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American Digger Magazine for Diggers and Collectors of America’s Heritage

American Digger American Digger American Digger Vol. 7

Vol. 7

Magazine for Diggers and Collectors of America’s Heritage

Issue 2

Vol. 7 Magazine for Diggers and Collectors of America’s Heritage

An 1840s Magazine for Diggers and Collectors of America’s Heritage Issue 1 Medal

Metal Detecting At An Alaskan Gold Mining Camp A Participant’s View of Diggin’ In Virginia XV How Do National Parks Keep Track Of Artifacts?

Reveals Forgotten Horticultural Society Civil War Diggers Create Their Own Confederate Bullets Battlefield Park Of The NC Deaf & Blind Institute Finding Gold CoinsThe Presents Many Varied A Big Mystery Of Treasures Northeast Florida New Jersey Fossil Dig Is WWI Camp Defies Death A Wonderland Of Buttons

Fortune Cookie Foretells The Dig Of A LIfetime

Digging WWII Relics Can Be Frightening

Indian War Token Reveals Colorful Western History

Relic Hunter Captures Buckle Dig On Video Young Relic Hunter Has A Birthday To Remember

American Digger On The Road Visits New York

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Relic Hunting Octogenarian Still Digging

Progress Opens Windows Into The Civil War

Factory Reps Put New Detectors Through Paces

Push Knives Fool Many Collectors

Arrowhead Hunting Trip Changes A Life

Exciting Finds Are Not Always What They Seem

Issue 3

March-April 2011 $6.95 USA

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May-June 2011 $6.95 USA

American DiggerAmerican Digger American Digger

Vol. 7

Magazine for Diggers and Collectors of America’s Heritage

Indian Dugouts Surface During Florida Drought Granddad Shows Grandkids How To Dig A Buckle First Timer Reports On DIV XVII Hunt Teamwork At A Mexican War Site Yields New Info Successful Gold Prospecting In California 1800s Coins Pose Mystery In Tennessee www.americandigger.com

Issue 4 Vol. 7 Magazine for Diggers and Collectors of America’s Heritage

US Civil War Weapons In Mexico Old Bottles Beneath The Waves River Ford Still Gives Up Relics Seven Year-Old Finds A 150 Year-Old Sword Interview With Digging Legend Dennis Cox Relic Reminder Of Those Who Fought WW II July-August 2011 $6.95 USA www.americandigger.com

Issue 5

Vol. 7 Magazine for Diggers and Collectors of America’s Heritage

Issue 6

A Washington Button In New Jersey Coin Hunting, Relic Finding In Missouri Documenting Finds For Future Generations Metal Detecting Yields Cache Of Old Glass Mystery Sites That Aren’t On The Maps Marriage Creates A New Metal Detecting Partner A Study of Confederate Scabbard Tips September-October 2011 www.americandigger.com $6.95 USA

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Welcome to the 2011 American Digger Magazine Sampler A note from the publisher Dear reader, Welcome back! Our 2010 online sampler proved exceptionally popular, and we expect this 2011 version to be even more widely received. Once again free online, we have not only selected features, columns, and finds from the 2011 year, Volume 7, Issues1-6, but also added more pages and extra features found in each print issue of American Digger Magazine. You’ll also notice even more interactive hyperlinks than before, shown as a blue outlined box with drop shadows. Please click these and enjoy the many places they take you. If it is an advertiser’s link, please support them by not only clicking the hyperlinks, 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 Magazine. Help them to help us to help you! In this 2011 Sampler, 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 last year’s American Digger Magazine, Volume 7, Issue 1-6. If you have not read our publication before in its hard copy bi-monthly form, 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 Magazine, 2011, in full color and free online. For the past 7 years American Digger Magazine has brought you the best in relics, bottles, coins, arrowheads, fossils, and more in high quality print form, and we intend to continue doing so. To satisfy online demand, our intention is to put an annual sampler online every year as long as the demand is there. From what we’ve seen and from what you’ve told us, the demand will only get stronger. We also have included here an index of all articles published in 2011 by American Digger Magazine. 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 2011 there were well over 50 full length articles, 30+ regular columns, and hundreds of Just Dug (or found) items. If you really want to experience 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 

2011 American Digger Magazine Sampler


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For each site I recorded location coordinates and directions along with a map section showing the terrain.

encouragement. O they kept more ex to include recordin artifact. That was as it was too late, I coordinates for eac The main objec housekeeping was that they could co That is followed by a general the next owner. A description of the site and point 23 that has alrea information about artifacts.COLOR likely still be Thank My Lucky Stars! - By Michael Wheless Pg. 26 most What does a fortune cookie and the best metal detecting day imaginable have Our families may in common? A lot, if you are this author. collecting and sup not likely qualified DIV (XVII) and Me - By Linda Erickson or know how to d Pg. 34 If you have ever attended a Diggin’ In Virginia relic hunt, you will recall come. As such, ge the fun. If you haven’t attended, this article will tell you what to expect. something only I c without basic info Saving the Best for Last - By Beau Ouimette Pg. 40 The author had been hunting the site for many years. Just when he thought it was almost hunted out, along came the best find yet.

American Digger

For Diggers and Collectors Of America’s Heritage

2011 Sampler

Photo by Dave Beer

Even the more “modern” coins were exciting finds, as shown above by these post-Civil War dates.

US Artillery button found by

found here was a rare 1802 U.S. Domestic No. 6 1794.” One thetags may have been issued to slave Large Cent error coin. On the back ory, although disputed by most, is owners in the late 1700s, an auof the coin is the fraction of 1/000 that it could be a Savannah slave thentic one has never been examinstead of 1/100. This coin is very tag from the 1700s. Although City ined, if indeed they do exist. valuable and highly sought by of Savannah records hint that such Another theory is that it may collectors. Another good be a fire insurance house find was a Revolutionary tag (often called a “fire War British 16th Regiment mark”) used by early fire of Foot button. This regidepartments or insurance ment of British soldiers companies to show if fire was here in 1778 and 1779 protection had been paid for the capture, siege, and on a home. It could also battle of Savannah. The be a taxation tag for a carpewter one-piece button riage, a wagon, or even is in excellent shape and an animal, such as a dog, is also highly desirable. horse, or cow. We may A mystery relic was never know what it truly also found which has peois, but it sure stirs up a lot ple guessing and specuof conversation with relic One of the best finds was this 1802 lating on its purpose. The hunters and collectors. Large Cent error coin. Note the fracoval brass tag mentioned There would be several tion is “1/000” instead of 1/100. previously reads “C.S. other days left to hunt this

Dave Beer hunted a North Carolina camp on the property, and among the relics he recovered were a NC button “A week later I returned to the site and quickly located the and rare .69thatNessler bullet. targets were buried in the heavy mud. Before long, I

Tongue portion of a CS

DocumentingNeil History - By G.dug M.by“Doc” two-piece Watson buckle recovered Watson, Infantry

May-June 2011 American Digger Magazine

Pg. 46

Mike Palmer, NY cuff by Documenting by Dan Lawson. These are Digging an artifact is just part of found the job. it properly Mike Harvey, and PA dug by appropriately called for future generations is just as important. Here is one way to dotheit. Michael Bennett.

Sharing The Wealth

23

“Brandy Station” pattern.

had uncovered a nearly complete Civil War poncho...”

- By David Lee

with a sizable chunk of rubberized material attached. I swept the hole and, sure enough, there were still multiple targets all around. Having learned my lesson when I hurried the dig and broke the saber bayonet, I decided to wait a few days and let the water recede a little and clear up a bit. I’m glad I did. A week later I returned to the site and quickly located the targets that were buried in the heavy mud. Before long, I had uncovered a nearly complete Civil War poncho! After carefully cleaning it and drying it out, the material is very well preserved and remains supple. It even has small melted areas on it where it appears the soldier may have stood a bit too close to a fire. I then met a fellow digger online, Mike Palmer, and he asked me if he could tag along on one of my water hunts. Up to that time I had been having pretty good luck at the

50 American Digger Magazine

few finders were excited with the $5,000 “winning” lottery ticket they’d just found.

named Bonanza Gulch, hit pay-dirt when they discovered prospecting, park hunting, and seeded hunts. If you live or a large quantity of gold. I was hoping that they, and the visit Southern California, look them up. You won’t find many who have worked that area since then, had left a better hospitality than what this club has to offer. little gold for us to find. Next stop was the Walt In California any indiBickel Gold Camp, located vidual can make a claim for a short distance from the mineral rights on BLM (BuBurro Schmidt tunnel. Both reau of Land Management) locations helped get me in property for up to 20 acres. the mood to look forPhoto gold. Inby Groups, like the treasure 1906 William Henry “Burro” hunting club I was with, can Schmidt started digging a claim mining rights on pargold mine on the north face cels of up to 160 acres. One of Cooper Mountain. No one thing I did not know or realnow living really knows if he ize is that a “claim” is only kept digging because he was a claim for the mining rights following a vein of gold, or if of the property. The owner(s) he just reached a certain point of a claim have no right to and then decided to go ahead fence, barricade, build, or aland dig all the way through ter the landscape in any way. the mountain, thereby giving This 3½ oz. gold nugget was recently him a short-cut to the nearest A claim owner can’t bar another person from crossing found by Dan Anderson while dredging town. It took him 38 years, near Bagby, CA. Holding this nugget or being on the property. by himself, without benefit The only legally enforceable will make any prospector’s hand shake. of heavy machinery, to dig

for people find. We never stayed around to watch gold cherish and Sharing display it proudly in our home and 52 will share Digging a goldhotel coin? Nice.toDigging a high denomination Pg. The anyone scratch off the tickets, but I expect that at least a the wonderful experience of our first DIV hunt with friends, coin? Very Nice. Digging 13 gold coins with your son? Priceless! WealTh

ford and battle site and decided to take him there. I still have my extra White’s Surfmaster II water machine to loan out for just such occasions. I handed him the machine and after a quick explanation of the controls, off we went. Barely five minutes into the hunt, he pulled up his first water find, a beautiful shot Enfield bullet. He quickly added several more to his pouch and even found a complete lead base cup to a Dyer artillery shell. Not to be outdone, I found a handful of bullets and a US belt plate that day. Our next trip together to the spot was even better. My first really cool find that day was a shiny US box plate. It had almost no patina on it and looked to be in nearly “as issued” condition. After a quick high-five we continued hunting. It was only a few minutes later that I got a loud signal from

three miles I checked to see if it was still there, and even moved it to the passenger seat so I could see it and touch it easier a ritual repeated many times before arriving home.

rested, pulled out three One Reales stuck together! That got me out the boat and back to hunting. Seeing something as odd as the trio of Reales stuck together reminded me of an odd silver find I’d recently made. A good friend, Bob Spratley, had generously put me on a hot spot. Twenty minutes into the hunt, I heard a good signal. Digging through the sand and shells, I pulled out a One Reale. Rechecking the pile, I found a very small piece of silver. Back at home, I cleaned it up. I was stunned to see a cross on it! Checking the book Cobs, Pieces of Eight, and Treasure Coins, by Sewall Menzel, there it was: a very rare Quarter Reale!

There were some good CS relics to find if one was willing to walk hard. Brian Jones was willing.

r

les and ide be rm, toded shup. dig ole, ighad

during the three day hunt he dug in an artillery impact 2011 American Digger Magazine Sampler area on the 4000+ acres. included a Virginia button.

On

holds a musket ball and hat she had just dug. _________

Our freelance writers are the best in the industry! Want to write for Finds American Digger? Click hereJoel forKoren writerholds guidelines. made by Beau Ouimette a Shenkle shell

Pg. 84

a day soon afterwards, Robann, Patty Edwards, June Downing, Richard Downing, and myself headed to a different Spanish and British military camp site. Again, I was tying down the boat while everyone else began detecting in the woods. Moments later, I heard

38 American AmericanDigger DiggerMagazine Magazine Vol. Vol.7,7,Issue Issue11 38

Ran Hundley

Photo by Beau Ouimette

Pg. 78

should have been the find of a lifetime, but many more would follow before the author was finished at the site.

March-April2011 2011 American AmericanDigger DiggerMagazine Magazine 3535 March-April

The lot seemed to have good potential because there were quite a few pieces of broken ceramics and oyster shells mixed in along with the rubble from the original 1800s home. I im-

- By Captain Dan Berg Thirty-two miles from Freeport, NY lies a wealth of 1880s bottles, china, and other artifacts. The only catch? It’s 130 feet below the surface.



Pg. 72

Late 1700s cuff links and broken shoe/knee buckles found by Robann.

Uncle Johnny did his best to get the kids excited about arrow­heads. Now, years later, one nephew still carries the torch.

The Wreck of the H.M.S. Oregon

September-October 2011 American Digger Magazine

Pg. 64

Patty yelling. My first thought was she had found a rattlesnake or wild hog. Instead, it turned out that she had dug a very nice civilian British buckle, then seconds later, a 16th Regiment British Infantry button. Amazingly, the pewter button had remained in remarkably good condition despite the harsh Florida conditions. Later research revealed that the 16th British Infantry had arrived in Pensacola, Florida in 1767, and took part in actions at Baton Rouge, LA, Port Royal Island and Cowpens, SC before returning to England in 1782.

Patty Edwards’ British buttons and sash buckle. __________

T

Pg. 56

The author holds up a US box plate he had just found. Note the lack of patina, a common phenomenon with some underwater finds. Some of the plates found here are shown lying on the recovered poncho in the large photo above.

e

D

Vol. 7, Issue 4

family, and our local club members. If you’ve not had the opportunity to participate in a DIV hunt and are passionate WhaT’S more exciTing this is an firST event not to be missed. Than finding your The New Jersey Death Dig - By Glenn Harbour about relic hunting, gold cache? Sharing ThaT ay 3 brought exhausted diggers and more finds. Don’t be intimidated by the red dirt or by being a newbie Sometimes recovering artifacts millions of years old can be a relaxing and WiTh your Son. The best part of the day was seeing all the amazing to the hunt, exciTemenT for we found the veteran hunters to be very By david lee easy way to spend a day. Other it can be stressful dangerous. relics people hadtimes, found and displayed at the hunt and welcoming and helpful. If given the opportunity again, Towns and cities across the country go mediately began swinging my detector, anticipating the headquarters while we all enjoyed a delicious BBQ lunch. would I participate in DIV through a lifeanother cycle. Some manage to sur- hunt? possibilities. ItAbsolutely! was slow going and after an hour all that vive and thrive while others disappear. had surfaced was iron, cans, an Indian Head cent, and a of thegoodartifacts fr And then, way too soon, it was over. After nearly 4,000 miles of driving, however, next Many have a long history and, as expected, dime. Pictures Don’t get metime wrong, theI coins were American Digger on the Road: California By John Velketheir life cycle includes birth, growth, prosperity, de- Barber finds but I always hope for something “special.” Sunday morning, with our treasures packed in the car, think we’ll fly. terioration, abandonment, and rebirth. This is a story As I headed for the car, I kept my headphones on site complete the entr the lot along the way. I heard a faint sigThe Mojave Desert is beautiful, but Our here’s also at the probability thatabout a detecting in a 250-year-old town along the Dela- andnal, scanned ware River that had great periods of prosperity. Those and even though I was very tired, I began to dig. we headed west for 26 hours. experience DIV was years are long gone. There is little evidence of its forI went over the eight inch deep hole but got no signal. mer thriving manufacturing industry, shipbuilding, iron Glancing at the pile of dirt to the side of the hole, I saw everything we expected and will more. catch Before a I left home for hard to shake. visitor intent on prospecting there bug that’s industry, clothiers, gristmills, buggy building, and even the glimmer of gold. The possibility of a target being a hat making. Streets are lined with vacant houses and gold coin is so unlikely that, even when the detectorDIV, I decided that even if I didn’t find a single relic, the buildings. Hundreds of empty lots are filled with trash. ist is staring at one, it really doesn’t set in right away, The business tax base left long ago so redevelopment and that was the case with me. I brushed away the dirt About The Author experience itself would be worth the money spent, the comes slowly, if at all. around the November-December coin, picked it up and just stared at 2011 Chasing Thehours Treasures Of Northeast Florida By Jimmy Koenig When I’m not detecting elsewhere, it. I flipped it over back and forth. It was Linda Erickson and her husband, Ron, have on the road, and the vacation days used. We had the I sometimes visit these forgotten East shiny gold and about the size of a quarCoast towns. I used to detect the abanter. But still it didn’t really sink in. been metal detecting together for 18 years opportunity to meet some awesome people in the hobby. The coast of Florida offers much more to treasure hunters than just doned vacant lots but the trash signals Only after I read, “UNITED STATES were just too much to handle. Now I OF AMERICA TEN D,” did it fully It was an honor and a privilege to be able to hunt look for lots that have recently been hit me. And it hit me hard. I stood in the USA. They are now beginning to plan modern beach jewelry to detect and offshore Spanish wrecks to dive. bulldozed by the city or by a private there in disbelief. It was an 1899 developer.big In November 2009 I came gold Eagle, my first. the Beauregard Farm. Although our case of relics is not their next adventure: their first metal across a lot being cleared by workers. Gold does crazy things to people They said the site would be used to build and I was no exception. I looked over as impressive as some and does not contain the more detecting low-income housing. I wastrip given theto OK England. my shoulder as I returned to the car. I put Just A Smallspectacular Spark relics- By John Anderson to detect on the weekends when they the coin in the front seat cup holder found by theT.veteran hunters, we will were not working on the lot. This 1899 $10 gold Eagle coin and headed for home. Every two or 39


American Digger

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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, $34.95 Canada, $54.95; Europe $74.95 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!

© 2011

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Digging Through Our Mail Box… Got a Got acomment commentor orquestion? question?Write Writeor ore-mail e-mailus! us! Keeping Pace

a Heart A friend of mine isHave looking for a metal detector and The very day after I read the D-Mail letter aboutof“Heel wears a pacemaker. Have you ever heard any Plate Mysteries” (American Digger Vol 6, Issue 4) interference or dangers that he should be aware of? I dug upMerritt an identical one with a heart on it! I do not Kevin live in an Richland, area VA where troops would pass through – in fact, I dug it in a hay field far away from any houses (Originally published in Vol 7, Issue 1) or a population center. My idea is that it was lost by a little girl out playingand in the in Central Excellent question, onefield thathere is far beyondMasour sachusetts. theory ofyour a “business” shoe expertise. SoThis we directed inquiry towoman’s several major doesn’t sense to me. herereplies were often detectormake manufacturers, andRoads received from mud both and notofsand! Steverocks, Moore Garrett Detectors and Mike Scott of Erin First Stevens Texas Products stating that they are unaware Barre, of anyMA complications or interference concerning

using their products with a pacemaker. Steve Moore “Silhouette” heel“We plates, explains further, (at includGarrett) have done a great ing (seeonphoto bit ofhearts research this. at Theright) energy levels of a hobby continue to confound diggers, metal detector are relatively low and will not affect a with numerous on their field is concentrated pacemaker. Thetheories electromagnetic use. While we feelcoil thatand most around the search the(iflong distance between not all) were not intended to rep-provides a significant the search coil and pacemaker resent badge emblems (as marginCorps of safety.” - Ed. once thought), the true purpose of the designs remain a mystery. Detectorists ToatThe Rescue Overall, we here American Digger believe that all On February 25, 2011 I went the merely beach around 10 of these, including the heart, to were decorative. AM. I “working packed upgirls” to leave around AM and While may have 11 indeed usedwalked them to to my car. Once I sat down in the car, I noticed I didn’t advertise, via “hearts in the sand,” it is also likely that have my engagement ring on! I walked back down to the many females wore them with no ill intentions whatbeach toCompare tell the lifeguard, what happened. I wasofa soever. them to Jose, the stiletto heeled shoes mess! He calmly helped me to find where I was today: while some “shady” ladies wear them assitting “adand said he would get a number for a metal detector vertising,” other more innocent women wear them as manmore he knew, Berry. Jose no than aJim fashion.Ed. found the number and let me use his phone to call him. Unfortunately, Mr. Berry was at the airport to leave town for the weekend, but told me he would look for it when Keeping Pacehe got back on Monday. I then my fiance, Gerry,detector and toldand him A friend of minecalled is looking for a metal what happened. He called his friend, Jackof Saint, who wears a pacemaker. Have you ever heard any interalso has a metal detector. Jack was busy but gave Gerry ference or dangers that he should be aware of? Jim Sharp’s phone number, who was available. I sat on Kevin Merritt the beach marking the spot where I had sat, awaiting Richland, VA Jim’s and Gerry’s arrival. Jim found me and came over to start looking with his a minute, Excellent question, andequipment. one that isWithin far beyond our he’d found my white gold, three diamond, engagement expertise. So we directed your inquiry to several major ring! I hugged and kissed him and felt that I had known 4 American Digger Magazine Vol. 7, Issue 1 thanks to him my whole life. He’s an angel! Many 

2011 American Digger Magazine Sampler

Beepin ’

Steve Meinzer

“He thinks you’re after his bones.”

Jack and Jim for helping me findreceived the ring replies that is sofrom detector manufacturers, and close to my heart; to my fiance, Gerry, for kindness both Steve Moore of Garrett Detectors andhis Mike Scott and patience; and to Jose the lifeguard for his help. I of First Texas Products stating that they are unaware loveany you complications guys! of or interference concerning Irene Sobrino using their products with a pacemaker. Steve Moore Palm Beach, FL “We (at Garrett) have done a great explains further, (Originally published in Vol 7, Issue 2) bit of research on this. The energy levels of a hobby metal detector are relatively low and will not affect a We are certainly thrilled that Josefield had isthe foresight to pacemaker. The electromagnetic concentrated recommend a metalcoil detectorist. He knows what much around the search and the long distance between of society seems to ignore: the majority of detectorists the search coil and pacemaker provides a significant are eager help when margin of to safety.” - Ed.needed. It is sad that, with such good deeds, more and more anti-detecting ordinances and “No metal detectors allowed” signs are showing up, even at the& beaches.-Ed Prospecting Detecting Maps

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(Not) What the Doctor Ordered

I‘ve been detecting quite a bit lately, trying to find one of the Spanish 1715 treasure ships and have located an area that’s paying off. I’m not a spring chicken; arthri­tis and bursitis have been giving me fits in my shoul­der. Today I saw my doctor, who told me I had a torn rotator cuff. Now, how do you tear your rotator cuff swinging a metal detector? So, I posed that question to him. Unfortunately, I cannot give you his response, as military doctors have no bedside manners, but it was both funny and shocking. Worst of all were all the cor­tisone shots in the joint. He told me to go home and pack it in ice, but instead I am packing my bags, head­ing south for a long weekend of detecting, as the pain is now gone. Please don’t tell my doctor. Bob Spratley Middleburg, Florida (Originally published in Vol 7, Issue 3) Our lips are sealed. Please send the treasure ship’s GPS coordinates to ensure that they remain sealed.-Ed

Tennessee Hunters Beware

In the Just Dug section of the last issue (American Digger Volume 7, Issue 4) there is an Indian artifact noted as coming from the Hiwassee River in Bradley County, Tennessee. That river is a historical site; you will be harassed by police or TWRA (Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency) for just walking down the river bank with your head looking down. God forbid they see you pick up anything. I know one guy who was fishing the river bank, spotted a projectile point, then picked it up. A TWRA officer saw him pick something up and came over to check his fishing license. He then did a search and found the arrowhead. They (law enforcement) then went to his house and seized his entire collection under the assumption that all his relics were from that same area. Daniel Teague Riceville, Tennessee (Originally published in Vol 7, Issue 5)

Although the artifact in question was actually noted as only being found near the river, we should have explained that was merely a point of reference. It was actually found on private property (legally, with the owner’s permission) a considerable distance from the protected area. This gives us an opportunity to lament what is happening to our once noble hobby. It seems sad that it has become illegal to pick up an artifact from the surface of publicly owned property. How many people, including professional archeologists and those who helped pass the laws, got their interest in the past by walking along a stream or Be a part of our bimonthly publication... click here and send us a D-Mail!

field in now-protected areas with Grandpa or Dad picking up arrowheads? We also are confused as to why wildlife personnel are responsible for the enforcement of such laws. As to the confiscation of relics presumed (but not proven) to have come from protected lands, we thought our laws assumed innocence until guilt was proven. As this right is granted to suspected murderers and rapists, we figured it also applied to relic hunters. Silly us. - Ed

Ed is Dead...Long Live AD

Boy, do I feel dumb! I’ve been trying to figure out who this “Ed” is who answers your D-Mails, even looking for someone by that name on your masthead, and it just occurred to me: it’s short for “Editor.” Right? Phil Ley Albany, OH (Originally published in Vol 7, Issue 6)

Fret not, Phil! We are asked that question often, and because of the confusion, we will now officially announce that we have killed off Ed. Note the new signature as of this email. But please, no one ask us why there isn’t a person by the name of “Ad” on our staff! - AD

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

Lamar White was detecting a yard in Ringgold, Georgia when he found this item. The copper token is from the early 1900s and was one of a multitude of good luck tokens distributed by private businesses. Note the swastika, which was a popular symbol of good luck until it was corrupted by the Nazi party in the early 1930s.

Robert Averella eyeballed this unusual and scarce Native American tool while searching for arrowheads in the Sequatchie Valley of Tennessee. Known as an adelaide, these hollow stones assisted in spear and dart throwing. This one is about three inches long. Photos by Charlie Harris (Vol 7, Issue 1)

Photos by Charlie Harris (Vol 7, Issue 1)

Terry Watson was metal detecting in the vicinity of Chickamauga, Georgia when he recovered relics representing both sides of the Civil War. Shown are a US cartridge box plate and a Confederate Leach and Rigdon spur. Both were found in the same hole. Photo by Charlie Harris (Vol 7, Issue 1)

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2011 American Digger Magazine Sampler

Pike Limehouse and Cecil Hopper were hunting a trashy site in Dorchester County, South Carolina when they found these relics. Pike dug the two slave tags (an 1839 Porter and 1840 Servant) while Cecil recovered the locally manufactured 1850-60 era South Carolina Militia button. All three pieces were dug within 20 feet of each other. Photo by Cecil Hopper (Vol 7, Issue 1)

Over 400 Just Dug artifacts appeared in our 2011 issues! Click here to see more.


Kenny Rogers was relic hunting at Fort Powhatan, Virginia and came across a previously unearthed hut site. Thinking that more might be in the hole, he dug down and found these three Civil War inkwells. One is gray pottery, while the other two are “snap case” styles. This type was blown through a rod connected to the well’s neck, after which the inkwell was broken off of the rod. Photo by Charlie Harris (Vol 7, Issue 1)

Quindy Robertson was hunting a Middle Tennessee camp occupied by General John Hunt Morgan when he dug this AVC (Alabama Volunteer Corps) button, backmarked “Lambert & Mast/Philada.” Like many Southern buttons, these were ordered before the war. In Quindy’s article “Chasing Gen. John Hunt Morgan C.S.A.” (AD Vol 6, Issue 5) he notes that Kentucky buttons were the only state buttons found at this site. Obviously, that changed with this find. Photo by Dwight Jewell (Vol 7, Issue 1)

Eva Goldstein was hunting a city park near Amherst, New York one day last October when she dug something she had always wanted to find: a Large Cent. The coin is dated 1810 and was recovered using a White’s DFX metal detector. Photo by Anita Holcombe

Bobby Mallard was relic hunting a site near Savannah, Georgia when he found this patriotic watch chain. While these are sometimes seen with imitation gold dollars, this military motif is quite unusual. A close-up reveals that one side shows a cannon at the ready, while the other depicts a mounted cavalryman or dragoon. It is believed to be from the early to mid 1800s. Photo by Anita Holcombe (Vol 7, Issue 1)

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Josh Silva was hunting in South Carolina at the site of an old stockade located on family property with his brothers, Justin and Jacob. With them standing a few feet away, Josh got a signal and pulled out this beautiful 1853 Liberty Head one dollar gold coin in near perfect condition. Josh uses a Whites MXT. Photos by Josh Silva (Vol 7, Issue 2)

Dennis Nunnery was hunting on November 27, 2010 near Fort Donelson, Tennessee when he dug these two beautiful Mississippi Infantry “ I ” buttons. Both have a “Hyde & Goodrich” backmark, retain most of their original gilt finish, and also have intact shanks. Found within 10 feet of each other, both buttons are likely from the same coat. This was near the area where General Pillow staged his attack on the Federal center. Dennis was using a Tesoro Tejon. Photo by Dennis Nunnery (Vol 7, Issue 2)

Mike Patterson was hunting in Central Virginia when he found this brass button with an iron back depicting Zachary Taylor. It dates to his successful 1848 presidential campaign. Taylor was not only the last Whig candidate to win a presidential election, but was also the the last President to hold slaves while in office. Photo by Charlie Harris (Vol 7, Issue 2)

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2011 American Digger Magazine Sampler

Earl Powers was searching a Trenton, Tennessee park when he recovered this coin cache with a Fisher 1266-X. The 34 silver dimes were all in the same hole, with the 1908 Quarter found only three inches away. Photo by Earl Powers (Vol 7, Issue 2)


Barry Lucero was hunting a Colonial house site near Charlottesville, Virginia on November 14, 2010 when he found a silvered George Washington Inaugural button. Made of brass, a layer of silver was fused to the front, and then struck in a die. Barry was using a White’s Spectra V3i detector. Photo by Michael O’Donnell (Vol 7, Issue 2)

Joel Hegworth was detecting in Subligna, Georgia when he found this US Navy button. The one-piece button has a “Lewis & Tomes/ Extra Rich” backmark. This English firm imported buttons into the US from 18161830. Photo by Charlie Harris (Vol 7, Issue 2)

George Lesche, of Predator Tools, has been using GPR (ground penetrating radar) to locate trash pits and hut sites, and it paid off at the DIV XV relic hunt. In one hole, he dug 23 bottles, two Eagle breastplates, and numerous bullets and buttons. George shared with those who offered their help, only keeping (l-r) a brown ST Drake Plantation Bitters Log Cabin, an amber John Gibson Sons & Co. Bourbon Whiskey, an aqua cathedral, and unmarked amber whiskey bottle. Photo by George Lesche (Vol 7, Issue 2)

Dennis Morrison was metal detecting at an old schoolhouse near Bluffton, Ohio when he found this 1865 Half Dollar. Upon closer inspection, he discovered the reverse had been engraved with a Masonic emblem. Photo by John Velke (Vol 7, Issue 2)

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Joe Haile made the Civil War find of the century with these 13 Confederate belt plates dug at a Tennessee house site. He dug seven on one trip, then returned the next day to find two more. Since then, he’s returned several times, bringing his total to 13. It’s believed that a small foundry on the property was subcontracted by the Confederacy to make the plates. Joe made the finds between November 2010 and February 2011, using a Fisher F-75 LTD with Bushmaster headphones. Photo by Joe Haile (Vol 7, Issue 3)

Charlie Harris took a break from his American Digger Magazine photographing duties to find  this  lightning  rod insulator in Chattanooga, Tennessee.  The  glass insulator was slid up a half round ground wire, with the large end up. The bracket was  attached to the side of the building. The glass was then dropped into the bracket and turned until a square stud engaged and held it securely. This style dates to the late 1800s. Photo by Charlie Harris (Vol 7, Issue 3)

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2011 American Digger Magazine Sampler

Bill  Moore  had  been hunting a house site in Antioch, Tennessee when he recovered this ring. Made of heavy silver, the stone looks to be either mother of pearl or moonstone. Although both Confederate and Union troops camped here during the War Between the States, it is thought to date to the late 1800s. Photo by Charlie Harris (Vol 7, Issue 3)

Pete Tansill was climbing one of the many cliffs overlooking the Rappahannock River in Virginia when he glimpsed an odd looking stone. Picking it up for a closer look, he saw that it was this beautiful Native American piece, a 5½ inch long polished stone gorget. These were worn around the neck as a ceremonial item. This one appears to be made of slate and dates to at least 300 B.C. and likely much older. Photo by Ran Hundley (Vol 7, Issue 3)


John Roth ended 2010 in December by digging a few bullets: 1302 in all. They were recovered from the same two foot deep hole and include 317 .69 balls, 90 three-ring Minies, 67 .58 Suhls, three .54 Suhls, and 825 buckshot (not shown). Also in the hole was a small block of lead and five wood screws. He made the finds while searching in Wilson County, Tennessee. Photo by Charlie Harris (Vol 7, Issue 3)

On New Year’s Eve of 2010, Rob Taylor decided to hunt a Union campsite in the Washington,  D.C.  area. Hearing a signal, he eventually recovered  not  only  a  .69 bullet, but an “E.P. Middleton & Bro. Philada. Wheat Whiskey 1825” embossed bottle. Two days later, Rob returned with a probe and dug the pickle jar and a medicine bottle embossed “Dr. Porter, New York.” Photo by Rob Taylor (Vol 7, Issue 3)

Jimmy Dillon was detecting near the Great Dismal Swamp  in  Chesapeake, Virginia when he came across this trifecta in the middle of a field. After finding the Revenue Cutter button, he then dug his first two silver coins for 2011. The Barber Dime is a scarce 1896-O  and  the  Seated Liberty Dime is an 1891. Jimmy was using a White’s MXT. Photo by Jimmy Dillon (Vol 7, Issue 3)

Over 400 Just Dug artifacts appeared in our 2011 issues! Click here to see more.

