordinates incorrectly to begin with (I forget which), and wound up hiking up and blundering about 36 American Digger Magazine Vol. 6, IssueSampler 2 30 Digger 30 2010 2010American American DiggerMagazine Magazine Sampler

on the wrong hill entirely. Following that, I returned to my car and got lost trying to find my way home. It was an inauspicious first attempt at locating and searching what would turn out to be a terrific site. Happily, the next attempt at locating the site was successful, at least in part owing to my having brought along a friend who actually knew how to use a GPS unit properly. We parked my car alongside a secondary road, hiked up the correct and very steep hill and, after catching our wind, began our search. I had loaned my friend Thomas one of my detectors; this was only his second detecting trip. We began detecting what had been the interior of the walled settlement. The remote and boulderstrewn nothingness, absent now of all living things but insects, lizards and scattered, small shrubs, belied the thriving activity that had taken place there so long ago. Not a protected site, archeologists had worked it many years earlier. I cannot state this with certainty, but my guess is that the archeologists had excavated almost everything that had once been within the interior of the ruined stone walls. This would, I suppose, explain the scarcity of finds we were to make there. Which isn’t to say our search within the walled (or, I should say, what had been walled) area at the top of the hill was completely fruitless. In the sand and rocks

Originally Published in Vol 6, Issue 2

Thomas was to go on to find four rings to my two, and several more coins than I did, completely disregarding proper metal detecting etiquette which stipulated that I, the experienced detectorist, should dig more and better finds than my inexperienced partner. there, Thomas unearthed the first find of the day, a versations took a good deal of time, but the upshot of very nice early Islamic bronze coin, dropped sometime it all was that, after we had explained what we had after the 7th century, when Mohammed’s followers had been doing, we were given the go-ahead to return for converted the region to Islam. Ten minutes later, I dug as many detecting trips as I wished. The one stipulaa beautiful medieval thimble, century unknown, but tion, and a very reasonable one, was that for my own certainly by far the oldest thimble I’ve found up to the safety, I should telephone the senior policeman at least time of this writing. But after these first exciting disone day ahead of future detecting trips, to let him know coveries on top of the prominence, we found nothing that I was coming. With prior notification, he would but scattered modern trash. be forewarned on where to come looking for my living So we moved on to one of the hill’s steep slopes, or lifeless body if I ran into any sort of trouble – heat outside the stone boundarexhaustion or heatstroke ies, and that’s where our being the most likely luck changed. One signal types. after another indicated the So I telephoned – or location of coins and both rather, I asked a native broken and intact rings. speaker to call on my I found the first ring, behalf – before coming which was, as the majorback by myself a couple ity of them were to be, an of weeks later, and again Islamic bronze specimen, a few weeks after that. It very handsome with flowwas on these second and ing Arabic script, pleasthird visits that I found ing to look at but devoid evidence that life had exo f o s t e n t a t i o n . Ve r y isted on the site long besoon afterward Thomas fore man. I spotted one found his own first ring. seashell fossil, which Thomas was to go on to predated by millions of Thimbles have changed little over find four rings to my two, years the metal objects at the years, as shown by this medieval and several more coins the site, on each of these example recovered at the site. than I did, completely two trips. Again hunting disregarding proper metal the hill’s slopes, on my detecting etiquette which stipulated that I, the experisecond and third forays I found numerous Roman and enced detectorist, should dig more and better finds than early Islamic coins, a bronze bracelet, some Roman or my inexperienced partner. Byzantine hairpins, and some other small artifacts. I We stuck it out for a total of about three hours, until also unearthed six more intact rings, as well as many the sun and the blowing, fine sand became too much more partial ones. By the end of the third trip, a dozen for us. Right before we were about to depart on our nice Roman, Byzantine, and medieval rings had been own accord, two police officers arrived, spoke to us in found, counting the ones Thomas had located on our stern tones, and escorted us down the hill to my parked initial journey. Such was the quantity of these finger vehicle, where more officers arrived. The ensuing conornaments that I came up with the not altogether unMarch-April 2010 American Digger Magazine www.americandigger.com www.americandigger.com

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While growing up in Virginia, I had thought it was difficult detecting in that state’s summer heat; that was tough enough, but this was infinitely worse.

was tough enough, but this reasonable hypothesis that the was infinitely worse. various cultures which had in On my fifth expedition to turn inhabited the hill settlethe hill, I made sure to arrive ment had all engaged in the in the late afternoon, when peculiar profession of ring the heat was less intense, manufacturing, breaking, and but still blistering – I mean disposal. But then I gave the literally blistering, because issue more thought, and realI made the very bad mistake ized that, as the small hilltop of leaving my hat behind in area had, in antiquity, been inmy car, and by the following habited more or less non-stop morning heat blisters had for centuries, it was not really broken out on the forward surprising that so many rings part of my follicle-chaland other objects had been lenged cranium. But to get dropped. back to the hunt: once again Months later, my son Aaron searching the hill slope, I joined me on the fourth excurfound an early Islamic coin sion to the hill. As before, I almost right away, then a had called ahead of time, as I half hour elapsed before I would also do prior to the two Aaron, the author’s son, is shown received another non-ferother trips still to come. Afholding an ancient coin he’d just rous signal. ter making the ascent to one recovered from the rocky hillside. In the meantime, I had of the slopes just below the This was the first Roman coin decided to hunt with my hilltop, and immediately after that he had ever dug. machine’s discrimination assembling and turning on his setting turned almost to detector, my first-born located a nice ring. A few moments later I dug a ring fragment, zero, to see what types of iron relics I’d been passing up on the earlier trips. Four or five ferrous signals turned and while I was thus engaged, Aaron found his firstever Roman coin. These finds were made within the out to be very old nails or pieces of the same, and I dug one hole where I never could locate the object; I first few minutes of our detecting. We found six or seven more rings that day, as well as suspect this was a tiny piece of another nail. My digging the iron signals did eventually pay off, other artifacts. Oddly enough, what were not found on the hill, on this or any other of my journeys there, were however, as I was rewarded with a large, intact sewing any fibulae. I had expected these to be in abundance, as needle. I don’t know or care if this object has any real monetary value, but it had last been used many hunthese brooches were commonly used in antiquity. The sun was scorching and, as there was absolutely dreds of years before Columbus’ discovery of America, so for me it was still a thrilling find. Then I unearthed nothing in the way of structures or tall vegetation to ofanother large hairpin, five more coins, and a Roman ear fer any shade, and as we had arrived at the site around cleaner. Each of these discoveries was separated by midday, we could only put in about two hours of digging. While growing up in Virginia, I had thought it long periods of time when I found nothing at all, as there were now far fewer objects in the hill’s soil waitwas difficult detecting in that state’s summer heat; that 38 American Digger Magazine Vol. 6, IssueSampler 2 32 2010 American American Digger Magazine Magazine 32 2010 Digger Sampler

Numerous intact ancient rings were dug at the site. Many more had been damaged or broken. ing to be found. Finally, as the light was just starting to fade, I found the day’s one and only ring. The site had made me a bit spoiled; as it had hitherto been so generous in giving up quantities of rings, I thought it stingy of it to present me just one on this day.

One

week later, my head now healed, I made my sixth and last trip to the hill of rings. I arrived slightly past midday, but, though the temperature was still in the high 90s, a slight breeze made the going bearable. I had remembered my hat, had plenty of ice-cold water, and every inch of my exposed skin was coated with a layer of sun block. So I was as prepared for the elements as I could be, but it was a good 45 minutes before I received my first signal, an ancient coin in such very bad shape as to be unidentifiable, and another half hour before I received the second signal, a very small piece of a broken bronze bracelet which had been lying exposed on top the rocky soil. In the following several hours, in between frequent, needed rests, I received only a few more signals. These produced just two additional pieces of broken bronze, one piece of a ring, and a bottle cap or two. Where, I asked myself, were the rings and good coins? I began to believe my detector might be malfunctioning, but this was not the case; there was just very little or nothing left to find. When I had wearied to the extent that much more digging would have been unpleasant and difficult, I began my trek back down the hill to my car, detecting as I went. I was about a third of the way to my destination when my headphones produced a loud, crisp audio signal, exactly the same type I’d heard, before, whenever I’d found a coin or a ring. I dug into the soil, which

was loose at this spot, and spied a perfect coin. This, I thought, before examining it, was going to be the find of the day. But when I rubbed away the grime and looked down upon it closely, I saw that it was just a modern coin, likely dropped by one of the many herders who brought their goats and sheep to graze in the area. The find was disheartening, but nothing to fret about. As I sat cross-legged on the desert earth, looking back toward the hill’s summit and adjoining slopes, I thought about the joy I had experienced in detecting this place and about the many fine artifacts it had produced. Mostly, though, I reflected on all the people who had lived, worked and played there in the centuries long gone by. Then, sitting up, I noticed another fossil, a small one, right where I’d been sitting a moment before. I pocketed the coin, looked down at my waiting car, glanced back at the hilltop one final time and, heading toward the setting and blood-red sun, restarted my descent.

About the Author

Bob Roach began detecting with his father near Petersburg, Virginia 35 years ago. A retired Navy CPO, his second career enables him to live abroad. He enjoys all types of detecting, but prefers battlefield relic hunting.

A bronze ring sees the sunlight for the first time in many centuries. March-April 2010 American Digger Magazine www.americandigger.com www.americandigger.com

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AAMile Milein in His HisShoes Shoes

We Spend An Afternoon We Spend An Afternoon We Spend An Afternoon with William G. Gavin: with William G.G. Gavin: with William Gavin: The First Man to Recover The First Man toto Recover The First Man Recover Civil War Relics Using a Civil War Relics Using aa Civil War Relics Using Metal Detector. Metal Detector. Metal Detector. by John Velke by John John Velke Velke by

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harles may be be best best known known as as harles Town, Town, West West Virginia, Virginia, may the stood trial trial for for treason treason the town town where where John John Brown Brown stood after his attack on the United States Armory at after his attack on the United States Armory at nearby the chance chance to to interview interview nearby Harper’s Harper’s Ferry. Ferry. But But the aa living legend interests me more and took me to the living antebellum antebellum town named for Charles Washington, our first President’s President’s youngest brother. I arrived in town a few minutes early early and stopped to read several roadside markers before following following the directions to William G. Gavin’s home. II was was pleasantly surprised to find that Mr. that Mr. Gavin, known as Bill to his friends, friends, not only lives in a historic town, town, but he actually lives in the house house originally built and occupied by by Charles Charles Washington. After I’m greeted greeted warmly at the door and ushered ered into the dining room, the first thing thing I notice is the portrait of George Washington Washington over the fireplace. Mr. Gavin Gavin told me that this was the room where George Washwhere It is appropriate that ington sat and visited ington even Bill Gavin’s with his brother durwith house should be ing the the President’s vising an important part its to to Charles Town. I its of history: “Happy couldn’t think of a couldn’t Retreat” was once better place to start better the home of George our interview. interview. our Washington’s brother, Mr. Mr. Gavin was as this historical well prepared for my well marker relates. visit. He anticipated visit.

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questions about about his his best best finds, finds, favorite favoritespots, spots,and andso soforth, forth, questions and he he was was kind kind enough enough to to temporarily temporarilyempty emptysafe safedeposit deposit and boxes so I would have a chance to view and photograph boxes so I would have a chance to view and photograph items from from his his collection. collection. But But before before II got got toto the therelics, relics,II items wanted to get to know the man better. wanted to get to know the man better. William G. G. Gavin Gavin was was born born inin 1924 1924 and and raised raisedininOil Oil William City, Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania.The Thetown townwas wasfirst firstincorporated incorporatedinin1860 1860 City, but had no significant role in the Civil War. The nearest seribut had no significant role in the Civil War. The nearest serious Civil Civil War War conflict conflict occurred occurredmore morethan than250 250miles milesaway, away, ous naturally making making me me wonder wonder what what naturally influenced a teenaged boy, living influenced a teenaged boy, living during the the great great depression, depression, toto take take during up the hobby of Civil War collecting. up the hobby of Civil War collecting. Part of of the the answer answer was was just just around around Part thecorner. corner. the Within easy walking walking distance distanceofof Within easy young Bill’s Bill’s home home was wasthe thehome homeofof young CivilWar Warveteran veteranDan DanFisher. Fisher.Fisher Fisher Civil served inin Co. Co. I,I, 15 15thth Pennsylvania Pennsylvania served Cavalry, lived lived toto the the Cavalry, age ageofof104, 104,and andshared shared some some ofof his his wartime wartime experiences experiences with with the the impressionable impressionable teenteenager. ager. Bill Bill fondly fondly reremembered membered hearing hearing about about the the exploits exploits ofof the the Anderson Anderson Troop Troop Cavalry and handling Cavalry and handling the the Colt Colt revolver revolver carcarried ried by by Dan Dan Fisher Fisher

Originally Published in Vol 6, Issue 3

Colt revolver and photograph once owned by Dan Fisher, Co. I, 15th PA Cavalry. Gavin is one of the few modern relic hunters who can say that they knew a Civil War veteran.

Then again, not many relic hunters today can wave the actual souvenir flag that they took home after attending the 1938 Gettysburg reunion. Bill can and did.

while a member of that unit. After graduation Gavin was stationed at Ft. Eustis, Bill also recalled watching the old veterans marching in Virginia, not far from Williamsburg, Hampton Roads, and the Memorial Day parades, and he may be the only person other historic places along the James River. He soon learned th living today who actually attended both the 75 anniversary about a commercially available metal detector made by of the Antietam battle in 1937 and the 75th Gettysburg reGoldak, Incorporated. As the name implies, the detector was union in 1938. The seeds of his collection sprouted during popular as a device to be used in the search for gold. But up this time with the purchase of a sword and belt from O. until that time no one had apparently thought of using the J. Riley, a well-known Antietam dealer in battlefield relics. detector to look for Civil War relics. Gavin bought one and Purchases from Bannerman’s and others soon added to a soon made plans to visit a Civil War battlefield. growing and impressive collection. On Saturday, November 25, In 1943, Bill received an 1946, Bill convinced his former appointment to the United States West Point classmate and later Military Academy at West Point Brigadier General Henry H. Bolz, and, along with 874 others, began Jr., to join him on an excursion training in a three year program to private property near the Cold designed to bolster the ranks of Harbor battlefield. Gen. Bolz has officers serving during WWII. a vivid recollection of that day. He During that first year, Cadet Gavin remembers that the battlefield was took a course on mine warfare overgrown, but that “you could training and learned how to use easily make out the monumental the Signal Corps Radio 625 Metal Bill Gavin flanked by Bert Hebb earthworks eight to ten feet tall.” He Detector, which he recalls as “very remembers that he and Bill “spent (L) and Jim Glymph (R). Gavin good on ferrous metals.” This the greater part of the day going up, is holding a 10-lb Parrott shell experience would serve him very down, and around” and that Bill “let found near his house. well three years later. me listen to the detector from time May-June 2010 American Digger Magazine www.americandigger.com

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The first Civil War relic found with a metal detector was this rusted Confederate cartridge box liner containing a single Enfield bullet.

All relic hunters and collectors could take a lesson from Gavin, who has meticulously labeled the locations of where he made his finds.

to time.” He remembers that they found dozens and dozens of minie balls, lots of old rifle parts, canteens, and several large oval US belt buckles. It would be nice to say that the very first relic found that day was a Confederate belt buckle in pristine condition worthy of museum display, but that would be stretching the truth a bit too far. Rather, the first Civil War relic found with a metal detector was the rusted liner of a Confederate cartridge box, containing a single unfired Enfield bullet. In the years that followed, Gavin would come to regard rusted cartridge box liners as “a pain in the ass” and would often throw them down at the base of the closest tree. But that first one has remained a treasured possession and holds a prominent position in the Gavin collection. Bill had only a year to add to his Civil War collection before being sent to Germany for four years as a member of the Corps of Engineers. I asked him, “What did you do while you were in Germany?” To which he replied, “I followed the first rule of engineering – if you can’t understand it, blow it up.” Returning to the United States in 1952, Bill settled in Virginia and kicked his relic-hunting hobby into high gear. He described the 50’s as “the golden years of relic hunting.” He’d drive to Spotsylvania, The Wilderness, Cold Harbor, and other battlefields, where he would dig canteens, buckles, and guns, while easily finding “room and board for a buck a day.” In 1953, Gavin received an official appointment by the

Chief Historian of the National Park Service to perform archaeological work on NPS property. The official document, on NPS headquarters stationery, gave Bill entry and carte blanche to relic hunt on National Park property anywhere in the United States. Bill said, “What was nice about it was, anything they did not want, I could keep.” With the letter in hand, Bill planned a two-week trip with John Winters, a well-known relic hunter from South Mountain. They shared the driving and headed south, visiting battlefields at Chickamauga, Resaca, Vicksburg, Port Hudson, Shiloh, Murfreesboro, and Berryville. At Vicksburg, the Superintendent at the park said, “We don’t want any more shells,” so Bill and John left with “just about everything,” including three 30-pound shells loaded in the trunk of the car. I commented, “I know a lot of relic hunters who would give up their left arm for a letter like the one you had back then.” Bill smiled, “Oh, I still have it, and it doesn’t have an expiration date on it!” I asked Mr. Gavin where he liked to relic hunt most. He replied, “I’ve always been orientated toward battlefields,” and explained that he particularly liked researching military tactics and finding relics associated with a particular unit at a certain stage in battle. He said that “the only intelligent way to find relics is learning how to use Geological Survey maps.” Some of the most interesting finds in his collection are those struck by projectiles, which proves the value of this logic. Then I asked Bill to show me a map of his favorite sites

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It is fitting that the person who wrote the first Civil War “buckle book” should have dug (and seen dug) plenty of plates. Bill Gavin has. (Left) A Georgia State Seal buckle unearthed by Sid Kerkis near Fredericksburg while Gavin relic hunted nearby. (Right) An Alabama Volunteer Corps buckle found in a Confederate winter camp in Spotsylvania County, Virginia. (I think he knew I was just kidding). He told me, “No place me to some of his relic-hunting friends. Bert Hebb, Jim has ever compared with the relics from Cold Harbor.” Then Glymph, and Jeff Hiel dropped by to say hello and take he told me about the day in the late 1950s when he and a look at some of the relics Bill normally keeps locked up Sid Kerkis found a Company size Confederate camp near at the bank. I got the feeling that these guys are more than Manassas. Apparently, the Confederate soldiers captured casual acquaintances. Although they are clearly experienced and then pitched all of the cartridge box plates belonging and successful relic hunters in their own right, they are to Union soldiers. Between the two of them, Bill and Sid Bill’s local “students,” looking up to him and protecting found three VMM (Volunteer Main Militia), four OVM their mentor. (Ohio Volunteer Militia), and a handful of US box plates. In the living room, I realized we were surrounded by A few years later, Bill was relic hunting at Cedar Creek books, many of them regimental histories. I had the chance at the end of the 19th Corps line when he “got in an area that to ask Bill about his own contributions to relic hunting and had been ripped apart.” Confederates looted the campsite Civil War literature. I don’t know about all American Digger of the quickly departing Union soldiers. He found 14 plates readers, but I, for one, am particularly impressed with relic that day. According to Gavin, “one of the nice things about hunters who take what they’ve learned and share it with relic hunting in those days was I never got turned down.” the rest of us in a book. Bill’s 1963 book, Accoutrement On another trip, Bill was relic hunting in some trenches on Plates North & South, 1861-1865, was the first relic book private property five miles from Cold Harbor when he found devoted to the identification of Civil War belt buckles and a “real nice canteen.” He walked a few feet further and dug cartridge box plates. It is filled with photos of plates dug by six Springfield muskets piled on Bill and others and is supplemented the parapet. I was ready to end the with photographs depicting soldiers interview right then and there and wearing similar accoutrements. head to Cold Harbor. Then Bill told If you can find one today, you can me about a Union camp in Charles expect to pay handsomely for it. Town, West Virginia that he “had all Bill made another massive conto myself” until ten or twelve others tribution to Civil War studies when found out about it. The landowner Campaigning with the Roundheads, then banned all relic hunting there. a regimental history of the 100th I decided to stick around and hear Pennsylvania Infantry was first pubsome more stories. lished in 1989. This has to be one This US cartridge box plate About this time we moved to the of the largest and most thoroughly was struck by a canister ball. living room, where Bill introduced researched regimental histories ever May-June 2010 American Digger Magazine

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A small selection of the many firearms dug by Gavin over the years. At top is a CS Richmond rifled musket traded to Wendal Lang in the 1960s and returned to Bill Gavin in 2009.

