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American Digger


The Magazine for Diggers and Collectors

American Digger Vol. 9

Entrees ® American Digger Magazine’s

Magazine for Diggers and Collectors of America’s Heritage

In Search Of The Pirate King

American Digger

2013 American Digger SAMPLER.



Reproductions The Magazine for Diggers and Collectors

Or Stone Age Fraud?

Selected content from 2013 issues of American Digger Magazine... Try it free, it’s on the house! Civil War Identification Disc Bonanza


Finding Fossils in Unexpected Places

American Digger Vol. 9

Magazine for Diggers and Collectors of America’s Heritage

Recovering History From Colonial Cellar Holes

Reader Surveys Reveal More About What Diggers Want

Finding World War I Medals of the 371st Regiment Prospecting for Gold Along the Lynx River

Jan.-Feb. 2013 $6.95 USA

Decoding the Secrets of Colonial Pipes

Sept.-Oct. 2013 $6.95 USA

American Digger

American Digger

Vol. 9®

Vol. 9

How Museums Can Help Identify What You Have Found

The Magazine for Diggers and Collectors

Seen Virginia Military Institute Relic

On The Hunt For A Long-Lost Colonial Plantation A Confederate Coal Torpedo Unearthed

Nov.-Dec. 2013 $6.95 USA

Colorado Indian War Hunt Leads To Returned Ring

Issue 4

Nevada Relic Hunt Uncovers A Rare Gold Coin

Helping A Family Solve A Civil War Heirloom Mystery

Getting The Most From The Fisher F75 Detector Search For 1700s Plantation Leads To Ancient Finds

Confederate Sharpshooter’s Bullets Recovered Teaching Kids How To Find Arrowheads And Fossils “On The Road” Visits Washington State How Did A Cherokee Nation Button Get To Utah?

March April 2013 $6.95 USA

Bottles Of The Rum Runners


Organized Dig Participants Tell Their Story

A Lifetime Of Issue 3 Digging With Dick Hammond

Magazine for Diggers and Collectors of America’s Heritage

Never Before

Nonproductive Or Productive: Can A Site Be Both?

Issue 5

Decoding Colonial Bottle Seals

Relic Hunting Port Hudson: Then And Now

Reverse Research At A Louisiana Tavern Site

An Interview with Longtime Digger Bruce Deems Getting the Most From the Minelab CTX WWI Battle 3030 Detector Finds on the Isonzo Front


Issue 2

Students Get Training From Archaeologists And Detectorists

A Time Capsule Of Metal Detecting Crockery Beneath Club Assists State City A Bustling Archaeologist

Issue 6


A Republic of Texas Relic Recovered in Tennessee

Creek Yields a Pair of Civil War Muskets

How to Find More with the Garrett AT Gold

The Magazine for Diggers and Collectors

Unlisted SC “Free A Digger’s Trade” Button is Adventures In Find of a Lifetime The Caribbean

Diggin’ In Virginia XXII: Did It Happen Here?

New Jersey Mill Provides Relics of the Past

Issue 1

The Fine Art Of Eyeballing Artifacts

Vol. 9

Vol. 9


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Welcome to the 2013 American Digger Magazine Sampler ®

A note from the publisher Dear Reader, Wow, how time flies! Another year is in the books, and it's time for this, the 2013 American Digger Sampler, our way of sharing highlights with those in the hobby of collecting that may not be familiar with our regular bi-monthly publication. It is also our way of saying "thank you"to our dedicated advertisers, and we encourage you to visit the links provided in each of their advertisements. Within these pages you’ll find just a fraction of what our regular readers enjoyed during 2013. 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 2013 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 9, Issue 1-6 (January-December, 2013). 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, 2013, in full color and free online. Whether you are a longtime reader (we are entering our 10th 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 2013 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 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 2013 there were well over 50 full length articles, 24 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 If you like digging, collecting, or just keeping abreast with artifacts, you won’t be sorry! Regards, Butch Holcombe. Publisher American Digger® Magazine


2013 American Digger Magazine Sampler ®

Click Here To Find Out More!


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


American Digger Magazine ®

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$3495/One Year or $67/Two years Continental USA, prices higher elsewhere (above prices subject to change)


American Digger


For Diggers and Collectors

2013 Sampler The King and I ........ By Dave McMahon

Pg. 28

Since he was 10 years old, this author dreamed of pirate treasure and those dreams initiated a craving for finding old coins in the New World. Whether pirate loot or not, these coins are relics from the buccaneers’ era.

(Above) Site of the traditional archaeology dig at the back of the museum and suspected site of the original cookhouse for the Nash family home. During a hot July, a small city block was being developed for new condos. Archeologist Kimberly Brigance (second from left), All that stood between artifact destruction and artifact rescue were theseinstructs students (left to right) Ocean Curvin, Conner Wiernaki, Maria Thomas, and Olivia Pittman. diggers. The pieces they saved would be otherwise have been lost forever. (Right) Inset photo shows a student carefully excavating what turned out to be a farm implement.

Crockomania! ........ By Tom J. Williams

Pg. 34

The Relic Volcano of Port Hudson ........ By William Spedale

for the prudent and swift action of the Henry County Board Countless relics left from the Civil War actions at Port Hudson have been recovered of Commissioners, this site would have been lost to history over the years, and even today the area still manages to givepermanently. up a few surprises.

Students of History ........ By Darrell Woodall

the actual excavation by the end of that day, and th got their opportunity.

That is why this small group of students was able to engage in an excellent archaeological experience in June, 2012. The students first learned the history of the site and the basics of archaeological science before being allowed to dig for artifacts on the battlefield. They received instruction on identifying the different types of artifacts expected to be found on the site, from Native American projectile points to modern-day farm implements. The students were also given a tour of the battlefield’s superb museum and of the outlying trench lines still visible in the Conner Wiernaki and Kimberly woods surrounding the battlefield. Brigance recover artifacts from All of this occurred on Monday of the sifting screen as author the field school. The students exDarrell Woodall looks on. pressed an anxious desire to start

It is important for the next generation to learn about artifact recovery. In Georgia, teens worked at a known historical site along with both archaeologists and metal detectorists — surely the best way to learn about the past!

Pg. 48

American Digger® on the Road: Washington State ... By John Velke

Pg. 54

Continuing our mission to metal detect in every state in the USA, we hunted in Washington State recently. Read of the author’s introduction to park hunting, and see what the group hosting him found.

Overtime! ....... By Larry Soper

Pg. 40

When confronted with the decision to either work overtime at his job, or spend the day hunting a site he’d previously done well at, the author chose the latter, and struck gold in Nevada.

Pg. 58

DIV XXIII: Tales from the Diggin’ Side ........ A Compilation

When one catches the gold bug, the first place to check is sometimes the closest. This new prospector discovered a temporary cure for gold fever that was almost in his own backyard.

uesday and day proved to students’ initia the more labor-intensi of archaeology. The fir Tuesday morning, stude put to work laying out squares for traditional logical field work. Th taught how to measure a each square as precisely sible. The instruction w vided by archaeologist K Brigance and she, in tu assisted by Bill Dodd Barrow, and Darrell W The students were assig task of recovering artifa area adjacent to the Na farmhouse, believed to cookhouse facility. W

March-April 2013 American Digger® Magazi

Pg. 64

Brandy Station once again yielded its historical artifacts for the most recent Diggin’ In Virginia event, and once again American Digger® was there. But this time, we let the participants tell the story.

Newbie on the Lynx ....... By Travis Tonn


Pg. 70

Turn to Stone ....... By Jim Roberson

Pg. 76

Fossils are likely the oldest link to the living past that collectors will ever encounter, and speak to us of an era long before mankind even existed. Yet they are all around us and are often easily accessible. (Above left) Ammonites lived 66 million — 219 million years ago, yet their fossilized shells give a clear indication of what the creatures looked like. They were a distant relative


2013 American Digger Magazine Sampler ®

of today’s squid octopus. right) industry! Trilobites lived between — 250 Our freelance writers areand the best(Above in the Want521tomillion write million years ago. Their closest modern descendents are today’s horseshoe crabs. ® ____________________ for American Digger ? Click here for writer guidelines. Wyoming, Colorado, Montana, and North and South Dakota. Planet Earth itself, some four billion years old, has gone through many changes during its existence. It would have been

and capability to destroy almost any living things, including themselves. This article has only scratched the surface on the topic of

American D-Mail……….8 Just Dug…………….......12 Q&A....……….….……..24 Stumpt.............................26 News-n-Views.................88 Product/Book Reviews....92 What’s The Point............96 The Hole Truth………....98

American Digger® Founded in 2004 by those that love the hobby


Butch Holcombe

Marketing Director

Anita Holcombe

Photographer/Consultant Charles S. Harris

Senior Editor

Bob Roach

Copy Editors

Wylene Holcombe John Velke

Editorial Assistants

Teresa Harris Eric Garland

Editorial Intern

Amy Anderson

Webmaster Consultants

Pat Smith

Bill Babb, Dennis Cox, Howard Crouch, William Leigh III, Jack Masters, Jack Melton, Mike O’Donnell, Jim Roberson, Mike Singer, Bob Spratley, Don Troiani.

Our Mission:

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

American Digger® (ISSN# 1551-5737)

published bi-monthly by Greybird Publishers, LLC PO Box 126, Acworth, GA 30101. (770) 362-8671.

Cover Photo

An assortment of 2013 covers 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 an idea of what we are all about. Call us at 770-362-8671 or visit us online to never miss another issue!

Periodical postage paid at Acworth, GA and at additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to: American Digger® , P O Box 126, Acworth, GA 30101 We respect our readers’ privacy, and never sell, rent, or publicize subscribers’ names or addresses. Yearly subscriptions USA, $34.95 Canada, $54.95; Europe $74.95 Mail subscription payment to: American Digger® Magazine PO Box 126 Acworth, GA 30101 Or pay online at: Phone orders also welcome using most major credit cards: (770) 362-8671

No part of this magazine may be reproduced in any way without the written consent of the publisher. American Digger® has no affiliation with any hobby groups, entertainment venues, or websites other than our own. While we strive for accuracy, American Digger® cannot be held liable for inadvertent misrepresentation. Reader submissions are encouraged, and you may write or visit our website for guidelines. Emailed submissions should be sent to We reserve the right to reprint photos and text as needed. Unless otherwise requested, all correspondence to American Digger® is subject to publication. We strongly oppose illegal recovery and wanton destruction of artifacts. Please dig responsibly. Our hobby depends on it!

© 2013


American D-Mail

Digging Through Our Mail Box… Got a comment or question? Write or e-mail us! Snap Hook Vs Sword Hanger

I wanted to touch on an

item you identified in the most recent issue (American Digger® Vol. 8, Issue 6), page 15, the lower center grouping that Jeff Parker found. You identify the item in the lower left corner as “a sword hanger.” It certainly could have been (Above) The hook used as that; I think the fact found by Jeff Parker that some have been found and shown in Vol. 8, on Confederate leather has Issue 6; (Below) Civil thoroughly ingrained the War era link strap. belief that all of these are Confederate sword hangers. In reality, this is a snap hook from a link strap. You can see below the oval loop where the strip of spring steel was riveted to the hook. The link strap was a length of leather or rope that had the snap hook at one end. This hook slipped into a loop that hung under the horse’s bridle. (These loops are often found and also misidentified as sword scabbard hardware). They were used in civilian practice but most notably in the cavalry forces. When they dismounted and went into battle, one man in every four held the mounts for the other three men while they advanced. It was awkward to try and hold all the reins from your own mount and three others, so the reins were left on each horse. This way there would be no time lost in remounting and heading out. The other three horses were held through the use of a link strap attached to each horse. I attach an image of a Civil War period military link strap in which you can clearly see the snap hook and its uncanny resemblance to the hook you identified as a sword hanger. It is in the interest of accuracy that I offer the above information. Roger Durham Boiling Springs, PA We believe that these hooks may have seen dual use, but agree that most of them likely originated from link straps. We invite our readers to share their ideas on these often misunderstood relics.- AD (Originally published in Volume 9, Issue 1)


2013 American Digger Magazine Sampler ®

Beepin ’

Steve Meinzer

“I always get a surprise when I hunt tot lots!”

The Test of Time

I found this three-piece New York button in October 2012 while relic hunting with permission near the site of the battle of Cedar Creek. It has a “GODDARD & BROS.” backmark. I wanted to show what 150 years in the ground does to buttons. Darr Johnson Winchester, VA

We are glad you sent us this photo, as there are far too many people who deny that metal artifacts are in danger of decay. In the past year, we have heard at least two professional archaeologists claim that metal artifacts are in no danger from deterioration, reaching “stabilization” in the soil. Both claimed that the argument used by relic hunters about timely relic rescue was a fallacy because of this phenomenon (which we personally have yet to see). As a side note, “GODDARD” marked buttons were well made and our publisher remembers how solid they were when he dug some in the early 1970s. It is astounding to see what a difference even 40 years makes. To declare that deterioration is not a threat is to allow the artifacts from our past to disappear forever.- AD (Originally published in Volume 9, Issue 1)

Doctor’s Orders

Can you give me a contact email for Tonya Lancaster? I enjoyed her article (“Doctors Orders”) in the Nov.-Dec. 2012 issue of American Digger® and have a relic like one pictured in her photo on the bottom of page 22. I have no idea what it is and I would like to see if she knows since she has one just like it. Rob Register Austell, GA Although we do not give out contact information without prior authorization (being very protective of contributors’ and subscribers’ privacy), we have forwarded your message to Tonya. The item you ask about is a brass heel plate, popular in the 19th century to preserve shoe leather.-AD (Originally published in Volume 9, Issue 2)

Permission Requested

I would love to see an article or articles about how to approach landowners for their permission to detect, with do’s and don’ts for different landowner’s personalities. I don’t currently detect and am plainly intimidated at the

idea of even asking for permission. I am unsure of the right etiquette to use. Also, a regular feature on hunting and digging bottles, privies, and mizzens would be great. Kevin Pennanen Washington, DC We think such an article would be excellent, as many are intimidated when it comes to seeking permission (a must in this hobby). Until someone steps forward to submit such an article, we recommend detectorists follow a few simple rules: be polite, even if the answer is “no”; take a few items like those you expect to find to show the property owner; offer to give a few finds to the owner if they seem interested; avoid knocking on doors at the crack of dawn; and take the time to talk with the owners before getting out the detectors. We’d also like to see more articles on the other subjects you mentioned...a big “hint-hint” to anyone considering writing for our magazine! -AD (Originally published in Volume 9, Issue 3)


A few thoughts about “professional pot hunters,” i.e. archaeologists. I know a few who work for the state of Texas and I like to remind them of who it was that found the Dead Sea Scrolls: a common sheepherder! They have come to respect me because I can usually identify military and

Be a part of our print and digital publication here and send us a D-Mail!


firearm-related artifacts they uncover. I have joined every historical commission I could to help gain some degree of respect from them. In addition, I try to give as many talks on relics as I can to local groups such as Daughters of the American Revolution, Lions Clubs, and Rotary Clubs. You/we are the best ambassadors for the hobby. Keep that in mind – good hunting and may the treasure gods bless y’all. Keep up the excellent work, you have the best TH magazine on the market, bar none! Thomas Moss Jefferson, TX While we cringe at the tongue-in-cheek moniker you assigned archaeologists, we do believe what is good for the goose is good for the gander. After hearing and seeing countless archaeologists call those in our hobby “pot hunters,” perhaps your term is justified. Both professionals and amateurs pursue our passion for the past for one reason: we want to learn from artifacts. It is time the name calling ends, and mutual respect is established.-AD (Originally published in Volume 9, Issue 3)

A Decent Proposal

Dear [American Digger®] readers: William “Buckleboy” Plummer and I want to announce some fantastic news: We have decided to tie the knot and get married! Though we met at school and not through metal detecting, the hobby and the detecting community are important parts of both of our lives and we want to share our story with you. It involves a find of a lifetime! I still remember the first time Will and I met; he was dapper and polished, leading a music rehearsal in which we were both members. I remember admiring him, wondering when I would get a chance to talk to him. My opportunity came sooner than I anticipated when, after rehearsal one


2013 American Digger Magazine Sampler ®

day, he sat down next to me and we struck up a conversation. He immediately brought up the subject of metal detecting! Though I had no idea what the hobby was all about, I found his descriptions of digging trips fascinating. I knew right away that this man, who could go from a tuxedo and a conductor’s baton to combat boots and mud, was someone special. After all, it is not often that a girl gets an informational session on Civil War relics and house site finds before a first date. As our relationship deepened, Will introduced me to the hobby. I began to understand the camaraderie that develops when you and your buddies are being eaten alive by mosquitoes or when the heat or cold seems too much to endure. While metal detecting, Will and I have shared some of the most beautiful sunsets and summer afternoons in addition to the thrill of recovering relics. There is nothing more romantic than sharing a homemade peanut butter sandwich on the site where 100 years ago another family lived and worked. The exhilaration of sharing these beautiful moments, the excitement of the finds, and the cleaning parties afterwards are a part of the magic that makes our relationship pretty much perfect. Both Will and I have seen some amazing things dug in the past few years, but we both agree that his most recent find is our true find of a lifetime! After five years of being together, I proposed to Will by attaching a Civil War soldier’s brass wedding band that I’d dug to a note asking if he would marry me (see photo). After finding my proposal in a cane field, Will gave me a resounding “yes” and we plan on having a ceremony in the fall of 2014. We expect to do some serious metal detecting and privy digging on our honeymoon and in married life, so keep an eye out for updates! Molly Goforth Lafayette, LA Out of all the treasures that can be found in the field, we think this is the best we have ever seen. Congratulations on sharing both a life and hobby together! BTW, our publisher is already packing his good detecting clothes in anticipation of a combination wedding reception/relic hunt!-AD (Originally published in Volume 9, Issue 4)

Customer Service

I just ordered my first subscription to your magazine and have been going to the mail box every day to see if it was there. Anyhow, I called your office with a few questions about how to send photos for “Just Dug,” but my most important question was when could I expect the magazine to arrive. I can’t think of the young lady’s name, but she was one of the nicest customer service people I’ve ever talked to when I called with questions. I really wish I could remember her name because she deserves a pat on the back! She was very nice and answered all my questions, told me when to expect my first issue, and was never in a hurry to get off the phone or acted like I was bothering her. She was great! I just wanted you to know that in today’s times, you don’t get that anymore and it was highly appreciated. Thanks again for the support and I look forward to being a longtime reader! David Edwards Henrico, VA Among the many things we pride ourselves on is customer service. Our formula is simple: we treat our customers the same as we want to be treated by the companies we spend money on. Good customer service is not always the norm with some. As to the young lady’s name, that was none other than Marketing Director Anita Holcombe. In our office, everyone jumps in to help a customer.-AD (Originally published in Volume 9, Issue 4)

Long-Handled Shovels

In the May-June 2013 issue of American Digger®, I noticed the editorial [“News-n-Views”] about digging instruments. I am in complete agreement that long-handled digging implements should not be the first thing people see at a distance [when in parks, etc.]. It’s like bringing a backhoe or a bobcat onto a dig site that’s heavily sodded. Just because someone bought the equipment does not give them the right to destroy property. Even if they fill in the hole, there’s still damage to the sod. Sketer Nichols Dallas, Texas

There is a time and place for everything and, in our opinion, the time and place for long-handled shovels is in the woods, not in public parks or manicured lawns. While we have heard some say that their skill with such tools leaves almost no evidence of the hole dug, it still projects the wrong image to the general public. It is good practice to leave the heavy-duty shovels for the woods and use smaller tools for manicured areas. -AD (Originally published in Volume 9, Issue 5)

If Coins Could Talk

Recently, a fellow relic hunter and I went to a new camp location in the Utah Territory. Based on 1800s sketches and journals, we were pretty confident about where it was. Three hours later we were not so confident, having found nothing. We sat down, munched on lunch, and started looking more closely at the landscape. Then it hit us; the adjacent highway had not only been built over the camp, but the surrounding soils had been moved to build up the road base for the highway. Undaunted, I suggested that we instead metal detect an old brick house in town. The owners informed us that the house was built in 1905 and the slope next to it was the old, original river bank. Nearby power lines were playing havoc with my detector, so I had the power turned way down. I got a weird signal, dug out a shallow plug, and staring back at me was a large green disc! With the aid of a magnifying glass I realized what I had: an 1807 George III Half Penny. It’s my second oldest coin to date and the most out-of-place coin I have found so far. On the back is scratched “1858.” How did this get here? The only explanation I can come up with is that a British convert to Mormonism must have brought it with him and dropped it while scaling what was then the river bank on his way to the promised land. Was 1858 the date they left Great Britain and came to the United States? Was this the one reminder of home that they brought with them? We will never know. If only this coin could talk... James Martin Tremonton, Utah A fascinating story of a relic that is far beyond “just an old coin.” But you are wrong about one thing: this coin did talk. Because of your recovering it, interpreting it, and sharing the story here, it has, and will, speak to thousands who otherwise would have never heard its voice.-AD (Originally published in Volume 9, Issue 6)

See our back issues for other great Volume 9 (2013) D-Mails!


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

Tom Ference was searching the location of a littleknown 18th-19th century travelers’ rest and house site along an early road in western Pennsylvania when he found these pieces. The button is an 1812 era 14mm Artillery Officer’s collar or epaulet size, with a backmark of “EXTRA RICH ORANGE.” The silver coin is a 1790 Reale. Tom made the finds with a Fisher F75 LTD and Garrett AT Gold detector. Photo by Tom Ference (Volume 9, Issue 1)

Mark Brooks was searching in September 2012, near Jamestown, New York when he made this find. According to AD consultants Mike O’Donnell and Don Troiani, it is a rare U.S. Army officer’s shoulder sword belt plate, ca. 1808-1815. The basic cast brass oval plate was a style introduced in 1808 for wear on an Army enlisted man’s shoulder belt supporting the bayonet and scabbard. Foot officers were ordered to wear the same style, only fancier, as seen by the engraving on this one. Mark uses a Minelab E-Trac. Photo by Mark Brooks (Volume 9, Issue 1)

Larry Thornton was hunting a site in north Georgia when he got an “iffy” signal. It turned out to be this silver threaded 1938-1945 German air corps (Luftwaffe) officer’s cap badge. The WWII era relic was likely brought back as a souvenir with a returning U.S. serviceman. Photo by Charlie Harris (Volume 9, Issue 1)


® 2013 American Digger Magazine Sampler

Ronnie Lewis was searching at an old house site in King William County, Virginia when he found the stuff dreams are made of: gold. The 1849 Gold Dollar is in very good dug condition. Ronnie was using a Garrett AT Pro metal detector. Photo Courtesy Sgt. Riker’s Trading Post (Volume 9, Issue 1)

Over 500 Just Dug artifacts appeared in our 2013 issues! Click here to see more.

Carter Horsley, 10 years old, was digging through dirt that had been removed from an old bottle dump when he found this scarce bit of early 1900s Americana, a Coca Cola yo-yo, the first ever made by that soft drink company. Made in 1930, the bakelite toy reads “DRINK COCA-COLA IN BOTTLES” and “EDWARDS BOLO CINTI, O.” Scarce in any form, the presence of orange flecks makes it very rare. The yo-yo measures 1⅞ inches in diameter. Photo by Rick Horsley (Volume 9, Issue 1)

Robert Bohrn was detecting a Union Civil War camp in the South Carolina Lowcountry in October 2012 when he found this 1860s U.S. Navy issued embossed pepper container. Photo by Robert Bohrn (Volume 9, Issue 1)

Chris Machalski recovered these pieces from a waterway in central Virginia. The conversion musket still retains much of the wooden stock due to the wet conditions preserving it. A close-up of the conversion is shown in the top insert. Chris also recovered the 12-pound Confederate cannonball at the same location. He was using a White’s metal detector. Photo by Dale Jordan (Volume 9, Issue 1)

Lincoln Parsons was prospecting for gold in September 2012 in western Australia when he dug this beautiful specimen. The total weight was 10.98 ounces, including 4.5 ounces of gold imbedded in the quartz. Lincoln uses a Minelab GPX 5000 with a 17 x 11 inch search coil. Photo by Lincoln Parsons (Volume 9, Issue 1)


Paul Shilling was on a relic hunt near Savannah, Georgia when he recovered these two artillery projectiles. At top is a 10 pound Parrott shell (missing the sabot), while below it is a rare 3-inch Confederate  rebated  Brooke shell. Invented by Commander John M. Brooke of the C.S.N., it features a copper sabot that corresponded to cast-in notches in the shell’s base. Paul uses a White’s DFX.

