American Digger The Magazine for Diggers and Collectors
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2016 American DiggerÂŽ Magazine Sampler
Welcome to the 2016 American Digger Magazine Sampler ®
A note from the publisher Dear Reader, It's time to share just a few of the highlights of American Digger® magazine from 2016. 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 2016 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 boxes. 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 2016 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 12, Issue 1-6 (January-December 2016). 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®, 2016, in full color and free online. Whether you are a longtime reader (we are entering our 13th 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 2016 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 2016 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 2016. 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
2016 American Digger® Magazine Sampler
We wish to thank the following advertisers for their support of American DiggerÂŽ magazine. Please visit their ads on the pages shown below: Anderson Detector Shafts (pg 10) Artilleryman (pg 36) Big Shanty (pg 69) C.S. Sentinel Forum (pg 69) Camp Chase Gazette (pg 70) Charlie Harris (pg 65) Civil War News (pg 70) Cold Harbor Detectors (pg 67) Depths of History (pg 61) Detector Pro (pg 43) Electroscope (pg 56) Coswald English Detecting Holidays (pg 67) Federation of Metal Detecting & Archaeological Clubs (pg 60) Federation of Historical Bottle Collectors (pg 68) First Texas Metal Detectors (pg 76) Garrett Metal Detectors (pg 2, pg 58, & pg 77) Gettysburg Segway Tours (pg 68) Greybird Publishers (pg 38) Greybird Relics (pg 69) Ground EFX (pg 37) High Plains Prospectors (pg 32) Joshua's Attic (pg 55) Kellyco (pg 26) Metal Detecting For Beginners (pg 65) Minelab Metal Detectors (pg 33) Mike Kent Shows (pg 64) My Treasure Spot (pg 64) Outdoor Outfitters (pg 3) Predator Tools (pg 55) Relic Hunter Supply (pg 68) Relics of the Coastal Empire (pg 56) Relic Recoverist (pg 65) Relic Roundup (pg 60) Searcher (pg 68) Shiloh Relics (pg 10 & pg 69) For information on advertising in Southern Metal Detectors (pg 69) any of the American DiggerÂŽ media Stone's River (pg 69) venues (print, digital, website, or Texas Cache (pg 70) podcast) please visit us on page Treasure Mountain (pg 55) 2w7 of this issue, or call (770) 362Western Eastern Treasures (pg 70) 8671 to find out more. You may White's Electronics (pg 44) also email anita@americandigger. XP Deus (pg 11)
For Diggers and Collectors
2016 Sampler Pg. 22
The Loramie Creek Portage Site When detectorists combine archaeological methods with good detecting techniques, the results were astounding at this Ohio dig. By Ian “Mac” McAtee
The 2015 Gold Diaries-Part II Successfully mining Alaskan gold requires luck, money, and lots of hard work. Yet the rewards, both financially and spiritually, can make it all worthwhile. By Steve Phillips
site and we had already found musket balls, colonial flat buttons
Meeting Pvt. Pearl Heath Jones (Treasure Mountain Metal Detectors) andofScott Duncan relic George and a couple General “Mad”inspect AnthonyaWayne’s “frog-legged found.Carolina, At right, he poses with publisher Butch Holcombe at ahad hunt in Virginia. eagle” Legion buttons... finds that us smiling. I went over to The 55th Massachusetts suffered greatly whilehas injust South _______ the creek and carefully rinsed the coin; I had recovered an 1808 literally fighting for their lives. Now, a relic hunter and a soldier from U.S. half dollar. What a moment! These finds, and countless metal detect.” Q- How did their working relationship with Garrett began? that all-black regiment have a meeting of sorts. were theofkindness and know generosity Timmade adds, possible “It’s beenby a lot fun. We both how of A- Tim recalls, “The ‘Anaconda, Capitol of Montana’ pinothers, is lucky we are to get do Fleckenstein this. We’ve basically a a the first thing Garrett noticed about us. They put us in The the property owners, the toTed family,been whoonhave By Robert Bohrn
Bob Karpf, 1777 2-reale
metal detecting vacation.” Searcher magazine. It was the first time Garrett really heard desire five-year to learn all they can about the history that their land still of us, but then we developed a relationship with them.” holds. As I stared at the coin in my job? hand, my mind drifted back Q- What is the best part of their to a period of Ohio’s that, hunting with alland of the motor vehicles A- “The love ofpast treasure metal detecting Q- Since becoming part of Team Garrett, Tim and George that were buzzing pastGeorge me onsays. Ohio’s State Rte. 66 thisyou day, I is worldwide,” “Everywhere youongo, attend organized hunts and rallies across the globe. Does can’t necessarily speakhad the the language still that lifestyle ever get old? could hardly envision. What peoplebut whoyou lostcan all of these communicate. They always have stuff to show us. It’s just A- “No.” George says emphatically. “No, no, no. no. Filmearly historical era items been doing in this frontier wilderness incredible the amount of people and places we get to see.” ing for the show would really drain on us, but with Garrett we’re just metal detecting and having a good time.” He Q- What is their favorite episode? adds, “The show kind of kept us from other metal detectorA- After some brief deliberation, the guys agreed that their ists because we’d be by ourselves in the middle of nowhere. With Garrett, they send us to rallies. We’re going to this place and that place, with other people who
Mike Fox, 1723 2-reale
Pg. 44 Pg. 48
American Digger® On The Road: New Hampshire American Digger® heads to New England, meets great people, finds cool colonial relics and pick up an award for Best Treasure Magazine of 2016. By Butch Holcombe
I pulled the 55th’s regimental history from the Getting Deep With The Diggers Fred Stedtler, shelf and searched for the company rosters. There, I quickly found him. He was listed in Are those guys on TV serious detectorists? Thehalf answer is “yes!” We company “K.” There he was on page 143: reale “Harrison, Peril, Private. Occupation: farmer.” get down and dirty with questions and answers from Ringy and KGFast forward thirty years to 2015. Library index cards and the Dewey decimal system have long gone the way of the dinoof NatGeo’s “Diggers.” saur. Searching the Internet, I recently found Private Pearl again. He was born a slave in By Jocelyn Elizabeth Maysville, Kentucky in 1843. His master’s
m y t “ t r w g t a
Dan Lewis, b was Joseph Firmin. In 1863 Harrison Shown on this page arename for the next tC Pearl traveled from Kentucky to Hillsboro, FujioThe centDigs That Startedjust Ohio. There he enlisted in the 55th Massaa fraction of the finds from It All chusetts on June 11, 1863. I also discovered er until anotC Gary Douglas, that his last name was Pearl, not Peril; his (Above) In this illustration from Harper’s After meeting experienced privy diggers, author embarks name had been misspelled in his unit’s musout. Weekly, It was aS the Best ofthis North East colonial pocketjubilant members of the 55th Massachusetts Regiment ter rolls. But in the Union eagle army he did find I discovered that he was wounded in march into Charleston on February 21, 1865. At the bossed saddlm on a new world of digging bottles, and learns some lessons2016. aboutperil. hunt, April 19-23, t the left arm by a shell, and inwatch the hand by a key top of page, a painting by artist Jeff Trexlar shows two ball, while charging a Confederate battery at
human nature. By Robert Arnot, Jr.