Bill’s friend, Brigadier General Henry Boltz, recovered this belt plate on his only detecting trip with Gavin. This is one of the first accoutrement plates ever found with a metal detector.

published. At 773 pages, it dwarfs most contenders and than 40 years ago. When the dealer realized the connection establishes Bill Gavin as a researcher and historian seldom to Gavin, he initially decided not to sell it. After serious equaled. Bill dedicated the book to his “great granddad’s and emphatic negotiations, the dealer reversed himself and little brother,” 2nd Lt. David Gilfillan of Co. F, who was let Bert buy the gun. Bert enlisted the help of Jim Glymph, killed in action near Bethesda Church on June 1, 1864. The who mounted the gun attractively. They kept the purchase a value of an original copy of Campaigning with the Roundsecret until they could present Bill with his re-found relic. heads has appreciated faster than many Civil War relics, so Bert also told me that Gavin has not lost his touch when if you have one, hold on to it. out in the field relic hunting. During a recent outing, Gavin One of the most interesting relic hunting stories I’ve was taking a short break and, seeing that Bert was not heard recently was the story Bert Hebb shared with me about finding much, advised him to “go over by that dead tree.” a CS Richmond rifled musket. During the spring of 2009, Bert took the advice and found three bullets “right where Bill Gavin was telling Bert about Bill said to look.” this gun which he had found in the I spent a couple more hours Cold Harbor vicinity in 1954 and with Bill Gavin and his friends. I lamenting the fact that he no longer heard some more great stories and had it in his collection. It seems that examined some great finds. I saw in the 1960s, Bill had traded this humility, friendship, and a deep particular gun to Wendell Lang, appreciation for our history ― all Jr., another prominent Civil War at its very best. I left Charles Town collector. In July, 2009, Bert drove with my relic-hunting spirit renewed Bill up to the annual Civil War and thankful for the opportunity to show and sale at Gettysburg. They enjoy a hobby where I can follow went their separate ways, perusing in the footsteps of men like William tables and looking for interesting G. Gavin. His army boots may be pieces. Then Bert saw it ― a dug a size or two too large for me, but CS Richmond rifled musket from they fit the feet, and the heart, of the the Wendell Lang, Jr., collection. man who wore them. Gavin holds two “whittled Closer inspection revealed that down” US buckles used by it was the very same weapon dug Confederate soldiers. by Gavin and traded to Lang more 30 American Digger Magazine Vol. 6, IssueSampler 3 2010American American DiggerMagazine Magazine 4040 2010 Digger Sampler

In Memory of The Relic Hunter By Jim Glymph and Bert Hebb, Jefferson County, West Virginia

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n the 1950s, Bill Gavin, with permission of the National Park Service, found a can full of assorted bullets in the crater at Petersburg, Virginia. Bill called them the work of the first Civil War bullet collector. Clearly, Bill was not the first to collect Civil War relics, but he was the first to use a metal detector in 1946 to find them. On February 8, 2010, we relic hunters lost the man who started it for us. William Gilfillan Gavin passed away in the hospital after suffering a heart attack in front of his house while walking with one of his sons. The week before, he was having some back pain, so we went to his house to keep him company. All afternoon for two days, we planned a trip to the North Anna battlefield, talked about our past trips and researched a Union camp in West Virginia that we have been trying to find. Bill’s knowledge, maps and collection of regimental histories provided the data source. We were always fascinated about how much an 85 year old man had stored in his brain. He did not hunt anymore, but he loved the battlefields. It had only been three weeks since we were climbing the unfinished railroad bed at Second Manassas and four weeks In Memoriam: since we were walking Lee’s baseline trenches and the Bloody William G. Gavin Angle at Spotsylvania. Bill was walking with a cane, but he was thrilled to be doing it. He said later, “I thought I would 1924-2010 never see those trenches again.” At the baseline, he showed us where he had found a US belt plate with “C S Jack” scratched on the back. And at the Bloody Angle, he remembered where an Enfield rifle, one of over forty muskets he found, was buried on top of the parapet. Digging was really good in those days. Bill was a plate guy and we often wondered why he had so few bullets, buttons and small things, while having hundreds of plates; it is simple, he only dug big signals and was glad he did. He kept a log of where everything of importance was found. Not only where, but what unit was probably present in the area. All that documentation will preserve the history of his collection and keep him alive in our memory. We will all miss him! Editor’s note: One of the unfortunate realities of publishing is that it can take many months for an article, like the one on Bill Gavin appearing in this issue, to make it into the published magazine. Although he read the article and checked it for accuracy beforehand, we regret that Bill and his friends did not have the chance to see the article in print while he was still living. For those interested in seeing Bill one more time go to http://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=MBA-wsWOz68 and join him on his January 2010 visit to the Spotsylvania, Virginia battlefield.

John Velke of American Digger Magazine shares a happy moment with Bill Gavin during a break in the interview on the preceding pages. 31 4141

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THE TEXAS TEXAS THE TURTLE TURTLE Occasionally, Occasionally, aa carved carved item item of of epic epic historical historical importance importance is is dug. dug. This This is is one one such such story. story. Article Article by by Dennis Dennis Cox Cox Photos Photos by by Tim Tim Garrett Garrett

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ne mile south of Fredericksburg, Virginia all well equipped and battle hardened from previous is a hill barely within the city limits. It is fights, they were truly a match for any foe. Their plight still partially wooded, but development has is a sad reminder of war’s bitter cost. They fought in taken most of it. To most people it looks like almost every major battle with Lee. Their ranks were any other hill, but this hill is different. reduced constantly by losses and disease. They were During the Battle of Fredericksburg on December almost completely annihilated by Appomattox. Only a 13, 1862 it was the camp of the 4th Texas Infantry being very few would ever see home again. held in reserve. They waited to be called to fight, but In his diary, Private Giles says “Where is our once never were. Behind them a proud regiment that came Georgia Regiment camped east in 1861? They are on another hill overlooking gone, all gone; their bones a valley and stream. lay in the woods and fields From the published diof old Virginia. Now there ary of Valerius Cincinnais only a handful left to retus Giles, titled Rags and turn to our defeated state. Hope, who was a private I truly cannot believe it.” th in the 4 Texas, he stated As all clocks do, the they played cards and did clock of history moved camp duties as they waited forward on its never endone mile south of town. A ing march to 1972. On noble unit originally some a cool fall day, Dennis 900 strong, they were part Cooper and Danny Elkins Today, there is little left of the 4th of Lee’s Army, as was their came upon a wooded ridge th Texas camp near Fredericksburg. sister unit, the 5 Texas. south of Fredericksburg Even so, the artifacts left here by the Proud and determined while metal detecting. At soldiers help tell their story. men of the Lone Star State, that time, a large part of 32 American Digger Magazine

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Unaware of the type of camp they were in, they found no state buttons that day. Only later did the Texas buttons begain to appear: 16 in all.

the area was still unknown and unhunted. Within minutes they started digging Confederate bullets and camp items. Unaware of the type of camp they were in, they found no state buttons that day.

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while later, Dennis walked over to Danny with an object he had just dug of a very curious design. A piece of lead the size of a pack of matches with a small square nail hole in it defied identity. Small protruding pieces were visible on both front and back. Heavy and semi-round, it was definitely “something.” A little cleaning away of excess dirt and slowly the object took shape. It was a “snapping turtle” of incredible definition carved from a

piece of lead. A head with open mouth and eyes looked up at them. From the rim of the near-perfect shell, the legs and tail were carved, all-in-all creating a lifelike turtle from a mere piece of lead. Dennis and Danny had seen carved lead before, but nothing of this caliber. This was the work of a master of the art. A heavy white patina covered it completely from head to tail. What a find it was, truly one of kind. Only later as the camp became more hunted did the Texas buttons start to appear. At least sixteen Texas buttons of various designs, Eagle “R” buttons, one Waco Guard Button, and many bullets, including scarce Dean and Adams pistol bullets, were found. May-June 2010 American Digger Magazine

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“Where is our once proud regiment that came east in 1861? They are gone, all gone; their bones lay in the woods and fields of old Virginia.” Private Valerius C. Giles, 4th Texas Infantry

The “Texas Turtle,” as it has been dubbed, remains for all time a reminder of a forgotten soldier’s artistic skill, and a Texas regiment’s tenacity.

Among the buttons was this rare three-piece Texas staff officers. 2010Digger American DiggerVol. Magazine 3444 Magazine 6, Issue 3 Sampler 44American 2010 American Digger Magazine Sampler

This Republic of Texas button, circa 1837, was also found at the camp.

Thus, the piece of carved lead was dubbed “The Texas Turtle.” The turtle is the symbol of long life, especially in the ancient civilizations of South America. It is possible that Private Giles carved the piece himself, in search of good luck and longevity, but the odds are staggering that he did not. The actual artist is lost forever now; only his work remains. Little is known of Giles and his surviving comrades of the 4th Texas that left Appomattox after the Army surrendered, except that they joined thousands more on the long walk home to devastation and an unknown and very uncertain future. But it can be hoped that, like the turtle they left behind so many years ago, they found eternity a long, long way off.

A “local” Texas button found at the site. Devoid of any manufacturing backmarks, these are found in several variations.

About the Author

Dennis Cox has been digging and researching Civil War history since 1956. A native of Fredericksburg, VA, he spends much of his time traveling to sites ranging from West Virginia to Florida in search of historical recoveries, and often spends 300 or more days each year metal detecting for artifacts.

Also found at the “Texas Turtle” camp was this Waco Guards button. Originally part of the 7th Texas, enough examples have been found in areas occupied by the 4th that it’s likely this distinguished group from Waco, Texas served with both regiments. Because of good soil conditions, this button retains almost all of its origional gilt finish. www.americandigger.com May-June 2010 American Digger Magazine45 www.americandigger.com 45 35

Footprints of the French: Detecting France’s 18th Century “U.S.A.”

Last occupied in 1780, New York’s Hudson Valley Revolutionary War camps had since been hunted hard by relic hunters. To find anyOriginally artifactsPublishe that still remained required thinking outside the box. By Charles Salerno

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pon his return from France in 1780, my radar. Before I could act, disaster struck home. My General Marquis De Lafayette was wife went into kidney failure, requiring dialysis every placed in command of the Contiother day. I had to shelve the project. Forced to hunt nental Army’s elite Light Infantry areas closer to home, it wasn’t until 1996 before the Corps. Paid for out of his own pocket, 250 French chase resumed. short sabers with sword belts and plates were given All but forgotten, my guesstimates for both camp to his NCO’s (Non Commissioned Officers). A year locations were right on target. Locating camp numlater in Yorktown, Virginia they stormed the redoubts ber one’s landowner was easy; gaining permission to of the British army, securing a victory that shook the relic hunt there was not. Angry with past overzealous world. As members of the searchers, negotiation was Light Infantry returned to not an option. Permission their state regiments until was refused. spring, the winter camps Gathering all my emoof America’s army were tions as landowner numestablished in New York’s ber two’s door opened, I Hudson Valley. began my carefully craftIn 1990, rumors among ed request. Interrupting relic hunters and collectors my pitch, his words cut here in the Northeast began me like a knife, “Oh, so circulating. Two encampyou’re one of them.” ments of the Continental But his eyes locked army were discovered in on my new FDNY hat and New York’s Hudson Highhis voice shifted to a posilands. Hushed talk regardtive tone. Two-hours later, ing USA belt plates and Finds made by the author in the camp include shoe terms were set. Minus my matching sword parts found buckles and parts, musket balls, bale seals, a razor, brand new hat, permission by detectorists immediwas granted exclusively. a clasp knife, Jew’s harps, and an auger. ately captured my attenThe restrictions? No large tion. Continuing unabated, shovels would be used, eventually both camps were alledgedly “picked clean.” trash would be removed when found, and last, but by Trying not to blink, that tired phrase didn’t pacify my no means least, no individual other than myself would curiosity, although an opportunity to detect the camps participate in any hunt here. Thus I would be unable myself might. to share the excitement, gas, tolls, photography duties, Then and there I set some lofty goals: Zero in on and the long ride to the site, all of which would have the camps and find a sword belt plate. Maps, journals, been a lot easier and more fun with a buddy. On the internet bloggers, historic re-enactors, and collectors other hand, missing out on the opportunity of a lifetime all contributed various clues. Digesting the informabecause I didn’t like the terms of our agreement was tion, two prospective camps ultimately showed up on out of the question. 18 American Digger Magazine Vol. 6, IssueSampler 5 46 2010 American Digger Magazine

Originally Published in Vol 6, Issue 5

ed in Vol 6, Issue 3

Saturating the entire campsite, these iron rosehead nails masked many a good signal.

Two brass shoe buckles found fifty yards apart. Although common, most are found broken.

In the past, my hard-core maverick status was set by my circumstance. Working primarily at night as a firefighter, my relic hunts took place on weekdays. This prevented any real metal detecting partnerships from developing. After 25 years of chasing relics, it didn’t matter now; I was ready to make this dig happen.

tightly projecting boulders, open space at the bottom was a welcome sight. A mountain stream, bordered by a swamp, bisected the camp. A rocky shelf, parallel to the brook, intermittently extended at least a hundred yards. Initial excitement was quickly tempered with evidence of other relic hunters. The site looked to have been ravaged. Heaps of sifted dirt, a rotting sieve, and a rusted modern shovel confirmed the presence of others. A “dig “Excuses Breed Laziness” and toss” mentality, which seemed to be these hunters’ n the long ride to the site, thoughts of signature, left the boulders littered with pieces of iron junk. Was anything left, after years of such raw relic relic hunting weaknesses clouded my hunting fever? But artifacts are mind. At the intangibles; good relic hunttop of the list ers are eternally optimistic on was “Making excuses” which good sites. encourages sloppy searching. An inescapable trapping, It was hard to imagine valuable time was spent samsuccessful searchers convincing pling numerous iron signals themselves to skip or carelessly with my detector. The maskdetect an area when challenged ing effect that 18th century by an obstacle. If that type of rose-head nails possess often weakness actually existed, I fool a metal detector. Blackwanted to exploit it. Little did I smiths would dip heated nails know, those weaknesses would in powdered bone and animal later lead to major finds by me. fat to case harden them against Crossing the legendary Hudbending and breaking, while son River, breathtaking panlimiting rust. Their presence oramic views diverted my atindicated a structure was once tention. Forty minutes later, my here; nevertheless, non-ferSUV came to a stop in a packed rous signals were conspicudirt parking space. Looking at Iron French Charleville musket cock ously absent. Obviously, the the ravine below, I gathered my with a gun flint last screwed down by majority of the camp was no equipment. Anxiously followan 18th century soldier. longer intact. ing a steep punishing trail thru

O

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A portion of the site reveals the difficulties involved with keeping the coil close the ground. This worked to the advantage of the author.

“Weakness Number 1”

time react negatively to ground action and two centuries of moisture penetration. Similar to the aged paint hree fruitless trips were spent searching on a house, sadly, both buttons were flaking apart. th the footprint of an abandoned 18 A few steps later, the sound of good fortune filled century road used by troops to access my headphones. A silver dollar sized cast brass disk their huts. The abnormally dry winter which had rested on edge for over 200 years was gradually decreased water levels of the bordering plucked from the five inch deep inky black mud hole and swamp. This exposed untouched ground appeared to now lay dripping in my hand. It was a round cartridge meet the criteria for my excuses/weakness rule. Did box badge of the Light Infantry Company of the Britother searchers skip the swamp? ish armies’ 7th Royal Fusiliers. Normally, such badges The all-metal mode of were made with a Crown my detector answered that above the “RF” cut-out, question with a series of but this was omitted from muddy recoveries. A pewthe Light Infantry examter USA coat button, and a ples. Broken studs on the brass shoe buckle had me reverse side indicated it feeling lucky. Energized by was probably pried off the the shift in momentum, a cartridge box. swelling of familiar recovArriving home, I called eries included two green a preeminent authority on oxidized King George Revolutionary War articoppers and three musket facts, Don Troiani. Conballs. Carving an earthy firming the badge’s idenst compartment into the 21 tity, he considered it likely century, a duo of barely to be an American trophy st legible pewter 1 Conof Yorktown, and taken by necticut Regimental coat a US soldier to the Conbuttons were reborn. Most tinental’s winter encampPewter U.S.A. coat button dug at the site, lost by a pewter artifacts embedded ment in New York, where Revolutionary War soldier so very long ago. in soil for long periods of it was discarded or lost.

T

20 AmericanAmerican Digger Magazine Magazine Vol. 6, Issue 5 48 48 2010 2010 American Digger Digger Magazine Sampler Sampler

This stream was used by soldiers to meet their camp needs.

Knowing that most relic hunters wouldn’t have searched this miserable spot very long, it fit the definition of past relic hunter’s weakness number 2. Tossed from passing Two months later, heavy rain returned the swampy vehicles, years of accumulated beer and soda cans were portion of the ravine to its foreverywhere beside the road. It mer “boots only” landscape. A th was proof positive of my “exwindow to the 18 century was cuses/laziness” theory. closed and time was needed to Multi-tasking, my explorecharge my enthusiasm. Holiration consisted of shuffling days passed and, on an unseaalong, monitoring detector sigsonably warm drizzly February nals while tediously filling a day, I awoke my wife with a plastic garbage bag with a vari“grin and talk.” Double-checkety of metallic trash items. Only ing my gear, before I knew it the an occasional vehicle whizzing highway’s white line was weavby interrupted the boring routine. ing a hypnotic trance. Digging all signals, including One hundred and ten miles nails, my Minelab’s meter conlater, a soggy morning search firmed a 4½ inch deep target. Reproduced nothing. Detector Brass cartridge box plate of the moving an odd-looking piece of in hand, I began searching British 7th Royal Fusiliers. metal from the loose black soil, the blacktop road’s perimeter.

