American Digger American Digger
The Magazine for Diggers and Collectors Vol. 11
The Magazine for Diggers and Collectors
American Digger MORE OF THE COLONIAL Vol. 11 The Magazine for Diggers and Collectors TRIFECTA
BOTTLE Issue 1 IN BONANZA PENNSYLVANIA
2015-2016 SAMPLER Vol. 11
The Magazine for Diggers and Collectors
DIGGERS FIND RARE COMPLETING NAVY BUCKLE
THE CIVIL WAR RELICS OF CULPEPER COUNTY
THE COLONIAL TRIFECTA
ARTIFACTS OF THE TEXAS MILITARY INSTITUTE
VETERANS’ PINS CONFEDERACY OR JUST STATE PRIDE?
GROWING UP IN ARROWHEAD COUNTRY
METAL DETECTING FOR WWII HISTORY IN TAIWAN
RELIC HUNTING A CIVIL WAR USCT OF CAMP A LIFETIME RELIC
HUNTING: THE BOBBY RAMER COLLECTION FIND OF GLASS EYE AT PRIVY PROVIDES CHICKAMAUGA LOOK INTO PAST DUMP DIG YIELDS CANTEENS PLUS RECENT FINDS, IDENTIFICATIONS, & MUCH MORE! WWII DOG TAGS PROVIDE LINKS TO AMERICAN HEROES
SURRENDER CAMPS OF THE
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RETURNING AN SPICE OF LIFE OLD SOLDIER’S MEMORABILIA
MISMATCHED PAIRS PRESENT MYSTERIES
The Magazine for Diggers and Collectors PLUS RECENT FINDS, IDENTIFICATIONS, & MUCH MORE!
SILVER COINS OF THE COMMONWEALTH
BEYOND RARE: LORD BALTIMORE SILVER SIXPENCE RARE AGATE & STONE BLADE CREATE A BOND
AN AMERICAN DIGGER FINDS AN ENGLISH ARCHAEOLOGICAL TREASURE
AN I.D. STENCIL AND THE CONFEDERATE WHO OWNED IT
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CIVIL WAR CAMPS OF Vol. 11 CULPEPPER
May-June, 2015 $6.95 USA
The Magazine for Diggers and Collectors
A digital sampling ® of American Digger Magazine,Volume 11, Issue 1-6
THE SNAKES OF MILITARY HISTORY
SOCIAL MEDIA HELPS RETURN WWII KEEPSAKE
30 YEARS OF MISSISSIPPI RELIC MEMORIES WATER HUNTING FOR CIVIL WAR RELICS INITIALS LEAD TO AN INDIAN WAR SOLDIER
SHIP BUILDER’S LEGACY RECOVERED
A DETECTORIST ...Plus Recent Finds, GIVES BACK TO Relic Identification, HOMEOWNER and Much More!
WWII ARTIFACTS OF HURTGEN FOREST
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2015 American Digger Magazine Sampler
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A note from the publisher Dear Reader, It's time share just a few of the highlights of American Digger® magazine from 2015. Not only does this give regular readers easier access to selected favorites from the year, but also introduces us to 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. In this, the 2015 American Digger® Magazine Sampler, you’ll find just a fraction of what our regular readers enjoyed during the year. You’ll find actual articles and items from our regular print and digital editions. Included are notes as to which issues these appeared in, making it an easy task to order either that particular hard copy (if in stock) or the digital edition. Throughout, you’ll notice hyper-linked notes and advertisements, meaning that even 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. Many of these advertisers have supported us by running continuous advertisements during all of the 2015 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! Our goal in this Sampler, as in the years past, is not to recap the most spectacular finds, or highlight the best written articles, but rather to give an average sampling of what was seen in American Digger® magazine, Volume 111, Issue 1-6 (January-December, 2015). If you have not read our publication before in its hard copy form, or enjoyed it in its 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 sampling of American Digger®, 2015, in full color and free online. Whether you are a longtime reader (we are entering our 12 th 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. Despite the name, our content is not 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 an index of all articles published in 2015 by American Digger®. If you would like to read any of the articles not included in this Sampler, please click the links given to order a particular back issue. You may also call 770-362-8671 or visit www.americandigger.com. Note that back issues in hard copy often sell out, so we suggest you order as soon as you find the issue(s) that you desire. If an issue is sold out, don’t despair! We also offer our entire past archives digitally on CD. In 2015 there were well over 50 full length articles, 24 regular columns, and hundreds of recently found items. Those shown in this sampler are but a small fraction published in 2015. If you want to experience the hobby magazine everyone is talking about, we suggest you subscribe and have each issue delivered to your home or office, or order our digital editions at www.americandigger.com. If you like digging, collecting, or just keeping abreast with artifacts, you won’t be sorry! Regards, Butch Holcombe. Publisher American Digger® Magazine
2015 American Digger® Magazine Sampler
We wish to thank the following advertisers for their support of American Digger® magazine. Please visit their ads on the pages shown below: Anderson Detector Shafts (pg 66) Big Shanty (pg 71) C.S. Sentinel Forum (pg 18) Charlie Harris (pg 66) Depths of History (pg 62) Electroscope (pg 54) FMDAC (pg 55) FOBHC (pg 57) Fisher (pg 76) Garrett (pg 2) Garrett (pg 77) Gettysburg Electronics (pg 9) Gettysburg Segway Tours (pg 70) Greybird Publishers (pg 43) Greybird Relics (pg 71) Ground EFX (pg 42) High Plains Prospectors (pg 41) Joshua's Attic (pg 29) Kellyco (pg 30) Mike Kent Shows (pg 66) My Treasure Spot (pg 66) Outdoor Outfitters (pg 3) Picket Post/ Lee’s Headquarters (pg 10) Pinnacle Web (pg 71) Predator Tools (pg 55) Relic Hunter Supply (pg 70) Relic Roundup (pg 64) Shiloh Relics (pg 11) Shiloh Relics (pg 71) Southern Metal Detectors (pg 70) Stone's River (pg 69) Tom's Treasures Forum (pg 66) White's Electronics (pg 51) XP Deus (pg 37) For information on advertising in any of the American Digger® media venues (print, digital, radio, or internet) please visit us on page 67 of this issue, or call (770) 362-8671 to find out more. You may also email email@example.com
For Diggers and Collectors
2015 Sampler THE CIVIL WAR RELICS OF CULPEPER COUNTY:
Once again, the fields and woods near Brandy Station were alive with those who sought to recover historic relics lost here during the American Civil War. By Butch Holcombe
A PENNSYLVANIA TRASH PIT
When a trench is cut for a water line at a 1753 house site, it’s time to see what is unearthed. In this case, it was a lot of great bottles, reasures are as you historical relics, and more. find them, be it gold and silver (right) or By Jack Brumbach. a simple Civil War bullet
In the end, all that was left of the struggle was a reunited Union, broken lives, and bits of broken (shown in situ above). equipment left along the way. RelBoth were recovered at ics, as it were. the October 2014 Diggin’ It is those artifacts that this organized dig recovers, rescued In Virginia event, held from further deterioration in the in Culpeper County, harsh red soil and fertilized fields Virginia, and both are of the surrounding areas. There is just as important from a no “encapsulation” here, at least for the metal artifacts; each year results historical perspective. in more and more damage underArmy of the Republic) veterans’ buttons prove ground.helped Local relic hunters attest to Throughout most of the American Civil mint condition at leastcounty somewasofoccupied the people filledalmost this trash dump butWar, that this Virginia by whofinding tons only a few decades troopshad from sides of the conflict. a both connection with the Not Civil War. This winter I planago. Today, otherwise identical buttons are often only was it the host of the Civil War’s largest to spend some time researching names in the family recovered in broken pieces. cavalry battle (Brandy Station), battles also cemetery on another part of the property, hoping to get aarchaeoWhile many scholastic raged at Cedar Mountain and Kelly’s Ford.
An American Digger Finds an English treasure
When a detectorist headed across the pond to metal detect, he had no idea that his find would lead to an archaeological discovery of monumental importance. By Butch Holcombe
Pg. 48 Pg. 44
Personal it found in t dump includ collapsible spit salt shaker, trumpet, eye g and clay mar logical groups decry such large relic found w hunts, citing loss of contextAlso and undisturbed strata, they forget that, Decorative Bi here, undisturbed strata was lost shown belo long ago because of plowing. The exception might be the deeper hut sites and trash pits; but with several hundred thousand of these in just Culpeper alone, it would be impossible to fund archaeological digs of even a minute fraction of them. As to context, the troop activities were well documented at the time, and with just a little research a student of history can discover who was where at any given time. Still, relic hunters strive to know even more about the soldier who last held that common Minié ball, or
COINS OF THE COMMONWEALTH good idea of who was here. Finding colonial-era silver coins goes far beyond mere numismatic Relics found by Nathan Long show the of the farm fields near Brandy Station. Ltheeft:effects interests. They also provide an important historic perspective ofs we tunneled in to the sidewall of Above: pit, These gold coins and silver half dollars, we found large crocks that had collapsed into lying underneath a Union eagle breastplate, were early America. themselves. I suffered numerous slices found on by Jeff Brown, who was using a White’s my fingers from all the shards of glass, TDI.even A video of the find as it happened can be seen By Bill Dancy by scanning the QR code (right) with
Seems Like Old Times With no-till farming now the norm, it is becoming much harder to make good surface finds at Native American sites. But when a site is deep plowed, everything changes. By Quindy D. Robertson
though I wore gloves. We would dig as deep as we could, wasDIV undertaken a cellphone. On the title page, then cut the sides down. We shoveledand tons cleaning of dirt but and it excavation participants trash pit. find A About didn’t feel like work, at least until the end of the day. following a chanceexcavate metaladetector of po-The Author photo of a nearby winter camp shows Jack Brumbach is a cancer survi After the second weekend of digging, theassemblage bottles tential grave at the site. The initial explorthe sturdy huts built by the soldiers. cellar of wastwo children. Hi proudAfather were getting few and far between. I knew all gooddug things for each dwelling. Such hut sitesknows can contain atory hole was first cleaned to help characterised [sic] Karen, his love of history a must come to an end. Not having anywhere else toa dig, plethora of artifacts. the recorded Where pos-to go metal de lets him slip away I slowly went through the pile of findspot, soil from the backhoe. and then excavated. ® letting chores wait for another Digger 23 sible thewere more delicate vessels like2015 theAmerican remains of the Here, three more blob top beer bottles unearthed, all January-February, in one piece. Tommy was yelling at me about being lucky, vessel, were bulk lifted.” bronze jug and cremation Some of the hammered silver coins dug by the author. but I’ll take luck over skill any day! Excavation Report, Oxford Archeology As of this writing (a1600s. month later), we are all still The early settlers didn’t bring over a large quantity of intentionally buried, but the owner must have died before their coins, and the few that crossed the Atlantic in their pockets cleaning our finds. Researching and cataloging will takehad whereabouts could be revealed. A mix of silver sixpences, little use in the fledgling colony except for keepsakes or trade shillings, and half crowns from the 1560s through the 1640s place in our free time during the winter I increased estimate with the Indians. In the years months. following, due to trade provided for some very exciting recoveries. a result of the rapidly expanding tobacco economy, more coins have been around since the Iron Age, and that we have dug four orascoinage fivewashundred bottles. I also think wereHammered brought into the colony. produced by placing a blank piece of silver, or planchet, By the mid-17th century many aristocratic supporters of the correct weight in between two dies. The upper die was there could be another dump nearby. I hope everyone of Charles I were forced toall flee of England and take theirand vast then struck with anot hammerreported to produce the required removed artifacts possibly the image on reading this will get to take part into escape a dump dig. orThis trulythat both sides. Sometimes the planchet was heated before the wealth with them imprisonment death during civil war.fearing This helped toharassment infuse the colony with sigto improve the quality. to Hammered the early find, andstrike loss of access the coins siteof if is a great part of a greatcountry’s hobby. nificant quantities of “hamcolonial period bear the bust
ecause of deep plowing, points such as these (left and right) were fully exposed after a hard rain. The privately-owned middle Tennessee Classical Glass Sometimes beauty canhere not be described in words. It has to be seen. field (shown and on previous Such was the 2015 FOBHC Southern Regional National Show in page) borders Chattanooga, Tennessee. a river once heavily An American Digger Pictorial traveled by the Native Americans.
of the reigning monarch on professional archaeologists were Thiscalled freshly dugin. The detectorists the obverse, and usually a Charles I shilling shield or coat of arms would also likely not have recognized the significance of– plus dates to the 1640s. a date, in most cases – on the It was one of the reverse. The direction the the find, and probably wouldn’t have even recognized it as many hammered bust faced was reversed when silver coins a new king or queen came a burial (the cremated remainsrecovered had now by Bill returned to soil). into power. Most hammered at an early contained a mint If the detectorist did recognizeDancy isVirginia as asite.burial,coins he also probably mark which took the form of a small letter, number or would have gently covered it back up, perhaps even afraid July-August, 2015 American Digger 25 to alert any authorities lest he be dubbed a “grave robber.” The history would be lost, likely hidden away underground March-April, virtually forever until there would have been nothing left2015 to find. Yet, because of the solid agreement presented by the PAS, the find was reported, the detectorist was deemed a hero rather than a vandal, and the world can now read a full report of the findings.
mered” silver coinage dating back to Elizabethan times. A few years ago I accidentally discovered two scattered caches of these hammered coins at a very early land patent site here in southeast Virginia that belonged to one of those gentlemen who took flight across the Atlantic. The coins appeared to be
In 2015, we published over 40 feature articles like the ones seen here. This is just a sampling of what the year in American Digger offered. just needed a good, hard rain to expose the flint and see what happened to those freelance writers are theartifacts best in the industry! Want to write if Steve’s prediction Our about recovering would come 6 2015 American Digger® Magazine Sampler for American Digger ? Click here for writer guidelines. to fruition. We had to wait over a week for the rain. He wed prior to the 1990s. ®
D Americantog Di
We an in for det of bea som in
Founded in 2004 by those that love the hobby
The Magazine for Diggers and Collectors Publisher
American D-Mail……….8 Just Dug…………….......12 Q&A....……….….……..18 Stumpt.............................20 News-n-Views.................60 Product Reviews..............62 Dirt Diaries......................65 What’s The Point............69 The Hole Truth………....75
Photographer/Consultant Charles S. Harris
Wylene Holcombe John Velke Bill Baab
Teresa Harris Eric Garland
Dennis Cox, William Leigh III, Jack Masters, Jack Melton, Mike O’Donnell, Jim Roberson, Mike Singer, Bob Spratley, Jim Thomas, Don Troiani.
“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.
An assortment of 2015 covers of the magazine for digger 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, military 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!
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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!
Digging Through Our Mail Box… Got a comment or question? Write or e-mail us! Intentional Artifact Destruction (Re: “News-n-Views,” American Digger®, Vol. 10, Issue 6.) I wish someone—perhaps a lawyer who metal detects or is into history preservation—would file a complaint about those Civil War shells being intentionally destroyed. I know of an example around here where a developer bulldozed a barn. The developer was eventually ordered by a court to buy another barn, have it brought to the location, and restore it to look exactly like the one he destroyed. Can you imagine if a court ordered those responsible for blowing up these shells to find every single fragment and glue as many as possible back together? They would think twice about doing it again. Not very realistic, I guess, but it sure would be nice if it could be done. Nathan Long Shamokin, Pennsylvania The column, which reported 180 previously disarmed Civil War artillery projectiles being intentionally blown up by an Army EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) unit in South Glenn Falls, NY, struck a nerve with many artillery collectors and even some museums. It seems the definition of “properly disarmed” will become more important in the quest to prevent such destruction. There are a handful of private individuals who can safely disarm antique black powder artillery projectiles, and their services have been utilized by hundreds, if not thousands, of diggers and collectors of Civil War artillery. We would love to see a certification program for these disarmers approved by the EOD and other “bomb squads,” which would prevent any properly disarmed shell from being destroyed. But, like your vision of their reconstructing the shells, we doubt it will ever happen.-AD (Originally published in Volume 11, Issue 1)
Williams Cleaner Camp
In Quindy Robertson’s article, “Williams Cleaner Camp,” (American Digger®, Volume 10, Issue 6), the author asks the question of why so many Williams Cleaner bullets were found at the camp. I have also asked myself this question as to the profusion of these bullets found on the battlefield of Bentonville, North Carolina. I contacted Dean Thomas of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, who wrote Roundball to Rimfire (four volumes), and Confederate Labs and Arsenals (three volumes). In my opinion, these volumes are the definitive work on bullets of the Civil War. This is what Mr. Thomas had to say: There were so many Williams Cleaners made that the arsenals were, at this
2015 American Digger® Magazine Sampler
“That’s strange... I had a great signal and, poof! It’s gone, just like that.”