Yard Hotel inc
members of the regiment in camp at Folley’s Island.
the bloody battle of Honey Hill, South CaroIt was here that bulldozers uncovered the remains of lina on July 11, 1864. He was mustered out one of the soldiers. Spearheaded by relic hunter/ Above, of service on July 23, 1865 in Mount Pleas- George “KG” Wyant shows a freshly dug author Robert Bohrn and aided by the professional ant, South Carolina. I also learned that he wasto the cameraman; at left are some medirelic archaeological community, 19 graves were eventually buried in a cemetery in an African-American while in France. discovered theredetecting and reinterred with honors. community called the Gist Settlement eval in New coins he found Vienna, Ohio. ®
Tony Browning, shoe buckle, & flat button
which was juo Obverse and reverse of an 1808 U.S. 50 cent coin found by the author, and a cut U.S. 50 We theni cent coin found by Bob Evans. Both coins and more rela wereNovember-December, dug on the Ft. Loramie site.® 33 2016 American Digger
heartbreakersL flask and a re found the pr the hole and In 2016, we published over 50 feature articles like the ones seen Lynnhere. Merritt, picking our This is just a sampling of what the year in American Diggersilver offered. 5-cent piece really nice ite Norman Messier, one of our gro medical bleeder Our freelance writers are the best in the industry! Want tothat writewe hold ® 6 2016 American Digger® Magazine Sampler few for American Digger ? Click here for writer guidelines. more fin 58 American Digger® Vol. 12, Issue 3
The smaller of two embossed
Founded in 2004 by those that love the hobby
The Magazine for Diggers and Collectors Publisher
Just Dug…………….......12 Q&A....……….….……..18 tors
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Wylene Holcombe John Velke Bill Baab
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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.”
2016 Article Index...........70
American Digger® (ISSN# 1551-5737)
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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 email@example.com. 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! r, be em SA ec U D r- .95 be $6
An assortment of 2016 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!
Digging Through Our Mail Box… Got a comment or question? Write or e-mail us! A Good Home This is in response to all those folks who think we only dig relics to sell them. Yes, I have sold some stuff; if you run out of room, it is merely another way to share with other collectors. However, I have also donated items, some of substantial monetary value. The seven-inch Dyer pictured here is at The Old Court House Museum in Vicksburg, Mississippi. They didn’t have one. I found this one in Vicksburg in 1982. Tom Dickey had never heard of one coming from Vicksburg and wanted it. We think the USS Benton fired it. I could sell it to Tom in Georgia and maybe never see it again, or give it to the museum and visit it anytime. The Old Courthouse Museum also has a bullet inscribed “From Grant” that I gave them in 2000 It can be seen on page 145 in Charlie Harris’s book, Civil War Relics of the Western Campaign, and I also visit it often. Thomas Maute Mosselle, Mississippi
“Dang it, Greg! You’ve got the best setup money can buy. When are you going to spring for some longer shirts or a belt?
No one owns an artifact forever. Eventually, it will end up in the hands of the next generation of caretakers. While there are both pros and cons to donating pieces to museums, we commend you on sharing your finds with the public in this honorable and effective way.-AD (Originally published in Volume 12, Issue 1)
Old counterfeit coins often fool even modern collectors, who dig them with some regularity. It is only after the dirt is removed and the coin is closely examined that the telltale signs of fakery (most notably, a heavy silver plating as compared to solid precious metal) are noticed. Although the counterfeiters’ original intent was simply to defraud, these “fakes” have an interesting history on their own.-AD (Originally published in Volume 12, Issue 2)
Un-Real Eight Reales After reading Julio Razquin’s article about counterfeit 8-reales (American Digger®, Volume 11, Issue 6), I thought this counterfeit 8-reales and two quarters of an authentic one might be of interest to readers. They were found about 50 yards apart in a 1790s military site. These were actually dug by my hunting pal in 1987; we were hunting around a 1796 military site in Georgia. I had found a Spanish quarter-reale when he found the counterfeit 8-reale. We then began to hunt more closely and slowly and found the quarter pieces which fit together perfectly. We never found the other two quarters. Bill Jones Spencer, Tennessee
“The Dogs of War” Helps Locate a Relative Today I had a phone call from a reader of your magazine. He was reading an article in an older issue (“The Dogs of War,” American Digger® Volume 11, Issue 3) and saw this name on a dog tag, “H. Grubbe (Sigrid) Sharon, CT. 31248917.” I believe the dog tag may have been from either my uncle Per or Tor Holst-Grubbe. Most likely it was Per. Per was in the Army for WWII and had trained all over the U.S. and was to be part of a mountain ski team to fight in Norway because he was born in Norway and spoke Norwegian. My other uncle, Tor, was in the Army Air Force, hence the other, but more remote, possibility. Uncle Sven was in the Coast Guard and my father, Reidar, was in the Navy so it is unlikely they sailed in Tennessee. Sigrid was their mother who lived in Sharon, Connecticut (as I do today) and would have been identified as next of kin. George Holst-Grubbe Sharon, Connecticut
2016 American Digger® Magazine Sampler
Who Reads American Digger® Magazine? Those who have fun at what they do, and do it with a passion. Whether before an audience of a million plus viewers, or alone in the woods with their metal detectors, they pursue their love of the past with the same vigor and excitement. King George and Ringy read American Digger® magazine...shouldn’t you?