“Saber Guard Dance”

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I was thankful it wasn’t a soda can. A puzzling semi-curved artifact, four inches long and an inch wide, stared back at me. Discarded in the fog of 18th century war, a beam of sunlight now framed the gracefully entwined letters. I scratched my head; they defied immediate recognition. Suddenly, their silent identity could not be denied: “USA.” Remembering an identical example shown to me sometime ago in a private collection, it was the knuckle guard to one of Lafayette’s NCO sabers! I will not bore the reader with a description of my spirited impersonation of “Dancing with the Stars”...simply place yourself in my shoes. Believing a corresponding sword belt plate was nearby should have powered the search further. Honestly, though, I just couldn’t concentrate. A decision to leave was the only solution.

10-foot square. Culminating the progression of recoveries, a cuff button, after careful brushing, revealed the motto: “Inimica Tyrannis” (Latin for “An enemy to Tyrants”), surrounding an arm holding a drawn sword. These buttons were issued to the Continental Regiment formed in Boston, Massachusetts in 1777.

“Rocky Mystery”

Broken guard from a Continental Army Light Infantry NCO’s sword. Note the intertwined “USA.”

“Pride and Prejudice” An enigma, such saber guards removed from an undetermined number of handles by American soldiers creates a foundation for speculation. Possible reasons for altering the guards were an inherent design defect or simple prejudice. Keep in mind the home grown style “U.S.A.” letters commonly found on Continental uniform buttons were a source of American pride. Battle hardened veterans might hold in contempt the French style script “USA” on their equipment. Then again, maybe it was just a natural break. We will probably never know.

“Pocket full of Artifacts” Returning a half dozen times since that day, the top six inches of rocky soil, minus metallic trash, has produced a mini treasure-trove of various recoveries, including civilian style buttons, shoe buckles, lead bale seals, an iron Jews harp, gimlet, razor, and a cuff link with a blue green stone. A double “D” sling buckle belonging to a cartridge box and two different flap clasps were also found in a 50 50

2010 2010 American American Digger Digger Magazine Magazine Sampler Sampler

On my final search of the camp, a smaller coil proved useful in hunting nooks and crannies of the boulders. This tactic produced, among other relics, a French Charleville musket cock, the amber flint locked in its jaws for over 225 years. Anticipating heavy relic hunting pressure when news of my success broke, two years of secrecy had protected the owner’s trust in me.

“A Picture, a Thousand Words” Returning on business, I decided to visit the landowner. His house was empty. Speaking with a neighbor, I learned of his death. The property would be sold. Now, a recovered portion of America’s past would no longer be whispered. The moment to divulge my story was at hand. Examining my display case, the rescued artifacts reflected memories of each find, many representing an individual trip. Failing to accomplish my goal, I didn’t recover the coveted sword belt plate. Still, glancing at the USA sword guard triggered a response. This time, without assistance from a metal detector, a metaphor flowed thru my mind: “Success is never so sweet as when it is accompanied by a failure”.

About The Author Charles Salerno is a retired New York city firefighter who researches and recovers Revolutionary War camps and artifacts. He has enjoyed pursuing this hobby for over 27 years. Sept-Oct 2010 American Digger Magazine Sept-Oct 2010 American Digger Magazine

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GO CLEAN YOUR ROOM! Digging the stuff is only half of the work. Displaying it neatly and economically is just as important. Besides, it’s a great way to spend a rainy afternoon. By Mike Harvey

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aving started metal detecting in 1982, I’ve over to see a particular item, it may take a while to find accumulated many boxes of “stuff” over the years. it, no matter how “good” it is. Heaven forbid someone This includes old toys, fishing lures, keys, coins, from church or work comes over and inquires about my buttons, bullets, farm tools, knives, jewelry, bottles, Civil finds. Over the years, my wife has learned to overlook my War relics, and the ever present “odds-n-ends.” Whether storing of everything from fishing sinkers to coins in the junk or treasure, though, it all had one thing in common: nooks and crannies around the house. Oddly, she doesn’t it was hiding somewhere in the back spare bedroom seem to mind the jewelry which I later find being stored which was affectionately called in her jewelry box. “Mike’s Room” or “The Junk Then it finally happened. Room” or even “That Room” A few months ago my loving by family and friends. wife insisted that I do someAs most of us know, metal thing with “The Junk Room.” detecting is an addiction. As we It seems that it had become detectorists feed our habit, we an eyesore to her, although I find more and more bits of hiscould see nothing wrong with tory and humanity. Add to this the way it was. Other than not the prizes from competition being able to find what I was hunts, the collecting of an oddlooking for at any given time, ity every now and then, those I was comfortable with it. But curiosities that we just can’t as I enjoy the things she does part with, and let’s not forget for me around the house, and the “things that might be someprefer sleeping in a warm bed thing important, should anyone rather than a cold damp paever manage to identify them” tio, I started brainstorming as stuff. All of these goodies find to what needed to be done to their way into boxes, bags, plas“The Room.” tic containers, riker cases and This particular room, as I curio cabinets in “That Room.” recall, was once a bedroom. It Simple, yet effective: Just a few I am often at a loss as to had three painted pastel blue shelf brackets and some shelving where a certain piece may be walls and one with wallpaper makes a great way to display cases. located, so when a friend comes on it. Removing the wallpaper 38 Digger Magazine Vol. 6, IssueSampler 5 52 2010 Digger 52 American 2010 American American Digger Magazine Magazine Sampler

Originally Published in Vol 6, Issue 5

Glass-on-glass: Glass shelved curio cabinets make a great display for almost any light to moderate weight pieces.

from one wall, I saw that I had a pastel blue and yellow to move each to see what was underneath, a hassle at best, room. It looked like I’d need to do some painting, once I a possible avalanche at worst on the taller stacks. Where, figured out what color best compliments riker boxes and I thought, do I need to go to look for options? rust flecks. Being that I had a set (low) budget for this project, I The desk I’d been using was an old army steel desk. proceeded to the local thrift store. On that particular day, Luckily I found someone who wanted to get rid of an exI lucked out and found two used blueprint/map cabinets ecutive style wooden desk which needed some refinishing for sale. Each five drawer cabinet measures 16 x 48 x 36 work done to the top and trim. inches. These were ideal for I bought the desk for $100 and my purposes and at $19.99 did the refinishing myself. each I could not pass these My computer, sitting on top up. I did some repainting and of this newly refinished desk, added felt to the drawers. now helps me with research, To display some of my identification and cataloging riker boxes, I ended up going of my finds. It also helps me to the hardware store to get see other people’s finds on shelving rails for the wall. the various forums I visit, in Using eight inch brackets and turn giving me inspiration to 12 inch boards, I fixed the get out and feed my digging shelves at an angle for better addiction even more. viewing. I used the wood Now the most important stain left over from the desk of all redecorating question: project to stain the shelves, how to best display my finds? which helped my budget and Over the years, my displays also matched the colors. had morphed into a type of I keep some of my water stuff-storage. For instance, I hunting finds in a dry aquarium had a curio cabinet that was for display. I had found the packed with so much stuff aquarium at a yard sale awhile that you couldn’t see it all back. I added some sand, Jewelry also displays well in the curio and riker boxes sitting on top cabinets...at least, the pieces that your shells, a small treasure chest of each other so that you had and a piece of driftwood for spouse doesn’t confiscate for wear. Sept-Oct 2010 American Digger Magazine 53 www.americandigger.com www.americandigger.com 5339

After lining them with velvet, the drawers on this second-hand blueprint cabinet make a great “master case” to store and view riker boxes. flavoring. At one time this was sitting in our living room, but now I have it in the newly designated “Mike’s Office/ Finds Room” where it sits nobly on top of the “special finds cabinets” (formally known as blueprint/map cabinets). With the way the shelves and drawers are situated, not only do the finds remain neat and organized, but I also can change the displays easily, giving my collection a new look every now and again. With each new dig, I can determine whether the finds need to go on the shelves for quick viewing or in the drawers for deliberate viewing.

I

n laying my finds out for display, I realized that these items I’ve found and collected are not just bits and pieces of history, but are also memories of people and places. The joy of the kid who long ago played with that rusty toy truck. The sadness of the lady who lost that gold ring. The Civil War soldier who carved that chess piece from a Minie bullet. The boy who reached for his lunch money

only to find that he’d lost the entire quarter dollar at the swimming hole while playing hookey. It’s all special and it all deserves more than being piled in “That Room.” Now when someone comes over, I can take them to my room and not have my wife cringe at what they may say about the mess. She is proud and so am I. I admit to still having some items packed away in the basement but I’ll get around to them in due time. Right now, I will enjoy my new room and the history in it. History that I can now easily find at a moment’s notice.

Wooden strips are used to keep these round canister shot from rolling around when the drawer is opened.

40 American Digger Magazine Vol. 6, IssueSampler 5 54 2010 American Digger Magazine

About The Author Mike Harvey lives in North Alabama with his wife Judy and is active in two local metal detecting clubs, the Warrior Basin Treasure Hunters Association in Birmingham and the Southeast Treasure Hunters in Gadsden.

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AnAmerican AmericanDigger DiggerInInEngland England An What’s itit like like to to hunt hunt in in England? England? How How does does one one What’s go about about it, it, and and what what can can they they expect? expect? Read Read this this go first hand hand account account and and wonder wonder no no more! more! first By Beau Ouimette

By Beau Ouimette

W

hat’s it like to dig in England? It’s a and recommendations from friends, he had decided to question I am often asked when I talk to hire England Detecting Tours for the dig. I checked out another digger who has heard I have been their website and, knowing Bill had an eye for detail, I digging “over there.” My quick downreadily agreed to go. n-dirty response is simply, “Awesome.” Of course, The first rule I learned is that you must have a valid there is more to it than that. Let me tell you a little passport. They are easy to apply for, don’t normally about some of my experiences, from choosing a guide take very long to get, and it is a must. Second, bring to waiting patiently for the artifacts to be mailed from your favorite detector. I bring a spare as well, though I England to my doorstep. I have taken two trips with have never had to use it. Our guides also had available the same outfitters and roughly the same group of loaner machines, but I can’t imagine that trying to learn friends. Each time, the routine was very similar. Let a strange detector in a strange land can ever be any fun. me describe my first trip to this Third, bring rain gear. If you go charming country. in the spring, it will rain on you. My first England experience We usually hunt through it and started with a call from my staying dry is a good feeling. friend Bill Rome. He said he Fourth, bring clothes for both was trying to put together a trip warm and cold weather. Several to go metal detecting in England. times I have found myself in He wanted to enlist five or six short sleeves in the morning and friends to make a group and I bundled up tight against sleet was on his list. He had already storms by mid afternoon. Fifth, The hunting The author author hunting done the research and through it leave the shovel at home. As silly

in storm. in aa sleet storm.

Local guides Clive, Peter Welsh, John, Alan, and Mikey. Local guides Clive, Peter Welsh, John, Alan, and Mikey.

Successful England hunting depends on good guides (left), good sites (right), and perseverance to hunt in whatever weather the trip might bring (top). A good booking agency can provide two out of three.

32 Digger Magazine 6, Issue Sampler 5 56 American 2010 American Digger Vol. Magazine

One of of the the typical typical hunt hunt sites sites One provided by the service.

Originally Published in Vol 6, Issue 5

You may want to take an eye test before heading across the pond. It’s not uncommon to find ancient coins on the surface of plowed areas. See if you can spot the Roman coin in the left and right photos. The one above (also eyeballed) will show what you are looking for.

as it sounds, this was my first and major concern. I couldn’t get the picture out of my mind of me having to use a restaurant knife as a digger for the entire trip. But of course, they have plenty of loaner shovels to go around. Sixth, pack light and stay within the airline guidelines. The airlines have very strict rules about luggage and will make it very costly to you if your bags are even slightly overweight, over sized, or too many in number. I also always bring a carry-on. It’s a back pack that I can also use to haul my gear around during the hunts. An important plus of using it as a carry-on is that the airlines don’t yet have any regulations as to the maximum weight of the carry-on. So I always keep it ready at check-in to off load from my checked luggage any heavy items (boots, books, etc.) if the bags are overweight. I have had to do this once already and I’m sure it saved me a bundle. Last but not least, get ready to have the hunt of a lifetime! Each of us set up our own

travel arrangements with the goal of meeting in London on the morning of a predetermined date. My flight, like most international flights, left the U.S. in the late afternoon and arrived in London about mid morning the next day. As expected, it is a long flight. Most times you are able to get at least a little shut eye. I was the last to arrive in London; the digging crew was already assembled and greeted me at the gate. I could tell as soon as I met our host, Peter Welsh, and his side-kick, Alan, that Bill had chosen our guides well. They were both quick with a smile and a joke and greeted us like long lost friends. We loaded up our gear and headed to what would be our home away from home for the next 10 days, The Swan Hotel. When we arrived, I was very pleased to see that it was a classic old English pub and hotel located in the small rural community of Alresford in Hampshire County. So not only were we going to be recovering history, we were going to be living

Typical Roman bronze coin, one of many the author found on this trip. This one is of the Roman Emperor Constantine I, circa 332 AD.

Silver Soldino coin circa. 13821400. Struck in Venice, these were circulated illegally in England.

Detecting legend has it that Brits throw back coppers minted after 1700. Whether true or not, with coins like those shown here, it’s easy to see why “modern” coins are less than exciting.

Silver King Edward IV penny circa, 1364-1400. Pennies from these early years were struck in silver. Sept-Oct 2010 American Digger Magazine www.americandigger.com

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Gold Celtic Stater coins, circa 58-57 BC, recovered by the author. Both depict a highly stylized horse on the front with a crab under the horse’s belly.

Front and back of a Roman brooch, circa 100 AD. The circles on the face would have originally had a brightly colored enamel filling when new.

in a bit of history ourselves. We were quick to off- surface each time. After spirited discussions, the group load our gear and check out the rooms. Next came a picks which farms they want to hunt each day. They brief lunch and a short walk to the local post office to can vary from places that have never been detected to exchange some money. Then we were digging by one known Medieval, Roman, or even Celtic sites. o’clock sharp and dug every day after from 8:00 AM On each day of the dig, our group was not only until dark. accompanied by Peter and Alan, but Peter would also Let me tell you about our guide, Peter Welsh. He is invite a few of his other knowledgeable friends along a full time detectorist and loves for the day. They were always a the hobby. He not only invites us cheerful and dedicated lot. They Yanks over to detect, but he also certainly added to the ambiance is the owner and operator of a of the hunts, and were able to group called The Weekend Wananswer all of our historical and derers. Peter approaches farmers cultural questions. Almost every all over the country and rents scrap we dug was immediately their farm for a day or two of and correctly identified. They digging for his group. They have also possessed extreme patience hunts every weekend and many while watching and helping us hunts have hundreds of memall day as we were digging. bers show up. We were lucky The first thing I noticed to be able to join Peter and his when I started detecting was that group on one such occasion. It This Celtic Potin (token) is made of a the ground here is often covered was one of the most memorable copper tin alloy and dates to 100 BC. with white flint nodules. These hunts I’ve ever been on. It was are naturally occurring very hard attended by people of all walks of life varying from rocks that, when broken open, look a little like glass. children to the very elderly. Since they were all English They were used in building construction and also as and thus had mannerisms and speech patterns foreign to a base for the ancient Roman roadways that crisscross us, many humorous and memorable events occurred. this section of the country. To a digger the stones repreIt is partly because of these hunts that Peter has so sent a small obstacle to digging in that, when pushing many farms from which to choose to bring his American down on the shovel and striking one, they are very hard groups digging. These farms are always composed of and unforgiving to the hands and arms. I mention this big open fields and can range up to several thousand because it is one of the things that I remember well and acres in size. It’s not unusual to hunt pasture, bare dirt will not soon forget. The second thing I noticed was all and shin length stubble all on one farm. But these are of the iron signals. Most every place we dug was the site mostly crop fields, and as such are turned over every of thousands of years of human occupation. Six of our year with another bounty of relics being brought to the group used Fisher F-75 metal detectors. This machine 34 American Digger Magazine Vol. 6, IssueSampler 5 58 2010 American Digger Magazine

Two of the guides. Big John and Bigger Nev.

The author holds a freshly dug 58-57 BC. Celtic gold Stater.

Happy Yanks, happy guides, good friends, good finds. Could life get any better for those who love searching for historical artifacts?

was excellent in discriminating out the many small bits and pieces of nails and other ferrous hits. Surprisingly, the F-75 was somewhat of an oddity over there as none of the local diggers had ever seen one. This brings me to a very valuable recommendation. If possible, bring a machine that has good discrimination capabilities. I personally prefer a Fisher F-75 or Tecknetics T-2. Both have very advanced discrimination abilities and were perfect for the iron rich sites. Many of the relics and coins we found were very small. For example, the smallest and most numerous of the Roman bronze coins is as tiny as an American Half Dime and very thin. We found hundreds of these in the thickest of the iron concentrations. As for the depth of the artifacts, like everywhere else it varies. These fields have been plowed and dug up for a few thousand years. I’m sure many objects are buried quite deep, and a deep seeking machine could be very valuable. However, it has been my experience that discrimination is so important at many of the sites that to not have an excellent discriminator on the detector could be very detrimental. That being said, the most important thing is to bring a

Larry Smith holding a recently found piece of a 1600s spur.

detector that you are comfortable hunting with. I always get asked about ground mineralization in England. Is the soil “hot?” It has been my experience that it is not bad at all. I have never had any problems ground balancing the detectors, except that the soil is often littered with small bits of nails and iron. The soil itself is usually well tilled and loamy. I have hunted a few sites that were clay, but English clay doesn’t seem to be as bad as most Virginia or Louisiana gumbo clay. That brings us to the best part of hunting abroad, the artifacts and history. England has it all. It starts with the Stone Age (you need to eyeball those artifacts, of course) and proceeds through the Bronze Age, Iron Age, Roman, Saxon, Viking, Norman, Medieval, and more. Here, each signal of the detector is always a great mystery. Is could be a Roman brooch (I’ve found a handful), a Celtic gold coin (I have two) or a piece of WWII antiaircraft shrapnel (my collection contains one). Like we tell beginners here, never throw anything away. It often happens that the smallest non-descript piece of metal turns out to be of historical significance.