late date in the war (1864), sending out all they could. When Sherman’s army refitted at Savannah, they must have been loaded down with these bullets. As to the Williams Cleaner camp, Dean told me that this late in the war, this camp’s supplies were coming from Nashville, Tennessee (and undoubtedly included plenty of the Williams Cleaners). I would suggest reading Roundball to Rimfire: Part One, in which Dean tells the history of the Williams Cleaner bullet. Mike Whitfield Greensboro, NC We know of no other person who has researched Civil War small arms ammunition more thoroughly than Dean Thomas, and we believe his information on Williams Cleaners to be correct. Over the years, we also have noted a large number of Type III Williams Cleaners (the type spotlighted in Quindy’s article) found in 1864 and 1865 sites, particularly those of the Western Campaign. Until Roundball to Rimfire was released, we (like many others) assumed that only one Williams Cleaner per 10 Minie bullets were issued throughout the war. In fact, in editing the “Williams Cleaner Camp,” we inadvertently passed along that misconception, due to no fault of the author. It wasn’t until reading the book you mentioned that we realized that the number was increased to three per package as the war continued on, and six per package by late 1864. In a private conversation, Dean also told us he even knows of a full case of 1,000 Type III Williams Cleaner bullets disposed of near Cheraw, South Carolina during the
Carolinas Campaign. Bravo, Dean, for clearing up such
long-held misconceptions about the misunderstood Williams Cleaners, and for bringing 19th-century bullet collecting into the 21st century.-AD (Originally published in Volume 11, Issue 2)
A Note From Russia
sure I will wear your shirt or hat with the symbol of your club while searching for coins and antiques. In our town, there is a club (www.piterklad.ru). I am an active member, and 2-3 times a year we organize travel to search, share experiences and discuss the findings. If someone wants to visit Russia in our city of Saint Petersburg, is quite possible to go and look for coins in the fields [during] plowing from April to November. You can take a rental unit for a few days to not carry your device in another country. Please contact me at the address below. Valery Sidorov Basseynaya street 71-93 Saint Peterburg, Russia 196211
I live in Russia in Sankt-Peterburg [Saint Petersburg] and search in the Leningrad region from March to December and have hunted over 4 years [with] a Garrett AT Pro and XP Deus. Where I live has a long history and coins since the 10th century AD. Coins that I found start with the 15th century, [and include] a silver penny of Ivan IV (the Terrible), A silver penny of Peter I, and 1620-1700 copper and silver We appreciate hearing from you, and hope that detectorists Swedish coins. In 2014, I went in search of coins more than from other parts of the globe will contact you concerning 50 times and found 340 coins [including] 15 pieces of silthis hobby that we all share. We have included your full ver. In addition to the coins [I] have such finds as a pectoral address to facilitate contact. Despite differences in language cross, icons, rings and bells. Last season, I found two silver and customs, we are all a part of the metal detecting and rings and two gold cross rings. Unfortunately a lot of these collecting family, no matter where in the world we are.-AD findings are casings from bullets and fragments of shells; (Originally published in Volume 11, Issue 3) in our area was fighting in the First and Second World War. I will be very grateful if you send me information about finding non-ferrous metals and clubs The Chickamauga Dump Digs of your country. I will be glad to reI enjoyed reading the article by Be a part of our print and digital publication ceive magazines, brochures, club Charlie Harris, “The Chickamauga ...click here and send us a message! badges and patches. With great pleaDump Digs” (American Digger®
Volume 11, Issue 3). A couple of things caught my attention. The American flag pin as shown in the article was used at least through WWII; I found a small one with a threaded stud for attachment in a WWII training camp. The dog tag, however, really stood out for me. I believe this is an Army issue model 1906, the first one issued by the War Department. General Orders no. 204 states, “An aluminum tag size of a half dollar (30mm) stamped with the name, rank, company, regiment or corps of the wearer.” The placement of the information on the tag in the article follows the guidelines for this issue. The only identification tags issued during the Spanish American War were either by the state or the Red Cross and these are easily distinguished from the army issue. In some cases, the soldier’s duty was listed in lieu of rank, and the “MUS” probably does indicate musician, I have one listing “BUGLER.” Also, there should be a “C” in front of the “O” indicating company. Before it was melted, I suspect it read “JOHN M MAGEE / MUS / CO / C / 11 INF.” I hope this information is useful. Bill Jones Van Buren Co., Tennessee Thank you for this valuable insight. Small patriotic flag pins have been around in some form ever since the Civil War era and are still in use today. The best way to date them is to check the fastening method. Early examples had a wire or T-bar fastener, while later ones had a stud arrangement. Unfortunately, it is impossible to tell what fastener the pin found at the dump utilized. As to the identification tag, it appears you are correct. While identification tags did exist during the Spanish American War, they were not general government issue and came in a multitude of designs.-AD (Originally published in Volume 11, Issue 4) Just Dug Texas Buckle Just a comment on the Texas buckle in “Just Dug” (Volume 11 Issue 4). The buckle found by Bob Turner is the Civil War pe-
2015 American Digger® Magazine Sampler
riod buckle. The first attached image (shown at right) is of (1 top) Bob’s buckle, (2) Sydney Kerksis Plates and Buckles of the American Military, 1795-1874, and (3) Steve Mullinax’s Confederate Belt Buckles & Plates. You can see that the line pattern on Bob’s matches that listed in Kerksis book and that is the Civil War period buckle. The line pattern on the Mullinax sample is double lined and this is the post Civil War buckle. The image (at right) is of five of the Civil War period buckles found over five years in the late 1980s and early 1990s by five Indian Territory Treasure Hunters Club members. The last one shown with the belt was found in an antique shop in the Kansas City area by a former member and he got a heck of a buy. The first four were found detecting in three Civil War sites spread out over the Choctaw Nation, Creek Nation, and Cherokee Nation in Indian Territory (Oklahoma). All three sites were used by multiple Texas regiments, some times as many as three Texas regiments. With the number found there had to be at least one Texas regiment that was equipped with these buckles. The black that can be seen on two is probably silver oxide; it is possible the buckles had a silver wash. When these were found I tried to determine which regiment would have had them and had it down to one of four regiments before leaving it behind 20 years ago. After these turned up I contacted
a friend that was a dealer in Civil War artifacts to see if he had ever seen one. He had actually sold one. The buyer was [a very At American Digger® magazine, noted Confederate buckle authority]. I talked to the buyer and we want to hear from our readers! he told me that the Kerksis image was the Civil War period buckle, andreputation the imagewas in Mullinax’s Click here toDorfman send us a D-mail! Now my at stake and book to addwas in- the post-Civil that Dr. delivered to the newspaper’s War buckle. sult to injury, the point’s provenance was now archaeologist after the point was published. Indian Treasure Hunters Club tainted.Territory This so-called “professional” had gone The man was shamed and for good reason. Tulsa, out ofOklahoma his way to slam me and I had to react. My PerhapsIinthink the future, this reckless professional and the Waco Guards. that story started around redemption, however, was to come from an unwill take a few moments to acknowledge the the 1950s or 60s, prior to any serious research. I would usual and completely unexpected place. contributions of serious amateurs. Honestly, Rarely have artifacts produced as much of an enigsay there is a small possibility these star plates date though, I wouldn’t take any bets on it. passed as I allowed anger toand we wish ma Weeks as these mysterious starmy buckles from the war, but it is more likely they were commercial I summarize this weird and somewhat comidiminish and develop a viable plan C. One day, that we had a definitive answer. However, when we items sold later.” cal (but lately all too common) tale by asking at an auction, a rather distinguished looking put an item in the magazine, we have to be careful to nevUntil someone can provide a photo of a Civil War what should we, the nonprofessional collector, elderly gentleman strolled over to my table. He er assume or second guess an artifact’s era and pass it on soldier wearing one of these, or perhaps a catalogue take away from it? Political correctness andil-an interested in my coprolites, which asseemed fact. Itvery would be a discredit to the collecting world to lustration, or regulations these sense wereofordered emotionallysaying overcharged what is or hisare 75 million years old fish feces (you read that state an item as positively being from a certain era unless worn, we can’t say they are of Civil War in provenance, torically right have infected our society like an right) retrieved from the local creeks. we are 100% certain. In the caption in “Just Dug,” we just as we can’t out-of-control say they arevirus. post war without equally The gentleman, Don Dorfman, Ph.D was never claimed it was either post or wartime, saying simimport documentation. We can that we don’t know, It is now threesay times as hard to collect, prehead of the Marine Biology Department at the ply “While some believe these buckles were associated and we welcome new evidence to help confirm their provserve and report finds at a local level. All the avUniversity of Monmouth (West Long Branch, with the Waco Guards, a Texas militia unit, other colenance once and for all.-AD erage citizen is supposed to do is visit museums New Jersey). Don had both serious academic lectors consider War era because of the (Originally published VolumeChannel. 11, Issue 5)as Ameriand watch theinHistory We, credentials and anthem openpost-Civil minded attitude. Most riveted tongue construction.” While you have given the can citizens, still have the right to collect and importantly, he gladly acknowledged the contricase for them being Civil War era, here is the evidence long as weObservation do it with permission and stay Just dig, DugasBayonet butions of amateurs to science and was fascinatsome thatthe assumption: within the bounds of the law. It is neither a right On page 12, bottom center photo ed byuse myagainst finds. After Dalton point debacle, 1- The “line” theory never been proven nor12, an Issue obligation to follow in lock step behind (Just Dug, Volume 3), you Don became my ace in thehas hole. Professors pub- to date the who hold buckle a certain era. lish like atorabbit making bunnies and soon we or the owner has those identified thisdegrees. as a The margins, however, are narrowing and the eyes (and voices) of those 2The riveted tongue construction points to post war. teamed up to publish a series of scientific articles bayonet modified as a pick. I take exwho would condemn 3- The factfinds. thatThe most are dug you in Civil War sites not TheisDalton Point which based on my first was guessed ception to that attribution. It has been us are everywhere. proof, asthen post-war often show up was in unexit 100% on coprolites, others items followed. I evenrejected for publimodified as a candle holder. A solPostscript tually asked if he could help me with the long pected places. cation by the der newspalikely did it. You could then use In 2010, I discovered an amazing 5.5 inch neglected Dalton piece. 4- In the (1991) expanded edition of Mullinax’sper’s book,archaeologist. it to knock into a tree or tree stump stemmed Paleo point in Marlboro, New Jersey. Don knew has the antagonistic archaeologist and the buckle been removed. __________ at a camp site or poke into the wall It was perfect Paleo point number two and, of confided that he had reputation forthere arrogance 5- In all Civil Wara relic books, are mistakes and of a dug out or fox hole. When you course, it had to be recorded. Unfortunately, I even among his peers. As for instance, my Dalton in point, misidentifications. For Francis Lord’s pulled up and many left you simply pulled I’d experienced almost went through of the same problems heCivil suggested we submit an article to the annual NewExcaJersey your candle holder out of what ever War Encyclopedia and Stanley Phillip’s half a decade earlier. It was a bit depressing; it felt like I’d never Archaeology Bulletin. This periodical annually highlights the you vated Relics, both classics, there are errors that were stuck it into and carried it on to gone through the vetting process. Thankfully, a local commercial Garden State’sbymost significant andlater. is highly corrected others many finds years Theprestigious same ap-in your next situation. monthly picked it up and did a better than expected job on the scientific of Don’s closestinfriends plies tocircles. KersisOne book, published 1974.was the managing Mac McAtee article. chief editor and,plate ironically enough, the newspaper’s archaeologist One noted collector says this: “I’ve seen other OakMore Ridge, Northmy Carolina recently, discovery of a partial mastodon skeleton also sat on the board of the magazine. The web that was being plates with tongues riveted like this one that appear to brought quite a bit more recognition. Finally! It only took woven around this single spear point was getting thick indeed! date 30 or 40 years after the war. I also don’t believe After looking again at the bayonet inand question, found by numerous phone calls, several interviews the backing of three In the spring of 2006 (almost a year after my find), the bulletin there was any wartime connection between this plate we also to be ain peopleWatkins, with Ph.D’s. But now I hadbelieve evolved.it Iwas nowmodified at least existed arrived with an accurate, objective write-up, and photos of the Glenn their eyes and thus, the find could be properly documented. The candlestick holder. This is just another example of soldier Dalton point. It was late in coming, but there it was: a literal media giveth and the media taketh away. But it should never be ingenuity, and how easy it is to misjudge an artifact’s use exercise in persistence and luck. able to rob a find of its provenance. 150 years after the fact.-AD The gravy on top of my ‘taters was the verbal dressing down (Originally published in Volume 11, Issue 6)
About See our back The issuesAuthor for many other Glenn Harbour has been digging collecting since great Volume 11 (2015)and D-Mails! his teenage yearsClick andhere hasfor traveled both the west and more info... the east coast extensively in his pursuits of the past. Although his degree is not in archaeology, he takes www.americandigger.com his hobby very seriously and considers himself to 11 be
Here’s what our readers are finding...
John Harris, after 30 years of relic hunting, recently found his first marked “CS” buckle in eastern Virginia. The belt plate was found on October 14, 2014 in an old roadbed 10 inches deep in hard clay. The scarce leadfilled variant has a “W” carved in the back, possibly for Wilcox’s Alabama Brigade. John recovered the AVC (Alabama Volunteer Corps) button 10 feet from the buckle, helping to add credence to that theory. Photos by John Harris
Blake Barnett was searching a site in southwest Texas and was rewarded with this nice piece of Native American history. The point, known as a Marshall, dates between the Middle Archaic to Woodland Periods, 6,0002,000 B.P. Blake found the stone artifact in November 2014. Photo by Blake Barnett
Kelly Rea and Ina Finn were detecting a Confederate soldier’s homesite near Suffolk Virginia when they struck gold. Kelly hit first by finding an 1851 $2.50 gold coin with a $1 dollar gold piece stuck to it. Within a short time, Ina located another $2.50 gold coin nearby. The coins were found in October 2014 with an XP Deus. Photos by Kelly Rea
Every issue of American Digger is packed full of recent finds from across the world, and of all kinds. These are just a small fraction of the almost 1,000 Recent artifact recoveries that appeared in American Digger Magazine in 2015. ® ® 12 122015 American Digger Magazine Sampler 2015 American Digger Magazine Sampler
Robert Bohrn recovered this gold signet ring (the stone is a red carnelian) while relic hunting a Civil War campsite in the South Carolina Lowcountry. Such high quality and valuable jewelry would most likely have belonged to an officer. While that was enough to make his day, during the same October 2014 hunt he also recovered the grouping shown. Included is an Enfield rifle nipple protector with chain, a hard rubber comb, a general staff cuff button, a ball button (believed worn by a member of the 76th Keystone Zouaves, who occupied the site), a cuff-size eagle “I” infantry button, a handmade lead ring, a broken kepi letter “H,” a watch chain, a broken camp mirror, and numerous general service eagle buttons and musket percussion caps. Photos by Robert Bohrn
Jason Foote was diving for megladon fossils when he recovered this five-inch tooth in late 2014. Also shown are teeth found by Jason and his wife, Mary Alice, during 2014. All were found in South Carolina and North Carolina. Megalodons (an extinct giant shark) prowled much of the world 2.6 to 15.9 million years ago. The megladon that lost the five-inch tooth shown above was approximately 40 feet long. More information about the Foote’s finds, including videos, can be found at www.DarkWaterMegs. com, or by scanning the QR code. Photos by Jason Foote
Miroslav Krejčí was detecting in the North Bohemia area of the Czech Republic and recovered this military artifact. The “1912/1913” Balkan War Cross was created in 1913 for Austro-Hungarian soldiers who had been mobilized during the Balkan Wars. Although Austria did not intervene in the wars, it led to tensions that laid the groundwork for the beginning of World War I with Austria’s declaration of war on Serbia. Miroslav made the finds on January 1 and 2, 2015. Photos by Miroslav Krejčí
Over 800 Just Dug artifacts appeared in our 2015 issues! Click here to see more.
Abe Harrington, on finding a 1652 Pine Tree Shilling and 1664 Potosi Mint cob in November 2014: _________
“[I] found my holy grail just 14 months after my girlfriend, Kim, gave me my first new metal detector for my birthday. After a ton of research, I went to a site in midcoast Maine on November 9th, 2014. I got a deep signal with my Teknetics T2 SE and dug this 1652 Pine Tree Shilling... four feet away I dug the 1664 Potosi Mint cob. .... [the Pine Tree Shilling] literally left me gasping for breath. It was an amazing moment. I wish I could bottle that feeling.” Photos by Abe Harrington
Wes Anderson dug this Civil War relic in Surry County, Virginia. The cast brass bit boss depicts the shield of the U.S. Topographical Engineers, which disbanded in 1863. Formed in 1813, this group was responsible for creating military maps and land surveys. According to Charlie Harris, “...often an area to be mapped was gridded and each square assigned to a different squad. After mapping every feature in that square, the individual squares were combined to make a final map of the entire area.” Wes also found a Confederate “block A” button nearby. He made the finds in January 2015 with an XP Deus. Photo by Wes Anderson
Over 800 Just Dug artifacts appeared in our 2015 issues! Click here to see more.
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Autumn Battles was hunting a field in Hardin County, Tennessee when she spotted what looked like an average-size stone point. Carefully removing it from the sand, she was shocked to find this four-inch-long Native American Dovetail drill. It is from the Early Archaic Period and believed between 6,0009,000 years old. Autumn found the artifact in February 2015. Photo by Autumn Battles
While hunting a 1619 land patent site in eastern Virginia, Bill Dancy’s first target was a 1580s German jetton. A short time later, while investigating a deep iron signal, Bill pulled out this scarce artifact — an early 1600s sword basket hilt. After considerable cleaning and conservation the fragile hilt is now stabilized and protected from further deterioration. Both finds were made in March 2015 with a Fisher F75 SE metal detector. Photos by Bill Dancy
Garrett Robbins found these Native American artifacts while searching private property near Sand Springs, Oklahoma. Shown is a Dalton Paleo Era projectile point (approximately 10,000 years old), a Sorters Bluff arrowhead made out of Kay County chert, and a Paleo Era drill. All were found in March 2015. Photos by Garrett Robbins
These are just a random sampling of the over 100 Just Dug entries found in EACH issue!
Michael Esposito was digging in a dump in Berkshire County, Massachusetts when he found this “HANBURY SMITH / N.Y. CONGRESS WATER” embossed bottle. Congress water was a mineral water from Congress Spring at Saratoga, New York, and bottled by several companies from the mid-to-late 1800s. This bottle was manufactured between 1865-1875. Michael dug it on April 9, 2015. Photo by Michael Esposito
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Louis Swidowski on finding this 1776 New Jersey copper, June 31, 2015: _________
“I found a beauty today at the farm [in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania]. I was on my way back to the car, and decided to leave the Minelab CTX 3030 on. I was looking down and saw green patina sticking out from the ground. I thought maybe a large cent? I find them around this location...but almost always toasted when they come out of the ground. I snapped a couple of pictures before I removed it, brushed the dirt from it and was surprised of the detail, but still not sure what it was until I Googled it.” Photos by Louis Swidowski
Scott Duncan dug this C.S.A. belt plate in the rain near Resaca, Georgia. Called an Atlanta Arsenal style, the buckle was believed made at that Georgia facility, although there is evidence that many were subcontracted to smaller shops throughout the southeast. The group photo shows Scott’s hunting buddies Heath Jones, Mike Newman, and Mike Cavender sharing the excitement only seconds after Scott unearthed the Confederate buckle. He found the relic at about four inches deep in July, 2015 with a Garrett AT Pro. Photos by Heath Jones
The husband and wife team of Ryan and Argentina Lillicotch recovered these artifacts recently in central Virginia. Included is a silver-plated U.S. plate, a flag staff tip, two Virginia buttons (including a one piece), an Alabama map button (face only), a Navy button, and a gold watch fob with a citrine stone. Photos by Angela Hall
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Over 500 Just Dug artifacts appeared in our 2014 issues! Click here to see more.
