Magazine for Diggers and Collectors of America’s Heritage
Magazine for Diggers and Collectors of America’s Heritage
Vol. 8 Magazine for Diggers and Collectors of America’s Heritage
Magazine for Diggers and Collectors of America’s Heritage
Huge Colonial Era Silver Spill Recovered
One Detecting Trip, One Great Buckle
The Tennessee Trail Of Morgan’s Confederates
The Benefits Of Detecting With A GPS
The Story Behind the Find
Visiting A Florida Native American Artifact Show
Two Virginia Relic Hunts And A Wedding
Estimating the Age of Old Bottles
Relic Hunters Discover A Lost Plantation Site
Indian Artifact Comes From A New Friend
Treasures of Caribbean Plantations
American Digger On The Road Visits Nevada
Interview With Meteorite Man Geoff Notkin
52 Years of Research & Recovery
Seeking A True Identification Of The AMI Button
Dinosaur Bones: How & Where to Find Them
Was Lawrence Of Arabia Telling The Truth?
Old Blast Furnaces Yield Beautiful Bonuses
Demystifying The Mysterious Buckle Shields
House Site Gives Up A Desired Relic The Honorable History Of A Mother’s Star www.americandigger.com
January-February 2012 $6.95 USA
March-April 2012 $6.95 USA
See story on page 72
May-June 2012 $6.95 USA
American Digger Magazine’s ®
2012 Sampler American Digger Vol. 8
Magazine for Diggers and Collectors of America’s Heritage
American Digger Vol. 8
Magazine for Diggers and Collectors of America’s Heritage
Archaeologists & Detectorists At Valley Forge
Florida Indian Trade Cache Uncovered
An Interview With Digger Larry Hicklen
American Digger Vol. 8
Magazine for Diggers and Collectors of America’s Heritage
Revolutionary War Artifacts In Spite Of Doctor’s Orders
Prejudice Results In Prehistoric Finds Ignored
A Good Deed Turns Into A Good Site
An Incredible Season Of New England Finds
Full Report: Diggin’ In Virginia Hunts XX & XXI
Arrowheads: To Dig Or Not To Dig?
Interview With Diggers Donnie & Julia Vaughn
Incredible Year Of Colonial & Civil War Finds
Beach Hunting: It’s More Than Finding Jewelry
Modern Day Gold Prospector’s Alaskan Diary
A Visit And Interview With Charlie Harris
Texas Relics Where Buffalo Once Roamed
Legal Dig Site Surrounded By National Park
Rescue Leads To Shipwreck Bonanza
Hunting A Virgin Virginia Civil War Site
Relic Hunting Ladies Explore CSA Buckle Site Look Twice Before You Toss Trash www.americandigger.com
July-August 2012 $6.95 USA
Sept.-Oct. 2012 $6.95 USA
Nov.-Dec. 2012 $6.95 USA
Standard and Professional Audio Modes
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Bob F. found this 14k gold ring with 49 diamonds in a swimming area at a lake with his Garrett AT Pro.
al waterproof headphones shown
MADE IN THE USA
2012 American Digger Magazine Sampler ®
Welcome to the 2012 American Digger Magazine Sampler ®
A note from the publisher Dear Reader, Welcome to yet another great sampling of our previous year. Within these pages you’ll find just a fraction of what our regular readers and subscribers enjoyed reading during 2012. Our past online samplers have proven exceptionally popular, and we expect this 2012 version to exceed all records. Within you’ll find actual articles and items from our regular print (and recently added digital) editions. Included are notes as to which issues these appeared in, making it an easy task to order either that hard copy (if in stock) or the digital edition. Throughout, you’ll notice hyper linked notes and advertisements, meaning that more information is only a click away. These are 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 hyper links, but also by utilizing their products and services whenever possible. These advertisers have supported us by running continuous advertisements during all of the 2012 issues, and to return the favor, we have listed them here at no cost. Above all, tell them you saw their products in American Digger® Magazine. Help them to help us to help you! In this Sampler, as in the years past, our goal was not to bring you the most spectacular finds, or best written articles, but rather an average sampling of what was seen in American Digger® Magazine, Volume 8, Issue 1-6 (January-December, 2012). If you have not read our publication before in its hard copy bimonthly form, nor enjoyed it in its new digital downloadable version, we hope this gives you a taste of what you are missing. If you already are a reader or subscriber of our magazine, we hope you’ll enjoy this recap of American Digger® Magazine, 2012, in full color and free online. Whether you are a longtime reader (we are entering our 9th year of publishing American Digger®), or have just discovered us, if you like us, please spread the word! In addition to this online Sampler, American Digger® Magazine brings you the best in relics, bottles, coins, arrowheads, fossils, and more in high quality print form, as well as downloadable digital issues, and will continue doing so six times a year, every year. Nor, despite the name, is our content limited to only North American interests. We now have a number of overseas readers who are submitting their stories and finds as well. We also have included here an index of all articles published in 2012 by American Digger® Magazine. If you would like to read any of the articles not included in this Sampler, 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 in hard copy 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 past archives digitally on CD. In 2012 there were well over 50 full length articles, 30+ regular columns, and hundreds of Just Dug (or found) items. If you want to experience the hobby magazine everyone is talking about, we suggest you subscribe and have each issue delivered to your home or office, or order our digital editions at www.americandigger.com. If you like digging, collecting, or just keeping abreast with artifacts, you won’t be sorry! Regards, Butch Holcombe. Publisher American Digger® Magazine
2012 American Digger Magazine Sampler ®
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have had the honor and Editors note: pleasure of knowing John The prescription for a successful and Rose Kendrick since organized relic hunt includes DIV II, and I’ve participatpreparation and “treatment” by ed in every DIV since then. a team of dedicated enthusiasts. The current medical team is We have asked one of these ® a board headed up by myself, individuals, Dr. Rodney Cox, certified emergency medicine head of the DIV medical team, physician, and two extremely to give us his own behind-thescenes input of his participation Because of the closeness of participants capable paramedic/firefighters, Bill Compher and Tony in Diggin’ In Virginia. Not only and the family atmosphere, Digarelicitis Hochstetler. Committee memdid he do that, but also gave us related illnesses spread like wildfire at bers Roland Hankey and Dave his diagnosis on some medical recent DIV XX and XXI events. Cooper have also played an conditions we might recognize. active part in “search and resWhile much of this article is cue” operations. written tongue-in-check, we A considerable amount ofis not would like to commend Dr. Cox How inhospitable is this area? This highway exhaust morning fog. This timeorgoes into preparing the is steam and his medical team for their rising from deep within the earth. medical team for a DIV event. service in keeping ........Byunrelenting Beau Ouimette Bill and Tony are taskedshells, withand one .52 cal. rimfire attendees of the Diggin’ in showed promise of being old and It may be the most significantthe North American early silver coin spill recovered in interesting. the chore of obtaining andcartridge bor- found by Chris. My vision Virginia events safe. After a short rest and a hastily of finding a box of heavy silver recent memory and most certainly the most exciting of the year. rowing equipment from tableware their buried by an immigrant, eaten lunch, we decided to move
For Diggers and Collectors Of America’s Heritage
A River of Silver
Digarelicitis at DIV........By Doc Rodney Cox
a few miles to the west and try an area where wagons had been dragged up from the desert onto a ridge.of ByConfederatus this point in their journey, Confirmed acute cases tired, thirsty, and Obsessionis often immigrants lead towere DIV relics fed up. They lightened their load Although no prospecting was like these (L-R): South Carolina beltside done on this trip, Chris was kind by discarding items on either the trail. Unfortunately, this area enough to show the author some plate found by KevinofAmbrose; Virginia is well known and well hunted. of the gold nuggets he’s found. button and CS tongue Our takerecovered for the afternoon by was a ______________ pocketful .22 cal. dug slugs, shotgun Dale Weaver; Georgia beltofplate by
A behind the scene look at Diggin’ in Virginia relic hunts XX and XXI answers the age-old question: “What is wrong with us...and why do we have so much fun?”
Chris Roberts. At the top of this page, of
takes the precaution 30 American DiggerNevada Magazine Vol. ........By 8, one Issue 4sufferer American Digger® on the Road: John Velke self-imposed quarantine.
We head out west to explore the deserts of Nevada, and recover the relics left by the immigrants who lived and died while building the Transcontinental Railway.
Archaeology At An American Iconic Site ........By Dan Sivilich
have to prepared to dig a lot of small When archaeologists and metal detectorists come together, it is theYou best ofbe both junk to find the hidden good stuff. The 1880s earring at center worlds. The 1777 Valley Forge dig is a good example of how things should be.contains a trace of gold. 40 American Digger Magazine
An assortment of small items Don has found in old mining areas near Virginia City. Shown in this photograph is but a small portion.
Vol. 8, Issue 3
The Politicalithic Period ........By Glenn Harbour
As relic hunters and amateur archaeologists, it’s our duty to share discoveries with the world. But sometimes prejudice and politics make that almost impossible.
The Gold Diaries ........By Steve Phillips It takes serious work to find serious gold in the wilds of Alaska. It also takes an appreciation of the land and a thirst for adventure. This diary explains it all. What I Did On My Summer Vacation ........By Butch Holcombe Everyone needs a vacation, even our publisher. He thought this would be best accomplished by a little jewelry hunting. Then artifacts got in the way. Estimating the Age of Antique Bottles ........By Capt. Dan Berg
Dating the age of an old bottle can be a daunting and inexact science. Perhaps the best way is by recognizing when certain manufacturing processes were used.
Now my reputation was at stake and to add inthat Dr. Dorfman d sult to injury, the point’s provenance was now archaeologist after tainted. This so-called “professional” had gone The man was sha out of his way to slam me and I had to react. My Perhaps in the futu redemption, however, was to come from an unwill take a few m usual and completely unexpected place. contributions of s ourselves the first day by ogling over the custom bikes theI wouldn’t Biketob though, Weeks passed as I allowed my anger to diminish and develop a viable plan C. One day, and noting what hotels the riders with the most jewelry I summarize Thinkingthith cal (but lately all t at an auction, a rather distinguished looking were staying at. Sadly, we soon learned that none of thewhat we spent m should we, th elderly gentleman strolled over to my table. He thousands of coprolites, bikers inwhich attendance lost any notable blingtake away crowded D from it? seemed very interested in my emotionally overch theoldbeach. were soon are 75 millionon years fish feces (you read that torically right have right) retrieved from the local creeks. By that night, any thoughts of forgoing serious only scatte out-of-control virus The gentleman, Don Dorfman, Ph.D was detecting were blown away like the storms that were Itthe time sp is now three head of the Marine Biology Department at the to be (West pounding beach. By dusk, we were all threeserveonly a few and report fin University of soon Monmouth Long the Branch, erage citizen is sup New Jersey). swinging Don had both ourserious loopsacademic over the beach and surf, looking for and almost watch the Hist credentials and an gold open minded attitude. lost and silver. AsMost previously stated, the joke was onand can citizens, still h importantly, he gladly acknowledged the contrius, and we returned the condo with empty pouches. dig, as long as wefted butions of amateurs to science and was to fascinatwithin the bounds noo As the theDalton motorcycles left town the next day, ending ed by my finds. After point debacle, nor an obligation Don became my ace in the hole. Professors pubfrit those who hold deg lish like a rabbit making bunnies and soon we always and prot are narrowing teamed up to publish a series of scientific articles coils over who would condem The Dalton Point which based on my finds. The first was you guessed it on coprolites, then others followed. I evenwas rejected for publisought, alt tually asked if he could help me with the long cation by the newspaCorps oneIn 2010, I disc neglected Dalton piece. per’s archaeologist. On the stemmed Paleo poi Don knew the antagonistic archaeologist and __________ It wasloaded perfect Pale wit confided that he had a reputation for arrogance course, it had to b even among his peers. As for my Dalton point, trio’s jinx, went through many of the same prob he suggested we submit an article to the annual New Jersey half a decade earlier. Itbutton. was a bit Or dep Archaeology Bulletin. This periodical annually highlights the were as sku gone through the vetting process. Th Garden State’s most significant finds and is highly prestigious in monthly picked it up and did a bett Anothe scientific circles. One of Don’s closest friends was the managing article. chief editor and, ironically enough, the newspaper’s archaeologist day of not More recently, my discovery of also sat on the board of the magazine. The web that was being fishing tac brought quite a bit more recogni woven around this single spear point was getting thick indeed! numerous phone calls, lead severalweigh interv In the spring of 2006 (almost a year after my find), the bulletin people with Ph.D’s. But I had evolv arrived with an accurate, objective write-up, and photos of the been better their eyes and thus, the find could b Dalton point. It was late in coming, but there it was: a literal I wastaketh donea media giveth and the media exercise in persistence and luck. French and Spanish beach finds dugable bytoRobann rob a find of its good provenance. book The gravy on top of my ‘taters was the verbal dressing down
Koenig. Most are relics remaining from the 1500s massacre of Ribault’s men by Menéndez.
They’ve turned their love of “space rocks” into a hit TV series. Join us as we talk with one of the show’s stars, Geoff Notkin.
Sugar was king on the Caribbean island of Nevis, and plantation owners lived like royalty. Now, the author uses a metal detector to explore a kingdom lost in time. Our freelance writers are the best in the industry! Want to write for American Digger®? Click here for writer guidelines.
2012 American Digger Magazine Sampler ®
Meteorite Man: Interview With Geoff Notkin........By Eric Garland
The Queen of the Caribbees ........By Michael Chaplan
too exhausted to carry on with it, vanished over the mountain with the sunset. Sunday morning arrived before my old tired body was ready. Chris, Don, and I had agreed to meet at a casino near Carson City for breakfast. I confess that my first thought was that we would have been better off eating at an IHOP or Waffle House, or something similar, but I
About The A Glenn Harbour has been digg his teenage years and has trav the east coast extensively in h Although his degree is not in his hobby very seriously and an amateur scientist. Hailing f Glenn is also a prolific author November-December 2012
Some of the 1800s silver coins found by the author during his detecting on the island. protect the occupants from obeah spells, a form of Caribbean sorcery practiced by a cult of Bongoman “root doctors” on the island. Upon arrival, I saw a large, desolate, volcanic stone building, located on a bluff overlooking Charlestown harbor. Cloud covered Mt. Nevis loomed in the background. Once famous for its beautiful hanging gardens that were
A com ideal condi
was his health and I was glad that he found it. I’m sure that the original patrons discussed their ailments in the same spot. An overgrown walled garden looked very inviting and made me think of dinner parties with string quartets and people dancing the minuet. I fired up my trusty Fisher 1266-X detector and started searching the area. Two signals turned out to be an 1817 shilling with the bust
Q&A....……….….……..24 Stumpt.............................26 News-n-Views.................88 Product/Book Reviews....92 What’s The Point........... 96 The Hole Truth………....98
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Six covers of six issues of the magazine for diggers and collectors, American Digger®! In each and every issue you’ll find a wealth of artifacts recovered and collected by people just like you: Arrowheads, Civil War relics, colonial items, bottles, coins, fossils, meteorites and 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!
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DiggingThrough ThroughOur OurMail MailBox… Box… Digging Got a comment or question? Write or e-mail us! Got a comment or question? Write or e-mail us! Help a Wanted Have Heart
I’m very a recent of The University ofabout the South. The daygraduate after I read the D-Mail letter “HeelI have been metal detecting for over 10 years in Middle Plate Mysteries” (American Digger Vol 6, Issue 4) I Tennessee with my dad. After an internship and a senior dug identical a heart on it!a Ifull do hisnot thesisuponanthe subject,one I’vewith decided to write live whereMilitary troops would passAsthrough in tory in of an thearea Sewanee Academy. part of –that fact, I dug it in a hay field far away from any houses research, I am addressing the uniforms the cadets wore. or center. My idea ismythatresearch, it was lost a Asa Ipopulation am progressing through thebyarlittle girl and out playing in the here in Central Maschivists historians herefield have been pressing me to find outThis newtheory information about thewoman’s famous shoe Unisachusetts. of a “business” versity make of thesense Southto buttons. Our head archivist did doesn’t me. Roads here were often mud somerocks, research in the late 1980s/early 1990s and and not sand! came up with some facts I am already familiar with: Erin Stevens 1) The buttons have been found in numerous Civil War Barre, MA campsites across the south. 2) The dates/origins of the buttons have been disputed. “Silhouette” includ3) The reasonheel theyplates, were made remains a mystery. ing We hearts (see photo at have a Civil Warright) era Confederate uniform continue to type confound diggers, with these buttons. The uniform originally with theories their buttons, and only was numerous adorned with SouthonCarolina use. we feel that (if remains, the rest bea SC While cuff-sized button at most the collar ing all) University of intended the Southtobuttons. not were not repof the South buttons were common on resentUniversity Corps badge emblems (as the very early uniforms (but we only have two coats once thought), the true purpose that to this day awith the buttons still intact). I’m of thesurvive designs remain mystery. seeking diggers who have found these buttons. While Overall, we here at American Digger believe that allI believe these buttons were commissioned for the laying of these, including the heart, were merely decorative. of the cornerstone, or by some private individual reWhile girls” the mayrecords have indeed them to lated to“working the University, locatedused in Waterbury advertise, “heartsbutton in the sand,” it is also in likely thatI about this via particular were destroyed a fire. many femalestowore them with illreaders. intentions whatlook forward responses from no your soever. Compare them to the stiletto heeled shoes of Nathan Shults (firstname.lastname@example.org) today: while Gallatin, TNsome “shady” ladies wear them as “ad-
vertising,” other more innocent women wear them as no more than a fashion.- Ed.
A friend of mine is looking for a metal detector and wears a pacemaker. Have you ever heard of any interference or dangers that he should be aware of? Kevin Merritt Richland, VA Excellent question, and one that is far beyond our expertise. So we directed your inquiry to several major 4 American Digger Magazine
Vol. 7, Issue 1
2012 American Digger Magazine Sampler ®
“He thinks you’re after his bones.” Although we had to shorten your letter due to space re-
detector manufacturers, and received replies from straints, we are very impressed by the information you both Steve Moore of Garrett Detectors and Mike already have uncovered on these rare buttons, andScott cerof Firsthope Texas stating tainly ourProducts readers can helpthat youthey withare the unaware informationany requested. As many such records did not survive, it of complications or interference concerning is onlytheir through studying theaartifacts themselves that we using products with pacemaker. Steve Moore can learn the truth. -AD explains further, “We (at Garrett) have done a great (Originally published in Vol 8., Issueof1)a hobby bit of research on this. The energy levels metal detector are relatively low and will not affect a pacemaker. TheWho electromagnetic field is concentrated Owns The Past? around the search coil and the long distance between I have been a collector and digger for over 40 years. the coil Iand provides a significant Thesearch first thing readpacemaker in the November-December 2011 ® American Digger - Ed. was “News–n–Views” by Mark margin of safety.”
Schuessler. It really got to me, since it hit on a hot button issue of mine, and one I recently wrote about for the Prospecting & Detecting Maps Prospecting & Detecting Maps
Eastern States & Calif. Eastern States & Calif.
(321) 783-4595 (321) 783-4595
bottle collecting journal of the Federation of Historical Bottle Collectors, Bottles & Extras. While I am glad that the Carthage, MO City Council realized the truth, we face an even greater danger nationwide. I updated my opinion piece and sent it for your consideration. Boyd Beccue Wilmar, MN We agree that even with the Carthage victory, our hobby is in dire straits and most of the opposition is from those whom we could help the most: the professional archeological community. Although we usually refrain from reprinting articles, we highly recommend that our readers contact Bottles & Extras (www.fohbc.org) as to how to obtain a copy of this important piece, “Who Owns the Past?” Its message should not be missed by anyone who collects or digs.-AD (Originally published in Vol. 8, Issue 2)
the care we share for one another. Ray, Tami, and Ron Treece, along with Tom Hays and Nick Periut, have shown us what relic hunting is all about. Phil is truly an example for all who suffer through such calamities. His positive attitude will carry him well and we know he will be alright no matter what life throws his way. God bless you all. Bill Jones Spencer,TN Judging from feedback like yours, this article touched many a reader. Our hats are off to Phil for sharing his tale of perseverance in the face of such overwhelming challenges, and also to those who helped him along. There are some wonderful people in this hobby!-AD (Originally published in Vol. 8, Issue 3)
Georgia Button and Contest
A Little Help
Thank you for publishing the article by Phil Ley, “A ® Little Help From My Friends” (American Digger , Vol. 8, Issue 1). What a touching story, the very embodiment of relic hunting and hunters. It is not only about the relics we find, but also the many friends we make and
First of all, I’d like to request a replacement magazine from last month. I wore mine out looking for your button that wasn’t there! Congratulations on finding it, Butch! We all have that elusive thing we just can’t find. I’ve been detecting since 1968 with a machine I built. Trouble was, if I detected it I could see it! Since then
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I’ve managed to upgrade to much better machines, but still haven’t found that Double Eagle gold coin that I want so bad. Good luck on your new search. I love your magazine, keep it up. Seems that all the neat magazines that come out and get us hooked on them disappear. Don’t do that to us! Terry Titus Ocoee, FL Our publisher (Butch Holcombe) gives his lasting gratitude to the many people who sent their congratulations for his fiNowfinding my reputation stake and tobutton. add in- For those new nally a Civil was Waratera Georgia injury, the his point’s provenance was came now to an end in tosult ourtomagazine, 40 plus year quest tainted.ofThis so-called “professional” goneperfect dug exMarch this year when he recoveredhad a near out of in hishis wayown to slam metown, and I no hadless. to react. Myin a glitch worample, home Then, redemption, however, was to come from an un- in the Amerithy of the Twilight Zone, it was discovered that ® usual and completely Magazineunexpected issue thatplace. had just been released, the can Digger Weeks passed as I allowed my anger to hidden Georgia button (we had a long running “Find The diminish and develop a viable plan C. One day, Button” contest based on the publisher’s previous lack of at an auction, a rather distinguished lookingNo one can exsuccess) disappeared from the print copies. elderly gentleman strolled over to my table. plain it; all we know was the button was inHe the proof copies, seemed in mytocoprolites, which but not invery the interested issues mailed subscribers and dealers. are 75 million years old fish feces (you read that Now, to tackle Terry’s concerns about our going away, right) retrieved from the local creeks. never fear. While we have seen other publications come and gentleman, Don Dorfman, Ph.D was go, The our magazine came onto the scene almost 9 years ago, head of the Marine Biology Department at the and grows stronger by the day. We do this by keeping a good University of Monmouth (West Long Branch, reputation and listening to our readers. YOU are our boss, New Jersey). Don had both serious academic not a detached figure head or behind the scene entity. Our credentials and an open minded attitude. Most editorial staffheare all active in the hobby, and our publisher importantly, gladly acknowledged the contrihimself goes digging on a regular basis. The butions of amateurs to science and was fascinat- bottom line is
we work for you, and listen to our readers. ‘Nuff said!- AD (Originally published in Vol 8, Issue 4)
H.M.S. Oregon Bottles
I enjoyed the story on the shipwreck (American Vol 7, Issue 5, “The Wreck of the H.M.S. Oregon,” by Dan Berg). I thought you’d like to know that those handled ceramic bottles shown in the article contained mineral water imported from old Prussia. We have dug a number of these in Augusta, GA, that Dr. Dorfman delivered to the newspaper’s dumps over the last four decades. Your magazine is awesome. archaeologist after the point was published. Although not a detectorist, I enjoy all the good stories. The man was shamed and for good reason. Bill Baab Perhaps in the future, this reckless professional Augusta, Ga. will take a few moments to acknowledge the
contributions of serious amateurs. Honestly, Thank you, Bill, for givingI wouldn’t us that identification. though, take any bets onWe it. always encourage our readers to help us expand knowledge oncomithe I summarize this weird and somewhat articles and artifacts. This also gives us a chance to reiterate cal (but lately all too common) tale by asking our plea: without articles on bottles, it digging, diving, or what should we, thebe nonprofessional collector, collecting, we can’ttake satisfy demand of those who want awaythe from it? Political correctness andtoan see more about them. To all collectors andsense finders history, emotionally overcharged of of what is histhis is your magazine, and right we depend on yourour input, be itlike let-an torically have infected society out-of-control virus. ters, finds, or articles (guidelines are on our website, or call us for a copy).-AD It is now three times as hard to collect, preserve and report at aIssue local5) level. All the av(Originally published in finds Vol. 8, erage citizen is supposed to do is visit museums and watch the History Channel. We, as American citizens, still have the right to collect and The Future Of The Past dig, as long as we do it with permission and stay It’s great to see the young people who are getting into this within the bounds of the law. It is neither a right ed by my finds. After the Dalton point debacle, hobby! One who nor visited our an obligation to follow in lock step behind Don became my ace in the hole. Professors pubstore recently (Sgt. Riker’s those who hold degrees. The margins, however, lish like a rabbit making bunnies and soon we Civil War Shop) was 11 year- and the eyes (and voices) of those are narrowing teamed up to publish a series of scientific articles old Tation Rommel. He wantThe Dalton Point which who would condemn us are everywhere. based on my finds. The first was you guessed ed to show us these items that it on coprolites, then others followed. I evenwas rejected for publihe had recovered in central Postscript tually asked if he could help me with the long cation by the newspaVirginia while using aInWhite’s 2010, I discovered an amazing 5.5 inch neglected Dalton piece. per’s archaeologist. MXT metal detector. He may stemmed Paleo point in Marlboro, New Jersey. Don knew the antagonistic archaeologist and __________ not have been relic hunting It was perfect Paleo point number two and, of confided that he had a reputation for arrogance course, it had to be recorded. Unfortunately, I very long, but he sure loves even among his peers. As for my Dalton point, went through many of the same problems I’d experienced almost he suggested we submit an article to the annual New Jersey the hobby! I expect that you’ll a decade It was a bit depressing; it felt like I’d never more of hisearlier. finds in the future. Archaeology Bulletin. This periodical annually highlights the seehalf gone through the vetting process. Thankfully, a local commercial Ran Hundley Garden State’s most significant finds and is highly prestigious in monthly picked it up and did a better than expected job on the scientific circles. One of Don’s closest friends was the managing Ashland, VA article. chief editor and, ironically enough, the newspaper’s archaeologist More recently, discovery of aTation partial and mastodon hope tomysee more from other skeleton young also sat on the board of the magazine. The web that was being We certainly brought quite a bit more recognition. Finally! It only took woven around this single spear point was getting thick indeed! relic hunters in the coming years. Many of the first detectorists numerous phone calls, several and thegenerations backing of three In the spring of 2006 (almost a year after my find), the bulletin have now passed away, and interviews the following of people with Ph.D’s. But I had evolved. I now at least existed in arrived with an accurate, objective write-up, and photos of the diggers are not getting any younger, so it is vital that we their eyes and thus, the find could be properly documented. The Dalton point. It was late in coming, but there it was: a literal encourage the youth of today to pursue responsible metal media giveth and the media taketh away. But it should never be exercise in persistence and luck. detecting so that our understanding of the past is expanded able to rob a find of its provenance. The gravy on top of my ‘taters was the verbal dressing down and our physical link with history will not be broken.-AD (Originally published in Vol. 8, Issue 6)
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When Joe Haile recovered this cache of Confederate belt plates, he chose Southern Star Cases to attractively display them. Whatever your find, display it with pride in a Southern Star Case.
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Just Dug Here’s what our readers are finding... :
Bobby Mallard rescued this relic from fill-dirt at a construction site in Chatham County, Georgia. The brass tag (probably from luggage or a carriage) is engraved with the name of M.H. McAllister, who was the mayor of Savannah from 1837-1839. Photo by Anita Holcombe (Vol 8, Issue 1)
Duane “Buzzardjaws” Caldwell can now cross a gold coin off of his bucket list, and what a coin it is. The 1840 2½ dollar gold piece has a rare “C” Charlotte mint mark and, even being dug, is in “about uncirculated” condition. Only 12,822 of this date and mint mark were ever made.. Duane found the coin along with a variety of colonial at a construction site he was searching in Tazewell County, Virginia in late September, 2011. He made the recoveries using a Teknetics T2 LTD. Photo by Duane Caldwell (Vol 8, Issue 1)
Jimmy Jones was searching in Louisa County, Virginia and making some good finds, but never expected a relic like this: a very rare Confederate “M” Marine button. By best estimates, there were less than 1026 men at any one time in the Confederate Marines, with only 539 remaining in late 1864. Jimmy made the find while using a White’s MXT metal detector. Photo by Ran Hundley (Vol 8, Issue 1)
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In October, 2011, Jared Hyams was hunting at a site in northern Ohio where a hospital stood from the mid-1800s until the 1930s. He got a signal on his Fisher F-2 detector that read as “zinc/dime” and, at three inches deep, recovered this “portrait” brooch from the late 1800s. Photo by Jared Hyams (Vol 8, Issue 1) Over 500 Just Dug artifacts appeared in our 2012 issues! Click here to see more.
Tom Goodloe and Mike Adams were detecting in Hanover County, Virginia when Tom found this 1795 Half Dime in very good dug condition. This was the first year these were minted. Tom made the find using a Minelab E-Trac. Photo by Ran Hundley (Vol 8, Issue 1)
Carter Pennington was relic hunting in October, 2011 near Fredericksburg, Virginia when he found this North Carolina button. Unlike the more common “sunburst” varieties, this style (Albert’s NC 14) is more sturdily made and finely finished. Carter recovered it at about five inches deep with a Minelab E-Trac. He notes it read “43” on the meter. Photo by Carter Pennington (Vol 8, Issue 1)
Dennis Morrison was metal detecting a farm in Bluffton, Ohio during 2011 when he noticed an odd rock that had washed up. It turned out to be this small Native American hammer stone or mortar pestle fashioned from quartz. Photo by Anita Holcombe (Vol 8, Issue 1)
Mark Marshall was relic hunting a site near Hopewell, Virginia not far from the Appomattox River. After getting a signal and digging a 1812 era one-piece pewter Infantry cuff button, in the same hole he also unearthed this early-mid 1800s stoneware crock inkwell which measures 2¾ inches tall. Photo by Mark Marshall (Vol
8, Issue 1)
Bob Spratley was beach hunting in northeast Florida where shipwreck artifacts occasionally wash up. In the surf he recovered this beautiful piece from the mid 1700s. It is a gold locket, with a compartment which opened up to hold whatever substance the lady might choose. The piece weighs 37.7 grams and is 18+ Karat gold. The eyes are polished sapphires. Bob has worked this site for 20 years and believes the wreck was either a British merchantman or pirate ship. Photo by Bob Spratley (Vol 8, Issue 2)
Scott Duckworth was digging out a trash pit at a Federal camp near Culpeper, Virginia when he recovered this Civil War era bottle. It is embossed “Demott’s Porter & Ale,” leaving no doubt as to what beverage it once contained. Photo by Scott Duckworth (Vol 8, Issue 2)
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Jeff Boyd was metal detecting in Obion County, Kentucky in 2011 when he spotted something on the surface. Picking it up, he discovered it was this beautiful Clovis stone point. At 3.625 inches long, it exhibits the classic fluted base of Clovis points. Approximately 13,000 years old, these were made by North America’s first inhabitants. Photo by Charlie Harris (Vol 8, Issue 2)
Joe Tessandori found his first Civil War identification tag after 33 years of digging. He recovered it at a bulldozed site in Manassas, Virginia on June 29, 2011. The only other item he dug that day was a knapsack hook. Research shows the soldier, J.B. Snow, enlisted in 1861 at Framingham, Massachusetts at age 18. He survived the war and became a farmer. Joe uses a White’s 5000 metal detector. Courtesy Sgt. Riker’s Civil War Shop (Vol 8, Issue 2)
Captain Dan Berg, author and captain of Wreck Valley Charters, recently started his winter beach diving for bottles. At a site in New Jersey on November 19, 2011, he and his group recovered a nice assortment of bottles, including a clear dedicated mold Hutch, two blob tops, and an applied crown top. Photos by Captain Dan Berg (Vol 8, Issue 2)
Ted Bowden found these two Confederate States plates at the same site at different times ... 24 years apart, to be exact! The top one was eyeballed by him in a yard near Clayton, Alabama in 1987. Ted recently bought a metal detector and returned to the site to find the other one. Both retain all three of their hooks and appear to have been cast from the same mold. Photo by Charlie Harris (Vol 8, Issue 2)
Sidney Fallin found this $20 gold piece in Hanover County, Virginia in late 2011. He was hunting with friend Rion Landrum in a field near a wooded area and got an “iron sounding” signal. Using a Garrett ProPointer to pinpoint the target, out came the coin. Although he has dug a couple of smaller gold coins in the past 20 years, he’s very happy with this one. Photos by Ran Hundley (Vol 8, Issue 2) Over 500 Just Dug artifacts appeared in our 2012 issues! Click here to see more.