Mike Estes was searching in Henry County, Georgia when he dug this rare accoutrement plate. It is a small size (2.5 x 1.5 inches) cartridge box plate embossed with “UG.” There has been much speculation over the years as to the meaning of those letters, including Upson Guards. As this was found just north of Upson County, this seems to be a likely identity. Photo by Charlie Harris (Vol 7, Issue 3)

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Arthur Cook was walking a path near the Cumberland River in Nashville, Tennessee just before Christmas, 2010, when he saw something glistening in the mud. Closer inspection revealed it to be a late 1800s glass syringe plunger. Before it  was  over,  Arthur  had recovered several dozen of the unbroken plungers in both cobalt and green hand blown glass. The intriguing medical pieces range in size from two to nearly five inches long.

Mike Gladwell was digging at an old house site located in Greeneville, Tennessee when he found this gold “love token.” It is jeweler made and finely engraved, measuring  a  full  1.250 inches across the flats. The initials are “GRN.” These were often made from coins for a loved one, although this one shows no markings indicating a coin was used.

Photo by Anita Holcombe (Vol 7, Issue 4)

Photo by Charlie Harris (Vol 7, Issue 4)

Jamie Goldie was searching  the  fields  of Chester County, Pennsylvania and eyeballed these ancient stone tools and  points  attributed  to the  Delaware  group  of the Lenni Lenape Indians. These were found shortly before  the  fields  were planted and, as Jamie notes, “It won’t be long until the field is under crops again.” Photo by Jamie Goldie (Vol 7, Issue 4)

John Branstetter and Tim Garton are searching in southwestern Missouri and continue to make great finds, both by sifting and metal  detecting.  Shown here is one of their latest, a silver 1800s cuff link found by John. Photos by Tim Garton (Vol 7, Issue 4)

2011 American Digger Magazine Sampler


Eddie Allman was searching Lee’s retreat route in Central Virginia on March 12, 2011 when he got a signal that rang out on his White’s XLT. After 30 minutes of digging, Eddie pulled out this rare and unexpected relic. It is an artillery grease bucket, missing only the chain and the lid. The bucket is solid with only surface rust, and has no holes or dents. These were used to store grease to lubricate the wheels and gun carriage.

Perry Smyda was hunting in a city park in East Liverpool, Ohio in April 2011 when he found these six silver coins in one hole. Although he had hunted the open areas of the park before, this time he decided to hunt the woods located there. Perry was using an old (made in 1976) White’s Coinmaster 6 D/B Series 1. The cache consists of three Silver Dollars (an 1887-O, 1893, and 1896), an 1877 Seated Quarter, and two Barber Quarters (an 1893 and 1896-O). Photos by Perry Smyda (Vol 7, Issue 4)

Photo by Jessi Allman (Vol 7, Issue 4)

Mike Bessillieu was relic hunting near Richmond, Virginia when he found this nice relic from the War Between the States. It is an officer’s false embroidered shoulder bar. Although some were actual cloth or wire, many were stamped brass with a heavy gilt finish, such as this one. Mike was using a Fisher F75 LTD detector when he made the find. Photo by Ran Hundley (Vol 7, Issue 4)

Bryan Kilby’s been digging for 12 years and made some good  finds,  but  nothing as rare as this, a Maine sword belt plate. Produced between  1825  and  1835, these were die struck copper with an applied tongue and bar. Bryan found the relic with a White’s MXT at an old house site near Cedar Mountain, Virginia. Photo By Anita Holcombe (Vol 7, Issue 4)

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Jeff Pitts was excavating a colonial era trash pit in the Lowcountry of South Carolina when he dug this Revolutionary War buckle four feet deep. It is a rare British 3rd Regiment of Foot belt plate in fine condition. Including this one, only five have been reported found. Photo by Jeff Pitts (Vol 7, Issue 5)

Davy Keith found what may be the rarest button ever to appear in Just Dug. Albert’s book, Record of American  Uniform  and Historical Buttons, lists this as a Confederate General Service  button  (CS  90). This one is 20 mm, is high lead content pewter, and was cast in a scissor mold with an integral shank. This is only the second example ever confirmed. Davy made the  extraordinary find  in  southeastern Mississippi in June, 2011. Photo by Rob Stephens (Vol 7, Issue 5)

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2011 American Digger Magazine Sampler

Danny Capps has been spending a bit of time searching in Lincoln County and Pike County, Missouri for Native American stone tools, and making quite a few nice finds. Among his latest finds are these two white quartz points. Photo by Danny Capps (Vol 7, Issue 5)

Beau Ouimette was searching a construction site in Greencastle, Pennsylvania when he dug this Civil War bit boss designating Company “K” of the Second Cavalry  Regiment.  Although Beau has found other bit bosses, this was a first for him. Most found are the much more common “US” style. Beau made the find using a Teknetics T-2 detector. Photo by Beau Ouimette (Vol 7, Issue 5)

Over 400 Just Dug artifacts appeared in our 2011 issues! Click here to see more.


Bill Blackman was digging in Brandy Station, Virginia when he found this 1860s pickle jar. Made of clear glass, the design has an usual “teardrop” coming down the neck on both sides. Bill also recovered a US Cavalry horse bit from the same hole. He made the finds in late March, 2011. Photo by Charlie Harris (Vol 7, Issue 5)

Gordon Smith was hunting a site in northern Virginia with a White’s MXT when he found this unfired Read bolt projectile. This Civil War Confederate made item is for a three-inch rifled gun, and was made of solid iron, except for the copper sabot. It had no explosive chamber, but was designed to penetrate earthworks or masonry. The damage on the base appears to have been done with a hammer either during or after the war (possibly an attempt to salvage the copper). Photo by Ran Hundley (Vol 7, Issue 5)

Mark  Schuessler was hunting near  an  early 1800s fort in upstate New York when he found this button. The style is loosely known as a diplomatic type, although some were  worn  by  officers  of  the  period. If  Mark’s  name  sounds familiar, it may be because he is also American Digger’s  regular  News-n-Views legal columnist. Photo by Mark Schuessler (Vol 7, Issue 5)

Sanford Edwards has been searching  a  colonial  site in  Central  Virginia  and making some good finds. One of his latest is this early piece of US coinage, a 1795 Large Cent. Sanford uses a Teknetics T2 detector. Photo by Ran Hundley (Vol 7, Issue 5)

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Allison Mastin and Liz Woodell were relic hunting in Partlow, Virginia when they stumbled upon some Native American artifacts on the surface. This small quartz point, recovered by Allison, was one of the more beautiful arrowheads found there. Liz, a flint knapper herself, notes that “I admire the Native American that made this. I’m learning flint knapping and it’s not easy.” Because of the find’s location, it is thought to be from the Manahoac tribe.

Paul Schilling was hunting the  Confederate  defenses north of Marietta, Georgia when  he  recovered  this Confederate  States  of America belt plate. Cast of high copper content brass in a sand mold, this style is believed to be made by (or at least contracted for) the Atlanta Arsenal. Despite a bend, this example retains all three hooks. It was found using a White’s DFX. Photo by Anita Holcombe (Vol 7, Issue 6)

Photo by Allison Mastin (Vol 7, Issue 6)

William Smith was hunting a little-known Civil War skirmish site near Hanover County, Virginia when he dug this group of relics. The highlight of the day was a Remington revolver frame, and the cavalry bit wasn’t a bad find, either. Both had already been cleaned and protected, a must for iron, when this photo was taken. Photo by Tom Goodloe (Vol 7, Issue 6)

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2011 American Digger Magazine Sampler

Clyde Watts was detecting at an old house site near Talladega, Alabama when he dug this beautiful piece of antique jewelry, a custom made Masonic ring of 15 Kt gold. The center stone is a ¼ Kt high grade “miner’s cut” diamond. The ring has been dated to the 1870s1880s. It was found using a vintage Fisher 1266x detector. Photo by Anita Holcombe (Vol 7, Issue 6)


Randy Schuh was hunting in Knoxville, Tennessee when he found these two silver Mercury Dimes. While the 1937 is a standard issue, the 1941-S is a scarce error coin, known as a rotated die mint error. This can easily be seen when the reverse sides are compared. The error appears as being upside down when compared to a non-error coin. Randy found both with a White’s MXT Pro. Photo by

Jody Miller was searching near a creek in Central Virginia when he dug this US cartridge box plate. The reverse has a leather thong to affix the accoutrement plate to the cartridge box. Damp conditions, such as creeks and mud flats, often preserve  such  organic material. He made the find with an Fisher F75 detector. Photo by Ran Hundley (Vol 7, Issue 6)

Anita Holcombe (Vol 7, Issue 6)

Joe Baker took his father out for a few hours of hunting in Massachusetts on Father’s Day, 2011. Among their finds was this set of silver cufflinks dug by Joe. They appear to have a “tudor rose” design on them and are thought to date to the mid 1700s. Photo by Michelle Baker (Vol 7, Issue 6)

Rick Qualls dug this 1804 Spanish One Reale near an early 1800s ferry crossing in Tennessee. Reales, because of the scarcity of US coins, were accepted in the New World as legal tender in the early 1800s.Although Tennessee  has  restrictive laws on recovering artifacts from waterways, this was found on private property. Photo by Charlie Harris (Vol 7, Issue 6)

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Q&A Q&AWith With Charles CharlesHarris Harris the men of the Garden State Brigade (also known as the Washington Rifles) of Patterson, New Jersey. They adopted the distinctive style buckle (see photo below) that was worn by the New York’s 11thth regiment, also known as the Washington Rifles. The primary differences between the NY 11thth Regiment’s belt plate and the one made

?

California, that may remain a mystery, but I would suspect that it was brought by a veteran of the New Jersey Militia who headed west for either the latter day gold rush or the new business opportunities that were arising in Monterrey, once the capitol of California. No matter how it got there, it is a scarce and notable piece of American history.

Q&A With Charles Harris (Originally Published in Vol 7, Issue 4)

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friend at my metal detecting club suggested that I contact you for information regarding this buckle that I found last year in Monterrey, CA. Is it from a 19thth century California militia group? Any additional information would be greatly appreciated, or perhaps a recommendation on where to find that information. Tanya Henry

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ave you ever seen one of these? It’s silver plated brass and is a bird (maybe an Eagle or Kingfisher). Mike dug this at a Confederate picket Miller dug it at an old house site site in Mississippi. It is about recovered where we were hunting. 1¾ inchesthisininteresting diameterpiece, and but am having trouble figuring Rob Stephens has a tin back with a brass face. 11thth New York Militia exactly what it is.state The seal iniTheout Louisiana Pelican Washington Rifles belt plate. tials center either “VMC” oninit,the plus the are words “MechanYears ago, Ifound probably would have is The plate in California or “VCM.” It looks likeFair it is Assobrass. and Agricultural This is an extremely interesting given you abydifferent answer, or ics and used the New Jersey Ran Hundley at Sgt. Riker’s Civil find and one that I had never seen at least have said,Rifles “I don’t know ciation of Louisiana.” Any ideas Washington was Warhelp Shopyou saidcan thatgive you me might on can it? before. It is listed on page 485 of whatmodeled it is.” But I have a few or after thisseen one. help me identify it. O’Donnell and Campbell’s Book, ofAbove these in their complete over Rob Stephens Above photos photos courtesy courtesy of of Michael Michaelform O’Donnell, O’Donnell, American American Military Military Belt Belt Plates. Plates. Chris O’Kelly American Military Belt Plates, the past few ____________ years. Not at Civil War ____________ plate 813. I highly recommend this shows or in Civil War collections, It looks to be a bridle rosette, alNew Jersey group the though with no loopare (these often book as the most complete buckle for The initials, which “VMC,” but the at antique stores. Yes,was it does of a broad tongue, rather than break off over time) it’s hard to book on the market. You are right use stand for Virtue, Mercy, and Charity. look like a patriotic Eagle, but the tongue used NY tell. However, since most attached tin back that it is an 1800s militia plate, but The medallion, originally whatnarrow you have is the topon of the a sewth th 11 plates, and also the absence rosettes are post Civil War, let’s it originated on the East Coast, to a chain and ladder type medal, ing bird. There are various deof a company in the center this fairThis asnot the West. This buckle was used is thatatofthe thehistory Royal of Arcanum. signs of these,letter but basically they look of buckle. to how it got to sociation. Although I found menduring the period of 1855-1875 by was a fraternal insurance company arethe upper and As lower halves of the similarfortoCharlie? those sponsored 16 16 American American Digger Digger Magazine Magazine Vol. Vol. 7, 7, Issue Issue 44 that are connected and have bird Got a question Click here toby the 22 2011 American Digger MagazineaSampler Odd Fellows, which read his and QA column in every issue! spring between them. Thesubscribe spring andMasons

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to a chain and ladder type medal, and a few British prisoners from ket. Even I didn’t dig out first drilling a hole. The reason is that of the Royal Arcanum. This 1781-1783. It’s though brass or copper, for this was that the wall was plasthem,has I’d designs like to know moreonabout was a fraternal insurance company and visible it, what theya are and The the date. The ter laid over oak lathing strips that similar to those sponsored by the including crown. Mercury backmark on the flag says were extremely hard. Although I’m Masons and Odd Fellows, which Dime is shown sizebutton reference. associations forfor members of their not sure of the exact patent date, “London” while the NC is “Hoole organized relief associations for Any ideas on what would lodges. This led tothis theis idea ofbea I do know that these date back at Mfg. Co. 58 Great Jones St N.Y.” their members. The Royal Arcanum greatly appreciated. fraternal union for purposes of Can you tell me their age and affili- least to the late 18th century. formed their own insurance com- Todd Evangelista insurance. The Ancient Order of ation? Are they Civil War related, pany based on the fact that in the United Workmen, founded by John maybe even Confederate? late 1800s, the prosperous minor- Upchurch in Pennsylvania, first Although these pieces continue to Marty Goble ity were the only ones that could incorporated the principle of comstump many diggers and collecafford commercial life insurance. bining fraternal cooperation with tors, it is one of the easier identiJohn Upchurch, founder of the An- the Afterbusiness talking of withfurnishing button authorsolid fications that has been sent to me. cient Order of United Workmen, and ity William Leigh,protection. he confirmed my economical While That is because we had them in saw this need by the masses and the suspicion that these both dated to details were somewhat ill conrelic hunter in Texas found the house that I was raised in on combined the cooperation of the ceived, the lateoverall 1800s itwith affiliation was no what people this bullet. Have you ever Lookout Mountain. It is a picture fraternity with the business of furwanted. The seed was planted found this button but, so far, Vol. 7, Issue 1 seen one like it? The base or painting hanger. In old housnishing the members which would eventually lead to the I’m insurance completelyto lost on what es, is not an insert, but cast into the you will often see a molding as aitgroup, down the protection of many. is. Canthus youbringing pass it around to somewhere bullet. It’s .58 cal., 1.062 inches between two inches costs ofofthe insurance. The Knights of Honor was some your button consultants below long, and the cavity is .250 deep. the ceiling down to just at of identification Honor was then founded in Kentucky, further and The help Knights me get an Do you suppose it might have tops of the door frames. The founded in it? Kentucky on sound in- the improving sound insurance pracand age on been anfriend early found tracer this round? side of this molding, called lead disc suranceBarnett principles. The common top tices. Their growth was rapid as Travis ArthurinCook picture rail molding, has a distinct Gravelly Springs, Alapeople loved the concept and the people of modest means welcomed lip on it where these hooks conbama. It appears to be a business by leaps andsobounds. them. In 1876 two of its founders, This one grew had me stumpt, I sent nect. My first thought an explosive The paintings had a cord atsabot or cup fromwas a projectile, and Eventually from the Knights of Dr. Darius Wilson and John Cumphotographs of it to American Dig- tached to the backside where the bullet, but the cavity’s base was has writing on it, but we can only Honor sprang the Supreme Counmings, attempted to have the orgager consultants Bob Spratley and hanging solid (an would wire is now normally atmake out explosive “1862.” I round vaguely recil of the Royal Arcanum in 1877. nization incorporate an assessment William Leigh. Both identified it as tached. open upseeing into aanother chamber This cord could rise anymember similar piece at This company was one of true scale, an imperative part of sucessbeing from a fraternal lifetheinsurfor the explosive compound). An from a foot to three or four a show that was said to be from a success stories(the in the fraternal life where full modern life insurance. With ance company Supreme Counexperimental tracer round also iece, insurance business and is still ac- 16 American Digger Magazine Vol. 7, IssueCivil 6 War-era Hotchkiss projectile, feet above the top of the painting. most of the general population still cil of the Royal Arcanum) that is seemed possible, but unlikely. Fiuring It would then hooked over the but cannot fathom how it was used. tive intoday, while the The Knights of distrustful andbeignorant of what still existence today. emblem nally, I quit guessing and sent it iniI know Dyer shells had a similar two outer prongs of this hanger. Honor was bankrupted in 1916. was manufactured as a pin during was needed, their effort failed. to those who know bullets betMC” cup on the bottom. Is this a variaAfter the painting was leveled, Returning to Boston, Wilson ter the late 1800s, so independing than me. We received several (Originally Published Vol 7, Issue 1) on rass. tion of that system? the hanging cords weretosqueezed and Cummings worked create a the reverse, it may not be a button. varying answers, including a .52 Civil Bill Lockridge together andand thenonput under the new society, November 5, Hindman In the mid to late 1800s, life insur(a rare Arkansas bulcan inner the tabs forassociation, security. Once the new The Suance failed to meet the needs of 1877 let). The only problem was that a painting was hung brassArcaclip It is from a Hotchkiss, but not from preme Council of of thethe Royal the common people. Only the most feet Hindman wasHotchkiss a much smaller bulCivil War-era above the top the painting. the standard three-pieceprojectile, projectile could received be slid along the rail, allowa charter from the wealthy and prosperous minority Itnum, let.cannot So what was this really? Bullet but fathom how it was would then be hooked over the that we often see. Instead, itused. is the ing adjustments. State of Massachusetts. The Royal could afford to indulge in such his item was found in an two authority and author Jim Thomas I base knowfor Dyer shells inch had aHotchkiss similar outer prongs of thisit hanger. a three In the old houses, was imMC,” expensive Arcanum is one ofleveled, success cup arealuxury. knownAsto well, have thoubeen After pegged it,bottom. sendingIs photos along on the a fired variathe tostory painting was Above photos by Jim canister round. provided Made this to be in possible drive a nail into the arity. sands had in the business of fraternal life inseen their costly protecoccupied by Hessian troops with a description. It turns out hese were found in a bag of tion of that system? the hanging cords were squeezed Thomas shows various black a three inch ordnance rifle, these wall for hanging a painting withched tion surance.and Eventhen today are the still Bill in bankruptcy and vanish a few British prisoners thatpowder this mystery bullet by is actually mixed buttons at a proceedflea from mar- together Lockridge putthey under rounds the rounds were packedused with numerous out firstThe drilling a can’t hole. Thesaid reason edal, ings active. same be for and receiverships of the life 1781-1783. It’s brass or copper, a modern reproduction sometimes ket. Even though I didn’t dig inner tabs security. the NSSA. TheWhen arrowfired, points the small balls. theto canister for this wasfor that the wallOnce was plasThis insurance the Knights of Honor, whose in- Itused business. and has designs visible on it, painting bybullet theHotchkiss, North South Skirmish them, I’d like to know more about is from a but not froma was hung the brass clip in question. was designed to perform like ter laid over oak lathing strips that pany including surance business was bankrupt During this era, the Masons a crown. The Mercury Association. Formed in 1950 and what they are and the date. The could standard three-piece projectile be slid along theAlthough rail, allow____________ giant shotgun blast, sending out were extremely hard. I’m the y the and by 1916. Odd Fellows organized relief Dime is shown for size reference. still active today, the group has backmark on the flag button says that we often see. Instead, it is the ing adjustments. a wide spread of small balls and not sure of the exact patent date, hich Any his item was found inVol. an ideas on what this would be Civil for Waraera weapon firing 16 American Digger Magazine 7, Issue 5 In the old houses, it was im“London” while the NCis is “Hoole three inch inlive Hotchkiss devastating anything its path. I do know that these date back at base for greatly area known to have been appreciated. competitions demonstrations. Mfg. Co. 58 Great Jones St N.Y.” possible canister round.and Made to presented be fired ina to drive into the The Hotchkiss canister least to the late 18ath nail century. num Todd occupied by Hessian troops Evangelista The bullets shown Jim’s pho(Originally Published inin Vol rifle, 7, Issue these Can you tell me their age and affilia three inch ordnance wall for hanging a painting withproblem, though, for the lead5)base com- and a few British prisoners from tos (above) were all provided by (Originally Published in VolThe 7, Issue 6) ation? Are they Civil War related, out first rounds packed with numerous drilling a hole. reason would were engage the rifling of the gun, n the 1781-1783. It’s brass or copper, a NSSA skirmisher in the Gettysburg. maybe even Confederate? small balls. When fired, canister for this was that the wall was plasAlthough these pieces continue giving an uneven dispersion of the nor- and has designs visible on it,to The specimen on the top (pointed Marty Goble was designed to perform like a ter laid over oak lathing strips that stump many diggers and collecballs. If you look closely, you can ould including a crown. The Mercury out with an arrow) is the same as shotgun sending tors, it one of easier identi- were extremely hard. Although I’m giant seewww.americandigger.com where thisblast, one lightly bit out into ance. Dime 23 is is shown forthe size reference. thewide one spread you areof asking about. a small balls not sure of the exact patent date, the rifling of the gun’s barrel. and An- fications that has been sent to me.

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T P M

We don’t know what they are. Charlie doesn’t know what they are. Do you know what they are? Send your guesses, facts, theories, ideas, and related correspondence to: Stumpt, c/o American Digger, PO Box 126, Acworth, GA, 30101 or e-mail to: adpublisher@att.net.com

U T S

Bill Cross is hoping to identify this cast brass piece found at a Colonial site in the South Carolina Lowcountry. The size is about 1.5 x 2.1 inches. We would also like to know who the person portrayed is.

This copper disc, owned by Danny Brown, was found in Peru with some arrowheads. Another was dug in Culpeper, VA. Both have “United States of America” and “E Pluribus Unum” above the Eagle, with blank backs. Michael O’Donnell and several other authorities think it was made for the US Government around 1815. Michael mentions that he’d heard of the Government striking medals for the Indians as part of treaty settlements. Otherwise, we are stumpt and hope someone knows what these are and will contact us. (Originally Published in Vol 7, Issue 5)

(Originally Published in Vol 7, Issue 5)

John Foster dug this miniature brass hatchet (about an inch long). It is embossed with the word “Washington” which we think refers to our first president and ties into the legend of him chopping down the cherry tree. Otherwise, what is it? (Originally Published in Vol 7, Issue 4) James Kirby is trying to get a positive ID on this stamped brass piece found near Ringgold, GA. It is 1.7 x 1.22 inches and has no visible signs of attachment devices. The motif is obviously musical, but beyond that we are stumpt on the use or age.Can you help? (Originally Published in Vol 7, Issue 1)

24

Steve Moore of Garrett Detectors is seeking an ID on these two brass items he found at a Texas buffalo hunter’s camp (circa late 1860s to early 1870s). The larger piece has a wreath surrounding the perimeter, but is missing the center. The smaller one is about one inch across and has the typical star associated with Texas. Note the tiny “O”s surrounding the star. (Originally Published in Vol 7, Issue 6)

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Stumpt! appears in each issue of American Digger Magazine. Click here to subscribe and help us solve mysteries like these!


Feedback

Frank Cookerly emailed us to say that he believes the brass item shown in Stumpt, Vol 6, Issue 6, and found by Lamar White is a transom hook. These were mounted on a long wooden pole and used to open and close the high transom and casement windows so popular in the late 1800s-early 1900s. After looking at similar (but not exact) examples on the Internet, we are inclined to agree. If a reader will send us a photo of an identical one, we can call this Stumpt solved! (Originally Published in Vol 7, Issue 2)

Solved!

Feedback

Don McMichael reports that his research shows the piece dug by Bob Kish in our May-June 2011 Stumpt is a medal given to sailors in Matthew Perry’s fleet who participated in the 1853 opening of trade in Japan. Don says that a gold medal was awarded to Perry, silver medals to his commanders, and bronze medals to the crews. The silver and gold designs vary from this one. Knowing this, we hope someone can direct us to a photograph or illustration of an identical medal so this item can be 100% solved. (Originally Published in Vol 7, Issue 5)

Danny Brown’s father brought this medal home from the Philippines during WWII, where it was taken from a Japanese soldier. The characters are cast into the medal, which is silver. It has heavy wear, which makes us think it may have been made before the war. (Originally Published in Vol 7, Issue 2)

Skip Mayorga sent us a copy of a newspaper clipping proving the identity of Dan Patterson’s find shown in our last Stumpt column. According to a May 11, 1919 New York Times article, these “Victory Buttons” (actually lapel pins) were to be given to each soldier upon discharge, including those already discharged, and were intended to be worn with civilian clothing. One identical to Dan’s is pictured in the article. (Originally Published in Vol 7, Issue 5)

Mark Hudson is seeking information on this bayonet he found in Duck Springs, AL. Most puzzling is the blade’s profile. While the bottom two surfaces are fluted, the top is rounded. It appears to fit a .69 cal. weapon, and is about 17” overall. It’s not listed in Hardin’s book, The American Bayonet, which makes us believe it may be foreign. Beyond that, we are lost as to what it is or its era, but believe that someone out there can tell us. (Originally Published in Vol 7, Issue 3)

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25


y k c u L y TThhaannkk MMy Lucky

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! s r a t S Stars!

(Never ignore a good fortune cookie!) (Never ignore a good fortune cookie!) Whelesss chaell Wh By Mich eles By Mi ae

is very rare for a course, most Chinese meals ise tvery very course, Chinese course, most Chinese meals meals mis a l d rare erare t e c for tfor i n gaa end withmost a traditional Chinese m tteecctfind meettaall ddeeto tiinngg end with aa traditional Chinese end withcookie traditional Chinese hobbyist fortune to be enjoyed after hobbyist to find hobbyist to find fortune cookie to be enjoyed after fortune cookie to be enjoyed after a potentially unthe meal has been consumed. I una potentially potentially unthe meal has consumed. II the meal open has been been consumed. touched relic ahunting site in this cracked the fortune cookie touched relic hunting in touched relic hunting site site in this this cracked the fortune cracked open themy fortune cookie day and age, especially considerincludedopen with meal,cookie pulled day and age, especially considerday and age, especially considerincluded with my meal, pulled included with my meal, pulled ing there are so many other digout the little slip of paper, and ing diging there there are are so so many many other digout of out the the little little slip of paper, paper, and and gers to compete with. Itother is also silently read slip to myself its words gers gers to to compete compete with. with. It It is is also also silently silently read read to to myself myself its its words words very rare to discover a site that of wisdom. It simply stated, very very rare rare to to discover discover aa site site that that of of wisdom. wisdom. It It simply simply stated, stated, produces vast amounts of relics, “Your Lucky Stars Will Guide The author at the site. produces produces vast vast amounts amounts of of relics, relics, “Your “Your Lucky Lucky Stars Stars Will Will Guide Guide The author at the site. The author at the site. in a very small area, in such a You To Discover Great Things.” in in aa very very small small area, area, in in such such aa You You To To Discover Discover Great Great Things.” Things.” short period of time. This story is I thought little more about it, short short period period of of time. time. This This story story is is II thought thought little little more more about about it, it, about for having no idea that in the next several days I would, about one such site that was able to metal detect aboutone onesuch suchsite sitethat thatIIIwas wasable able to to metal metal detect detect for for having having no no idea idea that that in in the the next next several several days days II would, would, two by chance, chance, happen happenonto ontoone oneof thebest bestrelic relichunting hunting two days September 2010. twodays daysinin inSeptember September2010. 2010. by by chance, happen onto one ofofthe the best relic hunting My adventure began in my hometown of Savannah, sites that that III have haveever everbeen beenfortunate fortunateenough enoughto hunt.ItIt It My My adventure adventure began began in in my my hometown hometown of of Savannah, Savannah, sites sites that have ever been fortunate enough totohunt. hunt. onon the weekend before Labor Day when my wife and is also hard to believe that I would be the sole person on the the weekend weekend before before Labor Labor Day Day when when my my wife wife and and is is also also hard hard to to believe believe that that II would would be be the the sole sole person person to toto I IIdecided Of discoverand andhunt huntthis thisgreat greatsite. site. decided eat Chinese takeout food for dinner. decidedtoto toeat eatChinese Chinese takeout takeout food food for for dinner. dinner. Of Of discover discover and hunt this great site.