Dave Labreque and Brian Lawrence joined a few buddies for a November 2012 dive in eastern Massachusetts and recovered these nonmetallic finds at about 20 feet. Dave found the grouping shown in the far left photo, while Brian’s finds are beside it. Shown in the two photographs are a clay pipe, stoneware pot, medicine bottles (some are embossed with the names), a pair of pepper sauce bottles, two inkwells, a dish, milk bottles, and a few other assorted artifacts. Photo by Joe Baker (Volume 9, Issue 2)

Photo by Ed Travis (Volume 9, Issue 2)

Ray Oglesbee was detecting at an 1870s house site in central Tennessee in mid 2012 when he got this Civil War surprise. In the home’s old flower bed, he unearthed this solid cast brass Confederate States belt plate. Ray was using a White’s XLT detector when he made the find. Photo by Anita Holcombe (Volume 9, Issue 2)


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Jerry Simmons was relic hunting a Cold Harbor, Virginia trench line he’d searched many times before when he found this unusual artifact, a cased postage stamp. During the Civil War, coins were scarce due to hoarding and such stamps were used as currency. The five cent Jefferson stamp was put on a metal disk; the piece to the left is transparent mica that was attached over the face, giving the piece added integrity. The back of the disk reads, “IRVING HOUSE/ NEW YORK/ BROADWAY & TWELFTH STREET/ EUROPEAN PLAN/ HUNT & NASH PROPS/ PAT AUG 12 1862.” Photo by Dale Jordan (Volume 9, Issue 2)

Sean McMenamin (aka “The Jersey Digger”) was searching near Middletown, Delaware with some friends in December 2012 when he dug what he thought to be a three cent coin. After removing some of the mud (it was raining), he realized it was something even more historic. After showing it to some fellow members of the Tri State Hunters, it was confirmed as being a silver cobb, most likely a 1621-1665 Phillip IV Half Reale. Sean notes it was about six inches deep and gave a “12-36” reading on his Minelab E-Trac. He then pinpointed the find with a Garrett Propointer. Photo by Sean McMenamin (Volume 9, Issue 2)

Dale Andrews was searching an early 19th-century cellar hole in Massachusetts during the fall of 2012 when he began digging Large Cents. In five days he recovered the nine shown above, most of which are in exceptional condition. The 1834 also has a mint error, increasing its rarity. Oddly, Dale found the site back in the summer, but had only found buttons (over 70 in all) previously. He uses a Minelab Explorer SE Pro with a five-inch “sniper” coil. Photo by Dale Andrews (Volume 9, Issue 2)

Son Anderson was hunting in Miller County, Georgia when he found this Native American stone point. Known as a Bolen style, it is an expanded form exhausted from resharpening and dates to about 7300 BC. Photo by Son Anderson (Volume 9, Issue 2) Over 500 Just Dug artifacts appeared in our 2013 issues! Click here to see more.

Rodney Cox was detecting a Civil War camp in Stafford, Virginia when he recovered this piece of jewelry. Although unmarked, it appears to be solid gold with an enamel setting. Rodney dug the piece in November 2012, with a Fisher F75 detector. Photo by Anita Holcombe (Volume 9, Issue 2)


Robert Devilbiss found these artifacts in Carroll County, Maryland during December 2012. Both stone axes are over five inches long. The other is a powder flask from approximately 1850 that he recovered from an old house site in that county. The Native American artifacts were eyeballed, while the flask was found with a White’s DFX detector. Photo by Robert Devilbiss (Volume 9, Issue 3)

Greg King started off the new year with a bang, finding this 1855 Twenty Dollar gold coin at a location near Columbus, Georgia. This is not Greg’s first gold coin experience, as he found an 1880 Five Dollar gold piece several years ago (featured in American Digger®, Volume 3, Issue 5). Although he often hunts with a different detector, he made both gold finds with a Bounty Hunter Time Ranger metal detector. Photo by Greg King (Volume 9, Issue 3)


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Michael Holbrook was detecting a central Virginia site when he found this Civil War era button in early 2013. While the button is a rather common New York state seal, the backmark is “GOLDSBORO RIFLES.” While the back was made for a special run of North Carolina buttons  for  that  pre-Civil War  militia  group,  Scovill Manufacturing Company also, by accident or design, used a limited number of these backs on both New York and Mississippi buttons. Michael was using a Fisher F75 Special Edition detector. Photo by Ran Hundley (Volume 9, Issue 3)

Martin Milas spent two days in February 2013 recovering this gold in the mountains of the Mojave Desert in southern California. The largest nugget out of the group weighs a little over one pennyweight (.05 troy ounce). All these nuggets were metal detected by Martin with a Fisher Gold Bug 2. Photo by Martin Milas (Volume 9, Issue 3) Over 500 Just Dug artifacts appeared in our 2013 issues! Click here to see more.

Tip Young was metal detecting in January 2013 at a house site built in the mid 1800s in northwestern Georgia and not having much luck until he began digging glass. The end results that day were these midto-late 19th century bottles. Several of the bottles are embossed, including one reading “T.A. SLOCUM CO. PSYCHINE” and another embossed “DR. HARTERS IRON TONIC.” Photo by Tip Young (Volume 9, Issue 3) Robert Dees was searching a site in early 2013 when he recovered this beautiful stone artifact in Levy County, Florida. Known as a Hernando arrowhead, these are thought to be from the Early Woodland culture more than 2,500 years ago. Photo by Robert Dees (Volume 9, Issue 3)

Tim Ridge dug this scarce relic on Christmas Eve 2012 in the South Carolina Lowcountry. Although it was found at a 1930s house site, the Maryland state seal sword belt plate was made in the 1850s. Tim was using a Fisher F75 detector when he dug the buckle. Photo by Anita Holcombe (Volume 9, Issue 3)

Ronnie Williams was detecting a late 1700s site near Camden, South Carolina when he found this patriotic “rattlesnake” button. These appear in several variants, and are believed to have been made in France for export to the United States shortly after the American Revolutionary War. The rattlesnake was a popular symbol of independence in America during the colonial era. Ronnie made the find while using a Fisher Gold Bug detector. Photo by Anita Holcombe (Volume 9, Issue 3)


Jeff Jones had a very good day of relic hunting on March 7, 2013. It was on that day that he recovered this Confederate States “CS” belt plate at a site in central Mississippi. Jeff notes it was almost 10 inches deep in a plowed field. This style is solid cast brass and had black enamel applied in the recesses to make the “CS” letters stand out. Much of the enamel still remains on this specimen.

Ken Hamilton was walking along a roadbed in northern Alabama when he saw something that looked “different” lying in the dirt. Closer inspection showed it to be this Hopewell point from the Woodland period, approximately 2,600 years old. The spear point, found in late 2012, measures 1.15 x 2.45 inches. Photo by Charlie Harris (Volume 9, Issue 4)

Photo by Jeff Jones (Volume 9, Issue 4)

Henry Parro was relic hunting an old house site near Culpeper, Virginia in March 2013 when he recovered this silver coin. The 1834 Capped Bust Dime was found with a Minelab GPX 5000 detector. Photo by Anita Holcombe Volume 9, Issue 4)


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Sam Burton was searching a site in central Virginia in February 2013 when he spied a piece of glass in a creek. Further exploration revealed this complete olive green English rum bottle. It has a concave bottom with a distinct pontil and dates to the early 1700s. Photo by Ran Hundley (Volume 9, Issue 4)

Over 500 Just Dug artifacts appeared in our 2013 issues! Click here to see more.

Kevin Ferguson was metal detecting at a site located in central Virginia when he unearthed this mid-20th century treasure. The man’s ring is made of heavy 14 karat gold, with two small diamonds and a large inset oval ruby. Photo by Ran Hundley (Volume 9, Issue 4) Bill Blackman was relic hunting in central Virginia in early 2013 when he dug this early 1800s button depicting an Eagle on a globe, with the word “EXCELSIOR.” The one-piece button was made for the New York militia and has a backmark of “IMPERIAL STANDARD/ SUPERB.” Photo by Charlie Harris (Volume 9, Issue 4)

Mark Carter was metal detecting a site near Spotsylvania, Virginia in late March 2013 when he made this very personal and historic find. It is a Civil War soldier’s silver identification ring, inscribed “G. RICHARDSON. CO. K. 57. MASS.” A bit of research also turned up a photo of the ring’s owner, Gustavus Richardson of Northborough, Massachusetts, who mustered in on April 6, 1864, at age 18, only to become ill and die in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on his journey home. Ring photographs by Mark Carter, soldier photograph courtesy Northborough in the Civil War, by Robert P. Ellis, (Volume 9, Issue 4)

Joe Baker, Jr. was detecting in Rhode Island in March 2013 and not having much luck. Several hours had produced only a few items for himself, Dave Iglehart, and father Joe, Sr. However, at least one of those items proved to be worth the effort, as Joe, Jr. recovered this 1860 presidential campaign badge. These were among the first true campaign pieces to feature a photograph of the candidates, which were in the form of a ferrotype (rusted away on this example, as it is on most dug pieces). The brass frame, originally gilt finished, is embossed “ABRAHAM LINCOLN 1860” on one side and “HANNIBAL HAMLIN 1860” on the reverse. An article on these, “1860 Presidential Election Tokens” by Charlie Harris, appeared in American Digger® Volume 4, Issue 6. Photo by Joe Baker (Volume 9, Issue 4)


Gary Martin was relic hunting a site near Fort Smith, Arkansas in March 2013, when he made this find. The button is a one-piece 3rd Regiment of Artillerists button used between 1813-1814. Also found was a 12-pounder Bormann fused cannonball (not shown). Both pieces were found at a location that was in use from the 1820s and up into the Civil War. Garry made the finds while using a Garrett AT Pro metal detector.

Heather Watson was gold prospecting near the American River in central California when she found these eight “picker” nuggets. They were all recovered by panning in the spring of 2013. Photo by Heather Watson (Volume 9, Issue 5)

Photo by Anthony Martin (Volume 9, Issue 5)

Bob Hammond had a week this last spring that he will not soon forget. On March 11, 16, and 17, 2013, he recovered these three Civil War accoutrement plates. He began the streak with the US cartridge box plate, followed by the OVM (Ohio Volunteer Militia) belt buckle, and ended the trifecta with the Eagle cross belt plate. Photos by Bob Hammond (Volume 9, Issue 5)


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Bob Spratley was probing the soil at a 1500-1600s Spanish settlement in northeast Florida in late April 2013, when he recovered this intact Morisco Ware dinner plate. Morisco Ware was produced primarily in the vicinity of Seville, Spain. This is the only intact piece of this rare and colorful pottery ever reported found in the USA. It was 14 inches deep in sandy soil with an assortment of metal, broken glass, and pottery. Photo by Bob Spratley (Volume 9, Issue 5)

Over 500 Just Dug artifacts appeared in more.

Over 500 Just Dug artifacts appeared in our our Click here to see 20132011 issues!issues! Click here to see more.

Jody Burton was searching a location in north central Florida in the spring of 2013 when he eyeballed this beautiful translucent coral point from the Paleo Era. The piece is about two inches long and extremely well crafted. The prehistoric artifact is thought to be around 6,000-8,000 years old. Photo by Jody Burton (Volume 9, Issue 5)

Dave McMahon made this find at an old house site in New Jersey in March 2013. The telegraph insulator dates to the 1850s and was recovered in a privy along with other bottles and items of the mid 1800s. Photos by Dave McMahon

Donna Ray and Lisa Wilson were hunting a Confederate site in northern Alabama in March 2013 that had produced a sword pommel, a Confederate Infantry “I” button, and an “ACC” (Alabama Corps of Cadets) button during prior hunts. On the March hunt, Donna dug this set of homemade lead knuckles. Although commercially made brass knuckles were available during the Civil War, homemade lead ones are occasionally found. Donna was using a White’s MXT. Photo by Quindy Robertson (Volume 9, Issue 5)

D. J. Yost was detecting the Lehigh Valley area along the Pennsylvania/New Jersey border when he recovered this large piece of early silver. The 1837 Mexican 8 Reales coin was found in a yard which was a marble factory in the 1820s. He notes the coin was about five inches deep and gave off a very strong signal. D. J. was using a White’s MXT with a 10 inch D-2 coil. Photo by D.J. Yost (Volume 9, Issue 5)


Brett Walston was searching a Revolutionary War campsite near Sumter, South Carolina when he dug this bayonet belt plate of the British 3rd Regiment of Foot, also known as “The Buffs.” This regiment arrived in Charleston, South Carolina in 1781 and served in that state for over a year, participating in numerous battles. Brett found the artifact in July 2013 with a Garrett GTA-1000. Photos by Danny Tennant (Volume 9, Issue 6)

May Bybee dug these early 1900s relics during a fourhour hunt in southeast Wyoming in late July 2013. Shown are two 9th Cavalry hat insignias, one 2nd Field Artillery Company “C” hat insignia, and five “U.S. Army” embossed military utility buttons. May made the finds using a Garrett AT Pro with a 5 x 8 search coil in all metal mode. Photo by May Bybee (Volume 9, Issue 6)


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Bill Clements likes the month of February. The gilt officers’ sword belt plate and enlisted sword belt plates on the bottom row were found 10 days apart during that month in 2013. The previous February (2012), he had found the Union shoulder belt plate (aka “Eagle breastplate”) and another officer’s gilt sword belt plate, complete with its matching sword belt hanger, less than two weeks apart. The two gilt plates were privately purchased by officers, while the enlisted man’s was government issue. Bill recovered the Civil War relics with a White’s MXT detector. Photo by Ran Hundley (Volume 9, Issue 6)

Molly Goforth, Shane Marcotte, and William Plummer continue to dig pieces of Louisiana’s past. Among their finds in June 2013 were an 1838 Seated Dime found by Molly, an 1807 Half Reale dug by Shane, glass trade beads eyeballed by William, and an 1831 Mexican Republic One Reale found by William while using his Fisher F75. Photos by William Plummer (Volume 9, Issue 6)

Roy Baker was searching a Civil site in Cobb County, Georgia when he recovered this silver soldier’s ring. On one side is engraved “43 O” while the other says “Co. C.” The face is marked “A.A.L.” Research reveals that the ring belonged to Albert A. Lawrence, a private in Company “C,” 43rd Ohio Regiment. Roy made the find while using a Minelab GPX 4800. Photo by Anita Holcombe (Volume 9, Issue 6)

Landon Wilson, age five, was playing in his yard in Walker County, Georgia in June 2013 when he eyeballed this Native American stone artifact. The corner-notched blade or point is from the Middle Archaic Period and is estimated to be over 4,000 years old. It measures over six inches long. Photo by Sarah Smith (Volume 9, Issue 6)

Bill Cross dug this button while he was searching a house site in the South Carolina Lowcountry in June 2013. It is a silver-plated one-piece South Carolina militia, backmarked simply “PLATED.” It is thought that Scovill made these buttons in the 1830s. Photo by Charlie Harris (Volume 9, Issue 6)

Over 500 Just Dug artifacts appeared in our 2013 issues! Click here to see more.

Robert “Doc” Wilcox continues to make good finds around the central Virginia house site he’s been digging. These bottles, as well as the sword hanger and buckle, were uncovered during the summer of 2013. Photo by Ran Hundley (Volume 9, Issue 6)



Q&A With Charles Harris what does the “5” and “C” mean? I would like as much information as I can get about it. Chad Stuetzel


his photo is of a brass disc that I can’t identify which I found at a Civil War site in Virginia. It looks like it has a key hole in it. It’s a bit bigger than a quarter dollar. Ann Chevalier

This is a carpetbag lock. A carpetbag is a cloth (or carpet, as the name implies) suitcase for traveling that was very popular during the Civil War era as well as for quite a few years after. These were designed more like a satchel or a purse with a front flap that had a little triangular tab that would latch into this round lock. The lock was engaged by a small key, which usually had a recessed shaft to accept a pin mechanism within the lock. Actually, there are two different types of these locks, in addition to numerous slight variants. The one that you dug is used on the smaller bags, up to about 14 inches square. The other type was a longer lock. Those are used on a different type of carpet bag that actually had an iron frame somewhat similar to a woman’s pocketbook where the iron frame on one side butted up against the other side, latched, and then locked. Most of us are familiar with the infamous post-Civil War carpetbaggers that had money stuffed into their carpetbags and used it to pay back taxes


on Southerners’ property, literally purchasing it for pennies on the dollar. This took place because the Confederate money was no longer any good and the banks would only accept the good ol’ U.S. “Greenbacks” in payment for the back taxes. (Originally Published in Volume 9, Issue 1)


dug this brass disc at a site near Petaluma, CA. I have already determined it is from WWI, but

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I already knew a little about this piece, but I figured insignia specialist James Cecil would know even more, so I contacted him. James is a noted collector of military memorabilia, primarily collar discs and corps badges. This is a WWI collar disc made of solid cast brass, and has a brass screw back attachment which was phased out at the end of that war. The crossed rifles designate the infantry, although your question was about the “5 C.” Together this designates a soldier in Company C of the 5th Infantry Regiment. This is quite a lownumbered regiment which, except for the period of WWI, has an illustrious history. During that conflict it saw no action, but was instead used as a training regiment, and may well have been stationed in Petaluma where you found it. This basic type of collar disc was made from 1907 up until the end of WWI, incorporating through that period the usual minor changes made to most models of military equipment and insignia. Let’s examine the history of the 5th Infantry Regiment. In 1815, it drew from the 9th, 13th, 21st, 40th and 46th Regiments to form the 5th Infantry Regiment. In 1861, it became the 3rd Battalion, 19th Infantry Regiment. In 1865, it was reorganized as the 37th Infantry, and in 1869, part of it was used to form the 3rd Infantry Regiment. It was assigned to the 17th Division in 1918, then separated from that division in 1919. Chances are that your collar disc was lost before this time, although the unit continued to evolve and change.

Got a question for Charlie? Click here to subscribe and read his QA column in every issue!

As to seeing action, they were actively involved in seven battle campaigns in the Mexican War, numerous Civil War battles, 11 in the Indian Wars, the Philippine Insurrection, the Rhineland and Central Europe in WWII, 10 major campaigns in the Korean War, and seven in Vietnam. (Originally Published in Volume 9, Issue 4)


found this ring along a roadbed near Richmond, VA that has produced Civil War relics from all states. This site has produced South Carolina, Rhode Island, New York, Virginia, Vermont, and even some War of 1812 buttons, along with numerous bullets. The brass ring is heavy and kind of crude inside, although smooth on the outside. What is the era, and the significance of the star and “19” engraved in it? Bobby Nuckols This is a ring for the 12th (later 20th) Army Corps. Their Corps Badge was the five point star with the single point in the upward position as yours is. The number on the inside, the 19, is the brigade of some state. In the out-of-print book, Civil War Corps Badges and Other Related Awards, Badges, Medals of the Period, by Stan Phillips,there are some marked for the 3rd MD, 19th PA, 60th NY, 4th Ohio Vols, 13th PA Cavalry and others. Noted author and American Digger® consultant Mike O’Donnell has a forthcoming book on Civil War corps badges, and also shared some photographs and information. He notes: “The five-pointed star represented

the 12th Corps from March 1863, until the spring of 1864, when the 11th and 12th Corps were combined to make the new 20th Corps. Because the 11th Corps had performed poorly at Chancellorsville and Gettysburg, their crescent symbol was dropped. The 20th was camped in southeast Tennessee and north Georgia when this star was adopted just prior to the 1864 Georgia campaign. So, if the ring was found in Virginia, Maryland or Pennsylvania, then you would call it a 12th Corps ring. If recovered in Georgia, South Carolina or North Carolina, it should have been a 20th Corps item. These corps rings were very popular among the soldiers who had a great deal of pride in their corps symbols. They were marketed in all sizes and shapes, and made of everything from gold and silver to bone and lead. The example featured here was likely purchased from a sutler who had earlier acquired a quantity of inexpensive stock pattern rings, and either he, or the individual buyer, etched the star symbol on its blank front panel. They turn up frequently in junk boxes and old jewelry collections. The current owners usually do not recognize the star, circle, diamond, or other design for what it really is.” (Originally Published in Volume 9, Issue 5)

eagle on it, but cannot figure out what it is. It is definitely solid silver, not plated. Stephen Jordan Had you not actually brought this piece with you to the Franklin Civil War Show and let us examine it firsthand, we might still be guessing at its identity. But as the publisher and I were scratching our heads over what it might be while taking photographs and measurements, noted early militaria collector George Juno happened by our table and asked to see it. When we saw his eyes light up, we knew you had more than just a common fragment of silver. George immediately opened a nearby copy of American Military Headgear Insignia, by Mike O’Donnell and Duncan Campbell, to page 59, figure 79. Pictured there was a complete version of your excavated piece, although the one in the book is sheet brass. It is described as a “Cap Plate, 1815 Pattern, Infantry, Enlisted, ca. 1815-1820. However, yours is likely an officer’s version (Figure 80), although it seems to be modeled more along the lines of the enlisted man’s model. George speculated that it was custommade and commissioned by an officer of financial means. What makes yours so special is that it is solid silver, not silver plated copper, as the Figure 80 officer’s model was. As to other solid silver cap plates of this type existing, George says yours is the only one he has ever seen. This is also a good reason why even the smallest and seemingly insignificant pieces dug by hobbyists can write new chapters in what is already known about the equipment of armies past. (Originally Published in Volume 9, Issue 6)


dug this silver piece at a late 1700s house site in central Tennessee. I can see part of an



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:


Dan Coffman recovered this item near Ft. Oglethorpe, GA. Measuring 3 x 3 x 1.5 inches, it is constructed of cast iron. Ft. Oglethorpe was home to a large military post established in 1902, and it has been speculated that this item is related, but otherwise no information as to what it is has been forthcoming. Contact us if you can help identify it. (Originally Published in Vol. 9, Issue 2)

Shane Marcotte dug this solid silver item at a colonial site in Louisiana, but as yet can not identify it. Some have suggested that it is a friendship medallion or fob, but we suspect that its roots are in a fraternal organization or secret society. Yet, we can find no one who has been able to positivity identity it or its era, and ask our readers for help. (Originally Published in Vol. 9, Issue 5)

William Harlow recovered this thin silver plated brass piece in central Virginia. It’s thought that it may be automotive related (note that the center rosette resembles a wheel). However, that is merely speculation and we hope our readers can identify it. (Originally Published in Vol. 9, Issue 5)

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Whit Hill is seeking an identification for this odd-looking device she found while hunting the site of a Civil War encampment located in Tennessee. Despite the promising location, we suspect that it is from a later era, but have no realistic idea beyond that. It does look as though a strap was attached, as seen by the two pieces attached by studs. The dime is shown for size comparison. Can anyone come forward and tell us what this is? (Originally Published in Vol. 9, Issue 1)

Eddie Moss dug this piece in Edisto, SC, along with items from the early 1800s up to the 20th century. The outside of this two-inch-long piece is copper, but the inside is lined with lead. A dried black substance was found inside once the lid was unscrewed. Readers, can you help us solve this mystery? (Originally Published in Vol. 9, Issue 5)

Feedback Readers’ feedback keeps coming on the item dug by Tom Goodloe in January – February’s “Stumpt” column. Nick Wright contacted us to say it was perhaps a reins guide. This had occurred to us, but we think the inside edge is too rough for that use. Rob Taylor then sent us a photo of a similar item found by his friend, Floyd Lynch, at a 1700s site. That piece (above right) has been positively identified as a pipe tamper used to pack tobacco into the bowl. We have to admit that the resemblance and size is very close, but will stop short of calling this one solved. (Originally Published in Vol. 9, Issue 3)

Photo courtesy of

SOLVED! Jamie Branham emailed us to say that the item found by Marty Clark (“Stumpt,” Volume 9, Issue 5) is from a Mason Jar lid, as he had dug an identical one near the Wilderness, Virginia. Coincidentally, less than five minutes later, a photo was sent by Jerry Simmons of one he had found, which confirms it. The center has the same star burst and crescent moon/star design as the one found by Marty, and around the edge is embossed, “GENUINE BOYD CAP FOR MASON JARS.” (Originally Published in Vol. 9, Issue 6)

"Stumpt!" appears in each issue of American Digger® Magazine. Click here to subscribe and help solve mysteries like these! You are also encouraged to send your own items for identification.