Ringy (Tim Saylor) & King George (George Wyant) Stars of the NatGeo show, Diggers
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PO Box 126 Acworth, GA 30101 770-362-8671
It is always exciting news when one discovers a long lost relative because of a dug artifact. The praise goes to the digger, Leo Renner, and co-author Bob Roach for making sure the story was told of the lost dog tags. Our publication is honored to have played a part in getting the information out to the world, helping you and others learn more about their ancestors.- AD (Originally published in Volume 12, Issue 3) A Rare Slave Tag and a Great Relic Show! I live in the lowcountry of South Carolina near Charleston, and that is where I found this slave tag. I was shocked because I thought I would never find one. I have always loved history and have been a serious metal detectorist for about 13 years. I found it with my Fisher F75 LTD. I did not hit it with a shovel; it looks like the break is a stress fracture. I was also shocked to see his trade was “FRUITERER” which makes it rarer. Even better, it is “No. 1” and the 1810 date is the first year that the silversmith LaFar received the contract to make them for the city
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of Charleston. The “LAFAR” stamp is on the back. I found it in the fall of last year. Maybe it can still make one of your issues. Also, the American Digger® Relic Show (held in Mt. Pleasant, SC) was great this year and I hope you will do it again in 2017. Luke Dennis Moncks Corner, South Carolina Congratulations on a rare find made even rarer by the very low number (it’s hard to top “No. 1”) and it being the first year that this noted silversmith made the slave hire badges under contract. And as to the American Digger® Civil War and Artifact Show? We’ve had a ton of positive feedback and have already booked the event for January 7th and 8th, 2017 at the same location (Omar Convention Center, Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina). We hope to see you there!-AD (Originally published in Volume 12, Issue 4) Probe Alternatives I want to share my secret for probes. If you have access to a junk yard, get into the trunk of an older automobile and take the two torsion bars that are under the rear deck. They will pop right out with a tire iron or big screwdriver. The full size cars have torsion bars that are about ⅜ inch thick and the smaller cars have bars that are ¼ inch. These are some of the best material I’ve ever found to make probes. You will have to cut the ends off and
weld them into a pipe for a handle. Sometimes I also weld a ball bearing on the end. You can bend these double and they will pop right back. Since they are made of spring steel they will keep their “memory.” This is not to criticize the probe you reviewed (Volume 12, Issue 3), as I am sure it is great. But I’ve made a hundred or more of these from trunk springs and have never had one bend or break. All they do is hold the trunk open, but they make ideal probes. Terry Titus Ocoee, Florida You have just revealed a long-held secret employed by bottle diggers and pit probers ever since Detroit introduced the Packard. But who are we to withhold such sacred information? Indeed, many of these spring rods have been salvaged from automobile junk yards and transformed into superior probes. One word of caution: make certain the rod is securely welded to a T-handle (the pipe you mention). A failed weld can transform a probe into a deadly weapon capable of impaling the user. Unless you are a skilled welder, it’s best to find someone else to perform that task.-AD (Originally published in Volume 12, Issue 5) An Artifact Saved I just finished reading the latest issue of American Digger® magazine (Volume 12, Issue 5). Concerning page 66 [“Newsn-Views”], “More Ignorance.” The author does not name the “young and very energetic detectorist,” therefore I will not identify this person by name, either. That being said, anyone who follows Facebook should recognize the person being discussed. I recall when this was first brought to our attention via one or both of the aforementioned FB pages. The immediate and immense show of support for the person in question was overwhelming. It was great to see so many people step up to offer encouragement to this fine individual. After reading the article today, once again my dander was raised. I can not agree more with the author’s assessment regarding how the relic was recovered, preserved, etc. I also agree with the author’s assessment of the “armchair archaeologist” who slandered a devoted ambassador of our hobby. It is my personal belief this “young and very energetic detectorist” has more integrity in his pinkie finger than the slanderer has in his entire being. While many of us could go on forever with accolades for this young person, I can only surmount the slanderer has the personality of a pet rock. I apologize to those of you that are not of my generation, but you will have to Google “pet rock” to get my meaning. Chad Harris Houston, Texas We would like to point out our own thoughts on this matter, many of which were addressed by Mark Schuessler in that column. 1) The Civil War artillery projectile was three feet deep in the yard of a private residence and would have
2016 American Digger® Magazine Sampler
almost certainly never been found by traditional archaeological practices; 2) Even if it had been found via test holes (perhaps a one in a million+ chance), it would have either been destroyed by calling in the Explosive Ordnance Disposal technicians (to remove and blow it up), or photographing it and then refilling the hole; 3) The shell was deactivated and the powder removed by a qualified person (who has incidentally disarmed projectiles for museums). Bottom line? The projectile is now safe for display and another artifact of the past saved from destruction-AD (Originally published in Volume 12, Issue 6)
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Now my reputation was at stake and to add inthat Dr. Dorfman delivered to the newspaper’s sult to injury, the point’s provenance was now archaeologist after the point was published. tainted. This so-called “professional” had gone The man was shamed and for good reason. out of his way to slam me and I had to react. My Perhaps in the future, this reckless professional redemption, however, was to come from an unwill take a few moments to acknowledge the usual and completely unexpected place. contributions of serious amateurs. Honestly, though, I wouldn’t take any bets on it. Weeks passed as I allowed my anger to I summarize this weird and somewhat comidiminish and develop a viable plan C. One day, cal (but lately all too common) tale by asking at an auction, a rather distinguished looking what should we, the nonprofessional collector, elderly gentleman strolled over to my table. He take away from it? Political correctness and an seemed very interested in my coprolites, which emotionally overcharged sense of what is hisare 75 million years old fish feces (you read that torically right have infected our society like an right) retrieved from the local creeks. out-of-control virus. The gentleman, Don Dorfman, Ph.D was It is now three times as hard to collect, prehead of the Marine Biology Department at the serve and report finds at a local level. All the avUniversity of Monmouth (West Long Branch, erage citizen is supposed to do is visit museums New Jersey). Don had both serious academic and watch the History Channel. We, as Americredentials and an open minded attitude. Most can citizens, still have the right to collect and importantly, he gladly acknowledged the contridig, as long as we do it with permission and stay butions of amateurs to science and was fascinatwithin the bounds of the law. It is neither a right ed by my finds. After the Dalton point debacle, nor an obligation to follow in lock step behind Don became my ace in the hole. Professors pubthose who hold degrees. The margins, however, lish like a rabbit making bunnies and soon we are narrowing and the eyes (and voices) of those teamed up to publish a series of scientific articles 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 neglected Dalton piece. per’s archaeologist. stemmed Paleo point in Marlboro, New Jersey. Don knew the antagonistic archaeologist and __________ It was perfect Paleo point number two and, of confided that he had a reputation for arrogance course, it had to be recorded. Unfortunately, I even among his peers. As for my Dalton point, went through many of the same problems I’d experienced almost he suggested we submit an article to the annual New Jersey half a decade earlier. It was a bit depressing; it felt like I’d never Archaeology Bulletin. This periodical annually highlights the gone through the vetting process. Thankfully, a local commercial Garden State’s most significant finds and is highly prestigious in monthly picked it up and did a better than expected job on the scientific circles. One of Don’s closest friends was the managing article. chief editor and, ironically enough, the newspaper’s archaeologist More recently, my discovery of a partial mastodon skeleton also sat on the board of the magazine. The web that was being brought quite a bit more recognition. Finally! It only took woven around this single spear point was getting thick indeed! numerous phone calls, several interviews and the backing of three In the spring of 2006 (almost a year after my find), the bulletin people with Ph.D’s. But I had evolved. I now at least existed in arrived with an accurate, objective write-up, and photos of the their eyes and thus, the find could be properly documented. The Dalton point. It was late in coming, but there it was: a literal media giveth and the media taketh away. But it should never be exercise in persistence and luck. able to rob a find of its provenance. The gravy on top of my ‘taters was the verbal dressing down
About The Author Glenn Harbour has been digging and collecting since his teenage years and has traveled both the west and 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...