Some of the things found by the author in England include an assortment of coins and relics, a snake buckle similar to those worn by some American Civil War soldiers, and the humble abodes of local wildlife. Sept-Oct 2010 American Digger Magazine www.americandigger.com

35 59

O O

Everyone benefits from the British Treasure Act ne interesting Another advantage to law. Museums can acquire a fair price, Everyone benefits from thepieces BritishatTreasure Act ne note interesting advantage to side is that the Another Treasure Act is that each law. Museums can acquire pieces at a fair price, detectorists are allowed liberal hunting rights, side note is that the most English andTreasure every Act itemis that that each predetectorists are allowed liberal hunting rights, property owners (and those who make the finds) and that pred emost t e c t oEnglish rists datesevery 1700 isitem identified, catproperty owners those whoglean makeimportant the finds) dates rewarded, and(and archeologists d eto t e consider c t o r i s t s are 1700and is identified, catthat I’ve talked alogued, photographed are rewarded,Above and archeologists important information. are some of glean the many gold that I’ve alogued, and photographed things posttalked 1700 toorconsider so to by the government. All of information. Above are some of the many gold and silver coins acquired by the museums. things post 1700 or so to by the government. All of be “modern rubbish.” For this information is then givand silver coins acquired by the museums. Photos this page by Harry Maddox be “modern rubbish.” For this information then givinstance, a King George en to the finderisalong with Photos this page by Harry Maddox instance, a King George en the finder along When with copper that we all would be thetoreturned artifacts. coppertothat weinallthe would the returned artifacts.it’s When ecstatic find U.S.?beThey would consider it a the package does finally arrive from England, very ecstatic to find in the U.S.? They would consider it a the package does finally arrive from England, it’s very ho-hum find. To them, coppers are hardly worth clean- exciting opening it and sifting through its contents and To them,Therefore, coppers are hardly clean- almost excitingfeels opening it and on sifting through its contents and ingho-hum or evenfind. detecting. sites fromworth the 1700s like going the hunt all over again. Also, or even detecting. frommake the 1700s almostyou feelsget likethe going on the hunt all over“How again.do Also, areing somewhat avoided byTherefore, the localssites and can for a when inevitable question, you are somewhat avoided by the locals and can make for a when you get the inevitable question, “How do you target rich hunt for us “Yanks.” know that’s a Roman brooch?” you can just pull out the target rich hunt for us “Yanks.” know that’s a Romandocument brooch?” with you can pull to outprove the And then we have the English Treasure Act. After official government the just picture And then we have the English Treasure Act. After official government document with the picture to prove all of the travel and digging, the adventure is not over it. Believe me, that question will be asked eventually. all of the travel and digging, the adventure is not over it. Believe me, that question will be asked eventually. when it’s time to leave. Because of the Treasure Act, all English history is a very big part of American histowhen it’s time to leave. Because of the Treasure Act, all English history is a very big part of American histoartifacts must remain behind in England to be identified ry. To be able to travel to that land and recover artifacts artifacts must remain behind in England to be identified ry. To be able to travel to that land and recover artifacts and catalogued by government archaeologists. They that predate our own Colonial era and to interact with and catalogued by government archaeologists. They that predate our own Colonial era and to interact with have the right to buy any of the gold or silver that you like-minded European detectorists is a treat that every have the right to buy any of the gold or silver that you like-minded European detectorists is a treat that every may have allow themselves. themselves.IIwill willalways alwaysreremay havefound foundif ifthey theyconsider considerititofofhistorical historicalimporimpor- relic relic hunter hunter should should allow tance and feel that each of of my my trips trips over over there thereand andknow know tance and feel thatthe theitem itemshould shouldremain remaininintheir theircouncoun- member member fondly fondly each try.try.They have a fair process to determine the worth that all this and even more await any intrepid advenThey have a fair process to determine the worth that all this and even more await any intrepid advenof of thethe artifact. see you you over over there thereone oneday. day. artifact.The Theproceeds proceedsare arethen thensplit splitbetween betweenthe the turer. turer. II hope hope to to see finder and thethelandowner. finder and landowner.This Thisisisalso alsotrue trueofofother othernonnongold and silver items that may be part of a “hoard” gold and silver items that may be part of a “hoard”that that was purposely buried. was purposely buried. About the the Author Author About Beau grew up up surrounded surroundedby byhistory history Beau Ouimette grew in the Shenandoah Valley near Harpers Ferry. in the Valley near Harpers Ferry. He active metal metal detectorist detectoristfor forover over He has been an active 25 much of of that that time timewas wasininsearch search 25 years. years. While much of Civil War relics, he also likes to travel of Civil relics, he also likes to travel inin search of treasures, treasures, and search and has has been been detecting detectinginin England several times. England times. He Healso alsoenjoys enjoysdiving divingand and searching for sharks teeth and other fossils. searching sharks teeth and other fossils. 36American American Digger Magazine Vol.6,6,Issue Issue5Sampler 5 3660 Magazine 2010Digger American DiggerVol. Magazine

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61

Bottles, Jugs, Bottles, Jugs, and Bugs and Bugs Who said a dive can’t have it all?

It’s a

By Joe Baker By Joe Baker

at the local tavern and perhaps even make a brief local acquaintance. warm July morning and Back on board, a skelthe year is 1862. The War eton crew remains along Between the States enters with the ships watch and its second year and pitched surgeon. Several of the battles and smaller skircrew have fallen ill with mishes are occurring daily fever and the ship’s doctor throughout the south. The prescribes a number of botoppressive summer heat tled remedies and extracts. adds misery to exhaustHaving finished off a crock ing days for troops on both once filled with souring sides. George McClellan’s wine, a crew member tossBrian Lawrence holds a torpedo bottle Army of the Potomac has es it overboard and chalthat he had just found on the sea floor. held off Robert E. Lee’s lenges the accuracy of the Confederate forces at Malquarterdeck watch. Missing vern Hill for seven days, ending the Peninsula campaign with several shots, the stoneware sinks beneath the surin a stalemate. face to the light chuckle of several others about. While Now imagine that somewhere just off the coast of the first mate and three hands are busy gathering proviMassachusetts, a three masted schooner has entered a sions ashore, the pervasive boredom on the main deck small harbor for its third port of call en route to its final is stirred by the occasional sound of a small splash as destination in New York City. Perhaps it is a “privateer” jetsam is heaved over the rails and through the scupper ___________ commissioned to ferry much-needed supplies for the Federal army. Having made prior stops in Portland, Opposite Page: Author Joe Baker shows Maine and then Boston the day before, the crew is three of his prizes from the day’s dive. ► eager to once again go ashore and indulge themselves 48 American Digger Magazine Vol. 6, IssueSampler 6 62 2010 American Digger Magazine

Originally Published in Vol 6, Issue 6

It’s a

w a r m J u l y morning and the year is 1862. The War Between the States enters it second year and pitched battles and smaller skirmishes are occurring daily throughout the south. The oppressive summer heat adds misery to exhaustive days for troops on both sides. George McClellan’s Army of the Potomac has held off Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virgina at Malvern Hill for seven days, ending the Peninsula campaign in a stalemate. Now imagine that somewhere just off the coast of Massachusetts a three masted schooner has entered a small harbor for its third port of call enroute to its final destination in New York City. Perhaps it is a “privateer” commissioned to

ferry much needed supplies for the provisions ashore, the pervasive Federal army. Having made prior boredom on the main deck is stirred stops in Portland, Maine and then by the occasional sound of a small Boston the day before, the crew is splash as jetsam is heaved over the eager to once again go ashore and rails and through the scupper holes. indulge themselves at the local tavMoored here for only three days, ern and perhaps make a brief local the ship and its crew will embark acquaintance. for New York leaving behind like Back on board a skeleton crew many others, a few tales in the loremains along with the ships watch cal pub and an unseen field of scatand surgeon. Several of the crew tered debris under the place of her have fallen ill with fever and the temporary berth. ships doctor prescribes a number of Fast forward almost 150 years bottled remedies and extracts. Havlater on a brisk March morning in ing finished off a crock once filled 2010 and a group of local divers is with souring wine, a crew member gathering for breakfast at a convetosses it overboard and challenges nient rendezvous site. With three the accuracy of the quarterdeck boats in tow, enough gear to fill a watch. Missing with several shots, dive shop and a hearty trail mix the stoneware sinks beneath the surand snacks for a surface interval, face to the light chuckle of several our mission today is to descend others about. While the first mate into those debris fields of the past, 2010 American Digger Magazine 49 www.americandigger.com and three hands are busy gatheringNov-Dec essential time capsules on the sea- 63

A few bottles found by the author on one of his dives. A few bottles found by the author on one of his dives.

holes. Moored here for only three days, the ship and its water here is not that deep by recreational standards, 35holes. Moored here for only three days, the ship and its water here is not that deep(FSW) by recreational standards, 35- are a crew will embark for New York, leaving behind, like so 50 feet salt water on average, but drysuits crew will embark foraNew behind, likean so unseen 50 feet must salt water (FSW) on average, buttemperatures drysuits are hovering a many others, few York, tales inleaving the local pub and this time of year with water many others, a few tales in the local pub and an unseen must this time of year with water temperatures hovering field of scattered debris under the place of her tempoaround 37 degrees. field ofrary scattered around 37 degrees. berth. debris under the place of her tempoTo the non-divers reading this, an obvious question rary berth. Fast forward almost 150 years on a brisk March To the non-divers reading an obvious question arises. Why now? Whythis, not wait until summer when the Fastmorning forwardinalmost 150 years on a brisk March arises. Why now? Why not wait until summer when the 2010 and a group of local divers is gathering water warms up a bit? The answer is two-fold. First morning 2010 and aatgroup of local divers is gathering water warms up a bit? The answer is two-fold. First nonforin breakfast a convenient and foremost, the virtual for breakfast at a convenient and foremost, the virtual non- boat rendezvous site. With three existence of recreational rendezvous With threegear to existence of recreational boat boats site. in tow, enough traffic in the harbor this time boats infilltow, enough traffic in this timereduces a dive shop,gear andtoa hearty of the yearharbor significantly fill a dive shop, and a hearty of year significantly reduces trail mix and other snacks for the likelihood of a diver betrail mix and other snacksour formission the likelihood a diver be- surfaca surface interval, ing “runofover” while a surface interval, our mission ing “run over” while surfactoday is to descend into those ing. Although dive flags are today isdebris to descend ing. Although flags ifareI had a fieldsintoofthose the past, required dive by law, debris essentially fields of time the capsules past, requirednickel by law, if I close had aencounon Before and after photos show how a little for every essentially time capsules on nickel for every close encounthe seabed floor. For the sake Beforetender and after photos little duty ter I’ve had with a boater who loving care,show alonghow witha heavy the seabed floor. For thepreservation sake tender loving care, along with heavy duty ter I’veeither had with a boater whoflag or of archaeological didn’t see my cleaning agents, can reverse the effects of archaeological preservation either didn’t see my flag or what let me make it clear thiscleaning is more often didn’t know agents, can100 reverse effects of over years the in the sea. let me not make it clear this more often didn’t knowI’dwhat a shipwreck site.isNor are of over 100 years in the sea. it meant....well, have a lot not a shipwreck site. Nor are to put it meant....well, I’dSecondly, have a lotthe cold there any GPS numbers of nickels! there any GPS numbers to put of nickels! Secondly, colditself to you onto a cache of centurywater generallythe lends you onto cache of centurywater generally itselfintothe abolda relics. Much like metal improvedlends visibility old relics. Much like metal improved visibility in the and ab- plankdetecting in a field you’ve sence of most algae detecting in tried a field you’ve sence ofton, most algae and never before but know although thatplankproposition never tried before but ton, although its proximity to know history, this would that not proposition be sustained on its proximity to history, this would not be sustained is strictly “hit or miss.” The today’s adventure. on is strictly “hit or miss.” today’s adventure. 50 American American Digger The Magazine Vol. Vol. 6, 6, Issue Issue 66 50 Digger Magazine

50 American Digger Magazine Magazine Vol. 6, 6, Issue IssueSampler 50 Digger Vol. 66 64 2010 Digger 64 American 2010 American American Digger Magazine Magazine Sampler

Brian Lawrene’s recoveries from hisBrian first dive. Lawrene’s recoveries

After

After

breakfast, we set out to stabilizer prior to making the trip. She started finetoin stabil breakfast, we setjust out the parking lot eager to the driveway the day before I had fulllot confidence theso parking eager toin the d get back underway. But a its ability in the open water.get Well, it seems the back underway.engine But ain its ab faulty fuel injector in my truck would stall us for over faulty the boat in cahoots thewould enginestall in my this the b fuelwas injector in mywith truck us truck for over a half hour. Now, this crew has assembled before and aday. here we has go again. Of course, was day. half Sure hour.enough, Now, this crew assembled beforeIand experience teaches us that if anything can go wrong experience “in for it” from the rest of the crew..... “Back it down teaches us that if anything can go wrong “in fo with a winter diving trip, it will. Between dive shop with the ramp a little further into the water....And whatever a winter diving trip, it will. Between dive shop the ra owner Dave Labreque, myself, and the others, we have owner you do....Don’t shut the truck off!” I guess I had that Dave Labreque, myself, and the others, we have you d enough spare parts and gear coming. Then after five or six enough spare parts and gear to outfit a whole other diver, unsuccessful starts of the boat to outfit a whole other diver, but issues with the vehicles motor, it was “Whatd’ya do but issues with the vehicles to get us there presents a difto get us there presents a with dif- that starter fluid we used ferent challenge. Fortunately on ferent challenge. Fortunatelythe truck? Get Doug over for me, diver Doug Kato is here for me, diver Doug Kato is again!” Off comes the mechanically inclined. Formechanically inclined. engine For- cover, as we break out ty-five minutes and one can the ty-five minutes and one cantools again. All I can say of starter fluid later we were is thank heavens for starter of starter fluid later we were back underway. We started as fluid. back underway. We started as By now, Tony Dacosta a group and we’ll always finsunbathing over on the ina group and we’ll alwaysisfinish as a group. After another flatable boat and I think I hear ish as a group. After another hour of riding, we arrive at the hour of riding, we arrive athim the say something to the eframp and it’s time to launch fect of “At this rate we’ll be ramp and it’s time to launch the boats. doing a night dive.” the boats. As this was the first time in As this was the first time inWith Simon Liu, Glen the water for the boat this seaDoug Just back from the bottom, the water Glen for theNeto boat this Neto, sea- and Just backmanipulatfrom the botto son, it made sense to change ing all the moving parts shows off two nice recoveries. son, it made sense to change shows offwhile two nice re the plugs and add some fuel just about everything the plugs and add some spraying fuel Nov-Dec 2010 American November-December 2010 AmericanDigger DiggerMagazine Magazine 51 51 www.americandigger.com 65 www.americandigger.com 65

No

Neto holds cently recoveredGlen medicine bottle.a recently recovered medicine bottle.

over

utely quite en it , we e inand ning make k ya

time

ue ta

with starter fluid, itWith wasn’t before shesense turned to take the plunge. fourlong of us, it made to over split (with a little bang) and we were underway. into pairs and, with a quick safety check of our gear, it an you earlyatMarch day, the weather wasthe absolutely wasFor “See the anchor line” and over side we beautiful and, with little to no wind, the seas were quite went. In no time at all we were skimming the bottom for calm. With Simon at the helm, I told him to “open it relics of the past. The vague outline of a unique square up” and run out any buildup in the motor. With that, we edge in the sand reveals an early medicine bottle. Then pulled away from by oura companions underway thebotinanother, followed nice little flask. A small in milk flatable. A short boat ride took us to the general area and tle makes a nice addition to my collection and is gently upon arrival the bag. slower inflatable with thetoremaining placed in myof finds What at first appears be a little three of our group, I just couldn’t resist the urge to make jug with a handle turns out later to be nothing more than light of my earlier mechanical troubles. “What took ya a glass molasses jar. so long?” I said. engine There’s lot of“Whatd’ya nooks and have, crannies heretrouble?” and, although long, the anchors set with and ita was time my Before other half is we nothad all that impressed bunch of

East Bay Dive Center owner Dave Labreque Medicine bottle found by the author and (seated on bow), with divers Tony Dacosta embossed ”Established 1843, Nathan and Doug Kato, discuss strategy. Wood and Son, Portland, ME” 66 American 2010 American American Digger Vol. Magazine Sampler 66 2010 Digger Magazine 52 Digger 66 52 American DiggerMagazine Magazine Vol.6, 6,Issue IssueSampler

to take the plunge. With four of us, it made sense to split into pairs and, with a quick safety check of our gear, it was “See you at the anchor line” and over the side we went. In no time at all we were skimming the bottom for relics of the past. The vague outline of a unique square edge in the sand reveals an early medicine bottle. Then another, followed by a nice little flask. A small milk bottle makes a nice addition to my collection and is gently placed in my finds bag. What at first appears to be a little jug with a handle turns out later to be nothing more than a glass molasses jar. There’s lot of nooks and crannies here and, although my other half is not all that impressed with a bunch of

Medicine bottle found by the author and embossed ”Established 1843, Nathan Wood and Son, Portland, ME”

“I swim ten feet out “I swim ten feet out of the self-induced of the self-induced blackness, eager blackness, eager to glimpse what I to glimpse what I have found: A large have found: A large stoneware crock in stoneware crock in magnificent condition, magnificent condition, preserved for over preserved for over a century by a thick a century by a thick coating of mud.” coating of mud.” stinky bottles, a lobster or two would surely bring a smile to her face after my entire day out with the fellows. But on this dive, it wasn’t meant to be. A few more odds and ends and a check of my air gauge says its time to start heading back to the boat. On the way I see yet another outline in the sand and the ocean gives up one more relic in the form of a little extracts bottle.

Back

on board, we compare our finds. Glen has a hoard of recovered bottles including sodas and a couple of medicines. Simon has a few as well, but Brian Lawrence (a birthday boy today) has fared well with a really nice gin or whiskey flask, several medicines or extracts, and a beautiful aqua green torpedo bottle. The guys on the other boat reported a similar variety. After a 45 minute surface interval boosted with trail mix and some needed fluids, it was time to switch out the tanks and pick a new spot for the second dive. There are many similarities in the various aspects of relic hunting and bottle diving is no different. In this case no one wants to pick the spot in fear of condemnation should it turn out unproductive. So after a few shrugs of the shoulders, we moved about a quarter of a mile away. Uncharted territory for bottle diving is like detecting for relics in an untouched field.

Along with it comes excitement and anticipation of what lies below. Still cold from the last dive, Simon and Brian decide to sit this one out. In a matter of minutes, Glen and I are over the side and making our descent down the anchor line. Within a few minutes, the initial excitement of this new area is quickly wearing off. Using underwater communication known as buddyphones, Glen bellows out “Are ya’ getting anything?” “Not a single thing” is my reply. Cautiously optimistic, we continue on while barely in sight of each other for several hundred yards. Inevitably we are once again separated in the poor visibility, but we can still communicate. I can tell by his comments that Glen is not faring much better than me and now I’m thinking that those guys who sat it out on the boat are going to be glad they did if we surface with empty catch bags. Aside from a barren sandy bottom, the only occasional anomaly is a piece of sunken debris or the remnants of a busted lobster pot. Divers refer to these as “ghost pots.” Getting nothing in the bottle department, I resign myself to picking up a few sand dollars and scallop shells for the kids. With nothing to lose in this seemingly bleak area, I now resort to groping around every little cluster of seaweed in hopes that it may be attached to Nov-Dec 2010 American Digger Magazine www.americandigger.com

53 67

Finding Finding both both good good bottles bottles and and good good dinner dinner on the same dive...can it get any better? on the same dive...can it get any better?