SOLVED! Reader J. Carey gave us an exact match on the Stumpt item sent in by Steve Moore in our March-April issue. It is a kitchen clock pendulum, and a reproduction (second picture) is sold by After speaking with Barry Hendricks at that site, he informed us that the piece his company sells is an exact copy of an original design from the late 1800s to early 1900s. We expect that the one dug was an original. Regardless, the design is identical, allowing us to say this mystery is solved! (Originally Published in Vol. 9, Issue 3)

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The King and I By Dave McMahon

22 American Digger速 Magazine 速 Vol. 9, Issue 1


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Originally Published in Volume 9, Issue 1. Click here to order single issues.


remember when I was 10 years old, growing up in New thing a buccaneer of long ago had actually owned, fanned Jersey, and my father would take my brother and me the flames of my imagination and set me on a course that still fishing at the local beach. It was in this one particular affects me to this day. spot that there was an old building, one that had been It was during one of those fishing trips to the beach that standing there since the days of America’s Revolutionary my dad decided to buy a metal detector. I remember the day War. I think that perhaps it had been an old inn or tavern, or well! Although I wasn’t real clear on how it worked, I was at least that was what the locals sure we were bound to uncover believed. the mother lode of pirate treaThe people of the area were sure. As I remember it, my dad fond of the tall tales of the varihad found this detector at a loous pirates and rum runners who cal garage sale for just a few had once lived and died in the dollars. From that time on, our area. I enjoyed listening to the fishing trips to the local beaches stories just as much as the ones became more like grand adventelling them enjoyed spinning a tures in search of vast amounts yarn for a young lad with eager of buried treasure and pirate ears and an active imagination. I loot. I lost interest in fishing was a bit too young at the time almost immediately; who had to know what rum was, but evtime for that with all the treasure ery young boy knows the word to be had? The truth was that I “pirate.” My mind would swim had never really enjoyed fishing with the idea of finding pirate as much as others seemed to, treasure! and don’t particularly care for it As many a young man beeven today. fore me had done, I spent nuInstead, I began to learn merous happy days just daya new type of “fishing,” one dreaming about all things pirate. which required a different techMy head was constantly filled nique than I had ever used bewith the idea of pirates of old fore. I soon learned that I was Even though Dave McMahon prefers sailing the seven seas, walking not alone in the pursuit of pirate “pirate treasure,” including the 1700s the plank, and, most importanttreasure. I saw others, mostly Spanish Eight Reale shown at the top ly, burying their treasure. I also older guys, on the beaches I of this page, an added bonus of hunting wondered whether “X” really frequented also using metal dethe beaches of Jersey is modern jewelry. did mark the spot. Simply the tectors. I would watch as they At 41.7 grams of gold, this 14 karat gold idea of finding something left worked their machines back and chain and cross is nothing to scoff at. behind by a real pirate, someforth across the beach. I would January- February 2013 American Digger® Magazine



try to copy the way they hunted and carefully observed their every move. Armed in the beginning with only a large handheld clamshell scoop, I later talked my parents into getting me a shovel just like the older guys were using. Each time we would go to the beach, I would work my way through a seemingly never-ending supply of sand, listening for good sounding signals as I detected, and then digging each and every one, hoping for a piece of treasure in every hole. Every time my mom, Linda, and my dad, Jim, took our family to the beach, I took out the “magical treasure finding machine.” I truly believed that there was pirate treasure to be found and that I was sure to find it. I now had a secret weapon (a metal detector) that placed me far ahead of all the other young boys in pursuit of the dream of finding trea-

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(Above) Iced-in beach conditions like this rarely stop Dave. (Below) A silver 1780 Eight Reale, one of many such coins that McMahon has found beach hunting. This one has nice coloring and is shown exactly as it was recovered from the sand.

sure. There was now nothing that could stop me from finding treasure, and I really believed it 110%! Yes, these were the dreams of a young boy. But sometimes in certain people those dreams, combined with persistence and the unquenchable desire to succeed, don’t stop in youth; they continue to burn quietly on the inside into each passing year up into adulthood. As the years went by, every once in a while I would take the detector my parents still had laying around, and go back to the beach, looking for what I now referred to as valuables. Mind you, I never let go of the hope that pirate treasure existed, but as the time went by it became less and less the obsession it once had been, a somewhat forgotten dream.

still on the beach, where we had all been hanging out after a morning of surfing. He started talking to one of the guys in the group about the recent beach dredging, and some of the things he had found after they had finished. My heart started racing the moment I heard him say the words “pirate coin.” It was if I had been struck by a bolt of lightening. I quickly made my way over to him to see if it was true. In the palm of his weathered hand lay an old coin which would rekindle a fire which had long lay dormant inside of me. What I had long thought of as just the idle dreams of a


ears passed and I still found myself frequently on the beach, mostly surfing, hanging out and partying. That’s the lifestyle I had gotten used to, like so many other young adults living in close proximity to the beaches here. My mind was, for the most part, now far removed from the days when I spent every spare moment searching the beach for treasures and valuables. I only thought about it in fleeting moments. Things remained like that until a fateful day that brought the past rushing back to me, bringing with it my youthful days of believing in pirates’ treasures. An older man had come up to some of us who were

This 1730 Four Escudo Portuguese gold coin is the author’s most prized find. He is shown holding it at the top of this ® JanuaryFebruary American Digger Magazine it. 25 page only2013 seconds after recovering 31

“When I pulled that coin out of the sand, it literally dropped me to my knees. I even yelled so loud that two fishermen came running over to see what the commotion was all about. It didn’t matter that I was dehydrated, it didn’t matter that it was scorching hot that day, it didn’t matter that I hadn’t eaten anything yet that whole day. All that mattered at that moment was what I was finally holding in the palm of my hand: ‘The King.’” boy had now been proven true. I stood staring at the 1778 Carolus III 8 Reale coin he had found. My heart pounded and my mind went into overdrive. I didn’t know whether I was coming or going. But in that instant, as he handed me the coin so that I could see it, I knew I had to find one of these pirate coins. It was real now and tangible; I was holding it in my hand. Best of all, it was found right here where I had spent all these years. Had I been walking over them, surfing over them, laying on them in the sand? It seemed as though I had. After the conversation with the gentleman, I left the beach and headed to my parents’ house to grab “the magical treasure hunting machine.” The dreams of my youth had been reawakened! After only a few trips, I quickly learned that technology had surpassed the old detector, and set out to buy a new “magical machine,” one that would help me find “The King.” That’s what I now began to refer to the big silver 8 Reale coins as, with the king of Spain Carolus III’s profile covering the front of the coin; his big smile staring at me, haunting me. I pounded the beaches with the intensity I had once known as a kid. I was dead set on my quest, and I knew “The King” couldn’t elude me forever. And after undying persistence, and digging what seemed like tons of modern trash, day after day, after all the years of searching, I finally found the object of my quest. Digging in a quickly sinking hole, right near the incoming tide line, I practically killed myself in getting “The King” out of his sandy resting place. I was throwing sand up on the beach, checking the hole, checking the sand piles, and about to give up from utter exhaustion, when finally I retrieved my target. When I pulled that coin out of the sand, it literally dropped me to my knees. I even yelled so loud two fishermen came running over to see what the commotion was all about. It didn’t matter that I was dehydrated, it didn’t matter that it was scorching hot that day, it didn’t 26 American Digger® Magazine ® Vol. 9, Issue 1


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matter that I hadn’t eaten anything yet that whole day. All that mattered at that moment was what I was finally holding in the palm of my hand: “The King.” After that, I constantly pounded the beaches, driven by the image and excitement of that coin. It seemed that after finding that first one, recovering more Kings became a gift that I had been given, crazy as it may sound. It was as if the first one was leading me to others. No matter how many of them I found, each new recovery would get my adrenaline

A necklace made from one of the pirate coins the author recovered on the beach.

Thirty years ago, the author began his metal detecting career at this location. __________ pumping again, and excite me to the point where I felt like my heart would burst right out of my chest.


began to team up with other locals who helped me in my quest for the King and, after another beach dredging operation, we found even more of the once nearly impossible-to-find Kings. Each brutal storm brought with it big swells and waves that pounded at the beach, often combined with 15° or 20° temperatures. Whatever the conditions we encountered, whether fighting hailstorms in the middle of the night, or sleet stinging our faces like shards of glass on a bitter winter day, it didn’t matter; nothing would stop our search for the King. It consumed us. Even in sleep, I would dream of digging them out of the sand. It was almost all I could think of, and still is. I later met a great hunting partner, Chuck Geham, on the beach. In our quest to nab the King, Chuck and I began to take on just about any vicious weather or surf conditions that were thrown at us on. It was a great time. I felt nothing could stop us, armed with Minelab Sovereign GT’s, big 15” WOT coils, and larger-than-life persistence. The desire never lessened, but only became more and more intense. Minutes, hours, days, seasons, years; all would fly by as l stalked the beaches, consistently on the hunt for the King. Rituals of spilling rum, whispering “him” out of hiding with drunken promises, and just sheer persistence accompanied my quest. Some started to think I was crazy, and I guess in a way I was. I was obsessed with finding more and more of this potential pirate loot. During the quests, I accumulated a pouch of Spanish coins, both gold and silver, and on the downtime from the King, I’d find plenty of modern treasure in the form of silver Originally Published in Volume 9, Issue 1. Click here to order single issues.

and gold jewelry. I was detecting every day; in fact, sometimes I would go out two or three times during a 24-hour period, spending two or three hours on every trip. Old ship nails, large brass spikes from early ships, buttons, chunks of copper scrap, smaller colonial copper coins; I dug them all, but in reality they were just in my way of finding the King. Lately, it has gotten harder. Recent dredging projects have started using mini screens, catching almost anything larger than a dime in the baskets. Also, a lack of storms in 2011 made for beaches pulling in more sand, covering up the hidden treasures that had been lying there, now too deep for a detector. There is also the increasing value of silver and gold in the past year or so. This has brought many more detectorists out onto the beaches in search of new and old treasure. The increasing hunting pressure has led to a decline in good finds being made by our detecting group. All that aside, I still will not give up. I continue to pound these beaches, digging as deep and as long as necessary to find that which I have dreamed about since my early years on the beach. The King hasn’t shown up much in the past year, and recent beach conditions have hindered, more than helped, in my quest. But rest assured, when the time is right, and all the conditions are there, and the world is in its proper place, the King will pop his head up again, and you can bet that I will be there to nab him. I never give up! Recently, some of my friends (Joe Bellina, Steve Olsen, Ed Cropski, and Ronnie DeGhetto) and myself all went back to that original pirate bar/tavern that first started my dream of finding treasure over 30 years ago. The spot was now filled in with plant growth, and looked as if it has been recently used as an illegal dump. None of that mattered. My mind wandered back to those days when I was young, and I felt I was finally able to put the pirate ghosts to rest. We didn’t find much, but that didn’t matter. I give thanks and much respect to those guys for helping me get back to the place where it all started for me. Finally, best of fortune to those young and old, swinging those coils, persistent and unstoppable, driven by the dreams of their own version of The King!

About The Author Dave McMahon lives in New Jersey and was introduced to metal detecting as a child by his mother and father, and since then has had an off and on fascination with the hobby. Since he was young, he always wanted to find pirate treasure. After certain events led to him finding Spanish relics and coins, he became completely hooked seven years ago and now hunts every day he can. January- February 2013 American Digger® Magazine



Crockomania! Crockomania!

By Tom J. Williams By Tom J. Williams


Originally Published in Vol. 9 Issue 1. Click here to order single issues.

n my 20 years of searching in the great state of Tennessee, I have found Nashville to be, by far, the most interesting and enjoyable place to hunt for treasures of the past. The downtown area is chock-full of old bottle dumps, privies, and Civil War trash pits just waiting to be discovered. Unfortunately, most of these are many feet below the asphalt, so major discoveries normally occur only when construction takes place. In its earlier days, the city was referred to as “The Athens of the South” for its numerous institutions of higher learning. Many would journey hundreds of miles by train or ferry just to witness its beauty, and, experiencing a bit of what they considered to be a Southern paradise, decide to settle down and become Nashvillians themselves. When the population numbers exploded in the mid-nineteenth century, the hills surrounding the downtown area, once devoid of settlement, soon became covered with wooden frame houses and brick chimneys. By the outbreak of the Civil War Nashville had become a large city. Its bustling railroad station, busy shipyards, and other urban developments marked the city as one of commerce and prosperity, and its civilian residents and the 18621867 Union occupiers were to leave behind large numbers 56 American Digger® Magazine ® Vol. 9, Issue 1


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of artifacts. Many of these would eventually be sealed in unintentionally created time capsules far below paved parking lots and towering office buildings. With so much history, it’s no surprise that one of these time capsules is discovered almost every time an earthmover starts to make way for a new high rise. The question is what period of history will the time capsule reveal? Will it be the site of a turn-of-the century drugstore, with large numbers of medicine bottles lying about? The location of an old tavern from the 1840s, where ale bottles and coins were left behind? A Civil War campsite full of lead, brass and iron? The mystery concerning what might lie underneath the busy streets of this modern city is what led my hunting partner Blake Davis and me to a terrific discovery. During a steamy July in 2010, my friend and I traveled in a time machine, metaphorically speaking, which took us back to the plantation days of the 1830s, the Civil War, a mid-1800s tavern, and a late 1800s fire station. The site, one single city block that was being developed for new condos, was located in the old Germantown district. This area had a reputation of dropping rare jewels into the dirty palms of crazy-eyed relic hunters. Some of the jewels I witnessed being uncovered included an OVM (Ohio Volunteer Militia) belt plate, a rare CS

Texas belt plate, a Western Military Institute button, a largeTexas belt plate, a Western Military Institute button, a large pontiled honey cathedral bottle, and a beautiful scrolled flask.pontiled honey cathedral bottle, and a beautiful scrolled flask. These were true nuggets of history planted by the relic godsThese were true nuggets of history planted by the relic gods and then, generations later, placed into the shovels of luckyand then, generations later, placed into the shovels of lucky and appreciative hunters. and appreciative hunters. The only significant find I had personally made in the The only significant find I had personally made in the Germantown area prior to 2010, however, was a silver Na-Germantown area prior to 2010, however, was a silver National Union League pin dug in 2002, just a block away fromtional Union League pin dug in 2002, just a block away from where we were about to hunt. The National Union Leaguewhere we were about to hunt. The National Union League was a quasi-political and patriotic organization established inwas a quasi-political and patriotic organization established in 1862 in Philadelphia. Records show that the 13th Tennessee1862 in Philadelphia. Records show that the 13th Tennessee Cavalry (U.S.) camped in this area. This might explain why,Cavalry (U.S.) camped in this area. This might explain why, in addition to having found the pin there, over the years I hadin addition to having found the pin there, over the years I had found several Eagle “C” buttons and various carbine bulletsfound several Eagle “C” buttons and various carbine bullets at the same location. at the same location. Blake and I were fortunate to obtain permission to hunt Blake and I were fortunate to obtain permission to hunt from the lot’s owner. We immediately set out scanning thefrom the lot’s owner. We immediately set out scanning the area with our metal detectors. With my old reliable White’sarea with our metal detectors. With my old reliable White’s 6000 and Blake’s lucky Garrett we were able to make a few6000 and Blake’s lucky Garrett we were able to make a few Civil War finds in one small area. These were common EagleCivil War finds in one small area. These were common Eagle buttons, a few .58 and .69 caliber Minie balls, and a few flatbuttons, a few .58 and .69 caliber Minie balls, and a few flat buttons. The rest of the site produced some late 1800s findsbuttons. The rest of the site produced some late 1800s finds such as harmonica reeds, a 1910 Barber Quarter, and an an-such as harmonica reeds, a 1910 Barber Quarter, and an antique This ring. silver National Union League pin was dug byThis silv tique ring. Weeks would in go 2002 by before site started get really Weeks would go by before the site started to get really the author justthe a block awaytofrom the site.the auth removed for piping and foundainteresting. As more dirt was removed for piping and founda-interesting. As more dirt was _____________ tion work, trash pits started to appear some five to six feettion work, trash pits started to appear some five to six feet of loose soil, raking the dug dirt street shovelfuls level. We found a variety of Nashville Fireinto De-a thinseveral sh below street level. We found a variety of Nashville Fire De-belowseveral layer. This allowed us to better scan the dirt with our partment coat buttons in one small area. This indicated to usdetec-layer. Thi partment coat buttons in one small area. This indicated to us tors and eyeball smaller suchfire as bone could have been an items 1800s-era stationbuttons, locatedcrocktors and e that there could have been an 1800s-era fire station locatedthat there and so on. With every shovel of dirt came a relic: amarbles, a at themarbles, site. at the site. flower the button with we a “Robinson” backmark,fancy two weektwo-piece after unearthing buttons, stumbled across A week after unearthing the buttons, we stumbled across Afancy a general service Eagle button, several flat buttons, signs of an early-to-mid-1800s trash pit. There were brokensigns of an early-to-mid-1800s trash pit. There were brokena pipea general numerous .58 caliber abowl, num of black glass, percussion remains of caps, a crushed bitters Minie bottle,balls, a pieces of black glass, remains of a crushed bitters bottle, apiecesbowl, rubber comb patented in 1851, andofso on.Goodyear piece of anhard aqua-colored scrolled flask, and a variety large piece of an aqua-colored scrolled flask, and a variety oflarge Goodyear The best finds came when we were digging out the remain-The best animal bones lying on the surface. We decided to dig a testanimal bones lying on the surface. We decided to dig a test ing edges of the trash pit, justanprior filling it back in. Twoing edges immediately discovered ash to layer a few inches hole and immediately discovered an ash layer a few incheshole and Eaglebones, “R” Riflemen coatadditional buttons rolled outpotfrom thebeautiful E More cattle along with broken down. More cattle bones, along with additional broken pot-down.beautiful side with one swift move of the shovel. Both buttons had aside with tery and glass, started to appear. We carefully began to remove tery and glass, started to appear. We carefully began to remove

Among better buttonsFire found at the site were Among Two of thethe many Nashville Department Two of the many Nashville Fire Department thes these two Civil War era Rifleman buttons. buttons found in one small area by the diggers. buttons found in one small area by the diggers. January- February 2013 American Digger® Magazine




(Above Left) After the first jug was pulled out, more lay underneath waiting to be unearthed. (Above Right) A view of the layer of crocks. The broken pieces acted as a protective layer for the whole ones underneath. (Bottom Left) A topside view looking down into the pit. Notice the thin clay layer that acted as a “cap” sealing the jugs inside a square brick tomb. ____________________ Scovill backmark and were in perfect shape. Almost 100% of the gilt remained on the fronts. More construction activity several weeks later revealed yet another large pit of some kind. A previous day’s rainfall made it easier for us to look for suspicious areas of dark soil that might contain glass and pottery shards. Sure enough, we noticed a wall of dirt that contained signs of a pit. We started digging at that spot. Do you ever get the feeling that something big is about to happen, that some unseen entity is communicating with you? As if an unseen ghost floats by your side and whispers, “Say young laddie, yer luck may change if ya’ look here.” Well, I’ve had that feeling on numerous occasions. Most of the time it has led to disappointment. For example, there have been times when I have dug for hours in unfavorable conditions and come up empty handed. However, this day would be different. The usual “oh crap” that I normally utter to myself when my luck has turned out bad would instead become “oh yeah.”

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fter digging about six inches into the wall, we hit brick that extended about four to five feet wide and about three to four feet deep. It didn’t take long before we discovered corners and realized we had found some sort of square brick structure which was surrounded by signs of an older pit. At first we used picks to try to break the bricks apart but soon discovered the wall was two layers thick. Our only option was to jump out of the hole and dig in from the top of the ground on the other side of the wall. The mystery of what might be inside drove us crazy. We dug like groundhogs through a hard “cap” of clay and then hit soft ash only a couple of inches lower. After working our way down through the ash in one of the corners of the brick wall, I saw the top of a handle to a crock jug. I turned to Blake, laughed, and asked, “What are the chances of this being whole?” Now let’s pause for a moment. If you were in my shoes, would you (A): use this moment to implement the “good old huntin, buddies” code of conduct and let Blake dig his first crock jug, or would you (B): implement the “every man for himself” code of greed and dig it yourself? I thought of option B for a few seconds but chose option A, because that’s what being a good hunting partner is all about. Besides, I would end up finding a Waco Guards Texas button at one of Blake’s digging sites a few months later. So what goes around, comes around! All that Blake had to do was tug lightly on the handle of the crock, and a large one-gallon jug appeared. It had a beautiful yellowish-brown glaze. Blake was overwhelmed with excitement and went back to the truck to grab his camera. While Blake was drooling with pleasure, I looked down into the hole where we had left the jug. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Several more crock jugs, I could see, were lying underneath the first. I pulled another one out, completely intact just like the first one. We took turns pulling one crock jug after

(Top) A sample of some of the jugs showing their true colors after a quick wash. (Left) Blake Davis showing off the first crock jug to be pulled from the pit.

January- February American Digger速 Magazine


37 59

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By carefully raking through the dirt, Blake and Tom were able to find marbles, clay pipe bowls, a bone toothbrush, and bone buttons in addition to brass and lead.

A few of the many buttons found in the Civil War era trash pit. Note the variety of twopiece flower buttons.

60 American Digger Magazine 速 Vol. 9, Issue 1 40 2013 2011American AmericanDigger Digger Magazine Sampler 40 速

author holds TheThe author holds two of the crock two of the crock jugs after being jugs after being cleaned with a little cleaned with a little soap and water. The soapjugs andcame water. The in many jugs cameand in many shapes colors. shapes and colors.

another out of the hole. There were layers of these crocks piled on top of one another, some crushed, some cracked but still intact, and some undamaged. We were averaging one perfect crock for every three damaged or broken ones. After about an hour, there was such a large pile of broken pieces behind us that we had to rake them aside to make room for more digging. After some four hours of hard digging, the journey into Crockville ended when we reached the back wall of the long, rectangle pit that had yielded a total of 25 undamaged crock jugs. We refilled the hole and leveled out the site to show our appreciation to the landowner who had been gracious enough to allow us to dig. That afternoon we divided up the finds of the day, each taking turns in choosing a crock until all 25 were divided up between us. We estimated the broken and damaged ones came to around 50, which means that approximately 75 crocks had been located in one hole. Why so many jugs were in this single pit remains a mystery, but it is possible that a tavern had once been located at the site. As you can no doubt guess, I was extremely happy with our discovery. As for Blake, who’s fairly new at this great hobby of ours... well, he’s now turned into a relic hunting monster for whom there is no hope of return to civilized normality!

Originally Published in Volume 9 Issue 1. Click here to order single issues.

About the Author Tom Williams started relic hunting in Charleston, SC in 1989 and has lived in middle Tennessee for the past 21 years. After joining the Middle Tennessee Metal Detecting Club in 1993, he became an avid metal detecting and bottle digging enthusiast. He also has volunteered on a number of digs with archaeologists to help recover military artifacts from the War of 1812, the Mexican War, and the Civil War. Tom uses a variety of metal detectors but his favorite is an old White’s 6000.

January- February 2013 American Digger® Magazine


41 41

TheRelic Relicvolcano Volcano THE Relic The Volcano ofPort PoRThudson hUDSon of PoRT hUDSon

By William SPeDale By ByWilliam WilliamSpedale SPeDale

Originally Published in Volume 9, Issue 2. Click here to order single issues.


ike a dormant volcano, the Port Hudson Battleikefield a dormant volcano, Port Hudson stayed quiet for the many years after Battlethe Siege field quiet for many years after Siege of stayed 1863. The soldiers had all gone andthe most of the of 1863. The soldiers had all gone and most of the inhabitants had moved away. The Mississippi River was inhabitants had moved away. The Mississippi wasport in the final stages of moving southwest from River the little in the final stages its of moving southwest town, leaving docks and wharfs from high the andlittle dry. port Where town, leaving its docks and wharfs high and dry. Where once stood the busy terminus of the Clinton/Port Hudson once stood theabusy of farming the Clinton/Port Hudson Railroad vital terminus link to the areas of south MisRailroad vital link to the farmingwhere areas cotton of south Mississippi, aand northeast Louisiana, and sugar sissippi, and northeast cotton and sugar were cultivated and Louisiana, transportedwhere by rail to the once-busy were cultivated transported by rail to the once-busy docks of Port and Hudson today only brick ruins are visible. docks Port Hudson today the only brick ruinsinfestation, are visible.and Theofriver’s course change, boll weevil Thethe river’s change, boll weevil and war course all spelled the the death-knell to infestation, the once-bustling theriverboat war all spelled the death-knell to the once-bustling town. When the town became virtually deserted, riverboat town. When theslowly town became virtually deserted, the entire area began reverting back to its primithetive, entire area began slowlybecoming reverting overgrown back to its with primipeaceful wilderness, trees tive, peaceful wilderness, becoming overgrown with trees and brush. The miles of Confederate breastworks would andstand brush. The miles of Confederate breastworks perfectly preserved to this day, althoughwould mostly stand perfectly preserved to this The day,old although mostly hidden with trees and thickets. battlefield where hidden with trees and thickets. The old battlefield where ranks of Union soldiers charged and died, where battle ranks Unionand soldiers and died, where battleand flagsofwaved buglescharged called, would remain dormant flags waved and called,ofwould remain dormant and forgotten untilbugles the advent the metal detector, and then forgotten until would the advent the again. metal detector, and then the volcano eruptofonce the volcano would erupt once again. The story of Port Hudson’s role in the War for Southern The story of Port Hudson’s role thetragic War for Southern Independence actually began onin that night of March Independence actually began on that tragic night ofFarragut’s March 14, 1863 when Union Admiral David Glasgow 14, 1863 when Union Admiral David Glasgow Farragut’s 28 American Digger® Magazine Vol. 9, Issue 2 28 American Digger® Magazine ®® Vol. 9, Issue 2

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Below: A big day for Charlie Hinton of Baton Below: A big day for Charlie Hinton of Baton Rouge came when he discovered these four Rouge came when he discovered these four of Sawyer projectiles from the very center Sawyer projectiles from the very center of the Confederate breastworks, fired from theHolcomb’s Confederate breastworks, from battery. Charlie is fired shown here Holcomb’s Charlie shown (at here marvelingbattery. at his finds: one is explosive left) marveling at his finds: oneThese explosive (at left) and three solid bolts. are extremely and three solid bolts. These are rare projectiles. The author had extremely the distinct rare projectiles. The author had the distinct privilege of having been with Charlie on this privilege of having withtop Charlie onpage, this a memorable hunt. been At the of this memorable hunt.lies Atwhere the top of at this page, a cannon barrel it fell Port Hudson. cannon barrel lies where it fell at Port Hudson.