Loren Good was hunting private property not far from the Lee and Gordon’s Mill near Chickamauga, Georgia when he dug this Civil War projectile. It is a 3.67 inch Schenkl shell. These originally had a paper mache sabot, which reduced the risk of friendly troops being injured by metal sabots thrown from projectiles in flight. Loren made the find in September 2011. Photo by Charlie Harris (Vol 8, Issue 2)
In late 2011, Victor Potapenko had very good luck searching for military artifacts in the forests near Kyiv, where numerous 20th century battles took place. Among several other nice relics, he located this WWII German Infantry Assault badge, as well as an unidentified Imperial Russian military badge. Victor uses a Minelab Explorer II detector.
Tyson Mastin was detecting near Spotsylvania, Virginia when he found this pair of silver Spanish One Reales. One is in very good dug condition and is dated 1781, while the other is severely worn and marked 1776. They were about five feet apart. Tyson made the finds using his new Teknetics Gamma 6000. Photos by Liz Woodell (Vol 8, Issue 3)
Photo by Victor Potapenko (Vol 8, Issue 3)
Jimmy Jones was searching a central Virginia site when he dug what every detectorist hopes to find: gold. This $2.50 gold coin was his first target of the day and found about five minutes after starting. He made the find in late 2011 while using a White’s MXT. Photo by Ran Hundley (Vol 8, Issue 3)
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Joe Lepore was digging a Federal trash pit in Lincoln County, Kentucky in late 2011 and found these Civil War artifacts. Most interesting are the remains of a Confederate sword recovered with the Federal items. Made by the Nashville Plow Works, the guard has a distinctive “CSA” cast into it. It was likely a souvenir captured by a Union soldier. Photo by Joe Lepore (Vol 8, Issue 3)
BJ Lucero was relic hunting in central Virginia at an old homesite when he recovered this Confederate Navy button. The backmark is “Courtney & Tennent” and the face retains almost all of its heavy gilt finish. He was using a Fisher F-75 LTD with an SEF 10 x 12 coil and dug the button at about 10 inches deep. Photo Courtesy Sgt. Riker’s Civil War Supply (Vol 8, Issue 3)
Butch Holcombe, publisher of American Digger® Magazine, can finally cross a Civil War era Georgia button off his list. He recovered this one at an old house site in Cobb County, Georgia. It has a “Horstmann & Allien/N.Y.” backmark. For more about the end to his 40+ year quest, turn to page 72. He was using a Fisher F-75 LTD and found it at eight inches deep. Photo by Anita Holcombe (Vol 8, Issue 3) Over 500 Just Dug artifacts appeared in our 2012 issues! Click here to see more.
Mitchell Clore was looking for arrowheads when he stumbled upon a late 1800s-early 1900s bottle dump. Located in southeastern Illinois, he has so far recovered about 200 intact bottles from the site. Above are a few of his favorites, found there in late 2011. Photo by Mitchell Clore (Vol 8, Issue 3)
Steve and Carol Ciriaco had a couple of great weekends in early 2012 in Staten Island, New York. Most of the finds are Revolutionary War related and include musket balls, a cartridge buckle, a British bayonet scabbard tip, and a broken sword, assorted shoe buckles and 1700s coins. A few modern items were also dug. Among the grouping are two Horse Head Coppers, a British Half Penny, a Half Crown, a Barber Dime, a V Nickel, a Shield Nickel, a Seated Dime, plus a few Buffalo Nickels and Mercury Dimes. The best coin was a 1745 One Reale found by Steve. Steve uses a Minelab E-Trac and his wife uses a
Garrett Ace 250.
Photos by Jim Wasneuski (Vol 8, Issue 3)
Quinton Bolin was searching along the Edisto River Basin in South Carolina in February 2012 when he recovered this early 19th century militia belt plate. Made of rolled copper and gilt finished, these were used between 1818 and 1835. Quinton made the find using a Fisher F75 metal detector.
David Wise was relic hunting around the foundation of a Colonial inn when he recovered this late 1800s identification badge. It was owned by G.J. Alexander of Waterbury, Connecticut, a member of Company A, 2nd Regiment, Connecticut National Guards. David made the find in April, 2012 while using a White’s XLT detector. Photo by David Wise (Vol 8, Issue 4)
Photo by Quinton Bolin (Vol 8, Issue 4)
Vincent Williams, Chad Dario, and Matt Jennings were hunting a Civil War site in Virginia when they found a buckle next to an old oak tree, then another... and another...well, you get the picture. After two days, they had three different types of belt plates, three different types of breastplates, and three different types of box plates, most with the loops and hooks intact. One of the plates is not shown, because it was given to the property owner. The machines used were a White’s MXT, a Fisher X65, and a Minelab X-terra 70. Photo by Matt Jennings (Vol 8, Issue 4)
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Joe Hamby dug a crumbled piece of silvered copper a couple of years ago, but only recently had it straightened by repair artist Leonard Short. The results, seen above, were stunning, for it revealed the piece to be a daguerreotype from the mid 1800s. The image is of a well-dressed man. It was dug at a Civil War era fort site near Richmond, Virginia. Photo by Charlie Harris (Vol 8, Issue 4)
Over 500 Just Dug artifacts appeared in our 2012 issues! Click here to see more.
Bruce Hudson was walking a likely arrowhead site near the Ohio River on April 14, 2012 when he recovered this nice piece. It is an Adena “vanishing stem.” Made of brown Kentucky hornstone, Bruce notes that the outer core is still visible. Photo by Bruce Hudson (Vol 8, Issue 4)
John Perkins was relic hunting a heavily searched Civil War camp and house site in central Mississippi during the first half of 2012 and, among other relics, made these two finds. The Eagle tongue is from a twopiece militia buckle, made from 1845 until 1875. The bottle, shown here still in the ground, is an 1850-60s era gin. John was hunting with a White’s Spectrum XLT metal detector. Photo by John Perkins (Vol 8, Issue 4)
Stephen Jordan was hunting a central Mississippi Confederate camp in when he found this beauty in February 2012. It is a coat sized Confederate officer’s button. It has no backmark, and is believed made by Casimir Rouyer of New Orleans. The silver finish is a rarity, as most were gilt (gold). A short time later, he recovered the Civil War era Louisiana button also shown here. Stephen was using a Fisher F75 LTD. Photo by Rob Stephens (Vol 8, Issue 4)
Eddie Rudisill was fishing the Greenbrier River at Pence Springs, West Virginia when he eyeballed this carved stone pendant. A National Park Service archeologist who examined the artifact describes it as a Discoidal ornamental piece dating between 600AD1500AD. The design appears to be a coiled snake, and one side incorporates a fossil in the design. More information is being sought on what is being called a “very significant” artifact. Photo by Eddie Rudisill (Vol 8, Issue 4)
Dave McCarthy was hunting an early 1900s homesite near Cook, Minnesota in May 2012 when he found this FFA (Future Farmers of America) sterling silver ring. The ring dates from the late 1920s to the early 1930s, and was found with a Minelab Explorer. Photo by Dave McCarthy (Vol 8, Issue 5)
T.E. Metz was detecting a late 1800s youth camp in central North Carolina when he found this badge in early 2012. Research indicates that it may have been given to a boy to commemorate his first airplane flight, much like the plastic wings given out by today’s airlines. Made of stamped brass, it has “Dept. of Aviation/Boy/ Flight Commander” on it and an image of The Spirit of St. Louis. The site served as a camp for African-American children and later, Boy and Girl Scouts. T.E. is donating the find to the site’s Scout Ranger, although he is still seeking more information. Photo by T. E. Metz (Vol 8, Issue 5)
Dave McMahon is primarily a beach hunter, but “sanded in” conditions caused him to move inland and hunt a field in southern New Jersey. His first target was this watch fob made to commemorate the 1909 victory of William H. Taft as President of the United States and James Sherman as Vice President. Photo by Dave McMahon (Vol 8, Issue 5)
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Fred Bershoft was sifting a trash dump in southern California when he dug these glass Native American trade beads, strung together here for display. They were made at glass factories on Murano Island off the coast of Venice, Italy from the late 1700s to 1830. Fred has found numerous beads here in the past, and donates the majority to a local museum. Photo by Fred Bershoft (Vol 8, Issue 5)
Over artifacts appeared in Over 500 500 Just Just Dug Dug artifacts appeared in issues! here see more. our our 20122011 issues! ClickClick here to see to more.
Chris Porter spent the first half of 2012 doing quite a bit of gold prospecting, and was rewarded with this assortment of nuggets found somewhere in the wilds of northern Nevada. Chris uses a Minelab GPX 5000 detector. Photo by Chris Porter (Vol 8, Issue 5)
Kevin Huhn and Scott McDaniel were hunting an old home in Walthall County, Mississippi in early 2012. Kevin located an artesian well and heard a signal about five inches deep. It turned out to be a quarter cut (two bits) Eight Reale coin, counter marked by the Planter’s Bank of New Orleans between 1812 and 1814. The stamp has an Eagle with a shield on its breast surrounded by “Nouvelle Orleans” while the other side has “PB” surrounded by links of chain. Kevin found the silver coin while using a White’s DFX metal detector. Photo by Kevin Huhn (Vol 8, Issue 5)
Don Vickers was detecting at an old house in northwest Missouri on April 28, 2012 when he found this nice relic. It is a Model 1851 Union officers’ sword belt plate in excellent condition, including retaining most of its original gilt finish. This highly detailed variation was believed made in England during the Civil War, and was imported for individual purchase by both Federal and Confederate officers of financial means. Don was using a Minelab SE Pro when he found the plate. Photo by Don Vickers (Vol 8, Issue
Ron Erickson and his wife, Linda, spent Memorial Day weekend in South Dakota. After two days of rain, Ron decided to walk a muddy dirt farm road in Brown County that was known for good arrowhead hunting. The walk was well worth it, as he spotted this nearly perfect point. This area was once occupied by the Sioux tribe. Photo by Linda Erickson (Vol 8, Issue 5)
E. V. Smith recovered what he thought was a runof-the-mill musket lock plate while detecting a central Virginia house site in July 2012. It was only after the piece was electrolyzed that he fully realized the rareness of his discovery: it is marked “COOK BROTHERS ATHENS, GA 1863.” Cook and Brothers carbines were originally made in New Orleans starting in 1860. In 1862, they moved their factory to Athens, Georgia. He made the find with a Fisher F75. Photo by E. V. Smith (Vol 8, Issue 6)
Debra Powell (aka “Fossilbabe”) finds plenty of fossilized sharks teeth near Venice, Florida, but even she was excited by this 4½ inch Megalodon tooth that she recovered on June 6, 2012. It was partially exposed when she spotted its black root protruding from the sand. After careful extraction, it was seen to be a nearly perfect example. These huge carnivorous sharks, often up to 50 feet long, roamed the oceans millions of years ago. Photo by Debra Powell (Vol 8, Issue 6)
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Bill Blackman was hunting a large Federal camp near Culpeper, Virginia this past spring when he recovered the Civil War relics shown here. At top is a wine or champagne bottle, circa 1850-60. Below it are a store token for D.L. Wing and Company of Albany, New York and a sutler’s token for the 41st Ohio Volunteer Militia. While the store token (which has “Union & Liberty” on the reverse) is in good dug condition, the rare sutler’s token shows the adverse effects of 150 years in the soil. Photo by Charlie Harris (Vol 8, Issue 6)
Poochie Cole has been a relic hunter for many years, but was still thrilled when he made this find in Paulding County, Georgia this past winter. The relic is a Civil War era drummer’s sling buckle, designed to hold the drumsticks on a cross belt. This one is in exceptional dug condition, even down to the wire attachment hooks. Photo by Charlie Harris (Vol 8, Issue 6)
John Harris dug his first Revolutionary War British button in August 2012 in southeastern Virginia, a rare silver-plated officer’s button of the 76th Regiment of Foot. This regiment, known as MacDonald’s Highlanders and commanded by Major Francis Needham, formed in Scotland in 1777 and had 345 men present at the final battle of Yorktown. After that battle, they were sent to a POW camp in Winchester, Virginia. This is reportedly only the fourth such button to be dug in Virginia, with others found in Winchester, Berryville, and Fredericksburg. A few weeks later, he dug a 16mm Confederate Officers button thought to be made by Casimir Rouyer of New Orleans in 1861-1862. Also shown are two Federal Infantry NCO buttons. Then, the day after sending us the button photos, he recovered the three inch Type 1 Hotchkiss case shot projectile. The shell is intact with a zinc Type 1 paper time fuse adapter and was also recovered in southeastern Virginia. Photo by John Harris (Vol 8, Issue 6)
Robert Hale was landscaping his backyard in Salt Lake City, Utah in late August 2012 when he eyeballed this Cherokee Nation button. The backmark reads “RICH GOLD*COLOR.” The area was settled in the late 1840s-early 1850s and a fort was built in the late 1850s. It was located near his property and over the years, Robert has found various other artifacts there. Photo by Robert Hale (Vol 8, Issue 6) Over 500 Just Dug artifacts appeared in our 2012 issues! Click here to see more.
Ralph Magee was relic hunting at a Civil War camp in central Virginia when he struck gold. The mid 1800s ring, although unmarked, tests as 14K gold. It has a black onyx with an inlaid Old English“I.” Ralph made the recovery in July 2012 while using a Fisher F75 Special Edition. Photo by Ran Hundley (Vol 8, Issue 6)
John Lynch was detecting in Georgia when he dug these items. At top is an M-1 bayonet dating from WWII dug in Griffin, while below is a Masonic cufflink found in Fayette County from the same era. Photo by Charlie Harris (Vol 8, Issue 6)
Q&A With Charles Harris
his was found on the beach at Nag’s Head, North Carolina. Is it a large Civil War fuse of some sort or maybe even a small torpedo? Is it safe? The nose is metal, but the body is wood.
This non-dug US WWII MK IV Aircraft Float Light sold in an antique shop for $95. _________ online at collectable militaria web sites. The one shown above was for sale in an antique store for $95. (Originally Published in Vol 8, Issue 1)
This is not a fuse, nor is it Civil War era. It is the remains of a WW II MK IV “Float Light,” minus the stabilizing fins. These were, in essence, military smoke bombs dropped from aircraft to check wind direction and air current speed. They were often used for search and rescue, and were ignited by contact with the salt water. We had another of these submitted to American Digger® a few months ago, so even though they are from the 1940s, they still turn up on our nation’s beaches. Although I am no ordnance expert, most that are found have already been dropped from aircraft and have done their job. Even if they did not ignite at the time, I would expect most are rendered safe by the fact that the salt water corrodes the wood and metal to the extent that any incendiary or combustible chemicals that these devices may have once contained are now rendered inert. This might not apply to the non-dugs ones, though, which show up with some regularity at antique stores and military surplus suppliers throughout the country. They are often also seen for sale
’m trying to identify this item and hope that you can help. It looks like a pike or spontoon from the 1700s but I’m no expert so I am seeking your opinion. Also, what would be the purpose of the slot on the base? Steve Thimmes After looking in the book Collectors Illustrated Encyclopedia of the American Revolution by Neumann and Kravic, I noticed numerous variations in the styles of the spontoons and pikes. The quality and designs vary tremendously. Overall, I tend to go along with the spontoon identity and suspect it is from the late 1700s. Yours is very crude, but so are some in the book. After all, they all were made by various blacksmiths and the workmanship should not be expected to be equal. The exception
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might be those that were made by arsenal armorers, where set patterns and a degree of quality would be expected. General George Washington himself was a fan of these arms and approved an attempt to standardize such pole weapons in 1778. So what’s the difference in a spontoon and a pike? Not much. According to Arms and Armor in Colonial America by Harold Peterson, “The Pike... lacked the bulbous base and almost always was attached to the shaft by a simple socket without the straps which are often found on the spontoons.” Peterson goes on to mention that most military men of the time used the terms synonymously. As mentioned in Neumann and Kravic’s book, the pike was abandoned in Europe by 1700, but many commissioned officers on both sides continued to carry spontoons throughout the Revolutionary War as a symbol of rank and to rally their men during combat. As to the slot running down the base, it shows up in spontoon examples #12 and #13 of the Collectors Illustrated Encyclopedia. But what is it for? Revolutionary War collector and artist Don Trioini looked at the photo of yours and suggested that your piece might actually be the spear point and shaft section of a halberd and the slot is where the blade initially passed through. He notes that he has a few that are done in the same manner. Having said all this, understand that blacksmiths still abound, and while this looks to be an authentic piece, it is impossible to confirm without examining it firsthand. My gut feeling, though, is that you’ve got an important part of early American history here! (Originally Published in Vol 8, Issue 2)
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found this while metal detecting around Cloutierville, Louisiana where there was a small Civil War battle. We’ve dug a lot of Minie balls in this area, but this is a first. It’s made of lead and has “T&P” on one side and “B/O” on the other. I know the Texas and Pacific railroad ran through this site and I think that this is related, but what is it? Clint Serafin
You’re correct in identifying this as being connected with the railroad. The Texas and Pacific Railway Company (T&P) was formed in 1871 with the goal of creating a southern transcontinental railroad between Marshall, Texas, and San Diego, California. Although the line was fully operational in Texas by the mid 1880s, difficulties in construction delayed its westward progress. The Texas and Pacific itself never reached San Diego, but instead eventually joined with the Southern Pacific railroad at Sierra Blanca, Texas. As to your finding the tag in Louisiana, the Texas and Pacific Railway acquired several lines there and, in late 1882, completed a route from Shreveport to New Orleans. The “B/O” stamping does not appear to be related to the famous Baltimore and Ohio Railway. Instead, it is some form of coding; i.e. the destination, time, inspector, or other in-house designations. When this little piece of lead was new, it was just a plain slug with two small holes running though the edges. Through these holes was inserted a small wire to make a loop. When a railroad baggage car was loaded and the door padlocked, the small wire was passed through the shackle hasp. Then the security person took a special embossing crimp tool and
squeezed the lead slug over the wire, creating a secondary tamper-proof security lock with the name of the railroad stamped into one side and other information on the reverse. These tools often used removable dies to accomplish a variety of marks when needed. Once crimped, the only way to get into that car was to cut the wire from the seal. These were also used on traveling trunk locks, shipments to stores, and more to insure that no tampering had taken place. The modern equivalent can be found on residential electric meters.
was an identical set of wings. Thus the truth was revealed: These are automobile radiator decorations with no direct relation to the military. (Originally Published in Vol 8, Issue 4)
(Originally Published in Vol 8, Issue 3)
his cast metal “wing” was dug by me and I haven’t seen any other pieces like it. Someone said it might be part of a flag topper, but I’m not convinced of that. The golf ball is for size reference. Ran Hundley These once had most of us running around for years trying to figure them out. “Flag staff topper” was only one of the identifications it received from relic hunters and historians. My personal enlightenment happened at one of my relic club meetings when a local digger came in with a complete set of wings that he had just excavated. There was a big hole with a ring around it in the center, to big to be a flag staff topper as the flagstaff would have slid through it. Everyone was guessing at what it really was until he pulled out a photo that showed the answer. There it was, on a big luxury car (I forgot the make) from the early 1900s. Sitting on top of the radiator
ere is three items I am trying to find information about. One is a shield with a letter “R” that is fastened to a piece of steel or iron. The other items are both bullets, one with a star on the tip. Randy Plyler Although the shield has been identified in this column before, there is so much confusion about them that we’ll touch on it again. Often misidentified as saddle shields or motorcycle emblems, these are automobile radiator decorations popular in the early 1900s. Your example still retains a bit of the radiator’s mounting surface. The other items are 20th century shotgun slugs. Although the first effective shotgun slug was made in 1898, these are Foster slugs, invented in 1931. Both are similar and have thin fins (which flatten when fired). These impart no spin; their purpose is to decrease the surface area between the slug and barrel, reducing friction and increasing velocity, The star is a mark used by one of several manufacturers. (Originally Published in Vol 8, Issue 5)
T P M
U T S
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: email@example.com
After seeing three of these, it’s time to ask our readers what they are. Two were dug in Texas by Tom Moss, and one in Jackson, TN by Steve Pomeroy. One has a bar and another had three fasteners behind the star. It is lead-filled brass All have the same number: “333.” (Originally Published in Vol 8, Issue1)
Bill Kollar was rummaging through some old collectibles and came across this piece. It appears to be cast bronze or brass with “H.R.C. 7A2” embossed onto it. The pin mechanism dates the piece to the mid 1900s and the enameled colors in the shield are yellow and dark blue (or black). Does anyone recognize it? (Originally Published in Vol 8, Issue 6)
We know this piece dug by Quindy Robertson is a rosette. We also know that it’s a tin-back (actually iron), widely accepted as proof of post 1864 manufacturer. But when were these first used? At least two noted collectors now think the tinbacks are pre 1864, but most say not. Can someone give us proof as to when these first appeared? (Originally Published in Vol 8, Issue 3)
Dennis Hurley dug the remains of a Confederate kepi at an early war camp of Georgia troops near Manassas, Virginia. Included in the finds was this solid gold pin, which has a t-bar attachment and extended point typical of the mid 1800s. Hat letters (V, H, and A), a kepi buckle, and a single Georgia cuff button were also found in the same hole. While the emblem on this pin resembles Georgia’s state seal, the center column appears to be a lantern or vase. Although he made the find several years ago, he has yet to get a positive identification of what is likely a very historic find. We hope that one of our readers can help shed some light on this with an identification as to what it means and what group or organization used it. (Originally Published in Vol 8, Issue 5)
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lieves the objects dug by Barney Tyree (Stumpt, Vol. 8 Issue 1) are a seal. He notes, “Since two were found, it is a set making one seal. It is applied by mating the posts to the holes, passing whatever is to be sealed between and then clamping them shut with a plier-like tool. The posts would be pressed into the matching holes, forcing the posts into the slightly undersized holes and clamping the halves together firmly. The bumps would aid in gripping whatever was being sealed.” (Originally Published in Vol 8, Issue 3)
found by Randy Schuh was shown in our last “Stumpt” column, we received an identical one in the mail from Joe Cartonia of J.C. Coins in Buffalo, NY. We also had Tom Ference suggest it might be a drag mechanism of a fly fishing reel; however, antique reel collector Merve Bortner (www.reelman.com) nixed that notion. Beau Ouimette next touched base with us to note that he believes them to be part of an orchard spraying system. Shane Seal then contacted us to say that he grew up using such sprayers, which “had those in the nozzles and they would spin when we would spray the trees.” In the name of accuracy, we still want to see a picture of one of these in situ to confirm that identity, but we feel comfortable saying with 98% certainty that this one is now solved. (Originally Published in Vol 8, Issue 5)
Byron Hendrix dug this button at an early 1800s house site in Big Springs, Tennessee. Although Civil War relics were found nearby, this piece looks earlier. It is cast pewter with a drilled shank, and has a six-pointed star in the middle. Is it merely a decorative design, or does it signify more? (Originally Published in Vol 8, Issue 2)
Stephen Jordan dug this artifact in 2009, and after much research, it still has us stumpt. It was found in Mississippi at a site where at least two “T. Miller” solid cast Texas buttons were found. There are traces of dark blue enamel in the wreath and under the star, and on the back is a maker’s mark of “x1111.” It is made of stamped or rolled brass and has a sturdy bar attachment on the back. We believe it is almost certainly half of a two-piece sash buckle, but does the star have a connection to either Texas or Mississippi? As always, we are open to your ideas. (Originally Published in Vol 8, Issue 4)
SOLVED! We received numerous answers on the identification on the Eagle dug by Ed Michalski. Joel Erickson of Badger, MN was the first to check in, saying that it was an advertising piece from the J. I. Case farm equipment company. Arick Swayne of Silver Lake, MN confirmed this (even sending us a link to an identical non dug pin) as did Don Hinks of Gettysburg Electronics. Jimmy Spivey of North Carolina then added more info, including the Eagle was named Old Abe after the famous 8th Wisconsin Regiment mascot. This logo was introduced by Case in 1865. (Originally Published in Vol 8, Issue 6) www.americandigger.com www.americandigger.com
A River of Silver
Finding an occasional old silver coin at a river crossing is not unheard of. But how did a cache of this size end up here? By Beau Ouimette
It was becoming apparent to me that someone had It was becoming apparent to me that someone had It was experienced great misfortune here and lostlost a stately sum of of experience experienced great misfortune here and a stately sum money at this river crossing. . money at this river crossing. .
a small handful silver halves and had just swung the coil over the detected hole, justthis in case someswung the coiljust back now a small of silver halves and had swung the back coil back over the hole, just in case some-now of allfound thefound iron trash. I handful wasofconsidering myself lucky lthough I had metal ford in the added a beautiful 1793 Eight Reale to my growing colthingthing elseriver was there. Something was. thing else was there. S added a beautiful 1793 Eight Reale to my growing colelseseveral was there. Something was. times, I never imagined what I that I was detecting a fired bullet or two every few minlection. Imagine my surprise when I pulled up another The detector rang out again and the display showed The detector Imagine myasurprise when squeal I pulled up anotherrang The walked detectorover rang in outyears againpast. and the showedutes.lection. Suddenly I heard high pitched coming had Thedisplay ford was Eight Reale and then another. Soon I was pulling up up in the 90s. Now I was beginning to get very excited and, inI the Now I was Reale AT andPro. thenThe another. was pulling Now that I wascrossed beginning to get very excited and,fromEight my Garrett displaySoon pegged at90s. 91 and part in ofthe an 90s. old road a river into a frontier coins by the handful. before I even dugsettled this before even dug this theIweeks handful. I was even dug signal, this it didsilver that,coins only abyfew townbefore which in signal, the early 1700s. However, held steady. The last timesilver The were under the the slowly began scanning the in slowly began scann The coins were under began thethis area was my rebefore, the target turned out to becoins an 1813 silver halfwhatslowly had piqued myscanning interest gravel and mostly wedged immediate area. There were immediate area. The gravel and mostly wedged immediate area. There were dollar. This time I was hopsearch that indicated that into crevices in the bedrock targets everywhere, all readtargets everywhere, targets everywhere, all readcrevices in the bedrock a several Civil War camps ing into for the best, wondering and low areas. It was being in the same silver range! ing inpossibly thewas samebesilve andsignal low could areas. It in the same silver range! if that wereing nearby. I went back topoint, the coming apparent to me that I went apparent toback me thatthe I went back to original the original be coming another silver coin. It to Up to this in the someone experienced hole andhalf wasofwas soon holding and was had experienced hole and soon holding was,someone but had the hole full scope of soon second 2011, I had another Capped Bust Halfgreat misfortune here and another Capped great misfortune here another Capped Bust Halfwhat I was to find would be andBus done very well finding Civil lost stately sum of money Dollar. I pulled out my GarDollar. Iofpulled out m ame stately sum money pulled my Garhardalost for to grasp. War Dollar. bullets Iand otheroutrelics at this river crossing. I soon rett Pro Pointer, checked the rett Pro at crossing. I soonchec rett Pro Pointer, checked I this dug river down intoPointer, the on previous trips. This day the had to give my heart hole again, and the hole again, and the pin hole andpinpointer the hadrest to to rest to give my heart found meagain, working mypinpointer way gravel and muck and after a chance to slow down and started buzzing like crazy. started buzzing a chance slow down buzzing through like crazy. a minute or soto pulled out a andlike downstarted river, picking Another half dollar surfaced, began to wonder why all ofall Another half dollar began to wonder why of s Another half dollar surfaced, silver coin. It was another the fence wire and bits of these coins were at this locathen another, and another. and ano these coinsthen were at this locaanother, early half-dollar, myanother, second nailsthen along the and bankanother. and My next big surprise was tion. The best theory I could My next big surpr tion.than Thefour bestweeks. theory I could Myfeet nextinto big the surprise in less Afjust a few wa- was up with iswhen when I pulled silver I pulled out when I pulled a silver come upatwith is perhaps that perhaps Among the first finds were these silver come ter. Previously, Iout hadaout moved ter looking itthat for several Eight Reale Spanish coin. a wagon overturned as it was Early foreign silver coins were also found Eight placed Reale Spanis a wagon overturned as it was EightthisReale Spanish half-dollars. Before thecoins hordewere played out, I carefully through section of the coin. Early foreign silver also foundminutes, coming down the steep bank These things are huge! I had in abundance, as shown by these. These things are hug These things are huge! I had coming down the steep bank muchin more old silveraswould beby found. river rather quickly because abundance, shown these. it in my digging bag and 22 American Digger Magazine 速速 Vol. 8, Issue 1 28 2012 Digger 22 American Digger Magazine Vol. 8, IssueSampler 1 Magazine Sampler 28 2012American American Digger Magazine
JanuaryFebruary 2012 2012 American DiggerDigger Magazine 23 JanuaryFebruary American JanuaryFebruary 2012Published American Originally inDigger Vol Digger 8Magazine IssueMagazine 1 23 JanuaryFebruary 2012 American Magazine
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s becomingIt to me apparent that someone was to that someone had It was becoming Itapparent was becoming becoming apparent to me mehad that someone hadapparent t ed great misfortune heremisfortune and lost a stately sum experienced great here and lost stately sum experienced experienced great misfortune here and lostofaa great statelymisfortune sum of of h money at this river crossing. money at money at this riv money at this this. river river crossing. crossing...
a small silver halves and had just over theswung hole, the just coil in case found a small handful silver halves had somejust backsomeover thenow hole,found just in case handful some- ofnow no swung coil back overof hole, just and in case foundthe a small handful ofthe silver halves and had just swung the coil back over the hole, just in case some- now added Reale to my growing colSomething was. a beautiful 1793 Eight Reale to my growing colthing else was there. Something was.a beautiful 1793 Eightadded ad thinga else was there. Something added beautiful 1793 Eight Realewas. to my growing colthing else was there. Something was. lection. surpriselection. when The I Imagine pulled up another g out again and displayrang showed my surprise when I pulled up another Thethe detector out again and theImagine display my showed detector out again the display showed le myrang surprise whenand I pulled up another The detector rang out again and the display showed lection. Imagine Eight Reale thenand, another. Soon I was up beginning to get excited and, Eight Reale andpulling then another. Soon I was pulling up in the 90s.very Now I was beginning to get very and excited E in the 90s. Now I was beginning to get very excited and, Eight Reale and then another. Soon I was pulling up in the 90s. Now I was beginning to get very excited and, silverbefore coins by the handful. s signal,before I even dug this signal, silver coins by the handful. I even dug this signal, silver coins by the handful. before I even dug this signal, The coins began were under the the ning theslowly began scanning the The coins were under the slowly scanning slowly began scanning the The coins were under the ere wereimmediate area. There were gravelimmediate and mostly wedged gravel mostly wedged area. Theregravel were and and mostly wedged immediate area. There were into crevices in the bedrock all read-targets everywhere, all readin the bedrock targets everywhere, all into read-crevices into crevices in the bedrock targets everywhere, all reader range!ing in the same silver range! and low It was be-range! and low areas. It was being inareas. the same silver and low areas. It was being in the same silver range! coming apparent to me that originalI went back to the original coming apparent to me that I went back to the original coming apparent to me that I went back to the original someone had was experienced holdinghole and was soon holding someone had experienced hole and soon holding hole and was soon holding someone had experienced great another misfortune here and st Half-another Capped Bust Halfhere and Capped Bust great Half- misfortune great misfortune here and another Capped Bust Halflost aDollar. statelyIsum of money my Gar-Dollar. I pulled out my Gara stately sum of money pulled out mylost GarDollar. I pulled out my Garlost a stately sum of money cked therett Pro Pointer, checked the at thisrett river soonat this crossing. I soon Procrossing. Pointer, Ichecked the river at this river crossing. I soon rett Pro Pointer, checked the had tohole restagain, to give my heart npointerhole again, and the pinpointer had to rest to give my heart and the pinpointer had to rest to give my heart hole again, and the pinpointer e crazy.started buzzing like crazy. a chance to slow downlike andacrazy. chance to slow down and started buzzing started buzzing like crazy. a chance to slow down and beganAnother to wonder why all of surfaced,Another half dollar surfaced, began to wonder why all of half dollar surfaced, began to wonder why all of Another half dollar surfaced, these then coinsanother, were atand thisanother. loca-these coins were at this locaother. then another, and another. then another, and another. these coins were at this location. TheMy bestnext theory couldtion. rise was My next big surprise was best theory I could big Isurprise wasThe tion. The best theory I could My next big surprise was comewhen up with is that perhaps a silverwhen I pulled out a silver come up with that perhaps I pulled out a come silver up with is when I pulled out a silver is that perhaps sh coin.Eight a wagon overturned as it wasacoin. wagon overturned as it silver was Reale Spanish coin. Early foreign silver coinsEarly wereforeign also found silver coins were also found Spanish Early foreign a wagon overturned as it was coin Eight Reale Spanish coin. Early foreign silver coinsEight wereReale also found coming down the steep bank ge! I hadThese things are huge! I had coming down the steep bank in abundance, as shownin byabundance, these. as shown by these. Theseby things are huge! coming I had downinthe abundance, steep bank as sh These things are huge! I had in abundance, as shown these. January- February 2012 AmericanJanuaryDigger February Magazine2012 23 American Digger Magazine January- February 2012 American Magazine2012 23 American www.americandigger.com JanuaryFebruary 2012 American Digger Digger Magazine Magazine Digger February www.americandigger.com JanuaryJanuary- February 2012 American Digger Magazine
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and entering the rain swollen river. The wagon and horses would have been tossed and turned and swept down stream in a jumbled mess. I have read accounts of this very thing happening in hurried river crossings during the American Civil War. Of course, this is just my theory, and the true reason will probably never be known, but I do know that the treasure was once lost to the ages and I was bringing it back into the public domain. By day’s end, I had found 120 coins. My goodie bag was very heavy and the sound of the silver jingling was one of the sweetest sounds I have heard in many a year. Every one of the coins was silver and the newest was minted 24 American Digger Magazine
Note the counter stamp on this 1832 half-dollar, an early form of marketing. Houck’s Panacea, which was placed on the market in 1834, sold for $1.50 a bottle and, according to one advertisement, could be “taken with perfect safety by all ages and in all diseases.”