Brent Herold, on excavating this silver match safe from a solid block of concrete in July 2015: _________ “We started hunting this location [Augusta, Kansas] in October 2014. The 1890s property is three old city lots... on the main drag of our hometown founded in 1868. I use a White's MXT and Predator Little Eagle 58 shovel, and hunt with my sister-in-law Becky (White’s MXT) and my brother Brad (Minelab Excalibur ll and White’s Spectra V3i). [Among our better finds there were] a 1933 Chicago World’s Fair bracelet, a 1907 Indian Head cent, a 1904 Barber dime, a 1937 Walking Liberty half dollar and a 1956 Franklin half. The ‘super star’ from this location is this 1913 sterling silver match safe recovered from a broken sidewalk section. The signal was a perfect 85 quarter signal... I finally decided to crack the concrete. After a couple whacks the target popped off. I could see it was silver-looking but had a film of concrete. After cleaning [I saw it was engraved with initials and]... the date 1913. After some research I found that I had rescued a 1913 sterling-silver match safe.” Photo by Brent Herold,
Scott Oiler was digging out an early 1800s privy along the Ohio River and, at five-feet deep, recovered this extremely rare bottle. These whisky flasks were handed out by the Whig party to support their presidential candidate, William Harrison. The “hard cider” and “log cabin” images were seized upon by the Whig party in response to a newspaper’s statement intended to ridicule Harrison: “Give him a barrel of hard (alcoholic) cider and settle a pension of two thousand a year on him, and take my word for it, he will sit the remainder of his days in his log cabin.” How rare are these flasks? At a recent auction, one reportedly sold for over $12,000. Scott made the find on June 23, 2015. Photo by Anita Holcombe
Heath Jones was hunting a site in Resaca, Georgia and recovered this Confederate relic. Such solid cast brass “I” infantry buttons were used on many of the jackets issued to General Joseph Johnston’s Army of Tennessee while encamped in Dalton, Georgia during the winter of 1863-1864. When not digging Civil War relics, Heath is cohost of American Digger’s Relic Roundup show and sales director at Treasure Mountain Detectors. He made the find in July 2015 while using an XP Deus detector. Photo by Heath Jones
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Q&A With Charles Harris ings or lettering, with yours being made during the reign of Emperor
approved, the Albert Pike Consistory Building was erected in 1901 in Little Rock. After several fires, renovations, Te Tsung (1875-1908). and enlargements, the building now (American Digger Vol. 11, Issue 1) takes up a full block at its location on the corner of 8th and Scott Streets. Two double-headed eagle sculptures — the emblem of the Scottish Rite and depicted on the piece you found — watch over the entrance. So now we know a little bit about the Arkansas Consistory, but what is the item ere is a coin or token I found, but A box of fresh finds is shown you found? Although I could not find out I’m not sure exactly what it is or above, while at left are assort- for certain, my first guess was that it was how old it is. Can you help? ed bullets and cartridges. At the top piece of a ladder medal or ribJunius Swain right are a Henry rifle buttplate, bon made for the Consistory’s members, officers, or special visitors. However, padlock, and assorted pieces there are no hanging loops as are seen Chinese cash coins came about over anexploded you shed any light on this from 12 lb. Bormann on most ladder bars (although one may 2,000 years ago, originating from the piececannonballs. I found? It is castAll brass.were At fused have been soldered on at one time), and barter system, and were used up into first it looked like athe suspender found at or near fort. to loop a ribbon over the bottom portion the first half of the 20th century. Most adjuster, but now I’m not sure. What is would hide the word “CONSISTORY.” were copper discs with a square hole the Arkansas Consistory? Instead, I think this was a name in the center, which allowed the lowPat Cook badge, and the open area held a card value coins to be strung together to an hour of our arrival. My brother Scott, despite his unusually cables, a chain saw, and a one-mile stretch of road later stock nameplate. On the back, I can create higher denominations, with a short attention span, stuck with it. He ended theArkansas day with his cleared more The Consistory, oneof of the than 20 trees, the site has yielded relics for see three solder marks; the bottom one string of 1000 equal in value onebutton. first relic, a general service eagletocuff years. was Scottish Rite Masonicfour branches, puzzles me the most (it could it have had tael (approximately 37 have grams) of become pure aformed These expeditions now tradition, we Pike, a former Experience by and Albert Con- has taught me that anyone can scan the a loop soldered on, which would bring silver. The last Chinese cash coins have returned to the site a couple of times per year. Scott internet, place an order, and waddle to the mailbox for the federate officer who served as Sovereign the ladder bar idea back into play). The were produced inand 1911, continued is a “gearhead,” hisbut favorite part of these adventures is of the relics we allRites covet. But if you want to unearth them yourself, Grand Commander Scottish other two marks look like they once held to be usedand unofficially China until acquiring using thein equipment necessary to navigate the for especially the West, you need the kind of obsession, Southern Jurisdiction 32 yearsinuntil a T-bar pin, which was in use from the the mid-20th century. Although undatdifficult terrain and successfully put us at the persistence, and dedication shown by the men who lost these hissite, deathregardless in 1891. 1860s until the very early 1900s. ed, dynastyThree has different mark- two broken winch of each the season. Toyota Tundras, items 150 For years manyago. Also notice the inconsistent spacyears, the ing of the letters in “ARKANSAS” Master Maand “CONSISTORY.” This was not up sons in the to the usual quality of most Masonic western part medals or awards, meaning that it was of Arkansas made on a budget and not intended as had petitioned theaward. Author Based on all of the aAbout serious theEvan higher-ups Alvord lives on the West Coast and worksbadge as above, I think this was a name ina the State of for Veterans’ Affairs. He is obsessed psychologist that dates to the first days of the ArArkansas Conwith Civil War history the artifacts of theintime kansasand Consistory Building Little sistory the not spending time with his family, he period.forWhen Rock, and might even have been made Scottish Rites in the bottom of a privy or in the middle may be found in conjunction with its opening to Degrees. After of nowhere exploring the members West withor hisvisitors. brother, Scott. identify finally being
(American Digger Vol. 11, Issue 2)
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found this pewter piece a couple of years back. I was told it could be a belt plate for the British 3rd Regiment of Foot troops and used during the Revolutionary War. It measures 1-7/16 x 1-3/16 inches. John Lynch
When we first saw this little item at the Dalton (Georgia) Civil War Show, we all had a feeling as to what we thought it was, or more correctly, what we wanted it to be. We passed it around, inquiring as to its identity. Our first, and logical impression, was that it was somehow related to the dragon device used by the 3rd Regiment of Foot, in combat with the colonists about 17821783, especially in the Charleston, South Carolina area. There have been a couple of their solid cast brass buckles found there that were unearthed after one of the big hurricanes, and they are similar. But there are differences. Foremost, this is not a dragon on your piece, but a winged lion. Also, the size is much smaller than the 3rd Regiment plates, and the material is not brass (as were those found in Charleston). We sent photos of yours to Revolutionary War specialist (and American Digger® magazine consultant) Don Trioni, who confirmed that this piece is not related to the 3rd Regiment of Foot, or even from the era. Don notes,“It looks a lot like an Assyrian-type winged lion. These kinds of motifs became popular in the late 1800s to early 1900s after archaeological digs in the Middle East
became the rage. My guess is that it is a lady’s belt buckle from that period.” This also explains the weak fastening device that is now missing from the reverse side of this small buckle. The small size also points to being a woman’s decorative buckle rather than one that was used to support the accoutrements of war. Don’s explanation also helps point out that not everything that we think or want to think is reality. We really believed it was connected to the 3rd Regiment of Foot, but once the differences were pointed out, it became obvious that it was not military or even from the same era. Quite often there are some very valid explanations that disprove our hopes and wishes of what we think an item is. Despite the initial disappointment, such “bad news” can still be a very useful tool in learning.
These items, in various styles, are often dug up in areas that once were farmed or logged. While they can be Civil War era, there is never a guarantee of that. What you have is one end of a single-tree fitting that went on the end of the pole that was dragged behind horses and mules for pulling plows, logging equipment, or other implements. Yours is broken; originally the curved round
(American Digger Vol. 11, Issue 3)
piece would have looped over a short wooden pole and back onto itself. Shown above is an intact single tree, with the piece you found shown in detail. Complete single trees are often seen in antique stores and even rustic theme restaurants (think “Cracker Barrel” decor). (American Digger Vol. 11, Issue 4)
an you help me identify this piece? It almost looks like a large iron cooking spoon of some sort. It was found on Pine Mountain (Georgia) where Confederate General Polk was killed in 1864. Dave Rizk
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T P M
We don’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: email@example.com
U T S
Curt Hollifield dug this piece at a Civil War camp in Culpeper, Virginia, and is trying to find out what it is. It is a little over an inch square, thin, solid silver, and has an illegible design stamped into it. Although we can make out two circular borders, we cannot determine what the piece is nor what era it is from. Please let us know if you can shed more light on it. (American Digger Vol. 11, Issue 2)
Chris Carrol has us Stumpt with this button dug 20 miles northwest of Charleston, South Carolina in a Revolutionary War camp. The motto at the top is “PRO ARIS ET FOCIS,” Latin for “For God and Country.” It is hard to say what the original large letters were due to deterioration, but below them is a ribbon dated either 1720 or 1790. The button is one-piece and shows traces of silver plating. It is thought to be an officer’s button circa 1770-1800, but nothing else is known. We are hoping a reader can shed more light on it.
(American Digger Vol. 11, Issue 1)
(American Digger Vol. 11, Issue 4)
Got a find no one can identify? Send it to us and we’ll ask our readers via “Stumpt!
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Jeff Chamberlain dug this twopiece button backmarked “JACOB GMINDER.” The letters on the face seem to be “PAL,” but their order is unclear. Although our thoughts are that it’s a post-1865 railroad button, we can’t verify that. We hope a reader can tell us exactly what the letters stand for.
SOL VED Fobs found by (L-R) Jeff Staines, William Plummer, John Lynch, David Glover, and Anthony Cuva.
SOLVED! Hotel Room Key Fob Numerous readers contacted us to say that they believe the “starburst” tag that Jeff Staines dug (Stumpt, Issue 11, Volume 4) is a hotel key fob. Several sent photos of those they found, including the examples seen here and actually marked with 19th century hotel names. Although Jeff’s only had a crude stamped number, we suspect that it was possibly handmade and only stamped with a room number as a money saving measure. It was also suggested that the points (interestingly, all of these shown above have 18) were to make the tag just uncomfortable enough in one’s pocket to remind the guest to return the key before checking out. All in all, we believe the similarities are enough to call this mystery solved. (American Digger Vol. 11, Issue 5)
Solved! Model 1851 Sword Hook
1922 illustration of plates, as seen in The Automobile Storage Battery; Its Care And Repair, by 0. A. Witte
SOLVED! Manchester BATTERY plate Thanks to the miracle of YouTube and determination of Beau “Aqua Chigger” Ouimette, the identity of the above pieces has been solved. Beau had found a larger piece and, after sending it to us for publication, also posted it on his YouTube channel. Within 25 minutes, a sharp eyed fan correctly identified it as being from a “Manchester positive plate” used in stationary batteries during the early 1900s. (American Digger Vol. 11, Issue 5)
Although most people concurred that these items (above left) were sword hooks, no one was able to produce a photo of one still on the leather, proving that theory. That is, until Ron Rigney, who had dug one of the hooks, sent these photos (left) of a Model 1851 Sword Belt rig clearly showing one of the hooks attached. We can now rest easy, knowing that yet another relic mystery has been solved. (American Digger Vol. 11, Issue 6)
"Stumpt!" Appears in each issue of American Digger® magazine, and by asking our readers' input, many previously unidentified items know have been identified. Click here to subscribe and help solve mysteries like these! You are also encouraged to send your own items for identification.
DIV XXVIII The Civil War Relics of Culpeper County Home of the largest cavalry battle of the war — Brandy Station — and host to a multitude of winter camps, this red dirt paradise is still producing artifacts from the War Between the States, as seen at the October 2014 Diggin' In Virginia organized relic hunt. By Butch Holcombe Originally Published in Volume 11, Issue 1. Click here to order single issues. ®1 22 22 American Digger Vol.Digger 11, ®Issue 22 2015 American Digger Magazine Sampler 2015 American Magazine Sampler ®
reasures are as you find them, be it gold and silver (right) or a simple Civil War bullet (shown in situ above). Both were recovered at the October 2014 Diggin’ In Virginia event, held in Culpeper County, Virginia, and both are just as important from a historical perspective. Throughout most of the American Civil War, this Virginia county was occupied by troops from both sides of the conflict. Not only was it the host of the Civil War’s largest cavalry battle (Brandy Station), battles also raged at Cedar Mountain and Kelly’s Ford.
In the end, all that was left of the struggle was a reunited Union, broken lives, and bits of broken equipment left along the way. Relics, as it were. It is those artifacts that this organized dig recovers, rescued from further deterioration in the harsh red soil and fertilized fields of the surrounding areas. There is no “encapsulation” here, at least for the metal artifacts; each year results in more and more damage underground. Local relic hunters attest to finding almost mint condition buttons only a few decades ago. Today, otherwise identical buttons are often recovered in broken pieces. While many scholastic archaeo-
logical groups decry such large relic hunts, citing loss of context and undisturbed strata, they forget that, here, undisturbed strata was lost long ago because of plowing. The exception might be the deeper hut sites and trash pits; but with several hundred thousand of these in just Culpeper alone, it would be impossible to fund archaeological digs of even a minute fraction of them. As to context, the troop activities were well documented at the time, and with just a little research a student of history can discover who was where at any given time. Still, relic hunters strive to know even more about the soldier who last held that common Minié ball, or
eft: Relics found by Nathan Long show the effects of the farm fields near Brandy Station. Above: These gold coins and silver half dollars, lying underneath a Union eagle breastplate, were found by Jeff Brown, who was using a White’s TDI. A video of the find as it happened can be seen by scanning the QR code (right) with a cellphone. On the title page, DIV participants excavate a trash pit. A photo of a nearby winter camp shows the sturdy huts built by the soldiers. A cellar was dug for each dwelling. Such hut sites can contain a plethora of artifacts. January-February, 2015 American Digger® www.americandigger.com
t least four Confederate States two-piece buckles were found during the three-day hunt. Above, left-right, are buckles found by Tim Pickering, Lee Shrader, Brad Upp, and Frank Abel. At right, Frank holds the plate he recovered while leaving a hunt field. Garrett metal detector’s field rep Steve Moore looks on. Left: Captain George Riggs Gaither of K Company, 1st Virginia Cavalry. Note the two-piece belt plate he is wearing.
ight: Mike Campbell recovered this Union cross belt plate (commonly called an eagle breastplate) and a hat badge made from a Volunteer Maine Militia buckle. Below right, an unknown Union soldier from Maine wears both an identical breastplate and VMM belt plate.
merican Digger® magazine’s own John Velke shows the sword belt plate he had just dug in the wooded area behind him. An unknown Federal officer (right) wears a similar buckle. ® 24 24 American Digger Vol. Digger 11, Issue®1Magazine 2015 American
ith thousands of cavalrymen participating in the nearby battle of Brandy Station, it is no surprise that the area has produced plenty of revolver bullet molds. Shown are two bullet molds used for Colt or Remington style revolvers. Brian Aleksandrowicz dug the brass one, and Bill Mikalik recovered the iron mold. In the contemporary photograph (center), Pvt. William B. Todd of Co. E, 9th Va. Cavalry, poses with his Colt Army revolver. why another lost— or hid— a cache of gold and silver coins along with a Union shoulder belt plate. With several hundred detectorists embracing the opportunity to rescue and preserve these fragile pieces of the past, it is mystifying that the professional archaeologists do not try to join forces with the diggers. So much could be learned, even with them as mere observers. Perhaps there are not enough of them to go around. Perhaps they are convinced that amateur archaeologists (for that is what most of the participants at DIV are) seek only monetary gain, although very few sell their finds. Or perhaps they cringe at performing unpaid work, understandable in any profession. Perhaps they just don’t like metal detectorists. But we only ask that they consider one possibility: That perhaps they are wrong. If they are wrong, we should all mourn the lost opportunity of trained archaeologists studying thousands of artifacts that would never be recovered via test pits and government funding. For these are the items used by the soldiers of 150 years ago and, while the average relic hunters might not have a degree in archaeology, they do more than their part in preserving and studying the relics of the Civil War. Where possible, in these pages we have tried to combine contemporary photographs (courtesy of the Library of Congress) with certain items recovered
ast brass hat letter“R” recovered by Rodney Cox. This was likely associated with a militia’s name, as there was no “R” company. The ambrotype shows a member of Craig’s Rifles (28th Virginia Infantry) with a similar “R” on his kepi.
cClellan cape pin or watch fob (left) found by Bruce Barbour. After being removed from command, the popular George B. McClellan unsuccessfully ran for president, as seen from this non-dug campaign badge (near left).
January-February, 2015 American Digger® www.americandigger.com
Pvt. Philip A. Nail, Co. F, 13th North Carolina Infantry
Pvt. John Ryan, Co. H, 2nd Rhode Island Infantry
North Carolina button (left) and a Rhode Island button show stark contrast in how they were affected by the acidic soils of the area. Both were dug by Tim Styles. Above them are two soldiers of those states. It appears both are wearing buttons like those shown here.
resh from the red soil of Culpeper, this Virginia button was found by Brandon Brashers. At right is an early war photo of a member of the 7th Virginia Cavalry. during the October 2014 dig at Culpeper. While we have made a valiant attempt to show only those soldiers who may have seen service in the area, there is no positive link except in the equipment worn by these warriors of yesterday and found by the participants at Diggin’ In Virginia XXVIII. It is but one more way from which we can learn, and one more way to show the world that we are not looters and thieves, but rather those who enjoy learning from artifacts and sharing that knowledge with all who care to listen.
ichael McCarrell, Jr., is all smiles after finding this U.S. Model 1842 Musket lockplate assembly with his White’s TDI. These muskets were used by both sides during the war. Above, Pvt. John P. Alldredge, Co. A, 48th Alabama Infantry, holds an identical musket. ® 2626 American Vol.Digger 11, Issue ® 1 2015Digger American Magazine
ue Shumate dug this Loyal Union League pin. The group was formed in 1863 to boost morale and show support for the policies of President Lincoln.
linton Hausman holds a Confederate “A” artillery button he’d just found. It is shown here with the mud still clinging to it. The CDV is of Maj. John C. Pelham of Alburtis Light Artillery and 1st Co. Stuart Horse Virginia Light Artillery Battery.
t would have been easy to discard as junk, but Joe Dinisio recognized this item (above left) as part of a commercially manufactured 6th corps badge. This style had a piece of colored cloth within the brass frame. An unidentified Union soldier (above right) wears a nearly identical badge. A field-made version (right), fashioned from a silver coin, was found by Glen Heath.
an Boone of North Georgia Relics recovered this flag staff finial. An 1887 painting by Thure de Thulstrup, top, shows this style in use at the Battle of Antietam.
ost buttons found at the hunt were Civil War era, such as this Massachusetts dug by Brian Sperry. Others, like this 1820s Navy found by Jimmy Spalding, were reminders of an earlier era. Above, an unknown Massachusetts soldier wears a triple breasted dress coat adorned with Massachusetts buttons. January-February, 2015 American Digger®
Photo by Charlie Rose
® 28 28 American Digger Vol. Digger 11, Issue® 1Magazine 2015 American
lthough most have found pulse induction detectors superior in the highly mineralized soil of the area, that doesn’t mean that VLF machines are useless there. By digging the “iffy” targets, finds such as this State of New York belt plate can be made. It was recovered by Charlie Rose while using a Garrett AT Pro detector. Above, Company H of the 124th New York Infantry Regiment in winter camp in Virginia, possibly at Brandy Station. The modern day photo (top left) shows a relic hunter searching one of the New York camps at dawn. Several similar camps on the huge hunt site yielded the relics found by Darrin Crow and Mike Null. The bottles were found in a trash pit used by the soldiers.
ony Musser recovered this Confederate spur. So many have been found in the area that the style is referred to as a “Brandy Station.” In the ambrotype, Pvt. David M. Thatcher, Company B, 1st Va. Cavalry, wears a Virginia sword belt plate and carries an Adams revolver. He may well have worn such a spur during the 1st Virginia’s time in the area.
eith Hotchkiss recovered this coin spill, which included both 1700s Spanish reales and 1800s pre-Civil War American coins. He made the finds at a camp used by J.E.B. Stuart’s cavalry. Several other diggers also recovered coins nearby.
osh Magnum’s finds are typical of those found at the hunt... although the sword belt plate would make anyone’s day.
henever troops stopped for any notable amount of time, they whittled on soft lead bullets. The winter camps around Brandy Station are no exception. The top bullet was found by Kenny Brackett, while the carved lead “tooth” was recovered by Steve Moore, who was using a Garrett ATX pulse induction metal detector. January-February, 2015 American Digger® www.americandigger.com
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A Pennsylvania Trash Pit By JACK BRUMBACH Originally Published in Volume 11, Issue 2. Click here to order single issues.
24 American Digger速 Vol. 11, Issue 2
’ve been reading and enjoying the many stories in American Digger® for a few years now, but I never dreamed of writing one myself or even being part of a story interesting enough to go into this fine magazine. I’ve been passionate about metal detecting for 10 years and have loved collecting old bottles since I was a kid. Joining the ranks of relic hunters I have met through organized hunts, my hobby has come full circle. Learning to find and dig trash pits and huts quickly became a priority to me, for the truly great relics seemed to always come from the bottom of a pit. I live in eastern Pennsylvania, two hours from Gettysburg. The area is dotted with farms and old homesteads from the 1700s and 1800s. These are the places I’m on the lookout for to metal detect. Being a lineman for the local electric company helps me get access to these properties and strike up conversations with the homeowners. It’s kind of an art, to keep the conversation light, talk about the local history, and be polite when asking to hunt their property. I was always afraid of people saying no, but you’ll never know unless you ask. In fact, sometimes people will say no and then change their minds once they feel more comfortable in talking with you. It’s a 50-50 chance that people will say yes. I have built some very nice friendships with this hobby, which leads me to this story.