Above Left: A cache of five unfired Sawyers unearthed by the author from a Union artillery position at Artillery Ridge, Port Hudson. Strangely, each was encased in a thin brass lining not often seen. The 8-inch ball was excavated from the front slope of a ridge just below the Sawyer gun emplacement. The two bullet molds, bayonet, and bottle were found in the same excavation as the shells. Apparently the ball was fired by Confederates trying to knock out the Sawyer gun. Above Right: A cluster of shells from Port Hudson. At the bottom of the photograph is a U.S. 3-inch Hotchkiss fitted with a brass percussion fuse. Above it, from left to right, is a U.S. 3.8-inch James Type I shell with percussion fuse, a U.S. 4.4-inch Schenkl shell with brass percussion fuse, and an English 3.5-inch Blakely shell with a brass Britten percussion fuse. The Blakely was manufactured in England and shipped through the Union blockade. They are very rare. The shell on the far right is a U.S. 20-pounder Parrott shell with a Parrott Type I percussion fuse. gunboats attempted to run past the Port Hudson batteries mounted on the high bluffs of the river’s west bank. This encounter was the closest Farragut ever came to total disaster. He had barely survived the bloody passage of the two old brick fortresses, Forts Jackson and St. Phillip, below New Orleans. He would later survive the Battle of Mobile Bay, with the loss of one ironclad monitor. But at Port Hudson, Farragut’s armada took a severe pounding, with only two of his eight ships succeeding in running the gauntlet. The remainder, badly shot up, were forced to drift back downstream for repairs. The mighty warship USS Mississippi, which had run aground on the west bank of the river, soon began receiving concentrated fire and became engulfed in flames (reportedly at the hands of her own crew). When the flames reached the powder magazine, the ship was obliterated in the resultant massive explosion. However, while the Union armada was engaged in the throes of passing the Rebel gunners, they managed to unleash steady broadsides of huge 200-pounder Parrott shells and 8 and 10-inch cannonballs at the bluffs. Most of these, however, flew harmlessly over the gunners. Over the past years, several of these behemoth projectiles have been excavated, and are regarded as rare discoveries. A couple of months later, Union forces under the command of Major General Nathaniel P. Banks arrived on the scene with a 35,000-man army. The noose was tied

around Port Hudson and a 48-day siege began. No Confederate aid could slip through. During this time, Union artillery emplacements tightly encircling the beleaguered Rebel bastion poured a steady torrent of cannon projectiles of every size, shape, dimension, and manufacture. These ranged from marble-size grape shot to 13-inch mortar balls, with an abundance of 3-inch Hotchkiss, 12-pdr. Napoleons, 8-inch and 24-pdr. balls, and various size Schenkls and Parrotts. Confederate artillerists, always low on ammunition, had to closely dole out their projectiles. However, their Blakely shells are some of the most highly-sought-after by Civil War collectors today. The Port Hudson siege lasted for 48 days, making it the longest siege of the Civil War (although Petersburg was longer, it was not, by definition, a classic military siege). Union artillery fired near-constantly, which is why such a prodigious amount of projectiles has been recovered at the site. It became a veritable iron mine! One contemporary account stated that the soldiers had a hard time picking their way through blackberry bushes due to stumbling over so many spent shells littering the ground. Artillery artifacts haven’t been the only relics recovered from the battlefield and campsites. Also found have been uncountable belt buckles, cartridge plates and Eagle breastplates, VMM (Volunteer Maine Militia) plates, and 29 43 43

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mong the more spectacular discoveries made at Port Hudson in recent memory was Pete George’s discovery of a cache of arms, probably hidden by Confederates just prior to capitulation. Several such caches of weapons were hastily buried in wooden coffins near the old town cemetery, ostensibly to keep them from becoming trophies of war to the Yankees. The appearance of freshly dug dirt would be assumed to be a just another recently dug grave. At upper left is the cache before cleaning, fresh from the soil. From left to right in the photo are a complete Confederate Griswold sword in brass scabbard, a common cavalry sword frozen in its rusty scabbard, a pistol carbine minus the wood; two complete pistols (one missing its grips), and a beautiful, ornately designed silver-handled dagger. Beside it is a photo of the same items after cleaning. Right: John Sexton and Pete George, both of whom had traveled from Georgia, posing behind their car parked in front of Billy Spedale's house in Baton Rouge, LA. Billy had the honor of seeing the cache of arms fresh from mother earth found by George in a dig they had just finished. The car is heavily weighted down with artifacts. Below is a close-up of the dagger, possibly of Spanish origin, and a .44 caliber Colt Dragoon revolver.

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Originally Published in Volume 9, Issue 2. Click here to order single issues.

Above Left: A Brass Schenkl percussion fuse, inscribed “J.P. SCHENKL OCT. 16, 1861.” Because the brass fuses of shells were the among the smallest and lightest fragment of an exploded shell to fall to earth, many have been found just beneath the surface, or in many cases, have been discerned by eye, lying openly atop the ground. Above Right: A U.S. Naval water cap fuse, used in spherical shells, most notably 10-inch Dahlgren balls, fired from deck guns of the USS Richmond mounted in Union battery No. 15 , manned by sailors. Below: The author holds one of the rare Blakely shells recovered at Port Hudson. the most coveted of all Civil War relics — the incomparable Confederate “CS” and “CSA” waist buckles! Several varieties of Louisiana pelican buckles have also been found at the site — I am proud to say that I have found one of them. Over the years since I became interested in Port Hudson, I have witnessed the evolution of the metal detector, beginning with Tom Dickey’s archaic WWII army surplus mine detector, once used to clear the beaches of Normandy and Okinawa. Long before I purchased a Metrotec, I used to rely solely on eyeballing for relics, and I did fairly well at that. But the Metrotec was perfect for relic hunting because it picked up all the shallow, easy readings, leaving the deeper items for better detectors. In the beginning, shells seemed to be everywhere, nearly shattering eardrums. People standing within 15 to 20 feet could clearly hear the earphone signal. We referred to this phenomenon as “screamers!” At the outbreak of WWII, the Port Hudson battlefield, as with many other battlefields across the nation, was closely gleaned of visible metal

debris. Cannonballs, solid Parrotts, railroad iron, boilers, pots, and iron and brass cannon tubes were smelted and transformed into modern weapons and equipment used against the Axis forces. I know of one instance where an innocent school kid proudly dumped a Civil War Parrott shell onto the scrap metal mound on the school yard, unaware that it was loaded. Years later, when it occurred

to him, he had many recurring sweltering nightmares haunted by the fact that his patriotic contribution could well have backfired, blowing up the smelting plant! Although tons of scrap metal were collected to support the war effort, it hardly made a dent in the amount of iron still lying dormant beneath the ground, which would be discovered with the aid of metal detectors. However, not all discoveries have been located with detectors. There have been some spectacular finds made by accident rather than design. Bulldozers, for instance, have unearthed many lucrative “honey holes.” Sometime in 2011, construction workers, digging the foundation for an electrical relay station at Port Hudson, accidentally dug into a cache of 3.67-inch Schenkl shells all laid in a row three feet deep. The exact number found has not been officially ascertained. Accounts vary from seven to 14. Only one was “live,” but, strangely, its brass fuse had no markings. Local collector Ron McCallum told me that he has found a few unmarked Schenkl fuses before.

March-April 2013 American Digger® Magazine



(Left) Six Schenkls recently discovered by construction workers are pictured here, fresh from the earth. They were later donated to the Port Hudson State Historic Site museum. (Below) A map of the area from the author’s book, Where Bugles Called And Rifles Gleamed.


elic hunting aficionados have concluded that the cache of Schenkls originated from a few 20-pounder guns located between Union Batteries No. 12 and 14. Battery No. 12 consisted of naval deck cannons from the USS Richmond, manned by sailors firing 10-inch solid and explosive balls. Union Battery No. 14 was commanded by the 2nd Vermont’s Colonel Phythagoras Holcomb, and consisted of 6-pdr Sawyers. From this vantage point these guns, facing directly across from the center of the Confederate breastworks not quite a quarter mile distant, could strike any point within the bastion. The six badly rusted Schenkls recently discovered by construction workers, pictured here fresh from the earth, were donated to the Port Hudson State Historic Site museum as a fitting and proper permanent home. When the discovery of this cache of Schenkls came to light, many relic hunters, including me, lamented that we had traversed many times over this very same spot. For some reason, known only but to God, everyone waited to hunt until we had cleared the open field

32 AmericanAmerican Digger® Magazine ®® Magazine Vol. 9, IssueSampler 2 46 46 2013 2013 American Digger Digger Magazine Sampler

Originally Published in Vol Click here to order single issues.

(Left) Some of Port Hudson’s heavy iron: Beside the 13inch mortar ball are three Confederate Reads with bands. The large Parrott shell was fired by Admiral David G. Farragut's fleet when they attempted to run the batteries on March 14, 1863. It was either fired from Farragut's flagship Hartford, or Albatross, the only two vessels of his that ran the gauntlet. Below it are fragments of exploded Parrotts. Beneath the Read projectiles are a jumble of other fragments, including a Selma disk sabot that has been pulled off from firing.

Noted author and relic hunter William Spedale holds a few of the Schenkl projectiles which he has unearthed near Port Hudson. Bearing the inscription “J.P. SCHENKL, PAT. OCT. 16, 1861” on the brass percussion fuse, these three represent the hundreds which have been found there over the years. These ice-cream coneshaped projectiles were fitted with a paper-mache sabot and were considered very accurate.

near the noisy highway, seeking the seclusion of the silent woods before even turning on our metal detectors. Although Port Hudson may appear to be dormant once again, occasional rumblings and eruptions still occur. The old volcano is not near dead and far from being extinct. But heed the caveat of an old digger: always obtain permission to hunt.

Originally Published in Volume 9, Issue 2. Click here to order single issues.

About the Author

William ‘Billy” Spedale is a native of Baton Rouge, LA with a lifelong interest in the American Civil War. In addition to being a serious historian, he is an avid collector of Civil War memorabilia. He has published numerous articles on the conflict, and is the author of five books. An Air Force veteran, he is on several museum boards, and is also a past president of the Baton Rouge Civil War Round Table. March-April American Digger® Magazine

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Students of History At Atthe theNash NashFarm FarmBattlefield Battlefield site, site,archaeologists archaeologistsand andrelic relic hunters work together to hunters work together tohelp help today’s youth discover the today’s youth discover the past pastthrough throughartifact artifactrescue. rescue.

Originally Published in Volume 9, Issue 2. Click here to order single issues.


By ByDarrell DarrellWoodall Woodall

Nash Farm Battlefield is one of those rare gems of hisis the dream of many adults to find bits of history that was recovered and protected by a local county govtory buried in the ground, lost long ago by ernment over the last decade. The land had been destined to participants in America’s history. However, become a large subdivision until archaeological science appeals to it was discovered that it was the youth as well. From June 11 to location of the largest Civil War June 15, 2012, a small group of cavalry charge in Georgia. middle and high school students Indeed, two large Civil War were able to fulfill their dream battles occurred there. The cavwhen they attended an archaeologalry charge took place on August ical field school held at Nash Farm 20, 1864, by 4,500 Union CavCivil War Battlefield in Henry alry troopers against about 750 County, Georgia. The field school Confederate Cavalry troops. On was made possible by the generSeptember 2-6, 1864, an infantry ous support of Friends of Nash battle also occurred here between Farm Battlefield, Inc., the Georgia entrenched Confederate troops Civil War Commission, the United and invading Union forces as the Daughters of the Confederacy Atlast vestige of the Atlanta Camlanta Chapter 18, Historic Sandy (Above) Conner Weirnaki shows paign of General Sherman. These Springs, and the Georgia Historithe Colt Revolver bullet he had just actions, along with the fact that cal Artifacts and Research Group recovered. At the top of the page, Confederate troops camped on (GHARG). During this field Andrea Dodd helps Ocean Curvin the land after these battles for 17 school, the students were afforddays, made Nash Farm a most (left) and Conner (right) recover an ed an opportunity not often made valuable historic resource. If not artifact they had located. available to youth groups. 56 American Digger® Magazine ® Vol. 9, Issue 2


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(Above) Site of the traditional archaeology dig at the back of the museum and suspected site of the original cookhouse for the Nash family home. Archeologist Kimberly Brigance (second from left), instructs students (left to right) Ocean Curvin, Conner Wiernaki, Maria Thomas, and Olivia Pittman. (Right) Inset photo shows a student carefully excavating what turned out to be a farm implement.

the actual excavation by the end of that day, and they soon for the prudent and swift action of the Henry County Board got their opportunity. of Commissioners, this site would have been lost to history permanently. That is why this small group of students was able to enuesday and Wednesgage in an excellent archaeologiday proved to be the cal experience in June, 2012. The students’ initiation into students first learned the history the more labor-intensive part of the site and the basics of arof archaeology. The first thing chaeological science before beTuesday morning, students were ing allowed to dig for artifacts put to work laying out the grid on the battlefield. They received squares for traditional archaeoinstruction on identifying the diflogical field work. They were ferent types of artifacts expected taught how to measure and mark to be found on the site, from Naeach square as precisely as postive American projectile points to sible. The instruction was promodern-day farm implements. vided by archaeologist Kimberly The students were also given Brigance and she, in turn, was a tour of the battlefield’s superb assisted by Bill Dodd, Cassie museum and of the outlying Barrow, and Darrell Woodall. trench lines still visible in the The students were assigned the Conner Wiernaki and Kimberly woods surrounding the battlefield. task of recovering artifacts in an Brigance recover artifacts from All of this occurred on Monday of area adjacent to the Nash Farm the sifting screen as author the field school. The students exfarmhouse, believed to be the Darrell Woodall looks on. pressed an anxious desire to start cookhouse facility. While the


March-April 2013 American Digger® Magazine



Student participants (in front, left to right) Conner Wiernaki, Ocean Curvin, Maria Thomas, Morganne Thomas, and Olivia Pittman. In the back are GHARG club members that assisted with the metal detecting training: Bill Dodd, Jim West, Mark Pollard, Scott Chandler, and Andrea Dodd. The group is standing on the site of Croft’s artillery gun.

Originally Published in Volume 9, Issue 2. Click here to order single issues.

work was hard and hot, the students responded well, discovering some very interesting artifacts. Many square nails were recovered, as well as two shoe nails and a door hinge. These artifacts were discovered while digging and during the screening process, and were bagged and recorded for later investigation during the laboratory phase of the field school. While digging, the students were required to keep field notes in a journal to be used to later write a final report. This part of the field school involved all of Tuesday and Wednesday, and it was greatly enjoyed by everyone involved. However, the real treat was scheduled for Thursday, when the students were to receive instruction in the

use of metal detectors. Every young face brightened at the prospect of using a metal detector to discover historic artifacts. They believed that they would not have to dig as much, since they would be using modern technology to make their discoveries. Ah, but what a revelation they were about to encounter!


hursday morning dawned beautifully as the students gathered on a hill in the western quadrant of the battlefield. They were joined by four more adults who were experts in the use of metal detectors, GHARG members Mark Pollard, Scott Chandler, Andrea

The students learned not only about the history buried at the site, but also that things are not always as they appear. While the Austrian bullet (left) was a good relic, a suspected artillery shell (shown in the ground at right, noted by arrow) was nothing more than a rusty pipe. 58 American Digger® Magazine ® Vol. 9, Issue 2


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Artifacts found by students using metal detectors at the location of Captain Croft’s artillery piece during Kilpatrick’s raid at Nash Farm on August 20, 1864. Dodd, and Jim West. These four people are renowned for their prowess with metal detectors and their knowledge of local Civil War history. The students had already been given some basic instruction on the use of metal detectors by Bill Dodd on Wednesday afternoon, and now they would be paired with these club members in actual handson instruction with these metal detecting devices. The students excitedly donned their earphones and got a feel for the detectors as everyone got ready to explore the site chosen for detecting. The ground that they would cover was the location of a Confederate artillery position. The site had been heavily fought over during the cavalry battle

of August 20, 1864, and it was expected that the students would find many Civil War artifacts. The various groups spread out over the hill with their metal detectors. Young voices could be heard yelping with excitement whenever a strong signal was received. It was at this point, however, that the students soon found out two very hard truths about metal detecting. First, every strong signal does not indicate a prized find. Much to the initial disappointment of several of the students, the hits turned up nothing more than aluminum cans, bits of modern farm machinery, and other miscellaneous debris. While in the most strict scientific definition these were still artifacts,

Students Morganne Thomas (left) and Maria Thomas (right) each hold Civil War bullets they recovered during the metal detecting phase of the project. Note the smiles: metal detectors combined with Civil War relics often make that happen. March-April 2013 American Digger® Magazine




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Andrea Dodd (center) helps Olivia Pittman pinpoint a deep artifact while instructor Cassie Barrow looks on.

they were not what the students expected to find. The most disappointing signals were large pieces of iron that turned out to be old fence posts or automobile parts, for these gave out signals that indicated they might be artillery rounds. The second hard lesson was that far from being simple, metal

Although signifigant artifacts were “tagged and bagged,” the students also learned the importance of removing modern trash.

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detecting required heavy digging just as much as traditional archaeological excavation. Some of the hits were as much as a foot deep, and it was especially painful to have dug so far down to discover everything but artillery rounds. This did not dampen the spirits of the students for long, however. Within 30 minutes, a happy shout was heard across the hill as one of the students found a Sharps cavalry carbine bullet. The girl making the discovery proudly held her find up so that she and it could be photographed. This find lifted the morale of the rest of the students, and during the remainder of the day exciting finds were made by other students. Shouts of joy were heard as more bullets were found, as well as some other interesting artifacts. In all, 13 Civil War bullets

Relic hunter and amateur archaeologist Bill Dodd gives students instruction on how to measure and identify bullets using Mason and McKee’s Civil War Projectiles II reference book. Relic hunter and amateur archaeologist Bill Dodd gives students instruction on how to measure and identify bullets using Mason and McKee’s Civil War Projectiles II reference book.

Originally Published in Volume 9, Issue 2. Click here to order single issues.

were recovered by the students, including a rare doubleended pistol round, two .54 caliber Burnside carbine rounds, a .54 caliber Austrian rifle bullet, three .56 caliber Spencer rounds (one complete with the metal cartridge still attached), a .44 caliber Colt Dragoon bullet, and a .58 caliber three-ring bullet. One bullet recovered by the students had been flattened out into a thin sheet of lead by a soldier for some unknown purpose. Other bullets found were too mangled to determine exact caliber or make. One student found a harmonica reed of the type commonly excavated on Civil War sites. These were exciting finds for the students, and the day’s adventure concluded with gratified smiles from all participants.


he next day, Friday, the students indulged themselves with a day of lab work as they cleaned, measured, and analyzed their discoveries. As the students meticulously cleaned the artifacts, they made many enlightening discoveries as the uncovered treasures introduced them further into the world of archaeology. They truly seemed to be enthralled with the discoveries made over the last four days. At the end of the day, several of the students said they wanted to attend the camp again next year. They eagerly awaited their parents’ arrival to pick them up so that they could show them what they had discovered during the week. By all accounts, much learning and fun was had by all.

This archaeological experience was very successful for many reasons. It was not just that the students learned so much, and enjoyed doing it. It was because it had been shown that metal detecting and traditional archaeology can and do work together hand-in-hand. When students are learning about an aspect of history in which iron and lead were so prevalent a part of the scene, metal detecting is vital in order to recover as many of the archaeological artifacts as possible. Equally important, metal detecting assists archaeologists in determining exactly where historical events took place. Finally, it was shown that real handson experiences accelerate learning like nothing else can. These students were not only studying history, they were touching it.

About The Author Darrell Woodall is a retired public school teacher from Henry County, Georgia. He served as a summer field assistant for an archaeologist at Fernbank Museum of Natural History in Atlanta for several years and has published two books, one on the Vietnam War and one on teaching. March-April 2013 American Digger® Magazine



Washingt Washington State Originally Published in Volume 9, Issue 3 Click here to order single issues.

Our mission: Our Tomission: hunt with American Digger® To hunt with American Digger® across the nation, readers readers across the nation, attempting to recover history attempting to recover history from every state. from every state.