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in 1837. I returned to the spot again and recovered another 17 coins. Most of these were ones that had been swept down stream up to 60 feet away. In two trips to the site, I had found 137 silver coins. The vast majority of them were U.S. silver half-dollars. But what I found to be especially interesting was the variety of countries represented in the remaining coinage. I found ‘dollar’ sized coins from France, Brazil, Spain, Mexico and Peru. I am now wondering if this is a typical sample of what was in the general circulation of coinage in the U.S. in 1837. I would have thought that the coinage would have been much more standardized by that time, but silver is silver. Or perhaps could this have
been the treasure of a worldly traveler? My favorite of the larger coins is a Brazilian 960 Reis. The motto on the coin is “Sign Stab Nata Subq” which means “Born under a steady sign.” It is a beautiful coin minted in 1815. I also found four Five Franc coins from France. Two of them represent Louis the XVIII and are dated 1815 and 1823. Another is of Emperor Napoleon dated 1814. The 17 Spanish Eight Reale coins were dated from 1789 to 1818. I found a whopping 97 U.S. silver half-dollars which ranged from 1811 to 1837. The majority were the later dates, with 20 being 1834 followed by 15 from 1832. The smallest coins were Spanish Four Reales. In total, the coins weighed in at a respectable four pounds, seven ounces, all silver! I never dreamed that I would ever come across such a cache. In just a few short hours, I dug a lifetime of finds. Although I have worked hard and put in many years detecting, I must give some credit to the detector I was using. I had been using the Garrett AT
Pro for six weeks and it has repeatedly demonstrated to me that it is possible to pick through areas of heavy iron infestation and hear the good signals hidden between and under the trash. I look forward to many more detecting trips and plan quite a few to this special spot for silver coins. Maybe a bag full of gold coins fell out of the wagon as it rolled over again slightly further down stream. It keeps the dreams alive, and I hope to one day see you all in the field or water, chasing your own dreams.
About The Author Beau Ouimette grew up near Harpers Ferry and has metal detected for relics for over 25 years. An accomplished diver, he also enjoys underwater searching for sharks teeth and other fossils. January- February 2012 American Digger Magazine
A behind-the-scenes look by the medical team helps answer the age-old question: “What is wrong with us... and why do we have so much fun?” By Doc Rodney Cox
in ’ n gi ia g i D rgin XI Vi & X XX Editors note: The prescription for a successful organized relic hunt includes preparation and “treatment” by a team of dedicated enthusiasts. We have asked one of these individuals, Dr. Rodney Cox, head of the DIV medical team, to give us his own behind-thescenes input of his participation in Diggin’ In Virginia. Not only did he do that, but also gave us his diagnosis on some medical conditions we might recognize. While much of this article is written tongue-in-check, we would like to commend Dr. Cox and his medical team for their unrelenting service in keeping the attendees of the Diggin’ in Virginia events safe.
Originally Published in Vol 8 Issue 4 Click here to order single issues.
I Because of the closeness of participants and the family atmosphere, Digarelicitis related illnesses spread like wildfire at recent DIV XX and XXI events.
Confirmed acute cases of Confederatus Obsessionis often lead to DIV relics like these (L-R): South Carolina belt plate found by Kevin Ambrose; Virginia button and CS tongue recovered by Dale Weaver; Georgia belt plate dug by Chris Roberts. At the top of this page, 30 American Digger Magazine ® Vol. 8, one Issue 4sufferer takes the precaution of 32 2012 American Digger Magazine Sampler self-imposed quarantine.
have had the honor and pleasure of knowing John and Rose Kendrick since DIV II, and I’ve participated in every DIV since then. The current medical team is headed up by myself, a board certified emergency medicine physician, and two extremely capable paramedic/firefighters, Bill Compher and Tony Hochstetler. Committee members Roland Hankey and Dave Cooper have also played an active part in “search and rescue” operations. A considerable amount of time goes into preparing the medical team for a DIV event. Bill and Tony are tasked with the chore of obtaining and borrowing equipment from their
Photo by John Leazier
DIGARELICITIS at DIV
Photo by Brian Fisher
Many DIV participants come down with Many DIV participants come down with the Buttononic Plague, the symptoms of which include loud scream symptoms of which include loud screaming and impromptu dancing. Some cases at DIV XX and XXI included Some cases at DIV XX and XXI included (clockwise from upper left): Virginia dug by Kim “Streak” Cox (Min Virginia dug by Kim “Streak” Cox (Minelab GPX 4800); Mississippi found by Jack Brumbach (Minela “A” found by Jack Brumbach (Minelab GPX 4800);“A” Rhode Island recovered by Curt Hollifield; North C recovered by Curt Hollifield; North Carolina dug by Terry Smith Infinium); Confederate Infantr (Garrett Infinium); Confederate Infantry found by (Garrett Gary Silvernail (Garrett Infinium); Ordnance located b (Garrett Infinium); Ordnance located by Thomas Bunnell (Minelab GPX Ordinance 5000); Kentish Guards found b GPX 5000); Kentish Guards found by Brian Fisher; by Tony Stevenson; Script “I excavated by Tony Stevenson; Script “I” Confederateexcavated Infantry found by Robert Wolfe by Robert Wolfe (White’s MXT); Confederate “A” Artillery and South (White’s MXT); Confed dug by Mike Murray; South Ca Carolina dug by Mike Murray; South Carolina foundCarolina by Jeff Brown; Texas cuffs located by Butch Brown (Mi Texas cuffs located by Butch Brown (Minelab GPX 5000); Mississippi “I” cuffs recovered by George Se “I” cuffs recovered by George Sempeles (White’s TDI).
respective rescue squads and fire departments. Typically, our medical team has ready and available just about everything you would find on an ambulance. We set up a medical tent at hunt headquarters that will contain a stretcher/cot, heart monitor and defibrillator, oxygen, IV fluids, bandages, splints, and advanced airways. On our four wheelers, we carry a more portable AED (Automatic External Defibrillator) and an emergency “jump kit” with more portable supplies for rapid response. We monitor channel 6 on two-way radios as well as have cell phone access. DIV relic hunters come in all shapes and sizes from eight to 88 years old. We prepare for numerous emergencies. Overexertion and dehydration are the two most common and easily preventable occurrences. All participants are encouraged to take it easy and drink plenty of water, especially on warmer days. Cuts, scrapes, blisters, and thorns collectively account for the majority of minor medical team issues. To date, only two hunters have required transport to nearby emergency rooms for further treatment and both were treated and released quickly. We always prepare for the worst, but usually have plenty of time to help rescue relics from the ground, which is another reason why we are there!
respective rescue squads and fire departments. Typically, our medical team has ready and available just about everything you would find on an ambulance. We set up a medical tent at hunt headquarters that will contain a stretcher/cot, heart monitor and defibrillator, oxygen, IV fluids, bandages, splints, and advanced airways. On our four wheelers, we carry a more portable AED (Automatic External Defibrillator) and an emergency “jump kit” with more portable supplies for rapid response. We monitor channel 6 on two-way radios as well as have cell phone access. DIV relic hunters come in all shapes and sizes from eight to 88 years old. We prepare for numerous emergencies. Overexertion and dehydration are the two most common and easily preventable occurrences. All No one is are immune from Digarelicitis at DIV events, participants encouraged to take it easy and drink not even the medical team. (L-R): Tony Hochstetler plenty of water, especially on warmer days. Cuts, holdsblisters, a “Crowley & Coleman Washington D.C.” scrapes, and thorns collectively account for the bottle he recovered while experiencing a bout of majority of minor medical team issues. To date, only two “Glass Fever;” Dr. Rodney Cox and the officer’s hunters have required transport to nearby emergency spur he recovered during his recent six day bout rooms for further treatment and both were treated and with Digarelicitis. According to Dr. Cox, there released always prepare for thelisted worst, but are noquickly. known We cures for the maladies here. usually Thankfully, have plentyno of one timeseems to helptorescue relics from really care. the ground, which is another reason why we are there! July-August 2012 American Digger Magazine www.americandigger.com
31 33 33
No o not e hold bott “Gla spu with are
a medical tent at hunt headquarters that will contain a stretcher/cot, heart monitor and defibrillator, oxygen, IV fluids, bandages, splints, and advanced airways. On our four wheelers, we carry a more portable AED (Automatic External Defibrillator) and an emergency “jump kit” with more portable supplies for rapid response. We monitor channel 6 on two-way radios as well as have cell phone access. DIV relic hunters come in all shapes and sizes from eight to 88 years old. We prepare for numerous emergencies. Overexertion and dehydration are the two most common and easily preventable occurrences. All participants are encouraged to take it easy and drink plenty of water, especially on warmer days. Cuts, scrapes, Maxinatus blisters, and(called thorns “Diggitall” collectively by account Ferrous thosefor the of minor teamwith issues. Toiron, date,but only two inmajority the know) oftenmedical starts out junk hunters have required transport to nearby emergency can lead to the results shown here. (L-R) Short rooms blade for further both were treated and sword dug treatment by Davidand Hensley (White’s MXT); and an Enfield Bayonet recovered by but released quickly. We always prepare for the worst, TDI). relics from usuallyBlane have McGlothline plenty of time(White’s to help rescue the ground, which is another reason why we are there! ® Digger Magazine Vol. 8, IssueSampler 4 3432 American 2012 American Digger ®Magazine 34 2012 American Digger Magazine Sampler
Photo by Brian Fisher
Photo by Ed Wigart, Jr.
Many DIV participants come down with the Buttononic Plague, the symptoms of which include loud screaming and impromptu dancing. Some cases at DIV XX and XXI included (clockwise from upper left): Virginia dug by Kim “Streak” Cox (Minelab GPX 4800); Mississippi Brassatosis is often experienced by diggers “A” found by Jack Brumbach (Minelab GPX 4800); Rhode Island at these events. Unlike halitosis, which recovered by Curt Hollifield; North Carolina dug by Terry Smith results in a decrease in the number of one’s (Garrett Infinium); Confederate Infantry found by Gary Silvernail friends, brassatosis sufferers often find (Garrett Infinium); Ordnance located by Thomas Bunnell (Minelab themselves surrounded by friends, many of GPX 5000); Kentish Guards found by Brian Fisher; Ordinance whom they’ve never even met. At the past excavated by Tony Stevenson; Script “I” Confederate Infantry found two DIV events, the disease struck Greg by Robert Wolfe (White’s MXT); Confederate “A” Artillery and South Davison (Fisher F75) when he found this Carolina dug by Mike Murray; South Carolina found by Jeff Brown; flagstaff tip and Ron Callaghen who dug a Texas cuffs located by Butch Brown (Minelab GPX 5000); Mississippi pair of US bit bosses. While no names will “I” cuffs recovered by George Sempeles (White’s TDI). be mentioned to avoid embarrassment, those who experience severe cases of this ailment often overload their pouches, later leading to painful cases of Brasstroids. Lead poisoning is always a risk at DIV. While not as dangerous as lead in the blood, lead in the ground can lead to odd behavior such as digging large holes, wallowing in the dirt, and endless smiling. Ed Wigart, Sr. (Minelab GP 4000) is headed for such trouble in this photo. andshield fire departments. TypicalInrespective addition,rescue the squads patriotic and carved bullet thatteam he is in and danger on being ly, ourshow medical hasalso ready available just about infected Federalus everything youwith would find on anInfecticus. ambulance. We set up
No one is immune from Digarelicitis at DIV events, not even the medical team. (L-R): Tony Hochstetler Anholds advanced strain& of Ferrous Maxinatus, a “Crowley Coleman Washington D.C.” commonly called “Projectile Fever,” wasaalso bottle he recovered while experiencing bout of prevalent at DIV XX & XXI. Sufferers include “Glass Fever;” Dr. Rodney Cox and the officer’s Colleen Collins (White’s MXT) who dug halfbout spur he recovered during his recent six day of with a Read side-loader shell; and Ken Weitlauf Digarelicitis. According to Dr. Cox, there (Minelab GP 3000) thislisted largehere. are no known cures who for thefound maladies Shenkl fragment case Thankfully, no onewith seems to shot. really care. July-August 2012 American Digger Magazine
Photo by Scott Duckworth
Photo by Tony Musser
Many DIV participants come down w symptoms of which include loud screa Some cases at DIV XX and XXI includ Virginia dug by Kim “Streak” Cox (M “A” found by Jack Brumbach (Mine recovered by Curt Hollifield; North (Garrett Infinium); Confederate Infan (Garrett Infinium); Ordnance located GPX 5000); Kentish Guards found excavated by Tony Stevenson; “Glass Fever,” similar to “Gold Fever,” has driven many a DIV relic hunter to near-madness. Dr. Script by Robert Wolfe (White’s MXT); Confe Cox sums it up from a medical standpoint, saying, “I would rather have a bottle in front of me Carolina dug by Mike Murray; than a frontal lobotomy.” Even so, the malady was rampant at DIV XX and XXI. (L-R) Tony Musser South cuffsthese located by Butch located a hut site with his Minelab GPX 5000 detector, then dug it outTexas to reveal bottles and Brown (M “I” cuffs recovered by George clay pipes; Phil Stracener dug this log cabin bitters bottle in a pit; Amy Duckworth found this gingerbeer bottle, which had a Williams Cleaner bullet inside of it, then followed up the next day with a .45 Whitworth bullet; Jimmy Judy’s White’s TDI got a signal on a ration can, which led him to dig a trash pit and recover this rare “Greeleys Bourbon Bitters” bottle.
uring my time as DIV medical director, I have seen an ever increasing rise in bizarre and strange afflictions that have infected countless relic hunters at these events. Like any infectious disease process, a host agent, or in this case two hosts (John and Rose Kendrick), are the responsible contagion and act as the vector in disease transmission. Initial infection and spread of the disease occurs at the DIV meeting the night before the hunt begins. A crowded room filled with hundreds of friends and family exchanging hugs and
Robert Ridings (White’s MXT) and Ricky Bonner (White’s TDI) experienced a full blown case of Federalus Infecticus at the DIV, which soon turned into signs of Accoutretosis, better known as having a “High Plate Count.”
handshakes is the perfect storm for an epidemic to occur! Digarelicitis is a complex disease process, marked by numerous signs and symptoms that may vary wildly from person to person. Incubation time is very short with this virus, usually within twelve hours of respective rescue squads findings and fire departments. Typicalthe exposure. Common with most infected ly, our medical team has ready and available just individuals include generalized body aches and about joint everything find on an ambulance. set up pain as wellyou as awould relative disregard to personalWe hygiene a medical tent atFrom hunt headquarters thatthe willsigns contain and cleanliness. there, however, anda stretcher/cot, heart monitor and defibrillator, oxygen, IV symptoms vary greatly. fluids, bandages, splints, and advanced airways. On our four wheelers, we carry a more portable AED (Automatic External Defibrillator) and an emergency “jump kit” with more portable supplies for rapid response. We monitor channel 6 on two-way radios as well as have cell phone access. DIV relic hunters come in all shapes and sizes from eight to 88 years old. We prepare for numerous emergencies. Overexertion and dehydration are the two most common and easily preventable occurrences. All Some DIV illnesses can become a long term participants are encouraged to take it easy and drink ordeal. Seeka Warriorious, sometimes called plenty of water, especially on warmer days. Cuts, “Researcher’s Brain,” is a real threat to Keith scrapes, blisters, and thorns collectively for the Leppert, who dug this silver ID tagaccount of “Corpl. majority ofCo. minor medical team issues. To date, only two McHugh K 1st U.S. Cav.” and Randy Schuh, hunters have required transport to nearby emergency who dug the brass tag owned by “Frank Ritz rooms treatment and both are were Co. Efor 4thfurther U.S. Inf.” Both diggers in treated dangerand released quickly. Weclassic alwayssymptoms, prepare for the worst, but of experiencing including sleepless nights, euphoria. usually have plenty ofeye timestrain, to helpand rescue relics from the ground, which is another reason why we are there! July-August 2012 American Digger Magazine 33 www.americandigger.com www.americandigger.com 35 35
No no ho bo “G sp wi ar
Photo by John LeFevre
Bucklephoria, another offshoot of Digarelicitis, is among the easiest DIV illnesses to diagnose at a distance. Because of their loud screams, it is not unusual for everyone within earshot to learn that another digger has been affected. Among the many affected at DIV XX and XXI are (top row, L-R): Union sword belt plate dug by Randy Deaton (Garrett AT Gold); US cartridge boxplate found by David Hensley (White’s MXT); Federal breastplate recovered by Kevin Baptiste (Fisher F75); Pre-1812 Dragoon buckle dug by Roger Duron (Minelab 4800). Flanking are two diggers in the throes of this disease: (L) John LeFevre and his first US plate (marked “Boyd & Sons / Boston”), found with a Minelab X-Terra 705; (R) Pat Dunn holds a sword belt plate he dug with his White’s Blue & Grey.
Is there any relief for these DIV related sicknesses? Happily, yes. It has been discovered that a good meal of barbecue with all the trimmings, offered at most of the events, will relieve the symptoms of all here: red dirt. Out pops a Yankee three-ringer. Lead For example, the strain I refer to as Confederatus such illnesses mentioned in this article. The bad news is that the relief is only temporary, and within an poisoned! The infected soul once again wanders about Obsessionis is a particularly aggressive form of the hour of eating most return to the fields to be re-infected. Thank goodness. Above, attendees wait in line in search ofother what related has obsessed him or her to the point disease. This strain progressesarather insidiously, to experience brief respite fromusuDigarelicitis and conditions.
of madness. Wait! Out pops a Confederate script I button. Salvation; our relic hunter is cured, right? Wrong! The infected then clasps their of hands, learly, host the medical teamthe is relic quiteinaware the hiding dangers it from the others, while all the time whispering associated with the Digarelicitis Virus to themselves precious, precious.” Alas, Con(DRV), “my as well as the my other derivative medical federatus Obsessionis often degrades intotraditional a chronic conditions discussed here. While the and near terminal state.and sheer exhaustion provide DIV barbecue dinners Federalus the secondinmore common, temporary reliefInfecticus from the issymptoms, general, once though less virulent, strain. Often these poor infected a person is infected, they stay infected. Most are very souls about are overwhelmed by lead poisoning, due to the happy this. True to our profession, our medical team does our best to avoid high contamination areas. This is evidenced at most DIVs by our usual lack of relics found. Photo by Guy Spring
Photo by Guy Spring
ally with a whisper or rumor of a Confederate button or other such relic in a remote corner of a faraway field. Withinofhours, even thebullets purported sudscores dropped .58minutes, three-ring foundfield in these denly becomes overrun with hundreds of mindless, Yankee camps. They, too, ramble about the fields in diseased relic hunters. They walkrelic backfinds and forth trance-like states but significant oftenacross cretheafield in an almost Zombie-like trance, mumbling ate temporary remission in their condition. Infected southern names in long out fashion, hosts maystate actually invite otherdrawn like infected hosts“Mto i-s-s-i-s-s-i-p-p-i, Suddenly they are share in their new V-i-r-g-i-n-i-a.” found “cure!” Though somewhat shocked back to life with a hit on their metal detector. less toxic and maddening, Federalus Infecticus is usuQuickly, feverishly, theyasdig into the common catalyst ally a chronic diagnosis well.
About The Author Rodney Cox, MD, lives in Pearisburg VA along with wife, Lora, and daughter, Bethany. He has been seriously relic hunting for 17 years and has Some who attended DIV XX and XXI may have been the Diggin’ in Virginia medical director since to consider corrective surgeries related to their the event’s early days. Well qualified for such a (L-R) Jeff Barley, Likely using acandidates Garrett Infinium, token resistance against the Brassatosis brought various maladies. would put be up only task, he is Board certified in Emergency Medicine on by this “D.L. Wing & Co. Albany N.Y.” store token; In addition to a Texas star badge, Tom Ference this bullseye canteen dug by Matt Jennings as well as Emergency Dept. Director at the Beckley dughis 21White’s ZouaveTDI, buttons fromwreath the same hole, with and this portion ofan indication of Digthemall, or as it is known by its street (WV) Veterans Medical Center. name, “Hunkering Down.” Addictions are also present, such as HutAdministration Digging, Cherry Picking, and of a Confederate buckle found by Greg Snowman course, Tobacco Pipes, while using a Fisher F75.such as this one recovered by Malcolm Price in a trash pit. 34 American Digger Magazine
Vol. 8, Issue 4
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Many DIV participants come dow symptoms of which include loud Some cases at DIV XX and XXI i Virginia dug by Kim “Streak” Co “A” found by Jack Brumbach recovered by Curt Hollifield; N (Garrett Infinium); Confederate (Garrett Infinium); Ordnance loc GPX 5000); Kentish Guards fo excavated by Tony Stevenson; S by Robert Wolfe (White’s MXT); C Carolina dug by Mike Murray; S Texas cuffs located by Butch Bro “I” cuffs recovered by Ge
Is there any relief for these DIV related sicknesses? Happily, yes. It has been discovered that a good meal of barbecue with all the trimmings, offered at most of the events, will relieve the symptoms of all such illnesses mentioned in this article. The bad news is that the relief is only temporary, and within an hour of eating most return to the fields to be re-infected. Thank goodness. Above, attendees wait in line to experience a brief respite from Digarelicitis and other related conditions.
scores of dropped .58 three-ring bullets found in these Yankee camps. They, too, ramble about the fields in trance-like states but significant relic finds often create a temporary remission in their condition. Infected hosts may actually invite other like infected hosts to share in their new found “cure!” Though somewhat less toxic and maddening, Federalus Infecticus is usually a chronic diagnosis as well.
Some who attended DIV XX and XXI may have to consider corrective surgeries related to their various maladies. Likely candidates would be this bullseye canteen dug by Matt Jennings with his White’s TDI, and this wreath portion of a Confederate buckle found by Greg Snowman while using a Fisher F75.
learly, therescue medical teamand is fire quite aware of the respective squads departments. Typicaldangers associated with the Digarelicitis ly, our medical team has ready and availableVirus just about (DRV), asyou wellwould as thefind other medical everything on derivative an ambulance. We set up conditions discussed here. While the traditional a medical tent at hunt headquarters that will contain a DIV barbecue dinners sheerand exhaustion provide stretcher/cot, heartand monitor defibrillator, oxygen, IV temporary relief from the symptoms, in general, once fluids, bandages, splints, and advanced airways. On our a person infected, they stay infected. Most areAED very(Autofouris wheelers, we carry a more portable happy matic about External this. Defibrillator) and an emergency “jump True to our profession, oursupplies medicalforteam does our We kit” with more portable rapid response. best tomonitor avoid high contamination areas. This is evidenced channel 6 on two-way radios as well as have at mostcell DIVs by our usual lack of relics found. phone access. DIV relic hunters come in all shapes and sizes from eight to 88 years old. We prepare for numerous emergencies. Overexertion and dehydration are the two most common andThe easily preventable occurrences. All About Author participants are lives encouraged to take VA it easy and drink Rodney Cox, MD, in Pearisburg along of water, especially Bethany. on warmer with plenty wife, Lora, and daughter, He days. has Cuts, blisters, and thorns account beenscrapes, seriously relic hunting forcollectively 17 years and has for the majority of minor medical team issues. To date, been the Diggin’ in Virginia medical director sinceonly two hunters early have days. required to for nearby the event’s Welltransport qualified suchemergency a for further treatment and bothMedicine were treated and task,rooms he is Board certified in Emergency released quickly. We always prepare the worst, but as well as Emergency Dept. Director at thefor Beckley usually haveAdministration plenty of time to help rescue relics from (WV) Veterans Medical Center. the ground, which is another reason why we are there! July-August 2012 American Digger Magazine www.americandigger.com
2012 American Digger Magazine Sampler 速
Our mission: To hunt with American Digger readers across the nation, attempting to recover history Carson River, NV shows the Carson River, NV shows the from every state. stark difference between its desert stark difference between its desert By John Velke mountains and a river oasis. mountains and a river oasis.
ealers brush their hands every few minutes as if water bubbles and boils up from fissures in the rocks they’re whipping dry sand off of their fingers. and forms into a small lake quite clear but so hot that it Bright lights, bells, and cigarette smoke assault you scalds.” Samuel J. Tutt, August 4, 1849 from multiple fronts. No-armed bandits outnumber the one-armed bandits ten to one, and two-armed bandits Near where the post office must have once stood, I don’t exist. Cameras record everything from the time saw a bearded man in an almost white pickup. Since he you park in the parking lot until you leave later with a was the only other human being I could see for miles, thinner wallet. These things I learned the night before I guessed correctly that he was Chris Porter and that he my relic hunting adventure began in Nevada. It cost me was there to meet me. eight dollars. I was put in touch with Chris through the Western I was actually glad that I lost a few dollars in States Prospecting Association where he serves as a a casino. My thinking was that, if I wasn’t lucky on Vice President. He graciously agreed to let me tag along From ancient snail shells toorearly 1900s found silver in hunting one From ancient shells to early 1900s found silver tableware one holehole Friday, maybe I’d besnail lucky on Saturday Sunday. The Don withDon him and this Donthis Houston, a tableware longtimeinrelic along the Carson River. The ceramics, the areas the hunted along theexplored Carson River. dig dig location ceramics, the areas the author waswas buddy, next morning I discovered that I author was hunted indeed heading as we some of The the history oflocation Nevada. littered with items spanning the centuries. is shown here behind the finds. littered with items spanning the centuries. is shown here behind the finds. into a “lucky” weekend. The first My second bit of luck was that ______________ ______________ bit of luck struck ______________ me ______________ east of Reno Chris had a lot of extra equipment on Interstate 80. was scheduled to things in his truck, so was able to started get started so moved we moved the rental I could I could see mountains in distant theIdistant east in the to get so Iwe my my things fromfrom the rental see mountains in the east andtoand injerry the meet my On The Road host in the rig the shaft on my Whites TDIcarChris’s to Chris’s headed a nearby distant but this sandy, car to trucktruck and and headed for afor nearby site.site. distant westwest but this areaarea was was flat, flat, dry, dry, sandy, and and hot. hot. parking lot of the Boiling Spring Pro to make up for the piece thatbeen previously scouted a location whereWe soon We soon discovered the site located DonDon had had previously scouted a location where discovered that that the site DonDon located had had been post office at 8heading AM. I got offwest atduring theduring disappeared from my immigrants heading Californiavisited visited frequently for more 160 years. We found immigrants west the the California frequently for more thanthan 160 years. Weluggage found correct exit and saw nothing but somewhere during my travels. crossed 40 Mile Desert. Personalshards shards of glass ceramics (dating goldgold rushrush had had crossed the the 40 Mile Desert. Personal of glass and and ceramics (dating fromfrom the the mid-midan industrial plant, steam rising A few minutes later, Don accounts of this leg of the journey described a hostile 1800s to the early 1900s) mixed with modern bullets accounts of this leg of the journey described a hostile 1800s to the early 1900s) mixed with modern bullets from the earth, and a greenless pulled up in a Jeep well suited for environment which its toll on man animal: and and casings on the surface. several environment which tooktook its toll on man and and animal: shellshell casings lyinglying on the surface. For For several landscape. I wasn’t the first with an the off-road activities of a serious hours, we found small pieces of brass, hours, we found largelarge and and small pieces of brass, lead,lead, unfavorable first impression: relic hunter. It was obvious from “Passed over a dreary … dusty alkalie road. Passed iron and copper ore. Most of what we found was either “Passed over a dreary … dusty alkalie road. Passed iron and copper ore. Most of what we found was either the very first moment that I was in many cattle mules which given to date or hard to identify. In fact, I can’t many cattle and and mules which had had given out out and and werewerehardhard to date or hard to identify. In fact, I can’t say say for for “Reached the hot spring … the company of men with a passion “On The Road” Nevada hosts dead or left to die – having had no sleep for some nights certain that anything we found there was associated dead or left to die – having had no sleep for some nights certain that anything we found there was associated this is the most dreary desolate for gold digging to ever Don Houston and Chris Porter … almost fell from my mule frequently.” with 1849 period gold rush. did find several … almost fell from my mule frequently.” with the the 1849 period rush.equal We We didany findI’ve several looking place we ever saw. … the encountered. We were all anxious stand before the 40 Mile Desert. William E. Chamberlain, August 5, 1849 an old wood-planked which William E. Chamberlain, August 5, 1849 brassbrass box box lids lids nearnear an old wood-planked well,well, which 38 American Digger Magazine
Vol. 8, Issue 3
40 2012 2011American AmericanDigger Digger®® Magazine 40 Magazine Sampler Sampler
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Carson Rive Carson River, NV shows the stark difference stark difference between its desert mountains a mountains and a river oasis.