Our crew came to this property about two years ago to install some new electric cable. Mike Matlock, the landowner, was in the middle of refurbishing all the buildings of his farm: a large barn with a silo, sheds, a carriage house, and two stone houses. This was considered a large Pennsylvania Dutch farm. The owner has plans for starting a fish farm, so two ponds have also been dug. The main house is also going to be moved across the property overlooking the ponds. What caught my eye was the cornerstone which was dated “1753.” What a perfect place to pull relics out of the ground! Mike was gracious enough to grant me permission to metal detect the grounds. Hunting the large yard and surrounding area was fruitful. I dug coins, watch fobs, buttons, and more, always showing my finds to the caretakers of the farm, Danny and Lorraine Stanley. They are a husband-and-wife team and Mike’s right hand, making sure jobs get done around the farm. Lorraine is always interested in what comes out of the ground. A lot of the time she has a good idea on how to clean a certain relic, or can figure out what a thing is and how it was used back in the day. I found an eagle button in the backyard and we both wondered if it witnessed action on a Gettysburg field. One day I got a call from Lorraine. She said they were digging a trench for a water line and had hit an old trash dump. I hopped in the truck and was headed towards the farm almost before we even hung up. Excitement was building in me, although I kept telling myself this could be a wild goose chase. After all, this could just be a pit filled with tin cans and screw top jars from the 1960s. As I pulled into the drive, the skies were just darkening, with a thunderstorm rolling in. As we walked over to the trench I saw broken medicine bottles and a half of a blob top bottle. I couldn’t get over the amount of old glass in about 20 feet of open trench; if I would have been on the backhoe that job would have never been completed. I immediately started pulling bottles out of the sides of the trench. They started at only a foot under the surface, but went down four or five feet. The pipe was already in place and covered with grit. The winds were picking up as lightning streaked across the sky. I was only in the trench 10 or 12 minutes until I realized my digging bottles, as fun as it was, wasn’t worth getting electrocuted over. But in those 10 minutes, I had pulled out an embossed “USA Hospital Dept.” bottle, an eight-sided umbrella inkwell, and a few other cork-top keepers. The hospital bottle Jack Brumbach and Matt
Jennings work the trash pit. 2015 American Digger® Magazine Sampler
March-April, 2015 American Digger®
was filled with some kind of tar or oil that probably helped it stay in one piece. I was pretty sure the inkwell was Civil War era when I saw it rolling out of the dirt. It was just like some I had seen come from Civil War pits. Lorraine was shocked when I hugged her and blessed her for calling me. Mike promised that he would keep the trench open as long as possible so we could excavate everything. I knew we were into something special. I think Lorraine knew it too and, if not for a bad ankle, would have been in the trench alongside me. Between work and bad weather, I had to wait a few days to get back to the farm. I honestly had trouble sleeping at night. The next visit yielded buckets full of bottles. Most were cork tops or ring tops, with a few screw-on tops that I didn’t bother taking. Down about five feet, my “Holy Grail” appeared: it was a blob top bottle just partially exposed. I instantly thought of all those videos I had watched of guys carefully excavating a bottle out of a pit. I felt that same excitement and nervous hope that it would come out in one
The author pulls another bottle from the pit.
piece. Within minutes, I was holding the thick-walled bottle in my hands. Wiping off the mud, I watched a rainbow form on it, the air hitting the glass for the first time in more than 150 years. Research later revealed it was an early 1800s George Lauer beer bottle from Reading, Pennsylvania. Mike wondered what a bottle like that was worth as he looked at the bubbles in the glass and the slightly crooked neck. To me, it’s priceless! By now, I wanted to share my excitement and finds with the guys I hunt with in Virginia. Who would appreciate this pit more than fellow diggers? So, with Mike’s permission and Lorraine’s blessing, I invited Bob Hartz, Matt Jennings, Tom Bunnel, and Mike Fisher for a digging weekend. I thought it was about time to show some Northern hospitality.
(ABOVE) MATT JENNINGS holds the DOUBLE BARREL SHOTGUN he had just pulled from the trash pit. (RIGHT) Embossed BOTTLES FROM THE MID 1800S.
26 American Digger® Vol. 11, Issue 2
www.americandigger.com www.americandigger.com 3333
With shovels, digging tools, and buckets in hand we hit the pit early Saturday morning. There was no sense in bringing metal detectors because there was just too much metal in the ground. We could have sifted the dirt but instead opted to just keep a sharp lookout for buttons. The area was about 20 feet long and we planned on excavating outward. We were stopped on the lower corner because we didn’t want to undercut a large oak tree. In one section, the relics were only six inches under the surface and included pockets of bottles, buttons, shoes, and broken crockery. The pit was a virtual time capsule, as we pulled out old 19th century leather horse-tack next to other layers containing 20th century spark plugs. Matt was digging in the area where I pulled the blob top out. He digs with boundless energy, and is a great relic hunter. When he was at what we figured to be the bottom of the pit, he struck an old metal pipe — or so we thought. We both looked at each other, realizing this was a barrel to a gun. It turned out to be a double-barrel muzzle loading shotgun. We even pulled out gold-rimmed reading glasses and an ear trumpet. I dug out a tuba mouthpiece and a couple of musician’s buttons. I was getting a strong image in my mind of a person in the Civil War, maybe one who played in a regimental band. Perhaps he was convalescing here from an injury. With all the medicine bottles, it’s not out of the question. Finding a Virginia staff officer’s cuff button, general service eagle buttons, and GAR (Grand
Jack Brumbach and Mike Fisher rescue another bottle.
Buttons eyeballed during the dig. AT left, an eagle button appears in the debris.
2015 American Digger® Magazine Sampler
A whisky bottle awaits extraction. A whisky bottle awaits extraction.
28 American Digger®® Vol. 11, Issue 2 28 American Digger®® Vol. 11, Issue 2
(Top) Some of the bottles after (Top) Some of the cleaning. The bottles figurineafter is likely cleaning. The figurine is likely turn-of-the-century. Glass turn-of-the-century. Glass finds ranged from pre-Civil finds ranged War to earlyfrom 1900s.pre-Civil (Above right) War to early 1900s. (Abovebottles. right) Embossed medicine Embossed medicine bottles. (Above left) The first day’s finds, (Above left) The first day’s finds, fresh from the ground. www.americandigger.com fresh from the ground. 35
Personal items found in the Personal items dump included a found in the collapsible spittoon, dumpsalt included a ear shaker, collapsible spittoon, trumpet, eye glasses, saltand shaker, clayear marbles. trumpet, glasses, Also eye found was the andDecorative clay marbles. Bit boss Also found was the shown below. Decorative Bit boss shown below.
Army of the Republic) veterans’ buttons helped prove that at least some of the people who filled this trash dump connectionveterans’ with thebuttons Civil War. Thisprove winter I plan Army ofhad thea Republic) helped to spend some time researching names in the family that at least some of the people who filled this trash dump cemetery on another partWar. of the property, had a connection with the Civil This winter hoping I plan to get a idea of researching who was here. to spendgood some time names in the family cemetery on another part of the property, hoping to get a good idea of who was here. s we tunneled in to the sidewall of the pit, we found large crocks that had collapsed into themselves. I suffered slices on s we tunneled in to the sidewallnumerous of the pit, fingers from thecollapsed shards of into glass, even we found my large crocks thatallhad thoughthemselves. I wore gloves. We would dig as deep as on we could, I suffered numerous slices then cut the sides down. We shoveled tons of dirt my fingers from all the shards of glass, even but it like work, at least the end of could, the day. though didn’t I worefeel gloves. We would diguntil as deep as we second digging, thebut bottles then cut theAfter sidesthedown. Weweekend shoveledoftons of dirt it were getting and far between. all good things didn’t feel like work,few at least until the end Iofknew the day. must to weekend an end. Not having anywhere After thecome second of digging, the bottleselse to dig, I slowly the pile of soil backhoe. were getting fewwent and through far between. I knew all from good the things Here, more top beer bottleselse were unearthed, all must come tothree an end. Notblob having anywhere to dig, one piece. Tommy yelling at the me backhoe. about being lucky, I slowlyinwent through the pilewas of soil from but I’ll take luck any were day! unearthed, all Here, three more blob topover beerskill bottles AsTommy of this was writing (a month arelucky, all still in one piece. yelling at melater), about we being cleaning our finds. Researching and cataloging will take but I’ll take luck over skill any day! our free during thewewinter As place of thisinwriting (atime month later), are allmonths. still I estimate haveResearching dug four or and five cataloging hundred bottles. I also think cleaningthat ourwe finds. will take could be during anotherthe dump nearby. I hope everyone place inthere our free time winter months. I estimate this willorget take partbottles. in a dump dig. This truly that wereading have dug four fivetohundred I also think is a great part ofdump a great hobby.I hope everyone there could be another nearby. reading this will get to take part in a dump dig. This truly is a great part of a great hobby.
About The Author
Jack Brumbach is a cancer survivor and proud father two children. His wife, About TheofAuthor Karen, knows his lovesurvivor of history and often Jack Brumbach is a cancer and himofslip to goHis metal detecting, proud lets father twoaway children. wife, letting forand another Karen, knows his chores love of wait history oftenday. lets him slip away to go metal detecting, letting chores wait for another day.
Originally Published in Volume 11, Issue 2. Click here to order single issues. ® ® 36 362015 American Digger Magazine Sampler 2015 American Digger Magazine Sampler
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An American Digger Discovers AN ARCHEOLOGICAL TREASURE IN ENGLAND When A Detectorist Headed Across The Pond To Metal Detect, He Had No Idea That His Find Would Be Hailed As An Archaeological Discovery Of Monumental Importance: A Pristine Roman Cremation Burial Site.
By Butch Holcombe 48 American Digger® Vol. 11, Issue®3
2015 American Digger Magazine Sampler
Originally Published in Volume 11, Issue 3 Click here to order single issues.
is almost nothing in the U.S.A. to compare with the British Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS). Perhaps the closest is our Antiquities Act, but while this law is often used as a basis to prohibit any private collecting in an effort to protect archaeological sites on public land from “looting and vandalism,” the PAS in Britain
Photos © Oxford Archaeology
here were also three other ceramic bowls, a bronze dish/bowl, a glass vessel of some kind, an iron trivet, some iron nails, an iron latch, and a flagon (pitcher shaped drinking vessel) made of bronze with a unique handle. The handle had a winged victory (Valkyrie) adorned with erotic figures. There are only a few of these known and none, as far as they said, ever in England. The pottery/ceramics are very high quality and were made in ancient Gaul.” John Steele
recognizes that metal detectorists can be a valuable source of information and a vital link in artifact recovery. The value of the PAS has once again been brought to light, this time by the finds made by a U.S. digger who had received, as a 70th birthday present, a detecting trip to Buckinghamshire, England. With his trusty White’s V3i detector, John Steele of Colorado joined 10 other Yanks and two Brits for eight days of metal detecting. Like almost all who head to England with a detector, John was hoping to at least find a few “old” coins. Not “North American” old which might be a 19th century large cent or — if one is really lucky — a late 1600s cob. No, this was “British” OLD where it is not uncommon to find coins which date to long before the New World was colonized. For instance, John found a dated 1636 coin on his first day there, along with the first of three hammered silver coins. Before the trip was over, he had recovered several other coins ranging from the days of the Roman Empire up until the 1700s. Numerous other artifacts, including a broken bronze axe and a Saxon cord end, were also found.
he jug handle (SF12), a solid casting as opposed to the relatively thin spun bronze of the vessel body and base, survives in reasonable condition but requires specialist cleaning for its iconography, particularly that of the upper part. At the base of the handle is a ‘sacro-idyllic’ scene. There are two prominent central standing figures, a male to the right and possibly a female to the left. The man has his left hand on the upper edge of an altar at the right side of the scene (as viewed). Balancing the altar on the left hand side of the scene is a third figure, smaller figure than the central two, perhaps a child or young adult. A stylized tree rises above the two central figures. The details of what is above the tree are less clear. The top of the handle curves upwards and away from the rim in a slightly hooked form, while lateral projections with volutes would have engaged with the rim of the vessel.” Excavation Report, Oxford Archeology
May-June, 2015 American Digger®
Photos © Oxford Archaeology
he cup is Central Gaulish (Lezoux), Drag 33, diameter 100mm. Stamped GRACCHI.M -Gracchus iv, 1a. AD 155-195. Fragmented but complete.” Archaeological Excavation Report, Oxford Archeology
But it was what John recovered on day two that really showed the value of the PAS. After getting an odd signal, he dug down a foot to reveal what he first thought was a modern pipe. Further digging in the hole exposed pottery sherds. It was then he realized the “pipe” was a copper or bronze artifact, and the archaeologists were called in. Before it was all over, it had been determined by the archaeologists that John had uncovered a second century Roman cremation burial site. According to Steele: “It’s called a box burial because all the remains plus the offerings were originally in a 3 x 2-foot box. The person’s remains were in a leather bag (now long gone) in a bowl. There were also three other ceramic bowls, a bronze dish/ bowl, a glass vessel of some kind, an iron trivet, some iron nails, an iron latch, and a
he thing I found fascinating, spooky maybe, was that the potters imprinted their name on the bottom of all the ceramics. Think about that; 1,900 years ago someone made this stuff and we can tell who made it and the archaeologist can tell where the person came from and what shop he worked in. That is as close to immorality as one can hope for.” John Steele
Photos © Oxford Archaeology
red jasper intaglio ring depicting the Roman goddess Minerva and the god Mercury were found amongst the remains… [above] is a picture of the intaglio.” John Winter, The Searcher magazine
® 50 40 American Digger Vol. 11, Issue®3Magazine 2015 American Digger
flagon (pitcher-shaped drinking vessel) made of bronze with a unique handle. The handle had a winged Victory (Valkyrie) adorned with erotic figures. There are only a few of these known and none, as far as they said, ever in England. The pottery/ceramics are very high quality and were made in ancient Gaul.” According to a press release by the BBC, “They [contents] had been buried in a wooden casket with the cremated remains of a member of a high status Roman family. They will go on show at Buckinghamshire County Museum in Aylesbury.” What would have happened to this discovery if a program such as the Portable Antique Scheme was not in place? We can only speculate, but the following scenario would have been likely: The detectorists would have
Photos © Oxford Archaeology
and cleaning and excavation was undertaken following a chance metal detector find of potential grave assemblage at the site. The initial exploratory hole was first cleaned to help characterised [sic] the findspot, recorded and then excavated. Where possible the more delicate vessels like the remains of the bronze jug and cremation vessel, were bulk lifted.” Excavation Report, Oxford Archeology
removed all of artifacts and possibly not reported the find, fearing harassment and loss of access to the site if professional archaeologists were called in. The detectorists would also likely not have recognized the significance of the find, and probably wouldn’t have even recognized it as a burial (the cremated remains had now returned to soil). If the detectorist did recognize is as a burial, he probably would have gently covered it back up, perhaps even afraid to alert any authorities lest he be dubbed a “grave robber.” The history would be lost, likely hidden away underground virtually forever until there would have been nothing left to find. Yet, because of the solid agreement presented by the PAS, the find was reported, the detectorist was deemed a hero rather than a vandal, and the world can now read a full report of the findings.
Originally Published in Volume 11, Issue 3 Click here to order single issues.
he excavation was a success with the help of everyone and the remains were preserved and are in the process of being analyzed and hopefully restored.” John Steele
We at American Digger magazine salute both John Steele and the British archaeologists for working together to excavate and display this extraordinary find. We also commend those who originally worked to write and institute the Portable Antiquities Scheme which, in our opinion, is by far the best system in the world for encouraging professional archaeologists and hobby detectorists to work together to provide a clearer view of the past. While not perfect, the program certainly beats the all-or-nothing mentality that seems to sometimes cloud the eyes of the academic community in North America.
The author wishes to thank John Winter (The Searcher magazine) and Carl Champness (Senior Project Manager at Oxford Archaeology) for their help in this article.
May-June, 2015 American Digger®
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S OF THEOF THE COINS MONWEALTH COMMONWEALTH
perspective early silverof early silver A historicofperspective undcoinage in colonial Virginia found in colonial Virginia by Bill Dancy by Bill Dancy
Originally Published in Volume 11, Issue 4 Click here to order single issues.
and meat from hunting, conince the recovery struction or farm products, a of my first colonial day’s labor, or Indian wamsilver coin nearpum, and this was known as ly 20 years ago, “country pay.” But the most my fascination with these important commodity monpieces of our early history ey in Virginia was tobacco. remains unwavering. Unlike which was designated as the our hopelessly dull modofficial currency as early as ern coinage, the money that 1619. Although bartering exchanged hands between was a common practice in the earliest settlers was both early colonial times due to interesting and varied, and the lack of currency, a slow helps to provide evidence infusion of coins eventually of how colonial Virginians took place as new settlers lived and worked. arrived, English merchants A shortage of money conducted business, and eswas always a problem in earpecially due to the increased ly America, as England limtrade with the West Indies. ited export of silver coinage But I’m getting a little and prohibited the colonies ahead of myself, so let’s from making their own. As A few acobs the author’s showA few cobs fromrewind the author’s back tocollection the days showresult,from the colonists used acollection ing the wide diversity in sizes and shapes. ing the wide diversity in sizes and shapes. following the initial settlewide variety of substitutes ment of Virginia, in the early for money, including skins
® 24 44 American Digger Vol. Digger 11, Issue ®4 ® 2015 American Magazine
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and meat from hunting, construction or farm products, a day’s labor, or Indian wampum, and this was known as “country pay.” But the most important commodity money in Virginia was tobacco. which was designated as the official currency as early as 1619. Although bartering was a common practice in early colonial times due to the lack of currency, a slow infusion of coins eventually took place as new settlers arrived, English merchants conducted business, and especially due to the increased trade with the West Indies. But I’m getting a little ahead of myself, so let’s rewind back to the days following the initial settlement of Virginia, in the early
Early British coins produced by the milling process are very difficult to find. This 1697 shilling is the only such coin the author has recovered.
which show the last two digits of the date on th along with the mint mark and assayer’s initial. Following several months of civil war in En I was beheaded in 1649. From this time until 16 ruled by Parliament, under the leadership of Oli As a result, hammered coins during this period d portrait of a monarch, and a simple Puritan des Last year I dug one of these coins, a Commo penny dating to the late 1650s, at a 17th cent is indeed a rare find, especially in the U.S. T last hammered coins produced until Charles I Clipping was a common practice in colonial times, throne in 1660. At that time the old practice was but someone went to the extreme with the 1640s favor of producing milled coins that were made silver half crown at the top right of this photo. press. In addition to producing better quality c process gave coins a milled edge that made it m spot clipped coins. Clipping was a common, ye image that identified where the coin was struck. These marks tice to shave small amounts of silver from coins can help to more precisely identify a coin when the date on it is enough shavings to sell as bullion. Some of the hammered silver coins dug by the author. obscured. These coins are rarely found in the U.S., and usually As a result of English laws prohibiting the e only at the earliest sites. small quantities of coinage to the colonies, earl Large deposits of silver discovered by the Spaniards in are extremely difficult to find here in Virginia. thenearly owner170 mustcolonial have died before their 1600s. The early settlers didn’t bring overAmerica a large quantity of firstintentionally Central and South allowed the silver coinsburied, to be butthe silver coins I’ve recov whereabouts could be revealed. A mix of silver sixpences, coins, and the few that crossed the Atlantic in their pockets had produced in the New World. These were minted as early as and half crowns from the 1560s through the 1640s little use in the fledgling colony except for keepsakes or trade 1536 in Mexico, Santo Domingo and Lima,shillings, and were known provided for some with the Indians. In theas years following, due to increased trade “cobs.” The term cob came from the Spanish phrase “cabo very exciting recoveries. Hammered coins have been around since the Iron Age, and as a result of the rapidly tobaccofrom economy, de expanding barra,” or “made the endmore of a bar.” Freshly poured coinage was brought into the of colony. produced by placing a blank piece of silver, or planchet, strips silver were pounded and cut intowere planchets. These By the mid-17th blanks centurywere many aristocratic supporters of the correct weight hammered between two dies to impress the design in between two dies. The upper die was then with to a hammer to produce the required image on of Charles I were forced to flee England take theircoin vastwould on both sides. Each and newly struck thenstruck be passed Sometimes the planchet was heated before the wealth with them to escape imprisonment or death an assayer who would weighduring it andthat clip offboth any sides. excess silver. strikelook to improve country’s civil war. This to infuse the colony with sig- would Nohelped two coins produced by this method alike. Inthe quality. Hammered coins of the early nificant quantities of “hamcolonial period bear the bust the early 1700s this crude process was replaced with the screw of the reigning monarch on mered” silver coinage dating press method which allowed silver coins to beThis produced in dug freshly the obverse, and usually a back to Elizabethan times. A quantity and of a more consistent quality. These later greater Charles I shilling shield or coat of arms – plus few years ago I accidentally coins were no longer considered cobs. dates to the 1640s. discovered two scattered a date, in most cases – on the Cobs were widely circulated throughout It early wascolonial one of the caches of these hammered reverse. The direction the times and Virginia made the reale the standard currency in many hammered bust faced was reversed when coins at a very early1645. land As a result, recovery of cobs is a fairly regular occursilver coins a new king or queen came patent site here in southeast rence at 17th and early 18th century sites, and recovered they represent by Bill into power. Most hammered Virginia that belonged to 10 to 15 percent of my overall colonial silver finds. about Dancy at an early one of those gentlemenMost who are of the smaller one or two-reale variety, and many also contained a minteight-re Thiscoins mid-1700s counterfeit Virginia site. mark which took the form for the took flight across the Atlanhave been cut or heavily clipped. The most common type I’ve fabricated using pot metal of a small letter, number or tic. The coins appearedfound to be is the “pillar and wave” design dating to the late 1600s 26 American American Digger Digger®® Vol. Vol. 11, 11, Issue Issue 44 26
July-August, 2015 American Digger® www.americandigger.com
Early British coins produced by the milling process are very difficult to find. This 1697 shilling is the only such coin the author has recovered.