Nondescript buttons and musket Nondescript buttons buttons and and musket musket balls balls were were among among the first finds at the site. Nondescript balls were among the the first first finds finds at atthe thesite. site. 18 Digger 33 18 American Digger Magazine Magazine Vol. 7, 7, Issue IssueSampler 26 American 2011 American Digger Vol. Magazine 18 American Digger Magazine Vol. 7, Issue 3

Originally Published in Vol 7, Issue 3 Click here to order single issues.


Construction on the the site site had had included included the the digging digging of of aaaa large large Construction site had included the digging of large Construction on large trench so that wall could could be be erected erected on on the the perimeter perimeter of of the the trench wall could be erected perimeter of the trench so so that that aa wall on the perimeter of the lot. The dirt from that trench trench had had been been spread spread out out to to fill fill in in the the that trench had fill in the lot. The The dirt dirt from from that been spread out to fill in the lot. interior of the lot, making making it it perfect perfect for for metal metal detecting detecting.... lot, making it detecting interior of of the the lot, perfect for metal detecting interior

Savannah, which is located trash pits pits all all over over the the city. city. The The Savannah, which which is is located located trash pits all over the city. The trash Savannah, located pits all over the city. The in Georgia, one of the original second largest Revolutionary War in Georgia, Georgia, one one of of the the original original second largest Revolutionary War second in original second largest largest Revolutionary RevolutionaryWar War 13 English colonies of America, battle took place here and relics 13 English English colonies colonies of of America, America, battle took place here and relics battle 13 America, battle took took place place here here and and relics relics has always been a great place to such as military buttons and musket has always been a great place to such as military buttons and musket such asasmilitary has always been a great place to to militarybuttons buttonsand andmusket musket hunt for relics of all types. Since ballsare arefound foundevery everytime timethe thedirt dirt hunt for for relics relics of of all all types. types. Since Since balls are found every time the dirt balls hunt Since are found every time the dirt Georgia was buffer colony for isdisturbed. disturbed.During Duringthe theCivil CivilWar, War, Georgia was was aaa buffer buffer colony colony for for disturbed. During the Civil War, isis Georgia for disturbed. During the Civil War, the other colonies to the north, Savannah became one of the most the other other colonies colonies to to the the north, north, Savannah became one of the most the Savannah north, Savannahbecame becameone oneof ofthe themost most Savannah has had a strong military heavily fortified cities in America. Savannahhas hashad hadaastrong strongmilitary military heavily fortified cities in America. heavily Savannah military heavilyfortified fortifiedcities citiesin inAmerica. America. presence from its beginning, with Soldiers from from every every state, state, North North th presencefrom from its its beginning, beginning, with with Soldiers from every state, North Soldiers presence with Soldiers from every state, North th century apothecary 18 18thth century apothecary apothecary 18 century historical sites everywhere in the and South, served here with their historical sites sites everywhere everywhere in in the the and South, South, served here with their historical and the South, served served here herewith withtheir their weights found found by by the the author. author. the author. weights weights found by city. Military relics from all eras, respective armies. armies. Blessed Blessed with with city. Military Military relics relics from from all all eras, eras, respective armies. Blessed with respective city. eras, respective armies. Blessed with as as civilian artifacts, are wealth and and prosperity, prosperity, Savannah Savannah as well well as as civilian civilian artifacts, artifacts, are are wealth and prosperity, Savannah as well wealth are wealth and prosperity, Savannah found here. did not suffer the destruction of invading armies like found here. here. destruction of invading armies like did found did not not suffer suffer the the destruction destruction of of invading invading armies armieslike like As major seaport in the new world, world, Savannah, Savannah, many during periods periodsof ofwar, war,nor norhas hasmany many As aaa major major seaport seaport in in the the new many other other cities during periods of war, nor has many As new world, Savannah, many other cities cities during during periods of war, nor has many has welcomed from all over the the globe. globe. They They construction destroyedhuge hugeportions portionsof ofthe thepast. past. has welcomed welcomed emigrants emigrants from from all all over constructionprojects projects destroyed huge portions of the past. has emigrants from all over the globe. They construction projectsdestroyed destroyed huge portions of the past. brought with them valuable goods such as jewelry, coins, All of these facts add up to one thing: Savannah can broughtwith withthem them valuable valuablegoods goodssuch up to one thing: Savannah can brought goods such as as jewelry, jewelry, coins, coins, All All of of these these facts facts add add up up to to one one thing: thing: Savannah Savannahcan can and have been lost to to privies privies and and sometimes hunter’sdream. dream. and china china that that over over time time have have been been lost sometimes be be relic hunter’s dream. china and that over time have been lost to privies and sometimes beaaarelic relichunter’s hunter’s dream.

Revolutionary War War era era relics relics abounded abounded at at the the site. Finds included (left-right) Revolutionary era included (left-right) (left-right) Revolutionary War era relics abounded at the site. site. Finds Finds included included (left-right) cannonballs, an engraved butt plate, and 1700s pennies. cannonballs, an engraved Brown Bess musket butt plate, and 1700s engraved Brown Bess musket and 1700s pennies. cannonballs, an engraved Brown Bess musket butt plate, and 1700s pennies. pennies. May-June 2011 American Digger Magazine 19 May-June American 19 May-June2011 2011 AmericanDigger DiggerMagazine Magazine 27 19 www.americandigger.com May-June 2011 American Digger Magazine 19


Mid-1800s items items found found at at the the tiny tiny construction construction site Mid-1800s site included both Civil War relics and and civilian civilian artifacts, artifacts, as relics shown as shown in in the above photos.

The

company that that II am am ememcompany ployed by by required required me me to to ployed work on on the the Labor Labor Day Day work holiday this this year, year, so so II holiday was not not able able to to enjoy enjoy the the time time off off to to be be with with my my was family. The day was slow and after lunch I decided family. The day was slow and after lunch I decided closeup upthe the workshop workshop and and ride ride around around in in the the old old totoclose section of of downtown downtown Savannah Savannah to to look look for for aa metal metal section detecting site. To my surprise, I came upon a parkdetecting site. To my surprise, I came upon a parkinglot lotthat thatwas wasbeing being redone redone in in conjunction conjunction with with an an ing office building renovation. I had seen this fenced in office building renovation. I had seen this fenced in

(L-R Above) Above) Boy Boy Scout Scout (L-R token, “Crusade” token, “Crusade” medallion, and and medallion, Winfield Scott disc. Winfield Scott disc. Interestingly, the the Interestingly, Boy Scout Scout token token has has aa Boy “Good Luck” Swastika “Good Luck” Swastika on the reverse reverse (Left). (Left). on the 20 American Digger Magazine Vol. 7, Issue 3 2011 American DiggerVol. Magazine 2028American Digger Magazine 7, Issue 3Sampler

construction was open open construction site before, but this time it was and there. II and only only aa few few employees were working there. took construction site site took aa chance chance and approached the construction asking for permission to metal supervisor, politely to metal supervisor, politely detect surprise, detect the the area area under construction. To my surprise, his answer was “yes.” The hunt was on! Construction the digging digging Construction on the lot had included the of erected on on of aa large large trench trench so that a wall could be erected the perimeter of the site. The dirt from that trench that trench had of the the lot, lot, had been been spread spread out to fill in the interior of making it perfect for metal detecting. Hunting this Hunting this area was was aa dream dream come true and there was virtually area virtually no modern modern trash trash to work through to get at the no the hidhidden relics. I immediately started finding old targets; den relics. I immediately started finding old targets; musket ball ball here, here, aa flat aa musket flat button button there, there, and and old old coins coins were everywhere. There were china shards, brass were everywhere. There were china shards, brass furniture parts, parts, carriage carriage ornaments, furniture ornaments, buckles, buckles, gun gun parts, cannonballs, cannonballs, Minie parts, Minie bullets, bullets, coins, coins, and and milimilitary buttons. buttons. Musket Musket balls tary balls were were everywhere, everywhere, and and II found so so many many of of them them that found that II had had to to return return to to my my truck several times to unload so that I could keep truck several times to unload so that I could keep my my pants from falling down. The day had been a whirlpants from falling down. The day had been a whirlwind of of finds. finds. Once Once the wind the sun sun set, set, II returned returned home home to to do a cleanup and inventory on all of the relics that do a cleanup and inventory on all of the relics that II had discovered. discovered. The The results had results were were amazing. amazing. II had had found found over over 50 coins 50 coins dating dating as as far far back back as as 1734. There were 63 flat buttons and 11 knee buck1734. There were 63 flat buttons and 11 knee buckles, suspender suspender buckles buckles and les, and kepi kepi buckles. buckles. II had had 72 72 musket balls and three Minie bullets. There musket balls and three Minie bullets. There were were four Brown Brown Bess Bess gun gun parts, four parts, three three knapsack knapsack hooks, hooks, two bayonet scabbard tips, a cartridge box two bayonet scabbard tips, a cartridge box finial, finial, and the the hand hand guard guard from and from an an early early sword. sword. II had had found two six pound British Revolutionary War found two six pound British Revolutionary War


May-June2011 2011 American AmericanDigger DiggerMagazine Magazine 21 21 May-June www.americandigger.com 29


(Above) Two views of a Revolutionary War winged dragon sword guard. (Left) British 16th Regiment of Foot button.

cannonballs and an unidentified oval tag (more about this on the following page). There were also six U.S. military buttons dating back to the War of 1812 and one Revolutionary War British 16th Regiment of Foot button. What a day it was!

exposed, filled with relics. Again, there was not any competition to contend with and I spent the whole day digging one target after another. That day I would find another Revolutionary War cannonball, this time an eight pounder. I found 33 more coins and tokens, including two Barber Dimes, three Shield Nickels, five Liberty Head V Nickels, 12 Indian Head Cents,

a pair of Two Cent Pieces, three US Large Cents, one Flying Eagle Cent, one Colonial British Copper Penny, one 1919 Boy Scout Good Luck Token, one General Winfield Scott token, and two early 1800s foreign coins. I also dug 19 more musket balls, 11 more flat buttons, and a religious medallion from the 1800s. One of the best items to be

On

the next Saturday, I once again returned to the site and had another great day of metal detecting. The ground had been reworked by a front end loader and a whole new layer of dirt was 22 Digger Magazine Vol. 7, IssueSampler 3 30 2011 Digger 30 American 2011American American DiggerMagazine Magazine Sampler

Early 19th century buttons included a 3rd Artillery Regiment button.


Even the more “modern” coins were exciting finds, as shown above by these post-Civil War dates. found here was a rare 1802 U.S. Domestic No. 6 1794.” One thetags may have been issued to slave Large Cent error coin. On the back ory, although disputed by most, is owners in the late 1700s, an auof the coin is the fraction of 1/000 that it could be a Savannah slave thentic one has never been examinstead of 1/100. This coin is very tag from the 1700s. Although City ined, if indeed they do exist. valuable and highly sought by of Savannah records hint that such Another theory is that it may collectors. Another good be a fire insurance house find was a Revolutionary tag (often called a “fire th War British 16 Regiment mark”) used by early fire of Foot button. This regidepartments or insurance ment of British soldiers companies to show if fire was here in 1778 and 1779 protection had been paid for the capture, siege, and on a home. It could also battle of Savannah. The be a taxation tag for a carpewter one-piece button riage, a wagon, or even is in excellent shape and an animal, such as a dog, is also highly desirable. horse, or cow. We may A mystery relic was never know what it truly also found which has peois, but it sure stirs up a lot ple guessing and specuof conversation with relic One of the best finds was this 1802 lating on its purpose. The hunters and collectors. Large Cent error coin. Note the fracoval brass tag mentioned There would be several tion is “1/000” instead of 1/100. previously reads “C.S. other days left to hunt this May-June 2011 American Digger Magazine www.americandigger.com

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23 31 31


The above grouping of artifacts was found at the site. It is even more impressive when one considers that it was all found in two short days by one person. At upper right is the “Domestic” tag whose true origin still remains a mystery. site before it was covered up, and I would invite several friends to share in the enormous relic bounty that this lot held. We would find many more coins, buttons, and military goods, but nothing like the relics that I found in

the first two days. I hear all the time from other metal detecting hobbyists that there are not any more great sites left to be hunted. That may be true for the most part, but for two days in September 2010, I can truly “Thank My Lucky Stars” for guiding me to the best relic site and metal detecting experience that I have ever had.

About The Author

There was no shortage of US large cents to be found at the site, as shown here. 24 Digger Magazine Vol. 7, IssueSampler 3 32 2011 Digger 32 American 2011 American American Digger Magazine Magazine Sampler

Michael Wheless was born in Savannah, GA and has lived there his entire life. He is also president of the South Carolina chapter of the Coastal Empire History Hunters Association. He and his wife, Nancy, both collect a variety of items, mostly Civil War period or earlier. In addition to being a valued contributor to American Digger Magazine, he is currently working on a joint venture with the club to publish a book of Civil War relics found in Coastal Georgia and South Carolina.


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nd Me DIV and Me ke On America’s XVII

ed Relic Hunt.

nda Erickson

ALayout First Timer’s Take On America’s & Photos* by AnitaLargest and Butch Holcombe Organized Relic Hunt. *(Unless Noted) Article By Linda Erickson

We had the opportunity to meet fellow metal detectorist John Velke in ost you have theofsummer of probably 2010, who suggested heard the term “football we attend a Diggin’ in Virginia orgawidow.” This term could nized hunt. Ron and I, along with our also apply hunting to a treasure hunting buddy, Jeff Lubbert, then bewidow. Mygan husband Ron’s hobby the quest to attend a DIV event. of prospecting Our and first metal step ondetecting the road to this hunt started nearly 20 years ago when our began by monitoring the Diggin’ In kids were young. It was then that Virginia forum at MyTreasureSpot. I decided I would not be a treasure com, where registration dates are anhunter’s widow. Not long after Ron nounced for upcoming DIV hunts. picked up the hobby, I joined him in After previous failed attempts to atthe quest for treasure. After a number hunt, of wedigging, were excited to see of years of tend othera types our names on the alternates’ list for we began to focus on relic hunting DIV XVII. We began various sites in Colorado, from old waiting and expectantly stage stops watching and military sites onas our names crept up the list dueghost to cancellations. the eastern plains to deserted Our big day came on January 28 towns high in the Rocky Mountains. when our names We also had a desire to hunt forwere Civilmoved to the participant War relics like those welist. haveWe seenwere in finally gorickson heads ing to have the opportunity to look Linda Erickson heads American Digger Magazine. Author field for some forweCivil War relics! like to a the DIV field for some Although had talked about itI wasback oto by Ron Erickson for a number years, itfor wasn’t un- to arrive, kidofwaiting Christmas digging fun. Photo by Ron Erickson til 2010 thatwaking we began our of the night up to in pursue the middle dream of Civil War relic hunting.

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NC Button ld Watch Key CS Buckle Wigart da Pavlischak DougEd Alley Minelab GP5000 White’s TDI Minelab GP5000

ME Button Breastplate Todd Hunt Andrew Martin White’s MXT Minelab GP5000

Gold Watch Key Linda Pavlischak White’s TDI

Layout & Photos* by Anita and Butch Holcombe *(Unless Noted)

We had the opportunity to meet fellow metal detectorist John Velke in the summer of 2010, who suggested we attend a Diggin’ in Virginia organized hunt. Ron and I, along with our hunting buddy, Jeff Lubbert, then began the quest to attend a DIV event. Our first step on the road to this hunt began by monitoring the Diggin’ In Virginia forum at MyTreasureSpot. com, where registration dates are announced for upcoming DIV hunts. After previous failed attempts to attend a hunt, we were excited to see our names on the alternates’ list for DIV XVII. We began waiting and watching expectantly as our names crept up the list due to cancellations. Our big day came on January 28 when our names were moved to the participant list. We were finally going to have the opportunity to look for Civil War relics! I was like a kid waiting for Christmas to arrive, waking up in the middle of the night

NC Button Ed Wigart Minelab GP5000

ME Button Todd Hunt White’s MXT

Beureguard XVI held at conducted nearby at the Beureguard Farm, DIV XVI was held at nearby TheFarm, week DIV before DIVwas XVII was trates on the latter Rock event,Farms. we stillAlthough wanted to show Brandy this article concentrates on the latter event, we still wanted to show acts found at the previous hunt. a very small sampling of the artifacts found at the previous hunt. 34 American American Digger Magazine Magazine Vol. 7, 7, Issue IssueSampler 34 Digger Vol. 44 34 Digger 34 2011 2011American American DiggerMagazine Magazine Sampler

Originally Published in Vol 7, Issue 4 Click here to order single issues.


Gold Masonic ID badge of E. Graves, Co. F, 34th Massachusetts Volunteers. The tiny relic (less than an inch tall) was dug by James Walker. Graves, a First Sergeant, was later wounded on May 6, 1864 and discharged. It is missing the T-bar attachment pin. thinking about it and wondering what kind of gifts might be unearthed from that Virginia Civil War site. For those who have had the privilege of attending the event, I’m sure you remember the thrill of your first DIV hunt. I was nervous, excited, and just plain giddy to get out there and swing my recently purchased Teknetics T2 detector. Planning soon began. We decided to leave a couple of days early and drive a bit off course to Dover, Tennessee—home of Fort Donelson Relics—to view their amazing collection of Civil War artifacts. Seeing all the relics only added to the excitement of what we might find at DIV. We stayed a couple of nights in Paris, Tennessee, rested up after our

SilverGold ID badge belonging to Henry Anguis,Co. of F, Masonic ID badge of E. Graves, nd th Co. E, New York Volunteer Cavalry. 34 22Massachusetts Volunteers. The tinyOn relic the back is the maker’s name, Dr. A. J. Wright (less than an inch tall) was dug by James of Fredonia, NY. Wright a dentist Walker. Graves, a Firstwas Sergeant, was by later profession, buton was also skilled and It wounded May 6, a1864 andjeweler discharged. made the pins for local soldiers. is missing the T-bar attachment pin.

hour drive, andwhat even found a little thinking about 17 it and wondering timebetounearthed do some metal kind of gifts might from detecting and bottle digging. On Tuesday, March that Virginia Civil War site. we have began had the final For those 29, who the 10 hour drive. Our excitement of reaching Culpeper privilege of attending the event, was building. We wanted to arrive I’m sure you remember the thrill of of days before the hunt your first DIV there hunt.a couple I was nervous, in order do some sightseeing, meet excited, and just plaintogiddy to get other out there andsome swing myattendees, recently and visit a museum or purchased Teknetics T2two. detector. found We the local Planning soonWe began. de- museum and center cided to leave avisitor’s couple of daysstaffed early with enthusiand knowledgeable individuand drive a bitastic off course to Dover, A picture is worth a Tennessee—home thousand als willing picture is wort answer ourAquestions of Fort to Donelson words. To answer the Relics—to question, view words. To answer about theamazing area. Wecolwere also told that their “Is the DIV an exhausting event?” theMuDIV an exha should visit the White“Is Oak lection of CivilweWar artifacts. Seeone only needs to looking at aallvery one seum in added Fredericksburg. Withonly oneneeds to the relics only to the tired and relaxed Ron Erickson. tired2,000 and relaxed afternoon to spare and with excitement of what we might find at Photo by Linda Erickson already on the DIV. We stayedmiles a couple of nights in trip odometer,Photo by Linda we rested hopped the our car and drove to Paris, Tennessee, upinafter

What more fitting relic from one of the biggest Civil War cavalry engagements than a saber guard? James Wark dug this one using a White’s TDI.

One of the rarest finds at the hunt was this What more fitting relic from one the for Kearney’s Cross. Commissioned andofpaid biggest Civil War cavalry engagements by Brigadier General D. B. Birney, only 463 of than a saber guard? James these medals of valor were issued.Wark It wasdug found this one using a White’s TDI. by Todd Hunt using a White’s MXT 300. July-August 2011 2011 American American Digger Digger Magazine Magazine July-August www.americandigger.com www.americandigger.com

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Guy Lambert shows athis Federal Doug Rouner recovered Staff Officer’s button he’d North Carolina button from just from the ground. one pulled of the many fields.

Doug Rouner Ron Falk found recovered his first this North Carolina button from Confederate “A” artillery one of button atthe thismany hunt.fields.

Ron Falk found his first Confederate “A” artillery button at this hunt.

Fredericksburg. Locating the White Oak museum can be ticipants Oak museum can be ticipants knew each other, and the atmosphere remindedknew each other, and the atmosphere reminded difficult, but it is definitely not to be missed. There was me of felt a class reunion. From that first meeting, we felt missed. There was me of a class reunion. From that first meeting, we one display after another of amazing Civil War relics. Our welcomed Civil War relics. Our welcomed into the DIV family. The committee ran an ex- into the DIV family. The committee ran an exanticipation continued to grow for tremely efficient and orderly meeting, tremely efficient and orderly meeting, the start of the next day’s hunt. during which time we were all given during which time we were all given The night before the dig, the lomaps of the hunt area. The challenge maps of the hunt area. The challenge cal Reformation Lutheran Church now was to figure out where to start now was to figure out where to start provided a fabulous dinner prior the to next morning. the next morning. the pre-hunt meeting. Just like mara- Thursday was the day we’d been Thursday was the day we’d been thon runners filling up on carbs bewaiting for. The weather was cool waiting for. The weather was cool fore a big race, we enjoyed a wonand breezy, but with several layers of and breezy, but with several layers of derful dinner of pasta, salad, bread, clothing topped off with a newly purclothing topped off with a newly purand cake. Before the meeting began, chased rain suit and girlie-pink rubchased rain suit and girlie-pink rubwe also had the opportunity to meet ber boots, I was ready to hunt. The ber boots, I was Joca readydug to hunt. Theever George his first George Joca dug his first ever some of the other 450+ attendees and start of the hunt began with the firing start of the hunt began with the firing Civil War buckle at DIV XVII, Civilput War buckle at DIV XVII, faces to the names of those we of an actual cannon at headquarters of an actual cannon sword at headquarters a Federal belt plate. a Federal sword belt plate. had Photo only bycommunicated with online. and then everyone was off in search and then everyone was off G.inJoca search Photo by Mrs. Mrs. G. Joca It was obvious that many of the parof relics. Ron, Jeff and I headed out of relics. Ron, Jeff and I headed out

Bottles dug by Scott Walters at DIV XVII: at DIV XVII: n” bitters;(L-R) two 1860 “Drakes Plantation” bitters; two stard jars “1855 (one Old Bourbon,” two mustard jars (one embossed “Neuhauser”), and (back row) two (back row) two whiskeys (oneUsing embossed “Patent”). frontBochek of a White’s TDI,In Jerry dugUsing a pit a White’s TDI, Jerry Bochek dug a pit nt”). In front of containing a “Patent” whisky bottle, several the whisky bottles are three bottles hewhisky found bottle, several containing a “Patent” ottles he found New at DIV XVI the previous weekend. New York buttons with cloth fragments, andYork buttons with cloth fragments, and weekend. Photo by Scott Walters rs two 12 pounder solid shot cannonballs. two 12 pounder solid shot cannonballs.

38 American AmericanDigger DiggerMagazine Magazine Vol. Vol.7,7,Issue Issue44 Issue44 38 Issue 36 2011 American American Digger Magazine Magazine Sampler 36 2011 Digger Sampler


Richmond spur, lost by a Confederate Cavalryman and dug by Randy McMahon.

this This locket, found by BruceRichmond John spur, Lowe lost byrecovered a This locket, f screw-on spur, which Barbour, once containedConfederate the Cavalryman and attached Barbour, onc directly onto the boot heel. photo of a soldier’s loved one. dug by Randy McMahon. photo of a sold

to a corn field just across the road from headquarters, had just found a USfield belt just plate.across The shape and from size were to a corn the road headquarters, where a couple of bullets and button backs were found perfect, but unfortunately it was not a plate at all, but a found where a couple of bullets and button backs were right away. We were fortunate to be in that same vicinity piece of farm We did find some bullets right equipment. away. We were fortunate to bemore in that same vicinity when a seasoned DIV hunter found his first Eagle breastand a couple first day, found so we his thought we breastwhenofa buttons seasonedthat DIV hunter first Eagle plate. It was fun to experience the exoffexperience to a good start for newbies. plate. It waswere fun to the excitement of that moment with him and We ended thehim firstand day over an citement of that moment with to capture the event on camera. My enjoyable withMy John Velke, to capture the event ondinner camera. best find of the day came soon after, Butch and Anita best find of and the day came soon after,Holcombe. with a nice, one-piece gilded button had communicated by with a nice,Although one-piecewegilded button marked “Extra Rich Super” on the email, thisSuper” was ouron firsttheopportunity marked “Extra Rich back and what appears to be a flower to meet Butch anda Anita. back and what appears to be flower We talked on the front. Could this civilian butourthis first day ofbuthunting and on the front.about Could civilian ton have been used by an ill equipped ourused plans following day. ton have been byfor an the ill equipped Confederate? I’d like to think so. Confederate? I’d like to think so. Ron began digging another signal ay another two wassignal also cool and Ron began digging Some of Perry Olinger’sand better and pulled out an oval shaped object overcast, but was of Perry pulled out an oval shaped objectthatSome caked in that famous red dirt. He held goingHetoheld dampen my at the h finds at the hunt. The item cakedin in that famous not red dirt. finds it up in the air to show Jeff, who was spirits. I made to my the green the back is a Confederateitsword up in the air to show Jeff,repairs who was back is a C 50 yards away. The look on Jeff’s rain suit some ever-popular 50 yards away. The using look on Jeff’s hanger. Photo by Perry Olinger hanger. P face was priceless, as he thought Ron duct tape and headed out on my face was priceless, as he thought Ron

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Gord Thompson poses with a musket lock assembly he had just dug.

John Leazier shows off an Eagle breastplate, his first in 15 years.

Minelab dealer Gord Thompson The Wissingers, John Leazier three generations Mike Postposes holdswith a a musket shows off an Eagle relic few finds from lock the assembly he of seriousbreastplate, his hunters. NY Cavalry camp. had just dug. first in 15 years.

No DIV is complete without showing the happy faces of the diggers. are just without four shots, No DIVHere is complete showing the happ chosen from the over 450 people who attended. Most were smiling, at least part of the time. chosen from the over 450 people who attende July-August July-August2011 2011 American AmericanDigger DiggerMagazine Magazine 39 39

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Photo by Joe Robbins Photo by Joe Robbins

Confederate Infantry, Eagle US belt plate with bits of leather Massachusetts button shown Confederate Infantry, Eaglecast SCUS belt attached plate withjuts bitsfrom of leather Infantry, and solid the side of Massachusetts a button shown Butch seconds after publisher Infantry,button and solid cast SC Rind. attachedpitjuts from thebyside a dug by Cory excavated JoeofRobbins. seconds after publisher Butch it. Holcombe recovered button dug by Cory Rind. pit excavated by Joe Robbins. Holcombe recovered it. quest. We decided to hunt another part of the property a CS belt plate while digging a pit. Or so he thought. anddecided I was not dugproperty up a nice sized Apparently, while Streaka was of his dig quest. We to disappointed hunt another when part ofI the a CS belt plate while digging pit. helping Or so hea buddy thought. piece artillery shell. The guys to be much another pitStreak about 30 yards away, Craig Williams and I was not of disappointed when I dug upfound a niceitsized Apparently, while was helping a buddy of his digplanted a exciting did, found as I was fakeCraig ceramic CS plate in theasidewall piece ofmore artillery shell.than The Iguys it to be much another pit about 30 yards away, Williams planted still in search of a buckle. of Streak’s hole and, while waiting more exciting than I did, as I was fake ceramic CS plate in the sidewall Atoftimes, as I stood at the top of for hole Streakand, to while return,waiting told everyone still in search a buckle. of Streak’s some as of Ithe hillsatlooking in the vicinitytold what he had done. At times, stood the top out of across for Streak to return, everyone the now tranquil farmland, I would be When Streak got back to his pit to some of the hills looking out across in the vicinity what he had done. with emotion continue he pit sawto the CS the now overcome tranquil farmland, I would visualizing be When Streak got digging, back to his thewith sceneemotion that hadvisualizing taken place there jumped overcome continueplate, digging, he out saw ofthehisCShole and so that many the bullets did a very the scene hadyears takenago place there plate, jumped out impressive of his holehappy and dance. Randy McMahon asked him to put so manyflying yearsand agomen falling the bulletsand only did a very impressive happy dance. imagining the pain and they it on the ground flying and men falling andsuffering only Randy McMahon asked so himhetocould put hear it endured. silence and his machine, thenhear replied imagining the painMy andmoments sufferingofthey it on thewith ground so he could it that it Brad Upp dug six curry combs meditation were broken only by the didn’t give a reading. Streak endured. My moments of silence and with his machine, then replied that itwhipped sound of broken the howling wind outahis Garrett probewhipped to check it and Brad Upp curry combs in a dug pit. six In the same hole was a give meditation were only by the or Ron didn’t reading. Streak on the radio. then realized that he’d been sound ofcalling the howling wind or Ron out his Garrett probe to check it andhad. in a pit.bottle, In the same hole was a a horse shoe, and a horse’s In the good spirit of detecting Streak, along with many others, calling on the radio. bottle, a horse shoe, and a horse’s leg bone. Photo by Perry Olingerthen realized that he’d been had. withgood friends andofthedetecting fact that it wasleg bone. Photo by Perry Olinger endured In the spirit Streak, alongsuch with good manynatured others, ribbing Apriland Fool’s Day,that there were some to be inribbing abundance on with friends the fact it was endured that suchseemed good natured great pranks played on fellow hunters. One incident April 1. My husband, Ron, quite the prankster April Fool’s Day, there were some that seemed to be in abundance onhimself, happened to veteran diggerhunters. Kim “Streak” Cox, who found various fake tickets around the great pranks played on fellow One incident April 1. “lost” My husband, Ron, winning quite the lottery prankster himself, happened to veteran digger Kim “Streak” Cox, who found “lost” various fake winning lottery tickets around the

Joe Grabenstein was using Though it shines like gold when This tiny hand carved bone Joe Grabenstein using it shinesthis likeisgold whena glassThis tiny hand bone a White’s was V3 detector, butThough backlit, actually ring was carved eyeballed by Doug a White’s V3 detector, but when backlit, this is actually a glass eyeballed by Doug it made no difference bottle seal for “CH Old Mononring was Harris while digging a it madehenoeyeballed difference for “CH Monon and Harristrash while digging thiswhen sword belt bottle sealGahela RyeOld Whiskey,” pit in the Newa York / he eyeballedplate this in sword belt Gahelapicked Rye Whiskey,” and Smith. trash pit in the New Yorkcamp. / a washout. up by Brent Massachusetts plate in a washout. picked up by Brent Smith. Massachusetts camp.