By John Velke

here are two things I think of when I think of here are two things I think of when I Washington: think of What makes Woodland Parkrain particularly attractive to Seattle, drizzling and the Space Seattle, Washington: drizzling rain and the Space is that it has2012 existed fortrip more than years. TransNeedle. On mydiggers October to100 Washington Needle. On my October I 2012 trip to Washington, old jewelry silver coins can beweather found there. In was saw one andlation: not the and other. The I saw one and not the other. The weather was 1900, the Seattle City Council bought Woodland Park from beautiful, with sunshine and mild temperatures for my beautiful, with sunshine and mild day temperatures for Brian my the estate of Guy Phinney,my a wealthy entrepreneur es- The entire two stay. Feierday, host for who “On entire two dayRoad stay. Brian in Feierday, my host for “On TheState,” tablished one of the first sawmills the area. Washington picked me inup from a hote Road in Washington me up from a hotel In 1880, Phinney purchased downtown more than 200 acres north nearState,” the picked airport and drove north through Seattle near the airport and drove north through downtown SeattleSpace of Seattle,Needle where he established an expansive estate that inwhere I could see the in the distance. where I could see the The Space Needle in the cluded a bath house on the shore of where Green Lake, the a large horisite ofdistance. a major metropolitan area, The site ofzon a majoris metropolitan where skyscrapthe horimanor home, guest cottages, and a bandstand. He named filledarea, with zon is filled with skyscraphis estate “Woodland Park” ers, had me thinking that ers, had me digging thinking that and built an electric trolin Seattle might digging in Seattle might a jackhammer and ley line from downtown require require a jackhammer and Seattle so the public could a backhoe. But when we a backhoe. But when we at Woodlawn Park come out and enjoy his arrived arrived at Woodlawn Park north side of the property. Patterned after on the on the northcity, side of the some of the old English I saw huge trees and city, I saw huge trees and of green space. It estates, Phinney’s property plenty plenty of green space.Saturday It included formal gardens was morning and was Saturday it morning and and its own herd of deer. seemed like there were it seemed like there were Phinney also established a people everywhere. The people everywhere. The courts small private zoo that some tennis were full, tennis courtssoccer were full, teams were playing might consider his most soccer teams on were playing important lasting legacy. the fields, people were Among thePark detecto on the fields,riding people were bikes and walking The Woodland Zoo is Amongtheoretically, the detectorists the author hunted withnow inoneWashingto riding bikes dogs and walking and, of the best zoo’s in Washington (left-right) Allan Henneberry, Brian dogs and, some theoretically, in the country with over werewith losing coinswere and Henneberry, Brian Feierday (host), Mike Townsend, Caro some were losing coins andAt least that’s what 300 varieties of animals rings. Townsend, Caroline Townsend, Tim and rings. At leastwe that’shoped. what andConner, over a million visitors Conner, and Matthew Connor. we hoped. each year. ® 50 American Digger Magazine Vol. 9, Issue 3 50 American Digger® Magazine


Vol. 9, Issue 3

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ton State (Left) Allan Henneberry’s finds for the day included $35 in folded paper currency. (Left) Allan for the day included used $35 inby folded paper currency. (Right) HeHenneberry’s is shown herefinds digging near a campsite the homeless in the park. (Right) He is shown here digging near a campsite used by the homeless in the park. ____________________________ ____________________________

Guy Phinney died prematurely at age 42 in 1893, putTacoma, Washington and established in 1972. Like similar ting the futuredied existence of Woodland in jeopardy. clubs,Washington they hold monthly meetings, an annual and a Guy Phinney prematurely at age 42Park in 1893, putTacoma, and established in 1972. Like hunt, similar Heirs finally sold the property to the City of Seattle for Christmas party. But, unlike many metal detecting clubs, ting the future existence of Woodland Park in jeopardy. clubs, they hold monthly meetings, an annual hunt, and a $100,000 in 1900. 1902, the Board of Parkfor Com-Christmas they also haveBut, a “Treasure Hunter Certification” program Heirs finally sold the In property to Seattle the City of Seattle party. unlike many metal detecting clubs, missioners decided to hire the famous Brotherstheythat three levels certification: “Basic,” $100,000 in 1900. In 1902, the Seattle BoardOlmstead of Park Comalso includes have a “Treasure Hunter of Certification” program landscape designers come up with a comprehensive and levels “Master.” host, Brian Feierday, missioners decided to hiretothe famous Olmstead Brothers that “Advanced,” includes three of My certification: “Basic,” park plan for the to city. The up Olmstead was respon-“Advanced,” conducts most the training is justifiably proud landscape designers come with a family comprehensive and of “Master.” My and host,heBrian Feierday, parks, university campuses, and pub-conducts of themost next of generation of diggers introduced to the parksible planfor fordesigning the city. The Olmstead family was responthe training and hehe is has justifiably proud f What makes Woodland particularly attractive to throughout the United States and pub- Park hobby and introduced trained. To learn siblelicforspaces designing parks, university campuses, of the next generation of diggers he has to themore e is that it1949. has existed for more than 100 years. Transfrom thethroughout late 1800s through Among about Puget Treasure licdiggers spaces the United States hobby andthe trained. ToSound learn more n, lation: old jewelry and silver coins can be found there. In their many projects were grounds Hunting Club, visit them at from the late 1800s through 1949.the Among about the Puget Sound Treasure s 1900, the City Park from around UnitedSeattle Statesthe Capital, CentralCouncil bought Woodland their manythe projects were grounds Hunting Club, visit them at y the estate of Guy Phinney, a wealthy entrepreneur who esParkthe inUnited New York City, and the Univerpugetsoundtreasurehunters/. around States Capital, Central e tablished one the first sawmills in the area. sity Notre Dame campus. Phinney The Hood Canal DetectorPark in of New York City, andof theThe Univerpugetsoundtreasurehunters/. el InWoodland 1880, Phinney north and Park grounds figuredpurchased more than 200 ist Club founded in 1989 sity Zoo of Notre Dame campus. The Phinney Theacres Hoodwas Canal Detectore of Seattle, he established an expansive that inprominently in Park thewhere Olmstead Brothers’ and meets the first in Sunday Zoo and Woodland grounds figured ist estate Club was founded 1989 afcluded bath a large park plan in fora Seattle. ternoon each month in Belfair, prominently the Olmstead house Brothers’ on the shore of GreenandLake, meets the first Sunday afmanor home, cottages, and a bandstand. Hemonth named The Brian selectedguest for us to hunt Washington. The weekend park plan forsite Seattle. ternoon each in Belfair,I was his estate “Woodland Park” was site an area in selected Woodland in Seattle, many of the HCDC The Brian forPark us tooverlookhunt Washington. The weekend I was and built an electric trolGreen Lake, a popular venue for members were three-day was ing an area in Woodland Park overlookin Seattle, many of on the aHCDC ley line from downtown and other recreational activities. annual “out-of-towner” metal ing boating Green Lake, a popular venue for members were on a three-day Seattle so the public could Nearby paths, jogging trails, boating and were other bike recreational activities. annual “out-of-towner” metal come out and enjoy his dog were walking areas, tennis courts, a small Nearby bike paths, jogging trails, property. Patterned after course, andtennis plenty of picnic areas. dog golf walking areas, courts, a small some of the old English area and where we were to startareas. includes golfThe course, plenty of picnic estates, Phinney’s property and two includes large lawn The horseshoe area where courts we were to start included formal gardens bowlingcourts areas. and two large lawn horseshoe and its own herd of deer. pulled into the parking lot and bowlingWe areas. Phinney also established a soonpulled foundinto thatthe weparking were not We lot the and first small private zoo that some arrive.that Brian put not the the wordfirst out to soonto found wehad were might consider his most SeattleBrian area metal detecting clubs to arrive. had put the word outthat to we important lasting legacy. would detecting at Woodland Park Seattle areabemetal detecting clubs that we this The Woodland Park Zoo is weekend. I soon met representatives from would be detecting at Woodland Park this oriststhethe author hunted now one of the best zoo’s Puget Sound Treasure Hunting Club, weekend. I soon met representatives from on were (left-right) Allan Gary Clarkin withthe a 14K country with over the Hood Canal Detectorist Club, and the the Puget Sound Treasure Hunting Club, n Feierday (host), Gary Clark with aband 14K gold wedding he 300 varieties of animals Cascade Treasure Club. Club, andMike the Hood Canal Detectorist the oline Townsend, Tim gold wedding band he second day a million visitors and over PugetClub. Sound Treasure Hunting found on the CascadeThe Treasure Matthew Connor. eachday year. Club Puget is a metal based infound on the second The Sounddetecting Treasureclub Hunting of the Washington hunt. Club is a metal detecting club based in of the Washington hunt.May-June 2013 American Digger® Magazine 51

By John Velke

May-June 2013 American Digger® Magazine



Originally Published in Vol 8, Issue 5 Click here to order single issues.

Past finds by area club members at Woodland Park include (clockwise from upper left) two silver coins recovered by Tim Conner, a pair of 18K gold rings found ten feet apart by Per Tvedt, and a 1957 class ring (Robert Long High School) dug by Gary Clark. The silver Cub Scout ring was found by Tim Conner during American Digger's速 trip to the park. In the background is Green Lake.

58 2013 Digger速 Magazine Sampler 58 2013American American Digger Magazine 52 American Digger速 Magazine Vol. 9, IssueSampler 3 速

(Left) Caroline Townsend checks in with the rest of the group via two-way radio; (Below) Mike Townsend and Per Tvedt dig while a homeless person sleeps nearby.

detecting trip, but I did get to meet and dig with Allan Henneberry, one of their members. In addition to the monthly meetings attended by a high percentage of couples, the club makes a genuine effort to include spouses in all club activities. Photos and their “Dirty Knees Newsletter,” online at site/hoodcanaldetectoristsclub/home, demonstrate that members enjoy good company and good meals at each of their events. The Cascade Treasure Club celebrated its 40th anniversary in February 2013. The club meets at the Highland Parks Improvement Club in Seattle, Washington at 5 PM on the second Sunday each month. Among its many activities are fund raisers and charitable events, demonstrating members’ commitment to their community. The annual Christmas party raises funds for Toys For Tots, the Union Gospel Mission, and the local Food Bank. The club also collects pulltabs and ink cartridges which support the Kidney Foundation and local schools. You can read more about their impressive community involvement in their newsletter, “Foiled Again,” found at www.


fter introductions and a brief summary describing many of the items previously found in the area, we were ready to get started. I asked if there was anything I needed to be careful of: poison ivy, snakes, venomous spiders, and that sort

of thing. Brian answered, “No, but if you get too deep in the bushes you might stumble on a homeless person.” I’ve stumbled across logs, fences, digging tools, and a lot of other things, but stumbling across a homeless person in the bushes would be a new one for me. As soon as we were far enough away from the parking lot to turn on our machines, we began detecting up the hillside. We spread out and began digging signals within minutes. My first find was a pull tab, followed by another pull tab, and then another. I moved into some bushes on a steep slope and soon found some old bottle caps to compliment my growing collection of beverage related artifacts. I worked my way across the top of a hill and then down into a small gully. I thought coins and jewelry might have been washed down to the bottom of the gully, but I wasn’t the first to have the thought. Allan Henneberry was already at the bottom and it appeared that he had a good signal on every swing. Rather than crowd him, I decided to stay near the crest of the hill, where I soon started finding a few wheat pennies. After a couple of hours, I took a break from finding

Mike Townsend, Jim Vanderwall, and Per Tvedt search a section of the park, inadvertently showing the steps involved: find the item, dig the item, examine the item.

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Photo courtesy of Seattle Municipal Archives, Don Sherwood Parks History Collection.

(Above) Phinney’s trolley once ran from downtown Seatle to the park. (Left) Map of the area hunted by the group. _______________ pennies and pulltabs and went to see what Allan had found. In addition to a handful of coins, he showed me $35 in folded paper money he’d found in the tall grass. My few pennies seemed pretty meager now. I returned to the crest of the hill intent on finding my own little treasure. After a few more pennies found at a depth of an inch or two, I got a large deep signal. Nothing I’d found so far was deeper than four inches so when I passed a depth of six inches, I began thinking maybe I had come across something intentionally buried (treasure?) or something old. At a depth of 12 inches, I began to see iron and concluded that I must have found an old farm implement. I started to expand the hole in both directions hoping to extract my deepest and largest find of the day. It soon became obvious that what I thought was a farm implement was actually a piece of railroad track, or more precisely, a piece of trolley track. I would have liked to have a piece of trolley track to remind me of Guy Phinney and his estate but, at this point, I could not tell how far the track went in either direction. I thought I’d have to open a crater to recover the track, and all I had to dig with was a K-bar knife. I decided to fill the hole back in and leave it for some other lucky digger to find. As I worked my way across the crest of the hill, I finally found a coin spill. The first coin was a 1951 Wheat Cent, closely followed

by a 1937 Buffalo Head Nickel, then several more pennies. I hunted slow and tight, looking for the elusive silver dime or quarter I’d convinced myself must also be there. If there ever was one there, someone else cherrypicked it right out of the grouping, or it’s still there and I just missed it. I sauntered over towards the horseshoe courts and lawn bowling area with visions of gold rings flying off of fingers. Although the areas were well maintained, it was clear to me that both pastimes were from times past. Despite the fact that there were people all over the park, none of them were throwing horseshoes or lawn bowling. I read several notices posted on a nearby bulletin board and discovered that there are leagues occasionally using both areas, which gave me some measure of comfort. I circled both areas, finding more pennies and pulltabs. As I made

For those who still doubt the good done by metal detectorists hunting in public parks, consider the above debris removed during the outing. While things such as a discarded vodka bottle and a cigarette butt may be merely eyesores, there is no doubt that items such as the discarded syringe could be a serious hazard to visitors. Because of the efforts of those detecting during this short trip, all of the above items and more were removed from the park to be sorted and properly disposed of later. ® 54 American Digger® Magazine Vol. 9, IssueSampler 3 60 2013 American Digger Magazine

I realized we were finding a representative sampling of items associated with urban living. There were beer caps, an empty bottle of vodka, cigarette butts, cigarette lighters, and even a hypodermic needle (no doubt left there by a picnicker needing an insulin shot). The best find so far was Brian’s 1935 silver dime, beating my nickel in both condition and age. Gary Clark, Jim “Ring Man” Vanderwall, and Per Now my reputation was at stake and to add inthat Dr. Dorfman delivered to the newspaper’s Tvedt, the current president of the Puget Sound Treasure sult to injury, the point’s provenance was now archaeologist after the point was published. Hunting Club, joined us for secondand halfforof good our outing. tainted. This so-called “professional” had gone The man wasthe shamed reason. Naturally, I had to ask Jim the obvious question, “Why do out of his way to slam me and I had to react. My Perhaps in the future, this reckless professional they call you ‘ring Jim moments explainedtothat he has been redemption, however, was to come from an unwillman’?” take a few acknowledge the metal detecting for 2½ years and found over rings usual and completely unexpected place. contributions of serious amateurs.440 Honestly, during that time. He showed metake photos of on some though, I wouldn’t any bets it. of his Weeks passed as I allowed my anger to finds and I thoughtI itsummarize might bethis a good to followcomihim weirdidea and somewhat diminish and develop a viable plan C. One day, around for awhile. 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 fter take detecting nearit? Jim and realizing that away from Political correctness andhis an seemed very interested in my coprolites, which Brian Feierday (our host(you forread this overcharged sense what is hisluckemotionally was not rubbing off on me,ofI decided to are 75 million years old fish feces that trip) found the of local the creeks. hunt, a 1935 silver dime. torically like an follow Gary,right Per,have andinfected Allan our oversociety to another right)oldest retrievedcoin from the out-of-control virus. area where Gary had found a 1957 class The gentleman, Don Dorfman, Ph.D was It is now three times as hard to collect, ring a couple of weeks earlier. Large ferns served preas head of the Marine Biology Department at the serve and report at a local level. All the avUniversity of Monmouth (West Long Branch, intermittent ground cover in finds a wooded area containing erageA citizen supposed to do up is visit museums New Jersey). Don had both serious academic 100-year-old trees. few iscoins showed during the and watch the History Channel. We, as Americredentials and an open minded attitude. Most first hour we were there. Then suddenly, I saw Gary can with citizens, stillsmile haveon thehis right to collect importantly, he gladly acknowledged the contribeckoning us over a big face. There,and in dig, as long as we do it with permission andhim stay butions of amateurs to science and was fascinathis palm, rested an 18K gold wedding band. I asked within the bounds of the law. It is neither a right ed by my finds. After the Dalton point debacle, what it sounded like on his detector and he said that it nor an obligation to follow in lock step behind Don became my ace in the hole. Professors pubsounded just like the pull tabs that he had dug all around those who hold degrees. The margins, however, lish like a rabbit making bunnies and soon we it. According to Gary, you have to dig pull tabs to find are narrowing and the eyes (and voices) of those teamed up to publish a series of scientific articles the gold rings. It’s hard to argue with success, so I went The Dalton Point which who would condemn us are everywhere. based on my finds. The first was you guessed back to digging pull tabs again. it on coprolites, then others followed. I evenwas rejected for publiAs our hunt drew to a close, IPostscript wandered over to some tually asked if he could help me with the long cation by the newspanearby bushes. I didn’t stumble on a an homeless In 2010, I discovered amazing person, 5.5 inch neglected Dalton piece. per’s archaeologist. but I did stumble on someone’s home. In what can be stemmed Paleo point in Marlboro, New Jersey. Don knew the antagonistic archaeologist and __________ described as anItauthentic “man cave,” I foundtwo evidence was perfect Paleo point number and, of confided that he had a reputation for arrogance of human occupation. Since no one was around and course, it had to be recorded. Unfortunately, II even among his peers. As for my Dalton point, was I quickly left.problems I’d experienced almost wentuninvited, through many of the same he suggested we submit an article to the annual New Jersey Metal detecting for coins and rings itinfelt anlike urban area half a decade earlier. It was a bit depressing; I’d never Archaeology ThisBadge, periodicalcirca annually highlights the USA CadetBulletin. Aviator WWII, found gone through the vetting process. Thankfully, a local commercial was a new experience for me. I enjoyed the fellowship Garden State’s most significant finds and is highly prestigious in by “On The Road” author John Velke. monthly picked it up and diddifferent a better than on the of members from several clubsexpected and thejob weather scientific circles. One of Don’s closest friends was the managing _______________ article. and scenery could not have been any better. Although chief editor and, ironically enough, the newspaper’s archaeologist my discovery a partial amastodon skeleton the More fruit recently, of my labor did notofinclude gold ring or a also sat on the board of the magazine. The web that was being brought quite a bit more recognition. Finally! It only took silver coin, I saw enough of both to conclude that my way back towards the parking lot to meet the others woven around this single spear point was getting thick indeed! numerous phone calls, several interviews and the backing of three opportunities for diggers abound in Washington State. If forthe lunch, I made my(almost most interesting In spring of 2006 a year after find. my find), the bulletin peopletravels with Ph.D’s. But there, I had evolved. now at least existed in arrived with an objective write-up, and photos of theI your take you be sureI to look up the three Buried on accurate, the hillside overlooking Green Lake, their eyes and thus, the find could be properly documented. The Dalton It was coming,onbutone there it was: literal clubs mentioned in this article. They all have a presence found apoint. badge that late had indamage side. As I awiped media and the away.members But it should never to be exercise in persistence and luck. on thegiveth internet andmedia theytaketh all have willing the dirt away I saw the word “Aviator” under the initials able to rob a find of its provenance. The gravy on insignia top of myI ‘taters the verbal dressing down share the hobby with visitors to the northwest. “USA” and an wasn’twas familiar with. I pocketed my treasure and headed back toward the car. At lunch we compared finds. I had fewer coins and more pull tabs than anyone else. I knew I’d been digging nearly every signal and decided then and there that I would not dig anything else that sounded like a pull tab. Originally Published in Volume 9, Issue 3 About The Author As I examined some of the things found by the others, Click here to order single issues. Glenn Harbour has been digging and collecting ® May-June 2013 American Digger Magazinesince 55 his teenage years has traveled both the west and61 the east coast extensively in his pursuits of the past.



Originally Published in Volume 9, Issue 4. Click here to order single issues.

By By Larry Larry Soper Soper

I had

a big decision to make. Should I go to my job and put in some overtime on my last day of huntable weather before it started snowing, or instead venture out and try to find the barrel to the 1800s pepperbox pistol frame I had found the previous week? The answer was easy. I went relic hunting! Because the temperature was 12º that morning, I decided to get a later start in the day and have my vehicle serviced first. By the time I had my vehicle taken care of and had stopped by the local convenience store to grab my standard Gatorade and Clif bar, it had warmed up to a whopping 20 degrees. So now, instead of my normal eight-hour day, I had six hours of daylight left to try and find the pistol barrel. The wind was relentless all morning and it didn’t get any better after I arrived at the site. By this time, the temperature had reached 24º, but there was no telling what the windchill factor was. I donned some extra clothing I always have packed in my rig for times just like this. Then, because of the limited amount of time I would have to hunt, I made a beeline to the area where I had found the frame. After working that area I spent a few hours detecting up a hill, down the same hill to a wash, and the areas at two sides of the site for about a hundred yards, all to no avail. The barrel (or actually, as is the case with these interesting revolvers, barrels) was nowhere to be found. 28 American Digger® Magazine ® Vol. 9, Issue 4


2013 American Digger Magazine Sampler

While working my way up the hill, I did recover a very cool looking 1800s brooch. It was in two pieces. The main body still had an intact oval piece of glass inside of it, beside which was an oval band of about ¼ inch in height. It also had a sturdy decorative braided wire wrapped around it, which held the body and the thin band together. After slipping it into the other piece, I found it fit perfectly. Maybe it had held a picture of a loved one at one time, or perhaps a lock of hair? Jewelry which contained a bit of a loved one’s hair was very popular in the mid 19th century. After about four hours of exhausting the targets on this site, I moved to the little finger of land across the wash and tried my luck there. As I was crossing the wash I noticed that my White’s MXT was only reading “8” on the power scale and “LOW BATTERY” was displayed on its readout. I had a spare battery pack in my vest but I wanted to see if the batteries in my detector could last until darkness fell. I was also curious as to just how long they would last before dying completely. Most of the items I dig are shallow but I do occasionally dig some deep targets, so I knew that running my machine on low battery power was a risky experiment, because I might miss something. After trying that section of property for a little over an hour, I decided to try to make one last “hurrah” back where I’d found the pepperbox frame. That hurrah was barely a

Although he set out to find the rest of the pepperbox pistol shown on the previous page, the author instead first dug this 1857 Seated Liberty Quarter shown here, and the 1800s brooch shown elsewhere on this page. But the best was still to come.

shout now, though, as the only things I found were a percussion cap and a couple of rivets. My detector readout was still telling me that I had low batteries. It had begun to get dark by now, so I started back to my vehicle, deciding on the way back to check out a hill where I had found two General Service Eagle buttons the week before. After reaching the area, I began working the hill and managed to find one more coat-sized General Service button about 30 feet from where the others were previously found. My MXT display identified it correctly, even though it was search coil. That time I received no reading. I did succeed still reminding me that the battery was low. in getting a reading when I repeated the process, and noticed By now, it was fairly dark and I was still about a hundred that the digital display was still reading a solid “83.” yards from where I had parked. Hunting my way out by headCarefully moving what I could now tell was a silver disc ing up the hill, I stopped cold when I got a sweet-sounding from one hand to the other, I pulled a small flashlight from my tone and an “83” reading on the MXT’s display. This could vest to discover that what I had found was an 1857 Seated Libonly mean one of two things: there was either a silver quarter erty Quarter. I was excited by the find but not overly surprised under my loop, or my batteries were failing me and causing by it, as several other coins had been found here. What I was the detector to produce an inaccurate display. After squeezing most amazed about was the accuracy of my detector’s readout, and holding the trigger to read the even given the low battery power it depth, the display was indicating had at the time. that the target was five inches deep. Of course it was dark by now, Most of the coins I recover in this with the temperature dipping back area are from just under the surface down into the teens. I was as frozen to three inches deep, so I naturally as a Popsicle. While on my knees I thought that because of the low batwent ahead and rechecked the hole, tery I was getting a false reading. hoping for multiple coins. The After fumbling to remove my digquarter I’d just found brought my ging tool from its sheath on my hip, seated coin count to 18 for the year, I proceeded to remove about three three short of breaking my personal inches of dirt, and discovered that record of 20 the previous year. the target was indeed deeper than But there was nothing else in usual for this site. the hole. Now well into the night, After making a wider inciwith the wind howling, the tempersion and digging deeper, loosening ature plummeting, and me still on up the ground and scooping it out my knees, I scanned the immediate This brooch, found by the author of the dirt with my gloved hand, area surrounding the excavation, at the site, may have held a photo I swept a fistful of dirt over my still hoping for a coin spill. or lock of hair from a loved one. July-August, 2013 American Digger® Magazine



Whether still In the dirt (left), fresh out of the ground (below), or after careful cleaning (opposite page), it is hard to share the full excitement of finding a rare $5 “CC” gold coin through photographs and words alone.


a foot downhill from where I’d dug the quarter I heard another good target. I could now barely see the screen, but thanks to the moonlight I thought I saw a reading of “72.” On my detector, seated dimes come in at that reading, and I was hoping this would be my 19th seated coin for the year. The readout indicated a depth of five inches, but I knew now not to blame that information on the weak batteries. My trusty digging tool came back out of its sheath and I dug down well past the five-inch mark, scooping out all the loose dirt with my half-frozen, gloved hands. Sweeping my loop back over the dirt, I pinpointed the target, which now was reading “46” on the MXT digital readout. I took one of my gloves off to retrieve the target and immediately could tell by feel that it wasn’t a dime, as I had thought. Because of its size I thought maybe it was a Shield Nickel, and the strange reading was the result of the batteries finally giving out. But then, as I was holding and feeling the coin in my frozen hand, it seemed too heavy to be a nickel...could it be — yes, it was! Gold!

30 American Digger® Magazine ® Vol. 9, Issue 4


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My last target of the year and what turned out to be my “Find of the Year” was indeed a rather large gold coin! What I also realized at that point was, regardless of what numbers I thought I saw on the readout, my MXT was performing exceptionally well, even after indicating low battery power for two hours. Now, remember: it was dark, I had taken off my safety glasses, thrown off my headphones, and broken out my reading glasses just to see what I had found. The clouds had also formed up rather quickly, and it had begun to snow.