Early British coins produced by the milling process are very difficult to find. This 1697 shilling is the only such coin the author has recovered.
which show the last two digits of the date on the reverse side which show the last two digits of the date on the reverse side along with the mint mark and assayer’s initial. along with the mint mark and assayer’s initial. Following several months of civil war in England, Charles Following several months of civil war in England, Charles I was beheaded in 1649. From this time until 1660 Britain was I was beheaded in 1649. From this time until 1660 Britain was ruled by Parliament, under the leadership of Oliver Cromwell. ruled by Parliament, under the leadership of Oliver Cromwell. As a result, hammered coins during this period did not bearAs thea result, hammered coins during this period did not bear the portrait of a monarch, and a simple Puritan design was used. portrait of a monarch, and a simple Puritan design was used. Last year I dug one of these coins, a Commonwealth silver Last year I dug one of these coins, a Commonwealth silver penny dating to the late 1650s, at a 17th century site which penny dating to the late 1650s, at a 17th century site which is indeed a rare find, especially in the U.S. These were istheindeed a rare find, especially in the U.S. These were the last hammered coins produced until Charles II assumed last the hammered coins produced until Charles II assumed the was a common practice in colonial times, throne nial times,Clipping throne in 1660. At that time the old practice was abandoned in in 1660. At that time the old practice was abandoned in but someone went to milled the extreme with themade 1640s favor of producing milled coins that were made on a machine he 1640s favor of producing coins that were on a machine silver half crown at the top right of this photo. press. In addition to producing better quality coins, the new photo. press. In addition to producing better quality coins, the new gave coins a milled edge that made it much easier to process gave coins a milled edge that made it much easierprocess to spot clipped coins. Clipping was a common, yet illegal, pracspot clipped coins. Clipping was a common, yet illegal, pracimage that identified where the coin was struck. These marks tice to shave small amounts of silver from coins to accumulate These marks tice to shave small amounts of silver from coins to accumulate can help to more precisely identify a coin when the date on it is enough shavings to sell as bullion. e date on it is enough shavings to sell as bullion. obscured. These coins are rarely found in the U.S., and usually , and usually As a result of English laws prohibiting the export of all but As a result of English laws prohibiting the export of all but only at the earliest sites. small quantities of coinage to the colonies, early milled coins small quantities of coinage to the colonies, early milled coins Large deposits of silver discovered by the Spaniards in Spaniards in are extremely difficult to find here in Virginia. In fact, outare ofextremely difficult to find here in Virginia. In fact, out of and South America allowed the first silver coins to be the r coins toCentral be the nearly 170 colonial silver coins I’ve recovered over the nearly 170 colonial silver coins I’ve recovered over the in the New World. These were minted as early as d as earlyproduced as 1536 in Mexico, Santo Domingo and Lima, and were known were known as “cobs.” The term cob came from the Spanish phrase “cabo phrase “cabo de barra,” or “made from the end of a bar.” Freshly poured eshly poured strips of silver were pounded and cut into planchets. These hets. These blanks were hammered between two dies to impress the design ss the design be passedontoboth sides. Each newly struck coin would then be passed to an assayer who would weigh it and clip off any excess silver. excess silver. ok alike.No In two coins produced by this method would look alike. In the ith the screwearly 1700s this crude process was replaced with the screw producedpress in method which allowed silver coins to be produced in greater quantity and of a more consistent quality. These later These later coins were no longer considered cobs. arly colonial Cobs were widely circulated throughout early colonial currencytimes in and Virginia made the reale the standard currency in 1645. gular occur- As a result, recovery of®cobs is a fairly regular occurMagazine Sampler 46rence2014 American at 17th and earlyDigger 18th century sites, and they represent ey represent about 10 to 15 percent of my overall colonial silver finds. silver finds. Most are of the smaller one or counterfeit two-reale variety, and many This mid-1700s counterfeit eight-reale was y, and many This mid-1700s eight-reale was have been cut or heavily clipped. The most common type I’ve fabricated using pot metal for the core. mon type I’ve fabricated using pot metal for the core. found is the “pillar and wave” design dating to the late 1600s he late 1600s ®® ® ®44 26 American American Digger Vol. 11, 11, Issue Issue 26 Digger Vol. 46 American Digger Magazine Sampler 46 20152015 American Digger Magazine Sampler
The author was beyond stunned after finding this ultra-rare 1659 Lord Baltimore silver sixpence. It is shown here with a 1676 map of colonial Maryland as the background. ________________ years “ only two of them are milled, and one of those is a pewter counterfeit. And as the new coins became more difficult to Clipping was a common practice in colonial times, clip, criminals turned more to counterfeiting. But this was a but someone went to the extreme with the 1640s very dangerous occupation which was considered a treasonsilver half crown at the top right of this photo. able offense. It was sometimes punishable by death, usually by hanging. Coinage in short supply, in 1652 colony of Masimage that being identified where the coin was the struck. These marks sachusetts began minting the first silver coins struck on Amercan help to more precisely identify a coin when the date on it is ican soil. The coins initially produced simple obscured. These coins are rarely found had in thea U.S., anddesign usually with “NE” New sites. England punched on one side, with the only at thefor earliest roman Large numeral XII onofthesilver other,discovered representing pence or in deposits by the the12 Spaniards shilling denomination. The design later changed several times, Central and South America allowed the first silver coins to be and eventually incorporated willow, oak, and pine tree images. produced in the New World. These were minted as early as Almost of these coins the date 1652, which 1536 all in Mexico, Santobore Domingo and Lima, and gives were them known theasappearance of having been struck during the English “cobs.” The term cob came from the Spanish phrasecivil “cabo war, although they were produced up to 1682. These coins are de barra,” or “made from the end of a bar.” Freshly poured
strips of silver were pounded and cut into planchets. These blanks were hammered between two dies to impress the design on both sides. Each newly struck coin would then be passed to an assayer who would weigh it and clip off any excess silver. No two coins produced by this method would look alike. In the early 1700s this crude process was replaced with the screw press method which allowed silver coins to be produced in greater quantity and of a more consistent quality. These later coins were no longer considered cobs. Cobs were widely circulated throughout early colonial times and Virginia made the reale the standard currency in 1645. As a result, recovery of cobs is a fairly regular occurrence at 17th and earlyrare 18thsilver century sites, and they represent This extremely four groat from about 10 to 15 percent of my overall colonial silver the Maryland Lord Baltimore series was dug finds. Most of Dameron the smaller and one or two-reale variety,atand by are Stan Audie Marshala a many have been cut or heavily clipped. The most common type I’ve very early site in northern Virginia. found is the “pillar and wave” design dating to the late 1600s
26 American American Digger Digger®® Vol. Vol. 11, 11, Issue Issue 44 26
Early British coins produced by the milling process are very difficult to find. This 1697 shilling is the only such coin the author has recovered. The author’s only other Massachusetts silver coin: a which show the quartered last two digits of the date on the reverse side Pine Tree along with the mint mark and assayer’s shilling, ca. 1667-82.initial. Following several months of civil war in England, Charles I was beheaded in 1649. From this time until 1660 Britain was ruled found by Parliament, under the leadership Oliver mostly in the northeastern states, butof one will Cromwell. show up As a result, hammered coins during this period did notable beartothe in Virginia from time to time. A few years ago I was portrait of apiece monarch, a simple Puritanatdesign used. recover a cut from aand Pine Tree shilling a 17th was century Last year I dug one of these coins, a Commonwealth silver site that produced quite a few colonial silver coins, and it’s the penny to the late 1650s, at my a 17th century site which only piecedating of Massachusetts silver in collection. is Another indeed agroup rare find, especially in the U.S. Thesefrom werethethe of very rarely seen coins are those last hammered coins produced until Charles II assumed Maryland Lord Baltimore series. Three denominations of sil-the in 1660. that time the oldwere practice wasinabandoned verthrone coinage plus aAt copper denarium minted London inin favor of producing milled coins that were made on a machine 1659 by authority of Cecil Calvert, the second Lord Baltimore, press. In addition bettermoney quality the new who believed he hadtotheproducing right to coin forcoins, the colony. process gave coins a milled edge that made it much easier His authority to issue these coins was challenged and only ato spot clipped coins. Clipping was a common, yet illegal, practice to shave small amounts of silver from coins to accumulate enough shavings to sell as bullion. n colonial As a result of English laws prohibiting the export times of all but a set of scales, small quantities of coinage to the colonies, early milled coins a pubare extremely difficult to find here inweights, Virginia.and In fact, out of lished table showing the nearly 170 colonial silver coins I’ve recovered over the current values and weights of widely circulating foreign coins were essenCoin scale and weights tial for use by merchants, tavern owners, and others involved in commercial activities. Coins were exchanged for goods and services by weight rather than face value, as clipping could easily reduce their monetary worth, and highly precise scales were needed for verifying their actual value. These scales and their accompanying set of coin weights were usually contained in a small wooden box which was easily transportable. Coin scales were usually of the balance type with two arms of equal weight and length and included pans that were suspended by three cords, usually made of silk. The weights, made www.americandigger.com 47 of brass, came in different shapes and sizes and were marked accordingly. The recovery of a coin weight at a site isThis always a good sign, as it increases the possibility mid-1700s counterfeit eight-reale was that early silver coins may be nearby. fabricated using pot metal for the core.
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27 27 47 47
mes, 40s o.
marks on it is usually
ards in ns to be arly as known e “cabo poured These design assed to s silver. ike. In e screw uced in se later
olonial ency in occurpresent r finds. d many pe I’ve e 1600s
he old method of hammering out cobs and other coins came to an end with the introduction of the Spanish pistareen in the early 1700s. These coins were minted on a screw press using milled planchets which could produce evenly and fully This 1731 one reale is one of the very few whole struck coins at a much faster rate. The obverse of these pistareens dug by the author, and is shown next which show the last two digits of the date on the reverse side new coins displayed the denomination, mint location and to a cut piece from a two-reale of the same period. along with the mint mark and assayer’s initial. assayers’ initials. The above example dug by the author Following several months of civil war in England, Charles is a 1731 one-reale, as can be seen by reading the “R” I was beheaded in 1649. From this time until 1660 Britain was and “I” across the top of the shield. To the lower left of ruled by Parliament, under the leadership of Oliver Cromwell. Netherlands, France, and a host of others, making the British the shield the “S” mintmark indicates production in SeAs a result, hammered coins during this period did not bear the colonies a veritable melting pot for foreign currency. This ville, Spain. And to the lower right the letters “PA” repportrait of a monarch, and a simple Puritan design was used. tended to make business transactions quite cumbersome, so resent first initials twocoins, assayers, Pedro Gordillosilver Lastthe year I dug one ofofthe these a Commonwealth the value of a coin was determined by its weight in silver, not and Antonio Montero, who1650s, workedattogether at the Seville penny dating to the late a 17th century site which the face value. As a result, many business transactions were mint from 1731-36. Thisespecially great amount detailThese giveswere any the is indeed a rare find, in theofU.S. conducted utilizing a set of scales and weights to combat the coin of this type immediate provenance. last hammered coins produced until Charles II assumed the ongoing problems of clipping, holing, and counterfeiting. throne in 1660. At that time the old practice was abandoned in favor of producing milled coins that were made on a machine y far the most comsmall number were ever produced,better quality coins, the new press. In addition to producing mon type of silver coin butprocess a few ofgave these eventually coins a milledmade edge that made it much easier to found at colonial sites it tospot theclipped colonies. MyClipping good friend coins. was a common, yet illegal, pracis the pistareen, also Stantice Dameron hisamounts buddy Audie to shaveand small of silver from coins to accumulate known as a “cross” reale, and they Marshall an awesome recovenoughmade shavings to sell as bullion. circulated widely in Virginia beery several years ago when they As a result of English lawsdug prohibiting the export of all but fore the Revolutionary War. As opa copper denariumofascoinage well asto the small quantities the colonies, early milled coins posed to cobs which were produced This huge cut eight-reale with a fourpence groat, difficult which isto the are extremely findrarhere in Virginia. In fact, out of in the New World, silver pistareens corded edge dwarfs the much est the denomination the silver coins nearly 170ofcolonial silver coins I’ve recovered over the were minted in Spain and generally thinner pistareens. from that group. This was the only made their way to Virginia seaports Maryland silver coin I’ve ever heard being dug in the U.S. That is, until the fall of 2014 when I embarked on a hunt to check out an early land patent site that my detecting buddy Joey Williams had researched in a remote area of a local rural county. We found a very early house site on a knoll overlooking the river, but our finds were few due to heavy hunting by others over the years. About halfway through the hunt I made a big loop through the flat field between the knoll and the river, and finally the long silence was broken by a promising Originally Published in Volume 10, Issue 2 signal. Expecting another colonial musketball, I was absoClick here to order single issues. lutely floored as I found myself staring at an ultra-rare 1659 Lord Baltimore silver sixpence glaring through the sandy soil. That amazing recovery of one of the holy grails of U.S. coins might be the highlight of my long detecting career. Except for the limited productions in Massachusetts and MaryThe obverse and reverse of both the milled land, the colonies did not produce any significant quantity of bust style (top) and the milled pillar variety are counterfeit eight-reale coinage. This Mostmid-1700s coins in circulation at the time emanatedwas from shown in this image for comparative purposes. fabricated using pot metal the core. foreign lands. These included Spain, thefor Spanish colonies of Central and South America, the Windward Islands, the Early British coins produced by the milling process are very difficult to find. This 1697 shilling is the only such coin the author has recovered.
48 American Digger Sampler ® Magazine ® 482014 2015 American Digger Sampler 28 Digger Vol. 11, Issue 4 Magazine 48 American 2015 American Digger Magazine Sampler ®
way of the Windward Islands. The earliest of these coins by way of the Windward Islands. The earliest of these by coins here in the 1720s through entry into various Tideappeared here in the 1720s through entry into various appeared Tidewater ports. Their basic shield and cross design displays variwater ports. Their basic shield and cross design displays various Spanish heraldry, a full date, and mint and assayers marks. ous Spanish heraldry, a full date, and mint and assayers marks. Each Each mint appointed assayers whose responsibility was to as- mint appointed assayers whose responsibility was to assure sure the purity of the silver and accuracy of each coin’s weight.the purity of the silver and accuracy of each coin’s weight. The assayers’ initials appear on each coin near the mint mark. The assayers’ initials appear on each coin near the mint mark. These marks can be of great help in determining the precise These marks can be of great help in determining the precise age of a coin when the date has been obliterated or removed age of a coin when the date has been obliterated or removed through cutting or clipping. through cutting or clipping. Very few whole pistareens are found except at the earliestVery few whole pistareens are found except at the earliest sites, sites, and almost all I have recovered were cut into halves or and almost all I have recovered were cut into halves or quarters. Cutting pistareens into “bits” was a very common quarters. Cutting pistareens into “bits” was a very common practice that provided the small denominations needed for evpractice that provided the small denominations needed for everyday purchases or making change, and these were widely eryday purchases or making change, and these were widely used in Virginia. They were almost always cut along theused linesin Virginia. They were almost always cut along the lines of of the cross on the reverse, which caused the date to be splitthe in cross on the reverse, which caused the date to be split in half. half. Cut pieces and other small silver coins were sometimes Cut pieces and other small silver coins were sometimes around the neck or sewn to the inside of a holed and worn around the neck or sewn to the insideholed of a and worn Drilling o Drilling or punching a hole a silver jacket or pocket for safekeeping. But thesethrough tiny coins were coin jacket or pocket for safekeeping. But these tiny coins were and sec and securing to clothing with at a string still easily lost, which explains it why I find so many the siteswas I a practice us still easily lost, which explains why I find so many at the sites I practice used colonial times to help prevent of these arein found at small, remote house sites loss. The pract hunt. And most of these are found at small, remote househunt. sites And most The practice continued well into the 19th century. which are more likely to contain the smaller denominations which are more likely to contain the smaller denominations that cut coins provide. Over the last 15 years I’ve recovered that cut coins provide. Over the last 15 years I’ve recovered over pieces of silver, with 32 of those coming in just the mint was g over 80 cut pieces of silver, with 32 of those coming in just the80 cut the mint was given permission to begin producing coins the startlast three years. ing with the h last three years. ing with colonies, the half disme, as doing Virginia, so wouldpreferred allow the greatest and especially amount The Southern colonies, and especially Virginia, preferredThe Southern amount of minting from the the North limitedtended quantity of available sil- of min cut silver for everyday use, while to utilize ver. It is belie cut silver for everyday use, while the North tended to utilize ver. It is believed that George Washington personally providcoppers. The reason for this is unclear, but it’s likely related ed about $100 coppers. The reason for this is unclear, but it’s likely related edamount about $100 in silver, which included some of his to acthe large of mercantile and related commercial ac-household silverware, fo to the large amount of mercantile and related commercial silverware, some of these coins. The increased tivities taking place atfor theminting many coastal ports which required production of tivities taking place at the many coastal ports which required production ofofthecoinage half disme (followed bygoods the disme a couple larger denominations for purchasing and larger denominations of coinage for purchasing goods and of years later) resulted in the pistareen being replaced. of years later) making change. In spite o making change. In spitewere of their acceptance andinwidespread pistareens still being produced Spain, a newuse, pistareens While pistareens were still being produced in Spain, a newWhilereens were never recognized by the new Federal Government were nev design emerged from the New World mints, most of which as legal tender design emerged from the New World mints, most of which as legal tender. These The use of Spanish silver coinage were in Mexico. coins were referred to as theeventually a were located in Mexico. These coins were referred to as the located disappeared, although some were circulating as late asdisappeared, the milled pillar type and were machine-struck from 1732 to 1772. mid-1800s. I milled pillar type and were machine-struck from 1732 to 1772. mid-1800s. can atteston to the thatobverse fact as Iand have recovered a few They the Pillars ofI Hercules a coat of well-worn cut They had the Pillars of Hercules on the obverse and a coat of had well-worn cut pieces from Civil War camps. Much of what arms on the reverse side. For some reason very few of this arms on the reverse side. For some reason very few of this was sites eventually to the mint survived to be that l style seemsurvived to show that up atlong colonial here inturned easterninVirginia, melted down. style seem to show up at colonial sites here in eastern Virginia, melted down. is still hiding in cultivated as demonstrated by the The smallremainder number I’ve recovered. These fields, forests, as demonstrated by the small number I’ve recovered. These forests, and along bust forgotten shores,was awaiting their discovery and al were followed by the milled type which minted well by an those who s were followed by the milled bust type which was minted well by those whoand seekthese out these of the past that played into the early 1800s, are vestiges much more commonly important role into the early 1800s, and these are much more commonly important role had in our found. These coins also thecountry’s pillars oncolonial one side,history. but depictfound. These coins also had the pillars on one side, but depictthe reigning monarch’s bust on the other. More whole coins ed the reigning monarch’s bust on the other. More whole ed coins Originally Published in Volume 11,variety Issue 4 of this hunting area than any other of this type are found in my hunting area than any other variety type are found in myClick here to order single issues. of cut Spanish silver. It’s quite rare to find these in the form of cut of Spanish silver. It’s quite rare to find these in the form of coins coins as that practice essentially ended with the pistareen era. as that practice essentially ended with the pistareen era. However, I have recovered a few of these, including a pair of However, I have recovered a few of these, including a pair of cut one reales that surprisinglyAbout matched upAuthor – they came from The cut one reales that surprisingly matched up – they came from the same coin. That was quite an amazing find. Bill Dancy is among the most prolific freelance writersBill Dancy the same coin. That was quite an amazing find. variety of colonial silver coin be produced was colonial-era relic to hunting, having authoredconcerning The last variety of colonial silver coin to be produced wasThe last concerning the half “disme.” In 1791 legislation provide numerous articles for thiswas anddrafted other to publications. Henumerous the half “disme.” In 1791 legislation was drafted to provide ® for a nationaliscoinage as well as for to adopt a decimal system, also a consultant American Digger magazine. is also a co for a national coinage as well as to adopt a decimal system, based on the dollar being divided into tenths and cents. Inbased 1792 on the dollar being divided into tenths and cents. In 1792 July-August, 2015 American Digger® www.americandigger.com
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Like Seems Like imesOld Times
ngWith now no-till the norm, it is much farming now the norm, it is much ood surface finds at Native harder to make good surface finds at Native ut when a sitesites. is deep plowed, American But when a site is deep plowed, es. everything changes. By Quindy D. Robertson By Quindy D. Robertson Originally Published in Vol 11, Issue 5 Click here to order single issues.
shing buddy, his past winter, a longtime friend and fishing buddy, , Tennessee Steve Thackston from Smith County, Tennessee nd River that told me about a farm on the Cumberland River that ng. The land was scheduled to be deep plowed in the spring. The land e expected hadit not been plowed in several years and Steve expected it to produce at least a few ancient stone tools. with his fa-Steve has hunted Native American artifacts with his fae has recovther and brothers since he was 10 years old. He has recovts from river ered many scarce Paleo points and other artifacts from river “Why getand so creek fields on private land. You may ask, “Why get so ” If you read excited about a field on the river being plowed?” If you read lication, my youarticle in the January 2015 issue of this publication, you ere growing already know the answer. When Steve and I were growing most farmers up, Burley tobacco was a cash crop here and most farmers teveorThackston and s. teve Thackston and Quindy Robertson’s had at least an acre more. It was bigQuindy business.Robertson’s best finds from their sixout hours of walkthe allottedTen years ago, the U.S.D.A. bought best finds from their six hours of walkthe allotted ing and searching the deep-plowed site. raised from ing and searching the deep-plowed site. poundage of Burley tobacco that could be raised from realize growers that of record. Most Americans did not realize that s could only farmers whotobacco plowedused the land with mules before farmers by raising Burley in cigarettes could only tractors by farmers who plowed the land with mules before tractors ased on past used. Everyone who of grew up on a farm in this area raise andwere market a certain number pounds based on past were used. Everyone who grew up on a farm in this area nd had tofarm be production. has a story about add the “buckets of arrowheads” pickedhas up a story about the “buckets of arrowheads” picked up I might that tobacco land had to be re pickeddeep up plowed by their father or grandfather. They usually follow that every year and many artifacts were picked up by their father or grandfather. They usually follow that
®5 58 American Digger Vol. 11, Issue ® American Digger Magazine Sampler 52 5220152015 American Digger Magazine Sampler ® ®
Seems Like Old Times With no-till farming now the norm, it is much harder to make good surface finds at Native American sites. But when a site is deep plowed, B everything changes. ecause of deep plowing, points such as these (left and right) were fully exposed after a hard rain. The privately-owned middle Tennessee field (shown here and on previous page) borders a river once heavily traveled by the Native Americans.