40 American Digger Magazine Vol. 7, Issue 4 Digger Magazine Vol. 7, IssueSampler 4 40 American 38 2011 American Digger Magazine

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Tongue portion of a CS two-piece buckle recovered Tongue portion of a CS by Dan Lawson. These are two-piece buckle recovered appropriately called the are by Dan Lawson. These “Brandy Station” pattern. appropriately called the “Brandy Station” pattern.

Photo by Dave Beer

Photo by Dave Beer

US Artillery button found by NeilUS Watson, Infantry by by Artillery buttondug found MikeNeil Palmer, NY cuff found byby Watson, Infantry dug Mike Harvey, and dugfound by by Mike Palmer, NYPA cuff Michael Bennett. Mike Harvey, and PA dug by Michael Bennett.

Dave Beer hunted a North Carolina on the propDave camp Beer hunted a North erty,Carolina and among the relics he camp on the proprecovered were a NCthe button erty, and among relics he andrecovered rare .69 Nessler bullet. were a NC button and rare .69 Nessler bullet.

hotel for people to find. We never stayed around to watch cherish and display it proudly in our home and will share anyone scratch off the tickets, but I expect that at least a experience our firstinDIV with hotel for people to find. We never stayed around to watchthe wonderful cherish and display itofproudly ourhunt home andfriends, will share few anyone finders were excited with the $5,000 “winning” lottery family, and our local club members. If you’ve not had the scratch off the tickets, but I expect that at least a the wonderful experience of our first DIV hunt with friends, ticket they’d just found. opportunity to participate in a DIV hunt and are passionate few finders were excited with the $5,000 “winning” lottery family, and our local club members. If you’ve not had the about relic hunting, this is an not to ticket they’d just found. opportunity to participate in aevent DIV hunt andbearemissed. passionate ay 3 brought exhausted diggers and more finds. Don’t be intimidated by the red dirt or by being about relic hunting, this is an event not toa newbie be missed. The ay best3 part of theexhausted day was seeing all and the amazing hunt, we foundbythetheveteran to be avery brought diggers more finds.to the Don’t befor intimidated red dirthunters or by being newbie relics people had found and displayed at the hunt welcoming and helpful. If given the opportunity again, The best part of the day was seeing all the amazing to the hunt, for we found the veteran hunters to be very headquartersrelics whilepeople we all had enjoyed a delicious BBQ at lunch. I participate in another Absolutely! found and displayed the huntwould welcoming and helpful. If DIV givenhunt? the opportunity again, Andheadquarters then, way toowhile soon,we it was over. After nearly 4,000 miles of driving, however, next time I all enjoyed a delicious BBQ lunch. would I participate in another DIV hunt? Absolutely! Sunday morning, with our treasures packed in the car, think we’ll fly. And then, way too soon, it was over. After nearly 4,000 miles of driving, however, next time I we headed west morning, for 26 hours. experience at DIV Sunday with Our our treasures packed inwas the car, think we’ll fly. everything we expected and more. Before I left home for we headed west for 26 hours. Our experience at DIV was DIV,everything I decided we thatexpected even if Iand didn’t find Before a singleI left relic, the for more. home About The Author experience itself would be worth the money spent, the the DIV, I decided that even if I didn’t find a single relic, Linda EricksonAbout and her husband, Ron, have hours on the road, andwould the vacation daysthe used. We had the the The Author experience itself be worth money spent, been metal detecting together for 18 years opportunity meet some people the hobby. Linda Erickson and her husband, Ron, have hours ontothe road, andawesome the vacation daysinused. We had the It was an honor and a privilege to be able to hunt in the USA. They are now beginning to been metal detecting together for 18plan years opportunity to meet some awesome people in the hobby. the Beauregard Farm. Although our case of relics is not their next big adventure: their first metal It was an honor and a privilege to be able to hunt in the USA. They are now beginning to plan as impressive as some does notourcontain more to England. the Beauregard Farm.andAlthough case ofthe relics is not theirdetecting next big trip adventure: their first metal spectacular relics found by the veteran hunters, we will as impressive as some and does not contain the more

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detecting trip to England.

Photo by Beau Ouimette

Finds made by Beau Ouimette Joel Koren holds a Shenkle shell There were some good CS relics during three day hunt dugKoren in an artillery impact shell to find if one was willing walk Finds the made by Beau Ouimette heJoel holds a Shenkle There were some goodtoCS relics included a Virginia area on the 4000+ acres. hard. Brian Jones willing. during the threebutton. day hunt he dug in an artillery impact to find if one waswas willing to walk included a Virginia button. area on the 4000+ acres. hard. Brian Jones was willing. July-August 2011 American Digger Magazine

Photo by Ran Hundley

Photo by Ran Hundley

Photo by Beau Ouimette

spectacular relics found by the veteran hunters, we will

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Saving The Best For Last By Beau Ouimette

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his is the story of one of my first and favorite water hunting sites. I first researched this spot when I was fresh out of the Army in 1983. The river was the site of a major Civil War engagement and crossing. The nearby river ford had been in almost constant use since the early 1700s. It was close to the college I was attending and I could usually squeeze a few hours of detecting in during the day between classes. I don’t think it did much for my GPA or ability to get through the program in four years, but the memories and relics of those days made it worth every moment. Like most students, I didn’t have much money so instead of investing in a water machine, I tried to improvise. I taped a plastic bag around my land machine and, in order to see underwater, used a fishbowl held half submerged. Needless to say, at the end of the day, my machine had shorted out because of a dunking. My fishbowl turned out to be an even dumber idea because the glass shattered when I pushed it into a rock. I had found some odds and ends that day and even a bullet or two, but the experience of nearly losing my detector dampened my desire to get back in the water. Besides, I was located in the lower Shenandoah Valley, so there was no shortage of land spots to hit each and every day. Now let’s fast forward a decade or more. I started hearing stories of local guys finding stuff in the river at “my” spot. I went out and bought a used White’s Surfmaster II water

machine and decided to give it another try. This time I was much more successful. I located the ford by looking for lost horseshoes. It wasn’t unusual to find a couple dozen whole or broken ones each trip. But I was also finding relics. They were mostly bullets at first, but with perseverance and fueled by rumors of other diggers’ finds, better artifacts began to surface for me. On one of my favorite days of hunting there, I was detecting the ford area with a couple of friends. There was also another group of diggers at the site. This was indeed the heyday of finding relics at the crossing. By this time I had invested in a Fisher CZ-20 metal detector. This powerful machine usually outclassed the other detectors that were in use there. On this day, my first unusual find gave me a nice high tone on the machine. After moving a few loose rocks, I could see a copper colored cylinder wedged in the rocks. I truly had no idea what it was, but was pleasantly surprised to find it was a small field telescope. I can only imagine the battle scenes that were viewed through that glass. I showed it around to the other diggers and enjoyed a few high fives. Then we all went back to detecting with added vigor. A few moments later, I heard another loud signal and after fighting the current and prying up rocks, up popped my first saber bayonet. Unfortunately for me, I had hurried the recovery and snapped the blade in two. That was a valuable lesson learned that day. This was followed by another

One of the author’s favorite days of hunting the ford resulted in these three Civil War era recoveries. (L-R): field telescope, Bormann artillery fuse wrench, and saber bayonet. Even with such finds as these, the best was still yet to come. 34 American Digger Magazine

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2011 American Digger Magazine Sampler

Originally Published in Vol 7, Issue 5 Click here to order single issues.


“Over the years, the finds kept coming, but eventually they began to get further and further apart.” round of show and tell and an equally frantic return to the and she was going to sit on the shore. Not long after we hunt. Then I heard yet another sweet high toned signal started, she went for a swim and lost her glasses. Being coming from the CZ-20. Again I dove beneath the surface the gentlemen that we are, my friend and I returned to with a face mask and snorkel on and was soon holding a the spot to help her look for them. After a half hour or so perfect brass Confederate Bormann and not finding them, I noticed my fuse wrench. This is the wrench friend had moved off and was back used to screw the fuses into a to relic hunting. I couldn’t bear to cannonball and is actually a pretty break off the search for the glasses, rare find. After showing it off for a but fumed that my buddy had quit few minutes, I could tell my friends looking for them. Finally the girl had seen enough of my good luck. told me to give up the search and, Fortunately for me, it was starting after much protesting on my part, I to get dark and we all headed for did so. I started up river and within shore. Out of all of us I’m pretty a few minutes heard the loud, clear, sure I was the happiest. high tone beep of a good target I have also dug quite a few in my headphones. After a few plates at this site and have seen fanning motions with my hand to many more found. My favorite clear to sand away, I was greeted accoutrement plate from this spot with the sight of a beautiful US belt came to me not too many years plate. The face was perfect as were ago. I met one of my friends down the hooks. I have since bought a at the river, and he had brought reenactor’s belt and wear the plate his new girlfriend along to watch on special occasions. It’s a nice us dig. Of course, this actually This revolver cylinder with one shot reminder that by my putting in the meant we were going to water hunt extra time to look for the glasses, I remaining was found at the ford. September-October 2011 American Digger Magazine

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“On this particular day I had already found a Large Cent, a Two Reale 1773 Spanish silver coin, an Eagle “A” button, an Eagle breastplate, and a handful of bullets.”

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had unknowingly positioned myself to walk right to the plate. That’s good karma. Over the years, the finds kept coming, but eventually they began to get further and further apart. What was once a very common occurrence of having to share the river with a couple of other diggers gradually tapered off to almost always having the river to myself. I was still using either my Fisher CZ-20 or a CZ-21 that I had won in a contest sponsored by Clyde McFadden of Relic Hunter Supply. I didn’t think I could be happier. Then 2010 rolled around.

his water season started out with what is probably one of my most unusual finds. The river was still up and murky from the spring rains and I was hunting the shorelines and doing very well. On this particular day I had already found a Large Cent, a Two Reale 1773 Spanish silver coin, an Eagle “A” button, an Eagle breastplate, and a handful of bullets. Then I got a series of high toned signals all grouped close together. It was an unusual sound and I had no idea what it might be. I reached into the thick mud and pulled up a handful, hoping the target would be there. Well, one of the targets was there, a brass grommet

Both Federal and Confederate troops used the ford, as this Richmond style cavalry spur found there demonstrates.

Fresh from the water, a Hotchkiss artillery projectile dries onshore after being submerged for almost 150 years.

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“A week later I returned to the site and quickly located the targets that were buried in the heavy mud. Before long, I had uncovered a nearly complete Civil War poncho...” with a sizable chunk of rubberized material attached. I swept the hole and, sure enough, there were still multiple targets all around. Having learned my lesson when I hurried the dig and broke the saber bayonet, I decided to wait a few days and let the water recede a little and clear up a bit. I’m glad I did. A week later I returned to the site and quickly located the targets that were buried in the heavy mud. Before long, I had uncovered a nearly complete Civil War poncho! After carefully cleaning it and drying it out, the material is very well preserved and remains supple. It even has small melted areas on it where it appears the soldier may have stood a bit too close to a fire. I then met a fellow digger online, Mike Palmer, and he asked me if he could tag along on one of my water hunts. Up to that time I had been having pretty good luck at the

The author holds up a US box plate he had just found. Note the lack of patina, a common phenomenon with some underwater finds. Some of the plates found here are shown lying on the recovered poncho in the large photo above.

ford and battle site and decided to take him there. I still have my extra White’s Surfmaster II water machine to loan out for just such occasions. I handed him the machine and after a quick explanation of the controls, off we went. Barely five minutes into the hunt, he pulled up his first water find, a beautiful shot Enfield bullet. He quickly added several more to his pouch and even found a complete lead base cup to a Dyer artillery shell. Not to be outdone, I found a handful of bullets and a US belt plate that day. Our next trip together to the spot was even better. My first really cool find that day was a shiny US box plate. It had almost no patina on it and looked to be in nearly “as issued” condition. After a quick high-five we continued hunting. It was only a few minutes later that I got a loud signal from

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“It took me few moments to realize I was looking at a Civil War musket complete with the wooden stock...it had been lying mostly exposed on the bottom in a foot of water.” my CZ. I looked down and could clearly see a Hotchkiss artillery projectile lying on the bottom in about a foot of water. How we all missed this shell over the years is a mystery to me. We shot a quick video of the find that I uploaded to the internet. Mike was definitely hooked on water hunting at that point.

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ut I digress, for it was the best that was saved for last of the present season, at least. This day found me alone at the river. I decided to work a section of shoreline that has been hunted many times by myself and a whole host of other diggers. I started out slowly working my way upstream, digging all of the non-ferrous targets as well as any iron that would sound off on my CZ-21 with the signal of an overload. This sounds like an old time telephone ring40 American Digger Magazine

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ing and usually denotes either a large target or a very shallow one. The first 20 or 30 targets turned out to be fence wire and pieces of decomposing 55 gallon metal drums. I was beginning to tire of the junk when I got yet another “telephone ring” signal in my headphones. I always carry a long handled wooden pick with a powerful magnet glued in the end to help recover iron objects. With just a quick poke, the iron attaches itself to the magnet and I can just pull it up. As soon as the magnet thumped into the target, I knew it wasn’t fence wire or a piece of a metal drum. It just felt different. I reached down and could feel a pipe-like object. Still clueless as to what the A three ring Minie recovered from target was, I gently worked it the river crossing with the paper free of the bottom and pulled it cartridge still attached. out of the water.

Vol. 7, Issue 5

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“Although it seems unlikely that I will easily top my best find at this site, I still intend to continue working the shoreline, middle, and any deep holes I can find in that river.� It took me few moments to realize I was now holding a Civil War musket complete with the wooden stock! It had been lying mostly exposed on the bottom in a foot of water. I was lucky because it was nestled in amongst a multitude of iron junk and we had all given up on this particular section of the shoreline. I still find it incredible that in the nearly 30 year history of numerous people relic hunting at this site, a complete musket could still be found not five feet from shore in a foot of water. I guess that is what keeps us diggers going out every chance we get, finding the unexpected.

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lthough it seems unlikely that I will easily top my best find at this site, I still intend to continue work-

ing the shoreline, middle, and any deep holes I can find in that river. If a musket can go undetected that easily, I imagine a silver identification disk might as well. At least, that is my latest dream. Good luck with your digging and I hope to see you out there.

This heavy silver ring was also found at the ford. Unfortunately, the stone is missing.

About The Author Beau Ouimette has metal detected and relic hunted for much of his life. He is also an accomplished diver and his skill at underwater history hunting is rivaled only by his landlocked finds.

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Documenting History Digging an artifact is only part of the job. Documenting it properly for future generations is just as important. Here’s how to do it.

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By G. M. “Doc” Watson

f you own an artifact, you own history, pure and simple. Knowing where it came from, when it was found, and who found it is an important part of the artifact itself, and gives it more value and meaning in both a monetary and historical context. Keeping a good and accurate record of finds should be a goal for all collectors, although I’ll be the first to admit that it took me awhile to give it the priority it deserves. First, a disclaimer: I am not a professional, but rather an amateur collector. This means that no tax dollars were used in the years I have spent amassing my collection. In fact, until the advent of organized hunts, the majority of it cost only the time spent detecting, with money for batteries thrown in on occasion. I never asked to be paid for my time spent searching, researching, recovering, cleaning, preserving, and identifying artifacts because, like most of you reading this magazine, it was and still is a labor of love. That said, the thousands of hours I have spent recovering and studying coins, fossils, arrowheads, and other relics of interest shouldn’t be easily dismissed because I don’t have a degree in Greek history or a seat on the local historical society. Being amateurs doesn’t mean our collections lack quality or a sense of professionalism; it just means we weren’t paid to do it. The winter of 2009 was unusual for our region of the Appalachian Mountains. Starting in October and lasting well into spring, temperatures ran 15 to 20 degrees cooler than usual, and the expected snowfall of eight to ten inches was bested by 40 inches. Together, these factors meant spending a lot of time indoors. By January, I had completed an earlier goal of getting the 28 American Digger Magazine

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Vol. 7, Issue 6

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last of the year’s artifacts cleaned and into cases. By luck more than design, I had always kept my relics separated by the site on which they were found; then a few years ago some events occurred to reinforce that procedure. The first was I began attending the Diggin’ In Virginia invitational relic hunts and the second was I discovered Riker cases. Actually, as I think about it, the two events were pretty much simultaneous; the proliferation of relics in my collection from the hunts is what necessitated the cases and spurred the need to become more organized. At the start of 2010, my documentation for drawers of arrowheads and cases of dug relics was a couple of 3¾ x 6¾ diary pages and a cryptic list of sites numbered 1-19. That was it. The 1-19 corresponded with Native American artifacts collected in the 1970s and 1980s. At the time of collection I had marked each item with a spot of Whiteout™, and then written the site number on it in black ink. Some sites had several hundred pieces and some sites had only one. The list was something I had written down to more or less jog my memory; it did not have meaning to anyone else. It sufficed for more than thirty years, but the first time I looked at an artifact and could not immediately remember where it came from, I knew that I had put the task of documentation off long enough and that things had to change before it was too late. I began by expanding the original list into a Microsoft Word document that included all sites where I had recovered artifacts. This was easy since most items were already in cases; I just needed to assign a number and name to the site. Sites of coin hunting were not included, but this was just my preference. If you have sites that have produced some nice coins by all means you will want to document them. I also recalled places where I found but a single relic, and after adding the organized hunts and newer sites of the past year, the list climbed to just under 50. Some of my relics had been stored in boxes for decades and not readily available for viewing, so taking a break from my writing task I took the opportunity to transfer these artifacts into their own cases. For relics that were too big to fit into cases, small “string tags” worked well. Now, for the first time, I could label all cases and relics with their respective site name and number. After years of record keeping inactivity, things were looking up. Now that the relics themselves were organized and accounted for, I needed to work on the written site documentation; at this point it was still just a list. Not sure how to proceed, I contacted several other Originally Published in Vol 7, Issue 6 Click here to order single issues.


Passing on artifacts without basic information lessens their value and regulates them to mere object status, stripped of any cultural and historical relevance.

For each site I recorded location coordinates and directions along with a map section showing the terrain.

That is followed by a general description of the site and information about artifacts.

detectorists/collectors and asked them how they documented their relics. Some reported that they keep their finds separated in zip-lock bags with a note recording date and location. Others admitted that they were still at the “hadn’t gotten to it” phase and could offer little more than encouragement. Only one person disclosed that they kept more exacting records of their finds to include recording GPS coordinates for each artifact. That was one I hadn’t thought of, and as it was too late, I decided I would at least note coordinates for each site. The main objective driving this long-awaited housekeeping was to document my finds so that they could continue to tell their story to the next owner. As humbling as it is, a stone point that has already survived 6,000 years will most likely still be around long after I am gone. Our families may understand our passion for collecting and support our hobby, but they are not likely qualified to know a collection’s value or know how to dispose of it should the time come. As such, getting my collection ready was something only I could do. Passing on artifacts without basic information lessens their value

Pictures of the artifacts from the site complete the entry.

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When known, historical background is provided, as well as photographs of the site. When known, historical background is provided, as well as photographs of the site. The information that you gather to document your finds increases their wealth by putting them in an historical perspective.

The information gathered to document your finds increases their value by putting them in an historical perspective.

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Note: Exact locations have been modified on this page per property owner’s request.


and relegates them to mere object status, stripped of any cultural and historical relevance. Any information I could now record about the artifact to keep and pass on with it would be extremely helpful. Next, I used the internet to locate topographical maps and determine GPS coordinates and detailed directions to each site. A photo program was used to cut and paste each map section showing the site terrain, and a marker was overlaid with the site number and location. Along with the location information I noted general information about the site, including how it was situated and why it was suited for use. As part of a site narrative, I included a time line relating to when the artifacts were collected. For example: “Surface finds were collected from 1979 to 1982 when the field was plowed and planted in corn,” or “Finds were from a onetime search of the area in 1978.” As many of these sites were first explored years ago, I also noted the current condition of the site, if known. In looking up the 30 year-old sites, it was a little sad to see how many had been developed and no longer existed.

Documenting the sites with maps, coordinates, descriptions, and locations was both tedious and time consuming. It took several weeks, but that was my penance for letting it accumulate for so many years. On the positive side, by spending so much time on the computer working closely between document and photo programs, I learned a number of tricks that made the task easier as it progressed. Once I had the basic information down for all sites, I looked to incorporate background information into the sites that had a known pedigree. I have been incredibly fortunate over the years to have hunted on historical ground; now online research makes it easy to gather period photos and information to add to the document. This was especially true for the Civil War sites in Virginia. By adding a battle map showing the site location, or pictures of troop encampments taken on the land, the artifacts found there took on a deeper meaning. This became very clear thanks to a suggestion from my wife. At several times during the project, I would show her my progress and solicit her input; my collection sites

Including a size reference scale for artifacts is not difficult. This one was produced by setting exact column widths and coloring different cells in a table.

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Any information that can provide documentation to your collection is important. This includes information about the digger. Also make a cover no matter if the info is to be published or not.

were now named, numbered, mapped and described in both general and historical terms. All I needed to do was to list what artifacts had been found on the site and I would be done. However, my wife suggested that I include photographs of the artifact themselves, as I had already taken them for much of my collection. Photos; why didn’t I think of that? This would serve as a means to cross reference the artifacts themselves and add visual interest to an otherwise drab document. This also expanded the original goal of producing written documentation on the collection sites to include cataloging the artifacts. It was much more than I had originally planned on doing, but after inserting a few trial pictures into the document I knew it was the right thing to do. Besides, we were still in the grips of winter, with several months before the snow would be gone. A few of my sites had only produced a single artifact, so it was easy enough to cut and paste the item onto the page. As I continued, I found that the visual images were very strong. Whole cases of artifacts were added, 32 American Digger Magazine

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along with tables listing the items. For sites that I no longer had access to, once everything was listed, I was done. But for sites that I was still working, or, as a participant in an organized hunt returning to a prior site, the documentation remains an ongoing work. To make it easier to update in such cases, I did two things. One, I left off page numbers. As there is a table of contents listing all sites and addendums in sequential order, it’s not that hard to find something. Two, if I return to hunt a site at a later time, the new finds will just add another page to that site’s documentation. By printing out a hard copy of this document single sided, I can add pages anywhere into the document without changing the pages already completed. For a few things that I wanted to document that did not have a specific site, such as a set of Civil War soldiers made from camp lead, I add “addendums” at the end of the table of contents. This is also a way to document items where the specific site information is unknown or the items come from multiple sites, such as


No matter how large or small your collection, good documentation can only make it better. Shown here are but a few of the 116 pages the author has completed.

a collection of Civil War projectiles received as a door prize. Adding a cover sheet and preface has brought my current documentation to 116 pages. I also added the reference information to the document by inserting footnotes when pulling information from another source. This way I give credit where it is deserved, plus have the information needed should I want to revisit the original material. And by adding bookmarks and references to the electronic version of the document, I can mouse click on the listing in the table of contents and jump directly to that site in the body of the document.

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t the start of 2010, I was 35 years behind in my paperwork. Over the course of six months I was able to develop a style and a system of documenting my collection that is simple for me to maintain and easy to update. Now, in a few minute’s time, I can create a new site entry with basic information and a map showing its location, and list my finds. When I started this project, I could not locate any examples for artifact record keeping that met my needs, so I developed this structure for myself. This is by no means

the only way to accomplish this goal. I share this with fellow American Digger readers in the hope that I may motivate you to stop putting off your record keeping and develop your own system of cataloging your collections. If the bulk of your collection information is still in your head, consider starting on your documentation before it slips away; especially you guys like me that have been at this for 30-40 years. And to you younger guys, getting into the habit of keeping good records of your finds early will save you time and trouble in the long run. Most of us can’t hunt year round anyway, so when you are on the computer researching your next hunt site, take a few minutes to update your records. It will be time well spent.

About The Author

Glenn M. “Doc” Watson, Ph.D., is a long time collector and metal detectorist. He resides in the Appalachian Mountains of Southwest Virginia with his wife and son.

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Sharing The WealTh WhaT’S more exciTing Than finding your firST gold cache? Sharing ThaT exciTemenT WiTh your Son. By david lee

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Towns and cities across the country go mediately began swinging my detector, anticipating the through a life cycle. Some manage to surpossibilities. It was slow going and after an hour all that vive and thrive while others disappear. had surfaced was iron, cans, an Indian Head cent, and a Many have a long history and, as expected, Barber dime. Don’t get me wrong, the coins were good their life cycle includes birth, growth, prosperity, definds but I always hope for something “special.” terioration, abandonment, and rebirth. This is a story As I headed for the car, I kept my headphones on about detecting in a 250-year-old town along the Delaand scanned the lot along the way. I heard a faint sigware River that had great periods of prosperity. Those nal, and even though I was very tired, I began to dig. years are long gone. There is little evidence of its forI went over the eight inch deep hole but got no signal. mer thriving manufacturing industry, shipbuilding, iron Glancing at the pile of dirt to the side of the hole, I saw industry, clothiers, gristmills, buggy building, and even the glimmer of gold. The possibility of a target being a hat making. Streets are lined with vacant houses and gold coin is so unlikely that, even when the detectorbuildings. Hundreds of empty lots are filled with trash. ist is staring at one, it really doesn’t set in right away, The business tax base left long ago so redevelopment and that was the case with me. I brushed away the dirt comes slowly, if at all. around the coin, picked it up and just stared at When I’m not detecting elsewhere, it. I flipped it over back and forth. It was I sometimes visit these forgotten East shiny gold and about the size of a quarCoast towns. I used to detect the abanter. But still it didn’t really sink in. doned vacant lots but the trash signals Only after I read, “UNITED STATES were just too much to handle. Now I OF AMERICA TEN D,” did it fully look for lots that have recently been hit me. And it hit me hard. I stood bulldozed by the city or by a private there in disbelief. It was an 1899 developer. In November 2009 I came gold Eagle, my first. across a lot being cleared by workers. Gold does crazy things to people They said the site would be used to build and I was no exception. I looked over low-income housing. I was given the OK my shoulder as I returned to the car. I put to detect on the weekends when they the coin in the front seat cup holder were not working on the lot. This 1899 $10 gold Eagle coin and headed for home. Every two or The lot seemed to have good po- should have been the find of a three miles I checked to see if it was tential because there were quite a few still there, and even moved it to the lifetime, but many more would pieces of broken ceramics and oyster passenger seat so I could see it and shells mixed in along with the rubble follow before the author was touch it easier a ritual repeated from the original 1800s home. I immany times before arriving home. finished at the site. 38 American AmericanDigger DiggerMagazine Magazine Vol. Vol.7,7,Issue Issue11 38

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Originally Published in Vol 7, Issue 1 Click here to order single issues.


What could be better than eyeballing one gold coin in the dirt? How about eyeballing two gold coins?

Of course, it’s pretty hard to beat watching your son dig his first gold coin- a $20 Double Eagle, no less! Once I got home, there was a complete change in the level of interest in my finds from my kids. My wife, April, has always been fascinated by my discoveries, but it was always harder to get the kids into it. However, putting a $10 gold Eagle in their hands created quite a fuss! “Let me hold it.” “Where did you find it?” “Is there any more there?” “What’s it worth?” “Can I have it?” “Let’s go back!” The whole family was excited over this find! Researching the coin, it turned out to be an 1899 S Eagle in extra fine (although dug) condition. What was a $10 gold Eagle doing in a rundown town? Remember, the town was thriving at the turn of the century and had its wealthy population. It makes sense that one might find gold there. The coin got me interested in finding out the history of that particular lot. I opened one of my huge county atlases, this one printed by Smith & Mueller,

Philadelphia, in 1892. This atlas opens to 22 x 34 inches and has 36 separate town maps and the owners of each property. The lot owner’s name was easy to find. After an Internet search, I discovered the he was a prominent citizen, philanthropist, and business leader. Perhaps that explains why there was gold in that lot. But if it was such a well-to-do family, maybe there were more gold coins there. The following Sunday I decided to act on my hunch and try to find more gold. The previous night it rained heavily. I arrived at the site, put on my boots, and began swinging a 10 inch coil. As I walked slowly, about five feet away I saw what looked like a glimmer of gold peeking out of the ground. I walked over, put down my detector, and knelt to view it more closely. Gold! Sticking out of the ground! The rain had washed enough dirt away to allow me to eyeball it. I carefully pried it out and blew off the dirt. There in my hands was January-February January-February 2011 2011 American American Digger Digger Magazine Magazine www.americandigger.com

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(Left) Three of the coins found when the author and his son returned to the site; (right) All of the gold coins found there, a lucky 13!

an 1883 S $5 Half Eagle and I didn’t even need a detector to find it this time! Swinging the coil again (but much less disciplined due to the excitement), it was 15 minutes later that I received a deep but good signal. Carefully digging to about eight inches, I stopped and looked into the bottom of the hole. Another gold coin! Fantastic! This one was an 1881 $10 gold Eagle. An hour later, much to my disbelief, I saw what looked like a reflection of gold on top of the ground about ten feet away. Walking closer, I stared down at what seemed to be two gold coins stuck together, halfway out of the dirt. Incredibly, it was two more $10 Eagles, a 1907 and an 1881. It was then I realized that this might indeed be a cache.

pinpointing the location. He got on his knees and dug and dug. He finally looked into the bottom of the hole and turned to me, with unbelieving eyes and the biggest smile I have ever seen. He reached in, took it out, and held it up. It was huge an 1876 $20 Double Eagle! The look on his face was worth the whole trip, but the gold didn’t stop there. Corey found two more gold coins that day, a 1907 Eagle and a beautiful 1910 Indian Head Eagle. I was lucky also, finding an 1888 S Eagle, 1859 Eagle, and a 1901 Eagle. Yes, we had definitely found a cache of gold. It was now November and getting very cold. I had a couple of weeks to give it a go one more try before the season was done. This time I used a 14 inch coil to get even deeper than before. The strategy worked, because at about 14 inches was another gold Eagle, an Anyone who has kids will appreciate 1886 S. Digging deep again, I then found a first for this what I am about to say next. Wouldn’t it site, a 1915 Indian Head Half Eagle! be great if my son could experience the Corey and I had found 13 US gold coins at the site, thrill of finding one of these gold coins? but winter had now set in. We waited until spring to My son, Corey, is go back, hoping the site would an occasional detecting partner be still be detectable. In April so the next trip to the site was 2010 we headed back to the with him a few weeks later. spot. Excitement built as we Hoping that the lot had neared the lot and started to turn not been built on yet, our car the corner. Then, the lot came turned the corner and we saw into sight and our hopes were heavy equipment on location, crushed. It had been changed but no change yet to the lot. significantly. Instead of merely Corey began detecting very digging a foundation for the carefully, listening to every new housing; they raised the lot signal. I was watching him eight feet with tons of fill dirt, more than concentrating on my and then built on top of that. It own detecting and soon saw was game over; anything left of Other items were found at the him stop and go over a signal the cache was now eight feet site, but it was the gold that back and forth numerous times, deep and possibly lost forever. caused the most excitement.

a

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Each of the fresh holes above shows where a gold coin was dug. At right, the author’s son is dressed to fight the muck and chill of November for a few more pieces of gold. ________

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Gold finds are always unexpected. Corey and I will remember that special hunt for a long time. Like any unexpected find, there will always be lingering questions. How did the gold get there? Why would a wealthy owner bury or hide his gold and not put it in the bank? Were they hiding the gold to avoid the gold recall of 1933? Or was it just lost gold? How much is left for the next person to dig 100 years from now, if indeed they can get to it? Maybe Corey’s kids or grandchildren will be around when they demolish the homes 60 years from now. We will draw them a map and leave it to them to discover again, a family attempt to share the wealth.