Kip Asmuth was detecting an 1850 home site near the North Carolina / South Carolina border when he found this artifact. The pre-Civil War button was made for the Kings Mountain Military School of Yorksville, South Carolina, which operated from 1855 to the start of the Civil War when most of its cadets then joined the Confederate army. The relic was seven-inches deep and gave a faint signal on Kip’s Teknetics T2 detector. He made the find on September 23, 2015. Photo by Kip Asmuth
Bob Spratley was recently searching for a late 1500s Spanish camp near the St. Johns River in Florida when he found this artifact. The small (approximately 1.75 inches) clay effigy appears to be a Mayan queen or goddess. A similar one was recovered by archaeologists in Anastasia Park, although Bob’s was found farther inland on private property with the landowners permission. According to an archaeologist familiar with the Anastasia Park find, both pieces are Mesoamerican and circa 1,000-1,300 A.D. The question remains as to how the artifacts got to Florida, but it has been noted that Myan styles of mounds have been found in both Florida and Georgia. Photo by Bob Spratley
Thomas Moss found his first gold coin after 26 plus years of metal detecting. He was searching a site in Jefferson, Texas that he had hunted many times before, but this time was rewarded with the 1850 one-dollar gold coin shown here. He made the find on July 7, 2015. Photos by Thomas Moss
Every issue of American Digger is packed full of recent finds from across the world. These are just a small fraction of the almost 1,000 recent artifact recoveries that appeared in American Digger Magazine in 2016. ® ® 12 122016 American Digger Magazine Sampler 2016 American Digger Magazine Sampler
Photo by Roman Ingram
Joe Engstrom spanned the centuries with these finds. The tax tag is embossed “TWO HORSE VEHICLE / NOT FOR HIRE / 4 / PENSACOLA / 1913-1914” and was found at a construction site near Milton, Florida. Although the tag was almost a foot deep in the soil, Joe’s Garrett AT Pro detector gave a strong signal on the brass piece. Then, in December 2015 he was beach hunting on the Florida Panhandle and recovered the two modern rings. The rose ring is 14k gold, while the diamond ring is 18k. Joe found the jewelry with a Minelab CTX 3030 detector.
Justin Bevill wanted to hunt a spot near Jackson, Mississippi that, to most diggers, would be undesirable. In addition to the Pearl River periodically flooding the area, it is a popular homeless camp, and cans litter the ground. Undeterred, Justin (who is new to detecting, never before having found even a Civil War bullet), immediately got a good signal and dug this Confederate States of America belt buckle. Nothing else was found at the site besides a multitude of aluminum cans. Justin made the find in November 2015 with a Garrett Ace 350.
Photos by Joe Engstrom
Issac Pipes, eight-year-old son of Chase Pipes, was arrowhead hunting with his dad near Severeville, Tennessee and found this nice Decatur point estimated to be between 6,000-9,000 years old. The material is not native in east Tennessee and probably came from Kentucky. It is a prime example of a beveled flaked point or knife which are not usually found in east Tennessee. As Chase says, “It must have walked here!” Isaac found his first arrowhead at age three and is a 4th generation relic hunter. He made the find in late November 2015. When not arrowhead hunting or filming “Chasing History,” Chase can be found manning Smoky Mountain Knife Work’s Relic Room. Photos by Chase Pipes
Luke Hankins found this Civil War-era bottle while relic hunting a winter camp in Culpeper, Virginia. Commonly known as a “Cathedral” bottle because of the design, these attractive food bottles are highly prized by collectors. Luke made the find in a fire pit while attending the “Just Go Detecting” organized relic hunt in December 2015. Photos by Luke Hankins
Nearly 1,000 Just Dug artifacts appeared in our regular 2016 issues! Click here to see more.
Riley Bryant was hunting a Civil War site near Collierville, Tennessee, and found this unusual jewelermade gold company letter which measures ⅝ x ½ inches. The custom engraving is “of Div / L / F” although the meaning is unclear. The remains of a T-bar fastener is on the reverse. Riley dug the relic on January 16, 2016, also his 15th birthday. He was using a Garrett AT Pro. Photos by Riley Bryant
Arawyn Tennant, 11 years old, was detecting in Prince George, Virginia, with her father, Ross, and dug this 1850 large cent. She dug down about 6-7 inches and popped out what she first thought was a button. She was thrilled with the find. It was her first detecting trip (January 30, 2016) with her new Teknetics Digitek detector. Photos by Ross Tennant
Cindy Cash and Rick Kolodzik were detecting a site in Ventura, California in October 2015 and recovered a total of twenty coins in a small area. All were about six to eight inches deep. The coins dated from 1856 to 1920, and are English, French, and Belgium. The U.S. clad dime (center right) is included for size reference. In case Cindy’s name rings a bell, she is the daughter of country music legend Johnny Cash, who was an avid metal detectorist himself. Cindy used a Garrett Ace 350 to make her finds. Photo by Rick Kolodzik
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Steve Moore, Marketing Communications Director at Garrett Metal Detectors, recovered his first gold coin during an organized relic hunt in King & Queen County, Virginia. The 1851 one dollar Liberty Head coin was found near an old house located on the property. Steve made the find in February 2016 while using a Garrett AT Gold detector and a Garrett Pro-Pointer AT. Photos by Butch Holcombe
Nearly 1,000 Just Dug artifacts appeared in our regular 2016 issues! Click here to see more.