By Quindy D. Robertson
statement with “I just don’t know what happened to those his past winter, a longtime friend and fishing buddy, arrowheads.” Steve Thackston from Smith County, Tennessee Cornfields were also deep plowed prior to the 1990s. told me about a farm on the Cumberland River that Turning (plowing) land, disking, and dragging the soil rewas scheduled to be deep plowed in the spring. The land quires a lot of diesel fuel. These days, no-till farming is the had not been plowed in several years and Steve expected it most popular method used for soybeans and winter wheat. to produce at least a few ancient stone tools. Crops can be planted without plowing or even light diskSteve has hunted Native American artifacts with his faing, saving time and fuel. Most farmers just spray the field ther and brothers since he was 10 years old. He has recovwith weed killer before planting. Crops can be harvested ered many scarce Paleo points and other artifacts from river and quickly rotated, allowing corn and soybeans to be and creek fields on private land. You may ask, “Why get so grown with minimal time lost. The downside is that no-till excited about a field on the river being plowed?” If you read farming doesn’t bring the artifacts to the surface like deep my article in the January 2015 issue of this publication, you plowing does. already know the answer. When Steve and I were growing With all this being said, locating deep plowed ground up, Burley tobacco was a cash crop here and most farmers where artifacts may be present is the exception rather than had at least an acre or more. It was big business. the rule today. Steve had high hopes that artifacts could be Ten years ago, the U.S.D.A. bought out the allotted found there near the river, especially after deep plowing. He poundage of Burley tobacco that could be raised from secured permission for us to hunt from the landowner and growers of record. Most Americans did not realize that the individual who leased the land. All winter, we looked farmers raising Burley tobacco used in cigarettes could only forward to hunting this site. raise and market a certain number of pounds based on past Steve called me in late May and said the river bottom farm production. I might add that tobacco land had to be had just been plowed, disked, and dragged down. Now, we deep plowed every year and many artifacts were picked up 58 American Digger®® Vol. 11, Issue 5
just needed a good, hard rain to expose the flint and see if Steve’s prediction about recovering artifacts would come to fruition. We had to wait over a week for the rain. He called me about lunchtime one hot and humid day and said we should hunt the site that afternoon. The river bottom contained many acres but we hit the high spots first. High ground offered the Native Americans protection from floods and allowed drainage away from their shelters. On a long ridge that ran parallel to the river, we started finding deposits of flint chips. Then, broken points and a few complete tools showed up. Steve eyeballed a broken Celt and hammerstone. He also had the best find of our four-hour hunt with a flint knife blade later identified by my Chattanooga friend Richard Breon as a Ledbetter/Pickwick blade. We Thackston found severaland other artifacts during the hunt that teve Quindy Robertson’s day and made plans to return early the next best finds from their six hours ofmorning. walkIt was unseasonably cool and pleasant the next morning and searching the deep-plowed site. ing. We had to cut our hunt short but still managed to eyeball some nice points. I also found a flint drill. Based on by farmers who plowed the land with mules before tractors what we had recovered, the site appeared to be as old as were used. Everyone who grew up on a farm in this area 6,000 years. has a story about the “buckets of arrowheads” picked up A few days later, we returned and discovered that the by their father or grandfather. They usually follow that
September-October, 2015 American Digger®® 59 www.americandigger.com
ow the norm, it is much A surface finds at Native en a site is deep plowed, ptly nicknamed “Heartbreakers,” these broken artifacts were found during a one-month period by Steve and Quindy.
farmer had already planted beans on the ridge where the artifacts were found. We walked the ridge but no flint was visible as we had anticipated there would be. We had to again wait for a good rain and the beans to sprout so we could see where to walk on the narrow rows without damaging the tender plants by stepping on them.
By Quindy D. Robertson
inally, the rain came and we returned to the site on June 1. We hunted for two hours without finding much more than a scraper and a broken point or two. Apparently, the planter had covered more of the flint than we had anticipated. We were disappointed but if that ridge is rotated with tobacco next year, it will be deep plowed again.
teve Thackston and Quindy Robertson’s best finds from their six hours of walking and searching the deep-plowed site.
by farmers who plowed the land with mules before tractors were used. Everyone who grew up on a farm in this area he author recovered this combination has a story about the “buckets of arrowheads” picked up scraper and drill from the site. by their father or grandfather. They usually follow that
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teve holds a Ledbetter/ Pickwick knife that he found during the pair’s first visit to the site.
and it would not be unusual to find geological material in settlements here in Tennessee that came from Indiana or Illinois.
uindy picked up this large drill during their second hunt near the river. Flint drills were used as far back as 10,000 years ago (Paleo Period) but other artifacts found help date the site to about 6,000 years old.
Unfortunately, the section of the bottom where tobacco will be planted in 2015 showed few deposits of flint. Needless to say, the window between plowing and planting and the frequency of rainfall was a problem for us to fully evaluate the site. Shown on the previous page is a photograph of broken points that I found there and and at other sites in May and early June (plus some Steve found in May at the site) to demonstrate the ratio of broken pieces to complete points. While Native Americans broke some of them, many more were broken by farm implements over the years. The horse/ mule drawn equipment was far less damaging to artifacts than the faster moving tractor-pulled equipment. Middle Tennessee has long been known as a hunting ground for Native Americans. Most of the material used in making atlatl, spear, or arrowhead points from this area was dark flint. Other materials were used as well, including chert. Early people traded rock materials suitable for making points
any areas where Steve, his dad, and brothers recovered Paleo artifacts in the late 1950s and 1960s were purchased by the government and are now on Army Corps of Engineers land and under water. Artifact removal is strictly prohibited on Corps land. If you read my previously mentioned article in the January 2015 issue, you may recall that part of our farm where I grew up on the Cumberland River was purchased by the government and is now Corps property for Old Hickory Lake. Much like the declining productive Civil War sites, areas where Native American artifacts on private land can be recovered are becoming scarce due to factors mentioned in this article. To hunt a deep plowed river bottom really seemed like old times to us and we thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity. In a world of no-till farming, it’s refreshing to find a site like this, and we hope you are as fortunate as we were in finding such a location. You can watch Steve and Quindy on the hunts mentioned in this article on YouTube by typing “Quindy Robertson” or scanning the QR code.
Originally Published in Volume 11, Issue 4 Click here to order single issues.
About the Author
Quindy Robertson of Tennessee is an avid Civil War and Native American collector and relic hunter, and a frequent contributor to American Digger® magazine and other periodicals. He encourages anyone interested in Civil War metal detecting or searching for Native American artifacts to begin immediately as sites disappear or become off limits daily.
Federation of Metal Detector HAVE YOUR VOICE HEARD and Archaeological Clubs Inc.
JOIN THE TASK FORCE Promoting and protecting the metal detecting hobby since 1984 PROTECT THE HOBBY Join us - The hobby you save will be your own! Visit us at FMDAC.org and on Facebook. Mark Schuessler – National President DetectingRights.com firstname.lastname@example.org or call (585) 591-0010 September-October, 2015 American Digger® www.americandigger.com
Sometimes beauty can not be described in mere words. It has to be seen. We hope you enjoy these photos from the 2015 annual Federation of Historical Bottle Collectors Southern Regional National Show held this year in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Photos by Anita & Butch Holcombe
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Reports and Commentaries on Issues That Affect the Hobby by Mark Schuessler A Rogues Strike Again
Why do people insist on shooting themselves in the foot? Is it just sheer ignorance or is it just not caring? Does our hobby tend to attract those types? Yes, I am full of questions but that is because I just do not have a concrete answer to this issue’s dilemma. This column’s subject stems from an editor’s column in a paper titled Historical News published by Southern Historical News. The editor referenced a newspaper article that was covering preservation efforts on some Civil War earthworks. I attempted to locate the original news article but was unsuccessful. Apparently a map was published in the article with enough details given to make the earthworks easy to locate. At least a portion of these earthworks are on private property. Want to guess what happened next? Every hobby and profession has its rogues and I have discussed this element in various forms in prior columns. Those rogues have struck again. The editor stated that property owners found people with metal detectors hunting without asking permission. One who was confronted (while also digging up some plants to take home) told the owner that it shouldn’t matter as the area is just going to be developed anyway. While I can’t confirm it was to be developed, from a trespassing stand it matters not. This is private property right now and that is all that matters right now. I would hope that there were decent detectorists who asked permission of various owners but that was not mentioned. But if the Historical News article is correct (and I have no reason to believe otherwise), there were a few who did not seek permission and at least one that could have been arrested for property damage. After 40 years of trying to obey the rules in this fine hobby, I have grown tired of those who bring discredit to it. They don’t seem to care what damage they do to the hobby as long as they can slip in under the radar. No matter how badly one thinks relics need saving, trespassing is illegal and hurts the metal detecting hobby. If it was a hunter or fisherman who was poaching they would be ticketed or arrested. The difference is that the entire community of hunters and fishermen does not get blamed for the poacher’s actions. In metal detecting, we all get the blame for a minority’s actions. This article was brought to my attention through an internet forum post. Contact was made with the poster
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with a “thank you” for making everyone aware of this renegade action. There was no doubt that this situation required a response from the hobby. Remaining silent in these cases is not an option as it will only cause the unknowing public who read it to lump us all together. We are already in danger of losing our metal detecting rights, especially where historic sites are concerned. To remain silent while rogue detectorists break the law is to suffer for their crimes by risking losing our detecting privileges. A letter was quickly composed from myself as the FMDAC President and sent to the Historical News editor. The letter started off by stating that I agreed with his condemnation of these people. They were totally in the wrong and not following the hobby code of ethics. One of the main tenets of that code is to gain permission when entering private property. It doesn’t matter if the land is slated to sold or developed; the current owner still has to grant permission before it can be legally metal detected. These rogues do not represent the majority of the people in the hobby who do follow the rules. The person who posted the information also sent a letter to the paper. Hopefully one or both will be printed so the readers will be educated as to the proper ethics of the hobby and know that these individuals are indeed outcasts and renegades, and do not represent our hobby as a whole. This seems like a real good time to remind everyone of the main points of our hobby’s code of ethics. There are many ethics lists floating around. Each has its own variations and additions but when you boil it all down they all say the same. The list below may not be all inclusive but you will find a generic compilation of the most common, which also happen to be those most abused by the rogues. Even if you are familiar with the code of ethics, it never hurts to read them now and then as a refresher. It also would not hurt to imprint them on the foreheads of those who refuse to follow them! The Code of Metal Detecting Ethics I will check with federal, state, and local laws before searching on public property. It is my responsibility to know the law. I will respect private property and will not enter private property without the owner’s permission. I will take care to properly fill in my holes no matter where I am and will do my best to leave no trace behind. I will remove all trash that I recover and dispose of it properly. I will respect all property and will not damage Keep up with legal issues, subscribe and read the News-n-Views column in every issue!
any structures, fences, signs, crops, natural resources, vegetation or wildlife. I will respect our heritage and will not use a metal detector around historical monuments, battlefields, or archaeological sites that are protected by state or federal laws. I will act as an ambassador for the hobby, being thoughtful, considerate, and courteous at all times. (Originally Published in Vol. 11, Issue 4)
May 2015 - Prairie Grove, AK: A construction worker replacing an old gas line near the Prairie Grove Battlefield State Park in Prairie Grove, Arkansas, happened onto a Civil War artillery shell. Not just any shell. It was a rare James Shell that was most likely left over from the December 7, 1862 battle. Instead of consulting with the state park museum, the city handed it over to the bomb squad. The bomb squad, again bypassing Prairie Grove Battlefield museum personnel, then blew it up, stating it was a safety hazard. Representatives from the state park are not happy about it. They were interested in having the shell disarmed and put on display in the museum. As we in this hobby know, and Alan Thompson from the museum stated, Civil War shells are disarmed all the time. The construction crew handed the shell over to the city thinking that it would then be turned over to the park. The crew would have been better off taking it to the museum directly; it was found only about 300 yards from the park. Thompson further said that people will run across bullets and buttons but a shell is a rarity. Since his tenure began in 1991, there have only been three reported instances of artillery shells being uncovered in the area. He stated that any future discoveries of ordnance near the park will be handled differently. But of course it is already too late for this artifact. Thompson noted that he did see it and verify what it was, but the city had control of it. The police chief made the following statement: “Despite being a rare historical item, safety is always first, especially when dealing with explosives. Unfortunately, the only responsible action for all parties involved was to render the shell safe by destroying it.” Frankly, I could not disagree more. The shell was hurting no one. The city should have taken the time to consult with the museum and have a Civil War artillery expert look at it. Yes, I said a Civil War artillery expert, not the bomb squad. They know explosives but they do
NOT know Civil War artillery. This shell should have been turned over to the museum where it would have been evaluated by an expert and disarmed. Afterwards, it would have been put on display for all to learn from. Now the shell is just a memory that will soon fade away. It is yet another piece of history not just lost but intentionally and needlessly destroyed by people exercising their authority. In this case, that authority was misguided and uninformed. (Originally Published in Vol. 11, Issue 5)
Same Situation, Different Outcome June 2015 - Tuscaloosa, AL: Workers located 10 cannonballs under a sidewalk while doing repairs at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. The bomb squad was called in for safety reasons but the outcome was very different from the previous situation at Prairie Grove. The big difference is that, in Tuscaloosa, the bomb squad removed the shells and is holding them in a secure location. It is to their credit and professionalism that they did not immediately and without hesitation destroy them. The shells will be examined by a Civil War artillery expert and the plans are to have them disarmed so the university can put them on display. The disarming may already be underway and, by the time you read this, the shells may have already been returned to the university. The university was given a say in the disposition of the shells, as they were found on their property, and we commend all involved in their efforts to preserve these artifacts. How the ordnance came to rest there is simply guesswork. The university trained cadets during the Civil War and it is known that they possessed at least three cannons. The cannonballs were found in an area where defensive earthworks were constructed during the war, so it is possible that there was an artillery emplacement there. It could be that they were buried by the cadets to hide them from the Union forces that overtook and burned the campus in April 1865. It is also possible that they were simply discarded by either side and ended up buried as fill. Compare this article with the previous one. In the Prairie Grove situation, they quickly destroyed the shell with no second thought given, even though a museum wanted it. In Tuscaloosa, the bomb squad personnel looked at the whole picture. They took it slow and examined the options. They let an expert in the field of artillery examine the shells. The cannonballs are a part of the university’s history, a part that (we hope) will soon be in their collection. That’s the way Civil War shells should end up: disarmed and displayed for all to enjoy and learn from. (Originally Published in Vol. 11, Issue 5)
Product & Book Reviews ®
American Digger regularly brings our readers reviews on both new products and books related to the hobby of digging and collecting.
Minelab Go Find 40
MSRP $229 Mfg. by Minelab 118 Hayward Avenue, Torrensville SA 5031, Australia firstname.lastname@example.org www.store.minelab.com Available from selected dealers _________
hen I learned that Minelab had released a new machine, my initial thoughts were that it would be a great addition, but little did I know this machine would have so much technology and great features. I originally thought that since this was an entry-level machine it perhaps wasn’t meant to be taken seriously, but after several tests on both land and at the beach, my opinion changed. This is one of the best entry-level detectors on the market I have ever seen due to its versatility and sensitivity. One of the things I first noticed on the machine was its display. The four LED Icons indicate whether the target you have found is iron, nickel or foil, penny/ ring, and dime/quarter. These icons were different than what I was accustomed
to, as my Minelab X-Terra 705 detector uses numbers for VDI displays. It was difficult at first to get comfortable with the Go Find machine, but after about an hour using it in the field I understood the different settings and how to use the machine fully. The versatility of the Minelab Go Find metal detector is impressive. It blew me away and is very different from any other introductory level detector I have had the chance to use. The detector folds into about the size of a backpack and, at 22 inches, can be taken anywhere, making it a great machine for scouting missions or for traveling by ship or plane. It is hard to break down some other detectors into separate pieces and ship those pieces to your destination, but not with the Minelab Go Find. After various air tests of several coins and relics, I came away with a good idea of the machine’s sensitivity. A dime hit perfectly at five inches when I had the sensitivity set at its highest, and a Civil War bullet rang in with solid numbers at about six inches. Overall I think this machine would be a good dry-beach detector (although, like most VLF machines, it does act erratically in salt) and a great detector for traveling. The Minelab Go Find is also one of the first entry level detectors that offers Bluetooth capabilities. One of the features that threw me off
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with this machine was its pinpoint function. In order to pinpoint a target, you have to keep the detector in motion. This was hard for me to learn even as an experienced detectorist, because often you can set the coil on the target and have the pinpoint still sound on the detector, even when the searchcoil isn’t in motion. The quality of this machine is good as well. The control box is up to date with technology and almost looks like a cell phone. The shaft and armrest are, however, plastic. This may not be a problem for some people, but it can get scratched very easily when being used in woodlands. With caution and care, this shouldn’t be a major concern. Bluetooth capabilities are what this machine is best known for. I was able to connect this machine to my phone, and listen to music while I was detecting. When I received a signal, the music would fade out and the detector would beep through my phone wirelessly. I am surprised that all this technology is available in a 200-dollar machine. When I used this detector on the beach, I got strong signals from quarters at five inches deep in dry sand, but the salt mineralization’s interference made it difficult to hear targets clearly. In normal, non-beach soil this detector was very sensitive. I was pulling copper pennies at seven inches with it. I wasn’t surprised at the performance of this machine in salt water because I have had the same issue with my Minelab X-Terra 705. Again, this metal detector is perfect for entry level detectorists. Minelab made a great addition to their products and the Go Find 40 is a detector you shouldn’t miss. To see a video of this review, click the QR code shown here. This review originally appeared in Vol. 11, Issue 5
Fisher F75 & F75 Ltd Upgrade
*$159-$309 (+ warranty if desired) (*Depending on options chosen) Available from Fisher Labs 1465 Henry Brennan El Paso, TX 79936 (915) 225-0333 www.fisherlab.com _________
mong the new generation of extra sensitive VLF detectors is the Fisher F75. I personally own a F75 Ltd, basically an F75 with extra features. Both machines have a dedicated fan base. Even so, there were quirks and problems that did not always make either model suitable to every site. First, the units were very sensitive to EMI (electromagnetic interference), making it hard to hunt around high voltage lines and certain urban areas, both of which I frequently search. Also, while it performed admirably in trashy areas (especially with a 4-inch search coil), the stock 11-inch DD almost seemed too sensitive to handle areas thickly littered with iron junk. But to me, the biggest hassle of all was the seemingly constant chatter. While I learned to control the extra noise by reducing the sensitivity, that seemed counterproductive at best. After all, one of the F75’s most endearing traits is its extreme sensitivity, allowing recovery of deeper targets. Thus, I was very excited upon hearing that Fisher Labs was offering upgrades on both the standard F75 and F75 Ltd. There are three upgrades offered. Upgrade #1 (which is what I tested) changes the F75 Ltd to a “New Enhanced F75 Ltd” or a standard F75 to a “New Enhanced F75.” The price is $159 and includes DST (Digital Shield
Technology), FA (Fast Process), four levels of FE tone, adjustable Audio Pitch and LCD Serialization. Upgrade #2 brings a standard F75 up to a “New Enhanced F75 Ltd.” The cost is $309. This gives the F75 all of the features in Upgrade #1, plus the Boost Mode and Cache Mode that set the F75 Ltd apart. Another option is offered, Upgrade #3, which gives a free upgrade to new F75/F75 Ltd units purchased between July 1 and December 31, 2014. I consider this a noble gesture by Fisher to insure that recent F75 customers are not penalized for buying a new unit just before the upgrades were offered. Extended warranties are also offered for the upgraded units. While performing the upgrades, Fisher also gives your detector a thorough inspection, tweeking and troubleshooting throughout. They also give the machine a thorough cleaning, and replace any worn or broken parts still under the original warranty. When I got my upgraded unit back, I was astounded! Between the cleaning and liberal use of new parts, my old F75 Ltd, which has seen many hard hours of relic hunting, looked almost new. But what about the added features? The one I was most excited about was the Digital Shielding Technology, as I had longed for the day my F75 would run without unnecessary EMI noise and chatter. Note that the DST must be set when turning the detector on, and forget trying to figure it out by trial and error. Instead, consult the upgraded manual (included) to learn how to engage the DST. It’s not hard once you know how, but it is slightly awkward. The good news is that it is retained in the memory as a new default unless you decide to change it back. Why anyone would want to run with the DST turned off, I don’t know. Although theoretically there is a loss of depth with DST, that is overly compensated by allowing the user to run the sensitivity at very high settings. In fact, during this test I ran mine at 99, the maximum sensitivity, with no notable interference. Whether that will hold true in all areas has yet to be seen, but I suspect the user will be able to run it much higher that before.