Glen Neto’s recoveries fresh from the dive. Glen Neto’s recoveries fresh from the dive. Careful cleaning is needed for display. Careful cleaning is needed for display. something solid. For the most part, I come up with the shell of a sea clam or scallop. Then I come upon something different, something solid and rounded. Digging with my hands like an excited puppy, I feel a flat edge. This is different.... this is man-made. In my frenzy to dig I have now kicked up a cloud of mud and silt that completely encompasses me. I kneel on my catch-bag so as not to lose it and continue to paw away. I can feel a handle and a spout. I pull with everything I have but the seabed is not willing to give up this relic so easy. I cannot see the hand in front of my face now; this is all by feel. I dig around some more and then gently release this piece from the clutch of its watery grave. Retrieving my catch bag with one hand and holding my find in the other, I swim ten feet out of the self-induced blackness, eager to glimpse what I have found: A large stoneware crock in magnificent condition, preserved for over a century by a thick 54 Digger Magazine Vol. 6, IssueSampler 6 68 American 2010 American Digger Magazine

coating of mud. My feeling of disappointment with this second dive is now completely transformed. In all the excitement I had surely turned myself around at least three times, so I settle to the bottom and re-establish my compass heading. Excitedly I call out to Glen, but he is out of range. Continuing on my course heading back to the boat, another large fixture suddenly comes into view: A cement mass in two separate piles completely out of place in this barren sandy area, something either dumped or jettisoned from a vessel long ago. In between the piles of debris, I spy the distinct claws of a protruding lobster, and then another. Collecting them, I then move around to the other side and, with a little work, out comes a third. The last is not so eager to give up without a fight and tries hard at taking hold of my cold water gloves. Buoyancy control is crucial here so as not to stir up the bottom. With a little more finagling, my catch is taken. While the water has a tendency to magnify everything up to three times its size, a check of my gauge shows all are of legal size. Four lobsters in the bag and a heavy, mud-filled crock make for a fun swim back to the boat. Glen surfaces shortly after and begrudgingly exclaims, “Who picked this spot?”

I ponder for a moment about the last person to have held these these relics relics in in their their hands hands so so long long ago. ago. Wiping Wiping held away some some growth, growth, II can can barely barely read read the the embossing embossing away on one one of of the the small small medicines: medicines: “Established “Established 1843, 1843, on Nathan Wood Wood and and Son, Son, Portland, Portland, ME.” ME.” Nathan

Once

safely back aboard, I peered down at the booty of my combined dives. The day’s labors were indeed worth it. Were these relics lost in a manner somewhat similar to the earlier tale of the three masted schooner? Were they submerged pieces of history last held by men when the Army of the Potomac faced off with the Army of Northern Virginia? Obviously no one can say for sure, but I would certainly like to think so. I ponder for a moment about the last person to have held these relics in their hands so long ago. Wiping away some growth, I can barely read the embossing on one of the small medicines: “Established 1843, Nathan Wood and Son, Portland, ME.” The

stoneware crock is also a real prize. A gentle cleaning to remove the weeds and it will make a fine and historical mantle piece. A long day’s adventure has come to an end. With all divers accounted for, it’s time to head for shore and the journey home. Of course the trip is not complete without a stop for pizza on the way. As we pulled the trailers into the lot, the other guys were hastily coming alongside my window. “Whatever you do,” they shouted, “Don’t shut your truck off or we’ll be having breakfast here tomorrow.” I guess I had that coming, too!

About The Author Joe Baker has been a scuba diver for over 20 years, first with the US Marines and later with the Massachusetts state police. He has also been a metal detectorist for the past eight years, both on land and underwater. Among his memorable moments was finding a 50 year old high school class ring and returning it to the owner.

OLD REBELLION WAR RELICS & MINIATURES (FORMALLY D&M DISPLAY CASE CO.)

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Nov-Dec www.americandigger.com 2010 American Digger Magazine

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VV XXII

DDIV IV XXIII III

IVV DDI

What Whatcould couldbe bemore morefun funthan thanone one Diggin’ Diggin’In InVirginia? Virginia? How Howabout abouttwo twohunts... hunts...

Back to to Back Back Back

I

By Butch Holcombe

magine six days of Civil War relic hunting in two different Federal winter camps, all within a one week time frame. Imagine those hunts producing mass quantities of buttons, bottles, bullets, belt plates, and other miscellaneous relics. Imagine the fun, fellowship, and satisfaction of doing all of this with several hundred friends. Just imagine. Well, you can quit imagining, because it really happened. For the first time in history, two major Diggin’ In Virginia events occurred back to back, thanks to two pieces of prime property becoming available on consecutive weekends. Both areas had been the site of previous events, but both still held plenty of finds. Actually finding those relics, though, was often a challenge because of the highly mineralized soil of the Culpeper, Virginia area where the hunts were held. Thus entered the ace in the hole for the most successful hunters in this “hot” ground: Pulse Induction machines. While not a new technology, these detectors are experiencing a fresh life with their ability to remain virtually unaffected by high ground

th Well Corps badges badges have have been been Well over over aa dozen dozen 66th Corps dug DIV XIII XIII was washeld heldand and dugatatthe the site site where where DIV this The above above badge, badge, this event event was was no no exception. exception. The dug by Scott Walters, is engraved with the dug by Scott Walters, is engraved with the rd name of of George George Whitcomb, name Whitcomb, aa Private Private in in the the 33rd VT Infantry. Infantry. It It was VT was aa short short war war for for Whitcomb, Whitcomb, who enlisted in August 1863 and was killed in in who enlisted in August 1863 and was killed action action only only 10 10 months months later. later.

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mineralization, all the while maintaining a high sensitivity to metal targets. While not traditionally the first choice of relic hunters, this is swiftly changing in areas with “hot” soil. And yes: Culpeper has such soil. In fact, the first hunt (DIV XIII) was originally scheduled as an event for PI detectors only. After careful consideration, it was decided by the hunt committee to allow all types of detectors in order to give everyone an opportunity to attend the event. Not that other more conventional machines didn’t find relics. Many did quite well, often using settings that would not be necessary in more forgiving ground. Others used their detectors and intuition to find hut sites and trash pits, after which their finds were made by slow and careful digging. Another advantage to this type of digging is that non metallic finds surfaced, including lice combs, pieces of uniform, hard rubber buttons, and bottles. And oh, what bottles they were, in all shapes, colors, and sizes.

This grouping, just a portion of the relics recovered by Brian Jones at DIV XIII, might be considered typical of almost any Federal camp, until one notices the Confederate “A” Artillery button at the top center.

Originally Published in Vol 6, Issue 4

Georgia Button found by Dan Lindstrom.

New York and Rhode Island buttons dug by Matt Jennning.

Confederate buckle tongue found by Roland Hankey.

DIV XIII was held a week before DIV XIV at another Culpeper Winter camp. Here, the soil was exceedingly “hot,” a condition that Pulse Induction detectors shine in. Because of that, DIV XIII was originally scheduled to be a hunt only for PI machines, but the rules were later changed to include all types of detectors. All machines were capable of finding relics in this “red dirt,” but it was hard to beat the PI’s. While the soil was a challenge to most detectorists, it was partially because of that “handicap” that so many relics remained in this area...including relics lost by Confederates who were staging for the nearby Battle of Brandy Station. One such relic, a Confederate Infantry “I” button found by Ed Wigart, Jr, is shown above, still resting in the unforgiving soil of Culpeper, VA.

South Carolina Button found by Rodney Cox.

Union Navy button dug by Greg Hornsby.

Carved chess piece/bullet recovered by John Hawkins.

www.americandigger.com 71 Bullets and relics dug by Ed Wigart, Sr. and Ed Wigart, Jr.

Photo by Ed Wigart, Jr.

Backdrop Photo by Ed Wigart, Jr.

Artillery insignia found by Dennis Bjorkland.

Relic grouping dug by Scott Walters.

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At DIV XIV, the pits were opened up on Coles Hill once again. Although over 200 bottles and numerous other artifacts were dug in these holes at a previous event (DIVXII), as shown by these photos there was plenty more left in what is believed by some to be the camp latrines. Clockwise from top: Participants reopen the same holes that previously paid off; hard rubber lice comb found by Steve Strickland; dinner plate, bottle, and pipes found by Roland Frodigh; drum stick holder plate found by Sal Guttuso and Craig Williams; bottles await removal from the bottom of a hole; Virginia button with part of coat recovered by Bill Mikalik; false teeth found by Tom Hohman; US belt plate dug by Robert Smith. For three days diggers swarmed the pits, some of which reached depths of 5 feet before paying off with quantities of artifacts and bottles.

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Photo by John Velke

Phil McCoy and wife Tina (not shown here) got a signal on a ration can and while recovering the target, found a hut site.

AD staff members John Velke (left) and Eric Garland (right) work on a trash pit during a period of inclement weather.

Alex Baliles takes a break from excavating a trash pit. Pit finds were from a couple of feet deep down to five or more.

Charlie Polizzi and Ron Blevins’ hutsite held the remains of two Federal uniform coats, one of which is shown here.

What’s in a hut site? If you are George Semples, that would be an Enfield rifle barrel, shown here still in the soil.

Jim Goode found a thousand years of history in one shovelful of dirt, digging a US buckle with a stone point stuck to it.

Jody Jenkins’ foray into the mud was rewarded with this Confederate frame buckle.

Shane Stump shows off a pair of bottles he had just pulled from the Virginia soil.

Ed Travis stopped by the headquarters tent to show the breastplate he’d just found. July-August 2010 American Digger Magazine 51 www.americandigger.com 73 www.americandigger.com 73

A misconception of recent DIV hunts is that the soil is unbearable throughout the site unless one uses a PI detector. While the soil of the open fields was often a challenge, many learned to cope regardless of the machine they used. The other alternative was to stay in the woods where the soil was much more manageable. The backdrop of this page shows an iron heel plate found by the author just under the surface in the woods. Note the rich dark soil, a direct contrast to the red dirt of the fields.

Photo by John Velke

James Hilty recovered this bayonet scabbard tip along wooded Hansboro Ridge.

Confederate Script “C” Cavalry button dug by Bob Combes in the hardwoods.

This 1856 Gold Dollar was found by Mike Cox below the crest of Cole’s Hill.

Matt Jennings dug this Civil War era New Jersey button, a rarely seen excavated find.

You might think Jim Dew’s finds were typical...then again, the flagstaff point is anything but.

Photo by Mike Cox

Todd Duckworth dug both this early 1800s “USA” button and 1823 dime in the timber.

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A

t the DIV XIV, held in the Hansboro Ridge / Cole’s Hill area, a suspected latrine was reopened after being located at last year’s hunt. Soon, numerous bottles were coming from the hole and by the hunt’s end, the total number from both digs at this hole alone was well over 300 complete Civil War era bottles. Having hunted this site before was an advantage to many, including AD Copy Editor John Velke and myself. As soon as our vehicle arrived at the site, we headed to the pit which he had located last year and I’d helped him dig. Although it seemed my job then was to remove broken glass so John could get the whole bottles, I was thrilled to give it another shot.

DanFrezza, Frezza,who whoalong along with with his his father, Dan father, John, John,were were attending their first DIV, started right: Hisfirst first attending their first DIV, started right: His relic of of the the event event was was this this sword sword belt belt plate. plate. relic

Photo by Dave Beer

A A few few of of the the many many carved carved bullets bullets found found at at DIV DIV XIV. The boot was dug by Michael Voyles, XIV. The boot was dug by Michael Voyles, while while the the other other pieces pieces were were found found by by Brian Brian Collins. Collins.

Even with rare bottles abounding, some still stood out, including this embossed “Leopold Sahl’s Aromatic Stomach Bitters” dug by Dave Beer.

There was only one problem: by the time we arrived, a cold rain had begun falling. Other related problems then arose: I lost my poncho on the walk, along with my gloves, plus I had left my heavy jacket at the vehicle in anticipation of the day turning warmer. It didn’t. Nor should we forget the mud, previously formed by an already wet winter, and re-saturated by the morning’s rain. But it wasn’t all bad. The wet ground made for easy digging and also provided a quick descent to the bottom of the three-foot deep hole we’d dug, as we slid down the steep sides to the bottom, arms and feet flailing during our out-ofcontrol butt-slides. To alleviate the problem of the pit becoming a makeshift swimming hole,

(Left-right): Collar iron found by Greg Heath; canteens dug from one hole by Greg Davison; embossed “turtle” inkwell recovered from a dry wash creek bed by Jim Reynolds. July-August 2010 American Digger Magazine

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Photo by Mike Palmer.

A good sampling of the artifacts left behind in the winter camps are shown here. Pit finds made by Louis Bird (above left); Surface finds made by Mike Palmer (above right). John rigged a tarp over it, which he occasionally drained by pulling down the corner directly over my trouser cleavage every time I bent over to dig. John quickly recovered a nice intact whisky bottle, as I worked for 30 minutes to extract another seemingly intact whisky (only to find out the top was missing) followed by a champaign bottle that was complete at least, it was complete until I started digging it. Disgusted, wet, and cold, I pulled myself from the hole, using one of the saplings which supported the tarp, which in turn drained the standing water once again down the back of my pants. It was then that I decided to surface hunt, for I had a secret weapon: a Garrett Infinium PI detector. But nature had an even more powerful weapon: 30 mph Arctic winds which greeted me as soon as I stepped from the woods. As I tried to dig the targets using a metal Predator tool which seemed to be freezing to my bare flesh, the rain became more steady, the cold more biting, and my morale sunk even lower. By 3 PM, I had returned to our vehicle, hoping to only get dry and warm...or at the very

Single shot pistol found by American Digger Magazine’s Eric Garland.

Confederate Cavalry “C” button, recovered by Reese Simon.

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least, to die in relative comfort. The next morning, though, was a different story. The day dawned crisp and clear, and I headed to a new section of ground. Here, there were signals galore, and I joined in the masses as they dug bullets and Eagle buttons by the dozens. The previous day, Dan Frezza’s first relic of the hunt, found on this hillside, was a sword belt plate. Several other plates were found here by others, as were a myriad of gun tools, poncho grommets, and gun parts. But the real excitement was in the hut sites. I stopped long enough to watch Rafael Elridge assist George Semples in recovering a musket barrel from one such hut. Oddly enough, a percussion cap was attached to the nipple, even though the muzzle had been bent into a u-shape. Although it likely was being used as a hanger or pot hook, it made me think back to the Bugs Bunny cartoons in which that sly rabbit bent Elmer Fudd’s gun barrel around to unwittingly aim at his rear regions, creating a swelf infwicted wump wound. Wascally Webels!

Forget the Corps Badge they found. Forget the breastplate. Real talent is being able to incorporate the ever-present square nails into a display, as Rob Langdon and Larry Phillips have done here.

Craig Williams seems to be able to find good bottles no matter where he digs. Of course, a glass-rich site like the one that DIV XIV was held on makes it much easier to locate them.

I also watched Phil and Tina McCoy dig out a pit which they had located after hearing a deep ration can while surface hunting. Several bottles already lined the dirt piles around its perimeter. These pits were originally part of small shacks built by the soldiers, with log (or lumber) walls and canvas roofs. Outside, these only stood a few feet tall, but digging out the floor provided extra headroom and warmth. A fireplace was built on one end, usually mud chinked stones with a wooden barrel at the top. Now nothing on the surface remains of these structures, but it is the filled-in sub floors that hold the goodies. This is what the McCoys and others were excavating. Another pit yielded the remains of a uniform, buttons still attached to the rotting cloth. The ground here that is so challenging to hunt seems to preserve such items, and in some pits the remains of shoe leather, cloth, and

tarred knapsack canvas could be seen. To tell of every great find I saw at this event would fill volumes, so we must let the photos tell the rest. Even they can only show just a small portion of the finds, nor can they relay the excitement of seeing piles of relics come from the soil. Neither can photos convey the thrill of discovering that an “iffy” signal was a rare button, the camaraderie of sharing that feeling with friends in the field, or the mixture of contentment and a desire to do more digging after taking a break to eat the complimentary Sunday barbecue and view the countless relics displayed on a flatbed trailer beside the headquarters tent. No, there is only one way to experience all of that: attend the next DIV. But until that time, this article will have to suffice.

In addition to numerous finds and old friends, there are three more things that have become staples at most DIV events: The A-Way Outdoors TV crew filming a future episode; the traditional Sunday DIV BBQ; and American Digger Magazine. Which is better? Come on...even we admit that you can’t beat good barbecue! July-Augustwww.americandigger.com 2010 American Digger Magazine 7755

Our Mission: To visit American Digger readers across the nation, attempting to find at least one historical artifact from every state in the Union.

W

Connecticut

finest. hen we were invited to visit Connecticut Our host on this trip was Jerry Burr and his wife, for AD On The Road, we were told to exLaura, who not only put us up in their house but also pect to find Colonial items. As this state was provided home cooking. During first settled by Europeans in the the day, we were taken to sites 1630s, and was one of the origithat not only were beautiful but nal 13 Colonies, it made sense productive. This is what AD on to me that we would find a few the Road is all about: good felcivilian flat buttons, an old coin lowship, good food, good finds. or two (maybe a large cent if we This was part of a three state really got lucky), and the usual jaunt organized for us by Kim house junk. But as this is among “Streak” Cox, and our hats are the densest states in terms of size off to him for his work. Not that versus population, I expected that the sites weren’t good to him, few visible traces would remain too: I can say with certainty that of the early Colonial settlements. It turns out that I was wrong on Host Jerry Burr searches near when it comes to large cents and the first cellar hole of the day, Indian Head pennies, Streak and most counts. A lot of buttons which dated to the mid 1700s. his Fisher F-75 LTD is a virtual were found, including a couple coin vacuum. The man is good. with military orientation, several Also joining us was Dennis nice, early coins, and the house Bjorklund, no slouch himself junk? It seemed to be mostly no when it comes to finding coins later than the mid 1800s, with and artifacts. It didn’t take me most considerably older. long to discover the best stratAs to visible traces, I was egy for digging success: don’t treated to hunting around stone waste time hunting behind walls, foundations, and cellar Streak, Dennis, or Jerry. holes in gorgeous expanses of But there are also other good hardwoods. While some sections hunters in Connecticut, and of the state are densely popuunfortunately the first site had lated and urbanized (a brief stop been pounded before our arin Waterbury, where the former rival. Streak managed to find a once-proud button factory now Hunted or not, Kim “Streak” sits abandoned and covered in Cox seems to be able to pull up silver Reale by putting his machine in boost and calling on the gang graffiti, indeed saddened an early coin at most Colonial coin gods once again, but otherme), the Western section we were sites. This Reale was found at wise the ground seemed barren in had avoided the same fate, and the first cellar hole we visited. of good targets. After an hour, provided Colonial detecting at its 56 American Digger Magazine Vol. 6, IssueSampler 2 78 2010 American Digger Magazine

Dennis Bjorklund shows an 1860s Eagle Infantry button he’d just dug, an unexpected find at the Connecticut site. we moved on. At the next site, according to Jerry, over a hundred early British and Colonial coppers had been unearthed over the years by him and his friends. Of course, such a site also gets its share of hunting pressure, and he warned us that finds might be scarce. But the up side was that this area was huge, and had once held several large houses and barns, judging from the stone foundations, cellar holes, and old roads that broke up the beautiful hardwood landscape. Like all early settlers, the inhabitants of Connecticut dealt with the hardships and obstacles of life, turning them into an advantage when possible. In this part of the country, stones proved a formidable foe to those who lived here, and before a field was plowed, or a house built, the boulders must be moved. Thus, these rocks were liberally used as building materials in fences, walls, houses and barns. After a few finds by all of us, I saw Dennis approaching, his fist clinched and a big grin on his

Butch Holcombe works an old roadbed at a site that has yielded over 100 Colonial era “coppers”.