Bill Hayes was detecting a location in central Ohio and recovered these tools from the Copper Culture of North America. The tool on the left is thought to be a gouge and the one beside it is a celt. These examples are from the Hopewell or Woodland era and nearly 2,000 years old. They were eight-inches deep and, when found, were stacked on top of each other. Bill made the find in March 2016 while using a Fisher F75 LTD metal detector. Photo by Craig Nesmith
Ralph Tapp was metal detecting an old house site near Lexington, Kentucky and hoping to find a few Civil War relics. Instead, he spied something much older exposed in the dirt. The Native American MacCorkle-style blade is 2 ⅞ inches long and is approximately 6,000-8,000 years old, dating to the Early Archaic Period. He made the surface find on April 29, 2016. Photo by Ralph Tapp
Nick Mosgovoy recovered what he first thought was just another Civil War bullet while searching a site near Marietta, Georgia. However, he soon discovered it was inscribed with a Confederate soldier’s personal information: “G. W. Bibb Co. C 55 TENN.” Records show that Bibb joined the Confederate Army in 1862 in Carroll County, Tennessee at the age of 18, enlisting with Company C, 55th Tennessee Infantry. He was active in many notable actions and in 1864 fought at the battles of Kennesaw Mountain, Peachtree Creek, and Atlanta. Interestingly, the cavity has been crimped over as if to secure a cord or thong to make the piece wearable by the soldier. Nick recovered the bullet at 12-inches deep while using a Minelab GPX 4800 in March 2016. A video of the hunt can be seen on Youtube by scanning the QR code shown here with a smart phone. Photos by Craig Nesmith
John Leger was relic hunting a 200-year-old farm in central Massachusetts when he dug this mid-19th century military relic. The solid cast brass buckle tongue is half of an interlocking Massachusetts Militia waist belt buckle. Made between 1845 and 1860, these are also occasionally found in early Civil War sites. Although sometimes worn by officers, contemporary photographs show they were generally worn by enlisted men and bandsmen. John made the find in April 2016 with a Minelab ETrac. Photo by John Leger
These are just a random sampling of the over 100 Just Dug entries found in EACH issue! www.americandigger.com
Mike Burger found this 20-pound Parrott artillery projectile near Sharpsburg, Maryland in April 2016. The projectile was fired by the Union during the battle of Antietam in 1862. The shell was disarmed and given to the landowner’s 12-year-old son who also relic hunts. It was found at a depth of two feet while using a White’s MXT All Pro. Photo by Dennis Rexrode
Bill Dancy unearthed a number of finds in spring 2016 at a location he discovered through research. The early Virginia site saw widespread and long-term occupancy and has produced several relics of historical note. These include a Royal Edinburgh Volunteers 80th Regiment of Foot button from the Revolutionary War, a 17th century seal matrix belonging to the Fleetwood family (who came to Jamestown in 1609), a 1670 Bristol merchant’s trade token, an oval cuff button depicting George III with the inscription “The King,” and a Jesuit fur trade cross possibly dating as far back as 1570. Bill made the finds with a Fisher F75 SE. Photo by Bill Dancy
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Steve Evans was relic hunting a site in Washington County, Pennsylvania and dug this 2-reale silver cob on May 8, 2016. It was minted in Lima and has an assayer’s initial “M” (most likely Cristobal Melgarejo). This is Steve’s second cob; both were found in southwestern Pennsylvania and both are 2-reales. Steve made the find with an XP Deus detector. Photo by Steve Evans
Joe Goetz was digging a soldier’s hut in a camp in Virginia, occupied by troops from the 2nd South Carolina Regiment, Kershaw’s Brigade. After nothing substantial coming from the hut, Joe decided to take one more scoop before giving up. Getting a signal in the fresh dirt with his Garrett ATX pinpointer, he pulled out this 1860s trench art. The highly detailed horse was carved from a piece of lead. Photo by Joe Goetz
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Rick Smith was relic hunting in upstate New York at an 1840 homesite that had burnt down and recovered this stamped brass Civil War-era shako hat plate. These were issued with Chasseur uniforms that were obtained from France in 1863. A number of these uniforms were given to the 73rd New York Regiment that fought in the Battle of Brandy Station, Virginia. This example was found at a depth of seven inches on September 12, 2016, with a Garrett AT Pro detector equipped with a 5”×8” DD search coil. Photo by Rick Smith
Lisa Bilyj was detecting near Philadelphia and recovered this silver 1763 two reale. She also recovered an 1844 large cent (not shown) at the same site, which is rich with colonial and Revolutionary War history. Lisa made the finds in July 2016 while using a Fisher F75. Photos by Lisa Bilyj
Nearly 1,000 Just Dug artifacts appeared in our regular 2016 issues! Click here to see more.