Photo Courtesy Library of Congress

There I was, on the side of a hill out in no-man’s land on my knees, exposed to the elements which I was oblivious to anyway because my mind was focused on what I’d found. After digging out the flashlight again, I could clearly see an 1871 Five Dollar Liberty Head gold coin! I immediately flipped it over, knowing that 1871 was a key date if it had the right mintmark. That mintmark is “CC” for Carson City. I don’t know if it was my failing eyesight or me wanting the mintmark to read “CC,” but I actually thought I could see those letters, faintly. Or perhaps it was just part of the Eagle’s tail feathers. Even though I had found two other $5 gold coins in the past 20 years, my memory now seemed to fail as to exactly where the feathers ended and mintmark began. What was going on here? I couldn’t see, I couldn’t remember; was

it old age or was it just that I was so excited that my brain could not function properly? No matter, I was now so cold that I turned off my detector and started heading back to the Jeep, knowing that I would be revisiting this spot in three months after the snow melts, and with a fresh set of batteries. Once I had put away the detector, headphones, water bottle, digging tool, hunting vest, and boots and put my tennis shoes back on, I fired up the Jeep and warmed that puppy up! On the drive back to the highway I still didn’t know for certain if the gold coin was mintmarked at all, much less with the famed “CC.” Once I got to the highway, I parked the Jeep, turned on my inside lights, pulled out my reading glasses again and took another look at the reverse of the coin, handling it very carefully. But I still couldn’t make it out. Then I remembered that I had a magnifier in the back of the Jeep. I proceeded to get out in the bitter cold and brave the short trip to the back of the Jeep and retrieve the magnifier. Once back inside, I looked again at the reverse of the coin with my reading glasses on and, through the magnifier, I could see those two beautiful letters, “CC”! Needless to say, I was a nervous wreck driving back home and couldn’t wait to call my wife and hunting buddies to tell them of my find of a lifetime. The story doesn’t end there, though. As a soft drink connoisseur, I had decided to take a can with me that day to enjoy on the drive back home. I had opened the can before I drove back down to the highway, only to discover that the contents were frozen. Oh well, I thought, I’ll set it in one of my two cup holders and by the time I get to the highway maybe it will be thawed out enough to drink. In the excitement of thinking about what mintmark could be on the coin’s reverse I totally forgot about my drink on the short ten minute drive down to

Originally established to facilitate minting silver coins from the silver in the Comstock Lode and authorized to be built in 1863, it was not until February 11, 1870 that the Carson City, Nevada branch of the United States Mint struck the first coin bearing the CC mintmark, a Seated Liberty Dollar. Before it ceased production in 1893, 50 issues of silver coins and 57 issues of gold coins were minted here, for an estimated total of over 56.5 million. Among the silver coins were dimes (1871-1878), twenty-cent coins (1875-1876), quarter dollars (1870-1878), half dollars (1870-1878), and dollars (1870-1885 and 1889-1893). Gold coins were minted in denominations of $5 Half Eagles (1870-1884 and 1890-1893), $10 Eagles (1870-1884 and 1890-1893), and $20 Double Eagles (1870-1885 and 1889-1893). From 1895 until 1933, the building served as the U.S. Assay Office for gold and silver. It was later sold to the state of Nevada, and today is the state museum. July-August, 2013 American Digger® Magazine



While any $5 gold coin is a scarce and desirable find, the “CC” (Carson City) mint mark is especially desirable. With only 20,770 made in 1871 at that mint, they can range in price from $2000 up to almost $50,000 depending on condition.

the highway. Yes, you guessed it: by the time I reached the highway the contents had thawed out enough to start bubbling out of the top of the can, filling the cup holder it was in and spilling over into the other cup holder that my cell phone was resting in. I immediately rescued the phone from the two inches of sticky soda only to discover that it was too late. The phone was dead. I took it apart, drying off the card and wiping the phone’s interior as best as I could. I wouldn’t be in phone reception range for another 45 minutes, anyway. Besides, I thought that surely the damage couldn’t be that bad, and I would just have to let everything air dry next to the vents and the phone would be operable again. I was wrong. The phone dried, but remained out of action. I had to suffer the entire hour ride to the nearest town while not being able to share the story of my find with my wife, my hunting buddies, no one. But as soon as I reached town I pulled into a friend’s business and used their phone not only to share with my wife the news of my find, but to also report in, telling her I was okay and on my way home. By now it was well after dark and I knew she would be frantic, as on my other adventures I had usually checked in with her far earlier. After speaking with her I grabbed a celebratory fountain drink (non-frozen) for the short drive home, where I proceeded to get on the phone and regale all my relic hunting buddies with the news of my good fortune!

I am sure all of us have learned our own unique lessons about metal detecting. These are a few I learned on that most memorable of days. In order to examine the details of smaller finds I now carry a magnifying loupe with me. I have also invested in a waterproof/shockproof protective case for my cell phone. Carbonated sodas aren’t taken for the ride home any longer; it’s now either water or Gatorade. And after finding the “CC” gold coin, I no longer take a chance on the life of my batteries, even though my trusty MXT worked like a champ that glorious day. It is frightening to think I might have missed the coin by pressing my luck. Although the events recounted here took place nearly four years ago, some discoveries are timeless, and finding the coin is so fresh in my memory that it seems like I dug it only yesterday. I have since been blessed with recovering two more gold coins. They were my first $2½ Quarter Eagle and another Five Dollar Liberty Head. This brings my gold coin count to six in 37 years of metal detecting: a $2½, four $5s, and one $20. I’m excited by those numbers. But no matter the count, nothing comes close to the “CC.”

About The Author

Larry Soper’s passion is digging America’s history. He’s been on many Civil War, Revolutionary War, and Colonial relic hunting trips to the East Coast off and on since 1987. Since moving to Nevada in 2005 he spends most of his time researching and rescuing history from the “Old West” when he is not working. He is passing on his love of saving history to his six grandchildren who love to go on adventures with “Papa”! 32 American Digger® Magazine ® Vol. 9, Issue 4


2013 American Digger Magazine Sampler

Originally Published in Volume 9, Issue 4. Click here to order single issues.

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Magazine Sampler 102 68 2013 2013 American Digger MagazineSampler Sampler 102 2013American AmericanDigger Digger Magazine 速速 速


Diggin’ in in Virginia Virginia XXIII: XXIII: Diggin’

Originally Published in Volume 9, Issue 4. Click here to order single issues.

Tales From The Diggin’ Side American Digger Digger has has covered covered organized organized hunts hunts from from many many different different American angles over over the the years. years. We’ve We’ve talked talked with with the the organizers, organizers, run run pictorials, pictorials, angles gone behind behind the the scenes, scenes, given given our our viewpoints, viewpoints, and and wallowed wallowed in in the the mud mud gone to give give the the best best coverage coverage possible. possible. Only Only one one angle angle remained: remained: let let the the to participants themselves themselves tell tell the the story. story. By By means means of of surveys surveys passed passed out out participants at the the recent recent Diggin’ Diggin’ In In Virginia Virginia XXIII XXIII event, event, we we did did just just that. that. at Compiled by by Butch Butch and and Anita Anita Holcombe Holcombe Compiled Lend Us UsYour Your Ears! Ears! Lend Q-How Howdid didyou youhear hearof ofthe theevent? event? Q63% discovered discovered the the event event onon63% line, 27% 27% from from friends, friends, and and 10% 10% line, answered “other.” “other.” Joel Joel Erickson Erickson answered “found it on the internet by acciacci“found it on the internet by dent;” Tom Ference discovered dent;” Tom Ference discovered itit via“a “afriend friendthat’s that’sbeen beengoing goingsince since via the start;” start;” and and Phillip Phillip Stracener Stracener the had aa combined combined answer answer of of “on “on the the had webbut but[one [oneof ofthe theDIV DIVcommittee committee web member’s]daughter daughterused usedto tobabysit babysit member’s] my sisters and was our neighbor.” my sisters and was our neighbor.” From Near Near and and Far! Far! From QWhere did you travel from? Q- Where did you travel from? The average average distance distance traveled traveled was was The 329 miles. miles. In In our our survey, survey, 86% 86% of of 329 the participants participants traveled traveled (as (as the the the crow flies) flies) less less than than 500 500 miles. miles. crow Some were very close: Dale WeavSome were very close: Dale Weavercame cameover overfrom fromFredericksburg, Fredericksburg, er VA, only 32 miles away. Others, Others, VA, only 32 miles away. like Joel Joel Erickson Erickson of of northwest northwest like Minnesota, some some 1,145 1,145 miles miles disdisMinnesota, tant, had had aa considerable considerable distance distance tant, to drive...or drive...or we we hope, hope, fly! fly! to

RunWhat WhatYou You Brung! Brung! Run Q-What What Detector Detectordid did you you use? use? QDue to to the the notorious notorious mineralized mineralized Due ground of of the the area area where where the the hunt hunt ground took place (near Brandy Station, took place (near Brandy Station, VA), itit was was no no real real surprise surprise that that the the VA), pulse induction induction detectors detectors ruled ruled the the pulse day. Even Even so, so, the the VLF’s VLF’s still still made made day. showing. The The breakdown breakdown was was aa showing. Minelab GPX, GPX, 33%; 33%; White’s White’s TDI, TDI, Minelab 23%; Fisher Fisher F75, F75, 18%; 18%; Garrett Garrett InIn23%; finium, 15 %; Garrett AT Gold/Pro finium, 15 %; Garrett AT Gold/Pro (combined)5%; 5%;Teknetiks TeknetiksT-2, T-2,4%; 4%; (combined) andother otherbrands, brands,less lessthan than2%. 2%. and

Doug Stokes Stokes says says his his favorite favorite Doug moment of the hunt was “finding moment of the hunt was “finding my Georgia buckle (shown above) my Georgia buckle (shown above) and the the three three hours hours aftermath aftermath and sharing the moment with my DIV DIV sharing the moment with my family.” We will not disagree. family.” We will not disagree.

Dan Baker’s favorite Dan Baker’s favorite finds the hunt: a pair Dan of Baker’s favorite finds ofbit the hunt: a a pair pair of USof bosses found finds the hunt: of US bit bosses found with a White’s TDI. of US bit bosses found with aa White’s White’s TDI. TDI. with

9,Issue 34 American Digger Digger®® Magazine Magazine ®® Vol. Vol. 8, 8, Issue 44 9, 34 Sampler 70 American 2013 American Digger Magazine


2013 American Digger Magazine Sampler

Yes, you you dug dug that! that! Yes, QWhat was your favorite find? Q- What was your favorite find? Answers ranged all over the place, Answers ranged all over the place, some of of which which are are answered answered by by some the photos photos accompanying accompanying this this ararthe ticle. Among Among the the answers: answers: Christy Christy ticle. Wissinger––“½ “½of ofaabayonet;” bayonet;”Bob Bob Wissinger Hartz – “Confederate button;” and Hartz – “Confederate button;” and Tony Hochstetler – “Rhode Island Tony Hochstetler – “Rhode Island buttons.” Our Our favorite, favorite, though, though, buttons.” was Ann Falk’s answer: “A staff was Ann Falk’s answer: “A staff officer’s button button and and new new friends.” friends.” officer’s

Marc Sciance Sciance dug dug this this Confederate Confederate spur spur Marc with a Minelab GPX. Publisher Butch with a Minelab GPX. Publisher Butch Holcombe, who who participated participated in in the the hunt, hunt, Holcombe, says his his favorite favorite moment moment of of the the hunt hunt was was says watching Marc dig it. watching Marc dig it.

Good Ground, Bad Ground... Q- Did you find the mineralized soil here to be a challenge? The “hot” soil in parts of this region is legendary, but it is one reason so many relics remain in these sites. How people coped with the ground conditions led to varied answers. Many echoed that using a pulse induction detector made things much simpler and more effective. Doug Stokes noted, “[The soil] is a challenge, but is a great equalizer. It evens the playing field. I cope with it by trying to improve my pulse machine skills. Christy Wissinger said, “I hunt in all metal and dig every signal” and Joel Erickson advised, “Ground balance a lot.” But Skip Henning recommended a trick that many have discovered, no matter the detector: “Go to the woods.” The hot ground seems to be a problem only in the fields.

Kevin Baptiste says this Virginia staff officer’s cuff button with gilt, found with a White’s TDI, was his favorite find of the hunt.

Remember When... Q- What was your favorite moment at the hunt? Everyone has a special moment they will always remember from such events. Many involve family. Andy Kerr noted: “When my grandson started to find bullets;” Dennis Wissinger said, “My grandson with his Enfield [bullet] and son with his bit boss, plus my wife with her bayonet and Eagle button;” and longtime attendee Ed Wiggart, Jr. (who was at the first DIV event so many years ago) said, “Just hanging out with my dad and the [other] diggers Sunday at the BBQ.” Friends were also a big part of special moments. Dale Weaver wrote, “Seeing Bruce Barbour and Mike Murray dig relics after both were recently hospitalized;” and from Debby Magnin: “Seeing my friend Lisa Parrot Bilyj getting her first US plate.”

Ed Wiggart, Jr., teamed up with his father to dig these two buttons. Both use a Minelab GPX detector.

Alex Bilyj, shown with his first breastplate, said his favorite moments were “finding two plates with my wife.” Her box plate, found in a mud puddle, is shown above.

Nathan Long dug this Model 1850 Officer’s sword guard and bent spur. His funniest experience was “trying to get my [large posterior] in and out of the back seat of my ride.”

July-August,2012 2013 American AmericanDigger® Digger® Magazine July-August



While most participants surface hunted at this DIV, a few dedicated diggers turned to the soldier’s huts and trashpits. Clockwise from top: bottles fresh from a hut dug by Jason Hinton; Brent Smith (barely visible) works a pit from which he recovered an inkwell and several buttons; bottles and frying pan dug from a hut by Mike Murray; relics dug from a hut by Lee Scrader; Keith Leppert’s first Civil War bottle, yet another hut site find.

9, Issue 4 38 American Digger® Magazine Vol. 8, 72 2013 American Digger® Magazine Sampler

Left: Skip Henning found this broken officer’s spur while using a Garrett Infinium. As far as how to best deal with the hot ground in the fields, his suggestion was to hunt in the woods. Right: Mike Campbell dug this Confederate Read shell in the edge of the woods. He also found a South Carolina militia and Union “A” artillery buttons.

You ain’t gonna’ believe this! Q-What was the funniest thing you saw at this hunt? Ron Falk said his funniest experience was when “I lost my pinpointer on Friday. It was later found in a hole I helped fill in,” followed chronologically by Dale Weaver’s “Digging a plug and seeing a Garrett pinpointer in the hole.” Dennis Wissinger reported a group of “cows walking up to and pestering a hunter sitting and digging. [I also] saw some cows running up to, then kicking and running away from, a backpack.” Ron Callaghan wrote: “I saw a guy on his hands and knees, with his nose right down to the ground. I wasn’t sure what he was doing, but I thought I heard some words emanating from his direction. Two possibilities came to mind: either he had gone completely bonkers and was sniffing a cow pie, or he was trying to coax the relics out of the ground with some sweet talk or prayers. When I came up, I could see it was [American Digger® publisher] Butch Holcombe and he was talking to himself. It was an experience I will treasure for a long time.” It should

Dale Weaver’s relic pile included three “US” marked base bullets, found with a Minelab GPX 4500. He claimed, “No strategy – just sweep and dig.”

be noted that Butch was filming some of his relics as they came out of the ground for a You Tube video, and was merely narrating the film. OK, so he was sort of talking to himself. Other’s funniest moments came not on the field, but at other times during the weekend, such as Joel Erickson harrowing tale of danger and heroism: “When landing in Richmond, a big part of the overhead console of the plane came loose and fell. The stewardess said we would have to land in New York instead of Richmond because the plane was damaged. I told her I had duct tape in my carry-on bag and could fix that console. She asked the pilot and he said it would be fine. So we taped the console back above the peoples’ heads and we landed in Richmond. And I made it to the DIV meeting on time that night.” And in a case of putting our publisher in double jeopardy, Ann Falk talks of a Saturday night after-hunt Chinese dinner and “watching Butch Holcombe, Kim Cox and Ron Falk see who could eat the most wasabi.” All three were given a clear berth at the next day’s hunt.

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Proof that American Digger® magazine is in the field, working hard for you! Left to right: Rhode Island button found by copy editor John Velke; New York and General Service buttons found by “News-n-Views” columnist Mark Schuessler; North Carolina cuff, General Service and New York button dug by publisher Butch Holcombe.

Just Dig It! Q- Did you use a strategy? Only 60% of those attending this hunt had a set strategy. This included Doug Stokes’ advice of “If you find a couple of relics, stay there. Resist the urge to wander unless you are ‘getting skunked.’ If you use a pulse detector, hunt very slow.” Rex Bowman did good old-fashioned research: “I consulted old maps for possible camp locations.” Joel Erickson also had a traditional approach: “Try to stay near a water supply and on high ground.” Several hunters also echoed Jack Brumbach’s answer, “Go slow and grid the fields.” Others just chose to randomly hunt instead of following a set plan, although Ron Callaghan’s method borders on a strategy: “Let the other three in the carpool decide where to go; In my previous 17 DIVs, I had exceptionally bad luck picking Day 1 sites.” But perhaps Tom Ference had the best strategy of all: “Enjoy the moment.”

If I Was You I Would... Q- Any advice for those considering attending a DIV? Everyone has an opinion on what one should do if considering signing up for a DIV hunt. Keeping in mind that this is an invitational hunt, Phillip Stracener says the best way to get picked is “Read and participate on [the host website for these hunts]. Once picked, Dale Weaver “would recommend a detector that works well in hot dirt and prepare to have fun,” while Bob Hartz says “get in shape. Go slow. Enjoy.” Rex Bowman sums it up simply: “Go! It’s a blast!”

Rick Wolfrey recovered this cut Spanish Two Reales and Civil War era Vermont button.

Erik Wagner recovered this complete US Cavalry bit while using a Minelab GPX 4800.

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Water, Water, Everywhere Q- Do you think the water drops are a good idea? One of the amenities offered at these hunts are designated water stations. Free bottled water is kept at several easy-to-access locations, as well as four wheelers delivering it to hunters in the field. Everyone surveyed thought it was a great thing. Dale Weaver noted, “Absolutely [a good idea], the water is important to stay hydrated.” Jack Brumbach said: “It’s great. It’s one less thing to worry about.” But the comment by Doug Stokes tells the real benefit from the drops: “[The water drops] probably saved many from heat exhaustion in the past.”

Left: Mike Staso dug this silver ID badge belonging to a member of Company K, 1st US Cavalry. A similar badge from the same unit was found here last year. Right: Dave Cooper found this Union sword belt plate at the three-day event.

Comparing Notes Q- How did this site compare to other DIV sites in the past? Among those who had attended previous Diggin’ in Virginia events, which was well over 90%, accounts varied on how this site compared to others. Rex Bowman said, “Great site. Almost ‘virgin’.” Dale Weaver wrote that “This site was smaller but still held plenty of fine Civil War relics.” Phillip Stracener repeated a comment heard several times: “All are great sites in their own right.” No one who completed the survey expressed disappointment with the location, although Tom Ferrence did reflect that “Shallow items were [scarce] for the most part. You need a [pulse induction] detector to recover most items.” Not that it stopped several VLF machine owners from digging some good relics.

Randy Schuh, who dug these Federal “I” Infantry buttons, thinks the free water drops are a great idea, “the more the better.” Keep Coming Back! Q- Do you plan to attend future DIVs? This was the easiest of all questions, with a 100% “Yes” from all asked. Rex Bowman’s answer was typical: “As long as I make the list, I’ll keep coming!” We’ll let Jimmy Spalding have the last word: “If [DIV] has a hunt next week we would come back!”

Eat and Greet Q- Did you stop for the Sunday BBQ and did you like it? It has been a tradition to provide a feast of BBQ, hot dogs, and sweets at most DIV events, and this one was no exception. While it’s not mandatory for hunters to halt their digging for this tradition, our survey said that 93% at least temporarily came in from the field to eat, see the relics found, and attend the prize drawings. Among those at the lunch were Ron Callaghan: “[It was] the best ever. Plenty of pork and everything was hot, even for those of us at the end of the line,” and Jimmy Spalding, who said, “We always stop. It’s fun to hear the stories, see the finds and eat good food.” Dale Weaver adds, “I attend every [DIV] barbecue for the relic display, raffles and food. Excellent cooking.” But it was Phillip Stracener who summed it up best: “BBQ! How can you resist?”

Originally inVolume Volume9, 9, Issue OriginallyPublished Published in Issue 4. 4 Click here to order single issues. Click here to order single issues. This Maryland staff officer’s button was recovered during the DIV organized hunt by Glen Heath.

Jim Robertson’s finds included a US accoutrement plate, Virginia button, and Union “C” button.

July-August 2013 2012 American Digger Digger®® Magazine Magazine 75 4175 July-August, American 41

Newbie on the Lynx

When this author caught the gold bug, he decided that the best place to seek a cure was almost in his own backyard. By Travis Tonn

Originally Published in Vol. 9, Issue 5. Click here to order single issues. 76 76

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he first time I heard the word “newbie,” it was 1988 and I’d just stepped foot into the Navy boot camp in San Diego, California. As you might expect, it was a derogatory term directed at fresh recruits who had recently arrived. It’s been a long time since 1988, and since then, the word has become a synonym for anyone who has recently been introduced to anything, from an internet forum to a new job. For example, I’m a newbie to gold prospecting. I first became interested in it a couple of years ago when my parents and uncle came to visit me in Yuma, Arizona. My uncle

58 American Digger® Magazine

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owned a metal detector and scoured the nearby desert for meteorites, gold nuggets, and relics. While he mostly uncovered bullets and shell casings, my dad remarked that the area in which I lived, Prescott Valley, was rife with hidden treasures. I had moved to the area about seven years earlier and was renting a home near the Agua Fria River. Locals told me that the river contained gold, but that it seemed to be in sparse pockets and thus was difficult to find. Undeterred, I set out to find some of that elusive gold. Building on my dad’s encouragement, I did some internet

Left, a classified half bucket of concentrates. Although promising, this bucket contained a below-average amount of gold. On the opposite page, one can just barely see the few tiny flakes that this half bucket contained. Shown above are the tailings left by the prospectors of years before. Certain layers of the dredge piles tend to hold more gold than others. Going deeper doesn’t always mean more gold. 77 77

The old miners on the creek built a system of decreasing diameter pipes to then allow them to attach canvas hoses and wash the canyon walls and its gold deposits into piles. Shown here are some remains of their extensive metal piping system.

research, visited a local prospecting store, and purchased a good metal detector. By this time, I had also bought a home in the Prescott Valley and therefore, the “good” places to prospect were within short driving distance. Accompanied by my dog, Rowdy, I headed off to old mine sites and spent hours digging up nails, bullets, and other things of little value. Detecting along the Agua Fria River yielded nothing but trash. Disheartened, I returned to the prospecting store and the wise old gentleman there informed me that I should try gold panning. I bought a pan, classifier, scoop, eye dropper, and a very optimistic 2-ounce

Originally Published in Vol. 9, Issue 5. Click here to order single issues.

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vial for my gold. During the next year, I occupied my time driving into the desert, retrieving buckets of earth from remote dry washes, bringing them home, and panning the material. There was no gold. I then built a homemade sluice to help go through my material faster. Still, there was no gold. In October of 2012, I ventured onto an internet firearms forum. To my surprise (and delight), one of the threads was about gold panning. One of the posters mentioned that he had a friend who panned on Lynx Creek, right in Prescott Valley near a bridge to a subdivision. I didn’t want to pan in town; I wanted to drive my lifted 4x4 Suburban out into the remote wilderness and discover a lost mine full of riches. However, the thought of actually finding gold was understandably very appealing, so I decided to check it out. Lynx Creek originates in the nearby mountains to the south of Prescott, Arizona and winds a few miles on the edges of both Prescott and Prescott Valley before flowing into the Agua Fria River near Dewey, Arizona. It has a rich gold history and has surrendered a sizeable amount of gold over the last century. Even today, it continues to reward prospectors with occasional nuggets and flakes of gold. I drove to the spot mentioned online and was surprised to see several vehicles already parked there. The site was apparently quite popular, probably due to its ease of access September-October 2013 American Digger® Magazine


A few hours worth of work and about six half buckets of material resulted in this disappointing haul of one picker and around 20 smaller flakes (shown at right). However, every day is different when panning on the Lynx. The author has vowed to return, joining a regular group of prospectors who can often be found there (top photo). and wealth of natural beauty. This section of the Lynx is quite rocky and flows over beautiful granite structures that have been carved over the centuries by the yearly floodwaters that the summer monsoon season produces. The creek is bordered on both sides by sagebrush and a few pockets of cottonwoods. I wandered down to the creek via a path about 150 feet in length with nothing in hand but my pan and a scoop. I noticed that everyone else was digging into the embankment; it was composed of earthen deposits washed up by the monsoons. Not knowing any better course of action, I decided to pan the creek itself first, focusing below large rocks and other areas that seemed to be good prospects. No gold showed itself in the first few pans, but after a while, I suddenly saw color. How glorious was that first tiny speck of gold! I had finally found it, in my own pan; I had looked for it and found 60 American Digger® Magazine

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it all by myself. As I later learned, panning in the creek itself can prove very productive in late summer, because the heavy monsoon rains wash gold into the creek bed and its various “traps.” Since that first chilly day in October, I have returned to Lynx Creek many times and have learned to dig into the deposits. I have also learned to bring a shovel, a five-gallon bucket, a small pickaxe, a ¼-inch classifier, my scoop, and my pan. All these accoutrements aid in successful prospecting. Farther downstream on the Lynx, there is an area that experienced heavy mining during the turn of the 19th century. The old miners constructed a huge dam in the canyon and then built a system of decreasing-diameter pipes attached to hoses. This contraption allowed them to wash the canyon walls and its gold deposits into piles from which a dredge extracted the gold. It is those century-old piles that I now dig into.