From ancient snail shells to early 1900s ceramics, the areas the author hunted was littered with items spanning the centuries. ______________
ancient snail shells to early Don found From this silver tableware in one hole1900s ceramics, the areas hunted was along the Carson River. Thethe digauthor location littered with items spanning the centuries is shown here behind the finds. ______________ ______________
to get started so we moved my things from the rental car to Chris’s truck and headed for a nearby site. Don had previously scouted a location where immigrants heading west during the California gold rush had crossed the 40 Mile Desert. Personal accounts of this leg of the journey described a hostile environment which took its toll on man and animal:
getmountains started soinwe I couldtosee themoved distantmy eastthings and infrom the the ren carbut to this Chris’s for aand nearby distant west areatruck was and flat,headed dry, sandy, hot.site. Don had previously a location whe We soon discovered that the site Don scouted located had been immigrants heading west during the Californ visited frequently for more than 160 years. We found crossed the 40 Mile shards of gold glass rush and had ceramics (dating from theDesert. mid- Person accounts of this leg of the journey described 1800s to the early 1900s) mixed with modern bullets a host tooksurface. its toll on and animal: and shell environment casings lyingwhich on the Forman several hours, we found large and small pieces of brass, lead, “Passed overofawhat dreary dustywas alkalie road. Pass iron and copper ore. Most we…found either many cattle mulesInwhich given out and we hard to date or hard to and identify. fact, Ihad can’t say for dead or left to die – having had no sleep for certain that anything we found there was associatedsome nig … almost fellgold fromrush. my mule frequently.” with the 1849 period We did find several Chamberlain, August 1849 brass box lidsWilliam near anE.old wood-planked well,5,which
“Passed over a dreary … dusty alkalie road. Passed many cattle and mules which had given out and were dead or left to die – having had no sleep for some nights … almost fell from my mule frequently.” William E. Chamberlain, August 5, 1849
May-June 2012 American Digger Magazine
How inhospitable is this area? This is not highway exhaust or morning fog. This is steam rising from deep within the earth. Carson River, NV shows the shells,desert and one .52 cal. rimfire showed promise of being stark old and difference between its interesting. found by Chris. My vision mountains and a river cartridge oasis. of finding a box of heavy silver After a short rest and a hastily tableware buried by an immigrant, eaten lunch, we decided to move a few miles to the west and try too exhausted to carry on with it, vanished over the mountain with an area where wagons had been the sunset. dragged up from the desert onto a ridge. By this point in their journey, Sunday morning arrived before immigrants were tired, thirsty, and my old tired body was ready. Chris, fed up. They lightened their load Although no prospecting was Don, and I had agreed to meet at a by discarding items on either side done on this trip, Chris was kind casino near Carson City for breakof the trail. Unfortunately, this area enough to show the author some fast. I confess that my first thought is well known and well hunted. of the gold nuggets he’s found. was that we would have been betOur take for the afternoon was a ter off eating at an IHOP or Waffle ______________ pocketful of .22 cal. slugs, shotgun House, or something similar, but I From ancient snail shells to early 1900s Don found this silver tableware in one hole along the Carson River. The dig location ceramics, the areas the author hunted was littered with items spanning the centuries. is shown here behind the finds. ______________ ______________ to get started so we moved my things from the rental car to Chris’s truck and headed for a nearby site. Don had previously scouted a location where immigrants heading west during the California gold rush had crossed the 40 Mile Desert. Personal accounts of this leg of the journey described a hostile environment which took its toll on man and animal:
I could see mountains in the distant east and in the distant west but this area was flat, dry, sandy, and hot. We soon discovered that the site Don located had been visited frequently for more than 160 years. We found shards of glass and ceramics (dating from the mid1800s to the early 1900s) mixed with modern bullets and shell casings lying on the surface. For several hours, we found large and small pieces of brass, lead, “Passed over a dreary … dusty alkalie road. Passed iron and copper ore. Most of what we found was either many cattle and mules which had given out and were hard to date or hard to identify. In fact, I can’t say for leftbe to prepared die – havingto had no asleep certain that anything foundDon therehas wasfound associated You dead haveorto dig lot for of some smallnights An assortment of smallwe items fell from my mule frequently.” with the 1849 period gold rush. We didShown find several junk… toalmost find the hidden good stuff. The 1880s in old mining areas near Virginia City. William E. Chamberlain, brass box lids near an old wood-planked well, which earring at center contains aAugust trace5,of1849 gold. in this photograph is but a small portion. 40 American Digger Magazine ®® Vol. 8, Issue 3 42 MagazineSampler Sampler 42 2012 2012American AmericanDigger Digger Magazine
May-June 2012 American Digger Magazine
The immigrant trail through the 40 Mile Desert. The mountains in the distance were said to be home to the Red Haired Giants. was the visitor so I went along with the plan. When I arrived at the casino restaurant and looked at the menu, I quickly realized what all the locals know. The casinos nearly give the food away in the morning. Chris and Don explained that the casinos think that if they can fill you up with a good meal, you won’t leave and go somewhere else with your gambling money. We each had a hearty breakfast and the bill for the three of us came to less than what I would have paid for one similar breakfast anywhere else. (Note to publisher: I hereby volunteer to do all “On The Road” articles for states where a casino is nearby). Before we headed to some old mining areas to relic hunt, we stopped at Don’s house to admire some of his finds. Instead of a “man cave,” he has a “man backyard
Carson Rive patio.” Here are rusty gun parts, mining tools, old stark difference bottles, bones, and even a complete ironmountains stove he pulled a from a river bank. I’m envious and am now ready to go find some things I can use to start my own backyard fence display. Chris and I followed Don’s Jeep out to the Carson River where quartz reduction mills once lined the fast flowing stream. During the mid to late 1800s, ore was transported from the Comstock Lode via the Virginia and Truckee Railroad to this area for processing. The hillsides, once covered with mills and workers’ housing, now seem just as dreary and desolate as the 40 Mile Desert. The flat area on both banks of the river is green and lush with vegetation. Before we even got close to the site that had been picked, I had decided that I would From ancient snail shells to early 1900s ceramics, the areas the author hunted was littered with items spanning the centuries ______________
to get started so we moved my things from the ren car to Chris’s truck and headed for a nearby site. Don had previously scouted a location whe immigrants heading west during the Californ gold rush had crossed the 40 Mile Desert. Person accounts of this leg of the journey described a host environment which took its toll on man and animal:
“Passed over a dreary … dusty alkalie road. Pass many cattle and mules which had given out and we dead or left to die – having had no sleep for some nig … almost fell fromRiver. my mule (L-R) Chris Porter tackles the heavy brush located near the Carson Hefrequently.” found E. of Chamberlain, this .52 caliber rim-fire cartridge casing on our William first day hunting. August 5, 1849 May-June 2012 American Digger Magazine www.americandigger.com
Don’s backyard decorating reveals his passion for anything old. Thedecorating heavy ironreveals stove at lower right was Don’s backyard his passion for dragged out of iron a nearby bank. anything old. The heavy stoveriver at lower right was dragged out of a nearby river bank. digging. At a depth of five inches, I uncovered a small round earring withofa five traceinches, of goldI uncovered on it. I searched digging. At a depth a smallfor the second of Ithe jewelryfor box round earringearring with a and tracethe of contents gold on it. searched it came out of in vain. I pouched a lot of small signals the second earring and the contents of the jewelry box theout Chinese coinsI and otheravaluables alluded me. it but came of in vain. pouched lot of small signals The was coins true for Don onalluded this trip, but but thesame Chinese andChris otherand valuables me. I also knew that the site had produced for them before The same was true for Chris and Don on this trip, but and that would so had again. I also knewit that thedosite produced for them before I had one last stop to make before leaving Nevada. and that it would do so again. I happen to last be astop fan toofmake Markbefore Twainleaving and have always I had one Nevada. wanted to to be visit the of Mark in always Virginia I happen a fan MarkTwain Twainmuseum and have City. Settled in 1859, Virginia City is one of those wanted to visit the Mark Twain museum in Virginia places wherein you canVirginia look past theisautomobiles and City. Settled 1859, City one of those the tourists wearing shorts and silly hats and see what places where you can look past the automobiles and looked like 160 ago.what Even thea frontier tourists mining wearingtown shorts and silly hatsyears and see though itmining was late in looked the tourist season, theago. sidewalks a frontier town like 160 years Even were crowded and the businesses seemed to be thriving. though it was late in the tourist season, the sidewalks I only had time stops after I left the Twain were crowded andfor thetwo businesses seemed to beMark thriving. museum; the National Police Museum and a local I only had time for two stops after I left the Mark Twain purveyorthe of dry throat cures. enjoyed both. museum; National Police IMuseum and a local I figure thatthroat the eight I wasted in a casino at purveyor of dry cures.bucks I enjoyed both. theI figure beginning of my trip was made up for thousand that the eight bucks I wasted in a acasino at over byofthe to made relic hunt with Chris and thetimes beginning mychance trip was up for a thousand Don.over They me to some partsChris of Nevada times byshowed the chance relicscenic hunt with and that don’t need to be dressed up with neon lights, and I Don. They showed me some scenic parts of Nevada was fortunate enough to findupa with few things connected that don’t need to be dressed neon lights, and Ito Nevada history. Assorted Chinese Opium can lids, circa 1868, was fortunate enough to find a few things connected to found atChinese the railroad camp. more on1868, these, Nevada history. Assorted Opium canFor lids, circa readrailroad the side bar on page. found at the camp. Fornext more on these, read Digger the side bar onVol. next page. 44 American Magazine 8, Issue 3 be staying near the river and in the shade for most of the Lucky this is in what hosts had inofmind. beday. staying nearfor theme, river and the my shade for most the TheLucky absence of nearby andhosts safe-deposit boxes day. for me, this is banks what my had in mind. meant that residents their valuables. The absence of nearbywould banksoften and cache safe-deposit boxes The complete silver serving set found by Don a year meant that residents would often cache their valuables. earlier was fresh in serving my mind. ready to dig. The complete silver setI was found by Don a year After we parked, Don invited me to try a spot earlier was fresh in my mind. I was ready to dig. where heAfter had previously some me oldtoChinese coins. My we parked, found Don invited try a spot where first signal was one of those really good deep brass he had previously found some old Chinese coins. My signals thatwas hadone me of thinking plate.” first signal those “US reallyaccoutrement good deep brass But, ofthat course, that’s not what was. At a footplate.” down, I signals had me thinking “USit accoutrement found another one of those rectangular shaped box But, of course, that’s not what it was. At a foot down,lids I with another what looked to those be Chinese characters on it. I took found one of rectangular shaped box lids it to the truck and to carefully wrapped it for safe with what looked be Chinese characters on it.keeping. I took it A whileand later, I got a wrapped faint signal that sounded worth tolittle the truck carefully it for safe keeping. A little while later, I got a faint signal that sounded worth
44 American Digger Magazine
Vol. 8, Issue 3
2012 American Digger Magazine Sampler ®
Solving a Mystery: Chinese Opium Can Lids By John Velke
ne of the things I enjoy most about relic hunting is finding and holding a tangible item that opens the door to learning more about American history. The brass box lids with Chinese characters found during my On The Road adventure in Nevada offer a perfect case in point. As I stood in the desert holding one of these lids, a whole slew of questions went through my mind. Are these Chinese characters? What do they mean? How old is it? What was in the box? What relation does it have to the nearby wood-planked well, if any? To begin answering these questions, I reached out to Bob Roach, another member of the American Digger staff, who is temporarily working in China. I asked that he have someone look at the symbols. Bob responded with an answer from Dong Chen, a Chinese coworker. The symbols are Chinese. One box lid is translated to say, “Source of Deer” or “Deer’s Home” or “The Place Where Deer Comes.” It’s believed to be either the name of a place or the manufacturer’s name. A second box lid was translated to say, “Good Luck” and “Prosperity.” Unfortunately, neither translation provided a clue to the boxes’ contents, or why they were located in a Nevada desert. I next turned to maps and aerial images of the 40 Mile Desert. I suspected the lids were not discarded by an immigrant heading west along the trail and that there must have been some other reason why these were there. The maps gave the answer. Located a short distance away was the track-bed of the Canadian Pacific Railroad. I soon confirmed that the railroad through this area had been constructed in 1868 by Chinese laborers working from west to east. This wasn’t just any railroad track. This was the track that began in Sacramento, California in 1863 and worked its way east to join the Union Pacific Railroad at Promontory Point, Utah in
Opium can lid found by the author in Nevada. ____________ 1869, creating the first transcontinental railroad! What the history books I grew up with didn’t say is that this first transcontinental railroad depended largely on the work of Chinese immigrants. In 1865, after two years of slow progress, and a shortage of good workers, Charles Crocker, chief of railroad construction, convinced the company to employ Chinese laborers. Crocker argued that people who built the Great Wall of China and invented gunpowder could certainly build a railroad. During the next four years, as many as 22,000 Chinese immigrants worked on the railroad and some had a work camp situated near the immigrant trail on the 40 Mile Desert in 1868. Presumably they dug a well in search of a source of water for their camp. Despite the fact that the Chinese laborers were present and did the lion’s share of the work, when it came time to take the now famous photograph commemorating the completion of the first transcontinental railroad, not a single Chinese laborer was allowed to stand in front of the camera. I now could conclusively date the box lids to 1868, and knew how and why they were left there. My only unanswered question was what did the
Photo Courtesy of Library of Congress
boxes contain? For the answer, I surfed several western state archeological websites looking for a similar box lid. It only took a few minutes to find these referred to as “opium can lids” and pictured among the Asian Comparative Collection at the University of Idaho. Quoting from the curator of this collection, Pricilla Wegars, “Opium came in rectangular brass cans, most of which have what is probably a brand name stamped into the lid...” Now a scene from one of my favorite movies comes to mind. Curly Bill is staggering around and shooting in the middle of the street in Tombstone after leaving a Chinese opium smoking den. Under the influence of the narcotic, he shoots and kills Marshall White as the Marshall attempts to disarm him. Wyatt Earp taps Curly Bill on the head and takes him into custody. The scene has an element of truth to it. Western cities did have Chinese opium dens that were patronized by both Chinese and whites. Some regarded opium smoking in moderation as similar to having a drink after work, while others saw it as an evil narcotic capable of making men do horrible things. In an 1870s editorial from Virginia City, Nevada a writer said, “There is no city on the coast where the Oriental custom of smoking opium is more thoroughly established than here (Virginia City, NV) or in which it is calculated to produce more destructive effects.” In 1877, the Nevada legislature passed a bill making it illegal to smoke opium or run an opium smoking den. Twenty-two years later, the Federal Government made opium importation illegal. What started out as a beat up piece of brass has turned into a piece of tangible history linked to the building of the first transcontinental railroad, as well as an example of Chinese culture in America during the 1800s. It is now part of my personal history, as it will forever remind me of an adventure in Nevada where, thanks to Chris and Don, bad luck turned to good luck.
May-June 2012 American Digger Magazine
Archaeology At An Iconic American Site: The 1777 Valley Forge Encampment When professional archaeologists and experienced metal detectorists come together, it is the best of both worlds. By Dan Sivilich Author’s Note: BRAVO (Battlefield Restoration and Archaeological Volunteer Organization) was founded in 1999. It began as an offshoot of the Deep Search Metal Detecting Club and the Friends of Monmouth Battlefield. It has grown into an organization known worldwide for its work at battlefield and encampment sites, especially those associated with the American Revolutionary War. I am the current president and one of the founders. We have used our metal detectors legally on sacred grounds alongside archaeologists on sites that many relic hunters dream of. The price for this honor is that we do not get to keep any artifacts and we must map our findings with state-of-the-art equipment. This story is about one of those sites...
help locate any hot spots. He had no funding and was on a shoestring budget. I said that we would of course be interested, but did not hear back from him. In late September 2006 my son Eric and I attended the 4th Annual Fields of Conflict conference at the Royal Armories in Leeds, England. I ran into David there and he wanted to talk about the project, but our schedules did not allow this to happen. After the conference, Eric and I took some vacation time to visit Edinburg, Scotland for a few days. There we found the a most interesting museum on the Royal Mile: The Scotch Whisky Heritage Center with 300 bottles of different single malts. But that’s a story for another time. Our next vacation stop was in the ancient city of York. We were sightseeing when a light rain came up. We dashed for the cover of a store awning that we knew his story begins in late 2005 at the annual Council was around the corner. As we darted round the bend, for North East Historical Archaeology (CNEHA) I physically ran into a stout, grey-haired gentleman, which was being held in Trenton, NJ. Part of the nearly knocking both he and myself over. He turned as conference included a tour of Monmouth Battlefield State if to scold me but, to my surprise, Park with demonstrations by it was David, who was also there BRAVO using metal detectors with his wife, sightseeing. He and a laser transit on how to smiled and said that we had to talk survey a large battlefield site. about the Valley Forge project! My good friend, Dr. David We found the Swan Pub, a nice Orr, Professor of Archaeology Victorian pub that was warmed at Temple University and by a large hearth wood fireplace. retired Chief Archaeologist It was a picture in itself. A large at Valley Forge National sleeping dog lay by the crackling Park, approached me and fire and the smell of local beer said that he had a spot outside and burning oak was prevalent. of the National Park that The four of us ordered a pint may have had some activity each and David and I began laying associated with the 1777-78 encampment. He was going The members of BRAVO (Battlefield Res- the plans for the excavation of the to have the area excavated as toration and Archaeological Volunteer Valley Forge site. It was almost a graduate student project, but Organization) have a lot of fun while surreal discussing one of the most wondered if BRAVO could helping archaeologists at the same time. iconic American Revolutionary
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Originally Published in Vol 8, Issue 5 Click here to order single issues.
Dr. David Orr, Professor of Archaeology at Temple Dr. David Orr,the Professor at Temple University, flags locationof ofArchaeology the musket ball shown University, flags the location of the musket ball shown in the inset, located by detectorist Dan Sivilich. in the inset, located by detectorist Dan Sivilich. War sites while in a British pub. It was now October little excavating, we found a flattened, irregularly shaped 2006War andsites BRAVO was in its busy season, with crops disk excavating, with a hand-punched in the center. It was while in a British pub. It was now Octoberleadlittle we found ahole flattened, irregularly shaped being harvested and fields at Monmouth State identifiable, buta hand-punched we decided tohole bag in thetheartifact 2006 and BRAVO was in its busy Battlefield season, with cropsnot lead disk with center.and It was Parkbeing now harvested accessible.and David and I agreed to meet at the flag the spot so that we could properly measure it in with fields at Monmouth Battlefield State not identifiable, but we decided to bag the artifact and site Park to review the terrain David and determine whattoBRAVO turned to ask a question and swung now accessible. and I agreed meet at thethe transit. flag the Ispot so that we David could properly measure it in with could or could not accomplish. my detector behind me. There I got another nice tone, site to review the terrain and determine what BRAVO the transit. I turned to ask David a question and swung David and I met the site on the sunny but brisk so we to behind dig thisme. last target callanother it a day. Wetone, could or could notataccomplish. mydecided detector Thereand I got nice morningDavid of December 12, 2006. It was lightly wooded slowly trowelled the target and there it was; an unfired and I met at the site on the sunny but brisk so we decided to dig this last target and call it a day. We withmorning only a few inches of leaf humus ground cover. muskettrowelled ball with athe distinctive white of December 12, and 2006. It was lightly woodedleadslowly target and therepatina. it was;We annow unfired I could there would be of a few whereground our total a potential site. We flagged the location andnow withsee only a few inches leaf areas and humus cover.had lead musketmilitary ball with a distinctive white patina. We station lasersee transit* have to be moved around artifact. military Now wesite. needed plan athe strategy on and I could there would be a few areas where our totalbagged hadthe a potential We to flagged location because of laser poor lines of sight to to treebeclusters, to best survey the site, findwe a willing station transit* woulddue have moved but aroundhowbagged the artifact. Now needed graduate to plan a student strategy on overall the site was not too bad. David asked if we would candidate to take it on as a thesis, seek some funding, because of poor lines of sight due to tree clusters, but how to best survey the site, find a willing graduateand student use the transit laywas outnot a large gridDavid for theasked students care of related in and thefunding, project and overall theto site too bad. if weand wouldtakecandidate to takedetails. it on asWinter a thesis,setseek some archaeologists to to uselaytoout pinpoint artifact andstudents feature andhad take to becare delayed until spring. use the transit a large grid for the of related details. Winter set in and the project locations. He then to asked I had myartifact metal detector 2007 my told me his girlfriend was archaeologists useme to ifpinpoint and feature In hadFebruary to be delayed untilson spring. withlocations. me. “Surely you jest,” I replied, then retrieved my coming for a visit and he thought would to take was He then asked me if I had my metal detector In February 2007 my son ittold me be hisfun girlfriend Whites detector you fromjest,” the vehicle. decided that myher to an archaeological I called itDavid asked, withEagle me. “Surely I replied,Hethen retrieved coming for a visit anddig. he thought wouldand be fun to take we would walk a straight line site to see that“How’s 3?” His response “Sounds good!” Whitesjust Eagle detector from thethrough vehicle.theHe decided her March to an archaeological dig.was I called David and He asked, if we would actually find any period artifacts at all or also had a student, Carin Bloom, who wanted to take the we would just walk a straight line through the site to see “How’s March 3?” His response was “Sounds good!” He instead thewould usual beer cansfind and shotgun shells. as aa student, doctoralCarin project. if we actually any period artifacts at all orproject alsoon had Bloom, who wanted to take the As soon as we entered the site, I started getting On March 3, 2007, the plan had come together; from instead the usual beer cans and shotgun shells. project on as a doctoral project. dozens As of nail They were very I shallow, so a pub in On York, England, to athe girlfriend from Indiana Statefrom soonsignals. as we entered the site, started getting March 3, 2007, plan had come together; we did not expect much. David asked how deep and I University, to a Temple graduate student, to the property dozens of nail signals. They were very shallow, so a pub in York, England, to a girlfriend from Indiana State responded was one or two inches. giving to Temple University to we didthat not itexpect much. David asked“Let’s how look deep atand Iowners University, a Temple graduateexclusive student, torights the property one,”responded he said, and then scrapped off the overburden with survey the site, to BRAVO supplying the metal detectorists that it was one or two inches. “Let’s look at owners giving Temple University exclusive rights to his trowel tosaid, reveal nice scrapped specimenoff of the a handwrought laser transit. decided that the should be one,” he anda then overburden withand survey the site,Ittowas BRAVO supplying thesite metal detectorists nail.hisWe covered it back up, went a little farther, and tested in specific quadrants. An area was cordoned off trowel to reveal a nice specimen of a handwrought and laser transit. It was decided that the site should be sampled nail signal, produced another andby Carin level of control. seconds, off nail. another We covered it back which up, went a little farther, testedtoinmaintain specificaquadrants. An areaWithin was cordoned handwrought nail. I continued alongwhich the straight line and of square nails were being flagged, Within baggedseconds, and sampled another nail signal, produced anotherclusters by Carin to maintain a level of control. soonhandwrought got a nice high pitched signal like a coin. After a tagged. Then the “good stuff” began to be excavated. nail. I continued along the straight line and clusters of square nails were being flagged, bagged and soon got a nice high pitched signal like a coin. After a tagged. Then the2012 “good stuff” Digger beganMagazine to be excavated. September-October American 23 *A combination electronic transit and distance measuring device. www.americandigger.com September-October 2012 American Digger Magazine47 23 *A combination electronic transit and distance measuring device.
BRAVO has been very successful working with professional archaeologists, pairing the group’s expertise with metal detectors and relic hunting with the archaeologists’ systematic recovery methods. The combined results show the best picture yet of the soldiers of the Revolutionary War. Shown here are some of the items recovered as a group effort, most at the Valley Forge site. Clockwise from top left: Carved “face”musket ball, scissors, octagonal cuff links, oval cuff links, a ramrod guide, a firearm nose cap, 2nd Pennsylvania Regimental buttons, a broken bayonet, sling buckles, belt buckles, part of a shoe buckle, and a 14th Continental Regimental button. ____________
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BRAVO member Glen Gunther holds a brass Revolutionary War period buckle he had just located with his detector. _____________
The above montage of photographs shows all sides of a die found at the site by the author’s son and his girlfriend. _____________
One of the first was a period sling buckle used with either made from musket balls, it is obvious that this order was not strictly enforced. a cartridge box belt, sword belt, or bayonet belt found Most digs have one artifact that will stand out more by Glen Gunther. Glen had found an area that yielded a group of artifacts including two more brass buckles. than others. On that crisp March day, Bill Rott, a novMy son and his girlfriend, Marisa Korody, borrowed ice in BRAVO, found what appeared to be a pewter USA button in very good condition. It was not unmy detector and wandered off to the corner of the til many days later while cleandesignated quad. Later in the day, they came back and handed me a ing the artifact that I noticed the lead cube asking if it was anything distinct numbers “1777” under of importance. I immediately knew the “USA.” This was now officially a fantastic find since prior it was a die made from a hammered to this button being dug, only two musket ball. However, it did not “USA/1777” buttons had been rehave any dots on the facets but had Roman numerals for all of the ported found. numbers except “four” (and the It was an incredible day at an incredible site. We put in a “I”, chewed off by a squirrel). A number of dice made from musket grid for Carin for future excavaballs, ranging from unfinished tions and identified the hot spots. Subsequent controlled excavablanks to the conventional dotted die, were found in later surveys. I tions of these hot spots yielded the wall outlines, fireplaces and personally found both a finished die and an unfinished die in one trash pits of the soldiers’ huts hole. that stood there during the winter of 1777-1778. These finds were very signifiIn later surveys and field cant since one of the first general excavations, numerous military orders, given by General George and other 18th century artifacts Washington at Valley Forge, was The author holds a pair of were found such as musket balls, there was to be no gaming in homemade dice, one completed gun parts, six 2nd Pennsylvania camp. From the number of dice, and one not, found in one hole. buttons, tomahawks and small gaming pieces, and flat lead disks Many gaming devices were axes, shoe and belt buckles, (probably used for either checkers found at the site, despite orders or game chips), all of which were cuff links, plain buttons, eating against soldiers’ gambling. September-October 2012 American Digger Magazine
Archeological work done as a result of the detectorists’ finds in certain “hot spots.” These resulted in hut sites being excavated. _____________
Bill Rott, one of BRAVOs newer members at the dig, recovered this very rare pewter USA “1777” enlisted man’s button. _____________ utensils, and numerous wrought nails from the huts. A great deal of information was gathered about camp life during that famous winter, but it was all possible by careful measurements of artifact locations and computer mapping of the locations in relation to features, some of which were no more than subtle stains in the soil. A three-foot breach in a dark stain was the doorway to a hut with the stain being what was left of the log walls.
y late 2011, we had begun the next BRAVO metal detecting survey at the site. Carin Boone (formerly Bloom) had moved on to write her dissertation and Jesse West-Rosenthal took over the project for his doctoral work. There is still much to be done and large quantities of data to analyze, but what I personally consider the most significant artifacts found were several bayonets and bayonet fragments. The first full bayonet was found by Tom Reno, but the socket appeared to have been intentionally flattened. The second, found by Ed Norako, had been bent for use as a pot hook. Others were just fragments. These bayonets appear to be American made. At the time of this writing, we have just returned from
(L-R): Tom Reno shows the first bayonet recovered at the site, which he found; Ed Norako and Carin Boone with another which had been bent into a pothook, detected by Ed. 26 American Digger Magazine
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This bayonet socket was recovered during the late 2011 BRAVO dig. _____________ the site where we conducted another survey for Jesse. We started slow but as the day progressed, artifacts began to be recovered. We found 10 musket balls, nine of which were dropped and one that was partially melted, several buttons, a cufflink, and two bayonet sockets. Prior to Valley Forge, the British won many battles by firing a few volleys, then fixing bayonets and charging, which would usually result in the Americans quickly retreating. At the Battle of Princeton on January 3, 1777 the British 17th Regiment of Foot was surrounded by the Continentals three times and each time the British broke through using very effective bayonet charges. Why is this? Until Valley Forge, the Americans, both the Continental forces and especially the militia units, had very few standardized weapons. When civilians joined the service, they brought their own hunting rifles and fowling pieces. These did not come with bayonets. They brought small camp axes and tomahawks instead. The Model I and II British Brown Bess infantry musket was approximately six feet long and had a 17⅝ inch bayonet. Thus the Americans faced an opponent who was wielding a 7½ foot pole arm. The odds of winning a hand-to-hand fight were far more in the favor of the British Forces. In 1777, France began exporting large quantities of standard muskets called “Charleville’s” named for the Charleville Armory from which most were being shipped. They came with standardized 15-inch bayonets. It appears that older bayonets were discarded. This might explain why we found several in a small area. At the same time, “Baron” Friedrich Wilhelm August Heinrich Ferdinand von Steuben was hired by Washington
to train the troops. When someone hears the name Von Steuben, they usually get a mental image of troops being taught how to march; and they were. However, they were also taught how to fight. They learned to form in three ranks for effective volley fire; while the front line is firing, the rear ranks are reloading. Perhaps more importantly, they learned how to fix bayonets, charge, parry, and thrust when engaged with the enemy. On June 28, 1778 the Battle of Monmouth was fought in Freehold and Manalapan, New Jersey (at what was then Monmouth Courthouse). After General Charles Lee’s failed attack on the British rear, Washington asked General Anthony Wayne to set up a line of defense until he could have the artillery train put into an effective location. Wayne positioned the troops in a lightly wooded lot. The British Grenadiers fired two volleys, fixed bayonets, and charged. The Americans returned fire, fixed bayonets, and stood their ground. The two clashed in the bloodiest segment of the battle, and the Americans held long enough for the artillery to get into position and only retreated after being overwhelmed by the number of Grenadiers that poured onto the field. This action caused a high number of British casualties and resulted in General Sir Henry Clinton, the British commander, retreating to New York. He soon moved the bulk of his troops to the south. Valley Forge changed those farmer soldiers from an undisciplined band into a world-class army. In my opinion, based on the evidence of our excavations at Valley Forge, much of this was due to the standardized arms supplied by France, especially large quantities of bayonets. Buttons were no longer numbered regiments from a collection of states, but now carried three simple letters: “USA.” They were now truly united as one.