Dan Haltiwanger was metal detecting at a location in central South Carolina and recovered this beautiful example of a rare South Carolina palmetto buckle. This style is believed to have been manufactured locally from stamped brass or copper. Many of these were gold “fire gilted” (a hazardous technique which involved fusing actual gold to the surface via mercury) but this one is silver plated. Most examples exhibit a die crack which happened early in production, but this one was obviously stamped before the die broke. Dan found the buckle in July 2016 at a depth of only two inches while using a Minelab Explorer SE metal detector. Photos by Dan Haltiwanger
Kenneth Kyte was detecting a pile of dirt removed for a community volleyball court in North Augusta, South Carolina. While the metal detecting was a bust (only aluminum cans and trash were found), these stone artifacts were eyeballed in the loose dirt. The larger piece is an Indian grinding stone, and the smaller a stone point made of quartz. The artifacts are believed to date between 5,000 - 2,000 B.C. Photos by Kenneth Kyte
Q&A With Charles Harris
d u g t h i s token and can’t find any information about it. The front reads “JAMES B. NICHOLSON GRAND SECRETARY 1869 - 1901.” The back says “INDEPENDENT ORDER OF ODD FELLOWS.” There is an eye with sun rays and the letters “FLT” each in its own circle. Randy Plyer This is an interesting medal that you found. It is for the IOOF (International Order of Odd Fellows). Like so many of the fraternal organizations, they were originally formed with charitable goals in mind. They were secret organizations with very strict religious type formalities, degrees and rituals. The IOOF’s motto was F-L-T, which stood for the three links of fraternity: FriendshipLove-Truth. The IOOF was one of the earlier fraternities in America, having been formed in Baltimore, Maryland on April 26, 1819. This was their founding date on the North American continent, so evidently they were actually formed in England in the 1700s, where it was odd to find people that were organized for the purpose of helping others, especially those who were in need. Thus, the
“Odd Fellows.” Thomas Widley and four others who had been members of the Order in England instituted Washington Lodge Number 1 and it received its charter from the Manchester Unity of Odd Fellows in England. Interestingly this was the first fraternity to include both men and women. This took place with the adoption of the Rebekah Degree on September 20, 1851. The Degree is based on teachings in the Holy Bible and was written by the Honorable Schuyler Colfax who became the vice president of the U.S.A. under President U.S. Grant. The Odd Fellows and the Rebekah were also the first of the fraternal organizations to establish homes for senior citizens and orphaned children. James B. Nicholson was General Sire of the IOOF from 1862-1864 and Grand Secretary of the national IOOF from 1869 through 1901. He was evidently quite a lecturer and traveled all over the U.S. During his term as General Sire there were problems growing in some of the lodges such as Davis, San Francisco, Hayward and elsewhere. Grumbling comments were heard, such as “They are social or service clubs and are not a fraternity.” “They don’t utilize IOOF Ritual and don’t carry out the principles of Friendship, Truth and Love.” As a retort to these accusations, Nicholson commented,“None but Odd Fellows can destroy the majestic fabric that the Odd Fellows have reared and naught but internal divisions and internecine (mutually destructive; or fatal) strifes can sap our strength or destroy the influence arising out of the example of a united, a grand, a glorious fraternity.” (Originally published in Volume 12, Issue 1)
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an you give any insight into this piece? It was found in New Jersey at an early colonial site and is made of solid silver. Pete Schichtel Although I liked this eagle piece and thought it was early military, finding conclusive information was a challenge. With the help of American Digger® consultant and author Michael O’Donnell, we can now verify that it is an insignia for U.S. Marines, circa 1814-1830 era. The marine emblem of an eagle perched on an anchor came about in the very early 1800s and, with a few modifications, is still in use today. Mike’s book, American Military Headgear Insignia, shows a very similar device stamped into an oval plate. However, the one you found is most likely a jeweler-made piece rather than stock military issue, a common practice of the time for wealthy officers. The same eagle perched on an anchor was also displayed on Marine Corps officers’ two-piece waist belt plates during the 1820s and 1830s. (Originally published in Volume 12, Issue 2)
white web “Cadet Belt,” it was actually a commercial design that was marketed with many belts. At the time, the U.S. Army used a simple brass wire loop to connect their cartridge belts. Prior to World War I, the Army adopted similar interlocking clasps to accompany their olive drab cartridge belts. (Originally published in Volume 12, Issue 3)
y brother, David, dug this brass two-piece buckle a couple of years ago. We’ve never seen another one like it. Is it from the Civil War or, if not, how old is it? Jim Parrish Brass interlocking belt buckles such as this one date after the Civil War, first appearing in the late 1800s for use on woven belts. Yours likely dates from the 1890s. According to author and American Digger® consultant Mike O’Donnell, this style was advertised in the “1907 Catalogue of Military Goods From Government
A section from Frances Bannerman’s 1907 catalogue showing a buckle identical to the one found by David Parrish. _________ Auction For Sale By Francis Bannerman, 501 Broadway, N.Y. City.” That is the formal name of the 1907 Bannerman’s Catalogue. For those unfamiliar with Francis Bannerman, his company was the biggest buyer and seller of government surplus in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Although the catalogue shows the buckle on a
his wax seal matrix was dug a few years ago at a Prince William County, Virginia, Civil War camp which was occupied by troops from Alabama and Mississippi. Is it Civil War related or older, and what are its origins? The dime is to show its size. Jim Barnes I don’t think it is directly related to the Confederate troops there, but rather lost by a local citizen of importance. But that’s as far as I dared venture with a guess, so I forwarded this to consultant Bob Spratley, who once lived in Prince William County. Bob says: “First of all, this county was a main location in Virginia for grow-
ing wheat. I would guess that most, if not all, plantations in the area grew wheat. Although I can’t tell you the seal owner’s name, I can steer you in the direction needed to solve the mystery. Go to the county courthouse and research the property where this matrix was found, tracing the owners back to the early 1800s. If this does not produce a name with the initials ‘PSH’ then search the records for adjacent lands. As to the seal itself, there is a wheat basket on the bottom, a wooden shovel that was used to scoop the flour on the left and a small bucket on a handle used to scoop up the wheat and pour it into the grist mill stone while it was turning. The crown is just a status symbol referring to the owner being of royal or English descent. “One of the larger grist mills in that part of Virginia was Hornbaker Mills. There was also a prominent lady of the time named Patricia Searles House. Being a wealthy widow, she may have had her own seal, which could explain the “PSH” inscription. Still, this is only an educated guess. I do feel that this is a seal used by some prominent person in the area, probably a wheat plantation owner. “Now here’s the tough part: it may have been taken by the soldiers and then lost again. If that is the case, it will make narrowing this piece down to a single person more difficult, but I believe it can be done with a lot of research and a good dose of luck.” (Originally published in Volume 12, Issue 5)
Got a question for Charlie? Click here to read his Q&A column in every issue!