The Dalton Point which who would condemn us are everywhere. 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 5.5 inch neglected Dalton per’s archaeologist. hampers an myamazing gold recovery. old piece. is present all stemmed Paleo point in Marlboro, New Jersey. Don knewalong the antagonistic archaeologist and __________ The more successful prospecthe Lynx, but It was perfect Paleo point number two and, of The best method I’ve found confided thatIhe hadlearned a reputation tors are simply more efficient have from for arrogance course, it had to be recorded. Unfortunately, I even among his peers. As for my Dalton point, so far is to first try and locate at working the material and seasoned prospecwent through many of the same problems I’d experienced almost he we submit an article New Jersey more comfortable with the agtorssuggested that it is most productive to to thea annual promising band of material in half a decade earlier. It was a bit depressing; it felt like I’d never Archaeology Bulletin. Thisareas. periodical annually highlights the nature of commercial panning. I, hone my efforts in specific gone through the vetting Thankfully, a local bank. I’ve been toldprocess.gressive Garden State’s mostI’ve significant finds and isthe highlycreek prestigious in however, am still paranoid The best method found so monthly picked it up and did a better than expected job on that the scientific circles. One of Don’s closest friends wasthe the managing that most gold is in the layers I’m washing gold out instead far is to first locate a promising article. chief editor and, ironically enough, the newspaper’s archaeologist of it, so I work very band of material in the creek of smaller gravel, usually with a More recently, my discovery of salvaging a partial mastodon skeleton also sat on the board of the magazine. The web that was being slowly and cautiously. bank. I’ve been told that the mabrought quite a bit more recognition. Finally! It only took layer ofindeed! sand above them. woven around this single spear point was getting thick jority of gold is in the layers of Although still aof newbie numerous phone calls, several interviews and theI’m backing three In the spring of 2006 (almost a year after my find), the bulletin smaller gravel, usually with a to prospecting, and the amount 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 layer of sand above them. of gold I find is nothing comtheir eyes and thus, the find could be properly documented. The Dalton point. It was late in coming, but there it was: a literal media giveth the media prospectors taketh away.working But it should never be I loosen up the material pared to whatand experienced next to me reexercise in persistence and luck.with my pickaxe, then use the able to I’m rob astill findloving of its this provenance. shovel placeonittop intoofthe whichdressing in turn sits on cover, new hobby. I look forward to learning The to gravy my¼-inch ‘tatersclassifier, was the verbal down top of a five-gallon bucket. It is most effective to fill the bucket more each outing and maybe even finding that elusive nugget. with water and wash the material in the classifier with it; gold flakes cling to stones and water helps to dislodge them. After processing about half a bucket’s worth of material, I then carry it over to a predetermined panning spot in the creek. A nice spot usually has a deep pool of water and either a log or About The Author a large rock to sit on while panning. When panning, I use my Travis Tonn has lived the Prescott, Arizona since area Glenn Harbour has beenindigging and collecting scoop to add material to my pan. I then submerge the pan into for teenage the last years seven and yearshas with his wife, his traveled bothtwo theteens, west and the pool and churn it to wash the dirt and mud away. After it Rowdy, their dog. This is his first feature length the east coast extensively in his pursuits of thearticle past. ® has been panned down to black sand, I add another scoop and to appearhis in degree American Digger magazine, he andtakes we Although is not in archaeology, continue until the bucket is empty. hope see more in future byhimself him. to be his hobby veryto seriously andtheconsiders When it comes to panning, I suspect that my inexperience an amateur scientist. Hailing from central New Jersey, Glenn is also a prolific author and a local folk artist.


November-December 2012American American Digger Magazine Who Reads Who Reads American Digger® Magazine? Magazine? Digger ®


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Grant Williams and 5th grade classmates Grant Williams andElementary 5th grade classmates Riverside School Riverside Elementary School Marianna, FL Marianna, FL

Thosewho whoknow knowthat thatlearning learning can be Those be fun, fun, and and historydoesn’t doesn’thave haveto to be be boring. boring. Those history Those who who knowthat thatfinding, finding,touching, touching, and and studying know studying real real artifacts opens new windows of imagination artifacts opens new windows of imagination and knowledge.Those Those that that appreciate appreciate having and knowledge. havingaa publicationthat thattakes takes the the next next step step in publication in sharing sharing the past with the movers and shakers of the the past with the movers and shakers of the future. They read American Digger®® magazine... future. They read American Digger magazine... Shouldn’t you? Shouldn’t you?

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Want the Really Old Artifacts?

Turn to Stone

Fossils are everywhere, yet are often ignored because of a lack of interest or ignorance.


Originally Published in Vol 9, Issue 6. Click here to order single issues.

By Jim Roberson

any of this publication’s readers focus their huntin Trigg County, Kentucky. There was an unusual rock with ing and collecting attention on artifacts lost or left what appeared to be a tiny clamshell attached, camouflaged behind from colonial times through the end of the in the dirt. On closer examination, it was clear that it was a American Civil War. There are type of fossil. But what was this others who relish the discovery fossilized aquatic creature doof the stone tools that were used ing protruding from a Kentucky by Native Americans from prehillside some 750 feet above sea historic times. Others are content level? This discovery would proto search for modern jewelry or duce enough curiosity for me to 20th century valuables. While pay a visit to the library for furin search of any of these unique ther study. treasures, we frequently step over It only took several minother ancient curiosities without utes of reading through a book even bothering to stop for a closon fossils to identify this find er look. You want old? Then it’s as a brachiopod, which first time to stop ignoring fossils. appeared in the oceans over The oldest recognizable 500 million years ago. A cataman-made object known to exstrophic event all but wiped ist in North America is the Clovis them out around 250 million spear point, used between 15,000 years ago. The Permian-Triassic and 9,000 years ago. But fossils mass extinction event was the often outdate these early Native worst Earth has ever faced. It American creations by hundreds is believed that over 90 percent of millions of years. of every living organism was Perhaps one of the reasons killed during this time. the masses don’t bother paying One may think it unusual attention to fossils is because for fossilized marine animals they are far too common. One to be found in Kentucky, of all can often spot dozens in the landplaces. This is a strong indicascaped rock gardens at the local tor that the Bluegrass State was bank (just be sure to ask first if once part of the ocean floor. Brayou decide to take one for your chiopods are living fossils, as own collection). Another reason some variations still thrive in the may be that the typical fossil has oceans today. The research from this single discovery would lead almost no monetary value. This to a greater overall appreciation author is not unlike other history of fossils. hunters, in that he has disregardA visit to a favorite hunting ed countless exposed fossils over This brachiopod, found 750 feet ground that same year would the years while in search of other, above sea level in Kentucky, produce an even more unusual more desirable artifacts. inspired the author to further discovery. It appeared to be This would all change in investigate fossils. a fossilized wasps’ nest or 2006 while I was metal detecting 56 American Digger® Magazine ® Vol. 9, Issue 6


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honeycomb. Yet again, too devastating for this it was time to revisit the animal to overcome. This library and borrow that same disastrous event is thought useful book. Surprisingly, it to have been the result of an was identified as a piece of enormous asteroid impact. fossilized coral. Coral first Ammonites, along with the appeared over 500 million dinosaurs and many other years ago, and is still alive life forms at the time, would and well in the oceans today. soon become completely It’s impossible to determine extinct. in what area the pictured Ammonite fossils are coral originated. It may found in many areas, inThese two crinoid stem fossils were have washed away from cluding the Dakota Badfound in a “box of rocks” at a central the sedimentary rock that lands. It’s interesting to encrusted it for millions of imagine areas as far north Illinois antique shop. years, far upstream. as South Dakota being covEveryone who has visered by the sea. ited an antique shop has noSea urchins, also known ticed the inevitable box of rocks. They are usually filled with as sea biscuits, are members of the Echinoderm family. They unusual looking stones, broken pieces of flint, and fossils. One first appeared over 450 million years ago, and lived in shalsuch shop in central Illinois had one of these boxes on a shelf low seas. Sea urchin fossils are found in the rock formations in a dark and dusty corner. Two unusual but very similar rocks of many states and on our current beaches. Many other fossil were hiding near the bottom. They appeared to be conglomtypes, including sharks’ teeth, are also found within the sand erate rocks covered with white shell beads. It was now time on these same beaches, making them great — and convenient to purchase a copy of that book, to avoid further trips to the — places to search. library. These interesting rocks were identified to contain segDinosaur bones are without question the most popular ments of crinoid stems. Also known as sea lilies, crinoids are fossil type. These glamorized reptiles of the past first apanother living fossil. These animals have lived in the oceans peared approximately 228 million years ago and ruled the for around 500 million years. Earth for roughly 163 million years before becoming extinct. Common fossils such as the ones discussed above can It is not known how many different types of dinosaurs existed, but there are currently over 300 identified and named. be discovered virtually anywhere. Rocky creeks and river For those who desire hunting for dinosaur bones, a trip out sandbars are favorite hunting grounds for this author. Some collectors search along roadsides and highways where blastwest would be in order. Joining a paleontological society in ing during previous construction has exposed limestone. a western state and networking with other enthusiasts can be a great way to learn about how and where to dig. HowThese are great locations to search; however, hunting near ever, a better option may be registering for a guided dinosaur a busy highway can be very dangerous and one should use dig tour. They are available through various organizations in extreme caution. The following are a few fossil types that are not so common, and not likely to be found on the Earth’s surface. One will need a hammer, chisel, and a pair of safety goggles to reach many of these hidden treasures. One of the most popular types of fossils are the trilobites. These unusual sea creatures evolved over 520 million years ago. Sadly, trilobites were not as lucky as the brachiopods, and would become completely extinct from that same deadly mass extinction event discussed earlier. Trilobites are unique, and full of detail, making them desirable additions to any curiosity cabinet. An above-average specimen of a trilobite can also be very valuable. These fascinating creatures are hiding within the limestone and shale formations in various areas throughout the country. Another collectors’ favorite is the ammonite. The fossils of these invertebrate sea animals vary in size from very tiny to quite large. Some examples have been discovered in excess Section of a crinoid, aka sea lily, stem of five feet in length. The first species of ammonites came fossil found in Chesterfield, Missouri. into existence over 400 million years ago. The CrestaceousPaleogene extinction event, 65 million years ago, was far November- December, 2013 American Digger® Magazine



(Above left) Ammonites lived 66 million — 219 million years ago, yet their fossilized shells give a clear indication of what the creatures looked like. They were a distant relative of today’s squid and octopus. (Above right) Trilobites lived between 521 million — 250 million years ago. Their closest modern descendents are today’s horseshoe crabs. ____________________ Wyoming, Colorado, Montana, and North and South Dakota. and capability to destroy almost any living things, including Planet Earth itself, some four billion years old, has gone themselves. through many changes during its existence. It would have been This article has only scratched the surface on the topic of completely unrecognizable 300 million years ago compared to fossils. A featured article could easily be written about each fossil how we see it now. The separate continents of today are untype discussed above. The study of something that lived millions derstood to have once been a huge supercontinent called Panof years ago is extremely complicated. Just learning how to gaea. Looking at a World Atlas, one can see how the continents properly pronounce the fossil names and even the eras, periods, of South America and Africa appear to be interlocking puzzle and sub periods that reflect geological time can be challenging. pieces. This movement of the land is called continental drift. But with a good book and plenty of patience, fossil collecting Although unnoticeable to the eye, the continents are still drifting can be quite fascinating. I now look at those often-ignored apart at a rate of about a half inch fossils with a much greater per year. appreciation after finding — There have been five mass and recognizing — a few of extinction events on our planet. my own. These events greatly reduced the populations of some living things, and completely destroyed others. These events, though catastrophic for some species, would allow other life forms to About The Author evolve. It’s highly unlikely that Jim Roberson has over humans would have lasted very 25 years experience in long if the dinosaurs had not collecting, finding, and disappeared. studying Native AmeriIt would be ignorant to becan and Civil War arlieve another mass extinction tifacts, and also pens event will never occur again. We not only have to worry a regular column in about a stray asteroid impact, a American Digger® magSea urchins, which began to develop catastrophic volcanic eruption, azine on stone artifacts, 450 million years ago, have changed or other natural disaster; hu“What’s the Point?” mans now have the intelligence little, as this fossil shows. 58 American Digger® Magazine ® Vol. 9, Issue 6


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Reports and Commentaries on Issues That Affect the Hobby by Mark Schuessler Close Call In Missouri

O’Fallon, MO, May 2013: The O’Fallon city council passed an ordinance on April 11, 2013 which severely restricted metal detecting within the city parks. It would have gone by unnoticed if not for a member of the Midwest Coinshooters and Historical Club who got wind of it the day before. Gene Holdinghausen attended the meeting and spoke for several minutes to the council. He did an admirable job of presenting the hobby and addressing our concerns. When the bill came up for discussion, there were two council members who spoke in objection. Councilmen Jim Pepper and Jeff Schwentker both asked for it to be tabled. They questioned the need for such a law and why there was such a rush to pass it. No legitimate answers were forthcoming. The discussion seemed to center around the fact that, according to some obscure state law, anything found in the parks belongs to the city. There was no mention of any episodes of damage from careless digging. Councilman Pepper was vehement in his objections. Gene was asked back to the podium for more comments, and answered many questions. He produced a bag of trash and junk that he had dug just days before from an O’Fallon park. The council was not at all antagonistic but seemed to be truly uninformed. There was even an admission that they had not talked to anyone in the hobby in the formulation of this bill. Councilman Bill Gardner, who was the bill’s sponsor, apologized for that oversight. However, Gardner said the city needed to restrict metal detecting. The city attorney said the city could add a permitting policy later, but they needed to pass a bill now to stop “free lancers” from using metal detectors throughout the parks. I am not quite sure what that means and if you would have asked him at the time, he probably would not have been able to explain it either. Although the apology seemed sincere, the bill was not tabled. A vote was taken and the ordinance passed with a 9 to 0 vote. They did make a modification to the type of digging tool that could be used, changing it from a probe to a description that would include the standard types of small tools we generally use. The main problem, however, was that the list of prohibited areas didn’t leave many available


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for detecting. Here is the ordinance as originally passed: Section 225.070 Recreational Activities-Unlawful Activities, Etc. Metal Detecting. The City’s parks and all of its property are owned for the general good of the City’s residents. Everything on and in park grounds, therefore, belongs to the people of the City. Recreational metal detecting is not permitted within restricted areas of the parks and may only be carried on elsewhere on park property if conducted in such a way as to protect the people’s property. Any items found or recovered from park property must be turned in to the Parks and Recreation Department. a. Restricted areas include: i. Athletic Fields ii. Historical Areas iii. Irrigated Lawns iv. Archaeological Sites v. Landscaped Areas vi. Any locations marked with signs prohibiting metal detecting b. The only permissible sub-surface probe or excavating tool is a hand tool specifically intended for use in metal detecting and so designed and constructed to minimize disruption to the ground surface and maximize effective site restoration and having a probe not greater than four (4) inches in width and twelve (12) inches in length (for example a commercially available implement commonly known as a “dirt dagger”). c. All disturbed areas shall be restored to their original condition. Now for the rest of the story. A newspaper article the day after the meeting was widely circulated via the internet, alerting detectorists across the nation to this action. I received it via several emails. While reading over the article and the subsequent comments, I noticed that a councilman had commented with his opposition to it. This was a big opening and one not often presented. The next stop was the city’s website where my search began for the minutes of the meeting. What was encountered was better than meeting minutes. The city of O’Fallon televises its meetings live via a YouTube channel. A search for the previous meeting turned up the video and I was able to see exactly what had taken place. This was followed by looking up contact information for Councilman Jim Pepper, who had voiced his objection to the ordinance. His office phone number was quickly located and at 9 Keep up with legal issues, subscribe and read the News-n-Views column in every issue!

p.m. that evening I made a call to his office. Expecting to leave a message, I was floored when he answered. After an introduction as the president of the Federation of Metal Detector and Archaeological Clubs (FMDAC), we talked for over 30 minutes as Councilmen Pepper filled me in on what had transpired and how it came to be. I found this man to be a real breath of fresh mountain air. Mr. Pepper believes in the founding principles of this country and that the government has gotten way out of control. His initial objection stemmed from not seeing any reason or need for such an ordinance. He was not very familiar with metal detecting but still was unaware of any problems with the hobby in the parks. He did not see why the bill had to be rushed through. He also considered it to be a non-issue. He felt that with all the real problems that his city needed to confront, the issue of metal detecting in parks should not have even been on the distant radar. He also mentioned that it had appeared that many on the council hadn’t seemed to know anything about the issue they’d been voting on, and added that the proposal had not gone through the proper parks department procedures before being sent to the council. Councilman Pepper does not sugarcoat anything. He speaks directly and right to the point, something sorely lacking in today’s political arena. During our conversation, he said he voted for the bill, but not because he supported it. There is a very plausible explanation. The council rules are written so that a vote against disqualifies the person from revisiting the bill. By voting for it, he guaranteed that he could bring it back for further consideration. And bring it back he did. Mr. Pepper penned three amendments to the ordinance almost immediately. They were emailed out to several people who had contacted him. He did a pretty good job on the proposed amendments considering his limited knowledge of the detecting hobby. I made a number of recommendations on his amendments, as well as on other portions of the ordinance. Most likely, others in our hobby who received the email did the same. The amendments were to be presented at the next council meeting, to take place on April 25. While awaiting the next meeting, I contacted Roger Horrom, the president of the Midwest Coinshooters and Historical Club. He was aware of the issue and was watching it. After an explanation of what was going to take place, he marked the meeting on the calendar and informed the club members. Two days before the meeting I received a call from Councilman Pepper. He informed me what was to transpire. The plan was not to present the amendments but to ask for the ordinance to be “reconsidered.” That means that it would start the process over again. Nine of ten votes are needed to do it but he was confident that

would happen after talking with other council members. I called Roger Horrom and asked him to coordinate efforts with Jim Pepper. Roger spoke during the comment period of the meeting and asked the council to reconsider this ordinance, offering to work with the council and the parks department to come up with a workable policy to protect the parks and any historical areas, while still allowing pursuit of our hobby. When Councilman Pepper brought up the ordinance for reconsideration, he started with a short speech. Several main points were discussed. The first was that the description of the prohibited areas left almost nowhere to use a detector. “Irrigated lawns” and “landscaped areas” could be interpreted to mean any and all grass areas. He also posed the question: If someone lost a ring in a park, did it then become park property? Also, if it was lost on one of the proposed restricted areas, would it be illegal to even have someone search for it with a detector? A discussion ensued, followed by a vote. The tally for the reconsideration was nine “Yeas,” with only the original sponsor voting against. After the vote was taken, another member of the council spoke up and questioned why an ordinance was needed at all. This should be a policy item, he stated, and not a new law that would just get more and more complicated. He asked that the council go in that direction at the next work meeting. This seems to be panning out, as Roger has been requested to be present at that meeting to discuss the issue. The parks department director has said she will talk with Roger ahead of time to begin working out the details. The meeting will already have taken place by the time you read this and I will hopefully be able to update you with a positive outcome in the next issue. This is the second time in recent memory that a city council, on the verge of restricting or banning our hobby, has listened to the detecting community and followed up with a responsible common sense action. The first was in Carthage, MO. Now, the second is also in Missouri. Even though the council members were uninformed at the time of the ratification of this ordinance they realized their error and took a step back. One council member commented that they had not realized how popular our hobby was. Now, if only Louisville (KY), Cook County (IL), Volusia County (FL) and several other municipalities could understand just how big the metal detecting hobby is, and know how much we are willing to speak out to protect it. Opinions and research expressed in this freelance column are those of the author and not necessarily those of American Digger.

(Originally Published in Vol. 9, Issue 4)


Buttons Are Not Bodies

Glenns Falls, NY: On December 28, 2011, an article by Jamie Munks, “Professor Wants Battle Site Protected From More Damage,” appeared in The Post Star newspaper. This was a profile of Hudson Valley Community College archaeology professor Matthew Zembo and his attack on the metal detecting community. The fact that an “amateur” located some military relics, on private property, without funding, seems to anger him. He complains about the need to preserve and study the area. I question why has he not done so. Why is he spending his time attacking the metal detecting community instead of doing the actual work? A better idea would be to enlist the aid of the metal detecting community, or ask those who have found relics in the area to contact him so he can record and study the items. Instead, he prefers to wage an attack which only succeeds in driving the two sides farther apart. Why would anyone in this hobby want to assist someone who directs such venom at us? Due to the fact that some buttons were located, Mr. Zembo also insists that the relic hunter was digging a grave! What absurdity from the mouth of a highly educated individual. If we take his statement at face value then it would stand to reason that every button we dig is from a grave. Almost every park, school, church, fairgrounds, farm field, and standing house in the nation must contain bodies, according to his logic, for buttons are commonly found at all the above locations. The notion is simply ludicrous and such comments as those made by professor Matthew Zembo are, at best, ignorant, and, at worst, outright lies. Buttons, particularly those made before 1900, often fell off uniforms and clothing because the shanks tended to be rough and abrasive, cutting the cotton thread. In addition, there was the simple fact that coats worn in field use tend to lose buttons from wear and tear. And what about coats that were lost or thrown away? Are Zembo’s claims ignorance or are they part of an anti-relic hunter campaign? Likely it is some of both. After hearing comments like this for so long and from so many archaeologists I have to conclude that some of them really believe it. Why don’t you, Mr. Zembo, take the initiative as the metal detectorists did? Go to the site and personally investigate it. Instead of blasting those who are recovering the history, do it yourself. Don’t wait on funding; the detectorists didn’t. (Originally Published in Vol. 9, Issue 1)

Carelessness or Ignorance?

A potentially very damaging trend has been developing over the last few years that has been noticed not only by myself but by other long-time detectorists as well. While long handle shovels and digging tools certainly have their place, there are some places where they do not


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belong. A couple of decades ago in this hobby, we were fighting battles to keep sites open that were in danger of closure due to poor digging habits. Many sites were lost due to such carelessness. For the most part, the hobby cleaned up their digging habits, and the trend then shifted to the closing of sites for “historical” aspects. Although the digging problem never completely disappeared, it was overshadowed by the archaeological concerns. Now I fear this initial trend will be coming back and larger then ever. The “larger then ever” is a play on words as it refers to the use of large recovery tools that are being used in parks, schools, and other public and private manicured areas. They range from very long handle trowels to full-size shovels. I have touched on this subject before. The use of these tools in the wrong areas shines a very bad light on the hobby. From an onlooker’s point of view, the appearance is extremely poor at best. In the last decade, several companies have been manufacturing some excellent and very sturdy tools, ranging from trowels to shovels. I use them myself. They are not cheap, but are well worth the money. Due to ignorance, complacency or maybe just an “I don’t give a darn” attitude, some people are using the larger tools where they should not. A long handle tool should never be used in a public or even a private lawn unless you have an okay from the property owner. It matters not if you do a good job of digging with them. The problem is in the appearance. Even the long handle trowels are out, in my opinion. The actual part of the tool that does the digging may be the same size as a short handle tool, but you are still dealing with perception. These tools were designed and manufactured as a result of a need for some sturdy relic hunting tools, with relic hunting generally being conducted in fields and woods. They were never intended for use in manicured grassy areas. In a park, you will be seen by multitudes of people who know nothing about the hobby. All they see is someone with a shovel in a park that they pay for. The mere sight of someone with a large shovel tells the untrained eye the diggers are about to do some serious excavating. If you see your spouse going out the door with a trowel to the front lawn, your mind probably tells you they are going to poke around in the flower beds. Replace that with a long handle shovel and you begin wondering how big a hole you are going to be later repairing in the lawn. Do you think the general public feels any different about the parks that they are paying for? I cannot blame a citizen for complaining or even calling the police. The feeling is multiplied if it happens to be on an athletic field. Every incident like this hurts the hobby and sets up a stereotypical image in the eyes of the police, the groundskeepers, and the general public. It takes little effort of searching the internet to find videos showing this practice. It both alarms and astounds Keep up with legal issues, subscribe and read the News-n-Views column in every issue!

me every time someone is ignorant enough to put their name to such a practice. I have almost quit watching metal detecting videos on the internet, unless it has been recommended by someone reputable, as a direct result of the poor portrayal of this hobby. There seems to have been a marked increase in the number of detectorists recently. This could very well be due to the availability of detectors on the internet and at large department stores. Add to that the Youtube videos and TV shows, not all of which show good digging habits. New hunters see shovels and picks being employed and think it’s okay to use them anywhere. The aforementioned problem is not a reflection on the manufacturers of the tools. In no way are they responsible for the misuse of their product, and most take pains to warn customers of the tool’s misuse. What I would like to see is for the manufacturers of these relic recovery tools to include a note with each sale stating that the long handle tools are intended to be used only in fields, overgrown, or wooded areas and not in landscaped parks, schools, churchyards or private lawns. A disclaimer could also be placed on their websites. We cannot control the actions of any irresponsible detectorists, but we can show them that we do not condone their poor ethics. Some of the renegades simply do not care and nothing will stop them short of getting arrested. My hope is that maybe a few people are just ignorant of proper procedures and will heed the warning. For those who are guilty of these gross violations of our ethics, I’ll say this: a person never knows who may be watching. It may be just a citizen, it may be the groundskeeper, or a police officer. Even worse, it may be an official of the locality or possibly the head honcho. One single incident could be all it takes to shut down an area that has been open to detecting for decades. We are losing areas every year. Some in recent years have been closed by just one person’s say-so without any public input or even public knowledge. The head of a parks’ department or the new archaeologist for the department will simply deem the area closed to detecting or they will singlehandedly write and implement a new regulation. Of course, we all know that “legislative” actions of that nature go against every facet of the proper lawmaking process in this country, but it regularly happens where metal detecting is concerned. The only recourse appears to be expensive legal action as the other officials circle the wagons to protect the status quo. It is hard to fight city hall, so the best thing we can do is set good appearances. In short, stay out of parks, schools, churchyards, sports fields and all landscaped areas with a long-handle shovel! (Originally Published in Vol. 9, Issue 3)

A Look Backward – Or Is It? A short time ago I was given a quantity of newsletters from the Prospectors Club International. They date to the mid-to-late 1960s, which makes for some very interesting reading. That was when Padre Island, Texas was open to detecting, clubs were forming and competition hunts were new. The hunts are referred to as “field trials” in the earlier newsletters. Interesting to me are the photos of the winners at some of those field trials. They are holding their newly-won White’s Goldmaster detectors (for example). Those are the same detectors that now reside in my “antique” metal detector collection. There is one issue that has remained a constant since then: the occasional mention of the closure or possible closure of areas due to both improper digging and archaeological intervention. There was also an attempt to start a legal fund to fight these actions. Talk of the possible closing of Padre Island shows up, which eventually did happen. We have been fighting this battle apparently since the early days. The names have changed but the effort remains. It will not go away. If you want to continue using your detector, then you need to get involved. First and foremost is to follow a strict code of ethics. Most important are proper recovery habits and having permission. The second is to make your individual voice heard when an issue arises anywhere. It may not affect you now, but next year or even next month it may be coming to a park near you! (Originally Published in Vol. 9, Issue 3) Opinions and research expressed in this freelance column are those of the author and not necessarily those of American Digger.