Author’s note: The location described in this article is currently an active archaeological site. Temple University and BRAVO have exclusive permission to excavate and remove artifacts for analysis and documentation. All artifacts found belong to the property owner, some of which are now being put on display. Persons disturbing the site will be prosecuted.
About The Author Daniel Sivilich has over 30 years of field experience in archaeology. One of the founders of the concept of electronic battlefield archaeology, he’s helped develop new methods in field techniques and data analysis. He is also a prolific author, and has appeared on both the History Channel (“Battlefield Detectives - the Battle of Monmouth”and Discovery Channel (“Moments in Time - Valley Forge, the Crucible”). September-October 2012 American Digger Magazine
2012 American Digger Magazine Sampler 速
The Politicalithic Period We’re the guardians of our finds. It is our responsibility to research, display, report, and (perhaps most importantly) record them property. Sometimes discovery is only part of the pursuit. The rest can be — and often is — pure politics and prejudice...as this author discovered.
By Glenn Harbour
fell into hunting for Native American artifacts honestly enough but almost by default. This reaches back to the 1990s when I was making my bones as a serious local bottle digger, but had yet to become hopelessly addicted to fossil shark tooth and Indian relic collecting. Back then, a friend who was both a part-time bottle hound and a serious fossil hunter searched both locally and down south for shark teeth. He concentrated mostly on bigger specimens like large megalodons and was often taking off on trips to pursue these monsters of the Miocene. To increase his chances, he eventually began diving the murky waters of South Carolina and Florida and, although I attempted to keep him in New Jersey searching for glass, he started to steer me in the direction of fossils and related collectibles instead. By 1997, I had rediscovered the Cretaceous creeks of Central New Jersey. The Cretaceous period was the final eon of the Mezozoic era and the 14th stage of the dinosaur. Our streams are host to marine fossils since modern New Jersey was almost entirely covered by an inland ocean called the Cretaceous Interior Seaway approximately 75 million years ago. All these brooks were familiar to me. One was located in my hometown. At first I was not fully bitten. Eventually, however, I would not only divide my time equally between fossils and bottles, but I would also end up following my friend in the pursuit of bigger game. It wasn’t long before the act of picking ancient teeth and bones out of our local gravel brought me in contact with Indian projectile points and shards of pottery that were hundreds and thousands, rather than millions, of years old. By 2005, not only did I possess an impressive Native American collection, but I had also started traveling up and down the east coast in pursuit of Indian artifacts. I have also managed to generate a few local headlines with some of my more significant Paleo finds and this is where this tale takes a decided turn for the more bizarre. But first, a little history. There are three major time periods that Native American artifacts are divided into. The oldest, Paleolithic (13,000 to 8,500 years ago) was represented by the migration of humans to the North American continent. Nomadic tribes of Paleo hunters followed migratory herds of mega fauna mammals across the Americas. Early Paleo artifacts follow a rather curious path. No Clovis 26 American Digger® Magazine
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spear point, which is the earliest projectile type in North America, has ever been found in Alaska. This seems odd as the first bands of Paleo-men supposedly used a land bridge (exposed by the retreating ice) stretching from Asia to the North American continent called Beringia. However, many Clovis points have been located in the far west, midwest, southeast, and middle Atlantic states. Here in central New Jersey, 13,000 to 10,000 years ago (during the end of the Pleistocene period) the last of four ice sheets, called the Wisconsin, was in full retreat. By the late Paleolithic era, it only covered the far northern section of modern New Jersey. In the wake of the receding glacier, tundra grasses sprouted that were perfect grazing for wooly mammoths, mastodons, bisons and other large mammals. Present-day Jersey turned into mega fauna ambush central for many local Paleo hunters. For collecting purposes, this period is usually divided into early Paleo, which includes Clovis and Folsom fluted points (a flute, or vertical channel, was used to secure the projectile onto its
Clovis found and published in 2005. Publishing soon after a find helps establish provenience.
Originally Published in Vol 8, Issue 6 Click here to order single issues.
corresponding shaft), and late Paleo. This later era is represented by non-fluted spears. All types are rare because of the extremely low number of inhabitants in the Americas at that time. The middle period is the Archaic. It ran from approximately 8,500 B.P (Before Present) to 5000 B.P and was characterized by Indian tribes becoming increasingly sedentary. Technologically, the era was dominated by the atlatl or spear thrower, making early man a more formidable hunter. Because of this most projectile points of the era are spear types. Axes for felling trees also came into general use. In central New Jersey, Archaic finds are the most common types. The final period, the Woodland, is marked by the greatest amount of change seen by Native Americans (with the exception of contact with Europeans). Hunters utilized the bow and arrow for the first time and pottery came into general use. Agriculture appeared, creating surpluses and further stability. Permanent settlements and the beginnings of large population centers led to more cultural developments. For the American Indian it was a time of tremendous growth. The end of the Woodland period is the Mississippian era and the last two centuries are referred to as Contact (i.e., contact between Indians and Europeans). The conclusion of this era is well known: it ended in the decline of our country’s Native people. The societies that emerged from this cultural matrix made for some rare and unusual artifacts.
or me, 2005 was a Paleo red letter year. It was also a rude introduction to amateur artifact collecting and the politics of professional prejudice. Summer is the time for discovering projectile points; winter is a time for snow (which hides most of the gravel). In mid June 2005, I was at one of my most productive Paleo sites in Holmdel, New Jersey. I believe that the northernmost stretch of Hop Brook is a Paleo ambush site or a locale where hunters waited on the banks to bag large mammals as they congregated to drink. Likely this length of stream would have been familiar to locals 10,000 years ago. An hour into my search, I spotted something among the endless cluster of stones. It was a thin, caramel colored piece of high quality flint that was obviously knapped. I immediately recognized it as very early and man-made, but could not at first positively identify it. As I flipped it over, something finally dawned on me. I was holding a true Clovis point but it was reworked into what is referred to as a second generation tool. All Paleolithic points are individual works of art; if a hunter lost one he’d search long and hard to recover it. If found damaged (with what collectors refer to as impact fractures) or if the projectile was simply worn by wear, the maker would knap it into a reworked point or a completely new tool. This specific point had originally been a two-inch long, small game piece with a full flute (these channels were knapped from just above the base to just short of the tip). The artifact was constructed from Berks-Lehigh chert, a mineral from eastern Pennsylvania that was a popular production flint during Paleo times. My point had a small fracture on one basal ear (or lower terminal extensions) and a larger impact hit on the upper blade. The ancient toolmaker decided to convert the damaged projectile into a side scraper, used mostly as a short blade for cutting and preparing hides. So technically, my find was considered to be
The author searches a section of Hop Brook that is believed to be a Paleo hunting site. _____________ a complete artifact (and about 13,000 years old at that), although I would have been much happier with a perfect Clovis point. I was no longer a Paleo virgin and my first date was with the granddaddy of all Paleolithic points a fully fluted Clovis! But the summer of 2005 was not over yet. In August, I was hiking the same stretch of Hop Brook, only about a quarter of a mile south. There, lying at the end of a long, rocky gravel bar, was a perfect four inch Paleo point. This piece was radically different from the Clovis point. It was neither damaged nor reworked. Instead, it was absolutely pristine museum condition. This Dalton spearhead was also about two thousand years newer than the Clovis projectile and was not fluted. Specifically, it was a Lanceolate tradition (a thin, leaf shaped point with sharp, extended ears) late Paleolithic projectile. It was a beauty! Also, this little gem was knapped from a local Jersey material called argylite. Argylite can be dark green, brown or grey, and has great tinsel strength. It is carvable like soapstone and thus easy to work. The argylite used to make the Dalton spear point was unusually hard (compared to other Archaic points I’ve found). It was dark green in hue and possessed a striking, thick patina. Most weekends I set up at a flea market, although there’s usually more socializing than dealing going on. There, my collector friends and I usually end up crowing about our latest adventures and talking way too loud. The entire crowd gets to hear about our latest finds whether they want to or not. Then, after the glow of glory fades, it is time to acquire the only thing as important as the find itself: provenance, which is directly proportional to time of discovery. All this would eventually lead me down a much rockier road than the gravel from which the Dalton point was originally plucked. If I had found my projectile in the 1990s (during the hey-day of my bottle digging), I would have been considered the expert. Our local paper would not require any higher authority for an interview and write-up. I was an established regional historian, artist, and collector with a solid reputation as an artifact hunter and lecturer. But by the time of my Dalton find, all that had changed. Since the start of the 21st century, the only individual who November-December 2012 American Digger® Magazine 27
The 2011 discovery of a partial mastodon skeleton brought the author more professional recognition, but only after numerous phone calls, interviews, and the backing of three people with Ph.Ds. At left, he is shown pointing out one of the pieces on a mastodon skeleton in the Trenton State Museum; at right is one of the mastodon’s bones, this one a vertebra that he recovered. _____________ seems to be recognized as a qualified historian, archaeologist, paleontologist, or expert in any other scientific discipline is the holder of a Ph.D. The natural question is, why can’t an amateur be just as knowledgeable as a man of letters? The answer, surprisingly, comes from the world of business, not academia. The construction business, to be exact. About 10 years ago, a statute was passed in New Jersey requiring an archeological survey for all new construction sites that were over a certain size. While a good law in theory, it generated some unintended consequences. This new regulation brought universities and bureaucracies into direct conflict with local enthusiasts like never before, and many of the changes were legislative. Now, not only might we be digging illegally (even with permission), but also taking food out of a working man’s mouth. Naturally, when a person perceives that someone is coming between them and their work, things can get very intense. To add to these complications, we now have a “call before you dig” law (originally intended for utilities, but it applies to everyone). Homeowners are encouraged not to give permission. Local newspapers, radio stations and cable TV networks are dissuaded from encouraging “treasure hunters.” And now the authorities are more likely to prosecute rather than to issue warnings. Also, since 9-11 (and because I live near the greater New York City area), people in general will look towards one walking in the woods with a mistrusting eye. These new statutes have turned out to be much more then mere roadblocks. In order to simply publicly record a new find (which, ironically, many professionals accuse amateurs of not doing), it’s become more like storming a great walled fortress, where as it once was simply ® Vol. 8, Issue 6 28 American Digger® Magazine Sampler 56 2012 American Digger Magazine
a matter of making phone calls and giving interviews. In October of that year, I met with our local newspaper’s staff. The reporter wrote down all the pertinent information, the photographer snapped the pictures, and a write-up was slated to be published in exactly two weeks. The day finally arrived and, with visions of new provenance dancing in my head, I ran off to the newsstand, opened the daily and — no article! When I finally contacted the reporter, she flatly stated that her editor simply nixed the article. I received no reason why; he could and he did and that was that. What now? My plan B was to approach one of our second tier papers with the same pitch. This documentation would be somewhat diluted but it would have to do. Time was ticking and my nerves were beginning to fray, but a week later I was sitting across from reporter number two with the Dalton point. She looked at the point, notated all the background information, and gave me a call three days later. There was a problem. Her editor liked the piece but the paper’s archaeologist wasn’t so sure. Their archaeologist acknowledged that the point looked Paleo but noted that an artifact like this could be easily purchased on E-bay or even faked. The archaeologist knew me by reputation and was less than impressed, being one of those professionals who had little faith in amateurs. To fix this, all I had to do was introduce myself, show him the point, and get the ball rolling, right? Wrong. He refused to meet me, rejected the offer to exchange emails, or even talk on the phone! The article was eventually published, although I wish it hadn’t. The entire piece was a giant disclaimer for the paper, while their archaeologist was given a wide berth to destroy my good name.
Now my my reputation reputation was was at at stake stake and and to to add add ininthat Dr. Dr. Dorfman Dorfman delivered delivered to to the the newspaper’s newspaper’s that Now sult to injury, the point’s provenance was now archaeologist after the point was published. archaeologist after the point was published. sult to injury, the point’s provenance was now tainted. This This so-called so-called “professional” “professional” had had gone gone The man man was was shamed shamed and and for for good good reason. reason. The tainted. out of his way to slam me and I had to react. My Perhaps in the future, this reckless professional Perhaps in the future, this reckless professional out of his way to slam me and I had to react. My redemption, however, however, was was to to come come from from an an ununwill take take aa few few moments moments to to acknowledge acknowledge the the will redemption, usual and completely unexpected place. contributions of serious amateurs. Honestly, contributions of serious amateurs. Honestly, usual and completely unexpected place. though, II wouldn’t wouldn’t take take any any bets bets on on it. it. Weeks passed passed as as II allowed allowed my my anger anger to to though, Weeks I summarize this weird and somewhat comidiminish and and develop develop aa viable viable plan plan C. C. One One day, day, I summarize this weird and somewhat comidiminish cal (but lately all too common) tale by asking at an an auction, auction, aa rather rather distinguished distinguished looking looking cal (but lately all too common) tale by asking at what should should we, we, the the nonprofessional nonprofessional collector, collector, elderly gentleman strolled over to my table. He what elderly gentleman strolled over to my table. He take away from it? Political correctness and an an seemed very interested in my coprolites, which take away from it? Political correctness and seemed very interested in my coprolites, which emotionally overcharged sense of what is hisare 75 million years old fish feces (you read that emotionally overcharged sense of what is hisare 75 million years old fish feces (you read that torically right right have have infected infected our our society society like like an an right) retrieved retrieved from from the the local local creeks. creeks. torically right) out-of-control virus. The gentleman, gentleman, Don Don Dorfman, Dorfman, Ph.D Ph.D was was out-of-control virus. The It is is now now three three times times as as hard hard to to collect, collect, preprehead of the Marine Biology Department at the It head of the Marine Biology Department at the serve and and report report finds finds at at aa local local level. level. All All the the avavUniversity of of Monmouth Monmouth (West (West Long Long Branch, Branch, serve University erage citizen citizen is is supposed supposed to to do do is is visit visit museums museums New Jersey). Don had both serious academic erage New Jersey). Don had both serious academic and watch watch the the History History Channel. Channel. We, We, as as AmeriAmericredentials and and an an open open minded minded attitude. attitude. Most Most and credentials can citizens, still have the right to collect and importantly, he he gladly gladly acknowledged acknowledged the the contricontrican citizens, still have the right to collect and importantly, dig, as long as we do it with permission and stay butions of of amateurs amateurs to to science science and and was was fascinatfascinatdig, as long as we do it with permission and stay butions within the the bounds bounds of of the the law. law. It It is is neither neither aa right right ed by my finds. After the Dalton point debacle, within ed by my finds. After the Dalton point debacle, nor an obligation to follow in lock step behind Don became became my my ace ace in in the the hole. hole. Professors Professors pubpubnor an obligation to follow in lock step behind Don those who who hold hold degrees. degrees. The The margins, margins, however, however, lish like a rabbit making bunnies and soon we those lish like a rabbit making bunnies and soon we are narrowing and the eyes (and voices) of those those teamed up to publish a series of scientific articles are narrowing and the eyes (and voices) of teamed up to publish a series of scientific articles who would condemn us are everywhere. The Dalton Point which based on my finds. The first was you guessed The Dalton Point which who would condemn us are everywhere. based on my finds. The first was you guessed on coprolites, coprolites, then then others others followed. followed. II evenevenwas rejected rejected for for publipubliitit on was Postscript tually asked if he could help me with the long Postscript cation by the newspatually asked if he could help me with the long cation by the newspaIn 2010, I discovered an amazing amazing 5.5 5.5 inch inch neglected Dalton Dalton piece. piece. In 2010, I discovered an per’s archaeologist. archaeologist. neglected per’s stemmed Paleo point in Marlboro, New Jersey. stemmed Paleo point in Marlboro, New Jersey. Don knew knew the the antagonistic antagonistic archaeologist archaeologist and and __________ Don __________ It was was perfect perfect Paleo Paleo point point number number two two and, and, of of It confided that that he he had had aa reputation reputation for for arrogance arrogance confided course, it had to be recorded. Unfortunately, course, it had to be recorded. Unfortunately, II even among among his his peers. peers. As As for for my my Dalton Dalton point, point, even went through many of the the same same problems problems I’d I’d experienced experienced almost almost went through many of he suggested suggested we we submit submit an an article article to to the the annual annual New New Jersey Jersey he half a decade earlier. It was a bit depressing; it felt like I’d never half a decade earlier. It was a bit depressing; it felt like I’d never Archaeology Bulletin. Bulletin. This This periodical periodical annually annually highlights highlights the the Archaeology gone through the vetting process. Thankfully, a local commercial gone through the vetting process. Thankfully, a local commercial Garden State’s State’s most most significant significant finds finds and and is is highly highly prestigious prestigious in in Garden monthly picked picked itit up up and and did did aa better better than than expected expected job job on on the the monthly scientific circles. One of Don’s closest friends was the managing scientific circles. One of Don’s closest friends was the managing article. article. chief editor editor and, and, ironically ironically enough, enough, the the newspaper’s newspaper’s archaeologist archaeologist chief More recently, recently, my my discovery discovery of of aa partial partial mastodon mastodon skeleton skeleton More also sat sat on on the the board board of of the the magazine. magazine. The The web web that that was was being being also brought quite a bit more recognition. Finally! It only took brought quite a bit more recognition. Finally! It only took woven around around this this single single spear spear point point was was getting getting thick thick indeed! indeed! woven numerous phone calls, several interviews and the backing of three numerous phone calls, several interviews and the backing of three In the the spring spring of of 2006 2006 (almost (almost aa year year after after my my find), find), the the bulletin bulletin In people with with Ph.D’s. Ph.D’s. But But II had had evolved. evolved. II now now at at least least existed existed in in people arrived with an accurate, objective write-up, and photos of the arrived with an accurate, objective write-up, and photos of the their eyes and thus, the find could be properly documented. The their eyes and thus, the find could be properly documented. The Dalton point. point. It It was was late late in in coming, coming, but but there there itit was: was: aa literal literal Dalton media giveth giveth and and the the media media taketh taketh away. away. But But itit should should never never be be media exercise in persistence and luck. exercise in persistence and luck. able to to rob rob aa find find of of its its provenance. provenance. able The gravy gravy on on top top of of my my ‘taters ‘taters was was the the verbal verbal dressing dressing down down The
About The The Author Author About Glenn Harbour has been digging and collecting collecting since since Glenn Harbour has been digging and his teenage years and has traveled both the west and his teenage years and has traveled both the west and the east coast extensively in his pursuits of the past. the east coast extensively in his pursuits of the past. Although his his degree degree is is not not in in archaeology, archaeology, he he takes takes Although his hobby very seriously and considers himself to be his hobby very seriously and considers himself to be an amateur scientist. Hailing from central New Jersey, an amateur scientist. Hailing from central New Jersey, Glenn is is also also aa prolific prolific author author and and aa local local folk folk artist. artist. Glenn November-December 2012 2012 November-December
American Digger Digger®® Magazine Magazine 29 29 American
The Gold Diaries It takes serious work to find serious gold, especially in the wilds of Alaska. It also takes an appreciation of the land and beauty experienced along the way. It takes a special breed. Join us for this day-by-day account of one such person. Originally Published in Vol 8, Issue 5 Click here to order single issues. 8-15-10 Sunday Don Sublett came up last Monday and he will be here for a couple of weeks. The waves have been up and we only dredged one hour all week. Now a storm is here and high winds up to 40 MPH. Don and I redid the antenna system for our cell phones and now we get much better reception. I hope the wind doesn’t blow down the antenna. We also wired all the windows on the cabin so the solar powered fence charger will work and deter bears from breaking into my cabin as they did last year. Spencer (my son) is arriving this morning if the plane can land. I’ll leave and go to the airport in a few minutes. I hope to be able to get by all the driftwood on the beach that has been moved around by the waves last night. 8-16-10 Monday Spence is here now and we eat lots. Breakfast was sausage gravy, biscuits, and eggs. Lunch was a sandwich. Silver salmon cooked on the grill for a snack, then BBQ ribs for supper. For dessert I cooked brownies. Spence caught two big Silver (Coho) salmon in about five minutes at the Penny River. The wind and waves have been really big since yesterday. We have hauled all the dredges off the beach and up to the cabin area. Winds last night were about 50 MPH. Today we went to town, and it was difficult because the waves were over most of the beach and we had nowhere to drive except over all the logs. We finally made it to town and went out on Glacier Creek Road about 30
2012 American Digger Magazine Sampler ®
By Steve Phillips miles. We saw a herd of musk ox. We also checked out some of the old mining sites of a hundred years ago. 8-19-10 Thursday Yesterday Don, Spence, and I went out to the Sinuk (Senic) River. We saw a herd of musk ox, one caribou, and a seal on the beach. Spence caught about six or seven Silvers, and we kept one and cooked it on the beach. The waves have calmed down now and we tried dredging today, but the visibility is terrible, so we found almost no gold. I dredged
Spence with “silvers.”
Young seal on beach.
Color, Alaska style: Panning dredge concentrates.
five hours and I don’t think I found ¼ ounce total. Water temperature is 53 degrees. My oldest dredge needs repairs tonight. The suction nozzle is worn out, so Don and Spence are putting on a new nozzle and repairing a hole in the pressure hose. We hope for better gold tomorrow.
heavy use of ocean dredging. Most of my spares that I sent up this year have been used. Water temperature is 54 degrees with good visibility.
8-22-10 Sunday We dredged yesterday and today. Don and I found little gold yesterday, and Spence found about 1½ ounces each day. I found about an ounce today. The weather is nice now and I hope we get a long good spell so Spence can make lots of money while he is here. Several repairs were needed. My Ranger has a broken exhaust system. We have it held together with wire now, and I will go to Nome tomorrow to try and get the parts ordered. Today, Don used my welding machine to repair holes in Spence’s and Ryan’s jets on their dredges. The welding machine has paid for itself several times this year. Keene’s parts are a little too light for the
8-26-10 Thursday My Ranger is fixed now. Morgan’s ATV shop got the parts in a rush and replaced all needed parts yesterday. They did a good job and I really appreciate them fixing it fast. I need the Ranger. Our Eskimo friend, Johnny, came by to visit yesterday. He is a commercial fisherman and crab season just ended for the summer. He will start fishing for halibut now and in the winter he will go after crabs again under the ice. They cut holes four feet thick through the ice to put the crab pots under. I have caught a cold and I’m taking lots of medication to try and be able to dredge some more this summer. Spence and Donald Thrash have gone to the Sinuk River to fish. Don Sublett went home yesterday, and Donald came back up for our last two weeks. Tonight a
Me with a nugget.
Keeping a watch over the musk ox herd. www.americandigger.com
British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) filming us.
Biggest nugget of our season.
film crew from the BBC is coming to Nome to start filming a show about the Arctic. Bruce Parry is the star of the show and he will be staying with me at my cabin. The rest of the people will be at a Rob and Andrew’s camp or in a hotel in Nome. Bruce should be with us a few days and hopefully we will be able to go out and film dredging. 8-31-10 Tuesday I haven’t written in my journal for a few days because I have been busy and sick. The BBC folks were with us for five days. Bruce Parry stayed with me in my cabin, and the other four members of the film crew stayed here each day although I made them leave at night. I’ve had cameras in my face for five days. There has been so much filming for so little time that we will actually be on TV. They are filming a five part, five hour documentary about the Arctic. One hour will be about Alaska, and about 10 or 15 minutes will be about Nome gold mining. That will be us. They had requested to come see me, because they
had read our webpage on the internet while in England. Alabama rednecks mining in Alaska, what could be more interesting than that? There were two ladies that helped produce the show, a director who told us all about what he wanted, and a sound and camera man. They were very professional and it was fun for me, but I am glad it is over so we can get back to work mining gold. We did put Bruce underwater dredging for an hour under Spencer’s constant care. The three of us were underwater and Spencer’s job was to protect Bruce from harm and film Bruce and gold. He also filmed me finding gold. Bruce did well and was no problem. We were in the best gold we have seen in a couple years and Bruce found for himself 4.l pennyweight of gold. I cleaned it up for him, and was really surprised how well he did. This is about $200 dollars worth of gold and gives him a great souvenir. The reason he did so well is because we did the prospecting and put him in the best spot we could find. Bruce Parry is a celebrity in Europe. He has filmed
Spence and I show our gold.
Bruce, Donald and Spencer with dredge #2.
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Five inch dredge in the Casadepaga River.
about 10 minutes. Everybody likes it this way. The weather several series for the BBC including some about the Amazon is beautiful now and the sea is flat, so everyone is dredging and living with about 50 different tribes in many countries. except me. I am sick with a bad cold. I am taking about 10 I guess this show is about living with the Alabama Redneck or 12 pills each day and drinking codeine cough medicine. tribe. They liked me and said Southern Skin Divers (our I’m on antibiotics and two kinds of steroids. Obviously, I company) should have their own adventure show on TV. can’t go diving. Spence and I have ten more days before Actually, they are right and we could be a very interesting we go home, and I want to get well so I can find more gold. show on something like the Outdoor Channel or Travel I’ve only found about 25 ounces so far, and don’t know if Channel. I’m getting too old, but my sons are not. The I have even covered my expenses. Spence is finding good show’s title would probably be “Adventures with Alabama gold and should make some money that he can use towards Rednecks.” It would be great. his retirement some day. The water temperature is about 53 We have had several repairs over the last few days, and degrees and visibility is pretty good now. If we are lucky, I made Bruce do them so he could see how much work there we will not get anymore big waves and Donald, Spence, and is to do out of the water. He was a great guy and did exactly I will be able to work hard and make some gold money. what I told him to do. I’m really good at bossing people Lonnie’s son, Ryan, is the best dredger in our group, around. He is an ultra liberal, and I am pretty conservative and he is doing well. He is scheduled to go home tonight. and mostly care about individual rights and freedoms. I Lonnie has not done as well as he would have because of don’t like much government interference in anyone’s life. problems with designing and building his new dredges, and Donald stayed quiet as he always does and enjoyed listening having to spend time with people who are staying with him to Bruce and me try to convince each other how wrong we that need help learning about thought the other was. Meandredging. Lonnie built a new while, Donald did a small eight inch dredge, but there repair on one of our pressure were too many problems so hoses. He put aqua seal in now it is a six inch dredge the small leak and wrapped like my three dredges. It it with duct tape. He told the works fine now. Lonnie and BBC that this is called a redI spend a lot of time each year neck Band-Aid. with visitors and new people. We have been eating well, We really can’t afford to lose and have had Silver salmon this amount of time. We need several times. We just cut the to be doing our own thing and whole filet or side of the fish not have as much time lost. and leave the skin and scales Donald is working out real on it. I put on some butter and well for my operation and I spices and lay it on the grill. hope he comes next year for I don’t use tinfoil or turn it the whole summer. He is a over. The skin keeps the meat “Fire truck.” hard worker and does not from burning and it cooks in
complain or bicker. He is easy to live with. I have to live with these folks, and they have to live with me. I’m not easy. I have to be very careful who I allow to come here with me. Most people just don’t fit in with me. 9-4-10 Saturday The waves are up, so no ocean dredging. It is probably going to be bad for several days, so Spence and I decided to go to my inland camp on the Casadepaga River. Rob Hehnlin came with us. I have 80 acres on one of my inland claims called Monument. This claim was one of the Gold Prospectors Association camps that they used about thirty years ago before they bought the land at Cripple River that they use now. I have several buildings here and can sleep about 20 people, and there is a nice chow hall and kitchen. John Trott uses this camp more than I do, and he keeps it in good shape. The camp is about 60 miles from Nome and
Digger: mascot, companion, emergency food source. the last 12 miles is up the Soloman River and across the tundra. We came in the Ranger and two ATV’s. On the way out we saw a truck on fire. No one was hurt, but the truck totally burned up. We got to camp early in the afternoon. Spence caught several Arctic Grayling fish and kept two for us to eat. I cooked them in the skin. 9-5-10 Sunday We had pancakes for breakfast, and then got out my five inch dredge that I leave up here. We put everything together, then hauled it about one mile up the Casa to a spot I wanted to dredge. In 2006, Perry Massie and I were metal detecting here for nuggets and he found one on exposed bedrock in the river. We set up at that spot and Spence dredged about four hours. The old dredge worked well and he found several small nuggets. The strange thing is that very little fine gold was in the sluice box. I assume the nuggets settled before the fine gold and the fines are probably just downstream. Nuggets are nice so tomorrow Spence and Rob will try for
2012 American Digger Magazine Sampler ®
Spencer’s gold from Monument. more. Maybe a big one will show up. Bucket line dredges did not work up the river this far because they worked gravel and the bedrock is too shallow here for them. The tundra and willows are changing colors now. Lots of yellow and reds are showing. The scenery is beautiful now. My cold is still lingering so I’m not getting in the water. I just wear my .50 caliber hand cannon and guard against bears. We saw lots of purple bear poop around. They have been eating the blueberries that cover all the tundra. Rob picked some for us today so tomorrow we will have blueberry pancakes. Tonight I cooked spaghetti. I put my cot up in the chow hall because that is where the wood stove is. We brought Rob’s dog, Digger, with us. We use him for bear bait and threaten to eat him if we run out of food. It would be awfully hard to run out of food in a land as rich and beautiful as Alaska is. The native people up here shun regular jobs, but are masters of living off the land. They call it subsistence. I once thought they were unemployed, but they are not. They are much the same as a farmer would be back home. They live and live well off the land. They also get much federal and state money which they do not need and (I feel) should be stopped. You can’t blame them for taking the money, but there are many places and people who need aid. Alaska is rich and needs nothing. Rob tried to find nuggets with a metal detector today, but found nothing but nails. 9-6-10 Monday Spence dredged four hours today but only found one more nugget. We moved the dredge downstream about 100 yards to try a different spot. We haven’t cleaned up the concentrate yet, but it will be poor gold. We need to spend more time here prospecting and find a better pay layer. Next summer I’ll try some new spots in the river. Spence caught a few more fish and released them. I cooked pork chops for dinner.
sult to injury, the point’s provenance was now archaeologist after the point was published. tainted. This so-called “professional” had gone The man was shamed and for good reason. out of his way to slam me and I had to react. My Perhaps in the future, this reckless professional * redemption, however, was to come from an unwill take a few moments to acknowledge the usual and completely unexpected place. contributions of serious amateurs. Honestly, though, I wouldn’t take any bets on it. Weeks passed as I allowed my anger to I summarize this weird and somewhat comidiminish and develop a viable plan C. One day, cal (but lately all too common) tale by asking at an auction, a rather distinguished looking what should we, the nonprofessional collector, elderly gentleman strolled over to my table. He take away from it? Political correctness and an seemed very interested in my coprolites, which emotionally overcharged sense of what is hisare 75 million years old fish feces (you read that torically right have infected our society like an right) retrieved from the local creeks. out-of-control virus. The gentleman, Don Dorfman, Ph.D was It is now three times as hard to collect, prehead of the Marine Biology Department at the serve and report finds at a local level. All the avUniversity of Monmouth (West Long Branch, erage citizen is supposed to do is visit museums New Jersey). Don had both serious academic and watch the History Channel. We, as Americredentials and an open minded attitude. Most can citizens, still have the right to collect and importantly, he gladly acknowledged the contridig, as long as we do it with permission and stay butions of amateurs to science and was fascinatwithin the bounds of the law. It is neither a right ed by my finds. After the Dalton point debacle, nor an obligation to follow in lock step behind Don became my ace in the hole. Professors pubthose who hold degrees. The margins, however, lish like a rabbit making bunnies and soon we are narrowing and the eyes (and voices) of those teamed up to publish a series of scientific articles who would condemn us are everywhere. The Dalton Point which based on my finds. The first was you guessed it on coprolites, then others followed. I evenwas rejected for publiPostscript tually asked if he could help me with the long cation by the newspaIn 2010, I discovered an amazing 5.5 inch neglected Dalton piece. per’s archaeologist. stemmed Paleo point in Marlboro, New Jersey. Don knew the antagonistic archaeologist and __________ 9-7-10 Tuesday It was perfect Paleo point number two and, of that he had a reputation for arrogance Itconfided rained hard all night and the river came up about one more I’m sitting tonight Love,Unfortunately, which is the I course,listening it had totobeFaded recorded. even among his peers. As for my Dalton point, foot. This means that we couldn’t get out down river as best song ever written, sung by Patsy Cline, who wasalmost the went through many of the same problems I’d experienced he suggested we submit an article to the annual New Jersey we always have. We blazed a new trail up high across the best ever. Spence go home itinfelt three I half singer a decade earlier. It was and a bitIdepressing; likedays. I’d never Archaeology Bulletin. This periodical annually highlights the ridges. It took an hour and a half to go four miles and get to miss my wife who I dearly love and I miss my children and gone through the vetting process. Thankfully, a local commercial Garden State’s most significant finds and is highly prestigious in the corduroy road. was not badfriends and next we can grandchildren, notdid ready to gothan home. Eighteen monthly pickedbut it I’m up and a better expected job years on the scientific circles. OneThat of Don’s closest wastime the managing go that way in about 45 minutes. I used my GPS to mark spent my summers here and I can’t get enough of this article. chief editor and, ironically enough, the newspaper’s archaeologist I’ve More recently, my repels discovery of people a partialand mastodon skeleton the trail so we can go that way again. place. This far north many draws others. also sat on the board of the magazine. The web that was being brought quite a bit more recognition. Finally! It only took The Solomon River was also up, but not as bad as the I’m one of the latter. The freedom and independence is what woven around this single spear point was getting thick indeed! numerous phone calls, several interviews and the backing of three Casa. We came across two stranded Eskimos, a father and I crave. The big, big land just fits me fine. This life requires In the spring of 2006 (almost a year after my find), the bulletin Ph.D’s. But Iand hadIevolved. I nowand at least existed son whowith had an submerged of their ATV’s. winched totallywith capable person am capable always havein arrived accurate, both objective write-up, andWe photos of the a people their eyes and thus, the find could be properly documented. them outpoint. and drained water.butWethere had itthem fit Dalton It was the lateoil in and coming, was:running a literal been. I’m hard to handle, stubborn as a mule and don’t The and the media taketh away. it should inexercise about an hour. The and manluck. said he had seen three really big inmedia to thegiveth modern, progressive world thatBut is the lowernever 48. be I in persistence able to rob a find *of its provenance. bearsThe in gravy our area, butofwe see any. He also tolddown me was a cheechako when I first came up here, but now I am a on top my didn’t ‘taters was the verbal dressing that last week he went hunting with two other guys near sourdough. This is the land for men who don’t fit in. Pilgrim Hot Springs and they shot seven caribou. When we got back to the Council Road, we hooked my Yamaha ATV on a tow bar and Spence rode with me in the Ranger out of the rain. The Ranger six wheeler is great. I went through About water deep enough to touch the windshield. We stopped in AboutThe TheAuthor Author Steve Phillips, at 66 years old, remains very activesince in Nome and ate at the Polar Club. Now we are back at the red Glenn Harbour has been digging and collecting gold prospecting and collecting. He is both also co-owner of cabin and have a fire warming things up; I can take a shower his teenage years and has traveled the west and Southern Skin Diver Supply in Birmingham, Alabama, and take off these foul smelling socks. the east coast extensively in his pursuits of the past. having beenhis a diver for is 48 not years. has been involved I panned out the concentrates from the eight hours of Although degree in He archaeology, he takes inhisanhobby ongoing with professional archaeologists dredging in the Casa. Spence found 6.l pennyweights of veryfight seriously and considers himself to be after being arrested 2003 for diving at Selma, AL, which 2.2 pennyweights were nuggets and pickers. This an amateur scientist.inHailing from central New Jersey, although later found not guilty under the Alabama Unis not as good as we can do in the sea, but the weather Glenn is also a prolific author and a local folk artist. derwater Cultural Resources Act. He has since been doesn’t control your being able to dredge as much as in the ® November-December 2012 the American Digger Magazine very active in protecting rights of divers and relic29 sea. I think with a little prospecting you could find a half hunters in his home state of Alabama. ounce to an ounce per day. I may set up a six inch dredge at Monument next year.