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
U T S
Darvin Tate found this twopiece brass cuff button while he was relic hunting at a Civil War site near Beane Station, Tennessee. So far, no one has been able to identify it, although we suspect it is from a school. It has the letters “RHS” above an eagle, and the backmark is “SCOVILL MFG. CO” in the style used from 1860-1870. We hope that someone can help us in determining the button’s provenance and age. (American Digger Vol. 12, Issue 4)
Douglas Newberry dug this broken iron stirrup with “BOSTON” cut into the foot rest. Many such stirrups have been found with state (and city) names cut into the iron in the same silhouetted stencil fashion, but to our knowledge there has never been a 100% identification as to when these were made and for whom. Theories abound, including being used by Civil War regiments, Police departments, National Guard units, or by civilians as a fad. We hope our readers can help solve this mystery once and for all. (American Digger Vol. 12, Issue 2)
Tony Guin dug this stamped brass piece at a known Civil War site near Nashville, but so far we have been unable to get a positive id on it. It has been suggested it is a veteran’s item, perhaps even a reunion piece. The back shows the remains of a T-bar fastener, dating it to the mid-late 1800s. It depicts General Hooker with a date of “1863.” Charlie Harris suspects it may be a cape pin, but the lightweight construction and fastening method throw us off. (American Digger Vol. 12, Issue 1)
Dale Bright dug this broken piece at a site where Pellham’s Artillery lost a gun in Middleburg, Virginia. Marked in the cast brass and corresponding to small notches are numbers from 300 to 500, marked in increments of 50. The remaining portion is about three inches long. We have run the gamut on ideas as to what it might be, from artillery related to part of a medical scale. There was even a theory that it was from a Hale rocket launcher, prompting U.S. Army Artillery Museum director Gordon Blaker to personally check the launcher in their collection, but no such piece was on it. We are leaning strongly towards the medical weight scale theory, but have no proof. Can someone help us solve the mystery 100%? (American Digger Vol. 12, Issue 5)
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Solved! The mystery David Brown’s Nose Ring of the piece Stumpt Find For Bull dug by David Brown and shown in last issue’s “Stumpt” turns out not to be much of a mystery at all to those familiar with livestock. Nick Longwith was the first of several readers who correctly identified these as bull rings, placed through a bull's nose to allow them to be peacefully led by a handler and discourage them from fighting or straying. The side with the pointed end was forced through the septum of the bull’s nose and then closed by inserting a small screw through the holes where the two halves met. (American Digger Vol. 12, Issue 3)
Feedback: John Thomson of New Jersey contacted us to say that the “circle W” emblems on the token found by Bill Siesser (see photo) in our July-August “Stumpt” are very similar to the logo found on Westinghouse Electric’s 1936 Golden Jubilee tokens. After looking at a Golden Jubilee token, we concur that the logo is nearly identical, and are at this point 90% positive this was a token given to Westinghouse salesmen during the same era. American Digger Vol. 12, Issue 4)
Feedback: Larry Linley of Alabama emailed us to say that he thinks the item dug by Britain Lockhart and featured in our last issue’s Stumpt (shown above), may be an oar lock for a boat. These were made in a multitude of designs, but unless we can turned up one that closely matches Britain’s find, we cannot call this mystery solved. (American Digger Vol. 12, Issue 6)
"Stumpt!" Appears in each issue of American Digger® magazine and, by asking our readers' input, many previously unidentified items now have been identified. Click here to subscribe and help solve mysteries like these! You are also encouraged to send your own items for identification.
The piece found by Eddie Moss in South Carolina and shown above has been positively identified, thanks to reader J. W. Crumpler. While we were not far off in our most recent thoughts that it was a door bell, it is actually a bicycle handlebar bell and shown in a 1909 Sears-Roebuck catalogue (also in the above photograph). We have since seen several designs of these bicycle handlebar bells. (American Digger Vol. 12, Issue 3)
The Loramie Creek Portage Site By Ian “Mac” McAtee Photos by Greg Shipley
Summer, 2011 reg Shipley’s “first ever” detecting signal on this Shelby County, Ohio site turned out to be a small piece of musket ball lead. “Cool,” he thought. Greg had been invited to this site by veteran relic hunter Bob Evans, who had made many discoveries of late 1700s to early 1800s relics here: musket balls, grapeshot, gun parts, a bayonet, military and civilian buttons, Spanish, English, and American coins, Indian trade silver, cufflinks and more on this early trading post and military site. Continuing with his hunt, Greg’s second signal registered as a high VDI reading on the screen of his new White’s Spectra V3i. After digging below the plow zone, he pulled out a large silver disc. Greg was shocked to see a Carlos III bust staring back at him. After 200 + years in hiding, a 1791 Spanish pillar dollar was glinting in the daylight again! At that moment, he knew he had to learn more about this site.
Fall, 2012 he high tone on my Fisher F70 detector stopped me in my tracks. I flipped the dirt over and was greeted by an eagle on a large silver coin. My son, Seth, had watched me dig the target and Dave Cox and Marlan Warner quickly rushed over to check it out. Marlan had invited us to detect on the Ft. Loramie
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Above, 102 “Wayne’s Legion” buttons (ca. 1792-1798) recovered during the September 2013-November 2014 excavations on the Ft. Loramie depot site in Shelby County, Ohio. At top, a view of the 10’ x 10’ block grids and a partially excavated trash pit at the site. 44,000 cubic feet of soil was excavated in this fashion. W. B. Baughman, Bob Evans, and Doug Penhorwood are shown working the dig. On the opposite page, a photograph of a pewter “Wayne’s Legion” button (2nd “with stars” pattern), shortly after being recovered during the dig. Originally published in Vol. 12, Issue 1. Click here to order single copies.
site and we had already found musket balls, colonial flat buttons and a couple of General “Mad” Anthony Wayne’s “frog-legged eagle” Legion buttons... finds that had us smiling. I went over to the creek and carefully rinsed the coin; I had recovered an 1808 U.S. half dollar. What a moment! These finds, and countless others, were made possible by the kindness and generosity of the property owners, the Ted Fleckenstein family, who have a desire to learn all they can about the history that their land still holds. As I stared at the coin in my hand, my mind drifted back to a period of Ohio’s past that, with all of the motor vehicles that were buzzing past me on Ohio’s State Rte. 66 on this day, I could hardly envision. What had the people who lost all of these early historical era items been doing in this frontier wilderness
Obverse and reverse of an 1808 U.S. 50 cent coin found by the author, and a cut U.S. 50 cent coin found by Bob Evans. Both coins were dug on the Ft. Loramie site.