About The Author David Lee and his family now live in the Philadelphia area. He grew up in Missouri where his initial interest in metal detecting began. This marks his first feature article for American Digger Magazine. January-February2011 2011 American AmericanDigger DiggerMagazine Magazine 41 41 January-February www.americandigger.com 55

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THE NEW JERSEY DEATH DIG

Sometimes Risks Must Be Taken To Recover The Past. Sometimes Those Risks Are Even Worth It. By Glenn Harbour

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is a dig site in Neptune, New Jersey that artifact hunters refer to as the “death dig.” While this nickname speaks for itself, what’s the payoff? Shark River is an early Miocene period (approximately 26 million years old) treasure vault which is an unusual time for both marine and land vertebrate fossils. The average Virginia, South Carolina, or Florida locale is mid to late Miocene (8-15 million years ago). By then the mega sharks had fully evolved, leaving their ancestors far behind. You won’t find a five inch Megaladon tooth in Shark

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The Author prepares to enter “ The Author Prepares To Enter The Shaft.”-Sand River, NJ 2010

“The Shaft.”- Shark River, NJ 2010 River, but you will dig the remains of their early relatives such as an Ariculatus or Chubutensis, which puts this area in a very unique geologic niche. Shark River also enjoys some fairly unique geography. During an epoch when sharks, rays, assorted bony fish, and cetaceans (sea mammals such as the carnivorous whale, Squalodon) were swimming a shallow sea bordering an ancient coastline, land mammals like Diceratherium (giant rhinoceros) and primitive peccaries (pigs) dominated the shoreline. All are preserved as fossils along the banks of the Shark River. But to truly know just how dangerous the pursuit of these remains can be, one must have a working understanding of both the geography and geology of the river’s upper basin. Shark River winds through the middle of New Jersey’s eastern flood plain, widening and eventually emptying into the Atlantic Ocean at Belmar. Upstream, the valley that drives through the woodsy, swampy landscape cuts deep into the earth’s past. Not only is this history recorded by its many fossil remains but also by its many geologic formations. It is not uncommon for the vertical banks of the river to obtain heights of 25-30 feet and as the layers of these tall cliffs descend, so does their age. These might look imposing to the casual observer but they are exactly what the serious digger needs to see. The heights that have been created by years of water erosion are precise treasure maps for those that can read them. Here, X does mark the spot and for some unknown reason, the higher the embankment, the greater the payoff and, unfortunately, the greater the risk.

Originally Published in Vol 7, Issue 1 Click here to order single issues.


Rick Shafto Shark River, Neptune, NJ 2010

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THE GEOLOGY

he topography at the highest level (surface) constitutes about two to three feet of topsoil and subsands which contain some Pleistocene or Ice Age deposits. Just beneath this strata begins the infamous (and deadly) Kirkwood clays. These clays can cascade for 25 feet or more. Exposures of the Kirkwood causes cracking which divides sections of the formation into huge blocks. This fracturing occurs not only from weight and gravity but also from countless gallons of water constantly pushing down as surface runoff. It doesn’t take much to coax these wet, sticky boulders to the river bottom and some are as large as a V.W. Bug! For the unwary digger these blocks are potential man crushers. Underneath the many tons of Kirkwood clay (which, incidentally, contains no fossils) are the fine green sands, or pay dirt. Although this layer is usually only three to 12 inches deep, fossils (specifically sharks teeth) are plentiful there. Surprisingly, this layer is not the Shark River Formation, which is actually the rock-hard marl upon

which the sands are perched. Instead, the dark slurry which hosts these early Miocene treasures is called the Asbury Park Member (yes, of Bruce Springsteen fame) of the Shark River Formation. The setup for this dig is critical for safety reasons. Each stage must be completed with great care. Lack of attention to details of every step could have dire consequences. For instance, you will eventually sieve all collected sands so there must be easy access to the water at all times. Therefore a wide, clean walkway must be cleared from the river bank to the shaft using the sturdy marl of the Shark River Formation as your foundation. At all times, it must remain free of tools, mud, and loiterers. If it becomes necessary to run for your life in a nano second, you don’t have time to deal with errant muck, tools, or bodies. After chopping through all the fallen chunks of clay and removing the tailings (which requires monumental amounts of labor), you’ll finally start to see the fine green sands and a few scattered fossils. Often, depending on conditions, it takes an entire day to get to this point. This is also where your run-

Screening For Teeth Shark River, 2010

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Sand Tiger (Carcharias Taurus) Teeth From Shark River. way abruptly ends and the vertical rise of the Kirkwood clays begin. Every digger here needs to look up at these heights and create a workable strategy because it now becomes the main thing that will get between you and the finds you seek. At first, the cliff face is a neat 90 degrees to your walkway. As you dig out sand, however, that angle is compromised. The more you excavate, the more you tease those boulders with gravity. The risk becomes so great that after an hour or two, a man must be rotated to the bottom of the runway to keep a constant eye on the shifting clays. Retrieving fossils requires one man filling buckets (in the shaft), one man cleaning debris off the runway (just behind the sand digger) and your lookout (outside the tunnel). Then all three grab full buckets and waddle (buckets weigh at least 60 pounds full) down to the river, sieve the goods out, and then return to the shaft. This is when everyone spends 15 or 20 minutes removing whatever wayward clay has fallen onto the walkway. Sometimes this entire process continues uninterrupted for 8 to 10 hours, for to break at this point might invite a cave in. Diggers who tackle the Shark River digs must be in top physical condition. A few years, ago an older treasure hound had a go at it and gave himself a heart attack. He lived but learned a valuable lesson about limitations.

Anculatus Teeth, Early Miocene, 26 M.Y.A., Shark River, NJ.

3” Long Anculatus Tooth Shark River, NJ.

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THE DIG

n February 3, 2010 my two stalwart digging partners, Rick Shafto and Glenn Vogel, met me at our usual diner for breakfast. Our weekend long “Death Dig” had begun. The shaft runway we choose to excavate was somewhat prepared from a previous dig, but we were certain that the normal megamuck and oversized slabs of clay that continuously collect would be there. Since it was mid winter in New Jersey, attention had to be paid to special gear, including neoprene waders, wool socks, thinsulated gloves, energy bars, and dry changes of clothing. We were working above a fast moving river and more than once I’d seen an overly eager hunter topple in. In the heat of summer such a misstep is called sweet relief; in the winter it’s called frost bite or even worse. The hike into the site is an adventure in itself. The first stop is at Shark River Park (the oldest county park in New Jersey and open to the public), followed by a two mile walk through the far western section of the park. The landscape is rolling as it falls down hill toward the river. The ground is sandy, which east central New Jersey is famous for, so the going is hard on the feet. The surroundings, however, are a great diversion. Stunted hardwoods (caused from the poor


Megalodon Tooth Approximately Actual Size (Carcharockss Megalodon) Shark River-Neptune, NJ soil), pitch pines (whose cones seed only a new hole, there is no fallen clay (this Add to this that we through fire), and wild rhododendrons is because you’re standing on the river makes one feel like Indiana Jones bank and haven’t reached the cliff face would be hauling heavy making his way to some exotic place to yet). On the other hand, when you buckets of green sand the restart an old shaft, you begin digging discover a long lost treasure. Just before exiting the park in the upright clay with mounds of next day, then bending property hunters must wade into the fallen debris everywhere. We spent over full screens while river and under the Parkway bridges. the next seven hours throwing out The Parkway is the most traveled clay and squaring up our old shaft. sieving, and the reader asphalt artery, other than the Turnpike, Since these were old works, the can understand what’s in New Jersey. With tons of trap rock tailings on either side of our narrow rolling under your boots, this part of the (less than four feet wide) runway meant by the “Death journey can take longer than it looks. were high. The 10 to 15 feet tall walls Dig.” It’s not just the After emerging from under the of previously thrown materials were risk, it’s also the pain! bridges one starts to hike through unmovable and there was nowhere the wild and scenic Blueberry Acres else to put the excess. Therefore, we (blueberries being one of Jersey’s had to heave the dirt rather than just tastiest fruits). Within another mile you are a stone’s throw toss it. This puts a far greater strain on the muscles. Add to from the dig zone. This is where the river banks start to this that we would be hauling heavy buckets of green sand vault upwards. It is where our labors would take root and the next day, then bending over full screens while sieving, also where we had to start watching our steps. and the reader can understand what’s meant by the “Death Glenn, Rick, and I pushed from the river bottom up into Dig.” It’s not just the risk, it’s also the pain! the old runway that we had excavated perhaps six months Every serious artifact hunter knows that the prize (when before. This shaft had been abandoned for greener fossil it so magically appears) far outweighs the agony and this pastures back then but the old dig was looking better now. is what motivates us. It is universal. Sunday morning we Once upon a time, it supplied us with some excellent quality awoke with multiple aches and pains, but small talk over teeth and, since most of our more recent digs had played coffee brought our thoughts toward discovery and away out, we felt it was time to return. from suffering. Today, all we had to do was walk up our This, however, was not going to be easy. When you start runway, plan our attack, and start excavating green sand. January-February 2011 American Digger Magazine

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It was a good thing that Glenn remembered to pack extra gear; there would have been no way to get him to help before hyperthermia set in if we had to hike out. THE FINDS

For the next couple of hours, everything went according to plan. The green sand was plentiful and up to eight inches deep. It wasn’t long before the glitter of shark tooth enamel began to shine from our sieve bottoms. The most common of these teeth are from Sand Tiger sharks (Carcharias Taurus). These constitute 70% of the finds. Most specimens are dark grey to jet black in hue. Color is caused by metallic type minerals leaching into the teeth from ground water, with higher levels of iron causing the darker palette. Sand Tiger sharks’ teeth reach unusually large sizes along the Shark River. The average Potomac River, middle Miocene Sand Tiger tooth gets to lengths of perhaps an inch. In Neptune it is not unusual for these teeth to reach two plus inches in length. Perhaps this epoch was when these shark types achieved their zenith (just as the mega sharks were moving from smaller sizes at this time). As far as condition is concerned, our local green sand has done an excellent job at preservation for the last 26 million years. If there’s a problem with condition, it mostly affects specimens found in the roots; there is a mineralogic reason for this, although its origin is unknown to me. Eroded roots come in clusters, so when one of these areas is encountered you must either dig through or avoid it because these specimens are uncollectable. Happily, this is the exception and not the rule. Most fossils that come from the Shark River are beautiful. Other small to medium species found in this basin are Mackerel sharks (Lamna nasus), Thresher sharks (Alopias superciliosus), Tiger sharks (Galeocerdo cuvier) and Lemon sharks (Negaprion brevirostris). Additional small species that are far less common include Snaggletooth sharks, (Hemipristis elongates) and Cow sharks (Hexanchus griseus). When these appear it is cause for celebration indeed. Also rare are the mammal teeth and bones that occasionally crop up. On the other side of the size range are the mega sharks. They are here, too. The three species of Miocene makos are all represented at Shark River. They include the narrow type (Isurus oxyrhinchus), which is the most common, and the broad type (Isurus hastalis). Also found, but very infrequently, is the “false” mako or Parotodus benedeni. The Ariculatus type shark is a direct ancestor of the big boys and is basically a long, narrow Megalodon with

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cusps. Additionally, the Cubutensis (which is a Megalodon with vestigial cusps) is commonly found. It is very difficult to distinguish these “Chubies” from their large cousins. Then, of course, there are real ‘Meggies’ (Carcharocles megalodon). All these larger teeth run anywhere from 1.5 to 3.5 inches in length although very large samples are hard to find here (this may be because the bigger sharks had not yet evolved to their largest sizes). Condition is similar to smaller types with most examples in good shape and fossilized in typical dark colors. Sometimes the teeth are found mineralized a light blue or brown. Occasionally, an extinct Great White shark (Carcharodon carcharias) tooth will almost magically appear on someone’s screen. These teeth, like Megalodons, are serrated without cusps but are usually smaller and thinner, and shaped much like a Valentine’s heart.

FACING THE DANGER

After several buckets of green sand and a few good finds between us, things started to tighten up. Now, in order to pursue our coveted sand, we had to work underneath an ever-lengthening overhang. The Kirkwood clay looming high above was compromised and the more we advanced horizontally, the dicier our situation became. Soon paranoia set in for the “sand man” as he wondered if his lookout (who he usually could not see) was actually paying attention. Trust plays a large role at any Shark River dig. Fingers and toes were getting chilled in the 30 degree weather. This low temperature also made sieving in the river difficult. Although we had gloves it was still rough going. The only benefit to the cold was that it gave us the proper incentive to keep moving. We scooped up the last of the sand before having to clear up the runway, then headed down to the water. It can be difficult to find a convenient place at the riverside for sieving. Between fallen logs and water that was either too shallow, too deep, or too rough, this part of the operation was indeed a challenge. On one particular screening, Glenn V. was finding it hard to sit with both his bucket and himself in a workable posture. The first real sign of trouble, though, was him shouting a few well chosen words, followed by a sharp grunt and a loud ker-splash! Glenn, my regular bottle digging partner of 17 years, had taken a step too far. Still a bit of a Shark River novice, he’d managed to slip off a moss laden log while trying January-February 2011 American Digger Magazine

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I was suddenly brought from my inner thoughts to the outside world as Rick let out a frantic scream. I knew what that wail meant only too well. to position himself to sieve. He was immediately able to stand again and was more shocked than hurt. This was probably due to the water temperature, which I guessed to be somewhere around 35 degrees. We helped Mr. Vogel up the path to the gear cache where he was able to dry off and quickly don a change of clothes. It was a good thing that Glenn had remembered to pack extra gear, for there would have been no way to get him to help before hyperthermia set in if we had to hike out. As it was, 15 minutes after the minor accident Mr. V. rejoined us back at the shaft entrance, shovel in hand. His situation had proven a valuable point: never forget the proper supplies for whatever it is you pursue. No treasure exists that is an even trade for your safety. But Glenn shook it off, manned up, and soon we were all back at work. In under an hour, we had cleared the runway of all unwanted visitors and I was back hovering over virgin green sand. We were now about 10 feet under the clay. This is when, structurally, things begin to look ominous. We knew that soon physics would take its course. I stopped and leaned back to get a little eye contact with my lookout, Rick. He shouted in acknowledge then I returned to my task. Soon my sentry and his duties were as far away as the constellations. In my imagination, I was traveling back through time, swimming in a primordial sea crowded with sharks, sea mammals and all manner of invertebrates. I quickly, and of necessity, pulled myself back to the present. I had to concentrate on the here and now. After two days of hard digging (not to mention the 26 million years that came before), there is no way of describing the dismal funk that damaging an otherwise perfect specimen will bring. The sand that I was mining was my responsibility; I was the caretaker. Then I was suddenly jolted from my inner thoughts to the outside world as Rick let out a

frantic scream. I knew what that wail meant only too well: Cavein. Dropping my shovel, I simultaneously bolted for the outside runway like a frightened gazelle. Never looking up, I simply “beat feet” hoping nothing got in my way except the river. Glenn V. however, stood directly in my path. So sudden was Rick’s call that my mad dash caught him in his unawares. “Run!” Rick had screamed, and so I did. What saved me that cold and sunny Sunday afternoon was Glenn’s quick reaction once he realized what was happening. He did nothing more then immediately wheel and move, but if not for his alacrity, I could not have escaped; there simply was not enough room on the runway. With the towering walls of tailings that had become vaulted upward, our flanks were completely blocked. As it were, we both actually dove out of the way of a huge pillar of clay. Most blocks fall vertically, but sometimes a long boulder will crash to earth length wise. Such was the case that fateful day. After the flying muck settled, we lay there in a heap with me sprawled on top of my startled friend. He was unhurt; I had the tip of the column smack my ankle down on the hard pan with a vengeance. Luckily, I was not seriously injured. My friends told me I was white as a sheet for many moments, something they had never before witnessed. After my near death experience, I pulled up a nearby chunk of fallen clay and sat quietly for ten minutes contemplating my mortality. The entrance to our fossil mine was now completely closed by the errant pillar and the cave-in it had caused. It was just as well; we had neither the time or strength to continue. Also, I’m sure no one had the gall to reenter the shaft. That was it. We’d had enough. Our death dig (or near-death dig) was over. Miraculously, we were able to retrieve all three 5 gallon buckets from what was left of our cave. They each contained about half a pail’s worth of the last sand of the day.

Large Megalodon Tooth (Carcharocles Megalodon), Shark River, NJ.

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The message was clear: Be careful, be aware, but never give up. Take precautions, put safety first, and always keep your wits about you.

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THE FINAL REWARD

fter sieving the surviving buckets of sand, we were amazed to find that my container hid a nearly four inch Ariculatus tooth. Its root was complexly pock-marked but the blade and cusps were absolutely spectacular. It was the largest, best preserved tooth of this species that I had ever seen!

It would seem that the gods were speaking to us through this final find and our close escape from death. The message was clear: Be careful, be aware, but never give up. Take precautions, put safety first, and always keep your wits about you. But know this: Nothing worth having was ever just handed to anyone. It required work and risk. In that respect, life is a treasure hunt. Dig on, but dig with care.

About The Author Writer and folk artist Glenn Harbour has been digging and collecting the past for most of his life. Starting out with bottles as a teenager, he began collecting fossils and Indian artifacts in 1997 in Central New Jersey. He is also a frequent contributor to American Digger Magazine.

Who Reads American Digger Magazine? Leaders of men. Followers of tradition. Those not afraid to march into the future while honoring the past. Movers, shakers, and history makers. Those who give proper respect and those who humbly receive it. People like us. People like you.

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By John Velke

California

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

’ve been infected. Thanks to John Chartier, my relic that you capture, the better you feel. The only problem is hunting host in California, and the Antelope Valley that, when the fever comes back, it will come back with an Treasure Hunters Society, I can add another malady to even greater intensity. my list of mental illnesses. During my On The Road with I went to California to learn as much about gold prosAmerican Digger trip to California, I was driven out to the pecting in one day as I could. I hope to convey as much as Mojave desert where bugs bit me and I contracted a high I can to you in one article. One day and one article are not fever. The bugs that bit me ranged in size from the very nearly enough to make either of us competent and bona small (pinhead size) to very fide gold prospectors, but large (about the size of a we have to start someplace. half dollar) and everywhere My education began in between. My fever broke when I pulled into John once late in the afternoon Chartier’s driveway and but it’s back now and I can’t saw the equipment loaded seem to shake it. in the back of his pickup Of course the bugs I’m truck. There were shovels, referring to are “gold bugs,” metal detectors, gold pans, the most common source of a leaf blower, a cooler, and “gold fever.” According to a dredge looking thing with those I met in California, a long black hose attached, once you’ve been bitten, which I soon learned is reMembers of the Antelope Valley Treasure there’s no cure for the fever. ferred to as a “dry washer.” Hunters Society. (L-R) John Anderson, I confess that I first thought The best you can hope for is some slight temporary B i l l y C a n n e d y, D a n A n d e r s o n , Jo e it was awfully strange that relief when you trap one of Keeley, John McGrath, Ralph Kolbush, we were taking a leaf blowFred Smith, and host John Chartier. those little buggers in a vile er out into the desert where ______________ of water. The more of them there are no trees. John pa-

Interior views of the cabin at the Walt Bickel Gold Camp. Note the pictures (above right) of the cabin from the outside and the portrait of Walt Bickel. 48 American Digger Magazine

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2011 American Digger Magazine Sampler

Originally Published in Vol 7, Issue 4 Click here to order single issues.


An old-timer’s dry washer. The air stream was created using the bellows beneath the catch basin. Leaf blowers are used to perform the task nowadays. ______________ tiently explained that the gasoline powered leaf blower John Chartier displays an is connected to the hose for the dry washer. As air blows 1880s era gold miners’ pan. through the hose into the dry washer, it spins a four-bladed ______________ fan that has a bolt attached to one blade. The bolt makes the blade rotate out of kilter resulting in a shaking motion, much like what happens when you have wet towels Rock Canyon State Park. As the tantalizing names suggest, all gather up on one side of a washing machine during the there’s quite a bit of history associated with this area. spin cycle. The combination of the shaking motion and They called them the forty-niners. Over 300,000 the air causes dirt to travel down the washer, leaving the men from all over the world converged on California heaviest items in the catch basins beneath each rung of during the late 1840s and early 1850s when gold was the ladder. discovered near the Sierra I was anxious to see this Nevada Mountains. They gear in action, but first we staked their claims and had an hour and a half drive dreamed of wealth as they to a gold claim in the El battled the weather, the elPaso Mountains. This gave ements, and claim jumpme the chance to bombard ers. A few men got rich but my host with all the stupid most didn’t. By the early questions I could think of. 1860s, most of the hardiest For starters, I wanted to miners had turned their atknow where we were going. tention to silver or gone to The Antelope Valley TreaNevada to participate in the sure Hunters Society has Comstock Lode. Few men two gold mining claims and ventured as far south as the on this day we were head- Mark Aslin, wearing the wide brimmed El Paso Mountains and the ed for the 160 acre Rocky hat, stands with members of the Antelope Mojave Desert in search of Road Claim. This claim is Valley Treasure Hunters Society in front gold. This area was conlocated on Bureau of Land of a chair with a .45 caliber bullet hole trolled by Indians and they Management (BLM) prop- in it. The chair was recovered from a weren’t the friendly kind. erty in Bonanza Gulch not “now haunted” nearby cabin where two A second wave of gold far from Last Chance Can- miners got into an argument over gold. prospectors began in the yon, in the vicinity of Red 1890s as the country entered Only one survived the argument. July-August 2011 American Digger Magazine www.americandigger.com

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Holes like this are now referred to as “spider holes” or “coyote holes.” Miners actually called them home, living inside to escape the heat of the desert sun. a severe recession. Men without work converged on Calimisconduct is that no other person may remove the minfornia with visions of gold dancing in their heads. These erals from the earth. Encroaching on another’s claim is men were called “Rainbow Chasers.” They moved down referred to as “claim jumping” and it can get you killed. the state from mountain to gully in search of a virtual lepA few miles before we reached the Rocky Road Claim, rechaun’s pot of gold. In 1893 two of these men discovwe stopped and met additional members of the Antelope ered gold just east of Red Rock Canyon near the mouth Valley Treasure Hunters Society. I had the chance to of Goler Canyon. Word got out and more rainbow chasers photograph some of their recent finds and witnessed the arrived quickly. They spread out and staked their claims. comradeship that grows from the monthly club outings. By December of that year the miners, in what was to be These outings vary each month and include beach hunting, named Bonanza Gulch, hit pay-dirt when they discovered prospecting, park hunting, and seeded hunts. If you live or a large quantity of gold. I was hoping that they, and the visit Southern California, look them up. You won’t find many who have worked that area since then, had left a better hospitality than what this club has to offer. little gold for us to find. Next stop was the Walt In California any indiBickel Gold Camp, located vidual can make a claim for a short distance from the mineral rights on BLM (BuBurro Schmidt tunnel. Both reau of Land Management) locations helped get me in property for up to 20 acres. the mood to look for gold. In Groups, like the treasure 1906 William Henry “Burro” hunting club I was with, can Schmidt started digging a claim mining rights on pargold mine on the north face cels of up to 160 acres. One of Cooper Mountain. No one thing I did not know or realnow living really knows if he ize is that a “claim” is only kept digging because he was a claim for the mining rights following a vein of gold, or if of the property. The owner(s) he just reached a certain point of a claim have no right to and then decided to go ahead fence, barricade, build, or aland dig all the way through ter the landscape in any way. the mountain, thereby giving This 3½ oz. gold nugget was recently him a short-cut to the nearest A claim owner can’t bar another person from crossing found by Dan Anderson while dredging town. It took him 38 years, near Bagby, CA. Holding this nugget or being on the property. by himself, without benefit The only legally enforceable will make any prospector’s hand shake. of heavy machinery, to dig 50 American Digger Magazine

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The Rocky Road Claim facing north towards Black Mountain. the half-mile long tunnel which you can visit and still had success relic hunting in some trashy places, so I tend walk through today. If awards were given for the greatest to gravitate towards trash when I see it. After I kicked a American Diggers of all time, Burro Schmidt would have can or two away and got up under the bushes I started to to be a contender. get some really good signals. Unfortunately, every one of Similarly, as we looked around the Walt Bickel Gold the “good signals” I was getting turned out to be a BB or Camp and received a complimentary tour by the caretaker, a small lead fragment. The other guys weren’t having any Mark Aslin, I came to realize and appreciate the solitary better luck, so after awhile John suggested that we set up lifestyle of a gold prospector (and of a caretaker). Walt the dry washer. Bickel inhabited this camp from 1930 until 1986 and This was what I’d been waiting for. I’d never done presumably found plenty of gold nearby during that this kind of digging so I was anxious to give it a try. I time. He never told anyone how much gold he’d found can now tell you that digging to fill a dry washer isn’t but, judging from his vast collection of rocks, mining much different than digging a garden or a Civil War hut. equipment, and other paraphernalia, he knew how to make Digging is digging, and when you’ve moved a hundred the most of his time there. shovels of dirt, you ache in The BLM and the Friends the same places regardless of Last Chance Canyon are of what you’re searching for. working hard to preserve the There are a few tricks to the camp for future generations. art of dry wash digging that A few more bumps in deserve mention. First, chop the rutted dirt road and we up the clumps of dirt and arrived at the Rocky Road remove the big rocks so you Claim. Everyone agreed don’t have to contend with that we’d start the day in a clog in the dry washer. search of gold nuggets usSecond, in this section of ing metal detectors. After a the El Paso Mountains, you few pointers on a borrowed don’t have to dig very deep metal detector, we each went to get to the gold. It is better our separate ways. I decided to dry wash the dirt from the not to wander too far from surface down to a depth of the truck, so I began huntfive or six inches rather than John Chartier displays a gold nugget ing up close to some of the dig a deep hole. Finally, if found on a previous outing to the prickly bushes and piles of you can find the tailings from Rocky Road Claim. rusted cans. I’ve previously rodent holes, that’s good dirt July-August 2011 American Digger Magazine

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Miners built this dam made of rock and dirt to catch water during the rare rains. to put through the dry washer because it is generally without large rocks and clumps. Dry washers like the one pictured in this article are small and light-weight enough to be carried and operated by one person. It took less than five minutes to get the whole thing set up and just a few minutes to take it down when we were done. We shoveled a lot of dirt and cleaned the catch basins at regular intervals. At this stage, we were simply gathering the heaviest dirt to take back to the house in hopes that we might later see some gold. As with

Joe Keeley searches for gold nuggets with a Minelab GPX5000. Even with a retail price of almost $7000, these have become the top choice for many prospectors.

many types of digging, learning the mechanics of the equipment and how to dig is a whole lot easier than knowing where to dig. It stood to reason that we were digging in a place where we might find gold, because gold had been found here before. After a few hours of this, and a little bit more nugget searching with metal detectors, we decided to head back to the house and see if we’d found any gold while dry washing. John unrolled the garden hose and showed me how to use the gold pan to methodically separate the lighter dirt and

(L-R) Fred Smith was having a good month of prospecting when the author showed up, as seen by this vial; Dan Anderson found all these gold nuggets during 2010. 52 American Digger Magazine

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In this series of photos, John Chartier demonstrates how to find gold using a dry washer. (1) Set up the dry washer using rocks to keep it in place. (2) Shovel dirt into the top while the leaf blower is blowing and stay out of the cloud of dirt. (3) Empty the heaviest items out of the catch tray after 100 shovel fulls of dirt are processed. (4) Save this dirt and black sand until you get back home. (5) Add water to your pan of dirt and sand, then rotate gently allowing the lighter dirt and pebbles escape over the brim of the pan. (6) All that should be left now is black sand and gold. Continue swirling. (7) On the left is‌ GOLD! On the right ‌ a pebble. Use tweezers to remove the gold and add it to a vial of water. The water also serves as a magnifier, making a tiny bit of gold look a tiny bit bigger! July-August 2011 American Digger Magazine

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The Rainbow Chaser

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John Velke puts in some time with the gold pan. No matter the methods used, gold prospecting is hard work. It is also extremely addictive, as prospectors have known for well over a hundred years. ______________ pebbles from the heavier black sand and gold. Gold is 19.2 times heavier than water, and significantly heavier than anything else that stays in the pan. John let me give it a try, but I was pretty nervous about doing it. After all the work we’d done up to this point, I was afraid that I’d let some gold slip over the lip of the pan and end up in the grass in his front yard. After a few swirls (so I could say I actually have gold-panning experience) I turned the pan back over to John.

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he panning was done just as the sun began to set. We cleaned up a little, shared a few more stories, and I took some more photographs. I had a long drive and a plane to catch, so we said goodbye and I hit the road. Gold prospecting with John Chartier and the Antelope Valley Treasure Hunters Society was a whole lot of fun and an experience I’ll never forget. One of the things that interested me most about my California adventure was the contrast and similarity between gold prospecting today and that done more than 100 years ago. What I mean is that metal detectors offer a huge advantage to those searching for nuggets today, but dry washing is not that much different than it was when the first prospectors went out in the desert looking for gold. There were times when I felt like I was re-enacting the life of an early 1890s rainbow-chaser. And in that vein (pun intended), I’ll follow the example of the old-timers and keep to myself exactly how much gold we found. Suffice it to say that it was enough to give me “gold fever.”

By Kenneth Rand Circa 1914

’ve followed my restless heart To the uttermost ends of earth – New stars arise in alien skies, Yet what is my roving worth? Have I wasted my wealth of years In a profitless wayside mart, And garnered a crop of rue and tears From heritage-seeds of dearth? Aye, the way is over-long, And the road is ever new – It may be right or it may be wrong And my love be false or true --So long as the rainbow hold, And its glittering arch extend, I’m off for the pot of fairy gold On a road without an end! On a road without an end – Though Fate be harsh or kind – Ah, Love may sleep and eyes may weep, But we’ve left the world behind!