Jerry holds a Colonial stirrup he found on the first day.

face. In digger body language, this means “good find.” Still grinning, he said, “It’s nothing spectacular, but I was surprised to dig it!” Then he opened his hand to reveal a near perfect 1860s Eagle I Infantry button, its gilt still visible through the soil adhered to it. Dennis and I had both spent several days beforehand digging in Virginia for Civil War relics, so to find one so far from the “front” was a true surprise. The house occupation here seemed to be from the late 1700s to mid 1800s, and we could only surmise a Federal soldier home on leave during the War had lost it. The day’s last stop was a large homesite near a creek crossing,

(Above) Cut 8-Reale and sportsman button dug by our host at a site where Kim “Streak” Cox had previously dug a Colonial coin cache (right). March-April 2010 American Digger Magazine www.americandigger.com

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(Left) Jerry Jerry Burr Burrdisplays displaysaaKing King (Left) George copperhe’d he’djust justdug, dug,while while George copper (right) Dennis DennisBjorkland Bjorklandholds holds (right) a 1700s 1700s tombac tombacbutton buttonhe hehad had recovered moments momentsbefore. before.Both Both recovered finds were were made madeat atwhat whatwas wasonce once a large large housesite. housesite.Note Notethe theoriginal original stone stone wall wall in inthe thebackground. background. wherethe theprevious previous season season Streak Streak had finds, wewe retired to our rooms, alsoalso where had dug dug seven seven SpanSpan- and andlooking lookingover overour our finds, retired to our rooms, ish Reales and two coppers in one hole. This house had kindly provided by the Burr family. The next morning ish Reales and two coppers in one hole. This house had kindly provided by the Burr family. The next morning forfor another site. Located stoodfrom fromthe thelate late1700s 1700s until until the the early foundususononthe theroad roadheaded headed another site. Located stood early 1900s, 1900s,and andthus thus found had its share of “modern” trash. Still, nothing before between two subdivisions, this was the closest to urban had its share of “modern” trash. Still, nothing before between two subdivisions, this was the closest to urban about1910 1910was wasdug, dug, and and most most finds finds seemed holes thatthat I’d I’d yet yet about seemed to to be befrom from infringement infringementofofthetheColonial Colonialcellar cellar holes theearlier earlieroccupation. occupation. seen. large cellar holes andand the seen.The Thesite siteconsisted consistedofoftwo two large cellar holes Most finds. In fact, the only definite 1900s find was a stone fence, and I could almost visualize the family Most finds. In fact, the only definite 1900s find was a stone fence, and I could almost visualize the family made by yours truly: a 1907 V-nickle. A decent find, for that once lived here, the children playing in the yard, made by yours truly: a 1907 V-nickle. A decent find, for that once lived here, the children playing in the yard, sure, but not exactly what we had in mind at a site with the men coming back from a sucessfull hunt, and the sure, but not exactly what we had in mind at a site with the men coming back from a sucessfull hunt, and the much earlier potential. As if to rub it in, Jerry dug both women stoking the cooking fires in preparation of the much earlier potential. As if to rub it in, Jerry dug both women stoking the cooking fires in preparation of the a English “King George” copper and half of an Eight evening meal. Times may have been simpler then, but a Reale. EnglishThe “King copper and half of an Eight evening meal. Times may hugeGeorge” silver coin lifehave wasbeen alsosimpler much then, morebut Reale. Theinhuge silver Concoin life was also much more glittered the bright difficult. glittered the bright difficult. necticut in sunshine, but aConlater Even though this site had necticut sunshine, but a later site had inspection showed traces of also Even been though hunted this regularly inspection showed traces been hunted copper in the cut, the sign of of byalso detectorists, thereregularly was copper in the cut, the the signjury of by detectorists, there a counterfeit. While plenty left in the rocky soil.was a iscounterfeit. the jury plenty left in the rocky soil. still out onWhile it, counterfeits iswere still common out on it,during counterfeits the earwere common during they the early 1800s. No matter, are lya 1800s. No today matter, they are great find and reflect a criminal endeavour in our a great find today and reflect thatinis our not a country’s criminal heritage endeavour often spoke of. that is not country’s heritage That night, often spoke of.we were treated toThat the night, best lasagna I’ve ever we were treated The counter stamped large cent had, homemade by Laura. to the best lasagna I’ve ever by Butch Holcombe. Thedug counter stamped large cent Afterhomemade filling ourbystomachs had, Laura. dug by Butch Holcombe. 58 American Digger Magazine Vol. 6, IssueSampler 2 80 2010 Digger Magazine After fillingAmerican our stomachs

Kim “Streak” Cox Cox Kim Kim “Streak” “Streak” Cox shows a few few of of the the shows shows a a few of the finds he made on finds finds he he made made on on the second day. At At the the second second day. day. At right is is an an early early right right is an early 1800s artillery 1800s 1800s artillery artillery button. button. button.

Likesubs? subs?Be Besure sureto tostop stopin inhere herefor for Like Like subs? Be sure to stop in here for a Godfather...a deal you can’t refuse! a a Godfather...a Godfather...a deal deal you you can’t can’t refuse! refuse!

Within minutes, III had hadfound foundaaavery veryearly earlypewter pewterbutton, button, Within Within minutes, minutes, had found very early pewter button, and within a couple of hours, we had all made some and and within within aa couple couple of of hours, hours, we we had had all all made made some some good finds, including including aaa worn worn 1700s 1700sConnecticut ConnecticutPenny Penny good good finds, finds, including worn 1700s Connecticut Penny dug by Jerry. Jerry.IIIalso alsomade madeaaagood goodfind: find:aaacounter counterstamped stamped dug dug by by Jerry. also made good find: counter stamped 1856 Large Cent, my first. 1856 1856 Large Large Cent, Cent, my my first. first. For those unfamiliar with the the practice, practice, counter counter For those unfamiliar For those unfamiliar with with the practice, counter stamping was the the process process in in which which aaa merchant merchantwould would stamping stamping was was the process in which merchant would stamp his name or slogan into a coin, usually a penny. stamp stamp his his name name or or slogan slogan into into aa coin, coin, usually usually aa penny. penny. Although mine is is indecipherable, indecipherable, ititit still still represents represents aaa Although Although mine mine is indecipherable, still represents tradition which fell fell by by the the waywaytradition tradition which which fell by the wayside as other other forms forms of of advertisadvertisside side as as other forms of advertising and hold. ing and marketing marketing took took hold. hold. But the best find here was an an But the best find here was was an early 1800s artillery early 1800s one-piece one-piece artillery artillery button found To say say button found by by Streak. Streak. To To say the button button was was nice nice would would be be an the be an an understatement, for glisunderstatement, for itit fairly fairly glisglistened with militened with gilt. gilt. As As no no other other milimili-

taryitems itemswere weredug dughere, here,aaaguess guesscan canbe beventured venturedthat that tary tary items were dug here, guess can be ventured that thebutton buttonwas waslost lostby byeither eitheraaavisitor visitoror familymember member the the button was lost by either visitor ororfamily family member who happened to be in the armed forces. who who happened happened to to be be in in the the armed armed forces. forces. While our evening meals were providedby byJerry Jerryand and While While our our evening evening meals meals were were provided provided by Jerry and hiswife, wife,on onthe theway wayto ourfinal finalsite, site,II Ialso alsostumbled stumbled his his wife, on the way totoour our final site, also stumbled upon a great lunch eatery: The Bronx Deli. I’m sucker upon upon aa great great lunch lunch eatery: eatery: The The Bronx Bronx Deli. Deli. I’m I’m aaasucker sucker forgood goodsubs, subs,so soIIIordered orderedthe the“Godfather,” “Godfather,”aaamix mixof for for good subs, so ordered the “Godfather,” mix ofof Italian meats and cheeses. Not the half-sub; no, not Italian Italian meats meats and and cheeses. cheeses. Not Not the the half-sub; half-sub; no, no, not not me! I got the full sandwich. For about $7, I was able me! me! II got got the the full full sandwich. sandwich. For For about about $7, $7, II was was able able to toto eatlunch lunchfor fortwo twodays. days.That, That,my myfriends, friends,is bigsub. sub. eat eat lunch for two days. That, my friends, isisaaabig big sub. After the lunch, we headed for the last stop of the After After the the lunch, lunch, we we headed headed for for the the last last stop stop of of the the day.This Thisrequired requiredaaawalk walkdown downan anold oldroadbed roadbedwhich which day. day. This required walk down an old roadbed which waslike likewalking walkingback backin time.We Weparked parkedat anabanabanwas was like walking back inintime. time. We parked atatan an abandoned shack and rundown modoned doned shack shack and and rundown rundown momobilehome, home,and andthen thenproceeded proceededto bile bile home, and then proceeded toto walkaaahalf halfmile mileinto intothe thedistant distant walk walk half mile into the distant past. While the exact identity past. While the exact identity past. While the exact identity of ofof thesettlement settlementis nowaaamystery, mystery, the the settlement isisnow now mystery, it consisted of several houses itit consisted consisted of of several several houses houses andat leasttwo twolarge largecommercommerand and atatleast least two large commercialstructures. structures.Now Nowthese thesewere were cial cial structures. Now these were nothing but piles of stones, celnothing but piles of stones, celnothing but piles of stones, cel-

Once Onceaaathriving thriving Once thriving settlement, only settlement, only onlytraces traces settlement, traces remain remainof ofthis, this,the thelast last remain of this, the last stop stopof of our ourConnecticut Connecticut stop of our Connecticut hunt. Shown hunt. Shown (left-right) hunt. Shown (left-right) (left-right) is isaaalarge largecellar cellarhole, hole,aaa is large cellar hole, walled roadbed, walled and walled roadbed, roadbed,and andaaa stepping-stone stepping-stone into stepping-stoneinto into the the past. thepast. past. March-April 59 March-April 2010 American Digger Magazine 5959 March-April2010 2010 American AmericanDigger DiggerMagazine Magazine81 www.americandigger.com

Althoughthe thesite sitehad had Although Although the site had beenhunted huntedbefore, before, been been hunted before, thelast laststop stopof of the the last stop of the the tripyielded yieldedplenty plentyof of trip trip yielded plenty of targets.(Left) (Left) Streak targets. targets. (Left) Streak Streak holds some ofhis hisfinds, finds, holds some of holds some of his finds, includingan an odd“star” “star” including including an odd odd “star” button.At At rightare are button. button. At right right more are some of Butch’s some of more some of Butch’s Butch’s more common finds. common finds. common finds. lar holes, holes, and and in in one onecase, case,aacut cutstepsteplar larping holes, and in one case, a cut stepstone leading leadingfrom fromthe theroad roadand and ping stone ping stone leading from the road and into nothingness. into nothingness. into nothingness. Although this thisarea areahad hadseen seensome some Although Although this area had seen some hunting pressure pressureover overthe theyears yearsfrom from hunting hunting pressure over the years from local metal detectorists, it was still local metal detectorists, it was still local metal detectorists, it was still loaded with good targets. targets. Ourfinds finds loaded with good Our loaded with good targets. Our finds ranged from from the the mid mid1700s 1700sup upto tothe the ranged ranged from the mid 1700s up to the late 1800s, after which it appears late 1800s, after which it appears latethat 1800s, after it appears that the area area waswhich abandoned. large the was abandoned. AAlarge that the area was abandoned. A large aged and and overgrown overgrown pond pond sat sat nearnearaged by, and I found myself wondering aged and overgrown pond sat nearby, and I found myself wondering ifif hadI been been here backwondering then. IfIf so, so,ifII by,ititand foundhere myself had back then. can understand why the buildings it had here back If so, I can been understand why then. the buildings sprang up on onthe the hillsides whichsursurup hillsides cansprang understand why the which buildings rounded it. the hillsides which surrounded it. sprang up on Among the earliest earliest items items found found Among rounded it. the here wasthe pewter religious medalhere was aa pewter religious Among earliest items medalfound lion, which recovered inmedalan area area lion, which II recovered in an here was a pewter religious between two prominent stone founbetween two prominent stone founlion, which I recovered in an area between two prominent stone foun-

dations. Judging Judging from from the the matematedations. dations. Judging from the material and design of the artifact, not rial and design of the artifact, not rial and design of the artifact, not mentionthe thedeteriorated deterioratedcondiconditotomention to mention thethat deteriorated tion, suspect datestotocondition, I Isuspect that ititdates nono tion, I suspect that it dates to laterthan than1800, 1800,and andpossibly possiblytotoa ano later laterearlier than 1800, and possibly to a much earlier era.Although Although now much era. ititisisnow much earlier era. Although it is now hard makeout outonon thecrumbling crumbling hard totomake the hard toaamake out the crumbling pewter, heartcan canon seen below pewter, heart bebeseen below pewter, a heart can be seen cross,and andwhat whatappears appearstotobebelow bea a aacross, a cross, and what appears to be wreath around the border. Was an a wreath around the border. Was ititan item carried anearly earlymissionmissionwreath around the border. Was it an item carried bybyan ary, maybe trade item forone oneofof item carried by an early missionary, maybe a atrade item for the many Native American Indians ary, maybe a trade item for one of the many Native American Indians who inhabited thearea area verylong long the inhabited many Native American Indians who the sosovery Thispewter pewtermedallion medallion This ago? Or was it carried much later ago? was it carried later whoOr inhabited the areamuch so very long is embossed with a is embossed with a This pewter medallion by a priest or even a Sunday School by a priest or even a Sunday School ago? Or was it carried much later cross overaaheart. heart. While cross over While is embossed with a student? While thejury still out student? While the isisstill out by a priest or even ajury Sunday School itsexact exactaorigins origins are its cross over heart.are While on on it, I suspect the former, as it, I suspect anan student? Whilethe theformer, jury is as still out unknown, it is thought to unknown, it is thought to its exact origins are 1800s pewter spoon handle was 1800s pewter spoon handle was on it, I suspect the former, as an dateno nolater later than 1800. date 1800. unknown, it isthan thought to found found nearby muchmore more solid inina aspoon much solid 1800snearby pewter handle was condition. date no later than 1800. condition. found nearby in a much more solid Thatevening, evening,after aftera abrief briefcleancleanThat condition. up and and aevening, a hot hot cup cupafter we up ofofcoffee, we That acoffee, brief cleanthanked our gracious hosts and once thanked our gracious hosts and once up and a hot cup of coffee, we againhit hitthe theroad. road.We Wehad hadsought soughtout out again thanked our gracious hosts and once early earlyAmerica, America,and andwe wehad hadfound founditit again hit the road. We had sought out here hereininConnecticut. Connecticut.We Wefound foundititinin early America, and we had found it the theform formofofColonial Colonialartifacts, artifacts,stone stone here in Connecticut. We found it in ruins, ruins,forgotten forgottenroads, roads,and andverbal verbal the form of Colonial artifacts, stone history historyshared sharedbybyJerry. Jerry. ruins, forgotten roads, and new verbal Above all, Above all, I I had had found found new If If anything anything can can be be called called aa typical typicalcellar cellarhole holefind, find,itit historyinin shared by Jerry. friends new places while redisfriends new places while rediswould would be be flat flat buttons. buttons. Above Aboveleft: left:these thesewere weredug dugby by Above all, I had found Ifhost anything can be called a typical cellar hole find, it covering America’s past. That, II covering America’s past. That,new Jerry Burr during our trip at one site. Also shown host Jerry Burr during our trip at one site. Also shown friends in new places while rediswould be flat buttons. Above left: these were dug by mussed to myself, is the essence of mussed to myself, is the essence of are are aa pewter pewter spoon spoon bowl bowl and and aaworn worn1700s 1700scopper coppercoin. coin. covering That, our hobby. That essence ofof I host Jerry Burr during our trip at one site. Also shown our hobby.America’s Thatisisthe thepast. essence But other finds are made, even beyond the Colonial But other finds are made, even beyond the Colonial mussed to myself, isthe the essence of Digger ononthe Road. arecoins a pewter spoonafter bowlby and a worn 1700s copper coin. American American Digger Road. so Connecticut diggers. AAgood coins so sought sought after by Connecticut diggers. good our hobby. That is the essence of But other is finds made, musket even beyond theassembly, Colonial example complete flintlock example is this thisare complete musket flintlock assembly, American Digger on the Road. coinsfound so sought after by months Connecticut diggers. A good by aa few our found by Jerry Jerry few monthsbefore before ourarrival. arrival. example is this complete musket flintlock assembly, 60 Digger Magazine Vol. 22 60 American American Digger Magazine Vol.6, 6,Issue IssueSampler 82 2010 American Digger Magazine found by Jerry a few months before our arrival.