“I was a cheechako when I first came up here, but now I am a sourdough. This is the land for men who don’t fit in.”
*Someone new to Alaska; originally a reference to the Gold Rush newcomers.
What I Did On My Summer Vacation Our publisher took a week off from relic hunting to travel to Florida for some R&R But thanks to a welltimed storm and some very good friends, it turned out to be yet another successful excursion into the past.
By Butch Holcombe
veryone needs an occasional vacation. When I was offered a free week at a condo, courtesy of detectorists Jerry Solomon and Scott Chittum, I jumped at the chance. After eight years of slaving away at a job I love, I figured it was time to spend a week away from work, and even metal detecting. I wanted and needed a nice, quiet break from reality. I might spend a few minutes each day on the beach, looking for jewelry, but that was it. As it turned out, I was lying to myself. Naïve as I am, I believed every word I said. Before we even had the car packed, I had lined up a trip with Shelly Simpson at a northeastern Florida War
of 1812 through Civil War location, and another with Bob Spratley at a 1500s Spanish Florida site. The latter was dependant on the weather cooperating, meaning a strong Noreaster storm would be needed to expose the artifacts. Here’s a hint for those seeking peace and quiet in Daytona: avoid Biketoberfest. While it seems to be a fun time for most all involved, and is probably a great escape from reality for the participants, it does not produce the quietest of times for overstressed publishers on vacation. Unbeknownst to Jerry, Scott, or me, our arrival coincided with the infamous motorcycle event. We entertained
A detour to hunt with Shelly Simpson in northeast Florida for a day produced this flat button and Artillery “A” for Scott Chittum.
Despite several days of pounding the beach at Daytona, the trio of vacationing diggers’ jewelry finds were meager at best.
38 American Digger Magazine ® ®Magazine Vol. 8, Issue 4 64 Sampler 64 2012 2012American AmericanDigger Digger MagazineSampler
Originally Published in Vol 8, Issue 4 Click here to order single issues.
ourselves the first day by ogling over the custom bikes and noting what hotels the riders with the most jewelry were staying at. Sadly, we soon learned that none of the thousands of bikers in attendance lost any notable bling on the beach. By that night, any thoughts of forgoing serious detecting were blown away like the storms that were soon to be pounding the beach. By dusk, we were all three swinging our loops over the beach and surf, looking for lost gold and silver. As previously stated, the joke was on us, and we returned to the condo with empty pouches. As the motorcycles left town the next day, ending
French and Spanish beach finds dug by Robann Koenig. Most are relics remaining from the 1500s massacre of Ribault’s men by Menéndez.
the Biketoberfest 2011, the good weather followed them. Thinking that the churning surf would uncover a few finds, we spent much of the next day searching the recently crowded Daytona beaches. I’d love to say our pockets were soon filled with jewelry, but instead we recovered only scattered coins and fishing sinkers. In fact, most of the time spent jewelry hunting on this vacation produced only a few pieces of jewelry worth keeping, mostly silver and almost no gold.
fter two days of virtual non-finding, we headed northeast to hunt with Shelly Simpson and his friend, Daniel Homes. Even though this site had always produced in the past, we couldn’t seem to get our coils over any of the early coins or military buttons we sought, although Shelly did manage to find an Artillery Corps one-piece button. On the way back to our vehicles, we searched a field loaded with iron junk. It was here that Scott broke our trio’s jinx, recovering a Civil War era Eagle Artillery button. Or at least broke his jinx, for Jerry and myself were as skunked as ever. Another day of jewelry hunting produced another day of nothing, although we could have opened a used fishing tackle store with the rusted hooks, swivels and lead weights we recovered. I only hope the fishing had been better than the beach detecting here lately. No more. I was done. From here on out, it was relaxation with a good book for me. Then Bob called. A combination of tides and storms had produced ideal conditions for a site he had in mind. Not just any site, July-August 2012 American Digger Magazine www.americandigger.com
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for this was the suspected location of a massacre of Frenchmen under Jean Ribault in the 16th century.
t all began on September 10, 1565 when the French set sail from Ft. Caroline 38 miles north of St. Augustine in an attempt to remove the Spanish from Florida. A hurricane took the French Captain, Jean Ribault, and his men south of Daytona and wrecked the ships on
Bob Bob Spratley Spratley dug dug this this crossbow crossbow dart dart point point from from the the attack attack site. site. At At the the top top of of this this page, page, the the crew crew from from the the St. St. Augustine Augustine Times Times photograph photograph the point and take the point and take notes. notes.
the beach. At the same time, Pedro Menéndez de Avilés, the Spanish General, was attacking Fort Caroline. Menéndez marched his men through the hurricane’s rain and winds to Ft. Caroline where he defeated the French Protestants, i.e. Huguenots. Ribault left too few men to defend the fort and on September 20 it was captured by the Spanish. On that day, 140 French men were quickly put to death by the Spanish. The 60 women and children were spared, and an estimated 40 soldiers fled, only to be killed by the local Indians. After leaving a small number of men at the shipwreck site, Ribault and his men marched north only to meet Menéndez and his men at an open channel. Jean Ribault and his men surrendered, hoping for mercy. But there would be no mercy. In batches of 10, the Frenchmen were rowed across to the channel with their hands tied behind their backs. The prisoners were then asked if they would profess to be Catholic and not Protestant. If they answered no, they were put to the death by
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Menéndez’s soldiers. About 130 men were killed, including Ribault. Although the exact massacre location had been debated for many years, Bob has strong suspicions that it took place on the site we were to hunt, a public beach miles from the site celebrated today as Matanzas Inlet. As the shoreline has changed numerous times since that fateful day, it’s entirely possible
The find of the day was this Caravaca cross lost during the massacre. Bob found it near the surf line.
that our hunt site was near where the inlet once sat. A St. Augustine newspaper crew also showed up at Bob’s invitation and spent the morning interviewing all of us, including Jimmy Koenig and his wife, Robann, both dedicated searchers of the Spanish and French artifacts that occasionally turn up in northeast Florida. As the crew snapped photographs and asked questions, we began to dig artifacts. A French buckle. A crossbow dart tip. A Spanish button. For two hours, the frenzy continued.
These buttons were found at the site during the two hour window afforded by the tide after the storm.
While most finds were from the 1500s, this site has the added benefit of several shipwrecks just off shore, including one from the 1700s and another from the 1800s. Even a “modern” 1910 wreck lies about 100 yards from the beach. It was relatively easy to tell the latter finds, which overall showed much more modern construction than the crudely cast 16th century relics. Ironically, it was here that I found a very modern gold earring, as well as numerous modern coins mixed in with the early items. But by this point, my thoughts of gold and silver jewelry had been replaced by the thrill of finding relics left by some of America’s first explorers. The best find of the day was reserved for Bob. While the reporter watched, he reached into the sand and pulled out a beautiful Caravaca cross possibly left by a priest or monk at the site. Was he comforting the dying, or being killed for his beliefs? Or was it an item belonging to one of the soldiers, carried for good luck? Regardless, it was a holy relic from a not so holy day.
he last night of our stay, I set out to do a bit more jewelry hunting and reflect on the week. We had recovered five centuries’ worth of artifacts, for even the silver rings lost today are artifacts of our modern lives. I wondered what the Spanish or French would think about the neon lighted hotels, throbbing music, and drunken cheers that pierced the night here and there as I beach hunted by the dim moonlight. Then I looked seaward, and realized that while the people and the landscape
This cast brass buckle was found by the author seconds before this photograph was made. It was lost by one of Menéndez’s men.
July-August July-August 2012 2012 American American Digger Digger Magazine Magazine
Spanish and French artifacts found by Jimmy and Robann Koenig. No one was skunked at the early site, believed to be the actual location of the massacre. __________ have changed drastically, the sea and its dangers still lurk, and people worldwide are still being butchered for their religious beliefs, often in the names of other religions, just as it had happened along this section of Florida so very long ago. I sighed and then shivered as a cool gust of reality chilled me to the bone.
Prologue: The Newspaper Article bit later, I was able to read the resulting article in the St. Augustine Times. It was well written and, for the most part, unbiased. It was the comments posted online concerning the story that were ignorant and poorly thought-out. Several accused our group of stealing history, destroying historical sites, and plotting to sell Florida’s historical past for personal gain. Another derided Spratley’s belief that the massacre took place at the site, challenging him to prove it “scientifically” and turn over his findings to the archeologists before he “sells his finds on the black market.” Sadly, one local archaeologist whom Bob has worked with is even derided by name in one comments, which states “You lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas.” Many others rebutted these comments, pointing out that our group was doing nothing more than legally digging at a public beach that archeologists have ignored in the past. Ironically, these sounded more professional than those by the so-called “academic” commentators. 44 American Digger Magazine
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The finds of Chittum, Solomon, and Holcombe after spending the morning at the site. Even here, modern coins were plentiful. The spoon is thought to be from a 1910 shipwreck which lies a hundred yards off shore. __________ We now publicly ask the professional community: what good is expected to come from deriding the very ones who could help the archeologists learn even more about the past? Do those writing these negative comments expect us to bow under to such verbal abuse, throw away our metal detectors, and send them our finds? Aretha Franklin said it best: Respect. Those refusing to give us even that simple courtesy should not expect any favors. It is a two-way street. Our side has offered our services for often nothing more than a sack lunch and pat on the head, and have sweated in digs while the professionals have stood by taking notes and measurements to collect their paychecks and grants. We have reported sites to the professional archeologists only to see such reports either ignored or have the sites put off limits to us. We beg to see reports and artifacts but are told it is being withheld to protect sites from looters. Yet it is our tax money that pay most of these professional “treasure hunters” (for isn’t the loose definition of treasure hunter one who digs for money?). It is becoming apparent that no matter what we do, good or bad, we will always be “looters” and “potholers” in many archeologists’ eyes. While our magazine encourages helping archeologists, I think the time has come to ask them, “And what are you doing to protect our hobby?”
Estimating the Age of Antique Bottles
By Capt. Dan Berg
he process of making bottles has evolved over the years, with glass basically being made from a mixture of sand, soda, lime, and heat. The earliest free blown glass was usually olive green, commonly called “black glass.” These European-style bottles derived their color from iron that was mixed into the raw materials. Bottles have been made in America since the earliest settlers of Jamestown in 1608. They were hand blown, just like European black glass. The first successful manufacturing glasshouse in America opened in New Jersey in 1739. Since then bottle manufacturing has evolved steadily. We can use this evolution and the telltale marks associated with each new method to estimate the age of the bottles we find. The first bottles ever made were hand blown without a mold, a process known as freeblown. Free-blown bottles were made one at a time in a very time consuming fashion. Because they were hand blown without a mold they have no mold seam marks. These early bottles may how32 American Digger Magazine
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ever have other manufacturing marks that can lead us to establishing their age. In order to remove free-blown bottles from the blowpipe, a separate metal rod topped with hot glass was attached to the bottle’s base. When this rod was later broken off, it left a distinct pontil mark. In order to produce more uniform shapes, an everevolving variety of molds were created. Bottles that were hand blown in a mold are called blown-in-mold or BIM bottles. The earliest of these was the dip mold, which was used to create a bottle’s body and left almost no identifiable mold seam markings on the bottle. Wood molds were used before cast iron molds were developed in the mid-1800s. The wood was kept moistened in an effort to prevent the hot molten glass from charring the wood, but it still typically lasted for only 1,000 castings. Some bottles made in wood molds will show the wood’s whittle marks. Originally Published in Vol 8, Issue 2 Click here to order single issues.
A generally accepted myth is that the side seam can be used as a gauge to the bottleâ€™s age; the further down the side the seam ends, the older the bottle. Unfortunately, this method is not accurate.
Hinged molds of various height and design were later developed that left identifiable seam marks. Most of these were twopart molds but some used three-part molds. Others had distinctive bottom hinge seams, all of which can be helpful in the identification process. Many BIM bottles were finished with an applied top. Basically a blob of glass was applied after the body of the bottle was blown in the mold. Later tooled-finished tops were formed without any additional applied glass. Special tooling allowed these tops to be sculptured into more uniform designs. These
tops are also called hand-tooled or hand-finished tops. The basic evolution of glass making and development of molds is important to remember because it allows us to understand why some older bottlesâ€™ seam marks end before the top and why other younger bottles made in full-height molds have side seams that run to the top or even over the lip. For most BIM bottles, a generally accepted myth is that the side seam can be used as a gauge to the bottleâ€™s age; the further down the side the seam
March-April 2012 American Digger Magazine
Slug plates allowed local businesses to emboss their own bottles.
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ends, the older the bottle. Unfortunately, this method is not accurate. Readers are encouraged to refer to this textâ€™s age estimation chart for a visual reference of mold marks and associated bottle age. During the proliferation of mold-blown bottles, slug plates were developed. A slug plate is a reverse embossed metal plate that is inserted into a two or threepiece mold. This allowed smaller manufacturers and local businesses to emboss their own logo on a plate that would be interchanged in a standard bottle mold. The result would be individualized product branding without the expense of creating a unique mold. In the early 1900s, Michael Owens invented the automatic bottle machine. This invention revolutionized the industry. The 1903 version of his machine could produce 13,000 bottles per day. By 1909, improvements
Around the turn of the century, the typical color of bottles changed from aqua to clear.
allowed the machine to make even small thin glass medicine bottles. One of these machines could make over 30,000 bottles per day. By 1917, an automatic machine could spit out over 60,000 bottles per day, which made bottles much more affordable to the masses. All bottles made by machine are referred to as automatic-bottle-machine or ABM bottles. Around the turn of the century, the typical color of glass used for bottles changed from aqua to clear. Fewer bottles were being embossed with unique individual manufacturers’ logos and by the late 1930s, painted label bottles became more cost effective to produce. Bottles lost their individuality as technology improved. Knowing the basic techniques of glassblowing, including how to identify free blown, mold blown, and automatic machine made bottles, and the unique manufacturing marks each leaves on the finished product, is the key to estimating a bottle’s age.
About The Author Capt. Dan Berg owns and operates the charter boat Wreck Valley and is a member of the Eastern Dive Boat Association. He has authored over a dozen books and was host and producer of the “Dive Wreck Valley” TV series. For more info on the author, visit www.aquaexplorers.com. March-April 2012 American Digger Magazine
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Meteorite Meteorite Man: Man: Interview with with AnAnInterview Geoff Notkin Geoff Notkin The The popular popular TV TV series series Meteorite Meteorite Men Men chronicles chronicles the the exploits exploits of of two two meteorite meteorite hunters hunters (Geoff (Geoff Notkin Notkin and and Steve Steve Arnold) Arnold) in in their their journeys journeys around around the the world world in in search search of of elusive elusive “space “space rocks.” rocks.” We We caught caught up up with with Geoff Geoff as as he he graciously graciously answered answered some some questions questions we we had had about about the the show, show, meteorites, meteorites, and and the the hobby hobby in in general. general. Photograph Photographby bySteve SteveArnold Arnold©©Aerolite AeroliteMeteorites MeteoritesLLC LLC
AD: Tell us about your first find and how you got started searching for meteorites. GN: I have been a science nut since I was a child. I grew up in the southern edge of Greater London in the UK and my interests as a lad were astronomy, geology, paleontology, science fiction, and especially meteorites. I found it scarcely believable that a little boy like me could actually touch rocks that had fallen to the surface of our planet from outer space. The concept seemed magical, almost at the edge of understanding and I promised myself, at the impressionable age of seven, that one day, somehow, I would have a meteorite of my own. I could hardly have imagined at the time that the search for meteorites would later become my profession, as well as the subject of an award-winning television show. I found my first meteorite during a desert expedition in the early 1990s. It was a bit of a fluke. I dug it up it on the first day of my first hunt and thought, “Wow, that was easy!” As time went on, I realized that finds almost never happen that way. It usually takes days, weeks, or months to make a decent find. A few years after that first discovery, I met Steve Arnold, who would eventually become my co-host on Meteorite Men, the TV series. Steve was already working with meteorites full time and invited me to participate in an expedition to Chile’s harsh Atacama Desert during the spring of 1997. After three weeks of scouring the sun-blasted wilderness for space rocks, in a beaten-up pickup truck, all I wanted to do was get back 48 American Digger Magazine
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Interview Interview by by Eric Eric Garland Garland
out in the field and continue the hunt. And that is pretty much what I’ve been doing ever since. AD: How does one know if they’ve found a meteorite? GN: The vast majority of meteorites are rich in iron, so we typically begin by testing suspected space rocks with a magnet. As detector enthusiasts well know, there are plenty of terrestrial rocks that also contain iron—and also plenty of hot rocks that will set off a detector—so when a rock adheres to a magnet, it is only a first step. Meteorites are typically denser than earth rocks, and often exhibit unusual surface features. Some contain elements rarely found on earth, such as nickel, so lab tests are regularly used to verify suspected meteorites. One of my websites, www.aerolite.org, features a comprehensive illustrated Guide to Meteorite Identification that has been used by people all over the world to help determine whether or not they have found the real thing. AD: Is meteorite hunting the same as relic hunting in that many hours of research and field hours are required? How much time do you normally invest for each good find? GN: Indeed it is. One of the key chapters in my book, Meteorite Hunting: How To Find Treasure From Space is titled “The Importance of Research.” Relic hunters will fully appreciate that part of making good finds is knowing where to look, what you are looking for, and understanding the strengths and weaknesses of your detector. We frequently use the joke word “meteorwrong,” to describe something we dug up that
Originally Published in Vol 8, Issue 1 Click here to order single issues.
Photographs by Caroline Palmer © Aerolite Meteorites LLC
(Above left) Geoff digs a meteorite. At above right are the results of another dig, as he gives a thumbs down to a “meteorwrong,” in this case, a rotted 55 gallon steel drum. _______________________ turned out to be man-made trash or a hot rock. On a recent expedition to Eastern Europe, we were literally digging up 100 meteorwrongs for every meteorite. So, we spend serious time in the field, as well as serious time deciding where to hunt, and what equipment and strategies to employ. AD: What are the challenges of hunting meteorites? GN: Meteorites are extremely rare, and many are very valuable both in financial terms to collectors, and in scientific terms to academia. They are also fascinating, enthralling, and wondrous visitors from outer space, so people want them, whether to adorn a display cabinet or as a subject for laboratory research. As the hobby grows in popularity, more people are becoming aware of the value of meteorites. As such, there are more people out looking for space rocks today than at any time in the past. Meteorites have been falling onto our planet for millions of years and are a finite resource. As a greater number of hobbyists, professional hunters, and researchers spend more time looking for meteorites, the supply begins to dwindle. Popular and well-documented sites such as the Odessa Crater in Texas, or the Gold Basin strewnfield in northern Arizona have produced literally thousands of fragments. They have also been so heavily hunted that it is now almost impossible to find anything at all. In addition, you really have to know what you are looking for, and understand what type of equipment is best suited to a particular site. The average person has no idea how to identify a meteorite, and that explains the thousands of inquiries we receive each year from hopeful individuals who
think they’ve discovered a space rock. Out of every thousand inquiries, on average only one or two turn out to be genuine. AD: What is the average size of the meteorites you find? GN: The smallest I have ever found was about the size of a pinhead and weighed less than 1/100th of an ounce; the largest came in at a hefty 273 pounds, so space rocks really do come in all shapes and sizes. During an expedition to Canada in 2009, my small team found over 100 freshly fallen meteorites, with an average weight of about two or three ounces. At one site in Kansas, Steve and I found approximately 20 buried masses with an average weight of more than 50 pounds each, so the successful meteorite hunter needs to be on the lookout for diminutive pieces as well as heavyweights. AD: Are most of your finds normally very deep? GN: Despite Hollywood movies, meteorites are not burning hot when they land, and most are traveling at a fairly modest speed—perhaps 200 miles per hour. Atmospheric braking slows them down as they hurtle through the air, so the majority of meteorites come to rest on the surface. A larger piece may create a shallow indention when it lands, called an impact pit. Typically, only the most massive and dense meteorites make craters, and crater forming events are extremely rare. So, if we are searching for recent falls we would expect new meteorites to be on top of the ground. Soil deposition and other terrestrial processes will bury meteorites over time, so if we are investigating an event that took place more than about 50 years ago, we would expect any surviving meteorites to be buried. We recently discovered a 75-pound meteorite six January- February 2012 American Digger Magazine
Photograph by Geoff Notkin © Aerolite Meteorites LLC
Meteorites come in all sizes, but one such as this 67-pound Muonionalusta iron meteorite is a true rarity. It was found by Geoff and his team north of the Arctic Circle in Sweden.
Photo by Caroline Palmer © Aerolite Meteorites LLC
feet underground, which was a personal depth record for me! of plow blades and hand forged tools, and even an uncapped And you can appreciate that a very sophisticated detector is oil well. I am a military history enthusiast, so hunting on old required to locate a target under six feet of dirt and rocks. battlefields is always a treat for me, and I have amassed quite AD: After finding a meteorite, are there any steps to preserve a collection of bullets and shrapnel from various conflicts. I the specimen? tend to keep the most interesting meteGN: Since meteorites are rich in iron, orwrongs and add them to my rock garsome will begin to oxidize fairly rapden, which, over time, looks more and idly, while others will remain stable more like an antique store (or junkyard, indefinitely. I personally prefer to keep depending on your point of view). meteorites in as-found condition, since AD: What advice would you offer some of them—particularly iron metesomeone wanting to start searching orites—acquire a lovely patina. Somefor meteorites? times, however, it is necessary to put a GN: I have been asked this question so little effort into preserving them. Iron many times that I eventually gave in and meteorites are sometimes baked to rewrote a book about it. Sample pages and move moisture, and we’ve had some reviews can be found at www.meteoritefunny moments when guests have come hunters.tv and it goes into great detail Although most meteorites are regarding how to embark upon hunts over to visit, only to find a slew of weirdfound near the surface, this ly shaped rocks cooking in the oven. for space rocks. The would-be hunter one was found several feet “What’s for dinner, honey?” There are should become familiar with what medeep. Its location is marked also various chemical processes that teorites look like, both in the lab and in can be used to remove chlorides from the field, and learn some of the science by the telltale reddish ironmeteorites, but I leave my finds in a behind them. When multiple meteorites laden soil at bottom left. natural state whenever possible. land at the same time, the fall zone is AD: While searching for meteorites do you ever make described as a strewnfield, and understanding strewnfields is unexpected finds? vital for a successful hunter, as is knowing what type of detecGN: I have found so many bizarre things over the years that a tor to use in a given situation. Also, don’t give up your day job! comprehensive list would take up this entire page. I’ve found Visit a couple of known sites, see if you have the determination artillery shells, bomb fragments, two unexploded missiles—one and patience for it, and don’t expect to find a meteorite right of which probably weighed more than 1,000 pounds—a clip of away. Experienced metal detector enthusiasts already have a 9mm ammunition, an old revolver, wagon wheels, traps, loads considerable advantage because they understand many of the 50 American Digger Magazine
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Photograph by Andy Shuford © Aerolite Meteorites LLC
principles that are key to becoming a successful hunter. AD: If someone suspects that they have a meteorite, how can they get it properly identified and what are their options? GN: The popularity of our show has had one adverse affect: The few labs that are equipped to identify meteorites have been swamped with requests, and—for the most part—no longer accept submissions from the general public. If you believe you have a meteorite, do a web search for “I think I’ve found a meteorite” and visit one of the websites with information about meteorite identification. Several sites include a list of simple tests you can do at home that may help you determine if you have the real thing. Also, a visit to a museum or university with a meteorite exhibit is a good step. Nothing educates more effectively than looking at actual specimens. The American Museum of Natural History in New York, the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C., the Institute of Meteoritics at UNM Albuquerque, and the Oscar E. Monnig Meteorite Gallery at TCU, Forth Worth all have wonderful displays that are open to the public. Finders of new meteorites should always donate a portion of every find to academia for study. It’s the right thing to do, and it also furthers the science. As in relic hunting, be sure you have proper permission to be on a particular property, and do some research about the laws regarding meteorite ownership—a subject that can be quite complicated. AD: How did the show begin? Did you approach the producers or did they find you? GN: Steve and I have been traveling the world looking for
meteorites for many years. Prior to Meteorite Men, we appeared in a number of shows for the Travel Channel, PBS, Discovery, National Geographic, and the History Channel. We’ve also been the subject of a large number of newspaper and magazine articles, and Ruth Rivin, an executive producer in California, read a story about Steve and decided to get in touch with us. She asked if we had ever considered doing a television series about our work, and I said, “Yes, we have, and I’ll have a proposal on your desk in the morning.” I think Ruth was pleasantly surprised that we had already given the idea so much thought. A lot of people don’t realize that, for the most part, networks commission independent production companies to make the shows that are broadcast. Our production company started the process by filming a five-minute demo reel and showing it to networks. A series of meetings were then set up with some of them. Steve and I walked into the offices of Science Channel in our full field gear, with a bag containing $10,000 worth of space rocks, and had the good luck to sit down with Debbie Myers, who is now the network’s general manager. At the time, she was developing new programming and developed an instant rapport with “the two fun and kooky guys” who look for space rocks. Debbie commissioned a one-hour pilot that aired in May of 2009 and did very well. Science Channel ordered six more episodes, then eight more, and then another eight, which brings us to the present day, completing work on our third season. AD: Your show is both entertaining and educational. What message are trying to impart to your viewers? GN: I grew up watching the BBC in England, and adored
Photos by Geoff Notkin © Aerolite Meteorites LLC
A few of the team’s finds on the show: (Left) Meteorites from an ancient fall in Nevada; (Right) meteorite from the newly discovered Whitecourt crater in Alberta, Canada. At top center, Steve Arnold and Geoffrey Notkin gear up for another episode of Meteorite Men. January- February 2012 American Digger Magazine
This rare Vaca Muerta mesosiderite, valued at $25,000, was found by Geoff and Steve in northern Chile during Season Two of the show. Photo by Suzanne Morrison © Aerolite Meteorites LLC
sophisticated documentary series such as Horizon, Chronicle, and Arena. Hardly any programming of that caliber exists today and I hope that Meteorite Men follows in the footsteps of those shows. We are trying to educate as well as entertain, and I want to demonstrate that science can be exciting and inspirational, and that one brilliant kid can grow up to change the world. The next Einstein, or Kepler, or Tesla might be watching Science Channel at this very moment and thinking: “I want to do that!” My fascination with science as a child caused me to be somewhat alienated at school, and I want smart, nerdy kids today to know that it is okay to be different, and it is okay to follow your dreams; it doesn’t matter if others think you are odd. While the kids I went to school with were kicking a rubber ball around a parking lot, I was reading books about fossils and prospecting, and convincing my parents to take me to see active volcanoes and dinosaur footprints. I want kids to follow their hearts and do things that amaze and delight them, and perhaps one day help make the world a better place. The thing that gives me the most joy in my work is receiving fan mail from parents who want to thank us for getting their kids interested in science. If our work, and our show, inspires even a few young girls and boys to follow a career in geology, or astronomy, or physics, then we will have left behind something meaningful and worthwhile. AD: Would you consider this a job or a passion? GN: For me it is definitely both. I was lucky enough to watch a hobby grow into a career. I am an admirer of the writer and anthropologist Joseph Campbell, who inspired me, and spoke so eloquently about finding the courage within yourself to follow your dreams and believe in your abilities. Believing that I could leave the 9-to-5 world and join the quest for space rocks has led to some funny moments at parties. When I meet new people at a social gathering, somebody will inevitably 52 American Digger Magazine
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ask, “And what do you do?” The answer can get quite complicated, and every now and then my questioner will think I am just pulling his leg when I say I look for meteorites. AD: How big is the crew when you are filming? GN: For our first season we traveled fast and light with a small crew that usually numbered only six or seven, counting Steve and myself. Our second season was more ambitious and demanding. While filming in the Atacama Desert in Chile, we had two cameramen, two soundmen, a camera tech, a field producer, director, mountain survival specialist, a medic, a cook, and several drivers. These days we are usually a group of 12 to 14. And it may sound somewhat on the luxurious side to travel with a chef, but believe me we needed him. Camping at 11,000 feet during winter in the Southern Hemisphere, when you are several hours’ drive from the nearest tiny hamlet, is no picnic, and you need a hot meal, at least once a day, to keep your spirits up. The logistics of traveling with a large group can be extremely complicated. Imagine being on the road with 14 people for five weeks. Assuming each person has two personal bags, that’s 28 pieces of luggage before we even get to the camera and audio gear. Our field producer doubles as tour manager, location manager, and sometimes a nanny as well. She ensures that all the vehicles are gassed up and in good running order, that we are on time and on budget, and that we have food and shelter for tired and hungry people. We typically work 12-hour days, so nobody wants to be kept waiting for food or a shower after hiking, digging, and filming. When Steve and I go hunting on our own, or with a couple of friends, our footprint is much smaller and we also have a lot more hunting time. Ultimately, we are making an expensive and involved TV show, so we have to give priority to getting the shots that the director needs. As a result, there have been many times when hunting was cut short, or we were not able to complete work at a particular site before moving on to film the next episode. It is frustrating to be in the middle of a hunt, making finds, and then be told that we have to stop what we’re doing and go film driving shots or do interviews, but that’s the price of starring in a television show about meteorites, rather than just looking for them on your own. On the plus side, the fact that we are working with Science Channel has given us access to restricted sites that we never would have been able to visit as individual hunters, as well as a great deal of cooperation and assistance from academia. AD: You often use a Fisher F-75 detector. What settings do you use and what makes it desirable in your arena? GN: I have successfully used many detector brands. But, ultimately, I am a Fisher devotee. I used an original Gold Bug back in the ’90s, and then a 1266, a great detector for iron meteorites. I learned about the 1266 by reading posts in a relic hunting forum. 1266 users were gently griping because that machine is so sensitive to iron, they were forever digging up deeply buried ferrous items. That is exactly what I wanted, so the 1266 became a mainstay of mine for years. Fisher Labs’ support of the show has been tremendous.