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’ve followed my fleeting love From the east to the luring west, And north and south through flood and drought I’ve carried my soul’s unrest. Have I bartered my house and home, And my hopes of Heaven above, For a castle built of fairy foam And a maiden’s merry jest? Aye, my palace of a dream May be over far away – Ye know, who follow the rainbowgleam, How dear is the price ye pay! Ye know, and yet ever bold, Wherever the trail may trend, Ye’re off for the pot of fairy gold On a road without an end! On a road without an end – With never a goal to find – Ah, Love may die and so may I, But we’ve left the world behind! Mining photos courtesy of Library of Congress

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Treasures Unlimited 2811-B Merrick Rd Bellmore, NY 11710 516-785-1618

Army of Tennessee 8895 Town & Country Cr. Knoxville, TN 37923 865-693-3007 armyoftennesseerelics.com

Treasures Unlimited 240 Route 112 Patchogue, NY 11772 631-447-6910

Smoky Mtn. Knife Works Relic Room Hwy. 66, Sevierville, TN 800-251-9306 (Ext 173) smokymountainrelicroom.com

J.C. Coins 2197 Broadway Buffalo, NY 14212 716-897-3460

Texas AA TV Repair & Metal Detectors 2435 College Hills Blvd. San Angelo, TX 76904

North Carolina Southern Soldier Antiques 2910 S Croatan Hwy. Nags Head, NC 252-715-0144 southernsoldierantiques.com Ohio Treasure Hunters Supply 1600 E Rt. 73 Waynesville, OH 45068 513-897-0700

Virginia The Civil War Room Antique Village, Rt. 301 Richmond/Hanover, VA 804-353-1153 / 804-746-8914 fredschneidercw@comcast.net The Picket Post 602 Caroline St. Fredericksburg, VA 22401 540-371-7703

White’s of the Great Lakes 6626 Monroe St Sylvania, OH 419-885-7191

Lee’s Headquarters 1016 Lafayette Blvd. Fredericksburg, VA 22401 540-654-9154

Pennsylvania Gettysburg Electronics 24 Chambersburg St. Gettysburg, PA 17325 717-334-8634 gettysburgelectronics.com

Centreville Electronics 9437 Main St. Manassas, VA 20110 703-367-7999

White’s of Mid-Atlantic 4307 Derry St Harrisburg, PA 17111 717-564-6690

Encore Products 119 South Fulton St. Iuka, MS 38852 662-423-3484

South Carolina Relic Hunter Supply Ridgeway, SC 803-427-5464 relichuntersupply.com

Missouri Metal Detector Sales of SW MO 2958 B E Division Street Springfield, MO 65803 417-414-8622 www.treasurechief.com

Tennessee Middle Tennessee Relics 3511 Old Nashville Hwy. Murfreesboro, TN 37129 615-893-3470 midtenrelics.com

Regimental Headquarters 256 Cambridge St. Falmouth, VA 22405 540-371-3309 Sgt. Riker’s Civil War Shop 305 Washington Hwy. Ste. 1 Ashland, VA 23005 804-798-6848 sgtriker.com Bull Run Relics & Coins 309 N Massanutten St. Strasburg, VA 22657 540-465-4090 www.bullrunrelics.com

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Chasing The Treasures Of Northeast Florida By Jimmy Koenig

Mention

metal detecting in Florida, and many people see no further than finding modern jewelry on the beach. While there is nothing wrong with that pursuit, and it can pay off handsomely, there are other treasures in Florida. Historical treasures, and yes, even gold and silver. But it isn’t just a “walk on the beach.” Florida treasure hunting takes a determined person willing to face many obstacles, especially in warm weather (which Florida has more than its share of). Snakes, wild boars, alligators, poison ivy and poison oak, ticks, bees, and wasps are just the start. Digging around oyster shell can create cuts and start a nasty infection. If you’re not a native, the heat, and humidity will drive you nuts, along with the No-see-ums and mosquitoes. That’s just shore hunting. If you decide to engage in some water hunting, you can ignore some of those above hazards and replace them with rip-tides, jellyfish, and even sharks. Let’s not forget sudden thunderstorms, no matter if you are on shore or in the ocean. But if you can put up with all that, Northeast Florida is a great place to detect for lost history. The coast line here is full of history, and just offshore are numerous uncharted shipwrecks from different countries, primarily French, Spanish, British, and Dutch. Even better, when conditions are right, you don’t have to be a diver to recover some of this past. Beach hunting is a great place to start, especially between nor’easter storms. Also keep an eye on beach erosions. Both of these conditions will allow the shore hunter a chance at some shipwreck artifacts that have washed in. This area is loaded with lost history, just waiting to be recovered. History tells us that Ponce de Leon, searching for riches and the Fountain of Youth, reached the east coast of Florida in April 1513. He claimed this land for Spain, calling it “Pascua de Florida” (feast of flowers). Although tradition states that the landing took place at Saint Augustine, many historians believe that they first landed where Melbourne is now located, then moved north to Saint Augustine. Florida’s mystery starts even at this early time, for not only is the exact location of his landfall unknown, but there is some evidence that Spanish slave traders made it to the shores of Florida 32 American Digger Magazine

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Aaron Scholten shows a find he has just made on a desolate stretch of beach. In the background his transportation, a boat, lies tied up and secured for the ride home. __________ as far back as 1494. After the landing, the Spanish armada continued sailing throughout the Caribbean and South America looking for gold, silver, and emeralds for the king. In 1565, Pedro Menedez De Aviles founded a permanent settlement in Saint Augustine. During this period, the Spanish had small settlements and outposts throughout the area. Yes, there is plenty of history here, and the above just scratches the surface. We have a small group of treasure hunters that get together here in Northeast Florida and go through all the obstacles mentioned above. In return, at almost every hunt someone comes up with a great piece of history, from early Spanish to late 1700s British. We went out one spring morning to hunt a beach known as an early Spanish shipwreck site. My wife, Robann Koenig, a dedicated member of the group, was working a small cut as the tide was going out. She got a good target, but every time she dug the sand kept filling in. Persistence finally paid off, and after 15 minutes she uncovered a thin black and gray object a little bigger than a nickel. After cleaning it, we saw it was a silver Spanish One Reale coin. Closer examination revealed it was Originally Published in Vol 7, Issue 2 Click here to order single issues.


That’s That’s the the strange strange thing thing with with beach beach hunting. hunting. Go Go five five feet feet That’s the strange thing with beach hunting. Go five feet in in one one direction direction and and you’re you’re loaded loaded with with good, good, old old targets, targets, in one direction and you’re loaded with good, old targets, then then move move over over aa few few feet feet and and there there are are no no signals signals at at all. all. then move over a few feet and there are no signals at all.

from the Cartagena Mint and marked in the boat to search for another spot. from the Cartagena Mint and marked in the boat to search for another spot. by Juan la Hera, Mint a transitional asIinworked waterline on the spot. way from thede Cartagena and marked the boatthe to search for another by Juan de la Hera, a transitional asI worked the waterline on the way sayer. Armed with this information, back, and 20 minutes later got a solby Juan de la with Hera, this a transitional asI worked theminutes waterline thea way sayer. Armed information, back, and 20 laterongot solwe knew the coin have been id, deep signal. I was later racing sayer. Armed withhad thisto back, and 20 minutes gotagainst a solwe knew the coin had toinformation, have been id, deep signal. I was racing against minted between 1625-26. time, as water refilling myagainst hole, we knew the coin had to have been id, deep signal.kept I was racing minted between 1625-26. time, as water kept refilling my hole, Aaron Scholten and I then went and myasbatteries were gettingmy weaker minted between 1625-26. time, water kept refilling hole, Aaron Scholten and I then went and my batteries were getting weaker just south ofScholten another cut onI the beach, by the second. Iwere wasgetting digging furiAaron and then went and my batteries weaker just south of another cut on the beach, by the second. I was digging furilooking for more Spanish loot, but ously, racing the elements and my just southforof more another cut on the beach, by the racing second.theI elements was digging looking Spanish loot, but ously, and furimy only finding modern treasures. batteries, whenthethey finallyanddied. looking for more Spanish loot,Still, but ously, racing elements my only finding modern treasures. Still, batteries, when they finally died. modern jewelry and coins are better Having no extras, I started blindly only finding modern treasures. Still, batteries,nowhen finallyblindly died. modern jewelry and coins are better Having extras,they I started than nothing. That’s the strange thing digging as further down the beach modern jewelry andthe coins are better Having as no further extras, down I started than nothing. That’s strange thing digging the blindly beach with beach hunting, go strange five feet in Aaron, and Robann were packing up than nothing. That’s the thing digging as further down the beach with beach hunting, go five feet in Aaron, and Robann were packing up Robann Koenig found this Robann Koenig found this one direction and you’re loaded with to leave. Desperate, I turned my dewith beach hunting, go five feet in Aaron, and Robann were packing up one direction and you’re loaded with to leave. Desperate, I turned my desilver 1625 Spanish Reale Robann Koenig found this silver 1625 Spanish Reale good, old targets, then move over a tector’s switch off and then back on. one direction and you’re loaded with to leave. Desperate, I turned my degood, old targets, then move over a tector’s switch off and then back on. attributed to assayer silver 1625 Spanish Reale attributed to assayer few feetold andtargets, there are no signals at all.a This gaveswitch me one final power, good, then move over tector’s andburst thenof on. few feet and there are no signals at all. This gave me oneofffinal burst ofback power, Juan de to la assayer Hera. attributed Juan de la Hera. Move over yet another three feet and just enough to find the target. Pulling few feet andyet there are nothree signals all. Thisenough gave metoone power, Move over another feetatand just findfinal the burst target.ofPulling __________ Juan de la Hera. __________ you’re apt toyet beanother in a “modern” sweet out aenough large black flatthe object, I knew it Move over three feet and just to find target. Pulling you’re apt to be in a “modern” sweet out a large black flat object, I knew it __________ spot. You just never know. was an old piece of silver. Washing it you’re aptjust to be in aknow. “modern” sweet out aanlarge black of flatsilver. object, I knew itit spot. You never was old piece Washing After two hours of digging, Aaron suggested we get off showed that it was a 1635 Eight Reale. I learned two spot. You just never know. was an old piece of silver. Washing After two hours of digging, Aaron suggested we get off showed that it was a 1635 Eight Reale. I learned twoit valuable lessons that day: never give up on a good target After two hours of digging, Aaron suggested we get valuable off showed that itthat wasday: a 1635 Eight two lessons never giveReale. up on Ia learned good target and always take extra batteries with you. valuable lessons that day: neverwith giveyou. up on a good target and always take extra batteries getting everything loaded up, we headed to an andAfter always take extra batteries with you. After getting everything loaded up, we headed to an area After wheregetting both early Spanish and, later, a British everything up, we headedsettleto an area where both early Spanishloaded and, later, a British settlement, were once located. This time, we were far enough area where both early Spanish and, later, a British settlement, were once located. This time, we were far enough off the were beach to experience not only of poison ivy, ment, located. This time,plenty we were far enough off the beachonce to experience not only plenty of poison ivy, but also wildlife. Not far off, not we only couldplenty hear wild hogs rootoff the beach to experience of poison ivy, but also wildlife. Not far off, we could hear wild hogs rooting around, unaware (we hoped) of ourhear presence. Forrootthe but also wildlife. Not far off, we could wild hogs ing around, unaware (we hoped) of our presence. For the first 40 minutes we heard almost nothing but the sounds ing around, unaware (we hoped) our presence. the first 40 minutes we heard almost of nothing but the For sounds of the40hogs. Finally, Robann got a faint low tone andsounds called first minutes we heard almost nothing but the of the hogs. Finally, Robann got a faint low tone and called me over. Digging carefully through rootslow and oyster of the hogs. Finally, Robann got a faint andshells, called me over. Digging carefully through roots andtone oyster shells, at about 14 inches down a rare piece of history emerged. meabout over.14 Digging roots and oyster shells, at inchescarefully down a through rare piece of history emerged. “Hawk’s bell,” down Robann said,piece smiling, and held it up at about 14 inches a rare of history emerged. “Hawk’s bell,” Robann said, smiling, and held it up for me to see. “Hawk’s for me to see. bell,” Robann said, smiling, and held it up She rechecked the hole and nodded, saying “There’s for me see. This 1635 Eight Shetorechecked the hole and nodded, saying “There’s This 1635 Eight something else down She rechecked thethere.” hole and nodded, saying “There’s Reale, minted in something else down there.” This 1635 Eight Reale, minted in At almost 18 inches, we saw a small object spill onto something else18down there.” Mexico, was dug At almost inches, we saw a small object spill onto Reale, minted in Mexico, was dug the dirt pile we18were making beside the hole. wasonto anAt almost inches, we saw a small objectIt by the author at the dirt pile we were making beside the hole. Itspill was anMexico, was dug by the author at other hawk’s bell, this one missing the shank. Either way, the dirt pile we beside hole.Either It wasway, anthe site just other hawk’s bell,were this making one missing thethe shank. bybeach the author at the beach site just these were very nice first finds at the site. other hawk’s bell, this one missing the shank. Either way, asbeach his detector these were very nice first finds at the site. the site just as his detector Hawk’s bellsnice were many ways in the new these were very firstused findsin the site. batteries died. Hawk’s bells were used inatmany ways in the new as his detector batteries died. world: as fashion accessories, amulets toways drive away evil Hawk’s bells were used in many the new __________ world: as fashion accessories, amulets to driveinaway evil batteries died. __________ world: as fashion accessories, amulets to drive away evil March-April 2011 American American Digger Magazine 33 __________ March-April 2011 Digger Magazine March-April 2011 American Digger Magazine 33 33

March-April 2011 American Digger Magazine 33 March-April2011 2011 American AmericanDigger DiggerMagazine Magazine 33 March-April www.americandigger.com www.americandigger.com 73 7333


(From left): Hawk bells and Spanish doublet buttons found at the second site; Spanish civilian buttons; two thimbles, one regular adult size and the other very petite. __________

Another

spirits, or used in falconry (their original intended use). These were highly prized by the Native Americans, and often brought by the explorers for trade. They were also used by the Spanish and Europeans as intended, tied in pairs on a hawk or falcon’s leg for hunting. The theory was that two bells could be heard farther away than one, making it easier to find the falcon after it caught its prey. A couple of feet away, Robann got another low tone, this time a child’s thimble. Meanwhile, at my suggestion, Aaron moved over to hunt where a fallen tree lay. In no more then two minutes, he dug six musket balls, a Spanish musket’s barrel band, and a brass spigot. Shocked at his success, I moved a few feet away from Robann and found my own target. Digging through the dirt and shells, I chased the signal for over 15 minutes. Finally, a small Spanish doublet button, circa mid 1500s, appeared. Taking a lesson from Robann, I rechecked the hole and was rewarded with another button. After combing the area for another hour, finding scrap brass and lead, nothing else was forthcoming. By now it was getting late, and we headed home, deciding to check yet another site the next day.

spring day dawned as we loaded into Aaron’s boat the next morning and headed to another area where there had been both Spanish and British outposts and civilian settlements. The problem was that the site is also where folks go to party during the summertime, which means we had to dig a lot of modern trash to get to the good stuff. As I tied the boat up, Aaron started detecting the waterline. Within minutes, he’d gotten three mid-tone targets. Calling Robann to help him, they pulled out three Spanish buttons. From there, Robann started detecting around a fallen tree where she heard a target, a musket ball. While digging the ball, by chance she saw a small glass-like object. “Yellow flint,“ she yelled. It was probably from the very flintlock that the ball was intended for. After getting the boat squared away, it was my turn to find something. After 20 minutes, I got a signal. Thinking at first it was a modern quarter, 12 inches down I pulled out a Spanish 1666 One Reale. After rechecking the hole and determining nothing else was in it, I walked eight feet and dug a piece

These One Reale coins, dated from 16081609, were stuck together when first recovered by Robann Koenig.

Front and back of the 1666 One Reale recovered by Jimmy Koenig, showing the unusual “double dating.”

34 Digger Vol. 22 74 American 2011 American American Digger Magazine Magazine Sampler 34 American Digger Magazine Magazine Vol. 7, 7, Issue Issue Sampler 74 2011 Digger


Patty Edwards’ British buttons and sash buckle. __________

Robann Koenig holds a musket ball and amber flint that she had just dug. __________ of cut “holed” silver. Such holes are common on old coins, and were used to sew the money inside clothing for safe keeping, to be worn around the neck as a charm, or simply to string several coins together. I was satisfied, and decided to go back to the boat for some fishing while everyone else finished up. Nearby, I watched Robann dig a soda can, then recheck the hole, looking puzzled. She resumed digging and below where the can had

rested, pulled out three One Reales stuck together! That got me out the boat and back to hunting. Seeing something as odd as the trio of Reales stuck together reminded me of an odd silver find I’d recently made. A good friend, Bob Spratley, had generously put me on a hot spot. Twenty minutes into the hunt, I heard a good signal. Digging through the sand and shells, I pulled out a One Reale. Rechecking the pile, I found a very small piece of silver. Back at home, I cleaned it up. I was stunned to see a cross on it! Checking the book Cobs, Pieces of Eight, and Treasure Coins, by Sewall Menzel, there it was: a very rare Quarter Reale!

Patty yelling. My first thought was she had found a rattlesnake or wild hog. Instead, it turned out that she had dug a very nice civilian British buckle, then seconds later, a 16th Regiment British Infantry button. Amazingly, the pewter button had remained in remarkably good condition despite the harsh Florida conditions. Later research revealed that the 16th British Infantry had arrived in Pensacola, Florida in 1767, and took part in actions at Baton Rouge, LA, Port Royal Island and Cowpens, SC before returning to England in 1782.

On This One Reale dwarfs the rare Quarter Reale. Both were found by the author in the same hole.

a day soon afterwards, Robann, Patty Edwards, June Downing, Richard Downing, and myself headed to a different Spanish and British military camp site. Again, I was tying down the boat while everyone else began detecting in the woods. Moments later, I heard

Late 1700s cuff links and broken shoe/knee buckles found by Robann.

March-April2011 2011 American AmericanDigger DiggerMagazine Magazine 75 www.americandigger.com March-April 3535 www.americandigger.com 75


I decided to get into the I decided intobefore the the woods to andget hunt woods and hunt before the cut afternoon thunderstorms afternoon thunderstorms cut our day short. I wandered ouraround day short. againI wandered for almost half aroundanagain for almost half hour, hunting slowly. an Then hour,I hunting slowly. got a very high pitch Thentarget, I got aa very high good sign pitch of silver. target, a good sign of silver. Another Reale, I thought, or Another Reale, I thought, or maybe more melted silver. maybe more melted silver.

Not all good finds are metallic. A Not all good finds are metallic. got the ball rolling, and before long June broken Spanish olive jar sitsAwith two got the ball before long June a trash broken Spanish olive jar melted sits with twoof gold and rolling, Richardand Downing located metallic treasures: slag and Richard Downing located a trash metallicand treasures: melted of gold pile where they began finding 1750s to mid 1800s potsilver, found by slag Jimmy Koenig. pile where began finding pot-HI Halfand silver, found by__________ Jimmy Koenig. terythey shards. June also 1750s found to a mid 17841800s Carolus tery shards. June also found a 1784 Carolus HI aHalf Reale. Robann and Patty were working small area __________ Reale. Robann and Patty were working a small area nearby and got into another patch of artifacts, with gold is a reason to dig deeper, so I went down another nearby Robann and got finding into another patch of artifacts, with along a 14th Regiment British button, gold is a18reason toThere, dig deeper, so aI high went tone, downand another inches. I heard plucked out th Robannwith finding a 14 Regiment British button, along a pair of cuff links, and pieces of shoe and knee 18 inches. There, I heard a highoftone, andI plucked a relatively large piece silver. thought out I was on a with a pair of cuff and pieces shoe buckles. Tenlinks, feet away, Patty of dug twoand axeknee heads and a a relatively piece ofall silver. thought I was roll, large but that was thereI was in the hole.on a buckles.hoe Tenfrom feet the away, dug two axe heads and a latePatty 1700s. roll, but that was all there was in the hole. I then decided to get into the woods and hunt behoe from the late getting 1700s. the boat secured, I decided to workI then After decided to get into the woods and be- short. I fore the afternoon thunderstorms cut hunt our day After getting the boat secured, I decided totarget, work I began along the high tide mark. Hearing a small fore thewandered afternoonaround thunderstorms cut our day short. I huntagain for almost half an hour, along the high tide mark. Hearing a small target, I began digging. Running my probe through the pile produced wandered almost anpitch hour,target, hunt- a good ingaround slowly.again Thenfor I got a veryhalf high digging.a Running probepiece through the pile small (3.9my grams) of gold slag.produced Hearing more in ing slowly. I gotAnother a very high pitch target, or a good signThen of silver. Reale, I thought, maybe more a small the (3.9hole, grams) piece ofdigging gold slag. Hearingme more a bit more rewarded withinanother sign of silver. Another Reale, I thought, or maybe more melted silver! the hole,piece a bit of more digging rewarded me with another melted gold, this one 3.2 grams. Obviously, melted silver! But I was wrong. I dug deeper, down, and down, and piece of gold, this one 3.2 grams. Obviously, melted But I was wrong. I dug deeper, down, and down, and

This This

Patty Edwards takes a break during a British 16th, 22nd, and 14th Regiment th nd th takes a break during a British 16 , 22 , and Regiment Florida treasure excursion. buttons found by14 Robann and Patty. Patty Edwards Florida treasure excursion. buttons found by Robann and Patty. 36 American Digger Magazine Vol. 7, Issue 2

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I dug deeper, down, I dug deeper, down, and down, and down. and down, and down. Then, I saw the green Then, I saw the green tint of brass. It was a tint of brass. It was a well-preserved M1742 well-preserved M1742 British military enlisted British military enlisted man’s sword guard, far man’s sword guard, far rarer than a Reale, with rarer than a Reale, with the rack number (95) the rack number (95) engraved on it. engraved on it.

Shown here are two views of the Model down. Then, I saw the green tint of brass. It Shown here are two Enlisted views ofsword the Model M1742 British Military guard down. Then, I saw theM1742 green tint of brass. It was a well-preserved British miliM1742 British Military Enlisted sword recovered by the author. Note the guard rack was well-preserved M1742 British tary aenlisted man’s sword guard, far milirarer recovered byplainly the engraved author. Note thebrass. rack number “95” into the tary enlisted guard, far rarer than a Reale,man’s with sword the rack number (95) number “95” plainly engraved into the brass. __________ than a Reale, the rack number engraved on it.with A single button was in(95) the __________ engraved it. A singletobutton in the hole also.on According John was Powell of Half Reale and a pile of mid-1700s pottery shards. hole According to John of Saint also. Augustine, Florida, whoPowell specialHalfThese Realethree and adays pileofofNortheast mid-1700s pottery shards. Florida hunting among Saint who specializes inAugustine, Spanish andFlorida, Colonial military material, even These three days of Northeast Florida hunting among our group were great days for recovering the treasures of izes in Spanish military material, though the guardand is Colonial from a Model 1742 Pattern, even these our group were great days for recovering the treasures the past. That’s the best part of digging in Florida; thereof is though guard is from Model 1742 these were stillthe used by British anda Loyalist ForcesPattern, through the the past. That’s the best part of digging in Florida; there is always some type of history to recover. If you treasure were still used War by British Revolutionary period.and Loyalist Forces through the always some type of history to recover. If you treasure hunt here or somewhere else, just be sure to respect the hisRevolutionary War period. hunt hereseek, or somewhere else, justitbe respect the you history you the land you seek on,sure andtothe wildlife ended my day with a great piece of Florida history you seek, thewhile land you seek it on, and the wildlife you might encounter seeking. endedRobann, my day with a greatalso piece Florida history. and Patty didofwell, adding might encounter while seeking. Oh, also keep some extra batteries in your pouch! tory. Robann, and Patty also did well,pouches. adding two more pewter British military buttons to their Oh, also keep some extra batteries in your pouch! two more pewter British military buttonsfinding to theirapouches. June and Richard also were successful, Spanish June and Richard also were successful, finding a Spanish

I’d I’d

The author wishes to give thanks to John T. Powell for information The used author in this wishes article, to give as well thanks as referencing to John T. Powell the following for information books: used Cobbs, in this Pieces article, of Eight, as well andasTreasure referencing Coinsthe by Sewall following Menzel books: Cobbs, Artifacts Pieces of theofSpanish Eight, and Colonies Treasure Vol.Coins 2 by Kathleen by SewallDeagan Menzel Artifacts Military Buttons of the Spanish of the American Colonies Vol. Revolution 2 by Kathleen by DonDeagan Troiani Military Buttons of the American Revolution by Don Troiani

About the Author: About the Author: Jimmy Koenig is a native of Florida, and still

Assorted buttons and jewelry lost in Assorted buttons jewelry lost at in the late 1700s by and British soldiers the late 1700s by British the last site and dug bysoldiers Robann.at the last site and dug by Robann.

Jimmy there Koenig is Atlantic a nativeBeach. of Florida, still resides near After aand 17-year resides there near Atlantic Beach. After a 17-year career in the military, he began metal detecting full career the military, detecting full time inin2004. Most ofhe hisbegan days metal now are in pursuit time in 2004. Most of his of days now are in pursuit of Spanish treasure, most it found washed up on of Spanish treasure, most of it found washed the beaches of Northeastern Florida. up on the beaches of Northeastern Florida. March-April 2011 American Digger Magazine March-April www.americandigger.com 2011 American Digger Magazine

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Just A Small Spark Can Ignite A Lifelong Passion byJohn JohnTTAnderson Anderson by Introductionbyby Introduction DwayneD. D.Anderson Anderson Dwayne

Everyone who who enjoys enjoys aa hobby hobby involving involving the the pursuit pursuit of of anything, anything, i.e. i.e. hunting hunting for Everyone for (you (you fill fill in in the the blank), blank), began began seeking their chosen quarry by being introduced to it by someone else. It may be years before they actually seeking their chosen quarry by being introduced to it by someone else. It may be years before they actually began in earnest themselves to engage in the hobby, but the spark has been struck. Even though overall the need need of of men men and and women women to to seek seek or or “hunt” “hunt” for for aa particular particular thing thing is is common common to to the the human human race, race, it it is is outside outside influence that that nudges nudges one one into into aa particular particular direction. direction. The The following following story story shows shows how how I, influence I, Dwayne Dwayne Anderson, Anderson, received nudge 40 years result arrowhead hunting, rock hounding, gold panning, received my my nudge 40 years ago.ago. TheThe result waswas arrowhead hunting, rock hounding, gold panning, andand metal metal detecting. This led to relic hunting, which led to friends who enjoy the same, which in turn led to a posi­ detecting. This led to relic hunting, which led to friends who enjoy the same, which in turn led to a position of of copy copy editor editor with with American American Digger tion Magazine. Recent Recent health health problems problems have have prevented prevented me me from from relic relic Digger Magazine. hunting, so I am now learning to make arrowheads. In a way, it brings me full circle back to how this whole hunting, so I am now learning to make arrowheads. In a way, it brings me full circle back to how this whole journey began, as the following story by my mentor and uncle, John Anderson, Anderson, will will show... show...

On

a beautiful sunny summer morning almost 40 years ago I awoke to the chatter of my two nephews who were spending the summer with me. It seemed that they were fascinated at how fat the bellies of my 6-week-old German Shorthair puppies were. A short investigation was conducted and I learned that the two youngsters had fed the puppies dry dog food, not knowing that I normally soaked their food in water before feeding them, as I was in the process of weaning them off their mother’s milk. The poor pups looked like little melons with legs that didn’t quite touch the ground. Figuring that I had best find the kids something to do that I could supervise a little more closely, I loaded them into my ‘51 Chevy pickup truck and told them that we were going arrowhead hunting. As I drove down the driveway which led from my home to the main road, many questions were asked concerning our new adven48 48 American American Digger Digger Magazine Magazine

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ture as we made our way west toward the community of Mulberry Grove, Georgia. This was one of my favorite locations to find Indian arrowheads. The boys continued their questioning, as youngsters their ages will do. “Where are we going, Uncle Johnny?” they asked.

A young Dwayne Anderson A young Dwayne Anderson and his first find. and his first find. Originally Published in Vol 7, Issue 3 Click here to order single issues.