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83

News-N-Views

Reports And Commentaries On The Issues That Affect The Hobby by Mark Schuessler Dredge Bill in Signed Positive Results Florida

CA: AAmetal bill todetecting temporarily all dredging California FL: banhalt in Clay County,inFlorida has was signed by Just the Governor on August 6, 2009. There been averted. before Labor Day, 2009, a notice were high in hopes he section would veto SB 670 he has done appeared the that legal of the localas newspaper. to public similarhearing bills in was the past. of emails, A to beTens heldofonthousands a proposal to ban letters, faxes, phone calls, and specially distributed detecting on all county property. The meeting waspostjust were sentThe to theFederation Governor, of butMetal had noDetector effect. and acards week away. Dredging was previously allowed by permit. This Archaeological Clubs (FMDAC) was notified and went billwork. suspends all to present permits and stops the failed issuance to Emails the county commissioners to of new ones until study is get any replies as toantheenvironmental reason for theimpact proposed law. completed. Thiswas is scheduled bethe finished by early 2011. One late reply received to that commissioner was Theinunknown is where and and if any willnot be not favor of factor banning detecting an dredging apology for allowed after that.Apparently, the email was tagged as replying sooner. ThisThe whole dealwebsite is statedwas to bemonitored for the protection of fish spam. county and FMDAC and water quality. Apparently, it in was brought corresponded with several people theoriginally area giving them on by lawsuit from the Karuk tribe. As I have read it, tips of ahow to proceed. the problem the fish to doordnance with dredging The meetingwith agenda andhas thenothing proposed were and everything to doonly with athe Karuk finally posted. With few days,tribe and using those fishing being methods illegal to the general public (along with serious on The bottom line little is that environmentalists aoverfishing.) holiday weekend, there was time to act. Notices along sent with Indian gambling money bought The were out across the country askingthis forlaw. emails next dredgers from to an Indian to betime sentany immediately. TheCalifornia meeting go took place on casino, remember thatpm, you are helping to detectorists finance the September 8, at 2:00 preventing many defeatattending of your own from due hobby. to their jobs. The proposal that was As to water I fail tochanged see howdrastically that can be aforiginally postedquality, was actually prior fected by temporarily stirring up what is already part of to the meeting. the streams. In addition, it has that dredging Commissioner Robinson, the been one proven commissioner who removes of lead (such as fishing sinkers)detecting. and even sent emaila lot replies, was opposed to banning mercury thatthehascommittee been sitting the river. Additionally, He was on thatinwent over the proposal it seems unexplainable state in even such amaking dire finanand was responsible forthat the achanges, one cial situation pass ahearing. law thatTwo willpeople actuallyopposing hurt the change right atwould the public economy. An impact was addressing requested bydetectorists’ the Goverthe ban spoke at thestudy hearing, nors office. That study showedrefuting a loss of statements 60 million dollars concerns and diplomatically made per year if this passes. previously by alaw county employee. This law to only affect They also letappears those attending knowstate that lands. peopleFederally all over controlled as Forest Service lands should not the countrylands were such watching this meeting. be affected now. on Various prospecting organizations This was all for brought by a few bad apples. A county are regrouping to determine their nextcopies moves.from The plans employee spoke and distributed ebay include actively taking part inwere the EIR showing items that he stated dug (Environmental from a county Impact Report) insure that it another is donehistorical properly,site on historical site. Hetoalso mentioned schedule and detected. with no funny A challenge to that had been Those business. are legitimate concerns, this he lawdid is being mounted in Federal court, citing federal but get off track talking about private property statutes that specifically applycemeteries. to the prohibition and gravestones missing from I expected of a unreasonable pertaining to spoke miningbut onshe public problem whenlaws an archaeologist waslands. very

84

2010 American Digger Magazine Sampler

reserved. IPositive commend Results her in thatinshe stated she was not Florida against metal detecting in general, but rather detecting at FL: A metal detecting ban in Clay County, Florida has been county historical sites. averted. Just before Labor Day, 2009, a notice appeared in She showed a level of respect for our hobby that is rarely the legal section of the local newspaper. A public hearing exhibited from that side of the aisle. You can watch the was to be held on a proposal to ban detecting on all county meeting The on the county website at claycountygov.com. property. meeting was just a week away. The Federation Did our emails have an effect? one of Metal Detector and ArchaeologicalYES! Clubs Later, (FMDAC) commissioner stated that he didn’t know there were that was notified and went to work. Emails to the county many detectorists around theany country. you commissioners failed to get repliesThe as next to thetime reason see a notice to send an email, then please act. A potential for the proposed law. One late reply was received that the ban could be coming neighborhood next! commissioner was nottoinyour favor of banning detecting and (Volume 6, Issue 6) an apology for not replying sooner. Apparently, the email was tagged as________________________ spam. The county website was monitored and FMDAC corresponded with several people in the area Carolina Anti Relic Hunting Bill givingSouth them tips of how to proceed. SC: There’s a new law in South every person The meeting agenda and the Carolina proposedthat ordinance were who swings metalonly detector bethose awarebeing of. The finally posted.a With a fewneeds days,toand on thrust of the law dealswas with trespassing. However, amain holiday weekend, there little time to act. Noticesit goes sent a bit out beyond that. could easily someone were across theItcountry askingentangle for emails to be who has no ill intent. Here is the meat of the bill that sent immediately. The meeting took place on September passed the legislature: 8, at 2:00 pm, preventing many detectorists from attending “To amend the code of that lawswas of originally South Carolina, due to their jobs. The proposal posted 1976, by adding section 16-11-780 so as to provide was actually changed drastically prior to the meeting. that it is unlawful to wilfully, knowingly, or maliciously Commissioner Robinson, the one commissioner who sent enter replies, upon thewas posted landstoofbanning anotherdetecting. or the state and email opposed He was investigate, disturb, or excavate a prehistoric or historic on the committee that went over the proposal and was site for the for purpose of discovering, uncovering, moving, responsible the changes, even making one change right removing, attempting to remove an archaeological at the publicorhearing. resource; to provide penalties remedies; Two people opposing the ban and spokecivil at the hearing, and adto provide exceptions.” The question is why? There are dressing detectorists’ concerns and diplomatically refutalready trespassing on the books so why employee. is another ing statements madelaws previously by a county one needed? The answer is simple. It is not really aimed They also let those attending know that people all over the at trespassing, but rather an indirect attack on the relic country were watching this meeting. hunting community, juston another shotbad at making This was all brought by a few apples. itAtougher county to swing aspoke detector. But you may ask,from sinceebay it deals with employee and distributed copies showing lawbreakers, what’s the problem? items that he stated were dug from a county historical site. Whymentioned is someone trespassing withsite a metal detector He also another historical that had been any different withhea did fishing detected. Thosethen are someone legitimatetrespassing concerns, but get pole, a gun, a camera, ATV or evenand a frisbee? Why off track talking about dog, private property gravestones did theyfrom not cemeteries. include those items inathe new law? missing I expected problem when It’s an simple. It wasspoke written by archaeologists as aI back door archaeologist but she was very reserved. commend assault on she the stated relic hunting To be detecting perfectly her in that she wascommunity. not against metal blunt, if you are trespassing, you are in the wrong. You in general, but rather detecting at county historical sites. are breaking lawofand bringing discredit theishobby. She showed athe level respect for our hobby to that rarely You should never on someone’s exhibited from that knowingly side of the relic aisle. hunt You can watch the propertyon without their website permission. If caught, you deserve meeting the county at claycountygov.com. to be Didprosecuted. our emails have an effect? YES! Later, one Here is stated the problem. How know manythere of were us have commissioner that he didn’t that unintentionally over a property line?time Maybe many detectoristswandered around the country. The next you youajust didn’t see the line orthen it was not act. marked in any see notice to send an email, please A potential discernible Or you became twisted around ban could beway. coming to your neighborhood next!and went in the wrong direction. Maybe you just plain became lost. I am guilty on all counts. Most all of us are. Even though Opinions and research expressed in this column are those of the author that and not you necessarily those“wilfully, of American Digger. the bill states must knowingly, or March-April 2010 American Digger Magazine

61

maliciously enter upon the posted lands of another,” how is one to prove otherwise? You are standing there with detector and digging tool in hand. You may have relics in your pouch and you may have just been seen digging a relic. The problem is that you were unaware that you wandered off the property that nyou had permission to be on. Do you really think that “innocent until proven guilty” will apply? Sorry, but that caveat has been gone from our legal system for many years and it does not seem to have ever applied to relic hunters. A first offense is a misdemeanor and could cost you a thousand dollars and/or a year in jail. Number two will get you a fine determined by the court and /or three years in jail. A third is a felony bringing a fine and possible five years in jail. In addition your gear and vehicle are forfeited. The landowner can also bring a civil action to recover the greater of the archaeological resource’s archaeological value or commercial value, and the cost of restoration and repair of the site, plus attorney’s fees and court costs. Compare those penalties to the standard penalties for trespassing: “Every entry upon the lands of another where any horse, mule, cow, hog or any other livestock is pastured, or any other lands of another, after notice from the owner or tenant prohibiting such entry, shall be a misdemeanor and be punished by a fine not to exceed one hundred dollars, or by imprisonment with hard labor on the public works of the county for not exceeding thirty days.” The law does state that it is for “posted” land. From the bill: “Posted lands’ means lands where an owner or tenant has complied with the notice or warning requirement which must either be posted or given to an offender pursuant to Section 16-11-600.” It appears that any defense would have to center around the property not being marked properly. However, according to the aforementioned section of South Carolina law, the requirements for marking are pretty lax: “When any owner or tenant of any lands shall post a notice in four conspicuous places on the borders of such land prohibiting entry thereon, a proof of the posting shall be deemed and taken as notice conclusive against the person making entry, as aforesaid, for the purpose of trespassing.” So if someone has a 100 acre tract and has posted four notices somewhere, apparently you are responsible for seeing one of those. It may be 500 feet from where you crossed the line in a heavily wooded area. My only thought entails that the defense would have to be predicated on what constitutes a “conspicuous” posting when considering a wooded or overgrown area. Notice that state property is also covered so be very careful if you are hunting near state property where detecting is not allowed. You can bet that the state will “recover” the maximum amount possible for archaeological and

commercial value and the cost of restoration and repair of the site. H4129 was first introduced in June of 2009. The bill was breezing through the legislature with no opposition until the relic hunting community got wind of it. Then the emails and phone calls began to hit the legislator’s offices. So many were received that a public hearing was scheduled as a direct result of the relic hunting communities input. I would like to report that it did some good but unfortunately our concerns fell on deaf ears and the bill passed by a wide margin (101-2). It was signed by the governor on 6-11-10 and became effective immediately. At some point, this misguided law will ensnare someone who is guilty of nothing but accidentally crossing a property line. We will then see just what the framers of this thing intended. Is it really to stop those who are intentionally trespassing or will it be used to drop the hammer on any relic hunter no matter how innocent the action? (Volume 6, Issue 2) Opinions and research expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of American Digger.

www.americandigger.com

85

News-N-Views

Reports And Commentaries On The Issues That Affect The Hobby by Mark Schuessler Dredge Bill in Signed Positive Results Florida

CA: AAmetal bill todetecting temporarily all dredging California FL: banhalt in Clay County,inFlorida has was signed by Just the Governor on August 6, 2009. There been averted. before Labor Day, 2009, a notice were high in hopes he section would veto SB 670 he has done appeared the that legal of the localas newspaper. to public similarhearing bills in was the past. of emails, A to beTens heldofonthousands a proposal to ban letters, faxes, phone calls, and specially distributed detecting on all county property. The meeting waspostjust were sentThe to theFederation Governor, of butMetal had noDetector effect. and acards week away. Dredging was previously allowed by permit. This Archaeological Clubs (FMDAC) was notified and went billwork. suspends all to present permits and stops the failed issuance to Emails the county commissioners to of new ones until study is get any replies as toantheenvironmental reason for theimpact proposed law. completed. Thiswas is scheduled bethe finished by early 2011. One late reply received to that commissioner was Theinunknown is where and and if any willnot be not favor of factor banning detecting an dredging apology for allowed after that.Apparently, the email was tagged as replying sooner. ThisThe whole dealwebsite is statedwas to bemonitored for the protection of fish spam. county and FMDAC and water quality. Apparently, it in was brought corresponded with several people theoriginally area giving them on by lawsuit from the Karuk tribe. As I have read it, tips of ahow to proceed. the problem the fish to doordnance with dredging The meetingwith agenda andhas thenothing proposed were and everything to doonly with athe Karuk finally posted. With few days,tribe and using those fishing being methods illegal to the general public (along with serious on The bottom line little is that environmentalists aoverfishing.) holiday weekend, there was time to act. Notices along sent with Indian gambling money bought The were out across the country askingthis forlaw. emails next dredgers from to an Indian to betime sentany immediately. TheCalifornia meeting go took place on casino, remember thatpm, you are helping to detectorists finance the September 8, at 2:00 preventing many defeatattending of your own from due hobby. to their jobs. The proposal that was As to water I fail tochanged see howdrastically that can be aforiginally postedquality, was actually prior fected by temporarily stirring up what is already part of to the meeting. the streams. In addition, it has that dredging Commissioner Robinson, the been one proven commissioner who removes of lead (such as fishing sinkers)detecting. and even sent emaila lot replies, was opposed to banning mercury thatthehascommittee been sitting the river. Additionally, He was on thatinwent over the proposal it seems unexplainable state in even such amaking dire finanand was responsible forthat the achanges, one cial situation pass ahearing. law thatTwo willpeople actuallyopposing hurt the change right atwould the public economy. An impact was addressing requested bydetectorists’ the Goverthe ban spoke at thestudy hearing, nors office. That study showedrefuting a loss of statements 60 million dollars concerns and diplomatically made per year if this passes. previously by alaw county employee. This law to only affect They also letappears those attending knowstate that lands. peopleFederally all over controlled as Forest Service lands should not the countrylands were such watching this meeting. be affected now. on Various prospecting organizations This was all for brought by a few bad apples. A county are regrouping to determine their nextcopies moves.from The plans employee spoke and distributed ebay include actively taking part inwere the EIR showing items that he stated dug (Environmental from a county Impact Report) insure that it another is donehistorical properly,site on historical site. Hetoalso mentioned schedule and detected. with no funny A challenge to that had been Those business. are legitimate concerns, this he lawdid is being mounted in Federal court, citing federal but get off track talking about private property statutes that specifically applycemeteries. to the prohibition and gravestones missing from I expected of a unreasonable pertaining to spoke miningbut onshe public problem whenlaws an archaeologist waslands. very

84

2010 American Digger Magazine Sampler

reserved. IPositive commend Results her in thatinshe stated she was not Florida against metal detecting in general, but rather detecting at FL: A metal detecting ban in Clay County, Florida has been county historical sites. averted. Just before Labor Day, 2009, a notice appeared in She showed a level of respect for our hobby that is rarely the legal section of the local newspaper. A public hearing exhibited from that side of the aisle. You can watch the was to be held on a proposal to ban detecting on all county meeting The on the county website at claycountygov.com. property. meeting was just a week away. The Federation Did our emails have an effect? one of Metal Detector and ArchaeologicalYES! Clubs Later, (FMDAC) commissioner stated that he didn’t know there were that was notified and went to work. Emails to the county many detectorists around theany country. you commissioners failed to get repliesThe as next to thetime reason see a notice to send an email, then please act. A potential for the proposed law. One late reply was received that the ban could be coming neighborhood next! commissioner was nottoinyour favor of banning detecting and (Volume 6, Issue 6) an apology for not replying sooner. Apparently, the email was tagged as________________________ spam. The county website was monitored and FMDAC corresponded with several people in the area Carolina Anti Relic Hunting Bill givingSouth them tips of how to proceed. SC: There’s a new law in South every person The meeting agenda and the Carolina proposedthat ordinance were who swings metalonly detector bethose awarebeing of. The finally posted.a With a fewneeds days,toand on thrust of the law dealswas with trespassing. However, amain holiday weekend, there little time to act. Noticesit goes sent a bit out beyond that. could easily someone were across theItcountry askingentangle for emails to be who has no ill intent. Here is the meat of the bill that sent immediately. The meeting took place on September passed the legislature: 8, at 2:00 pm, preventing many detectorists from attending “To amend the code of that lawswas of originally South Carolina, due to their jobs. The proposal posted 1976, by adding section 16-11-780 so as to provide was actually changed drastically prior to the meeting. that it is unlawful to wilfully, knowingly, or maliciously Commissioner Robinson, the one commissioner who sent enter replies, upon thewas posted landstoofbanning anotherdetecting. or the state and email opposed He was investigate, disturb, or excavate a prehistoric or historic on the committee that went over the proposal and was site for the for purpose of discovering, uncovering, moving, responsible the changes, even making one change right removing, attempting to remove an archaeological at the publicorhearing. resource; to provide penalties remedies; Two people opposing the ban and spokecivil at the hearing, and adto provide exceptions.” The question is why? There are dressing detectorists’ concerns and diplomatically refutalready trespassing on the books so why employee. is another ing statements madelaws previously by a county one needed? The answer is simple. It is not really aimed They also let those attending know that people all over the at trespassing, but rather an indirect attack on the relic country were watching this meeting. hunting community, juston another shotbad at making This was all brought by a few apples. itAtougher county to swing aspoke detector. But you may ask,from sinceebay it deals with employee and distributed copies showing lawbreakers, what’s the problem? items that he stated were dug from a county historical site. Whymentioned is someone trespassing withsite a metal detector He also another historical that had been any different withhea did fishing detected. Thosethen are someone legitimatetrespassing concerns, but get pole, a gun, a camera, ATV or evenand a frisbee? Why off track talking about dog, private property gravestones did theyfrom not cemeteries. include those items inathe new law? missing I expected problem when It’s an simple. It wasspoke written by archaeologists as aI back door archaeologist but she was very reserved. commend assault on she the stated relic hunting To be detecting perfectly her in that she wascommunity. not against metal blunt, if you are trespassing, you are in the wrong. You in general, but rather detecting at county historical sites. are breaking lawofand bringing discredit theishobby. She showed athe level respect for our hobby to that rarely You should never on someone’s exhibited from that knowingly side of the relic aisle. hunt You can watch the propertyon without their website permission. If caught, you deserve meeting the county at claycountygov.com. to be Didprosecuted. our emails have an effect? YES! Later, one Here is stated the problem. How know manythere of were us have commissioner that he didn’t that unintentionally over a property line?time Maybe many detectoristswandered around the country. The next you youajust didn’t see the line orthen it was not act. marked in any see notice to send an email, please A potential discernible Or you became twisted around ban could beway. coming to your neighborhood next!and went in the wrong direction. Maybe you just plain became lost. I am guilty on all counts. Most all of us are. Even though Opinions and research expressed in this column are those of the author that and not you necessarily those“wilfully, of American Digger. the bill states must knowingly, or March-April 2010 American Digger Magazine

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maliciously enter upon the posted lands of another,” how is one to prove otherwise? You are standing there with detector and digging tool in hand. You may have relics in your pouch and you may have just been seen digging a relic. The problem is that you were unaware that you wandered off the property that nyou had permission to be on. Do you really think that “innocent until proven guilty” will apply? Sorry, but that caveat has been gone from our legal system for many years and it does not seem to have ever applied to relic hunters. A first offense is a misdemeanor and could cost you a thousand dollars and/or a year in jail. Number two will get you a fine determined by the court and /or three years in jail. A third is a felony bringing a fine and possible five years in jail. In addition your gear and vehicle are forfeited. The landowner can also bring a civil action to recover the greater of the archaeological resource’s archaeological value or commercial value, and the cost of restoration and repair of the site, plus attorney’s fees and court costs. Compare those penalties to the standard penalties for trespassing: “Every entry upon the lands of another where any horse, mule, cow, hog or any other livestock is pastured, or any other lands of another, after notice from the owner or tenant prohibiting such entry, shall be a misdemeanor and be punished by a fine not to exceed one hundred dollars, or by imprisonment with hard labor on the public works of the county for not exceeding thirty days.” The law does state that it is for “posted” land. From the bill: “Posted lands’ means lands where an owner or tenant has complied with the notice or warning requirement which must either be posted or given to an offender pursuant to Section 16-11-600.” It appears that any defense would have to center around the property not being marked properly. However, according to the aforementioned section of South Carolina law, the requirements for marking are pretty lax: “When any owner or tenant of any lands shall post a notice in four conspicuous places on the borders of such land prohibiting entry thereon, a proof of the posting shall be deemed and taken as notice conclusive against the person making entry, as aforesaid, for the purpose of trespassing.” So if someone has a 100 acre tract and has posted four notices somewhere, apparently you are responsible for seeing one of those. It may be 500 feet from where you crossed the line in a heavily wooded area. My only thought entails that the defense would have to be predicated on what constitutes a “conspicuous” posting when considering a wooded or overgrown area. Notice that state property is also covered so be very careful if you are hunting near state property where detecting is not allowed. You can bet that the state will “recover” the maximum amount possible for archaeological and

commercial value and the cost of restoration and repair of the site. H4129 was first introduced in June of 2009. The bill was breezing through the legislature with no opposition until the relic hunting community got wind of it. Then the emails and phone calls began to hit the legislator’s offices. So many were received that a public hearing was scheduled as a direct result of the relic hunting communities input. I would like to report that it did some good but unfortunately our concerns fell on deaf ears and the bill passed by a wide margin (101-2). It was signed by the governor on 6-11-10 and became effective immediately. At some point, this misguided law will ensnare someone who is guilty of nothing but accidentally crossing a property line. We will then see just what the framers of this thing intended. Is it really to stop those who are intentionally trespassing or will it be used to drop the hammer on any relic hunter no matter how innocent the action? (Volume 6, Issue 2) Opinions and research expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of American Digger.