also a natural haven for all kinds In fact, Fisher asked us to field test The Meteorite Men on the of wildlife, including flocks of wild prototypes of the F-75 Limited durmotorcycle built for them by parakeets. We filmed the final episode ing the first season of Meteorite Men, Orange County Choppers. of Season Two at Henbury, and it was and I consider it the best hand-held unit I’ve ever used. It is lightweight, a grand adventure. beautifully balanced, extremely sensiAD: What are future plans for the tive, and the digital target ID readout Meteorite Men show? helps distinguish between iron-rich GN: Most television shows never meteorites and man-made ferrous make it to a third season, and when trash. I became so enamored with the our 2011 schedule is completed we Nowthat my Ireputation was at stake and to add inthat Dr.will Dorfman delivered to the newspaper’s F-75 kept on using it all through have made 23 episodes, counting sult to injury, the point’s provenance was now archaeologist after the point was published. Season Two and am still swinging it as the pilot. That’s a lot of miles and a tainted. This so-called “professional” had gone The man was shamed and for good reason. we work through Season Three. lot of hours swinging the detector! out of his way to slam me and I had to react. My Perhaps in the future, this reckless professional When searching for meteorites, I Focus groups have said that they redemption, however, was to come from an unwill take a few moments to acknowledge the use my F-75 in All Metal mode and like it best when we find meteorites, usual and completely unexpected place. contributions of serious amateurs. Honestly, typically keep the sensitivity very and I certainly understand that. We though, I wouldn’t take any bets on it. Weeks passed as I allowed my anger to high—around 80—though I will lower like it too! If, however, Meteorite I summarize this weird and somewhat comidiminish and develop a viable plan C. One day, that setting if I am in areas with shalMen continues for a fourth season, cal (but lately all too common) tale by asking at an auction, a rather distinguished looking Photo by by Suzanne Morrison © Aerolite Meteorites LLC low targets or a lotstrolled of trash. pin-table.Photo or beyond, like to see the show we, theI’d nonprofessional collector, elderly gentleman overThe to my He Suzanne Morrison © Aerolite Meteorites LLCwhat should pointing feature is useful and I find the mature and focus more on historic take away from it? Political correctness and an seemed very interested in my coprolites, which F-75 extremely easy old to ground balance. It isthat also very simple sites and strange emotionally or remarkable meteoritesense stories. Thereisare overcharged of what hisare 75 million years fish feces (you read toright) stripretrieved down and pack case for travel by road or aira number of locations I want to have visit where odds of finding torically right infectedtheour society like an from the into localacreeks. plane. of this mayDon change, however, a couple of days something are slim, but a greatvirus. episode could still be made out-of-control TheAllgentleman, Dorfman, Ph.Daswas ago, Fisher Labs sent me the new Teknetics T2 Limited. I tried because the associated story is so fascinating. It is now three times as hard to collect, prehead of the Marine Biology Department at the itUniversity out at my of secret detector(West test range buried meteorites of I’m also working another new meteorite bookAll and serveon and report finds at a local level. themy avMonmouth Long (IBranch, citizen is keeps supposed do iswhen visit museums varying sizes inDon the had desert years ago,academic and call the site Metal company, Aeroliteerage Meteorites, me tobusy we are New Jersey). both serious and watch the History Channel. We, as AmeriDetector School) theminded resultsattitude. were very not filming. I maintain an active presence on Facebook and credentials and anand open Mostpromising. The can citizens, still have the right to collect and location for the fifth episode of Season Three is an exciting Twitter, as well as at MeteoriteMen.com. I support a number importantly, he gladly acknowledged the contridig, as long as we do it with permission and stay iron meteorite site, where we and expect encounter numerous of organizations and causes, including Arizona’s Challenger butions of amateurs to science wastofascinatwithin the boundsDark-Sky of the law.Association, It is neither a right ed by my finds.atAfter the Daltondepth. point Idebacle, Space Center, The International the smaller targets considerable eagerly await putting nor an obligation to follow in lock step Ibehind Don in the hole. Professors pubElectronic Frontier Foundation, and Sea Shepherd. will the T2became thoughmy its ace paces. holdcauses degrees. The margins, however, lish What like a israbbit soonlocation? we continue to speakthose out who for the I believe in and—one AD: yourmaking favoritebunnies episodeand or find are narrowing and the eyes (and voices) of those teamed up to publish a series of scientific articles GN: My favorite episode is easily the first one from Season way or another—will continue to travel the world digging for who would condemn us are everywhere. The Dalton Point which based myshow, finds.Steve The first you initially guessed to the Buzzard One. Inon that andwas I traveled space rocks. it onstrewnfield coprolites, in then others followed. I evenrejected forThanks publi-for taking the time to let us interview you. Are Coulee Saskatchewan in rural Canada.was We were AD: Postscript tually asked if he could help me with the long cation by the newspaoriginally going to shoot the entire episode there, but a freak there any parting words you’d like to say to your viewers and In 2010, I discovered an amazing 5.5 inch neglected Dalton per’s snowstorm cut ourpiece. filming time in half. It was so cold our crewarchaeologist. our readers? stemmed Paleo point in Marlboro, New Jersey. knew the to antagonistic archaeologist and working. Our __________ tapedDon heat packs the cameras to keep them GN: I was genuinely by point the opportunity It was delighted perfect Paleo number two to and,doof confided that he had a reputation for arrogance senior producer at the time, Bob Melisso, was back at HQ an interview withcourse, American Magazine. My father I it hadDigger to be recorded. Unfortunately, even among his peers. As for my Dalton point, and started frantically trying to find an alternate location for bought me my first metal detector when I was eleven went through many of the same problems I’d experienced years almost he suggested we submit an article to the annual New Jersey us. Colleagues of ours with the meteorite department at the old, and I’ve had the It bug ever since. In addition to meteorite half a decade earlier. was a bit depressing; it felt like I’d never Archaeology Bulletin. This periodical annually highlights the University of Alberta in Edmonton saved the day when they hunting, I enjoy searching for terrestrial things too,commercial and have gone through the vetting process. Thankfully, a local Garden State’s most significant finds and is highly prestigious in granted us unprecedented access to the recently discovered amonthly particular interest thedid Civil War. So, readers—relic picked it upinand a better thanyour expected job on the scientific circles. One of Don’s closest friends was the managing Whitecourt Crater. With a terrestrial age of only 1,100 years, hunters and those who search for coins and buried treasure— article. chief editor and, ironically enough, the newspaper’s archaeologist Whitecourt is one of the youngest craters on earth. It is extremely are my people. It has a pleasure to share thoughts and More recently, mybeen discovery of a partial mastodon skeleton also sat on the board of the magazine. The web that was being well preserved and was—during the fall of 2009—decorated stories with your readers, and I hope some of them will send brought quite a bit more recognition. Finally! It only took woven around this single spear point was getting thick indeed! numerous phone calls, several interviews and the backing of three with a light dusting of snow, which made for a breathtaking me a hello through www.aerolite.org, www.meteoritemen. In the spring of 2006 (almost a year after my find), the bulletin people But pages. I had evolved. I now least vista. Steve were some of thewrite-up, very firstand people to of hunt or with our Ph.D’s. Facebook My thanks goatout toexisted all ourin arrived withand an Iaccurate, objective photos the com, their eyes and thus, the find could be properly documented. The around crater and we some significant discoveries. It loyal viewers who have made Meteorite Men a success, and Daltonthe point. It was latemade in coming, but there it was: a literal media giveth and the media taketh away. But it should never was a fantastic and unforgettable especially to our friends at Fisher Labs and 5.11 Tactical whobe exercise in persistence and luck. adventure, made that much able supported to rob a findusofevery its provenance. better because it all entirely by accident. step of the way. Thank you all, and The gravy on toptranspired of my ‘taters was the verbal dressing down have My favorite meteorite site is the Henbury Crater Preserve remember—dig every target! in the Australian Outback. There are 15 craters of varying size in close proximity, blasted out of the Outback’s gorgeous red sand. It is amazingly scenic, of great scientific interest, and January- February 2012 American Digger Magazine
About The Author
The Queen of the Caribbees Sugar was king on the Caribbean island of Nevis, and the plantation owners lived like royalty. Now, the author uses a metal detector to explore an era lost in time. By Michael Chaplan
ooking over the small collection of relics and old resort in the Caribbean. Built in 1778 as a thermal spa, it bottles in the museum at Hamilton House, the birthplace was the Club Med of its time, attracting the fashionable of Alexander Hamilton in 1757 on the Caribbean island colonial elite to indulge in curative mineral baths and soof Nevis, it was clear that a concerted effort was being cialize. There were also some old British fortifications scatmade by the Nevis Historical Society to revive the island’s tered around the island and, most alluringly, the countryside was dotted with stately old sugar plantation ruins. The colonial era past. There was also a fraying old book that had whole project seemed an exciting change in direction from drawings of early plantation life, showing the planting and my usual digs as an urban treasure hunter in New York City. harvesting of sugar cane. Nevis is a small volcanic island with a population of While speaking to the museum curator and librarian, 12,000 people. A former British colony founded in 1628, it a husband and wife Peace Corps historian team, I learned was a prosperous “sugar island” and known as the “Queen they originally came to Nevis to catalog old courthouse of the Caribbees” during the 1700s. There are still many documents to create an accurate record of early colonial remnants of that bygone era. life. They also aspired to help the people on this remote After arriving for a two week treasure hunting expeisland develop an interest in their history. The museum at dition, I was quite impressed with Hamilton House and the historiCharlestown’s (the capital) assortcal society became logical add-on ment of still-in-use old governprojects to accomplish that goal. ment buildings. This 19th century I mentioned my treasure hunting architecture set the stage for my quest and they encouraged me to twilight zone voyage back to when search around Bath House and warehouses filled with hogsheads the deserted old plantations, since they were on public land. of brown muscovado sugar lined the waterfront, waiting to be taken The next morning I set off to to Europe by three-masted sailing Bath House by walking through ships. Sugar was the most valuable Charlestown, following the curvThe Hamilton House, birthplace trade commodity at that time. ing shoreline of Gallows Bay. It My pre-trip research revealed of Alexander Hamilton in 1757, now was a good way to see the sights some intriguing hunting sites, in- serves as a museum. At top of page: and I noticed that most of the doors cluding the ruins of the Bath House all that remains of the once-majestic and window shutters were painted great house at Coconut Walk. Hotel, which was the first luxury blue. I later learned that this was to 38 American Digger Magazine
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Originally Published in Vol 8, Issue 2 Click here to order single issues.
Some of the 1800s silver coins found by the author during his detecting on the island. was his health and I was glad that he found it. I’m sure that protect the occupants from obeah spells, a form of Caribbean sorcery practiced by a cult of Bongoman “root docthe original patrons discussed their ailments in the same spot. tors” on the island. An overgrown walled garden looked very inviting Upon arrival, I saw a large, desolate, volcanic stone and made me think of dinner parties with string quartets building, located on a bluff overlooking Charlestown and people dancing the minuet. I fired up my trusty Fisher harbor. Cloud covered Mt. Nevis loomed in the background. 1266-X detector and started searching the area. Two signals turned out to be an 1817 shilling with the bust Once famous for its beautiful hanging gardens that were of King George III, followed by an 1835 Half Guilder compared to Babylon, Bath House’s days of grandeur ended with the collapse of the sugar industry and it closed from the United Colony of Demerary and Essequibo, in 1870. another British sugar colony, and what is now Guyana. I gave myself a tour and walked down a stone corridor Once again, my metal detector had turned into a time that led to a high-ceiling room. Outside was a wide terrace machine, and I was digging in the long ago West Indies where the aristocratic guests once drank sherry and when “sugar was king.” caught the ocean breezes. However, over time, things had There was a lot to see at Bath House during this first changed and the current guests were exploratory probe and I bounced goats who had left their droppings around enjoying the views and on the floor. making additional coin finds, Continuing my recon, my first which included an 1846 Four find, an 1868 French 50 centimes coin Pence, an 1816 Six Pence, and with a bust of Napoleon III, came an 1836 Four Pence. The day while walking on a path that led to the was productive and I thoroughly original spring house through which enjoyed working the site. the healing waters still flowed. InThat night, with the old silver side were five private chambers that coins in my pocket, I drifted further allowed current-day bathers to soak into the flow of island life by visitaway their afflictions. The water was ing the Charlestown pier. I sat there The Bath House Hotel, built in quite hot and an Englishman who watching some hand-line fishermen 1782, was the Club Med of its time, I spoke to claimed that it cured his pulling in small snappers. A string attracting the colonial elite for arthritis, whereas all other remedies of stars that formed the constellafailed. The treasure this man sought tion Scorpios, the scorpion, burned curative mineral baths. March-April 2012 American Digger Magazine
The mill yard at Coconut Walk, where sugar cane was processed into brown muscovado sugar. A stone over the windmill entrance is dated 1804. brightly in the southern sky. After bus (actually a van). While waiting, I ena while, a white haired man sidled joyed wandering through rows of women over to me and asked, “What you venders selling a variety of colorful tropidoin’ here, man?” When I mentioned cal fruits and had a mango tart at the Top my interest in exploring Nevis’ old Notch Bakery. Next door was a crowded plantations, his yellowed eyes widrum shop where the people were dancened and he whispered, “Name’s ing to Moonlight Lover, a bouncy reggae Hatchett. I know things. Stay away tune. It was 9 A.M. from that Eden Browne estate! A bad When the bus showed up, I told the spirit lives there, man!” The fisherdriver “Coconut Walk” and then spent men nervously looked over their the next 40 minutes riding through the shoulders, as if they knew what was flat, dry countryside listening to a cricket coming next. Hatchett took a long game on the radio. Finally, the bus stopped drink from out of a brown paper bag. by a tall chimney next to the skeleton of His voice became louder and a squat building housing an old steam more agitated as he went on to tell engine with “G. Fletcher & Co. London & This early 1800s pewter candle a strange tale about a woman who Derry 1861” stamped on its side. A steady holder was found in the ruins of once lived on that plantation. It stream of wasps coming and going from a the plantation great house. seems that on the day of her wedding swarming nest was my “Keep Out” sign. in 1822, her fiancé and his best man, The driver pointed to a goat trail and said, her brother, got into a drunken argument which ended in a “That way, man! Though Jackass Pasture.” duel that killed both men. She spent the rest of her life in I hiked another hour to reach the old plantation by the deep mourning and now, on full-moon nights, her griefsea. Stopping to take a drink from my canteen, I looked over stricken ghost, wearing a flowing wedding gown, floats a rise and saw the remains of what was once a magnificent through the deserted ruins. sugar estate. A small falcon hovered in the air hunting for Then Hatchett slowly stood up, pausing to wipe the lizards. It was an exhilarating moment and I headed into the spittle from his chin, raised his arms over his head and middle of it all, and came to a windmill with “1804” on the shouted: “She go mad!” The peaceful mood was shattered center stone over its entrance. and the pier started to empty. Someone called back, “You This was once the sugar works mill yard, where the crazy, Hatchett!” In a last whisper, he grabbed my hand and raw green juice was squeezed from the sugar cane and moaned, “Don’t go, man!” and then staggered back into the then flowed through wooden gutters into the boiling house darkness. “Another nutcase with a ghost story,” I muttered to be processed into sugar. About 100 yards away are the to myself. plantation great house ruins, once approached by a road After exploring around Charlestown, I felt the lure of lined with coconut palms, and where the planter and his the countryside and wanted to hunt some of the old plantafamily lived. Other crumbling ruins were scattered over tions. A historical society member suggested Coconut Walk the landscape. estate on the windward side of the island. Getting there was They seem idyllic, but these old plantations have hidpretty direct, since Nevis has one main road which circles den dangers. I had to watch out for overgrown wells, fallthe island. I walked over to the central market to catch the ing debris, and stinging plants. Looking around, I could 40 American Digger Magazine
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The cookhouse fed the field hands and also prepared food for lavish social events. Below are shards of 18th and 19th century chinaware that was found scattered outside the cookhouse. picture the planter riding his horse through the fields of swaying, green cane preparing for “crop time,” as the harvest was known. He could never have imagined that a time traveler with a metal detector would show up in his majestic little kingdom. On my way to the great house, I had to battle through some sharp thorn bushes where a small structure had collapsed. All plantations had a blacksmith’s shop, assorted storage sheds, stables and servant quarters. I scanned the surrounding area with my detector and found some square nails, old hinges and horseshoes. Reaching the great house, I heard a big signal and removed some rubble, revealing a pewter candle holder with an engraved, spiral-
These large copper pans in the boiling house were used to boil raw sugar cane juice into sugar. Crystallization (“strike”) occurred at 238 degrees. The sugar was then ladled into wooden cooling trays.
ing dragon and phoenix design. An aristocratic find! Continuing to explore, I located the cookhouse, as suggested by pieces of broken decorative chinaware scattered on the ground outside the back door. An elegant touch of home for the planter in this distant corner of the British Empire. Inside was a large hearth and my hopes soared when my detector sang out from deep within it. Five minutes of cramped digging produced a heavy coal rake. I was hoping for a pot of gold doubloons, so I left the rake where it could be picked up later for the museum. Lavish social events were an important part of plantation life. Recent arrivals from England never failed to express wonder at the extravagance of the plantation table. Lady Maria Nugent, wife of the Lieutenant Governor of Jamaica (1801-1806), was a frequent traveler around the islands and recorded her impressions of plantation society. Regarding the prevailing dining habits, she wrote in her diary: “Such eating and drinking I never saw! What loads of high rich seasoned things and gallons of wine and mixed liquors they drink. I observed some of the party today eat of late breakfasts as if they have never eaten before. It was as astounding as it was disgusting!” I made it down to Huggins Bay and enjoyed taking a break from the roasting sun in the shadow of an old lime kiln, which once burned coral to make the mortar for the plantation’s stone buildings. Not far way was a lonely cemetery. One tombstone had the epitaph of an early settler, Thomas Stoneman of Nova Scotia, “who departed this life 26 November 1817 Aged 25. He was taken ill on his voyage to the West Indies and died of consumption shortly after his arrival in this island.” A common story in the lethal 19th century West Indies. March-April 2012 American Digger Magazine
Author Michael Chaplan discovered this crumbling ruin in Jackass Pasture. The next plantation I detected was the Hamilton estate, which was a two mile uphill trek out of Charlestown on Government Road in the direction of Mt. Nevis. Passing the hospital on the edge of town, I was joined by a curious island dog. Further on, I noticed a mossy stone stairway, which led to a large cistern that held algae-covered water. Looking more closely at some ripples, I saw a fleet of large aquatic insects pushing their way through the green slime like little steamboats. I patted my canteen in appreciation that I didn’t have to drink from that crawling soup. Going back to the road, I continued onward and saw a small sign tacked to a tree that said, “Hamilton Estate.” I had arrived, but where was everything? Simply put, this
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plantation’s location was at a much higher elevation than Coconut Walk and the vegetation had changed to dense rainforest, which hid all man-made structures quite well. I followed a trail and popped out beside a sizeable old stone farmhouse with a corrugated iron roof. Entering these mysterious ruins through a hole in the wall, I found myself standing on a narrow ledge over a cobbled floor. Its former purpose became clear when I saw a line of three stone pits that once held large copper pans used to boil cane juice into sugar. A rusted steam engine was stamped “A & W Smith Co No 971 Glasgow 1893.” I was in the Hamilton estate boiling house. Walking further into the half-darkness, I found another smaller room, which held a graceful swan-necked rum still with a metal tag on it stamped “London 1832.” Rum was made from molasses. Both were important economic sugar by-products. I backed out when bats began swooping by my head. Continuing to explore, I started detecting by a sugar mill and came up with a 1896 Half Crown. As I examined the large silver coin, an elderly, barefoot man, accompanied by my tail-wagging dog friend, came over and introduced himself as the caretaker, and inquired about my metal detector. I didn’t have to be told that the dog was with his master. My explanation evoked a comment that Nevis has a
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tainted. This so-called “professional” had gone The man was shamed and for good rea out of his way to slam me and I had to react. My Perhaps in the future, this reckless professio redemption, however, was to come from an unwill take a few moments to acknowledge usual and completely unexpected place. contributions of serious amateurs. Hone though, I wouldn’t take any bets on it. Weeks passed as I allowed my anger to I summarize this weird and somewhat co diminish and develop a viable plan C. One day, cal (but lately all too common) tale by ask at an auction, a rather distinguished looking what should we, the nonprofessional collec elderly gentleman strolled over to my table. He take away from it? Political correctness and seemed very interested in my coprolites, which emotionally overcharged sense of what is are 75 million years old fish feces (you read that torically right have infected our society like right) retrieved from the local creeks. out-of-control virus. The gentleman, Don Dorfman, Ph.D was It is now three times as hard to collect, head of the Marine Biology Department at the serve and report finds at a local level. All the University of Monmouth (West Long Branch, erage citizen is supposed to do is visit museu New Jersey). Don had both serious academic and watch the History Channel. We, as Am credentials and an open minded attitude. Most can citizens, still have the right to collect importantly, he gladly acknowledged the contridig, as long as we do it with permission and butions of amateurs to science and was fascinatwithin the bounds of the law. It is neither a r ed by my finds. After the Dalton point debacle, nor an obligation to follow in lock step beh Don became my ace in the hole. Professors pubthose who hold degrees. The margins, howe lish like a rabbit making bunnies and soon we are narrowing and the eyes (and voices) of th teamed up to publish a series of scientific articles who would condemn us are everywhere. The Dalton Point which based on my finds. The first was you guessed An expedition map of it on coprolites, then others followed. I evenwas rejected for publiPostscript tually asked if he could help me with the long shows cation by the newspa-the Hamilton estate In 2010, I discovered an on amazing 5.5 i neglected Dalton piece. per’s archaeologist. typical structures found stemmed Paleo point in Marlboro, New Jer Don knew the antagonistic archaeologist and __________ a colonial era West Indies It was perfect Paleo point number two and confided that he had a reputation for arrogance sugar plantation. course, it had to be recorded. Unfortunatel even among his peers. As for my Dalton point, went through many of the same problems I’d experienced alm he suggested we submit an article to the annual New Jersey shoreline was strewn with broken prehistoric Amerindian history of hidden treasure suddenly appearing. He told me half a decade earlier. It was a bit depressing; it felt like I’d ne Archaeology Bulletin. This periodical annually highlights the pottery, dating back to 700 A.D. The next Thankfully, day I was walkthat five years ago a field hand had found a crock of gold gone through the vetting process. a local commer Garden State’s most significant finds and is highly prestigious in ing where some of Nevis’ earliest inhabitants once had job on coins long hidden in a cistern. I asked him about all the bees monthly picked it up and did a better than expected scientific circles. One of Don’s closest friends was the managing a village. Most of the shards were quite thick and came flying around and he brought me to a small meadow filled article. chief editor and, ironically enough, the newspaper’s archaeologist from large cooking with hives, also where he was collecting honey. The buzzing For my the discovery rest of myofstay, I returned Morepots. recently, a partial mastodon skele sat on the board of the magazine. The web that was being brought quite a bit more recognition. Finally! It only t was incredibly loud and the old caretaker laughed, “Don’t to Bath House and further wandered around Nevis, searchwoven around this single spear point was getting thick indeed! numerous phone calls, several interviews and the backing of th ing old forts and the “haunted” Eden Brown estate without worry, man!InThey my friends.” He also said that he needed the spring of 2006 (almost a year after my find), the bulletin people with Ph.D’s. But I had evolved. I now at least existe seeing some moneyarrived to fill with a cardiac prescription. Sowrite-up, I helpedand himphotos an accurate, objective of theany ghostly brides floating around. eyes and thus, old the find could be properly If you’retheir looking to hunt plantations, Nevis isdocumented. the out and he and his dog pharmacy, after Dalton point.left It for wasthe latehospital in coming, but there it was: a literal media giveth and the media taketh away. But itwas should neve place. My expedition to the “Queen of the Caribbees” showing meexercise around.in persistence and luck. able to rob a afind of rate its provenance. The Hamilton had first adventure. I only wish I The gravyestate on top of my ‘taters was the verbal dressing down
many of the structures found on a West Indies sugar plantation, and was fascinating to explore (see the expedition map above). One curiosity was a stone wall attached to a natural rock outcropping, probably for water management purposes after the rain forest was cleared for planting cane. Further down the slope, I saw another stone structure that may have been a latrine. There was also a circular cattle mill. On my way back to Charlestown, I hitched a ride from another Peace Corps volunteer who told me about the Red Cliffs on Indian Castle estate. Here the upper
was there now!
For more on this subject, Aboutsuggests The Author the author the book Glenn Harbour has been digging and collecting sin Caribbean by James Michener. his teenage years and has traveled both the west an the east coast extensively in his pursuits of the pa Although his degree is not archaeology, he tak About TheinAuthor his hobby veryDetectorist seriously and considers and adventurerhimself to an amateur scientist. Hailing from central New Jerse Michael Chaplan is author Glenn is also of a prolific author and a local folk artist The Urban Treasure
Prehistoric Amerindian pottery Hunter. He is currently 2012 American Digger® Magazine shards (circa 700 A.D.) fromNovember-December large searching for a publisher cooking pots were strewn along for his new book, The the upper shoreline of the Red Caribbean Adventurer. Cliffs on Indian Castle estate. March-April 2012 American Digger Magazine
Reports and Commentaries on Issues That Affect the Hobby by Mark Schuessler
Archaeologist Arrested For Artifact Theft; Charges Dropped In Exchange For Testimony March 2, 2011, New Mexico: The U.S. Attorneys office in New Mexico said that Professor Daniel Amick, one of two archaeologists in the anthropology department at Loyola University in Chicago, plead guilty to violating the Archaeological Resources Protection Act by removing 17 artifacts from public lands in New Mexico. He entered into a plea deal in which he promised to return the artifacts and help investigators track down others. There were two other men implicated in the investigation. One was described as an arrowhead hunter who would locate items in the Jornada Del Muerto area. He would plot the items location with a GPS and would share the info with Amick. The second person’s role was not divulged in Amicks court documents. If Amick keeps to the terms of his probation, the judge has agreed to drop the charge, Amick’s attorney said. “The judge is saying that Dr. Amick made a mistake. As it was associated with research, he agreed to drop the charges,” attorney Douglas McNabb said. “He won’t have a record.” Amick’s actions were driven by academic pursuit and had he applied for a research permit he would have been granted one, according to McNabb. Johna Hutira, a member of the Society of American Archaeology, made the following statement; “It’s a short jump from a person removing artifacts to wholesale looting. These kinds of allegations are troubling for archaeologists.” Have you choked on your coffee yet? I bet they are troubling. One of their own has been caught in their own trap. The mindset here is that the elite can do whatever they want. ARPA does not apply to them. On the rare occasion that one is actually caught doing what they freely do all the time, they get a pass. Amick is part of the privileged elite. He clearly broke the law, but gets off with a slap on the hand. If an archaeologist digs a relic in violation of the law it’s a “mistake.” If someone outside of the archeological elite does it, it’s looting! Can someone tell me the difference? The irony of all this is that the roots of archaeology are not in studying history. It’s in collecting, along with grave and tomb robbing. Don’t take my
2012 American Digger Magazine Sampler ®
word for it; do some research on the history of archaeology. By the way, although this happened in 2011, it was not widely publicized at the time, and was only recently discovered by this columnist. Now let’s look at what happens when the average citizen is charged under the same law. They are prosecuted, fined heavily, imprisoned, and their equipment and vehicles forfeited. Their name is all over the national news with every elitist archaeologist chiming in on what a scoundrel the person is and how they have done so much damage to the historical record. See any double standard or inconsistencies here? If you ever find yourself in that situation, just tell them it is for research. Maybe we can even find an online course in archaeology. Then we can just show our archeology card and it’s all fine. Do you think the guy who was supplying information to this professor will be given the same deal? After all, he was helping the professor with his research. A couple of years back, a government sting operation took place involving artifact collectors and dealers in the western states. You may have heard about this in the media outlets. Two dozen people were indicted. What you probably did not hear about was the implications that archaeologists, park rangers, and park employees were also involved. A federal informant visited collectors and dealers to gather evidence. One such meeting with an artifact dealer revealed that the dealer had been purchasing items for many years from both federal and state archaeologists, park rangers, and other federal and state employees. Many were items that had been collected from government properties and even sanctioned archaeological digs. A Bureau of Land Management agent stated that the artifact dealer told the informant that he gets stuff from archaeologists all the time. Specific people were named by the dealer. The official stance from the heads of various agencies and archaeological staffs is that they are unaware of any employees violating the laws. They just could not believe that anyone in their circle would do that. One of the people implicated was a former and now deceased Utah State archaeologist. The present state archaeologist, Kevin Jones, has expressed concern that the allegations could cast doubt on his profession’s legitimacy. Really? Caught red handed and you think it might cast doubt? Jones said he intends to find out how an artifact from a 1979 dig made its way to the black market. I think we both know, although the “black market” part of his comment is way off base, implying that any trade in artifacts is somehow illegal. Bill Lipe, a former research director at Crow Canyon Archaeological Center, said that archaeologists should never own artifacts or promote the private market. He also said that it is legal to collect artifacts from private land but it is not ethical. Who Keep up with legal issues, subscribe and read the News-n-Views column in every issue!
is he to decide what is ethical and not; to tell people what they can do on private property and that the public has no right to investigate history? Now for the kicker: Lipe says he has heard of rangers for public land-management agencies picking up artifacts and selling them. If so, then why is he not investigating this travesty? Why is he not initiating search warrants and broadcasting this to the media of the looting and thievery that is taking place? Most of the indicted took plea deals. The informant along with two defendants committed suicide. Are you wondering what happened to the indicted government employees and archaeologists? Well here is the answer: There were none! That’s right, no public employees have been arrested as a result of this investigation. Prosecutors consider the case closed, according to Jeff Dorschner, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Colorado. Search warrants were issued on all those of the general public that were indicted but not a single warrant was issued on any of the archaeologists, park rangers, and park employees implicated by the previously mentioned artifact dealer. It seems that there was not even a cursory investigation undertaken. All of this effort and tax money into this undercover investigation, and they refused to take into custody all of those implicated. They were once again only interested in indicting the public, while the government employed and the archaeological elite are exempted from the law and allowed to go free. Free to go on plying an illegal trade that they themselves have made illegal and are viciously enforcing on the public. Do I sound harsh? If I do not, then you misread this column. We should all be enraged. All of the public should be outraged about both of these issues presented here. Even honest government workers should be livid. Those that are screaming about history being stolen are responsible for stealing it themselves. Opinions and research expressed in this freelance column are those of the author and not necessarily those of American Digger.