Kirk Serrated Ft. Payne Chert Kirk Serrated (Central West GA) Ft. Payne Chert 4000-7000 (Central WestBC GA) 4000-7000 BC

Snapped Base Kirk (Central Base West GA) Snapped Kirk 4000-7000 (Central WestBC GA) 4000-7000 BC

Copena- Triangular Dark Marron Chert CopenaTriangular (Central Dark MarronTN) Chert 1000-2000 BC (Central TN) 1000-2000 BC “We’re going to hunt arrowheads,” I replied. Then,going of course, I hadarrowheads,” to explain to these “We’re to hunt I refive and six year-olds was, plied. Then, of course,what I hadan to arrowhead explain to these where from, whoanmade them, how five andthey six came year-olds what arrowhead was, the Indians lost them, wantedhow to where they came from, and whowhy madeI them, find them. This crashI wanted course in the Indians lost made them, for andawhy to Native American history Western find them. This made forofa Middle crash course in Georgia, a few remarks the two Native American historyconcerning of Middle Western little munchkins “being quiet,” and my Georgia, a few remarks concerning thetelltwo ing “We’re“being almostquiet,” there!”and 100my times. littlethem munchkins tellI had “We’re not reached mythere!” favorite hunting ing them almost 100 times. spotI when suddenlymy decided check had notI reached favoritetohunting out spot not far off the pavedtoroad in spotawhen I suddenly decided check some pinefar trees. area had been out a scrub spot not off The the paved road in eroded overpine the years some scrub trees.and Thewas areafilled had with been gullies erosion. Thisfilled was back eroded caused over thebyyears and was with when would abandon the land gulliesfarmers caused by erosion. This was back to the farmers elementswould for more suitable when abandon the land land to farm. When the wassuitable depleted of the elements forsoil more land its nutrients, families would just to farm. Whenfarm the soil was depleted of move on. Between gullies, you just could its nutrients, farm these families would still layer of these topsoil and sometimes movefind on.aBetween gullies, you could arrowheads would foundand at the edge of still find a layer of be topsoil sometimes the pine straw and red clay on arrowheads would be found at the bank edge of the pine straw and red clay on the bank of

John Anderson Spear Point John Anderson 2009Point AD Spear 2009 AD

Pine Tree Ft. Pine Payne Chert Tree (South Central TN) Ft. Payne Chert 3000-6000 (South CentralBC TN) 3000-6000 BC

Kirk Serrated Dover Chert Kirk Serrated (South Central Dover ChertTN) 4000-7000 (South CentralBC TN) 4000-7000 BC the gully. Sure enough, my youngest nephew spotted shaped my black flint arrowhead the gully.a nicely Sure enough, youngest nephew with beveled sides. He black ran toflint me arrowhead and asked spotted a nicely shaped “Uncle Johnny, is this with beveled sides. Heone?” ran to me and asked “Yes!” I said “Uncle Johnny, is excitedly this one?”and praised him highly for Ihis first (and very “Yes!” said excitedly and unexpected) praised him find. Then did (and something that I feel highly for hisI first very unexpected) guiltyThen for toI this I put thethat point find. did day. something I into feel my pocket. a short time, left into this guilty for toAfter this day. I put thewe point spotpocket. in the pines moved onwe to the my Afterand a short time, leftcow this pasture andpines fieldand thatmoved I normally spot in the on to hunted. the cow We and did field makethat a few more finds that pasture I normally hunted. dayWe of did a couple broken and make of a few morepoints finds that assorted and lots day of a colors coupleofofchipped brokenflint points and of quartz. In our area of flint the country, assorted colors of chipped and lots flint is notIna our native must of quartz. areastone. of theOne country, travelis as as 100 miles any flint notmuch a native stone. Oneinmust direction order findmiles any natural travel as in much asto100 in any flint outcroppings. The from direction in order to findIndians any natural those would useThe flintIndians for trading flintareas outcroppings. from purposes tribes our trading part of those areaswith would usehere flintin for the state. with Flinttribes was highly purposes here in prized our partdue of to color,Flint sharpness, and, most of due all, theitsstate. was highly prized the in which it could fashioned to itsease color, sharpness, and,bemost of all, the ease in which it could fashioned May-June 2011 American Diggerbe Magazine 49 May-June 2011 American Digger Magazine www.americandigger.com

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Elora Elora B.C 1000-2000 1000-2000 B.C Pickwick Pickwick BC 1500-4000 1500-4000 BC

Autauga Autauga BC 5000-7000 5000-7000 BC

Jude 4000Jude to 7000 BC 4000 to 7000 BC Benton Benton BC 2000-4000 2000-4000 BC

similar outdoorsman could understand and relate into tools, spear points, and arrowheads. The similar could understand relate into spear found points,byand arrowheads. The to the outdoorsman excitement experienced on theand night besmalltools, arrowhead my nephew was most to the excitement experienced on the night before the next big hunt. The thrill and excitement small arrowhead found by my nephew was most likely made from a piece of flint brought here fore the next bigoverwhelming hunt. The thrillwhen and excitement is sometimes anticipating likely madetraders from afrom piece of flint brought here by Indian North or South Georgia, is sometimes overwhelming when anticipating the discovery of a piece of history which has reby traders from North orNow South Georgia, or Indian perhaps Central Alabama. it was deep the discovery of unseen a piecefor of hundreds history which hasthouremained buried, or even orinperhaps Central Alabama. Now it except was deep the pocket of Uncle Johnny and, for mained buried, unseen for hundreds or even thousands of years. What untold stories and lost facts ina the pocket of Uncle to Johnny and,itexcept for couple of showings my wife, was never sands of told years. stories andpast? lost facts can be byWhat theseuntold treasures of the What atocouple of showings to my wife, it was never be seen again by its young and very excited can be told by these treasures of the past? What a pleasure and honor it is to be the one person tofinder. be seen again byasitsI young and story, very excited Even now write this I wonawho pleasure honor itanisartifact’s to be the one person is ableand to unlock otherwise final finder. Even as I write this story, I wonder what mynow nephew’s reaction will be when who is able to unlock an artifact’s otherwise final resting place just a few inches under the earth to der reaction be when he what learnsmy thatnephew’s I still have in my will possession his resting just a few under thelong. earth to releaseplace its secrets heldinches dormant for so he learns I stillfind. have in my possession his very firstthat historic release its secrets held dormant for so long. I know many relic and artifact hunters like very first historic find. know many andwho, artifact me share with you why, at this myI nephew and relic myself afterhunters a find,like ask me share at this my nephew and myself who, after a find, ask point of with his you life, why, the realizamany questions which we know cannot be anpoint of his many questions which know antion that his life, first the find realizastill exswered. Who wore thewe spur that cannot Dwaynebefound his first find still exswered. Who wore the spur that Dwayne found ists could have tion greatthat significance to him. My a while back? What were that soldier’s final days ists couldhas have My alike? whileDid back? that and soldier’s days nephew not great had ansignificance easy life, to to sayhim. the least. he What have were children whatfinal happened nephew has not had an easy life, to say the least. like? Did he have children and what happened He has worked hard and has run his own busito them? What was the Indian like who made He hasmaking worked hardliving and has runfamily. his own busitothethem? the Indian likesort who ness a fair for his Over the little What black was arrowhead? What of made things ness making a fair living for his family. Over the the little black arrowhead? What sort of things years, he has developed a love for the outdoors did he think as he walked the ground which I am years, developed a love for the outdoors did he thinkwalking? as he walked the ground am and inhe hishas young adulthood he took up the hobby presently It is natural that which we askI such and in his young adulthood he took up the hobby presently walking? It is natural that we ask such of hunting relics with a metal detector. I think never-to-be-answered questions as we go about ofthat hunting relicsin with a metal detector.toI distant think never-to-be-answered questions we go about I am safe saying that traveling our almost spiritual activity of as uncovering lost that I am safe in saying that traveling to distant our spiritual activity of uncovering locations with his friends and walking untold andalmost forgotten history. It is just what we do.lost The locations with his and walking untold and It is just do. The miles listening for friends that distinct beep in his earsoreforgotten feet and history. aching joints andwhat tiredwe muscles are miles listening for that distinct beep in his earsore feetconsequence and aching joints muscles are phones has become his passion of the highest of no as weand go tired through our finds phones become his passion of thehoping highest ofofno as we go through our finds degree.has Metal detecting and digging, for theconsequence day. degree. detectingI’m and sure digging, hoping of theSome day. finds are great, and some are not so the findMetal of a lifetime, fill his mindfor as the of his a lifetime, filland his closes mind as Some finds are great, andare some are not he find places head onI’m his sure pillow his John Anderson great. In many cases, there no finds at so all. he places headAsonmany his pillow great. many no finds at all.to eyes eachhis night. of you and are, closes he is a his true John Anderson But inInspite of itcases, all, it there never are crosses our minds Blade eyes each night. As many of you are, he is a true But in spite of it all, it never crosses our minds to American digger! quit. Our sights are always set on the next weekBlade 2009 AD American quit. areonce always set on Only digger! an arrowhead hunter, relic hunter, or end Our and sights heading again to the the next fieldweekwhere 2009 AD Only an arrowhead hunter, relic hunter, or end and heading once again to the field where

Let Let

50 American Digger Magazine Vol. 7, Issue 3 50 Digger Magazine Vol. 7, Issue Sampler 3 80 American 2011 American Digger Magazine


Drill Drill 10,00010,00012,000 BC 12,000 BC Mud Creek Mud Creek 4000-7000 B.C. 4000-7000 B.C.

Brewerton Brewerton 4,0004,0002,000 BC 2,000 BC

Bolen Bolen 6,0006,0008,500 BC 8,500 BC

Elora Elora BC 1,000-4,000 1,000-4,000 BC

Copena Copena 4,0004,0001,800 BC 1,800 BC

Alachua Alachua 500 AD500 AD2000 BC 2000 BC the little treasures are waiting. and a dread of the next sunrise. I would the little aretry waiting. and a dread thesorry nextfor sunrise. Thinktreasures back and to remember what or probably feelof very myself.I would Think back and try to remember what or probably feel very sorry for who influenced you and sparked your interYesterday my nephew, myself. who is now 46 whoininfluenced you andand sparked yourhobby interYesterday is now 46 est such a wonderful exciting years-old, paidmymenephew, a visit.who A few of his est in such a wonderful and exciting hobby years-old, paid me a visit. A few of his as we practice. How did it all start? Recall friends drove him down from Atlanta. as wemost practice. How did it alland start? Recall friends drovewe him downthrough from the Atlanta. your significant finds relive the Upon arrival, chatted open your most significant finds and relive the Upon arrival, we chatted through the open thrill and excitement of the find, wippassenger window of his friend’s vehicle thrilloffand the find, passenger window of his friend’s ing the excitement layer of dirt,ofblowing offwipthe while another of the party in thevehicle group ing off the layer of dirt, blowing off the while another of the party in the group dust, or washing the object in a creek removed a wheelchair from the back of dust, or puddle. washingWho the object in first a creek removed from the back of or mud was the person the SUV. aAswheelchair we all helped Dwayne make or mud puddle. Who was the first person the SUV. As we all helped Dwayne make that you showed it to? What a thrill, what a few short, but very painful, steps to be that you showed it to? What a thrill, what the fewinshort, very painful, steps to be high, what an experience! And we can doa seated whatbut I came to call his chariot, high, what an experience! And we can do seated in what I came to call his chariot, it all again next weekend or the next day I couldn’t help thinking back to days it allthat again nextBoy, weekend the next day Igone couldn’t help my thinking back days for matter. whator a life! by when nephew wastostrong for that matter. Boy, what a life! gone by when my nephew was strong Now imagine waking up one mornand healthy with the energy of the two Now imagine waking up one withBut the now energy two ing to learn that you will never be mornable to ofand ushealthy combined. he of hadthecome ing to learn that you will never be able to of us combined. But now he had come practice your passion again. No more rising at down to Pine Mountain, Georgia to ask practice fixing your passion again. loading No more down to him Pinesome Mountain, sunrise, a sack lunch, uprising your at that I give pointersGeorgia on howtoto ask besunrise, fixing a sack lunch, loading up your that I give him some pointers on how to beequipment, and heading out to your favorcome a flintknapper, a hobby that I have equipment, and heading out to your favorcome a flintknapper, a hobby I have ite hunting spot in the piney woods, field, practiced since returning homethat from Tenite hunting spot in the piney woods, field, practiced since returning home from or old home place to enjoy your lifelong nessee in 1985. Although DwayneTenhas or old home place tothe enjoy nessee 1985. to Although has passion. Searching hillsyour and lifelong dales beeninforced give upDwayne his passion passion. Searching the hills and dales been forced to give up his passion Dwayne Anderson for those hidden treasures of history for metal detecting due to his mediDwayne for those treasures of history for metal detecting his up mediBladeAnderson /Point will be no hidden more. Gone forever are the cal condition, he hasdue not to given his Blade /Point will be no more.calls Gonetoforever the cal condition, he His has not his 2010 AD excited phone your are friends passion for life. legsgiven don’tup work 2010 AD excited calls to What your friends passion His to share phone the day’s finds. visions so well for anylife. more butlegs hisdon’t handswork and to share any been moreexercising but his hands and would fillthe ourday’s mindsfinds. as ourWhat head visions hit the pillow each night arms do. He told me so thatwell he had in order would fill ouroff minds as ourSpeaking head hit the arms do. He told me that he had beentoexercising in order as we drifted to sleep? for pillow myself,each I amnight sure to strengthen his upper body in order have the strength as wethe drifted offoftoarrowheads, sleep? Speaking forballs, myself, am sure his upper procedure body in order to have the strength that visions Minie beltI buckles, to strengthen perform a knapping called pressure flaking. that the visions of arrowheads, Minie balls, belt buckles, perform a knapping procedure called pressure buttons, and coins, would be replaced by sleeplessness Itocan see a huge difference in his excitement and flaking. attitude buttons, and coins, would be replaced by sleeplessness I can see a huge difference his excitement and attitude May-June 2011 in American Digger Magazine 51 May-June 2011 American Digger Magazine

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Combining Dwayne and his Uncle Johnny’s talent and love of the past, their company, Archaic Creations, now talent offers and not only modern custom Combining Dwayne and his Uncle Johnny’s love of the past, stone creations but backlit quality jewelry. their company, Archaic Creations, now displays offers notand only modern custom stone creations but backlit displays and quality jewelry.

Postscript: As of this publicaeach day as he makes the transition ing how I would handle a situation tion date, Dwayne has shown a and as plans what hethewill do the next where my world was turned upsidePostscript: As of this publicaeach day he makes transition ing how I would handle a situation marked improvement from his day. He spends his time nownext learning overnight. I thinkupside that if wetion date, Dwayne has shown a and plans what he will do the wheredown my world was turned illness and can now walk unknapping, working onlearning his website, a passion for life itself then allmarked improvement from his day. He spends his time now downhave overnight. I think that if we of time. illnessaided and for canshort nowperiods walk unand marketing his his reproductions rest isfor gravy. God then has given knapping, working on website, of have athe passion life itself all us Although his doctors are bafartifacts which he once hunted. a beautiful What a shame ifaided for short periods of time. and marketing his reproductions of the rest is gravy.world. God has given us fled, his Dwayne hasare thebafanswer: Although doctors His phone callshunted. are still filled with we do world. not enjoy it toa the fullest artifacts which he once a beautiful What shame if like a miracle from above,” he fled, “It’s Dwayne has the answer: excitement asare he still letsfilled me know When life gave His phone calls with how we domy notnephew. enjoy it to the fullest like him says with a smile. “It’s a miracle from above,” he he progresses. Heme calls his old friends lemons, When he made lemonade. excitement as he lets know how my nephew. life gave him We says with a smile. not to tellHe ofcalls his recent finds but should learn from him,Weand if he progresses. his oldrelic friends lemons, he all made lemonade. About the Author find sources of flint, onealldoor closes us, just not tototell of new his recent relic findscoral, but agshould learn fromonhim, andtryifopenJohn Anderson’s been a soldier, About the Author otherofmaterials to agwork. one It door ing another. to findate, newand sources flint, coral, closes on us, just try openand retired John policeman, Anderson’s fireman, been a soldier, is good watch histoprogress I am proud of my nephew andpoliceman, ate, and othertomaterials work. Itand to ing another. in August 2010and withretired 35 years fireman, feeltothat I had small part in to getting I think it onlyofright I remove is good watch hisaprogress and am proud my that nephew and fromin August as a ranger with the U.S. 2010 35 yearsArmy himI to where he ispart today. How happy pocket black flint ar-as a Corps feel that had a small in getting think my it only rightthat that little I remove from Engineers. the while, rangerofwith the U.S.AllArmy thatheweis loaded up thehappy old Chevy rowhead place it firmly him toI am where today. How my pocket thatand little black flint ar-in theCorpshe has continued his passion of Engineers. All the while, of and we headed to up thethe piney handand of its original finder.inThis I am that loaded old woods Chevy those rowhead place it firmly the I willhe has hunting for authentic arrowheads continued his passion of many to years ago. Little I know gladly do at my first opportunity! and headed the piney woodsdid those hand of its original finder. This I will and creating his own modern hunting for authentic arrowheads oneago. dayLittle Dwayne a manythat years did would I knowturn gladly do at my first opportunity! You can see more and reproductions. creating his own modern tragedy triumph all because that one day into Dwayne would turn a of a of his-and his nephew’swork at reproductions. You can see more little piece of black flint. of a tragedy into triumph all because www.archaic-creations.com of his-and his nephew’s- work at have little pieceI of blackfound flint. myself wonderwww.archaic-creations.com I 52 have found Digger myself wonder-Vol. 7, Issue 3 American Magazine 52 Digger Magazine Vol. 7, Issue Sampler 3Sampler 82 American 2011American American Digger Magazine Magazine 82 2011 Digger


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The Wreck Of The H.M.S. Oregon

By Capt. Dan Berg

130 feet below the surface of the Atlantic lies a wealth of bottles and artifacts for those With the skill to recover them.

T

he Oregon was built for Stephen Guion in Trans Atlantic crossing and claimed the coveted Blue 1881. She was 518 feet long, had a beam of Riband award. The Oregon left Queenstown and 54 feet, and displaced over 7,000 tons, making arrived in Sandy Hook just seven days, eight hours her one of the largest ships of her day. The Oregon and 33 minutes later, averaging almost 18 knots. was powered by a three cylinder engine, which put In 1884, the Guion steamship line was forced into out upwards of 12,000 horsepower bankruptcy. Stephen Guion sold the and made her capable of running Oregon to his competitor, the Cunard “I never expected at nearly 19 knots. Although she Line, for 616,000 pounds. to see such an was a modern liner for her time, the On March 6, 1886, the Oregon affair go off so Oregon was just emerging from the departed Liverpool and steamed for easily. Not a soul time of sailing ships. Her modified New York. At 4:30 AM, March 14, on on board the clipper design hull carried two a clear Sunday morning, the Oregon Oregon was lost.� enormous smoke stacks and was was jolted on her port side while Captain Cottier, fitted with four masts fully rigged running at full steam only five miles HMS Oregon for sail. off Fire Island, NY. Although there Her interior was designed and were many conflicting reports of fitted with the most elaborate and costly materials of exactly what caused the accident, it has been accepted the time. She had accommodations for 340 first class, to have been a collision with the three masted schooner 92 second class, and 1,110 steerage class passengers. Charles R. Moss of Maine which was reported missing She was also equipped with watertight compartments that night. and lighted completely by electricity. On her maiden John Hopkins, a passenger from Brooklyn on voyage, October 7, 1883, the vessel made a record board the Oregon, told the New York Times report28 American Digger Magazine

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Dan Berg and Jim Fazzolare with tea pot, silverware, and ceramic bottles recovered from the HMS Oregon shipwreck. Photo courtesy Wreck Valley Charters

ers the following story. “I was the only passenger up. vessel for her to stay afloat. The pumps on board the I had been sick all through the voyage and could not Oregon were worked to full capacity, but didn’t stand sleep. I was taking some toast and tea, when I heard a a chance against the gushing water of the Atlantic. The crash and felt a shock that shook the Oregon from end eight hours that the Oregon stayed afloat was enough to end.” Then he heard shouting coming from the bow time for all 845 passengers and crew to be rescued by section where he found crewmen the vessels Fannie A. Gorhan, Fullooking over the port rail. As soon as da, and a pilot boat, Phantom. There “ I was taking some was even enough time for the crew he looked he knew what all the extoast and tea, citement had been about. There was to serve the passengers hot tea and when I heard a a hole so large that “you could drive toast, and for the passengers to be crash and felt a a horse and wagon through.” sent to retrieve warmer clothing from shock that shook Another passenger, Mrs. Hurst, their cabins. It is reported that the the Oregon from reported seeing a red light and a passengers remained calm throughsail through her cabin porthole. The out the ordeal. end to end.” John Hopkins, next event she reported was hearing As is the custom, Captain Cottier Oregon passenger a steward banging on all of the was the last to leave his ship before passengers’ doors, advising them to she plunged bow first to the ocean hurry up on deck. floor, leaving all four masts still Although the compartments of the Oregon were sticking up above the water’s surface. The Captain watertight, the schooner Charles R. Moss struck the commented to reporters that “I never expected to see largest compartment of the ship just below the dinsuch an affair go off so easily. Not a soul on board the ing salon. There was just too much water inside the Oregon was lost.” September-October 2011 American Digger Magazine

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Underwater sketch of the Oregon shipwreck. Courtesy of sketch Capt. Steve Bielenda, Wreck Valley Collection Underwater of the Oregon shipwreck.

T T

Courtesy of Capt. Steve Bielenda, Wreck Valley Collection

oday, the Oregon lies in 125 to 130 feet of water 32 that allow experienced divers to penetrate the ship. oday,miles the Oregon liesofinJones 125 toInlet, 130 feet wateran 32 areathat allow experienced the ship. southeast NewofYork, The Oregon is divers one of to thepenetrate best artifact hunting wrecks milesknown southeast of Jones Inlet,Her New York, an area Oregon is one of the brought best artifact hunting as Wreck Valley. bow is resting on its The in the area. Divers have up all kinds wrecks of artifacts known side as Wreck Valley. bow is resting on its area. Divers have brought all kinds of artifactsclay starboard on a clean sandHer bottom. Her steel hull platesin the including portholes, bottles,upornate chandeliers, starboard a clean sandelements bottom. Her steel and hull plates portholes, and bottles, ornatestamped chandeliers, have side givenonway to the of time collapsed,including pipes, silverware, fine china with theclay Cunard haveleaving given way elements of timestanding and collapsed, and fine china Cunard only to herthe engine and boilers upright. Inpipes, or silverware, Guion steamship crest. In stamped her sternwith is anthe area called the leaving only her engine andher boilers In inor Guion steamship crest. can In her an areaand called the stern divers can see hugestanding propellerupright. half buried Button Hole. Divers fanstern the is bottom findthe ornate the stern divers can see her huge propeller half buried in Button Hole. Divers can fan the bottom and find ornate the sand. Although much of the wreck is low lying, some Chinese brass buttons. In other areas like the Connecticut the sand. much of fallen the wreck lowshaped lying, structures some Chinese buttons. In luggage other areas Connecticut of herAlthough hull plates have into istent Holebrass we dig through andlike findthe personal items. of her hull plates have fallen into tent shaped structures Hole we dig through luggage and find personal items.

(Above left) Some of the buttons and glass beads recovered from the wreck are shown here (Abovedisplayed left) Someon of an theintact buttons and glass recovered from the wreckholds are shown Cunard china beads plate. (Above right) The author one ofhere the displayed on anbeautiful intact Cunard china plate. Photos (Above right)ofThe author one of the Oriental buttons. courtesy Wreck Valley holds Collection beautiful buttons. Photos courtesy of Wreck Valley Collection 30 American Digger Magazine Oriental Vol. 7, Issue 5 30 Digger Magazine Vol. 7, IssueSampler 5 86 American 2011 American Digger Magazine 86 2011 American Digger Magazine Sampler


Underwater sketch of the Oregon shipwreck.

Courtesy of Capt. Steve Bielenda, Wreck Valley Collection

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oday, the Oregon lies in 125 to 130 feet of water 32 that allow experienced divers to penetrate the ship. miles southeast of Jones Inlet, New York, an area The Oregon is one of the best artifact hunting wrecks known as Wreck Valley. Her bow is resting on its in the area. Divers have brought up all kinds of artifacts starboard side on a clean sand bottom. Her steel hull plates including portholes, bottles, ornate chandeliers, clay have given way to the elements of time and collapsed, pipes, silverware, and fine china stamped with the Cunard leaving only her engine and boilers standing upright. In or Guion steamship crest. In her stern is an area called the Over the past 30 years my friends and I have had quite a comedy. had aDivers small can handheld welders but the the stern divers can see her huge propeller half buried in Button IHole. fan the bottommask, and find ornate a few adventures exploring the Oregon’s remains. About dark glass had fallen out before I even reached the bottom. the sand. Although much of the wreck is low lying, some Chinese brass buttons. In other areas like the Connecticut ten of years had thehave bright ideainto of using Broco torches Broco worked great but once in a items. while herago hullI plates fallen tent shaped structures TheHole wetorches dig through luggage andevery find personal to recover a porthole. Many portholes on this wreck are small pockets of oxygen would explode, sending shock facing in and can be hammered off. waves through the water. This one was facing down and I had When I looked up, Jimmy, my no way of getting behind it. I had safety diver, was over twenty feet used these cutting torches a few away. He later told me he wanted times in the past to burn through to make sure he was not affected by prop shafts, but was no expert. I the blasts so he could better watch explained the process to my crew. over me. I’m not quite sure if I Ed Slater jumped in to set up believe that, but I did eventually the equipment. Jimmy Fazzolare coax him closer and because I was and I followed. Jim’s job was to temporarily blinded by the bright be my safety diver. I explained torch we used his crow bar as a that as I blew oxygen through the cutting guide. Bottom line, we did burning rod some would collect recover the porthole but I also cut beneath the hull plate we were through Jim’s crowbar and saw burning through. If a pocket of blue spots for a week. oxygen was ignited it would exA few years later Jim found a plode! I told Jimmy that when single bottle forward of her boilthis happened, if theSome regulator ers. the This wreck discovery ledshown to pinpoint(Above left) of got the buttons and glass beads recovered from are here blown outdisplayed of my mouth his intact job Cunard ingauthor one ofholds the Oregon’s cargo on an china plate. (Above one of the Capt. Ed Slater with a blobright) top The was to put it back in. beautiful Oriental with crates of antique buttons. Photosthe courtesy of Wreckholds Valleyfilled Collection torpedo bottle from wreck. Photo courtesy of Wreck Valley Collection TheAmerican rest of Digger the dive was likeVol. 7, Issue 5 bottles. Although divers were able 30 Magazine September-October 2011 2011 American Digger Digger Magazine Magazine 31 31 September-October American www.americandigger.com www.americandigger.com 87 87


use of her depth this wreck is not for beginners, perienced wreck divers she is hard to beat. s that the Oregon did not die when she sank over ago; she has continued her life as one of the East est shipwrecks. The Oregon has everything a d want: good visibility, fish, lobsters, artifacts, inating history. For additional information on shipwrecks in the area collectively known Valley, and the variety of artifacts divers are sit www.aquaexplorers.com.

About The Author an Berg is a Master Scuba Diver Trainer s the 40’ charter boat Wreck Valley. Berg ored over a dozen books and was the host ducer of the Dive Wreck Valley TV series. an received the prestigious “Beneath The ver Of The Year Award in Fazzolare, 1994 and holds Dan Berg, Jim and Ed Slater with rrent US patents for diving equipment. the water jet used to recover bottles from the cargo hold of the HMS Oregon.

Photo courtesy of Wreck Valley Collection. mber-October 2011 American American DiggerMagazine Magazine 33 ber-October 2011 Digger 33 32 American Digger Magazine Vol. 7, Issue 5

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2011 American Digger Magazine Sampler

Jim Fazzolare holds up a still-corked Congress Empire mineral water bottle he’d just found 130 feet below the surface. Photo courtesy of Wreck Valley Collection.


to break into small areas of the hard surface conglomerluck. Because of her depth this wreck is not for beginners, to get break intoarms small areas of the the mud hard to surface conglomerBecause wreck of her depth notbeat. for beginners, ate and their deep into recover an but forluck. experienced diversthis shewreck is hardisto ate and getortheir deep hit into mudhole to recover but forthat experienced divers she is beat. occasional bottle two,arms we never thethe glory until an It seems the Oregonwreck did not die when shehard sanktoover occasional bottle orand two, we nevertohit glorywith hole until It seems the Oregonher didlife notas die when sheEast sank over Capt. Ed Slater, Jimmy, I returned thethe wreck 100 years ago; she that has continued one of the Capt. water Ed Slater, Jimmy, and Ipowered returnedby to athe wreck with 100 yearsshipwrecks. ago; she hasThe continued as one of the a powerful jet. The jet was surface Coast’s finest Oregonher haslife everything a East a powerful water jet. The jet was powered by a surface Coast’s finest shipwrecks. The Oregon has everything a mounted trash pump. We used the tool, which was built diver could want: good visibility, fish, lobsters, artifacts, mounted trash pump. to Weblast usedaway the tool, was built could want: lobsters, artifacts, by diver Enrique Alverez, the which encrusted and a diver fascinating history.good For visibility, additionalfish, information on by diver Enrique Alverez, to blast away the encrusted and a fascinating history. For additional information surface layer exposing a huge assortment of bottles. PasNew York shipwrecks in the area collectively known on surface layerofexposing a huge of bottles. NewValley, York shipwrecks in the area collectively sengers and crew the charter boatassortment Wreck Valley were Pasas Wreck and the variety of artifacts divers areknown sengers and the charter boat Wreck Valley as visit Wreck Valley, and the variety of artifacts divers are well rewarded forcrew theirofefforts. Hundreds of blob top were finding, www.aquaexplorers.com. rewarded their and efforts. ofbotblob top finding, visit www.aquaexplorers.com. round well bottom, torpedofor bottom, threeHundreds piece mold round bottles bottom,were torpedo bottom, and three piece mold bottle whiskey recovered. tle whiskey bottles weredives recovered. Other successful artifact seem only to require Other successful artifact dives seem only to require a little luck. Bruce Radden and I were exploring her bow About The Author littleday luck. Bruce Raddena and were exploring her bowCapt. Dan Berg is a Master sectiona one when I noticed forkI sticking out of the About The Author Scuba Diver Trainer section one day we when I noticed a forkof sticking out of theand owns sand. Fanning the area collected a variety silverware Capt.the Dan Berg is a Master Scuba Diver Trainer 40’ charter boat Wreck Valley. Berg sand. Fanning the area we collected a variety of silverware including a pewter tea pot. What made the tea pot interesting and owns thea40’ charter boat Wreck Valley. has authored over dozen books and was the host Berg including a pewter tea pot. made the tea pot interestingand producer was that it had been packed in What luggage. Carefully stored has authored dozen books the host of theover DiveaWreck Valleyand TV was series. thatpot it had beenthree packed in luggage. inside was the tea I found wedding bands, Carefully two china storedCapt. and producer of the Dive Wreck Valley TV Dan received the prestigious “Beneath Theseries. theassortment tea pot I found three wedding statues,inside and an of other small items.bands, two chinaSea” Diver Capt. Dan received the prestigious “Beneath Of The Year Award in 1994 and holds The statues, andthe an assortment of other items. When diving Oregon it seems likesmall the only secret Sea” Diver Of The Year Award in 1994 and holds six current US patents for diving equipment. diving the Oregon it seems like thea only to finding When or recovering treasure is persistence and little secret six current US patents for diving equipment. to finding or recovering treasure is persistence and a little September-October September-October2011 2011 American AmericanDigger DiggerMagazine Magazine 33 33

September-October2011 2011 American AmericanDigger DiggerMagazine Magazine 33 33 September-October

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News-N-Views

Reports And Commentaries On Issues That Affect The Hobby by Mark Schuessler

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Detectorists Win in Carthage!

he city of Carthage, Missouri has just witnessed a second Civil War battle. This time the battle was not between the Union and Confederate Armies but rather over what they may have left behind. The new battle waged almost exactly 150 years after the first. It began when two detectorists were searching a site on public property in the city of Carthage. Phyllis and George Burki located a number of items associated with the 150 year-old engagement. One of these was a Minie ball embedded in a bone. Phyllis described it as “the grossest thing I’ve ever found.” Once it was discovered, they acted in a proper and respectable manner and contacted the city. Their finds and the location were divulged to Steve Weldon, the historian and archivist at the county records center, who was said to be very grateful for their efforts. A short time later, a front page article appeared in the Springfield News-Leader. It included an account of the Carthage battle and of the Burki’s finds. According to Weldon, the published account of the finding was far less then accurate. That’s when the attack was launched. A letter to the editor from Missouri State University Archaeologist Neal Lopinot attacked not only the couple who made the find but the City of Carthage as well. Included in the letter were the same tired old list of elitist archaeologists’ mantra which, of course, included calling metal detectorists looters. A follow-up newspaper article featured Tim Garton, a Missouri metal detector dealer and avid relic hunter. He did an excellent job of explaining that relic hunters are not an undisciplined mob “stealing” the country’s heritage but, in fact, are just the opposite, recovering relics that are otherwise rotting away in the ground. As is often the case, the newspaper still gave the last word to the archaeologists. After erroneously citing the Battle of Little Big Horn as an example of an archaeological achievement, the article ends by blatantly calling detectorists looters. For those who may not know, the Little Big Horn digs were made possible by the volunteer assistance of 150 relic hunters armed with metal detectors! Was it just an oversight that Lopinot left that part out? Obviously not, as he made that same statement in his ramblings to the city council. 64 American Digger Magazine Vol. 7, IssueSampler 6 90 2011 American Digger Magazine

He was joined by more of his colleagues in attacking the city by email and blogs including a heated head-tohead exchange with the mayor. The city, in an initial knee-jerk reaction brought on by the pressure from these archeologists, proposed an ordnance which said that anything over 100 years old that was found had to be turned in to the city. This means that even a 1910 coin would be off limits. For that matter, even square nails, which are found by the hundreds of thousands, would have to be turned over to the city. The intriguing part was that the council did modify the proposal, stating that they were not going to ban metal detecting but that people should first get permission from the city. Steve Weldon also added that metal detectorists and archaeologists should work together. A noble goal, indeed; but that only works when it’s a two way street. With the elitist attitude of University Archaeologist Mr. Lopinot, who sought a total ban on detecting, it seems abundantly clear that he wants nothing of the sort. Now that the word was out, the counter-attack commenced. Tim Garton mounted a vast email campaign to let everyone know what was going on. As the legislative chairman for the FMDAC (Federation of Metal Detecting and Archeological Clubs), I jumped into action as well. An email was formulated and the alert went out across America. Links to the newspaper articles were included along with the contacts for the mayor and councilmen. A few suggestions were made on discussion points along with a plea to be informative. It was clear that the council was being bullied and mislead by this group of archaeologists. When such as this is happening, we need to educate them (the council, for at this point, archeologists such as Lopinot have already shown themselves too prejudiced against metal detectorists to learn-or admit-the truth). In this instance, the council had already displayed a level of respect by not proposing a total ban, so proper education and communication was vital. The strategy worked well. A number of emails were forwarded to me from across the country. There was even one from England. All were well written and informative. Unknown to me was what was happening at the local level. It seems that one of “us” (a detectorist) knows some of the councilmen involved. After some personal contacts and spurred on by the many emails, the councilmen checked out what they were being told by the archaeologists. They were not pleased when they discovered that they were being misled. It is also quite possible that they were turned off by the attitude of the archaeologists. The council members also added that they were surprised by the many emails received. My original hope was that we could at least get some major changes in the ordnance such as we had Keep up with legal issues, subscribe and read the News-n-Views column in every issue!


seen happen in Clay County, Florida. In no way did I imagine the outcome that prevailed. The vote was to have taken place on August 9, 2011. Instead, the council decided to table the proposal permanently. The vote for that action was unanimous. Thankfully, the council saw through the smokescreen put forth by the archeologists. Mayor Mike Harris stated that it was “exaggerated and erroneous information” that led the council to give preliminary approval to the ordnance controlling metal detecting. They took the time to review the information contained in many well-written contacts from metal detectorists. There were also some historians who feel that we play a vital and irreplaceable role in uncovering artifacts, with one noting that our role is “perhaps more vital than archeologists, who only do that (dig) for fees.” This is more than just a simple win and defeating a potential new law. It goes deeper. It was a major setback for the archaeological elite in their quest to remove metal detectorists and relic hunters from the face of the planet. The council did not just rebuke them, they slapped them hard. I can only imagine how this is reverberating through their circles. This is the first time in my 35 years in this great hobby that I recall such an occurrence. The general ruse of bullying the governing body with misinformation, slander, and scare tactics had been exposed.