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THE

SAVAGE FACTS

By Ric Savage “Fighting Fakes Through Knowledge Shared”

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f you have never met Ran Hundley then you are missing a treat. Ran owns Sgt. Riker’s Civil War Shop in Ashland, Virginia and he is a wealth of knowledge on Civil War relics, old coins, Indian artifacts, and just about anything related. Ran is also a “flintnapper”, i.e. an artist that makes arrow and spear points in the way that they were made by the Indian tribes of old. There are legitimate flintnappers all over the country who make arrow and spear points. This causes a lot of confusion to the novice collector and sometimes to the seasoned veteran. Yes, they can be that good. Ran also gave me a tutorial on how Indians made bow strings out of bark, and he showed me a spear and a bow he had made. I was amazed at how “authentic” they looked. It got me to thinking about how many unscrupulous people there are in the world faking and selling these things. A legitimate napper makes reproductions and markets them as such (often even engraving a mark in them to distinguish them from an actual artifact), but a faker goes one step further to age and pass them off as the real thing. I did a column on this a few years back, but this is a subject fresh in my mind so I am going to revisit it. Arrowheads and other stone tools are usually made from

Modern points, such as this one, are made by master nappers as an artform and marked as reproductions. It is only when less scrupulous people pass them off as ancient that the fraud begins. Photo courtesy of www.archaic-creations.com ____________

Genuine stone points found by Rue and Hunter Shumate near Petersburg, VA ____________ fine-grained rocks, such as quartzite, or obsidian. They are made by removing flakes of rock from a piece of the parent material, either by striking or by pressure, using an implement like bone or horn. You can usually see the curved “scars” where the flakes of rock were struck off. Really old spear and arrow points have often weathered so much that the scars are hard to see, and some materials will flake but don’t leave much trace because it is coarse. If it is a fake, it will depend on how good the “fakenapper” is. Many of the fake points you will see for sale have been made using metal tools. Fracture lines in the stone will be square instead of curved, will have obvious chisel marks, or will not exist at all. However, flint knapping is a very well-established hobby, and many people are very skilled at making fakes, which are sometimes very hard to distinguish from originals except that they are not weathered or damaged from being buried in the ground or underwater. I recently had the pleasure of going arrowhead hunting with Rue Shumate and his son, Hunter, near Petersburg, Virginia. Rue owns two automotive repair shops and he lives near what used to be an Indian village. I found four arrowheads as well as many nice chunks of pottery and flakes where the Indians had started working on a stone and then discarded it for whatever reason. It was a great experience, but my neck was sore for a day or two. Arrowheads and other Indian artifacts are a very important part of our history. We all know that Indians were the first humans to live in North America and their history is one tainted with immeasurable sadness but a strong and living pride. Collecting these items can be done without huge layouts of capital (unless you get into the high-end items that go into the thousands), and provide a great hobby for adults and kids. Just beware when buying points and do as much research as you can. The AACA (Authentic Artifact Collectors Association) is a great resource. So until we meet again, keep your feet on the ground and one hand on your wallet!

All photos provided by www,savagestation.com. Opinions and research expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of American Digger.

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colwith ched like f the ner” ve as gger, apwhat other erate

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ike many contemporary collectors, I’ve begun collecting German militaria, and have a fascination with the helmets and daggers. Helmets have been touched on in a previous article, but in this installment I would like to examine Hitler Youth knives. This is my favorite of the World War II German blades and it is usually the “beginner” blade for new collectors. These blades are not expensive as compared to their bigger brothers like the SA or SS dagger, and they have personality and a style that makes them appealing. They also conjure up a frightening reminder of what can happen when political agendas run amok. As in all other venues of collecting, fakes and repaired knives proliferate the market. venues of collecting, fakes and repaired knives proliferate Hitler Youth knives are one of the most commonly reproduced weapons. The originals were HitlerThird YouthReich knivesedged are one of the most commonly remade for actual use instead of ornamentation like most dagproduced Third Reich edged weapons. The originals were gers design simple. To a crook, the the madeand forthe actual use was instead of ornamentation likesimpler most dagbetter when it comes to making fakes. These knives had a gers and the design was simple. To a crook, the simpler the steel frame and black bakelite grips. There was also a swasbetter when it comes to making fakes. These knives had a tika in black a diamond shape recessed into also the grip on steelemblem frame and bakelite grips. There was a swasone side. The scabbard was steel with leather snaps. These tika emblem in a diamond shape recessed into the grip on knives were in the millions, andleather there were one side. Themade scabbard was steel with snaps.several These different production runs: 1933-1936, 1936-1938, and 1938 -1945. The knives made between 1933 and 1938 were maker-stamped, and had the motto ”Blut Und Ehre” (“Blood and Honor”) etched on one side of the blade. The blade would also have the RZM (Reichszeugmeisterei) mark which was essentially the German quartermaster’s stamp. Later knives would lack the motto and often just have the RZM mark. In the vast majority, RZM markings are on the opposite side from the diamond and should be stamped, not etched, into the blade. To be able to distinguish a fake, there are several things to look for. First note the condition of the knife. These were carried by young teenaged boys, and they got one side.and Theused scabbard was steel with leather snaps. These

Almost all genuine Hitler Youth knives will show abuse. As frightening as the political concept is, the owners of these knives were mere boys and they treated their equipment as such. Above are HY members throwing their knives.

A genuine Hitler Youth knife. Surprisingly, these have been faked for sometime. The trick is knowing what to look for. ___________

to look for. First note the condition of the knife. These were knives madeby in young the millions, andboys, there and werethey several carried were and used teenaged got abused as often as not. If a knife looks brand new, it may be just that. Real HY knives have signs of wear on the grips and the blade. The next place I look is at the swastika in the diamond on the grip. On most originals, it will be slightly loose to the touch. Also look closely at the swastika emblem. The red color in the diamond should be in a fish-scale pattern. The gold field behind the swastika should have metal flecks in it. If the red is solid, or the gold is flat, it may be a reproduction. Look at the maker’s marks. If the word “Germany” is stamped on the ricasso…RUN! The German’s were not marking military goods in English during the Hitler era. Next, look at the scabbard. There should never be a “lip” on the top of it but there will be a small rivet near the top-center. German scabbards were made of steel and are magnetic; reproductions are often aluminum and touching a magnet to them can tell the tale. Another hint: be sure the grips fit the knife well. Some dealers and collectors repair knives by taking parts from one and replacing them on another (also a pitfall in Civil War collecting). There are many more details to look for, but I have only so much space. I would like to thank DDs Daggers (www. ddsdaggers.com) for their contributions to this article, and also allowing use of their photos. So until next time, keep your feet on the ground and a hand on your wallet. Opinions and research expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of American Digger.

July-August 2010 American Digger Magazine

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Almost all genuine Hitler Youth knives will show abuse. As frightening as the political concept is, the owners of these knives were mere boys and they treated their equipment as such. Above are HY members throwing their knives. (Volume 6, 6, Issue Issue 5) 5) (Volume

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The Hole Truth...

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The Publisher speaks... but will he ever shut-up?

am man. Hear me roar! Having worked my way to the top of the food chain through several hundred years of evolution (so simple a cave man can do it) and by making sure that most things big enough to eat me became extinct, my species has reigned supreme. While the occasional bushman or relic hunter still gets mauled by big cats, alligators, and large mosquitoes, for the most part modern man has it made. Not only can we remain safe from wildlife if we choose, but look at how far we have progressed technology-wise. Mankind, once content to push a round rock with a stick in his quest for the automobile, grunt loudly to attempt long distance communication, or wear semirotting saber tooth tiger skins in search of warmth and bad fashion, is now modern mankind, with all the perks that go with it. SUVs (that ironically run off of dead dinosaurs)! Polyester! Cell phones with free long distance plans! Television, and, most important of all, the remote control! Being king of my domain, I have full control of the remote and TV whenever my wife is away. On one such day, I turned on the tube and, 200 clicks and a full minute later, settled in on a show that held my interest. In other words, it had old stuff on it. Don’t get me wrong, the show in question is a fun show, and I watch it whenever the luck of the click gets me there, but they tend to use the word “expert” a bit too liberally for my taste. Then, even after consulting these experts, they take it upon themselves to do things that an expert should never recommend. When these guys get a firearm of any kind over 100 years old (including at least one cannon), their first step of action, after confirming with their experts that it is indeed very old and original, with no replacement modern (and safer) steel parts, is to shoot it. But they do take precautions: if it looks especially dangerous they get the new guy to pull the trigger. It is also worth noting that he is the only regular cast member not related by blood. Let me say right now, I am no expert. But I do have my opinions, and my opinion is that these guys, in addition to eventually destroying a valuable and historical firearm, are going to one day acquire colorful nicknames like “Stumpy,” “Lefty,” “Squints,” “Pegleg,” and “That dead guy.” I will likely anger some people at this point by say72 American Digger Magazine Vol. 6, IssueSampler 2 90 2010 American Digger Magazine

ing that I believe the real experts were the ones who originally built and used the firearms. They worked at the factories, they conducted the tests, they drew up the blueprints. Now, a hundred or more years after the fact, what we have are noted authorities and serious students. By strict definition, yes, many are experts. They know a lot about their subject matter, much more than I or possibly you, and we should value and learn from such studied opinions. What we should not do is believe someone is an expert just because someone else says so. Especially on a television show whose main goal is to entertain. The experts whom I trust the most are those who preface opinions with phrases like, “I think,” “My understanding is,” “According to records,” and the like. Some of them are seen regularly on television, but they are there because of long standing track records among large groups of collectors. While they don’t have to be well liked by the majority, the majority should at least respect their opinions. These experts also tend to be humble. Those that claim all-seeing knowledge should be avoided at all cost, as should those who answer legitimate questions with a smirk. And those who constantly introduce themselves with the word “expert?” In my book, forget it. I expect that the “Soon-too-be-known-as-Lefty” guys on that show were not advised by their experts to shoot the guns. But I’m not sure they were told not too, either. Entertaining? Sure, but so is watching people on reality TV eat bugs, and it’s much less dangerous. I suggest we create a new class of folks called “Expertainers.” If you want to be entertained, watch them, listen to them, even learn from them. Consider them the sideshow of artifacts, the white bread of collectables. But always remember that they are not the big top nor the main course. Be entertained, but always keep an open mind, because that is how we learn.

Happy Huntin’ Y’all! Published in Vol 6, Issue 2

2010 Feature Article Index To order a listed issue, click link here: Note some issues may be sold out, orders subject to availability

Volume 6, Issue 1 (Jan-Feb 2010) The Story That Begged to be Told By David R. Gascoyne.

The sleepy Florida town once held a Seminole Wars fort, yet to recover its history required persistence, determination, and the right contacts. A Clash of Cultures By Steve Hicks Jamestown was the Alpha and Omega of two very different cultures. These artifacts help explain the inevitable, but short, overlap of both. Diggin’ In Virginia Double Vision By Anita Holcombe & Butch Holcombe It is easy to overlook the work involved in a major relic hunt. Now, take a look behind the scene in this unique coverage of DIV XII. Cross Referencing By Charlie Harris In a lifetime of relic hunting, the author has only seen two of these items dug. Now, he expands his research even more as to what they mean and where they originated. The Pig War: A War That Wasn’t By Glenn Harbour With the exception of a wayward swine, it was bloodless. But this 1859 conflict had an effect on the huge bloodletting that was to follow. Charlotte, Who Are You? By Michael Wheless. They are dug up at 1800s housesites and gathering places throughout the nation. Yet, few diggers know the real story behind this tiny figurine. Every Picture Tells a Story An AD Pictorial. It’s hard to share the fun and excitement of the 2009 Blue & Gray Relic Hunt without attending it, but this article is the next best thing. Collective Soul By Jim Roberson Do you collect for investment or fun? Do you buy pristine examples, or what you can afford? It’s time to answer these questions and more.

Volume 6, Issue 2 (March April 2010)

What Are The Odds? By Tony Mullen

Even though incomplete, this Model 1859 Officer’s spur was a great find. But it was even better when another digger returned the missing piece. Some Wicked Place By Michael Chaplan Located in the Caribbean Islands, Fort Charles is full of forgotten history and local legends, as this American adventurer proves. They Came From Outer Space By Beau Ouimette Forget alien abductions and close encounters. These space visitors (meteorites) are more than a rumor or fuzzy photo: they are here now. On The Slopes By Bob Roach Every site has its challenges. But few are as tough as hunting in the desert while dealing with police who speak a different language. A Golden Opportunity By Robert Painter Finding a gold Civil War era pen is nice. Finding an engraved one is even nicer. Finding one with a history like this? The nicest of all! www.americandigger.com

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Volume 6, Issue 2 Continued

Building a Better Relic Trap An American Digger Exclusive

Sifting is a must in many situations, and it can be tough work. But building a good tripod and sifting box can make it easier. Here’s how. American Digger On The Road: Connecticut By Butch Holcombe As one of our nation’s original 13 Colonies, Connecticut holds plenty of evidence of our country’s past. Join us as we travel there to discover a magnificent past...and present. Bill and Eddies’s Not So Excellent Adventure By Bill Cross Relic hunting can be more than just a fun way to save history. It can also be a dangerous adventure of the utmost magnitude.

Volume 6, Issue 3 (May June 2010) Past Time Trash...Present Day Treasure By Mike Harvey

All the author wanted was to find a bottle embossed with his city’s name on it. Along the way he found much more of his area’s past history. The Final Battle By Stephen Moore The Cherokee War came to a bloody end in 1839. Now, a team led by a detecting manufacturer has pinpointed the site of this last battle. The Texas Turtle By Dennis Cox During the Civil War, the 4th Texas Infantry suffered greatly. Yet the artifacts from their Fredericksburg camp show hope and pride. A Mile In His Shoes An Interview By John Velke If you want to find out about the roots of relic hunting with a metal detector, listen to William Gavin, the one who tried it first. American Digger on The Road: Massachusetts By Butch Holcombe The first European settlement was established in Massachusetts in 1620. Join us as we unearth the past of this history rich state. The Camp That Kept On Giving By Mike Parker The camp should have been “hunted out” long ago. But despitenumerous trips over the years, it is still producing for these diggers. I Am A Teenaged Relic Collector By Kevin O’Brien While some members of the younger generation spend their money and time on video games and at the mall, others are taking an active part in collecting the past.

Volume 6, Issue 4 (July-August 2010) Medieval Armor In The Sunshine State By Bob Spratley

To an untrained eye, they would have been easy to overlook. Luckily, the man who dug them knew what they were and the mystery this early Spanish armor presented. Relic Hunting Along Missouri’s Old Wire Road By Tim Garton What was once little more than a muddy path is now traced by an interstate highway. Even so, bits of Missouri’s past can be found there if one only knows where to look. How Did These Get Here? By Rick Pressl George Washington buttons were not what the author expected to find on a mid-1800s New Jersey sheep farm. Once he began finding them, he shared the thrill with local students and teachers. How To Start A Club By Mark Hudson One of the best ways to enjoy the hobby of metal detecting or collecting is by joining a club, but what if there is not one in your area? The answer is simple: start your own. 92

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Volume 6, Issue 4 Continued

Bottle Hunters of Hawaii By Blake Cousins

These brothers had already produced a hit thriller movie in the Aloha State. Then they discovered that bottle hunting and film making on the islands are a good combination. The Other Grassy Knoll By Michael B. Whitfield What had once been located on the grassy knoll is still a mystery. However, the Revolutionary War relics found there offer some clues. Back to Back By Butch Holcombe Traditionally, Diggin’ in Virginia relic hunts have been held twice a year: once in the spring and once in the fall. So what happens when two pieces of property become available at the same time?

Volume 6, Issue 5 (September-October 2010) Footprints of the French By Charles Salerno Although the Light Infantry Corps was from New England and New Jersey, the commander was French. Now, a relic hunter revisits the camps. An American Digger in England By Beau Ouimette To find the really old metal artifacts, go to England. Learn what to expectand how to get the most from your trip from one who has been there. Chasing Gen. John Hunt Morgan, C.S.A. By Quindy D. Robertson At the early war sites occupied by General John Morgan’s troops,the men were poorly outfitted. The relics found there help prove it. Access Restricted: Part I By Bob Roach It ought to be a simple matter to find out what artifacts are stored at National Parks and Battlefields Unfortunately, that is not the case. Part 1 of a three part series. Go Clean Your Room By Mike Harvey Digging the finds is half of the job. Displaying them is something else. There’s no reason to break the bank if you visit a few thrift stores. Leftovers By Don Hays Locals said troops were camped there, but they also claimed there was nothing left to find. After a few trips, the author begs to disagree. Band of Gold By J.W. Pullen A 19th century engraved gold wedding ring is always a good find, but with proper research, that good find becomes very personal. X Marks The Spot By Craig Anderson While it takes luck to find good sites, research is more important, and using good maps is among the best techniques. Where to find those maps, though, is often as challenging as finding the relics.

Volume 6, Issue 6 (November-December 2010)

Struck! By Robert Painter

Alleged bullet or shell “struck” buckles and plates show up regularly at online auctions, and many are fakes. But after numerous opinions and research, one dug recently in the Petersburg area seems to be the real deal. Bottles, Jugs, and Bugs By Joe Baker A cold day in the waters of Massachusetts brings history, bottles, fun, and even fine dining to this group of durable divers. Join us in this article for an adventure so exciting you can almost...ahem...taste it. Hunting Fort Matthew: Grenada’s Hidden Lunatic Asylum By Michael Chaplan This Caribbean fort has been the home to many things in its 300 year history, not all of it pleasant. But as this detectorist and adventurer discovered, it has never been dull. www.americandigger.com

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Volume 6, Issue 6 Continued

Marguiretta’s Secret By William Purkey

Her “social” house was a local legend, regularly visited and routinely despised by the citizenry, but no one could have guessed the valuable treasures it held until after it was torn down. Like Father, Like Son By Barry McCaslin, Sr. Remembering the fun that he had years ago while metal detecting with his own father, this author is reintroduced to the joy of relic hunting and successful relic finding with his son. Access Restricted, Part II By Bob Roach The Freedom of Information Act was originally designed to share unclassified government information with the public, but does it apply to National Park inventories? American Digger on The Road: Colorado By John Velke There is much history to be found in the Centennial State, from early gold and silver mines to its role in the Indian Wars. This author covered it all in one weekend.

D

id you ever picture yourself a writer? Then picture yourself in American Digger Magazine. In it’s seven year history, American Digger has published articles by both first time writers and established authors. All you need is a desire to share your story of digging or collecting adventures, your knowledge on a particular artifact, how to’s, or anything of interest to our hobby. All we ask is that you take a look at our writer guidelines before submitting a feature article. Click here for our guidelines!

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person who believes that giving is more important than receiving; who enjoys seeing faces of all ages glow with joy, yet knows the reason for the season. A person who knows that there is still a bit of kid in all of us. You read American Digger... Don’t you?

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