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Federation of Metal Detector and Archaeological Clubs Inc. Promoting and protecting the metal detecting hobby since 1984 Join us - The hobby you save will be your own! Visit us at and on Facebook. Mark Schuessler – National President or call (585) 591-0010


Product & Book Reviews

Antique Trader® Bottles Identification & Price Guide (7th Edition)

By Michael Polak MSRP $24.99 Softcover (6.2 x 9 inches) 552 pages, full color Published by Krause Publications (888) 457-2873 Available from American ® Digger and selected dealers. ____________


have to confess: I enjoy old bottles a bit more than the crusty rusty metal recoveries. I would probably have a larger collection of bottles than I have now, if only I had more room on the shelves and more curio cabinets. I do have some interesting ink wells and medicine bottles, probably not of great monetary value. They were purchased just because I liked them. Almost everything you want to know about antique bottles can be found in this volume. I certainly had fewer questions once I read and perused this amazingly thorough book. Certainly every single bottle that exists


could not be included, but the variety of selections presented is quite good. The introduction alone is worth the price of the book. If you’re the type who skips the introduction and moves on to the pictures, be sure to stop on these pages. A wealth of history, facts, anecdotes and plain good information is found here. Photos and text about digging for bottles are here as well as cleaning tips and more. The introduction is massive, almost 90 pages; don’t skip it! The book is beautifully illustrated in color and divided by many categories which are also sectioned by date. “Old Bottles Pre-1900” is almost 300 pages, from “Ale & Gin” to “Whiskey” and all varieties in between. Brief descriptions and value ranges are provided for each. All categories have from one to several paragraphs about that type of bottle. For example, “Beer” has two pages written about beer bottles and their history before you begin looking at the alphabetized entries for old beers which cover seven pages and then moves on to the “Bitters” category. I learned much from these brief histories. This is also the first edition of the Antique Trader Bottles Guide that has included Hawaiian examples. The history and variety shown are quite interesting. The “New Bottles Post-1900” is 126 pages covering everything from “Avon” to “Violin & Banjo” bottles. There are many bottles in this section which are new to me, as I have always leaned toward the pre-1900 or very early 1900 bottles. I did find this section equally fascinating. It makes me wish I had saved some of those old Avon bottles when my sister was selling Avon merchandise back in the 1960s. Also, I never knew Jim Beam had made so many commemorative and charming bottles. The last section is “Reference." Here you will find information on trademarks, listings of bottle clubs, auction companies, museums, a glossary and bibliography. If you enjoy col-

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lecting bottles or even learning more about their place in history, this is the book that should be on your reference shelf. I highly recommend it. (Originally Published in Vol. 9, Issue 1)

Doc’s Ultra Swingy Thingy Bungee Rig

MSRP $49.95 (+ shipping) Combo w/ Deep Pocket Treasure Pouch: $60 (+ shipping) Available From Doc’s Detecting Supply 3740 S. Royal Crest St. Las Vegas, NV 89119

1-800-477-3211 ____________


had previously seen the standard version of this rig (msrp $31.95, also from Doc’s Supply), but had never had the occasion to use one. The theory looked sound, but something I imagined more as an aid for older beach hunters and gold prospectors. Boy, was I wrong. I have since discovered that these are used by detectorists of all kinds and ages. After all, if you can lessen the effort needed to detect, you’ll detect more. The Swingy Thingy definitely lessons the

effort. While that helps in any context, it can be an arm saver when swinging the heavier pulse induction (PI) machines or an oversized search coil. I imagine it would render ultralight VDI machines virtually weightless. I actually started noticing these being used by relic hunters last year. A fellow had sent a photo of himself hunting for artillery shells with a huge coil, and there was a Doc’s Swingy Thingy. Then, at a hunt I attended in Culpeper, Virginia, I saw numerous examples of these bungee systems. As to the user’s age and stamina,

one hunter had a Doc’s Swingy Thingy identical to the one in this review. He was all of 25 years old and good physical condition. He shared with me some features he liked on this model, including the ability to quickly switch the bungee to either side of the harness, a quick adjusting feature on the bungee length (it needs adjusting when switching between flat or hilly ground), and the extra padding on the straps. There is also the added benefit of the detector harness supported at three points rather than one. A quick release bungee is featured on both units. Does it all work? Absolutely. Once I figured out the balance point and hooked the clamp accordingly, the detector seemed to float on air. I hunted three days in a row, eight hours a day by using the Ultra Swingy Thingy on a White’s TDI, a pulse induction unit of about five pounds. While it is beneficial to all ages, it especially helped someone like me, whose shoulders and forearms are already sore from decades of unassisted detecting. Before, I had increased my hunting time by switching arms, but with the Swingy Thingy that was unnecessary.

Most of those three days were in open fields, but I also tried it in the woods. For the most part it was no problem, although it was a challenge in heavy underbrush. Then again, any detecting in thick undergrowth is difficult. In the open woods, it presented no problem. The only problems I encountered was that being tethered to the detector, areas with an abundance of signals became a hassle. While there is a quick release snap, it seemed to not release easily on the unit we tested. That is good to secure the detector, but made it hard to unsnap it each time to dig a target. Nonetheless, I would urge anyone to give this unit a try. But buy your own. This reviewer is using his! (Originally Published in Vol. 9, Issue 2)

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 2013. To see an entire year's worth, be sure to subscribe!


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Detecting and Collecting Clubs 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.

West KY Treasure Preservation Society meets 1st Thursday, 7 pm at Jim’s Metal Detectors, Marilyn’s Medical Freedom Bldg, 4860 Old Mayfield Rd., Paducah, KY. Contact Jim, 270-519-0697.

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.

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, [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

Pelican Relic & Recovery Assoc., Baton Rouge, LA Meets 3rd Tues. of each month at 7 PM, Kung Fu Buffet, 1823 S. Sherwood Forrest Blvd., Baton Rouge LA. Info,

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 for info.

Silver City Treasure Seekers, Taunton, MA, 1st Fri. ea. month except July/August, 6:30, Bristol Plymouth Reg HS cafeteria, 940 Co. St. (Rt. 140), Taunton, MA.

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 for more information

Eureka! Treasure Hunters Club meets 2nd Friday of each month at 7:30 PM at the Clement Community Center in Lakewood, Colorado. See website at 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

Tri-State Coin & Relic Hunter’s Club serves MS, AL, & TN. Iuka MS Public Library. Meetings rotate monthly 2nd Sat.(9 AM) & 2nd Thurs. (7 PM). Virgil Robinson 662-728-2798,

Coastal Empire History Hunters Association. Meets in Savannah, GA. For more information, contact Rick Phillips at 912-663-2382

Tri-State Relic Recovery Club meets 7 PM 2nd Tuesday of each month, Lawrence Center, 71 Edison Circle, Menlo, GA. Phone 706-862-6221 or email

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 to find out how!



What’s The Point? An issue-by-issue guide to the ancient stone artifacts of North America. By Jim Roberson


The Pickwick

ickwick blades are yet another tool of the Archaic period that were used roughly 6000 to 3500 years ago. These stemmed blades were most likely utilized as knifes rather than projectile points. Many of the Pickwicks that are recovered are well used and were resharpened multiple times. This would cause a reduction to the length and the width of the blade. Some examples even display distinctive serrations on the blades edges, such as what might be found on a modern steel steak knife. The greatest distribution of this point type occurs in about a 100 mile radius of Pickwick Lake. This man made reservoir flows through Tennessee, Mississippi, and Alabama. Being a part of the Tennessee Valley Authority’s jurisdiction, care must be taken to ensure that any collecting be done on private property with the owner’s permission, instead of on the lake itself. Many examples of these and countless other point types were lost forever when the Tennessee River was dammed in 1938, creating this lake.

Sadly, the TVA has made it illegal to recover any artifacts on their property, meaning there is no hope at present of artifact rescue by hobbyists on sites under their control. Luckily, this type is also found in southern Georgia and northern Florida. The Pickwick pictured was found on private property in Pontotoc County, Mississippi. It has a tiny ding on its tip, and the base was snapped off during ancient times. More often they are found with a well-defined stemmed base. This example was made from a very colorful piece of Horse Creek chert. This lithic material is considered by the majority of hunters and collectors to be the most desirable of all prehistoric tool-making materials. Its favorability, compared to other lithics, is not due to its brilliant colors alone. This material in its raw state is extremely rare, and only naturally occurs in a small area. It was also a poor material to create tools from, as it did not flake well. Many early occupants who called this area home ignored Horse Creek chert, as there were other more plentiful, and easierto-work, materials nearby. Because of the popularity of this colorful and rare material, there are many reproductions made from it.

“There are some who dive for artifacts in lakes where it is legal. Many fine artifacts have been recovered in this fashion that would have otherwise been lost forever, but care must be taken to assure it is permitted in your area.” J.R. (Originally Published in Vol. 9, Issue 2)


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The Buck Creek

uck Creek points were used during the Archaic period and date roughly between 6000 and 3500 years old. They were often crafted rather thin and were carefully made with an above average flaking style. Their primary purpose was most likely dart points, but they were probably also used as knives. Many other prehistoric flint point types also served these dual roles. Buck Creek points are found in close proximity to the Ohio River in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, and Ohio. However, they can easily be confused with the Kampsville and Apple Creek types found in Illinois. Buck Creeks are also found in Tennessee and northwestern Alabama along the Tennessee River. There are very similar point types found there also. The Wade, Smithsonia, and Hamilton Stemmed points are often wrongly typed as Buck Creeks. Distinguishing the differences in these types can get even more confusing with well-worn examples. This type was named after Buck Creek in Harrison County, Indiana by archaeologist Mark F. Seeman for examples discovered there in 1975. The Buck Creek pictured here was found in Lawrence County, Alabama, and is made

from Fort Payne chert. Countless examples of points and blades were crafted from this high quality material. It was first utilized at least 13,000 years ago, and would remain an important tool-making favorite material into historical times. Fort Payne chert is found in a variety of colors, from tans, grayish blues, and other combinations of hues. The point pictured here is a light olive green color, typical of most Fort Payne chert tools found in the western regions of Kentucky and Tennessee, and in northern Alabama and northeastern Mississippi.

“Flint artifacts found in creeks and along river banks, will often be covered with a black glaze. This staining can easily be removed by soaking the find in lemon juice for a short period of time. One may be pleasantly surprised to discover a colorful artifact was hiding behind the staining by using this practice.” 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. 9, Issue 5)

Don’t miss Jim’s column in every issue of American Digger®!


The Hole Truth...


eing an avid relic hunter, I rarely turn down a chance to go detecting at a promising site. Sure, an emergency might cause me to miss a day, but at one time in my life I wouldn’t turn down a chance to go to even an unpromising site. I now admit to being a bit pickier since gravity became so hateful to me. I shouldn’t complain. I’ve found my share of goodies. But since I am publisher of this magazine, I will complain, just because I can. A true relic hunter can never have too much stuff. Never mind that just my pile of bullets and artillery shell fragments threaten to affect the earth’s rotation, and my outdoor scrap iron pile is likely under investigation by the EPA. By nature, I am a hunter and gatherer, as were my caveman ancestors a few generations back. I can’t help but want more. However, it seems that every trip I miss is the one I should have been on. This was recently proven by a most generous acquaintance, Rod. Never have I seen a person more successful in getting permission to hunt, and I rarely turn down a chance to tag along, bottom feeding as I can. Thus it was with great sadness that, due to an illness in the family, I had to miss a trip to an untested site along the Georgia coast. Although I regretted missing the trip, my regret got worse with every live update, direct from the woods, that Rod provided me via his cell phone. His first call: “We’ve dug 25 good targets so far...” “Anything good,” I asked? “A Confederate Brooke shell and bases from three others....” I commented on what a rare shell it was, whimpered to myself, and wrote it off as blind luck. Then his second call: “Got a six pounder cannonball...” I again congratulated him, and, after hanging up, threw my leg out of joint by attempting a poorly aimed kick at my own ample derriere. But wait, there’s more. Third call, the next morning: “Guess what?” I was cheerful and optimistic. “You decided to leave early and save me some finds for the next time...” “Ha ha! That’s a good one.” Rod always enjoys a good laugh. “No, we just dug a 10 pound Parrott shell...” He continued on with some lesser finds, but my eardrums had shut down from the trauma. I’m not sure exactly what my words were to him on this last call, but I’m pretty sure whining was included. I do know I stopped short of laying down and banging my fist on the floor. Not because I was too mature for that, but because I was driving on an Interstate highway and my wife, who was the passenger, is such a stickler for safety.


2013 American Digger Magazine Sampler ®

Photo by Bob Kish

The Publisher speaks... but will he ever shut up? Once Rod had soothed my soul and promised me a later trip there, I began to feel better. I was happy that they had taken the proverbial Triple Crown of Civil War artillery, even though my proverbial horse of good fortune was still in the proverbial barn stall of life. I felt like the proverbial stall mucker in a pile of proverbial...well, horse stalls. This was not been the first time, nor will it be the last, that I missed the trip of a lifetime. In my long quest for a Georgia button, I hunted every weekend for a year with my hunting partner of the time. Only one of us found a Georgia button. Him. Twice. On the only two weekends I couldn’t go. I think I wrote a letter to “Dear Abby” over that one. Another time, I turned down an invitation to go to an old city park that was being bulldozed. In that case, I had chosen to hunt a more proven (and thus pounded) site because I preferred old military relics to old coins (with the exception of old gold coins). It never occurred to me that, since the park was located only a few blocks from a Confederate arsenal, it might contain the very relics I craved. If memory serves, there were a couple of gold coins and numerous Confederate buttons found there. Meanwhile, I dug two Yankee bullets and a squashed Eagle button at my “proven” site. There are more examples of missed opportunities, but I have too much pride and not enough space to list them all. Just suffice it to say, if you know of a trip in the future that I turn down, be sure you go in my place. I guarantee a chance at good finds and a minimum of whining and fist pounding tantrums. Unless my wife isn’t in the car with me... Happy Huntin’, Y’all!

(Originally Published in Vol. 9, Issue 1)

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

2013 Feature Article Index To order a listed issue, click link here: Note some issues may be sold out, orders subject to availability.

Volume 9, Issue 1 (Jan-Feb 2013)

The King and I ........By Dave McMahon

Since he was 10 years old, this author dreamed of pirate treasure and those dreams initiated a craving for finding old coins in the New World. Whether pirate loot or not, these coins are relics from the buccaneers’ era.

In Plain Sight ........ By Brent Thompson While it is usually a good idea to take along a metal detector when searching for metal artifacts, never underestimate the fine (and lucky) art of eyeballing relics. Did It Really Happen Here? ........ By John Velke

The Diggin’ In Virginia organized hunts are about recovering relics and having fun, but a lot of work goes on to produce the event, including leaving the area as pristine as possible. Join us at DIV XXII; before, during, and after.

In Search of the Carib Stone ........ By Michael Chaplan After reading a 1921 article by a combination archaeologist/missionary, Michael Chaplan decided to set out on a journey to find the Carib Stone.Come along with him on this Caribbean adventure into the past. Dirty Little Secrets, Dirty Little Lies ........ By Jim Roberson Reproduction arrowheads can be works of art, prized for the beauty of the stone and skill of the knapper. But in unscrupulous hands, they can also become a criminal tool meant to defraud. Here’s how to protect yourself. Crockomania! ........ By Tom J. Williams

During a hot July, a small city block was being developed for new condos. All that stood between artifact destruction and artifact rescue were these diggers. What they saved was anything but archaeologically insignificant.

Volume 9, Issue 2 (March-April 2013) Seasons in the Cellars: Finding History in Colonial Cellar Holes ........ By Dave Wise

Finding a cellar hole or stone foundation from over 200 years ago is among the more exciting things a digger can discover in the woods. At least, until the metal detectors reveal what’s below the surface.

The Relic Volcano of Port Hudson ........ By William Spedale

Countless relics left from the Civil War actions at Port Hudson have been recovered over the years, and even today the area still manages to give up a few surprises.

Reverse Research ........

By William Plummer It is always recommended to research a site ahead of time. But when relics are discovered by accident, it is necessary to approach the research as a follow-up action to discover more about the site.

The Dreaded Pasture ........ By Mike Whitfield

Sometimes an historical hunt location can vary between productive and nonproductive with no reasonable explanation. Could it be jinxed? Maybe for some, but not for everyone.

Yes, We Do Read Them!........ By Anita Holcombe We try to stay informed of our subscribers’ wants and needs by reading every questionnaire that is filled out on the renewal forms. Now, we share a few of them — and our responses — with you. How Did I Know That?........ By Charles Harris

No matter what era you enjoy collecting, there is a lot to be learned from museums. Whether you are a columnist for a major hobby magazine or just someone curious about their finds, visiting museums can really pay off.

Students of History........ By Darrell Woodall

It is important for the next generation to learn about artifact recovery. In Georgia, teens worked at a known historical site along with both archaeologists and metal detectorists — surely the best way to learn about relics!


Volume 9, Issue 3 (May-June 2013) More Than “Just Dug” ........ By Butch Holcombe

Almost any historic accoutrement plate is worthy of appearing in our “Just Dug” section. But every so often, one comes along that is worthy of more. This is one such artifact.

Finding Junk ........ By Steve Phillips, Joseph Thatcher, and Thomas Thatcher It is among the rarest Civil War related artifacts ever recovered, and it was found by a hobbyist with a metal detector. Read about its discovery by the digger, and its history by the inventor’s descendants. The Mystery of the Burwell Plantation ........ By Bill Dancy

When two detecting partners discover they have been researching the same colonial site, it stands to reason that they’d locate and hunt® it together.

Introducing the Future to the Past ........ By Jim Roberson

When this author’s daughter recently became interested in the “old rocks” in their front yard, he took her and a couple of her friends to a productive site to let them find some real fossils and arrowheads.

A Tale of Two Whitworths ........ By Billy Smith To find one Whitworth bullet is a rarity. Finding two in a week is a dream come true. How Did a Cherokee Indian Nation Button Get Into My Utah Backyard? When a rare 19th century button turned up in this author’s garden, he had to find out more.

........ By Robert Hale

American Digger® on the Road: Washington State ........ By John Velke Read of the author’s introduction to city park hunting in Washington State.

Rum Runner Relics of the Lizzie D ........ By Captain Dan Berg

Records say the Lizzie D was nothing more than a tug boat when she sank in 1922. But the bottles founds ay otherwise.

Volume 9, Issue 4 (July-August 2013) A Lifetime of Relic Hunting: A Visit with Dick Hammond ........ By John Velke

He has done a lot in his life: milking cows at the family dairy farm, playing in a band, and sorting mail for $1.98/hour. But perhaps Dick Hammond’s most interesting accolades concern his relic hunting, which began in 1955.

Overtime! ........ By Larry Soper When confronted with the decision to either work overtime at his job, or spend the day hunting a site he’d previously done well at, the author chose the latter, and struck gold in Nevada. DIV XXIII: Tales from the Diggin’ Side ........ Compiled by Butch and Anita Holcombe

Brandy Station once again yielded its historical artifacts for the most recent Diggin’ In Virginia event, and once again American Digger® was there. But this time, we let the participants tell the story.

Lost & Found ........ By B. J. Lucero

Finding historical relics from a Colorado Indian War era fort is nice, but there is nothing quite as rewarding as finding — and returning — a long lost personal keepsake. This history hunter was able to do both.

Getting the Most from Your Detector: The Fisher F75

........ By Quindy D. Robertson This author shares some of the tricks he has learned with his Fisher F75 detector.

The Mysterious Bullet of Malcolm Swann ........ By Maj. David Kummer

The fired Civil War bullet sat over the fireplace for decades, yet the owner had little information beyond family legend. This collector jumped at the chance to help discover more of the story.

Discovery at Grand Bay ........ By Michael Chaplan

A trip to a West Indies island to search for a 1700s plantation ends with the discovery of aa ancient civilization.


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Volume 9, Issue 5 (September-October 2013) The Day ........ By Bryan Jordan What’s better than that special day when you discover the find of a lifetime? How about two finds of a lifetime? From Texas to Tennessee ........ By Quindy D. Robertson

The “Tennessee Trio” are no strangers to mid 1800s relics. But when an 1830s Republic of Texas button was dug in a Civil War camp, it surprised even them.

Double Time ........ By Ron Haden

To find a single Civil War musket is outstanding. But two in a week with intact wooden stocks is incredible.

An Introduction To Colonial Bottle Seals ........ By Bill Dancy

Glass seals are far more than fancy decorations; they can help unlock the mysteries of early colonial sites.

Getting the Most From Your Detector: The Minelab CTX3030 ........ By Gary T. Drayton

This author tells his tips and tricks of how to do even better beach and water hunting with the Minelab CTX3030.

Four of 3,000 ........® By Hardy Russell Few museums even own a 371st Regimental World War I medals struck, few museums own one. But thanks to a digger’s gift, at least one is now on public display. Helping Out ........ By Adam Ensign Archaeologists are seeing the benefits of working with detectorists. Here’s one account of how hobbyists helped on a dig. Newbie on the Lynx ........ By Travis Tonn

This new prospector discovered a temporary cure for gold fever that was almost in his own backyard.

Volume 9, Issue 6 (November-December 2013) Reflections of the Old Mill ........ By Peter Schichtel

It all started with an old bottle and a Native American artifact found years ago. It ended several decades later with a metal detector, a collector seasoned by time and, most importantly, discovering the site’s true identity.

The Good Ol’ Days ........ By Dennis Cox Bruce Deem began searching for Civil War artifacts in 1959, and still relic hunts several times a week. Lucky at ID Tags ........ By Frank L. Davido

A lucky few diggers find a single Civil War soldier’s identification tag. But this detectorist has recovered four.

Searching for History at the Isonzo Front ........ By Sašo Skok

When child's first find is a military bayonet, and the child lives at a major World War I battle site, the die is cast.

Getting the Most from Your Detector: the Garrett AT Gold

........ By Dan Frezza We continue our series of letting detectorists tell how to best use their detectors, this time from a Garrett AT Gold relic hunter.

Decoding the Secrets of Colonial Clay Pipes ........By Bill Dancy Clay pipes from the 18th and 19th century are not overly rare, though they can be the key to dating a site. But only if one knows how to date the pipes themselves. This article helps unravel the mystery. Turn to Stone ........ By Jim Roberson Fossils are likely the oldest link to the living past that collectors will ever encounter, and speak to us of an era long before mankind even existed. Yet they are all around us and are often easily accessible.

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Note some issues may be sold out, orders subject to availability



2013 American Digger Magazine Sampler 速


2013 american digger sampler  

Highlights of American Digger Magazine, Jan-Dec 2013, (Vol 9, Issues 1-6).

2013 american digger sampler  

Highlights of American Digger Magazine, Jan-Dec 2013, (Vol 9, Issues 1-6).