Another new feature I was excited to try was the Fast Process (FA) mode. This allows individual targets to give a shorter signal, meaning that many items previously masked by nearby iron targets can now be heard. During testing, I placed an iron chain in a close semi circle around a dime. While it did require a more careful sweep, I was able to still hear the “good” target within. The same results were had when surrounded by three nails only a few inches from the dime. I suspect there will be many upgrade users returning to the trashiest areas they know to try out this feature. There does seem to be a slight trade off with depth, but this mode is designed to pick out good targets surrounded by trash. If extreme depth is a concern, using a different mode is a better choice. Another wonderful idea Fisher has instituted is an electrically embedded serial number. While this won’t stop theft, it will make recovery of a stolen unit easier, as there is no easy way to erase or change the serial number. There are other added features, including three new levels of ferrous tones (off, low, and medium), which allows the user to control how loud iron targets sound. There is also now an adjustable audio pitch in the discrimination mode. While I have no doubt many will find these features useful, I feel they pale in comparison to the DST, FA, and embedded serial number additions. On the flip side, there has been early customer reports of a few bugs, including one of the new audio modes causing some side effects in the pinpoint mode and a perceived loss of depth in the all metal mode compared to units not upgraded. However, I noticed none of these problems on my upgraded machine, and expect that Fisher is addressing any such issues as they may arise. To see more about this product, click the QR code shown here. This review originally appeared in Vol. 11, Issue 2
of users also noted that their off/on Five minutes after that, it shuts itbutton malfunctioned after extended self off to save battery power. use. Overall, though, the Pro-Pointer There is also a ruler (with meareceived praise from most who used surements in both inches and centiit. Others customized the old units, meters) molded into the tough plaswith creative ways to waterproof tic case, a great tool to accurately them, and painting them bright col- judge the depth of targets. ors and attaching lanyards in case Another new feature is the abiliNow my reputation was at stake to add in- in the woods. that Dr. Dorfman to the news theyand were dropped ty to set the sensitivity viadelivered the single sult to injury, the point’s provenance was now archaeologist after the point Garrett listens to their customers button. The default mode is medium was pu tainted. This so-called “professional” gone has released the sensitivity,The man performed was shamed admiand for good and, in had response, which out of his way®to slam me andGarrett I had to react. My the future, thiswith reckless prof ® Pro-Pointer I was in very pleased AT all-terrain rably, but Perhaps Garrett Pro-Pointer AT redemption, however, was topinpointer. come from anWaterproof unwill take a few moments to acknowle to ten feet the maximum sensitivity. Although All-terrain Pinpointer usual and completely unexpected place. contributions of serious amateurs. H deep and colored a bright orange, it this mode may not work as well in MSRP: Weeks $149.95 though, I wouldn’t take any bets on it. passed as I allowed my anger to has created a buzz in the detecting high mineralization or areas with Garrett Electronics, Inc. a viable I summarize this weird and somewha diminish and develop plan C. One day, the increased sensicommunity, especially among the thick targets, cal (but lately all too common) tale by at an auction, 1881 W. State St. a rather distinguished looking water hunting crowd. While every- tivity is amazing. With Prowhat should we,the the old nonprofessional co elderly to my table. He Garland, TX gentleman 75042 strolled over Pointer, there were times I’d wished one will benefit from the new watertake away from it? Political correctness seemed very interested in my coprolites, which www.garrett.com sensitive, but the sense new of wha proof(you feature, the water hunters will it were more emotionally overcharged are 75 million years old fish feces read that Available from selected dealers. AT model in maximum is a big certainly cheer, as they will now be torically right have infectedimour society right) retrieved from the local creeks. __________ provement. An air test on a quarter able to use their Garrett Pro-Pointer out-of-control virus. The gentleman, Don Dorfman, Ph.D was showed over It two inches theastip, completely is now three at times hard to colle head of the Marine Biology while Department at the submerged. serve and report finds at a local level. Al and more on the sides, an improveBut the improvements go way or many years, I rarely used a (West Long Branch, University of Monmouth erage citizen is supposed to do is waterproofing and bright ment of at least an inch over the pre- visit m pinpointer.New NorJersey). was Don I alone. had bothbeyond serious the academic and watch thethat History Channel. While might not We, as color. For instance, the addition of a vious version. credentials and an open minded attitude. Most They were seen by my relic hunting can citizens, still have the right to coll importantly, he gladly acknowledged the contribrethren as bulky, ineffective, and lanyard loop is a much-needed fea- sound like much, it’s huge in pindig, as long as we do it with permission a butions of amateurs science and was fascinatture, again to prevent loss (you’d be pointer performance. fragile. Although it was a great toidea within the bounds of the law. ed by mylocate finds. After the Dalton point debacle, surprised how easy it is to lay a pinThe new units also feature Ita is neithe to be able to precisely a target nor an obligation to follow in lock step my aceunit in the Professors pubpointer down on the ground while sturdier control button, eliminating once the hole Don was became dug, every I hole. those who hold degrees. The margins, h lish like a rabbit making and soon we and then wander the occasional retrieving a target problem with the old had ended up malfunctioning after a bunnies are narrowing and the eyes (and voices) up to publish a series off of scientific articles without it). And if that weren’t model. Garrett stands behind their few hard uses.teamed Although they probThe Dalton Point which who would condemn us are everywhere based on my finds. The first was you guessed ably were fine for occasional coin enough, after five minutes of being products and includes a two-year warit on coprolites, then others followed. I evenwas rejected for publihunting jaunts in parks, they were on with no button presses, the pin- ranty (limited parts/labor). Assuming Postscript tually asked if he could help me with the long cation by the newspapointer assumes you’ve forgotten it, that this unit is as tough as the an pre-amazing 5 never tough enough for my brand of In 2010, I discovered neglected Dalton piece. per’s archaeologist. and begins emitting warning chirps. vious version, andPaleo I have noinreason hunting. stemmed point Marlboro, New Don knew the antagonistic archaeologist and __________ to believe it isn’t from the Garrett changed all It was perfect Paleo point number two confided that he had a reputation for arrogance tests weit performed, there’s Unfortun course, had to be recorded. that a few years ago his peers. As for my Dalton point, even among went through many of the same problems I’dnot experienced a good chance you’ll with their he introducsuggested we submit article to the annual New Jersey Talk isancheap... half a decade earlier. It was a bit depressing; it need the warranty, but it isfelt like I’ tion of the Pro-Pointer. Archaeology Bulletin. This periodical annually highlights ...but a talk show aboutthe digging? gone through the vetting process. Thankfully, a good to know it’s there. local com It was tough, Garden compact, State’s most significant finds and is highly prestigious in priceless! ...that’s monthly picked it up and did a better than expected job and easy to use. Sudscientific circles. One of Don’s closest friends was the managing article. To see a video chief editor denly pinpointing cameand, ironically enough, the newspaper’s archaeologist More recently, ofmy thisdiscovery product, of a partial mastodon s also sat on the board of the magazine. The web that was being into vogue again, and brought quite a click bit more Finally! It on on therecognition. QR around this single spear point was getting thick indeed! thousands whowoven had fornumerous phone calls, several interviews and the backing code at right. Live call-in shows every Monday at 9 PM EST gone carryingIn the a spring pin- of 2006 (almost a year after my find), the bulletin people with Ph.D’s. But I had evolved. I now at least ex Free Archived Shows 24/7 pointer began arrived using with the an accurate, objective write-up, and photos of the their eyes and thus, the find could be properly document Dalton point. It was lateButch in coming, but there was: a literal Join Holcombe, Jeffit Lubbert, and Heath Jones Pro-Pointer religiously. media giveth and the media taketh away. But it should n exercise in persistence andweek luck. for special guests, contests, and the best each Most complaints were (This review originally able to rob a find of its provenance. The gravy on top mytricks, ‘taters was verbalconcerning dressing down in of tips, andthe issues metal detecting, appeared in Vol. 11, Issue 5) minor. For instance, relic hunting, and treasure seeking. it sometimes shorted out when wet, and its Now on the American Digger Network! matt black finish made Note our new web address below: it hard to find if it was relicroundup.blogspot.com lost. A small percentage About The Author Glenn Harbour has been digging and collecting 64 2015 American Digger® Magazine Sampler his teenage years and has traveled both the wes
may have been an exaggeration, much like the three-foot bass my husband caught in the neighbor’s pond last week. iaries: Then again, you never know! After going on and on about all the treasure his father had found with his White’s, Mike leaned in really close; close enough that I could smell the wintergreen chewing Confessions of a tobacco and weak light beer on his breath. “You know where compulsive digger my daddy found most of his coins? I’ll tell you the best kept By Jocelyn Elizabeth secret of metal that detecting.” He paused. I waited. Now my reputation was at stake and to add inDr. Dorfman delivered to the newspaper’s I’ll give him credit; Mike knew how to get attention. sult to injury, the point’s provenance was now archaeologist after the point wasmypublished. “Yeah, go on,” The I prompted andshamed waitedand for him to continue. tainted. This so-calledThe “professional” had gone man was for good reason. (Maybe) Best Kept “Back in the day, they used to put letters in the mailbox out of his way to slam me andofI had to react. My Perhaps in the future, this reckless professional Secret Metal Detecting with coins for will postage. come ‘round redemption, however, was to come from an untake aThat few postman moments would to acknowledge the and drop them contributions coins on the ground when he was taking out usual and of serious amateurs. Honestly, y completely father is aunexpected Southernplace. Baptist pastor. I was never the letters. That’s where you’vetake gotta’ where though, I wouldn’t any look. bets onThat’s it. Weeks passed toas celebrate I allowed Halloween my anger toor watch “The allowed I summarize this weird somewhat you’ll find those coins. I guarantee it.”andHe stressedcomieach diminish and develop a viable C. One day, my parents to Smurfs.” When I was ten, I plan finally convinced cal (but lately all too common) tale by asking syllable by striking his index finger in the air. attake an me auction, a rather distinguished looking Of course, my trick-or-treating at a church function. what into should the nonprofessional collector, elderly gentleman strolled over to mymy table. He Shrinking back thewe, wicker patio chair, I considered parents insisted on pre-approving costume— essentially, away I’m fromno it?dummy. Political I’ve correctness an seemed very interested in my coprolites, which his theory for atake moment. alwaysand known this meant no witches, goblins, ghosts, ghouls or anything emotionally overcharged sense of what is hisare 75 million years old fish feces (you read that that past generations paid for postage in that fashion, but I Halloween-ey. torically right have infected our society like an right) In retrieved from the local creeks. never considered the coins falling out of the mailbox. the weeks leading up to the occasion, I remember virus. and I were detecting an The gentleman, Don Dorfman, Ph.D was A few daysout-of-control later, my husband slathering papier-mâché onto a balloon with my dad to creIt is now three hard towon’t collect, prehead the mask. MarineIBiology at theensemble with a old homestead on a back countrytimes road.as“You believe ate aofdog polishedDepartment off the canine serve and report finds at a local level. All the avUniversity of Monmouth Long Branch, what Mike told me the other day…” I baited him and looked stylish black sweat-suit (West with sloppily painted white blotcherage citizen is supposed to do is visit museums New Jersey). Don had both serious academic up from swinging my coil. es— er, spots. and watch the History Channel. We, as Americredentials and an open minded attitude. Most “Yeah, what’s that?” my husband asked. Coming from a background like that, one might wonder can citizens, still have the right to collect and importantly, he gladly acknowledged the contri“He said his dad found all his coins where the old how I married into the family that I did. (To be honest, I’m dig, as long as we do it with permission and stay butions of amateurs to science and was fascinatmailbox wouldwithin have been.” still wondering myself.) His family is loud and opinionated. the bounds of the law. It is neither a right ed by my finds. After the Dalton point debacle, Now, the mailbox was longtogone. house been They drink, they swear, they chew tobacco and smoke nor an obligation followThis in lock stephad behind Don became my ace in the hole. Professors pubabandoned for over half a century, but one could still deduce cigarettes. I think they bunnies may have those who hold degrees. The margins, however, lish like a rabbit making andwatched soon we a few too many where the mailbox would have been. started of heading episodes of “The Smurfs,” but who knows? are narrowing and the eyesSo, (andI voices) those teamed up to publish a series of scientific articles towards the front of the house. There’s nothing The wrong with Point which who would condemn us are everywhere. Dalton basedNow, on mydon’t finds.get Theme firstwrong. was you guessed managed a few swings before my kids ran the battery beer andthen dribbling off yourwas chin rejected whenitdrinking on coprolites, others tobacco followed.juice I evenfor Ipublion the Jeep they were playing with and started seeking Postscript ever you speak. justhelp trying paintthe you a mentalcation picture.by thedry tually asked if heI’m could metowith long newspamore creative methods to pass the time, such as In 2010, I discovered an amazing 5.5sword inch In our first few weeks of dating, I was introduced to neglected Dalton piece. per’s archaeologist. fighting with pointed sticks and throwing grass clippings at stemmed Paleo point in Marlboro, New Jersey. allDon the knew family I remember meeting thefriends. antagonistic archaeologist and this one couple, __________ It was perfect Paleo point number two and, of one another. I knew it was time to pack it in, but my husband Mike and carried a cooler like it was confided thatDanielle, he had a who reputation foraround arrogance hadseparately to be recorded. I and I had drivencourse, to the itsite and heUnfortunately, wanted to poke an extension theirAs arm. didn’t matter even among hisofpeers. forItmy Dalton point,what time of day, went through many of the same problems I’d experienced almost around a little longer with his XP Deus. hewhere suggested submit an or article the annual New Jersey they we were going, whatto they were doing—they half aIdecade earlier. It washome, a bit depressing; felt like I’d neverof brought the kids fed them ait healthy supper Archaeology This periodical annually highlights the always had aBulletin. cooler of Coors Light within reach. gone through the vetting process. Thankfully, a local commercial Kraft Mac & Cheese, and set them up with an episode of Garden State’s most significant findsmy andhusband’s is highly prestigious in Well, in December of 2013, father passed monthly picked it up and didtoo a better than expected jobhellions on the “Dora the Explorer.” Not long after getting the scientific circles. One of Don’s closest friends was the managing away from ALS. Most of his friends stopped coming around— article. chief editor ironically enough, newspaper’s archaeologist ready for bed, my husband came waltzing through the door except forand, Mike, Danielle, andthe their trusty Coleman. They More recently,grin. my discovery of a partial mastodon skeleton also sat on the board of the magazine. The web that was being with a gloating remained friends with my mother-in-law and still stop by on brought quite a bit more recognition. Finally! It only took woven around this single spear and pointrelax was by getting thick indeed! “Look what I found around the mailbox!” He held out occasion to drink a brewsky the pool. numerous phone calls, several interviews and the backing of three In theJust spring of 2006 (almost a year after my find), the bulletin his open to reveal a handful of coins—a whole handful! a few weeks ago, I stopped in to visit my mother- people withpalm Ph.D’s. But I had evolved. I now at least existed in arrived with an accurate, objective write-up, and photos of the “They were popping out one right after the other.” in-law and found them all sipping beer and chain smoking their eyes and thus, the find could be properly documented. The Dalton point. It was late in coming, but there it was: a literal I usually don’t take advice for face value from on the back patio. Mike and I struck up a conversation and mediaNow, giveth and the media taketh away. But it should never be exercise in persistence and luck. someone who’s a few”… but Mike may have been on I began telling him about my adventures in metal detect- able to rob a find of“had its provenance. The gravy on top of my ‘taters was the verbal dressing down to something. Perhaps this might actually be the best kept ing. He was thrilled. Heck, Mike was beyond thrilled. He secret of metal detecting. became suddenly more animated than I had ever seen him. He started sharing stories about his father who was an avid metal detecting hobbyist. Mike told me that when his father passed away, he had Opinions and research expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of American Digger . left utility buckets FULL of silver coins. Now, I suspect this About The Author (This reviewGlenn originally Harbour has been digging and collecting since appeared in Vol. Issue 5) years and www.americandigger.com his11,teenage has traveled both the west and65
2015 American Digger速 Magazine Sampler
Detecting and Collecting Clubs Mid Florida Historical Research & Recovery Association, Ocala, Fl. Meets 3rd Thursday each month (Oct.-May) 6 PM at United Way, 1401 NE 2nd St., Email email@example.com.
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 the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of each month, 7:30 PM, at F.O.P. Lodge, 2350 Austell Rd., Marietta, GA, 30008. www.ngrha.com.
Middle Tennessee Metal Detecting Club meets in Nashville the 1st Friday of every month. See our website for information about the club and meetings. www.mtmdc.com
Palmetto Relic Hunters Club meets 7 PM, 2nd Tuesday of each month at the Cayce Museum, 1800 12th St, Cayce, SC, 29033. Contact Rudy Reeves at 803-665-6457, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Georgia Research and Recovery Club meets the 2nd Thursday of each month at 7 PM, Delkwood Grill, 2769 Delk Road Southeast, Marietta, GA, 30067. For more info visit www.garrc.com.
Pelican Relic & Recovery Assoc., Baton Rouge, LA Meets 3rd Tues. of each month at 7 PM, Kung Fu Buffet, 1823 S. Sherwood Forrest Blvd., Baton Rouge, LA. Info, email@example.com.