To all who responded to the call for help, relish this victory. Then stand ready at the keyboard, for this is not the last we will hear from those who want our hobby stopped. We are winning battles, but we have not yet won the war. How sad it is that instead of encouraging detectorists to share their information and finds, the archeological community as a whole would rather make relic hunters hide in fear by passing laws that serve to stamp out our contribution in helping understand America’s past. Even sadder, many use scare tactics and misinformation to accomplish that goal, as was the case here. Luckily, this time our detecting community stood up and those who make the laws listened to reason. There is power in numbers, and there are tens of thousands of detectorists in the world. Never ignore a threat like this, but instead spread the word through groups like the FMDAC and via email. Write intelligent, well thought out letters to those who make the laws. It is them who have shown they will still listen to reason if enough of us respond. One last thing. How about following up our contact to the Carthage City Council with one more letter? This time make it a well deserved “Thank You!”

Opinions and research expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of American Digger.

(Originally Published in Vol 7, Issue 6)

At Last! Music For Both The Civil War HIstorian and The Relic Hunter! Aranged and preformed by veteran re-enactor and relic hunter Phillip Ley, including old standards and new pieces alike. Now availiable in CD from American Digger Magazine, Ohio Volunteer Relics, and Greybird Relics $10 (plus $2 US postage) www.americandigger.com www.greybirdrelics.com www.ohiovolunteerrelics.com or call (770) 362-8671

November-December 2011 American Digger Magazine www.americandigger.com

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Product & Book Reviews

The Raven - Model 25 Made by Predator Tools Basic Tool $79.95 SRP Footpads $9.95 each Shipping $14.00 856-455-3790 www.predatortools.com

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hat’s in a name? A lot, if that name is George Lesche. Here’s a shocking revelation: George Lesche makes Predator Tools. He does not make Lesche Tools, as an unfortunate business matter several years ago prevented him from continuing to use that name. Thus was born Predator Tools, currently the only ones which are handmade by George, a legendary maker of digging tools. I only bring that up because of the haphazard way that

people refer to George’s tools as Lesche Tools. Yes, Lesche Tools are still made, but not by George. Now that we’ve straightened up that confusion, let’s talk about the latest from Predator, the Raven Model 25. According to Predator, it is their fastest selling model ever, with orders flooding the company. After using the tool for three tough days in Virginia, I can certainly see why it is so popular. Let me tell you why it’s my favorite digging tool to date. First, George listens to his customers. In past reviews I’d noted that certain tools had been a bit heavy. The Model 25 weighs in at a slimmer 3.9 pounds, and is well balanced to boot. That’s with the optional foot pads installed, so if one still finds the weight restrictive, leave off the foot pads. Which brings me to my next subject. Last year, after testing a model which included rubber footpads, we bemoaned the fact that such pads were not offered on other models. George must have listened, because The Raven - Model 25 Specifications: Blade: Chrome-Molly 4130 heat treated and tempered Weight (With two pads): Approximately 3.9 lbs. Dimensions: 40” Overall Handle 28 ¾” Blade 4 ⅛” x 11 ¼” Footstep 7 ½”

the Model 25 has them as an option. Not only do such pads prevent the bare metal blade from tearing up the user’s boot sole, it also provides a cushion. This is best appreciated after one encounters an unexpected rock after putting full weight into the downward thrust. Such a sudden shock will be much softened by these rubber pads. Even without the pads, the top platform has been widened in relation to the blade, meaning that no longer will a digger have his boots cut by a metal corner, or a shin hurt by his foot slipping off. The blade also has serrated edges, and while I didn’t encounter any large roots during the test, it did slice through small ones with ease. Add to these features the skill and craftsmanship that George puts into all of his products, and once again Predator has a digging tool that is the cream of the crop. This might be the first review, ever, in which I can offer no criticism of the product. I’ve heard a few complaints concerning the price, but these are very uninformed and the naysayers are obviously unaware that each of these tools are produced in the USA by a master craftsman. In my opinion, they are worth every penny. As Predator can barely keep them in stock, I’m not the only one who feels that way! Review by Butch Holcombe

(Originally published in Volume 7, Issue 4)

In each issue of American Digger we try to bring our readers reviews on both new prod­ ucts and books related to the hobby of digging and collecting. Here are but two from 2011. To see an entire years worth, be sure to subscribe! 92

2011 American Digger Magazine Sampler


Relic Quest

By Stephen L. Moore RAM Books A Division of Garrett Detectors 514 Pages - Softcover $22.95 MSRP Available from www.garrett.com, American Digger Magazine, and selected dealers.

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ome say you can’t judge a book by its cover but that’s not entirely true. You can tell a lot about a book before opening it if you know what to look for. First, is the cover appealing? In this case, “Yes!” The cover of Relic Quest has a wide variety of drooling-over-quality relics on it. Is the book thick, meaning is it likely to be one that has something in it that will interest you? “Yes,” again. At more than 500 pages you can’t help but find something in this book that will make you smile, teach you a little something, or trigger an idea that will help you find more relics. And lastly, is the book heavy? Another “Yes,” but let me explain. I don’t buy “heavy” books because I’m using them as door-stops. The weight of a book is dictated by the number of pages and the quality of the paper it is printed on. High paper quality

translates into greater weight. There are only two reasons a publisher uses really high quality paper when printing a soft cover book. Either they want the book to survive several centuries, they have included lots of pictures, or both. Before I tell you what’s inside this book let me give you a few disclaimers. First, Butch and Anita Holcombe, owners of American Digger Magazine, asked that I do this book review because they are pictured in the book (on page 249) and they know the author. Second, I’m not getting paid to write this review. Third, when I agreed to write this review I did not know that a previous article I wrote about the late Bill Gavin would be listed in the bibliography. Fourth, in my entire life I’ve hunted with a Garrett metal detector for only about four hours. Fifth, I was pleasantly surprised to see so many pictures included in the book of people I count among my friends. Now back to that cover. It just so happens that the cover is a high gloss photo of relics found by one of those friends, Brian Pennington, of Southern Treasures who also happens to be an advertiser in this magazine. After you pause and admire some of his finds, you’ll open the cover to find a table of contents listing 24 chapters ranging from “Detector Technology and Searchcoil Types,” to “Target Recovery and Scouting Tips,” and “Relic Hunting Ethics and the Law.” In between you’ll find chapters on just about every type of relic hunting with a metal detector there is, including “European Artifacts,” “Frontier Wars and Battlefields,” “Colonial and Frontier Relics,” “Organized Hunts,” “Civil War Relic Hunting,” and many others. Each chapter is filled with great information accompanied by some of the best quality color relic photos I’ve ever seen. In fact, the photos are so good you’ll not be able to start at

the beginning of this book and read each chapter without first flipping through the book and admiring all the photos. Two of my favorite chapters in the book are Chapter 5, “Researching Productive Sites” and Chapter 16, “Metal Detectors and Archeology.” Both chapters offer a lot of useful information that will help even the most experienced relic hunter. It was particularly interesting to read about cooperation between state archeologists and relic hunters at the San Jacinto battleground where Texas troops assaulted General Santa Anna’s Mexican troops in 1836. In my opinion, every instance like this of cooperation between relic hunters and archeologists needs to be celebrated and publicized. Someday such joint projects on publicly owned lands won’t be so uncommon. You’ll find references to Garrett metal detectors throughout the book but that should be no surprise as it is published by a division of Garrett. What did surprise me is that there were not more references to Garrett detectors. The author knew that a book titled “Relic Quest” should be about relics. It doesn’t matter what brand of detector you use; you will enjoy this book. Its only drawback is that it does not have an index, so when you want to quickly find a photo of one of your buddies digging a trash pit or demonstrating a search coil technique, you have to start flipping pages again. I liked this book so much that I’m giving it my own guarantee. If you buy this book and it is not everything I said about it and more, send it to me along with one authentic Confederate button, and I’ll personally give you what you paid for the book. Review by John Velke

(Originally published in Volume 7, Issue 4)

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THE

“Fighting Fakes Through Knowledge Shared”

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By Ric Savage

ollecting Civil War history is a rewarding hobby. It’s also, in my opinion, the same as investing in the stock market except the market has a lot more potential for loss. As a collector and a Southerner, I like to invest in Confederate relics. The Confederacy only existed for four years and owning a part of that tiny blink in time that represents the last gasp of true Jeffersonian democracy is special to me. Like many who collect the Confederacy, I like the edged weapons. That, my friends, can be dangerous. I touched on blades in a previous column but a recent conversation I had made me think it was time for a refresher. Many companies made edged weapons for the Confederacy. Here is a partial list: Boyle & Gamble, Richmond, VA; College Hill Arsenal, Nashville, TN; The Confederate States Armory, Kenansville, NC; James Conning, Mobile, AL; Cook & Brother, New Orleans, LA; Courtney & Tennant, Charleston, SC; Robert Mole & Sons, Birmingham, England; A.H. DeWitt, Columbus, GA; Dufilho, New Orleans, LA; Firman & Sons, London, England; L. Haiman & Brother, Columbus, GA; E. J. Johnston & Co., Macon, GA; Kraft, Goldschmidt & Kraft, Columbia, SC; Leech & Rigdon (Memphis Novelty Works), Memphis, TN; W.J. McElroy, Macon, GA; McKennie & Co., Charlottesville, VA; Nashville Plow Works (Sharp & Hamilton), Nashville, TN; Palmetto Armory (William Glaze & Co), Columbia, SC; Thomas, Griswold & Co., New Orleans, LA; and The Virginia Armory (Manufactory), Richmond, VA. Confederate swords are highly prized. Their value begins in the low thousands and goes up from there. As you can imagine, they are a favorite tar-

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Southern makers didn’t date stamp their swords unless the sword was for presentation and, in those cases, the date was a part of the presentation. Also, look at the letter font on the above. Commit it to memory because this is not a font you will ever see on a Civil War era sword.

Above is a fake arsenal stamp. Learn your maker marks! There are many online sites, as well as reference books, that have information on the marks used by the Southern manufacturers. If you know your stamps and marks, you will be difficult to fool. What about the “Dog River” or other unmarked Confederate swords? First, remember that most Confederate swords have unstopped fullers. The photographs at the top of the next column show an unstopped fuller and (below it) a stopped fuller. Both swords are from the Charles Harris collection. Supposed Confederate swords with stopped fullers often are fakes. Look

2011 American Digger Magazine Sampler

(Originally Published in Vol 7, Issue 3)

Fuller photos by Charlie Harris

SAVAGE FACTS

get of fakers. In most cases, the fakes are obvious. They are poorly made Pakistani reproductions that are artificially aged and marketed to the beginning collector. However, some made years ago by “House of Swords” can almost fool the experts. One of the first things to look for is fake stamps. Below is a typical fake date stamp:

at the grip and brass hardware. Confederate swords have a different style and shaped grip and the wire wraps are plainer. Look for casting flaws, for Confederate brass tends to have a more “unfinished look” than Union counterparts. Southern swords were made to perform and manufactured in a hurry as the war was starting. While they are expertly made and of good quality, they lack the polish of Union swords. Also look for fresh rust, which is always suspect. Smell the blade; any chemical or gasoline odor is an indication that the metal was aged. Look for rust lines. When blades are dipped into acid or gasoline, they leave a line or make a swirl pattern on the metal. Look at the pommel. Nuts and screws are a big red flag. Civil War blades had the tang “peened” flat to secure the grip to the sword. The best way to arm yourself against fake Confederate blades is to buy as many reference books as you can find, and handle as many originals as you can. Go to shows, talk to the experts, and look online. Avoid online auctions and buy from reputable dealers with ironclad guarantees. Also, do not get hung up on letters of authenticity. If it is real, it is real. An overpriced letter from a dealer will not make it more real. The experts often disagree anyway, so save your money. Until next time, keep your feet on the ground and a hand on your wallet!

Unless otherwise noted, opinions, research, and photos in this column are provide by the author, and fully independent of American Digger Magazine.

May-June 2011 Digger Magazine Don’tAmerican miss Ric’s column in every 71

issue of American Digger!


Detecting and Collecting Clubs Want to find out how to see your club listed here as well as in each issue of American Digger Magazine? Call 770-362-8671 or email americandigger@att.net to find out how!

Southern Middle Tennessee Coin and Relic Hunters meets the 1st Thursday of every month at 7PM at Shoney’s in Fayetteville, TN 1235 Huntsville Hwy. All Welcome!

Hanover Metal Detector Club meets the 1st Wednesday each month at the Ashland Volunteer Rescue Squad Building. Contact D. Yates at 804-241-9541.

North Georgia Relic Hunters Association meets 1st and 3rd Wednesday of each month, 7:30 pm, at at Kennesaw Train Depot, 2828 Cherokee St, Kennesaw, GA

Middle Tennessee Metal Detecting Club meets in Nashville the 1st Friday of every month. See our website for information about the club and meetings. www.mtmdc.com

Palmetto Relic Hunters Club meets 7 PM, the 2nd Tuesday of each month at the Cayce Museum, 1800 12th St, Cayce, SC contact Rudy Reeves at 803-665-6457, rreeves@sc.rr.com

Georgia Research and Recovery Club meets the 2nd Thursday of each month at 7 PM, Delkwood Grill, 2769 Delk Road Southeast Marietta, GA 30067 For more info visit www.garrc.com

Pelican Relic & Recovery Assoc, Baton Rouge, LA Meets 3rd Tues. of each month at 7 PM, Ryan’s Steak House, 11650 Coursey Blvd., Baton Rouge LA. Info, dbrown7711@cox.net.

Central VA Civil War Collectors Assoc. 4th Tuesday of each month (except December) 7:15 PM, Glen Allen American Legion Hall, 2522 Indale Rd, Richmond. Visit www.cvcwca.com for info.

Mid Florida Historical Research & Recovery Association, Ocala, Fl Meets 3rd Thursday each month (Oct.-May) 6 PM at Gander Mtn, 3970 SW 3rd St. call 352-873-9953 for info.

Dixie Relic Recovery Club meets on the 1st Monday of every month at 7:00 PM at the Old Stone Church in Ringgold, GA Visit www.dixierelic.com for more information Northern Virginia Relic Hunter Association meets 7:30 PM, the first Tuesday of each month at the NRA building, Fairfax, VA. For more info, visit www.nvrha.com Stone Mountain Treasure Hunters meet last Tuesday every month at Fire Station #5, 3001 Old Norcross Rd, Duluth, GA. Coins, Jewelry, Relics, & Artifacts. Contact jjherke@yahoo.com. Coastal Empire History Hunters Association. Meets in Savannah, GA. For more information, contact Rick Phillips at 912-663-2382

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The Hole Truth...

I

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

first started metal detecting hunting in the late 1960s. I’d like to say, given my youthful age now, I was around two years old at that time, but that would be a lie and we’d have to change the name of this column. No, I was 12 when I started, meaning that I am at least 45 years old now, give or take a decade. But let us not quibble over my misuse of new math. Instead, I want to talk about all the things I’ve found in that time. For instance, I’ve dug approximately 25,000 Civil War bullets, 2,000 wheat pennies, a few hundred silver coins, several hundred Eagle buttons, 40 or so accoutrement plates, several dozen artillery projectiles, and enough miscellaneous scrap iron to make the guys on American Pickers roll on the ground and speak in tongues. Some younger readers will say, “Wow! You found all of that?” Yet certain older diggers will snicker and whisper among themselves at my lack of success. But wait, there’s more. I’ve also found over 100 Confederate buttons, with nary a good old fashioned Civil War era Georgia amongst them. Never mind that I’ve dug some pretty rare Georgia Militia buttons, including a pair of Republican Blues, an Irish Jasper Greens, and a Georgia Military Institute. Also add in a Georgia boxplate, and an Atlanta style CSA belt plate (after all, Atlanta is in Georgia), and it helps take my shame away. Again, I hear you veteran hunters snickering “Only 100 Confederate buttons.... wow...” but I’m happy with my finds. Nor was everything old. I’ve found a switchblade, several modern pistols, a bullet-struck 1962 quarter, two obscene tokens, a whisky still the size of a small water tower, and a large piece from an aircraft. There was no crash involved, so don’t worry. It just fell off. Airplanes have too many pieces anyway. Not every find is of the material sort. I’ve found that bees will chase you down, fire ants never stop biting, and poison ivy roots are just as ornery as the leaves. More recently and a bit more indirectly, I’ve found that the Internet is a great research tool, all forums are not created equal, and the Worldwide Web can magnify both a person’s intelligence as well as their ignorance. I’ve found all this and more. But the best thing I’ve found through this hobby I so love? Friendship. I’ve experienced this many times before. I’ve had Dwayne “Hunted with Bocephus” Davis take me to his ultra secret relic site and let me dig a US plate beside where he’d parked. Greg “I love carved bullets” Heath give me a breastplate when he found two on one hunt. Tom “Put on your sunglasses, this button’s got gilt” Williams presented me with a WMI cuff. Bob “Reale-a-day” Spratley sent me Spanish artifacts lost in Flori72 American Digger Magazine

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da so long ago that even snowbirds and retirees hadn’t settled there yet. The list of generosity is unlimited and to thank each friend individually would take an entire magazine. The kindness of friends was recently driven home at the Nashville Civil War show. I’d been admiring a piece of 1860s railroad rail that Phil “Could’ve been a rock star” Ley had on his sale table. I related a tale to him of how, years ago, a friend and I had found a complete rail in Atlanta, driven it home tied on top of my sedan, and then discovered that a complete section of Civil War era rail is a very hard thing to display and preserve. Plus there was the custody issue: we both wanted it in our own collections. Eventually we decided on a solution and it got a new home, but I still wished for a small piece of rail to display. Phil caught on to this right away. The next thing I knew, I had the rail section, and not a penny had changed hands. It was a gift, free and clear. Not long after, Dennis “I can out-dig John Walsh” Nunnery came by with a reconstructed canister round. It would have made a beautiful display piece, but I couldn’t justify spending our meager profit on luxury items for myself. He knew this too, and soon I had a canister round sitting with my rail, at the bargain price of nadda. Next, Merv “I’m the only AD distributor in Indiana” Wood came by and gave me a small container of dirt. Yep, you heard right. Dirt. Not one to look a gift horse in the mouth before my chickens hatch, I thanked him and tried to decide where to best display my dirt. “Aren’t you going to even look in the dirt?” Merv exclaimed. “No wonder you can’t find a Georgia button!” So I began scratching in the dirt and there it was: A Georgia. I had received other Georgia’s before (the last from Larry “I’m tired of digging Georgia buttons” Hockman a few years back, but this time I could actually say I found it. Planted, yes; postwar, yes again, but it didn’t matter. It was the act of a friend. So I say to those just starting in the hobby, and to those who have been in it for 50 years, enjoy your finds. Cherish each gold ring, or belt buckle, or rare coin. Even cherish the common stuff. But above all, cherish the friends you’ll make. They are the most valuable thing you’ll ever find. Besides, they are the only people you can give stupid nicknames to and not risk getting beat up!

Happy Huntin’ Y’all! In each issue “The Whole Truth” brings a smile to our readers. Don’t miss out, subscribe here!


2011 Feature Article Index To order a listed issue, click link here: Note some issues may be sold out, orders subject to availability

Volume 7, Issue 1 (Jan-Feb 2011)

Land of the Midnight Sun By Jeff Lubbert

Every good relic hunter knows that when going on a fishing trip, be sure to pack a metal detector... especially when heading to Alaska’s gold country. Friends, Finds, and Family: A Participant’s View of DIV XV By John Velke Much has been said of the Diggin’ in Virginia invitational relic hunts, but the only way to know the real story is to be there. Streight to the Devil By Larry E. Linley History has all but forgotten the Civil War actions at Day’s Gap and Crooked Creek. But this privately run battle park remembers. Sharing The Wealth By David Lee Digging a gold coin? Nice. Digging a high denomination gold coin? Very Nice. Digging 13 gold coins with your son? Priceless! Access Restricted: The Finale By Bob Roach After two years and countless requests for accountability of artifacts stored by the National Park Service, the author gets an answer. Uncle Matt and Maverick By Matt Jennings Give a kid a relic and he’ll think it’s cool. Teach him to relic hunt, and you’ll insure the future of the hobby. This is especially true when he finds an artifact his first time out. The New Jersey Death Dig By Glenn Harbour Sometimes recovering artifacts millions of years old can be a relaxing and easy way to spend a day. Other times, it can be stressful and dangerous.

Volume 7, Issue 2 (March April 2011)

Medal Detective By Rob King

Thanks to a metal detectorist, an engraved 1840s medal reveals the forgotten history of not only the man who owned it, but the horticultural society that awarded it to him. The Confederacy’s Silent Helpers By Dean S. Thomas During the War Between the States, every Southerner was expected to pull their weight to help the Confederacy. This even included the students of a North Carolina deaf, mute, and blind institution. Chasing The Treasures Of Northeast Florida By Jimmy Koenig The coast of Florida offers much more to treasure hunters than just modern beach jewelry to detect and offshore Spanish wrecks to dive. In between, a whole world of opportunities await. Buttonland By Bob Roach When your first find at a WWI site is a military button lying on top of the ground, the chances are that you’re in a good location. This was certainly one such place. Where It’s At! By Michael Bennett What do you get when you take a 16 year-old relic hunter, add a father willing to play cameraman, and mix in a just dug Confederate buckle? The formula for pure excitement! American Digger on the Road: New York By Butch Holcombe Once again we take to the road with metal detectors in hand, this time to discover the natural beauty and historical past of Western New York state. It Ain’t Always What It Seems By Mike Whitfield If you look for treasure long enough, you will find it. You’ll also find junk. While not as thrilling as the “good stuff,” some trash can cause heart skipping excitement. www.americandigger.com

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Volume 7, Issue 3 (May-June 2011) Thank My Lucky Stars! By Michael Wheless

What does a fortune cookie and the best metal detecting day imaginable have in common? A lot, if you are this author. Age Is Nothing But A Number By Darrell Taylor Relic hunting is both strenuous and healthy. Listen as this octo­genarian tells of his years afield, and his plans to continue. Caution, Relief, Satisfaction By Beau Ouimette Searching a river can be relaxing, until WWII artillery ordnance is found. Only after it’s deemed safe can a breath of relief be given. It’s Just A Phase By Sid Witherington III Progress often opens a window of opportunity to recover the past. One small site provided several such opportunities. An Adventure In History By Ron Erickson This relic hunter’s search didn’t end when an Indian Wars token was found. Instead, it opened the road to a colorful past. Just A Small Spark Can Ignite A Lifelong Passion By John T. Anderson Uncle Johnny did his best to get the kids excited about arrow­heads. Now, years later, one nephew still carries the torch. Don’t Push Your Luck By Charlie Harris Push knives are a great piece of American history to find and collect. Just beware of tools that only look like push knives. Just Tagging Along By Butch Holcombe We don’t review metal detectors. That doesn’t mean we can’t join the factory teams for a bit of fun while they test a new detector, such as the Garrett AT Pro.

Volume 7, Issue 4 (July-August 2011) Canoes from Florida’s Distant Past By Michael Chaplan

Native American dugout canoes are pieces of ancient history not found every day. Yet, as this author discovered, Florida’s peat bogs and wetlands have preserved their share of these fascinating artifacts. One Fine Day By Frank Dixon After spending most of his life relic hunting with his father, this author thought it was time to introduce the next generation to his family past-time. Granddad finding a US plate was icing on the cake. DIV (XVII) and Me By Linda Erickson If you have ever attended a Diggin’ In Virginia organized relic hunt, you will recall the adventure. If you haven’t attended, this article and pictorial of DIV 17 will tell you what to expect. Expanding the Boundaries of San Jacinto By Bobby J. McKinney With detectorists and archeologists working together, new discoveries from this Texas War of Independence battle are coming to light. This includes relics concerning the infamous “Twin Sisters” artillery. American Digger on the Road: California By John Velke The Mojave Desert is beautiful but inhospitable. There’s also the probability that a visitor intent on prospecting there will catch a bug that’s hard to shake. It’s known as gold fever and, yes, we caught it. Every Relic Tells a Story By Quindy D. Robertson An old 1800s Tennessee homesite was the last place that these diggers expected to find 19 century foreign coins. With the help of a local historian and a lot of research, these detectorists now have a better idea of how this alien currency got there. th

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Volume 7, Issue 5 (September-October 2011) A Caste of Thousands By Charles Harris and Robbie Robbins

Few people know of Mexico’s Caste War. Now, thanks to a bulldozer operator and some investigative work, we have evidence of the weapons imported by Mexico from the US after the War Between the States. The Wreck of the H.M.S. Oregon By Captain Dan Berg Thirty-two miles from Freeport, NY lies a wealth of 1880s bottles, china, and other artifacts. Before you go looking for it, brush up on your diving skills: it’s 130 feet below the surface of the Atlantic. Saving the Best for Last By Beau Ouimette Even though the author first found the site in 1983 and had been hunting it for years, the last few years were especially rewarding. Just when he thought it was hunted out, along came the best find yet. It’s Never Too Early By Steve Moore If you’ve been relic hunting for years and never dug a sword, you might want to pull out the crying towel before you read this article. Not only did a beginner find one, but he’s only seven years old. 55 Years with a Coil on the Soil Interview by Butch Holcombe Dennis Cox has spent a lifetime collecting and detecting the past, but he doesn’t show any signs of slowing down in this hobby he loves so much. We stopped him just long enough to hear his story. Fragments of the Past By Jon Parker Boys will be boys, and soldiers will be soldiers. Often, they were one and the same, both in the Civil War and in World War II. This digger has found proof that our protectors were still kids at heart.

Volume 7, Issue 6 (November-December 2011) A Washington In Jersey By Pete Schichtell

It took awhile to get permission to hunt the old colonial house site, but once it happened, history spilled out of the ground, including a link to our nation’s first president. Coin Hunting and Relic Finding By Don Vickers Ever have one of those days when things don’t go as planned? Sometimes that can be a very good thing, such as when this planned coin hunt turned into an unexpected relic hunting bonanza. Documenting History By G. M. “Doc” Watson Digging an artifact is just part of the job. Documenting it properly for future generations is just as important. Here is one easy and thorough way to do it. Bottles Are Where You Find Them By Rob Taylor (with Quindy D. Robertson) Not all bottle finds are made by those who set out looking for them. When this detectorist got a good reading on his machine, he uncovered far more than the Civil War bullet he’d heard. Why Here? By Tom Goodloe Not all productive places show up on old maps or have visible remains of old house sites. It’s ones like this unrecorded site that present the biggest mystery to those searching for the past. Digging With Big Ed By Don Mitchell Every digger needs a mentor to show them the ropes, accompany them on hunts, and share the laughs and dangers of a day well spent. It’s even nicer if the mentor becomes your father-in-law. Especially Made For Southern Steel By Meigs Brainard Bayonet scabbard tips are found anywhere there were Civil War soldiers. But Confederate types and styles have remained a mystery. In fact, until this study published here for the first time, most didn’t even have names.

To order a listed issue, click link here:

Note some issues may be sold out, orders subject to availability www.americandigger.com

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Relic recoveries made with the AT Pro: (Clockwise from upper left) Civil War cavalry cuff button recovered by Butch H.; Keith C. of Georgia with a dug rifle ball; Civil War bullets and knapsack hook recovered by Bill K. (Right, top) Roman coins, musket balls and buttons found in the UK by Brent W. (Right, lower) Civil War miniĂŠ balls and round shot found by Brian P. in Tennessee with the AT Pro.

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