(Originally Published in Vol 8, Issue 3)
A Louisville Slugger
May 2012, Louisville, KY: Some legislators in the state of Kentucky have been working on a law to make metal detecting in the state parks a legally recognized pastime. It’s been a few years in the making and jumped the first hurdle in the 2012 legislative session by passing the Senate. However, the bill failed to make it over the second hurdle. It failed to make it to a vote in the House due mainly to not having enough time left in the session. The background of how this bill came into existence shows the determination of the man mainly responsible.
Eddie Black of Louisville was stopped while detecting in a city park in late 2008. He was informed by parks workers that metal detecting was no longer allowed and threatened with arrest even though there was no law or regulation prohibiting it. He spoke to the mayor the next day at a public meeting who told him that he had no problem with metal detecting and to obtain a permit. The problem with that statement was that there were no permits to be issued. No change in the laws or regulations could be found at the parks department nor did the Metro Police Department have any record of existing laws prohibiting metal detecting. The club Eddie belongs to, Bluegrass Loop and Coil Club, ask for a meeting with the Parks Department, the mayor and the council to discuss the situation. After a lot of insistence a meeting finally took place with Mayor Jerry Abramson. The result was a waste of time. The mayor was just going through the motions. Their minds were already made up and they were not about to allow any representation from those effected. An e-mail and phone campaign was undertaken. The FMDAC assisted with this effort to get the word out. The mayor’s contact info was given out across the country causing a flood of e-mails and phone calls. The mayor’s office replied with a canned response full of misconceptions. Here’s one: “It appears that state and national parks have banned the practice, and with good reason.” This is totally inaccurate, as 40 states allow some form of metal detecting in their parks. It is also allowed on various federal properties such as US Forest Service, BLM and Corps of Engineers lands, as long as certain guidelines are followed. They also never elaborated on what the “good reason” they mentioned is. Then there was this one: “Digging holes in parks is not something we can condone.” A seriously uninformed comment, to say the least The e-mail campaign had the same effect as the meeting. The mayor chose to ignore the contacts. His initial statements to Eddie were proven to be a smokescreen. Eddie next turned to the media. A TV news spot aired showing Eddie swinging a detector, recovering targets and briefly talking about the situation. The news also interviewed the parks director Michael J. Heitz. What came out of his mouth paralleled the typical conceited archaeologists mantra. In part he said that KY state archaeology laws claim any artifact found on city property. That is a false interpretation; the state laws cover state property. Furthermore he erroneously uses the state antiquities statute by saying that if metal detecting is not allowed on state property then it is not
allowed on city property, either. That is also totally false. In January of 2009, Heitz simply created a new rule that banned metal detecting in all 122 city and county parks. This rule was made without a public meeting nor allowing for any public comment. The February 2009 Metro Parks Rules and Safety Tips included the statement, “The operation of a metal detector is prohibited.” Eddie and the club members then turned to their state representatives to see if they could render any assistance. KY Senator Dan Seum (R) responded and actually met with the club on December 13, 2009. The purpose set forth was for the Senator to obtain input for the crafting of a bill to allow metal detecting in the Kentucky state parks. The contention was that since the city of Louisville is using the excuse that their illconceived rule is simply following the state policy on metal detecting then they would be out of line with the states policy if this bill passes. SB6 was introduced in January 2010, titled “An Act Relating To Metal Detectors In State Parks.” This bill would allow metal detecting in “improved” areas of state parks. That means any area that had been previously disturbed by park construction. Unfortunately it went nowhere as it failed to make it out of committee. It was resubmitted as SB81 in 2011 with the same result. The bill was numbered as SB105 in 2012. The battle with the city is a complete stalemate. The same could be said on the state level until this year. Senator Seum moved the bill out of committee (Economic Development, Tourism and Labor) and onto the floor for a vote. This was due to a major effort by Eddie Black. He and an associate took many trips to the state capitol visiting with representatives and explaining the bill to them. At the final committee hearing it was brought out that no law exists against metal detecting in the state parks. This shot a hole in the Louisville city claim that they were simply following state law. After the hearing Eddie became engaged in a “conversation” with the state parks director, who was trying desperately to get Eddie to withdraw the bill. He wanted to negotiate an agreement. This happened once before, the result being that the negotiation ended the moment the bill was withdrawn. Mr. Black was also rudely verbally attacked by a representative from the City of Louisville who stated that there would be no metal detecting in Louisville. On March 6, 2012 the bill passed the Senate with a vote of 20-16. The next step was to pass it through the House. HB352 had five sponsors along with others who had voiced support for it. With just a short time
left to the end of the session the bill was left sitting in the Tourism Development and Energy committee; there was not enough time to gain the support to move it out of committee. This is not surprising considering that the committee chair was blocking it from consideration. State Representative Leslie Combs (D) is the same person who sponsored HB379 in the 2011 session. That one you may recall was a direct attempt to take control of all historical sites in the state, including private property. The KHC – Kentucky Heritage Council - has her in their pocket, and they are dead set against the bill. The KHC is the same rogue state organization that was behind HB379 and is also behind the KY permit bill. They want anyone who wishes to dig a hole anywhere in the state, for any reason, to get an archaeological permit from them. Of course you cannot get such a permit unless you are a card-carrying archaeologist. Combs will be an obstacle in the future unless she can be removed from that position in the upcoming election. Let’s hope the detectorists in House District 94 actively campaign against her. My hat goes off to Eddie Black for all his hard work. I would not call this a loss. The bill passed the Senate and I am sure with a little more time it could have been moved to the House floor. The powers that oppose us in KY have been put on notice that this hobby is a force to contend with. The tables were turned and they were put on the defense, a position they are not use to being in. Unfortunately the bill must start all over from scratch next year. We already know that it can pass the Senate. We as a group must concentrate the effort on the House and get the bill moved out of committee. What we must really concentrate on is getting a lot more support from the metal detecting community in the form of feet on the ground. Eddie needs people to accompany him to the capitol. With all the detectorists in Kentucky we should be able to muster an army. Yes people have to work, but it is worth a vacation day or two to preserve and possibly expand the hobby. If you are unable to take a day then at least talk to your own representatives in a face-to-face conversation. Oh yes and if you are in Combs’ district then make sure you contact her. A face to face would be nice where you let her know that she will lose your vote if she does not support the bill. She is up for reelection this year (2012) as are all 100 of the KY House seats. To illustrate the conceit of the people that Eddie has been dealing with, he related to me that the Parks Director told him that Eddie himself is the cause of the detector ban. Why? Eddie went over his head! He went to a State Senator in this matter, so he was going to pay. Yes Mr. Heitz he did go over your head. That is the procedure when you get zero cooperation from
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someone. You, Mr. Heitz, are the reason for taking it to the state level. You said that state law is the reason for your policy so you forced them to go to the state. Apparently Mr. Heitz believes that he is the final say and there is no higher authority. You, Mr. Heitz, are not the boss. You are an employee. Your employers are the taxpayers. Eddie Black is your employer. You work for him. An interesting note is that Eddie did not approach the state senator until after the ban was enacted. Additionally a conversation between Eddie and George Crothers, the state archaeologist, revealed just how out of touch with any form of reality these people are. Crothers believes that everything in the ground belongs to the state. It matters not the age, it is an archaeological artifact. He told Eddie that he considers a newly dropped penny to be an archaeological relic. Can anything be more absurd? We have reached a point in this country where a sizeable portion of the elected and appointed representatives are no longer representing the people and the constitution. They are not representing a free society but private agendas for sale to the highest bidder. Many of those who are supposed to be enforcing the laws seem to be in league with them. Our freedoms are being stripped from us daily. Those great patriots who founded this country with their blood so that future
generations could live in a free society are regularly getting spit upon. Please make sure that you vote and vote wisely. To do otherwise is to sit back and watch our freedoms disappear one by one, including metal detecting. Opinions and research expressed in this freelance column are those of the author and not necessarily those of American Digger.
(Originally Published in Vol 8, Issue 4)
Product & Book Reviews
RTG Aluminum Scoop (#Big7)
RTG Stainless Steel Scoop (#709)
Reilly’s Treasure Gold Beach/Water Scoops
RTG 6” Big Aluminum Water Scoop (#Big7) MSRP $149 RTG 6” Monster Stainless Steel Water Scoop (#709) MSRP $169 Available from Reilly’s Treasure Gold, 1-800-876-6102 or www.rtgstore.com/index.htm and selected dealers.
nyone who has spent much time detecting at the beach knows the value of a good scoop. Although most of my digging time is spent in the woods, I’ve recently discovered the joy and excitement of this type of detecting. Like many beach novices, I started out with a short handled off-brand scoop which wasn’t suited to the rigors of serious digging. Thus it was exciting to give these two heavy duty models from Reilly’s Treasure Gold a chance to prove their worth. During a week-long trip to Daytona Beach, Florida, I tried out both scoops in the dry sand of the “umbrella line,” the wet sand of the “tidal area,” and in the surf itself. While both models worked equally well in the first two situations, the stainless scoop’s added weight proved an advantage
Model MSRP OA Length Weight Bucket Material Bucket Size Handle Bracing Warranty 92
RTG Big Aluminum 6” Water Scoop (#Big7) $149 47 inches (approximate) 4.5 lbs ⅛ inch aluminum 7 x 10 inches with ⅝ inch holes 1¼ inch aluminum 1 inch aluminum brace welded to scoop and handle 90 day limited warranty
2012 American Digger Magazine Sampler ®
when fighting the pull of the waves in the surf. Adversely, that same extra weight was very noticeable on the dry land, and I found myself using the aluminum model more in those situations. It did seem that the stainless scoop cut into the wet sand easier, but that may be because of the added weight. I do think that in a salt water environment, the stainless would require far less maintenance than the aluminum as far as preventing corrosion. I found both scoops easy to use, and the brace on the back provided extra strength and an excellent “kick plate” to push the blade into the sand with my foot. As far as quality, both scoops proved to be rigid and sturdy digging tools, with high quality welds and superb overall construction. I was concerned about the straight handle not having the additional “side” grip seen on some other models, but quickly discovered that the ergonomics of these two are excellent. The only problem I experienced was very minor, which was one of the rubber hand grips loosening during use. This proved a slight inconvenience, but I’m sure a bit of glue would prevent this problem from reoccurring. For what it’s worth, the grip never came completely off, only twisted so that the molded finger ridges did not line up with my hand. A minor problem, to be sure, and hardly worth mentioning except in a thorough review such as this one. Did I like the scoops? Absolutely, and I would highly recommend them to anyone looking for a good beach/surf digging tool. As to which is best, that depends on your hunting style. If you spend most of your time in the salt water, go with the stainless. However, if weight is a concern, the aluminum is hard to beat. I suspect that either way, you’ll have a scoop that you’ll be happy with for a long time to come. Review by Butch Holcombe
Model MSRP OA Length Weight Bucket Material Bucket Size Handle Bracing Warranty
RTG 6” Monster Stainless Steel Water Scoop (#709) $169 49 inches (approximate) 7 lbs 14 gauge 304 stainless steel, 6 x 11 inches with ⅝ inch holes 1¼ inch stainless steel 1 inch stainless steel brace welded to scoop and handle Two year limited warranty
Hunting Antique Bottles in the Marine Environment
By Captain Dan Burg Softcover, 5.5 x 8.5” Full color, 98 pages. Published by Aqua Explorers, Inc. $19.95 +S&H
Available at www.aquaexplorers.com
f I were given a dollar for every bottle I have found while metal detecting, looking for arrowheads, or even just hiking, I would probably be richer by several hundred dollars. However, if at the time
I’d known the value and age of many of those bottles, I could have made a nice profit by selling some bottles while still expanding my collection of relics. Unfortunately, I, like many people, have only very basic knowledge of how to properly identify bottles. I have frequently passed over ones that, in retrospect, were likely quite rare. For this reason alone, I find Dan Berg’s Hunting Antique Bottles in the Marine Environment to be an excellent resource and reference book. Any relic hunter, bottle collector, or antique enthusiast would do well to add this book to their library. As one might infer from the title, Hunting Antique Bottles in the Marine Environment was aimed at the bottle collector seeking to dive for new additions to their collection, but despite its seemingly niche category, the primary purpose of the book is to serve as a identification guide for antique bottles, regardless of where one encounters them. While it’s a slender tome and as such cannot serve as an exhaustive guide, it is still an excellent identification manual and basic guide, covering bottle types, age signifiers, and manufacturing styles. This book will quickly help one develop an eye trained to identify bottles using the information gleaned from within its pages. To
aid the reader in this task, Berg has provided over 200 color photographs and various 3-D sketches, as well as a glossary of key terms related to the subject. These resources are not the only outstanding points contained within Hunting Antique Bottles. Berg’s guide explains the manufacturing techniques and technology behind the last few centuries of bottle-making in an accessible and interesting manner that does not scare off the casual reader. The book’s layout is also attractive and easily navigable, and while I usually try to list both the positive and negative attributes of any books I review, Berg’s identification guide has no shortcomings worth mentioning. If you are like me and have little knowledge regarding antique bottles but would like to learn more, you will find Hunting Antique Bottles to be a first-rate introduction to the subject. Even if you are a seasoned bottle collector, you’ll likely learn something from this book or, at the very least, enjoy it. In short, it deserves a place on every collector’s bookshelf. It will certainly now be on mine. (Review by Dwayne Anderson)
In each issue of American Digger® we try to bring our readers reviews on both new products and books related to the hobby of digging and collecting. Here are but two from 2012. To see an entire years worth, be sure to subscribe! www.americandigger.com
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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, email@example.com [S12]
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, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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. 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 Coastal Empire History Hunters Association. Meets in Savannah, GA. For more information, contact Rick Phillips at 912-663-2382 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.
What’s The Point? An issue-by-issue guide to the ancient stone artifacts of North America. By Jim Roberson
figured it was only appropriate to begin this journey by discussing the Holy Grail discovery of every Native American artifact hunter. Clovis points were used during the early Paleo period, and they date between at least 9000 and 15,000 years old. These tools currently are the oldest known recognizable prehistoric artifacts that have been unearthed in North America. One can only imagine the challenges and hardships those who created and used the Clovis point encountered. The climate in North America was much different than we experience today. The glaciers were still receding north, and now extinct animals roamed freely. These early nomadic residents of our country presumably did not stay in one area very long. They had to continue moving in search of food, water, and shelter. The Clovis point was attached to a spear shaft and its user would thrust this weapon into its prey. One unique characteristic of the Clovis is its flutes. Large flakes were removed from its base upward, most often on both sides. The basal area of these points were also ground smooth, and this practice most likely was performed to protect the material used to affix the
point to the shaft. Clovis points were first discovered in the city of Clovis, New Mexico, but have since been found all over the continental United States. It’s not likely to discover an artifact of this age in a plowed farm field, for they are often buried far too deep for the plow blades to reach. The best opportunity to find one of these ancient treasures would be in a dry creek, on eroding banks of a river or stream, or in close proximity to caves and bluff overhangs. The Clovis pictured here was discovered in Montgomery Co, Tennessee. It was crafted from Knox County chert, and is covered with patina. This artifact was longer when it was created, but was broken and rechipped on multiple occasions in ancient times. Like most highly desirable artifacts, fakes exist of this style. If purchasing a flint artifact of any kind, always use extreme caution. While most modern day flint knappers are completely honest in their craft, and make it known that their pieces are reproductions, in the wrong hands an unscrupulous person can make a reproduction look as old as the real deal. All photos provided by this column’s author. Opinions and research expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of American Digger® .
(Originally Published in Vol 8, Issue 3)
2012 American Digger Magazine Sampler ®
The Cobbs Triangular
obbs Triangular blades were a creation from the Archaic Period of North American prehistoric times. These ancient tools are considered by most to be the preform of numerous Archaic Period point types. One such type, the Lost Lake (a deeply corner notched blade), and the Cobbs are both incredibly old, and were used during the same time, between 9000 to 5000 years ago. If one were to lay an example of these two varieties together, the only noticeable variation recognized is the corner notching displayed on the Lost Lake. The Cobbs is occasionally discovered well used, with resharpened edges, meaning it was also utilized in its original state. It is often confused with the Tennessee River blade, another non-notched preform used to make multiple point types. From a distance, these two types will appear very much alike. However, upon closer examination, one will notice that the Cobbs has very distinctive beveled edges. The Tennessee River, and the types made from the Tennessee River preform, do not show the beveled edges. The Stanfield knife is another look-alike, at least at first glance. This type, No matter where you go... There we are!
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used during the Paleo period, predates the Cobbs. They also lack the beveling, and are usually much longer. The key to distinguishing the Cobbs from other similar types are its steep beveled edges on opposite sides of each face. The Cobbs Triangular can be found in many of the midwestern and southeastern states. The two Cobbs pictured here are loaded with color. The example on the left was found in Colbert County, Alabama. Both faces of this knife, made from Horse Creek chert, have unique and different coloring. The one on the right was discovered in Scott County, Kentucky. It is made from a unique bulls-eyed slice of Kentucky’s famous Hornstone chert.
** Always gain permission from property owners before artifact hunting. It’s also illegal to hunt on protected State and Federal property and archaeological sites. Be a respectful hunter.** J.R.
All photos provided by columnist. Opinions and research expressed in this freelance column are those of the author and not necessarily those of American Digger®.
(Originally Published in Vol 8, Issue 6)
Don’t miss Jim’s column in every issue of American Digger®!
The Hole Truth... You better sit down for this one. Pigs have flown. Hades froze over. The blind squirrel has located a nut. I found “it.” If you have to ask what “it” is, welcome to American Digger ® Magazine. As you must be a new reader, let me clue you in. What I found was an honest-togoodness,100% genuine, Civil War era Georgia button... in perfect dug condition, no less. No other relics were found at the site. I could have cared less. It all transpired on March 1, 2012. An old hunting buddy, Bob Kish, and I reunited after a several year sabbatical of not digging together. We had both had a stressful week. Mine included just discovering that a printing glitch had removed the hidden Georgia button from our last issue’s layout, meaning countless readers would search in vain. Looking back on it, that had to be an omen of what I would soon find. I decided a day of metal detecting with an old friend might be the perfect medicine. After all, detecting is the one “drug” that, if properly used, eases stress, induces euphoria, allows healthy weight loss, tones muscles, prevents insomnia, and is legal. If all the drug abusers in the world had been taken relic hunting instead of being given their first illicit drug “hit,” flowers would bloom year round, unicorns would dance the buggaloo, rainbows would spit out Skittles™, and leprechauns would bring us their gold, along with free boxes of Lucky Charms™ cereal. Fantasy? Of course it is, because lawmakers, at the urging of archeological groups, seem to be convinced that metal detectors are a much bigger threat to society than illegal drugs, and besides, dancing unicorns would probably trample the flowers and injure countless leprechauns. But I digress. After driving to one site and finding it off limits (there was a power plant nearby, and I guess the owners confused the word “detectorists” with “terrorists,” - that “-orists” suffix thing does throw a lot of folks), we took a stab in the dark and hunted a site I had access to, even though few relics had been found there before. We had little confidence in the site, but it was easy digging. After numerous shotgun shell brass and assorted 20th century junk, I finally dug a signal and saw a button back. It looked Confederate, and my thoughts were, “Maybe it’s another ‘I’ button!” After all, that’s the Confederate button most often dug in this part of Georgia. I’ve found my share of them, but when I turned it over, a Georgia state seal hit me in the eyes much as a spotlight hits a moth. I was overwhelmed, overjoyed, over
2012 American Digger Magazine Sampler ®
Photo by Bob Kish
The Publisher speaks... but will he ever shut up? excited, and over overly all the way around. I fell to the ground, rolled around among the chiggers and worms, moaned and groaned in a good way, and spoke in strange tongues. Bob was not so much impressed as frightened. I have been searching for this particular button for 40+ years. Early on, in a streak of beginners luck, I recovered a beautiful Georgia State seal accoutrement plate, and wanted to dig a button to match it. After thousands of miles and gallons of gas, untold hours of research, multitudes of bug bites and bee stings, and at least one armadillo attack, the quest is now over. It turns out it was here in my home county all along. For those into such things, the actual value of such a find would be a couple of hundred dollars. To total up the amount of money I have spent in search of this, the target of my quests, would run well into the tens of thousands. That’s why it is ridiculous to think that we, as relic hunters, are in this for the money. No matter; the button is not for sale. If it was, I’d be a fool to sell it at retail, for I have much more money and time invested. That’s why true relic hunters dig only for the love of history. Us long term relic hunters dig because of these moments, not for cash value. Overall, there would be more money and less work to be had digging ditches subcontracted by illegal day laborers. I’m in it for the special moments like this, digging with a good friend and finding a long sought piece of local history. I’m in it for the fun and history. Yes, I found “it.” But the quest will always continue, no matter what our goals, we must have them and pursue them. So what’s next for me? Well, I’ve never dug a gold coin... Happy Huntin’, Y’all!
In each issue “The Whole Truth” brings a smile to our readers. Don’t miss out, subscribe here!
2012 Feature Article Index To order a listed issue, click link here: Note some issues may be sold out, orders subject to availability
Volume 8, Issue 1 (Jan-Feb 2012)
A River of Silver ........By Beau Ouimette
It may be the most significant North American early silver coin spill recovered in recent memory and certainly the most exciting of 2010.
Detecting With Benefits ........By Drew Johnston Not only is a GPS a great way to keep from getting lost in the woods, it’s also an excellent way to find and record relics. Two Hunts and a Wedding ........By Butch Holcombe Diggin’ in Virginia XVIII and XIX were like the previous DIVs with lots of relics and friends. Only one thing was different: a wedding. You Lucky Dog! ........By Johnny Anderson
After a chance meeting, the author was shown an extraordinary relic. The results? A friendship and a one-of-a-kind effigy pipe.
A Little Help From My Friends ........By Phil Ley
Relic hunting is about the bonds formed. Throw in a debilitating illness and watch as friends help this digger make another find.
Meteorite Man: An Interview With Geoff Notkin........By Eric Garland
They’ve turned their love of “space rocks” into a TV series. Join us as we talk with one of the stars, Geoff Notkin.
Sidetracked ........By Byron J. Hendrix
The diggers set out to locate a Civil War camp in Tennessee, but what they ended up finding was even more exciting than they expected.
A Mother’s Star ........By Lamar White
The artifact with the star on it was obviously military, but what did it mean? After considerable research, this relic hunter is even more proud of the item he found.
Volume 8, Issue 2 (March-April 2012)
Always Looking ........By Art Di Filippo There is great satisfaction in teaching an already diehard collector the art of metal detecting. It’s even better when he finds something spectacular on his first solo trip.
The Story Within ........By Wayne Hartzell For every find made, there is a story. Sometimes we concentrate so much on the excitement of the relic that we forget the preparation and research that were required to recover it. Estimating the Age of Antique Bottles ........By Capt. Dan Berg
Dating the age of an old bottle can be a daunting and inexact science. Perhaps the best way is by recognizing when certain manufacturing processes were used.
The Queen of the Caribbees ........By Michael Chaplan
Sugar was king on the Caribbean island of Nevis, and the plantation owners lived like royalty. Now, the author uses a metal detector to explore a kingdom lost in time.
The Danny Elkins Story: 52 Years of Discovery ........By Dennis Cox and Danny Elkins
Thanks to one legend interviewing another, we are treated to a historical conversation concerning the early days of Civil War relic hunting in Virginia.
Oh, Them Bones! ........By Rich Creason
Did you ever think you’d like to dig dinosaur bones, but just didn’t know where to start? Then do like this author did and learn the ropes by signing up for a museum-sponsored dig.
A Blast From the Past ........By Jim Roberson“Slag” brings up the image of insignificant pieces of dull material
unfit for any collection. It’s only after realizing that such pieces are not only beautiful but historical that their true allure shines.
Volume 8, Issue 3 (May-June 2012) The Confederate Spring ........By Quindy Robertson, Doug Holder and Josh Tyree
General John Hunt Morgan’s Confederate troopers were noted for being ill-equipped during their time in Tennessee. Thanks to the efforts of these relic hunters, we can now learn more.
Show and Tell ........By Michael Chaplan Everyone should attend an Indian artifact show to understand just how skilled and advanced the early Native Americans were, and how dedicated the modern collector is. This author did just that. The Lost Plantation ........By Dennis Cox
The plantation site had been undisturbed by man since the Civil War. Once it was rediscovered by these dedicated diggers last year, it was a history lesson come to life.
American Digger on the Road: Nevada ........By John Velke ®
We head out west once again, this time to explore the deserts of Nevada, and recover the relics left by the immigrants who lived, sweated, and died while building the Transcontinental Railway.
Clues of the AMI ........By Stephen Burgess
This very rare button has been misunderstood ever since Alpheus Albert printed his landmark button book. So what is it really? This author gives a convincing case for its true identity.
Kilometer 172: Was Lawrence Telling the Truth? ........By Bob Roach Lawrence of Arabia and his feats are legendary. But did he stretch the truth in this event? A relic hunter looks for the answer in the hostile region where this larger-than-life warrior fought. Demystifying the Mysterious Buckle Shields ........By Charles Harris
They’ve been called everything from Confederate blanket roll buckles to harness decorations. Once and for all, we put the mystery to rest by showing exactly what they were used for.
Volume 8, Issue 4 (July-August 2012)
A Bucket full of History ........By Bob Roach, as told by Jim Baldwin When you hear the word “cache,” what do you think of? A pile of silver coins? A horde of gold jewelry? How about a bucket full of Indian trade goods?
A Special Field ........By Bill Gibson The next time a friend asks you to find a lost item for him, don’t hesitate to help out. It might very well lead to a situation where everyone involved benefits.
Digarelicitis at DIV........By Doc Rodney Cox A behind the scene look at DIVXX and XXI by the head of the medical team helps answer the age-old question: “Just what is wrong with us...and why do we have so much fun?” What I Did On My Summer Vacation ........By Butch Holcombe
Everyone needs a vacation from work, even our publisher. Being a die hard relic hunter, he thought this would be best accomplished by a little jewelry hunting on the beach. Then artifacts got in the way.
Tennessee Treasure: An Interview With Charlie Harris ........By Eric Garland
If you’re involved in Civil War relics, you probably have heard of Charlie Harris. Join us as we find out more about this noted collector and author, and visit his private museum.
Two Ladies And A Buckle ........By Donna Ray
It started with a lending an uninterested and bored husband a detector. After digging a CSA buckle, he left it to these two relic hunting ladies to see what was left while he went fishing.
A Second Glance ........By Bryan Jordan
Did you ever come “that close” to discarding a good relic as trash? Chances are, the answer is yes. If so, we suspect you will identify with this relic hunter’s story.
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2012 American Digger Magazine Sampler ®
Volume 8, Issue 5 (September-October 2012) Archaeology At An American Iconic Site ........By Dan Sivilich
When professional archaeologists and experienced metal detectorists come together, it is the best of both worlds. The 1777 Valley Forge encampment dig is a good example of how things should be.
Listening To A Legend: An Interview With Larry Hicklen ........By Quindy Robertson In his many years of being involved with Civil War relics, Larry Hicklen has been a relic hunter, collector, dealer, and noted authority on the Civil War. We now listen in as he gives a rundown on it all.
A Season For The Ages ........By Bill Dancy What do you consider a good year? A few pieces of Spanish silver, a Revolutionary War button, or maybe some Civil War buttons and an accoutrement plate? This author got all that and more in just one season. To Dig Or Not To Dig ........By Jeff Capron
In the right circumstances, both surface hunting and digging will produce arrowheads. But this author believes that not digging limits both finds and understanding of early Native American culture.
The Gold Diaries ........By Steve Phillips
It takes serious work to find serious gold, especially in the wilds of Alaska. It also takes an appreciation of the land and beauty experienced along the way, and a thirst for adventure. This diary explains it all.
American Digger On The Road: Texas ........By Butch Holcombe ®
In our quest to detect in all 50 states, we visit Texas and learn a lot more about the buffalo hunters, soldiers, settlers, and Native Americans who once occupied this area.
Volume 8, Issue 6 (November-December 2012)
Doctor’s Orders ........By Tonya Lancaster
If your doctor says, “No,” and your mama says, “No,” and you still want to go relic hunting, there’s only one thing to do: go diggin’ with Dad. That turned out to be a very wise choice for this digger.
The Politicalithic Period ........By Glenn Harbour
As relic hunters and amateur archaeologists, it is our duty to share important discoveries with the world. But, as this author discovered, sometimes prejudice and politics make that almost impossible.
Two of a Kind ........Interview by Quindy Robertson
Not many average married couples get excited about finding a Civil War belt buckle on their wedding anniversary. Then again, no one ever said Donnie and Julia Vaughn are an average couple.
A Season For The Ages: Part II ........By Bill Dancy
In Part I, we were introduced to a year of digging that most hobbyists only dream about. In this, the conclusion, the author tells us how he finished an exceptional year of uncovering Colonial and Civil War history.
No Man’s Land ........By Butch Holcombe
The National Park Service protects nearly 84 million acres of land, but within those protected areas there are countless acres of privately owned land. Here’s what one acre of that land taught a group of relic hunters.
Treasures Astern ........By Capt. Dan Berg It started out with the rescue of a fisherman stranded at sea. It ended up with this team of divers finding the long-lost section of a known shipwreck that was full of history. Virgin Territory ........By Josh Silva
Have you ever wondered what it’s like to metal detect at a previously unhunted Civil War site? This author will no longer have to wonder, as he tells and shows us in this article.
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2012 American Digger Magazine Sampler 速