Central VA Civil War Collectors Assoc. 4th Tuesday of each month (except December) 7:15 PM, Glen Allen American Legion Hall, 2522 Indale Rd, Richmond. Visit www.cvcwca.com for info.
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. www.silvercitytreasureseekers.net.
Northern Virginia Relic Hunter Association meets 7:30 PM, the first Tuesday of each month at the NRA building, Fairfax, VA. For more info, visit www.nvrha.com
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, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Coastal Empire History Hunters Association. Meets in Savannah, GA. For more information, contact Rick Phillips at 912-663-2382 or visit www.cehha.com.
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 email@example.com.
Dixie Relic Recovery Club, 1st Monday/ every month, 7 PM, Old Stone Church, Ringgold, GA. Visit www. dixierelicclubcom 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 EurekaTHC.com for more information.
Tidewater Coin & Relic Club, 2nd Tuesday, 6:30 PM, Mary Pretlow Library, 111 W. Oceanview Ave, Norfolk, VA. 757-6790467, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.tc-rc.com.
417 Relic Hunters meets the 1st Tuesday of each month at 7 PM, Springfield Missouri Library, 4653 S. Campbell, Mo. For info, visit www.417relichunters.com.
E.A.R.T.H. Metal Detecting Club meets last Monday of every month, Dunham Library, 76 Main St., Whitesboro, NY. Email email@example.com or visit www.earthclubcny.com.
Northern Kentucky Treasure Hunters, meets last Monday of each month, 7 PM at Boone County High School Library. For info, contact firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.nkthc.com.
Want to find out how to get your club listed here, as well as in each issue of American Digger® magazine? Call 770-362-8671 or email email@example.com to find out how! 68
2015 American Digger® Magazine Sampler
though, I wouldn’t take any bets on it. Weeks passed as I allowed my anger to I summarize this weird and somewhat comidiminish and develop a viable plan C. One day, cal (but lately all too common) tale by asking at an auction, a rather distinguished looking what should we, the nonprofessional collector, elderly gentleman strolled over to my table. He take away from it? Political correctness and an seemed very interested in my coprolites, which emotionally overcharged sense of what is hisare 75 million years old fish feces (you read that torically right have infected our society like an right) retrieved from the local creeks. out-of-control virus. The gentleman, Don Dorfman, Ph.D was It is now three times as hard to collect, prehead of the Marine Biology Department at the serve and report finds at a local level. All the avUniversity of Monmouth (West Long Branch, erage citizen is supposed to do is visit museums New Jersey). Don had both serious academic and watch the History Channel. We, as Americredentials and an open minded attitude. Most can citizens, still have the right to collect and importantly, he gladly acknowledged the contridig, as long as we do it with permission and stay butions of amateurs to science and was fascinatwithin the bounds of the law. It is neither a right ed by my finds. After the Dalton point debacle, nor an obligation to follow in lock step behind Don became my ace the hole. Professors pubByinJim Roberson those who hold degrees. The margins, however, lish like a rabbit making bunnies and soon we are narrowing and the eyes (and voices) of those teamed up to publish a series of scientific articles 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 an amazing 5.5 inch would have also had to cross the mighty Mississippi and neglected Dalton piece. per’s archaeologist. stemmed Paleo point in Marlboro, New Jersey. Osage rivers to reach its final destination. It would be Don knew the antagonistic archaeologist __________ griculture became an important partand of the Native It was perfect number twohave and, of interesting to know how longPaleo this point journey would confided that he had a reputation for arrogance Americans’ way of life during the late Woodland course, it had to be recorded. Unfortunately, I taken some 800 years ago. even among his peers. As for my Dalton point, Period in the Midwest. To cultivate the soil, large tools went through many of the same problems I’d experienced almost he suggested we submit an article to the annual New Jersey were created from select lithic materials capable of withhalf a decade earlier. It was a bit depressing; it felt like I’d never Archaeology Bulletin. This periodical annually highlights the standing constant pounding into the earth. These implegone through the vetting process. Thankfully, a local commercial Garden State’s most significant finds and is highly prestigious in “The unscrupulous practice of applying clear fingernail polish and ments vary in size and shape; many examples exceed monthly picked it up and did a better than expected job on the scientific circles. One of Don’s closest friends was the managing polyurethane 12chief inches length. Other usesthe fornewspaper’s these tools would article. to reproduction digging implements to replicate actual editorinand, ironically enough, archaeologist plant gloss a common my occurrence. Thisofdeception canmastodon easily be removed Moreis recently, discovery a partial skeleton have pits, graves, andthat even alsoincluded sat on thedigging board ofstorage the magazine. The web washarbeing with a cotton ball and fingernail polish remover or other solvent.” brought quite a bit more recognition. Finally! It only took vesting soilthis needed construct burial mounds and woventhe around singletospear point was getting thick indeed! numerous phone calls, several interviews and the backing of three J.R. other structures. It is very rare to find complete In the spring of 2006 (almost a year afteramy find), thespade bulletin people with Ph.D’s. But I had evolved. I now at least existed in onarrived a plowed agricultural field today. Years of cultivawith an accurate, objective write-up, and photos of the their eyes and thus, the find could be properly documented. The tion havepoint. seriously the majority examples Dalton It wasdamaged late in coming, but thereof it was: a literal media giveth and the media taketh away. But it should never be that were in left behind. and However, exercise persistence luck. excellent unbroken ex(Originally Published in Vol. 11, Issue 2) able to rob a find of its provenance. amples occasionally during Theare gravy on top of mydiscovered ‘taters was the verbalexcavations dressing down at construction sites. The bit (cutting edge) of well-used examples will often exhibit a polished appearance. This is known as plant gloss, and is the result of the tool’s frequent contact with soil. Tools such the spade made farming possible. Agriculture, along with other new discoveries, paved the way About The Authorin every Don’t miss Jim’s column for more permanent societies. Glenn Harbour has been digging and ®collecting since issue of American Digger ! The spade pictured here was discovered in Cole his teenage years and has traveled both the west and County, Missouri. This is a well-used example, and polthe east coast extensively in his pursuits of the past. ishing is clearly visible on its bit. It is made from Mill Although his degree is not in archaeology, he takes Creek chert, which occurs in Union county, Illinois. This his hobby very seriously and considers himself to be fossil-filled material was highly prized by Mississippian amateur scientist. Hailing from central New Jersey, an Period Native Americans living in the Midwest. It is Glenn is also a prolific author and a local folk artist. an extremely durable lithic, and an excellent choice for November-December 2012 American Digger® Magazine 29 crafting larger tools designed for high impact uses, such as digging. Mill Creek chert was also frequently used to manufacture ceremonial objects of the Mississippian Period. Some examples would be unusually large blades, maces, and spuds. There are over 150 miles between the location where the pictured spade was found and the material’s quarry site. In addition to the great distance, this piece
What’s The Point? An issue-by-issue guide to the ancient stone artifacts of North America.
The Heavy Duty
he Heavy Duty type is suggested to have been an Archaic period tool used between 7,000 and 5,000 years ago. These ancient dart points and knives are medium to large in size, somewhat thick, and usually very well made. This type is somewhat rare, and is not commonly discovered by arrowhead hunters. Unfortunately, their exact age is not known. They do, however, display many of the characteristics of other point types from middle Archaic times. Heavy Duty points closely resemble the Kirk Serrated type also found in the same areas. Some believe that they are related and that the Heavy Duty may possibly be a variation of the Kirk type. The chapter has not yet closed on this type. It is hoped future archaeological excavations will produce an example of the Heavy Duty type, along with some form of organic material together in the same layer. Radiocarbon dating can then be used to accurately determine the age of this type. The slightly smaller-than-average Heavy Duty point pictured on this page is an excellent example of the type. Unfortunately, this particular artifact has very little documented history other than it was reported to have been discovered somewhere in northern Ohio. It was made from an eye-appealing piece of the famous Flint Ridge flint. This material occurs in the Ohio counties of Licking and Muskingum and is one of the most colorful lithics found in the United States. Artifacts crafted from Flint Ridge flint may display almost any color of the rainbow, and often times several colors will be mottled together on a single tool. Some varieties of Flint Ridge are semi to completely translucent. The unique characteristics and colors of this material have made it a longtime favorite among collectors.
*** “A visit to Flint Ridge State Memorial Park is highly recommended to anyone passing through Licking County, Ohio. Here visitors can view some of the ancient quarry pits where Native Americans gathered flint for thousands of years. This fascinating park also has a museum, picnic areas, and clean restrooms.”
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2015 Feature Article Index —To order a listed issue, click link here: Note some issues may be sold out, orders subject to availability.
Volume 11, Issue 1 (Jan-Feb 2015) DIV XXVIII: THE CIVIL WAR RELICS OF CULPEPER COUNTY... By Butch Holcombe Once again, the fields near Brandy Station were alive with those who sought historic relics lost here during the Civil War. COMPLETING THE COLONIAL TRIFECTA: PART I... By Bill Dancy It was the third year in a row for this author and his friends to be amazed and educated by their colonial-era finds. ARTIFACTS OF THE TEXAS MILITARY INSTITUTE... By Bob Shelton Records are scant of the Texas Military Institute’s 1856-1861 tenure at Ruterville, Texas. Much of what is known has been found with metal detectors. STATE PRIDE... By Chris Carroll Some call them veterans’ pins, others call them state pins. The allure and mystique of these Civil War badges remain. GROWING UP IN ARROWHEAD COUNTRY... By Quindy D. Robertson Being raised in a section of the country rich in artifacts of all eras has given this author numerous experiences in searching for Native American artifacts. TICKIN’ AND PICKIN’... By John Mize When Snake and Pappy get together, it makes for more than just an average daughter-father bonding. TAIWAN: LAND OF BEAUTY, ISLAND OF HISTORY... By Steven L. Frantz An American detectorist gets a chance to go to Taiwan and search the site of some WWII Japanese bunkers. MISMATCHED PAIRS... By Bryan Jordan How do two very different items end up together? It can’t always be explained, but it happens in metal detecting.
Volume 11, Issue 2 (March-April 2015)
A PENNSYLVANIA TRASH PIT... By Jack Brumbach When a trench is cut for a water line at a 1753 house site, it’s time to see what is unearthed. COMPLETING THE COLONIAL TRIFECTA: PART II... By Bill Dancy This author and his friends were amazed by their numerous colonial finds during their best year yet. Join them for the conclusion of their adventure. MARINES TO THE RESCUE!... By Mike O’Donnell Two North Carolina relic hunters recently found, and helped identify for the first time, the U.S. Navy’s 1797 regulation belt buckle. Here is the story. BLACK AND BLUE... By Quindy D. Robertson Finding and relic hunting an 1864 U.S. Colored Troops site can be quite an experience, as the author recounts. THE SURRENDER CAMPS OF GUILFORD COUNTY... By Darrell Taylor & Mike Whitfield The end of the war was imminent, leading to some interesting finds among the Confederate camps in this North Carolina county. A GLIMPSE BACKWARD...By Michael O. Hughes What do a photograph from an antique shop and a glass eye from an archaeological dig have in common? VARIETY IS THE SPICE OF LIFE... By Sid Witherington No matter what your main target is in metal detecting, finding a little bit of everything makes for a fulfilling experience. Although, it is hard to beat an ultra-rare Republic of Texas Marine button.
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Volume 11, Issue 3 (May-June 2015) A LIFETIME OF RELIC HUNTING: THE BOBBY RAMER COLLECTION...By John Velke Bobby Ramer loved digging and collecting Civil War relics and, thanks to caring friends and family members, his collection can now be seen by all. A HISTORY BEYOND RARE ... By Bill Dancy Few colonial coins are as rare as a Lord Baltimore silver sixpence, and few are so intertwined with Maryland history. THE CHICKAMAUGA DUMP DIGS...By Charlie Harris The mystery began with the discovery of over 250 demilitarized Civil War-era canteens in the 1980s. A recent discovery may help provide more answers. NOT FOR SALE... By Robby Robbins What does red agate, a stone artifact, and a good friend have in common? All is revealed in this heartfelt story of a teacher becoming the student. AN AMERICAN DIGGER FINDS AN ENGLISH TREASURE...By Butch Holcombe When a detectorist headed across the pond to metal detect, he had no idea that his find would lead to an archaeological discovery of monumental importance. THE DOGS OF WAR...By Bob Roach With Leo Renner Detectorists dig a stash of over 250 discarded WWII-era dog tags, a discovery which begs the question of what happened here. THE IDENTIFICATION STENCIL OF J.E.V. JERVEY, C.S.A.... By William Erquitt After discarding what appeared to be trash, this digger decided to take a closer look. In doing so, he helped a forgotten soldier’s name live forever.
Volume 11, Issue 4 (July-August 2015) COINS OF THE COMMONWEALTH... By Bill Dancy Finding colonial-era silver coins goes far beyond mere numismatic interests. They also provide an important historic perspective of early America. “NEAR BRANDY STATION”,,, By John Kendrick Even after 30 organized hunts involving thousands of participants, the camps of Culpeper keep producing relics and, most importantly, tangible history. SNAKES IN MILITARY HISTORY... By William Jones Serpent designs have long been a part of military culture. This article examines its use, and gives important information on snake buckles of the 1800s. MISSISSIPPI MEMORIES... By Dan Patterson Thirty years of relic hunting in the Magnolia State can only result in some incredible finds and wonderful memories. FACEBOOK ANGELS... By Dave Wise When a detectorist found a WWII veteran’s bracelet at an old swimming hole, he knew what he had to do. Here’s how social media helped him return it. PVT. FRANCIS CONNER’S BUCKLE... By Lawrence Heberle Finding an initialed sword belt plate in Montana, and the discovery of the soldier who once proudly wore it. A BIT OF LUCK... By Capt. Dan Berg Even though this captain had hosted many dive parties on the Iberia shipwreck, it was by sheer luck that he was the one who finally recovered the coveted shipbuilder’s plaque.
Volume 11, Issue 5 (Sept.-Oct. 2015) GETTING YOUR FEET WET... By Ron Haden Relic hunting in the water is gaining in popularity and it is no wonder with finds like these. THE SOLDIER OF HURTGEN FOREST... By Edwin van Engelen Many a life was lost during this WWII battle, and many that survived left a part of themselves there. Now, over 70 years later, a U.S. soldier’s property is returned to his family by the relic hunter who found it. BUCKLE UP!... By Bill Dancy There seems to be an endless number of variations and styles of buckles used in colonial America. This article will help demystify and date these historic pieces of our past culture. YOU HAVE TO GIVE TO RECEIVE... By Scott Lupro The owner 19th century house was thrilled when these detectorists offered him tangible history from his property. THE IMPORTANCE OF THE RELIC... By William C. Bellinger Never underestimate the importance of the relic to the study of the American Civil War. ALONG THE ROAD... By Louis G. Swidowski Although the date on the springhouse foundation read “1891,” field recoveries showed that the site held relics much earlier than believed. This included items from the first to fight for America’s freedom. SEEMS LIKE OLD TIMES... By Quindy D. Robertson With no-till farming now the norm, it is becoming much harder to make good surface finds at Native American sites. But when a site is deep plowed, everything changes.
Volume 11, Issue 6 (Nov-Dec.. 2015)
DREAMS DO COME TRUE... By John Harris For thirty years, this seasoned relic hunter searched Yorktown, Virginia, hoping to find a marked “CS” buckle. His search ended with a rarity among rarities. THE WINTER OF OUR DISCONTENT... By Bill Dancy A trio of blockbuster colonial finds helped this author turn a challenging season into one of historic success. MYSTERY OF “DE CHINEE WRITING”... By Michael Chaplan “Carib Stone” petroglyphs, carved with strange symbols by the prehistoric inhabitants of St. Vincent, remains a mystery. CAMP MEMORIES... By Dennis Nunnery Digging a site in Tennessee did more than help preserve the memories of those who were there. It also provided future memories for a relic hunting family. THE UN-REAL EIGHT REALES... By Julio “Jules” Razquin Counterfeiting is nothing new. If anything, it was even more widespread in the 18th and 19th centuries than it is today. EXPLORING CAMP BRADY... By Joseph Talbot & Beth Talbot-Mellis Between 1917-1946, this Boy Scout camp shaped the youth of America. Thanks to an understanding Parks Department, history is being saved, one piece at a time. CLASSICAL GLASS...A Pictorial by Anita and Butch Holcombe Sometimes beauty can not be described in words. It has to be seen. Such was the 2015 FOBHC Southern Regional National Show in Chattanooga, Tennessee. BOXED IN... By BobTurner It is not unusual for metal detectorists to receive requests asking for assistance in finding lost items. These include things like property stakes, wedding rings, and, in this instance, a gold coin horde valued at $127,000.
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The Hole Truth... The Publisher speaks... but will he ever shut up?
Photo by Bob Kish
t’s happened again. I have been embarrassed by those I teeth or a course file. Heath dearly love and respect. OK, “like and tolerate” might be doesn’t know this yet, by the a better description, because we are talking about digging way. Please don’t tell him; I buddies, not spouses or life partners (both subjects for want it to be a surprise. magazines far more sophisticated than ours). Even the “like With Heath’s coin, plus and tolerate” part is questionable after those same people cut a 2½ dollar gold piece found ahead in line in that great fun house of metal detecting in the by my other cohost, Jeff carnival of life. Not that they intend to cut in front of me, but Lubbert, Relic Roundup can rather they stumble blindly into the gap created by chance, now boast a gold coin ratio of karma, and random opportunity. two-in-three hosts who have At one time it was a Civil War-era Georgia state seal button. dug one. I leave the reader It took me 40+ years to dig the one item that everyone else to do the math to determine seemed to stumble upon. No, they are not overly common. It’s who the odd man out is, but I’ll give you a hint: if this were just that all of my hunting buddies seemed to find them with pro wrestling, Heath and Jeff would be a tag team known as some regularity, usually at my digging spots. So renowned the Golden Boys. Myself? I’d be the deranged fan in the front was my Georgia button quest that it became part of a contest row threatening to jump in the ring to take them both on. that ran for several years in this publication. Finally, I got Not that I’m unhappy: both Jeff and Heath are good huntthat monkey off my back by finding a nice Georgia button of ers, good friends, and are young and strong enough that I’m my own. Not before God had one last chuckle at my expense, not tempted to take their gold coins and run. They deserve though, because it was found five minutes into the hunt and them. My day will come and hopefully it will be within my within a mile of my house... after I had logged thousands of lifetime. miles and countless hours in my search for that elusive button. I say all this not to whine (OK, well, maybe a little whine) At that point, my focus — and that of the contest — but to encourage our readers. I am sensing a trend here, the changed to finding a gold coin. Not only had I never found same as happened during the Butch-can’t-dig-a-Georgiaone, very few of my friends had, either. Thus, I figured at least button fiasco. That is, the longer I go without digging a gold that they wouldn’t be able to taunt me with gold coins fresh coin, the more that will be dug by others. I expect that it from the ground. Boy, was I wrong. will get to the point that anyone hunting within a one-mile It started with our readers. Suddenly, it seemed that more radius of me will have their eyesight damaged from the glare and more Just Dug entries involved gold coins. Some were of sunlight on gold coins, or have to seek medical help with singles, some were multiples (including two fused together). hernias caused by the excessive weight of gold in their digging And then, it got personal. pouch. And if they are actually hunting with me, they should My good hunting buddy and Relic Roundup cohost, go ahead and build a special display with a “coming soon” Heath Jones, sent me a text message. Actually, I’m not sure if tag on it for the gold coin they’ll likely find before the day there was text in the message or not, because all I remember is done. I can hear the guffaws already at such a ridiculous seeing on my phone’s screen was a photo of a freshly dug notion. one-dollar gold piece. I’m pretty sure that before the day was Especially among the numerous hunters who are now over, Heath had sent several other photos of it, taken from all calling the office begging me to go hunting with them. angles, followed with a play-by-play video of him finding it. I must admit, I thought it was all a sick joke, and even suspected Happy Huntin’, Y’all! the video of being an elaborate hoax (after all, Heath didn’t swear nearly enough on the video for someone who had just unearthed their first gold coin). But no. It had really happened. While I have not yet seen the gold coin in person, I In each issue “The Whole Truth” brings a smile to do plan on testing its gold (Originally Published our readers. Don’t miss out, click here to subscribe! content, either with my in Vol. 11, Issue 5)
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