Eighteenth century Indian trade silver dug during 2013-2014 excavations on the Ft. Loramie site. These pieces date to the Lorimier’s store period (1769-1782), when Native Americans were getting trade goods from the British Loyalist owner. of endless prairies, swamps, waterways and huge expanses of virgin forests? I had to find out more. It would take research. November 10, 1782 ierre Louise Lorimier examined the pelts laid before him. The Shawnee Indian who had brought them had done a commendable job of preparing the skins for trade, but the fur was not yet in its prime. “Two dollars in trade,” said Lorimier, flatly, in the Indian’s native tongue. Lorimier, his name later Anglicized to “Loramie,” was a French-Canadian trader who had established a trading post at the southern terminus of the portage between Loramie Creek and the St. Mary’s River. The Indian knew the price was fair. “Agreed,” he said. Lorimier smiled and motioned to the goods displayed around the interior of his hewn log structure: trade guns, powder, lead, brass kettles, silver ornaments, knives, and other items. It was a good inventory. “I will take…” Just then, another Shawnee warrior burst through the door and gasped, “Army from Kentucky!” He paused to catch his breath, “They go to Chillicothe Town and come here, soon!” Chillicothe was situated a few miles to the south, where Loramie Creek emptied into the Great Miami River. “You must leave!” Shortly after Lorimier had fled, the detachment of Kentucky mounted militia, under Colonel Benjamin Logan, exploded into the clearing. As militia members reconnoitered the area, it became apparent that the post had been abandoned and it was obvious that Lorimier had left in a hurry since his store was full of inventory. Logan made an announcement: “Before we burn this scoundrel’s post to the ground, how about a little sale?” The troops “Huzzahed” their approval. Soon Lorimier’s belongings were being hauled out of the store. When
January- February, 2016 American Digger® www.americandigger.com
Fragmented nonmetallic items excavated from Ft. Loramie’s trash pits included 1760s1816 English and Chinese tableware china, bottle glass and earthenware crockery. the main body of mounted militia, under General George Rogers Tories Matthew Elliott, Alexander McKee, and the Girty brothClark, caught up to the troops at Lorimier’s, the general smiled ers, Simon & George. This force stormed Martin’s and Ruddle’s and stated, “Well done, Colonel!” Their goal had been accomstations in Kentucky. Afterwards, 470 prisoners were marched plished. The village at Chillicothe was in ruins and Lorimier, north to the British fort at Detroit. Bird wrote of the march, “I who had supplied the Indian raids, as well as Colonel Henry marched the poor women and children 20 miles in one day over Bird’s British offensive into Kentucky in the summer of 1780, very high mountains, frightening them with frequent alarms to had been driven out. push them forward, in short, Sir, by water and land. We came As the trader’s goods were being assembled, an Irishman with all our cannon etc., rowing 50 miles the last day - we have named Burke found a cache of “half-joes,” worth about 200 dolno meat and must subsist on flour, if there is nothing left for us lars, which he slyly stuffed into an old saddle. Burke, who was at Lorimier’s.” The Kentuckians under General George Rogoften the victim of ridicule, was ers Clark countered with a raid of taunted again as he bid on the old their own and destroyed the Indian saddle. “Looks like Ol’ Burke got village of Piqua, near present day took, again! Thet ol’ piece a leather Springfield, Ohio. ain’t worth nothin’,” one of them is As time went on, U.S. army reputed to have said. Burke had the expeditions, led by generals Harlast laugh, however, as he pulled the mar in 1790 and St. Clair in 1791, bundle of coins out of the saddle. had ended in failures. Their objec“Ah,” he reportedly said, “it’s not tive had been the Native American so bad a bargain after all!” villages situated at headwaters of The Native American raids into the Maumee River, present day Kentucky and, then, the retaliatory Ft. Wayne, Indiana. If the Indians raids by the Kentucky militia on could be subdued, it would break Ohio Indian villages, were noththe British government’s influence ing new. It was a perpetual tug of over those tribes in the Northwest war. The Indians would punish the Territory. These struggles were Some of the colonial Spanish silver Americans for their broken treaties pivotal in determining whether the coins that have been recovered on and promises, and the Kentuckians British or the Americans would the Ft. Loramie site. Some of these would retaliate with raids of their ultimately control the west. The were lost during the Lorimier’s own. During the American Revothird attempt, under “Mad” Anthostore period (1769-1782), while lution, Colonel Bird’s raid of 1780 ny Wayne’s Legion of the United others date to the U.S. Army depot consisted of over a thousand men: States, was a success. The Treaty period (1795-1816). British regulars, Indians, and Canaof Greenville was negotiated with dian Loyalists, including the noted native tribes as a result of Wayne’s ® 26 24 American Digger Vol. Digger 12, Issue® 1Magazine 2016 American
A variety of relics were recovered during the 2013-2014 Ft. Loramie site excavations, including gun parts, musket balls, collar plates, cuff-links, flat buttons, gun flints, and a brass Jews harp. 1794 victory at Fallen Timbers. The treaty’s provisions included the establishment of U.S. military reservations at key locations. In 1795, blockhouses and supply posts were built at St. Mary’s, Lorimier’s store, and at Upper Piqua (Chillicothe). These were all strategic sites for the water transport that would supply the forts Wayne had established along the Maumee River Valley. The post at Lorimier’s was maintained through the War of 1812. General William Henry Harrison had temporary headquarters at both Fort St. Mary’s and Fort Piqua, alluding to the importance of the portage that could take you southwards to the Great Miami, Ohio, and Mississippi Rivers, or northwards to the St. Mary’s and Maumee Rivers. General Wayne’s water transport route made it possible to ship supplies from Pittsburgh to Ft. Detroit, necessitating that the cargo only travel by land for a total of 11 miles – the portage road’s distance from his military supply depot at Fort Loramie up to the St. Mary’s River depot. The Digs 2013-2014 s 2013 rolled around, I met and relic hunted with Greg Shipley and Bob Evans. In September 2013 and again in July 2014, digs were organized where I would meet fellow diggers Brian Siefring, Ken Sowards, Wendell Baughman, and Doug Penhorwood. A “band of brothers” soon developed and the discoveries this group has
made are nothing short of incredible. The digs were conducted on Fleckenstein’s farm field after the crops were harvested. The plow zone had to be removed, gradually, to expose the “structural footprint” of the site. Via careful excavation methods trash pits, fire pits, posthole molds, and other deep features were located. Some of the post molds were filled to the bottom with charred logs, indicating the burning of Lorimier’s store. These digs were divided into measured grids, so the discoveries could be catalogued as to where each relic was found. You can find more information about this successful project by accessing Greg Shipley on Facebook. Afterwards, Greg did a masterful job of cataloging, stabilizing, and preserving the thousands of recovered relics. In addition, he created a PowerPoint presentation, chronicling the archaeological dig, which he has presented throughout the state to numerous historical groups and Archaeological Society of Ohio chapters. September 2013 t was my Teknetics G2 that locked onto a deep sounding, high VDI reading. I carefully dug a large circle around the target and scooped some dirt out. The signal was still there. I repeated the process … still there. My Garrett pin-pointer indicated this contrary object was dead center in the bottom of the hole. I removed more dirt and there in my hand was a large copper disc! “Maybe a King George copper,” commented Bob. Soon the coin was being examined by the “band of brothers.” “Maybe an 1817 large cent?” someone asked. When the coin was handed back to me, I saw the “17” numerals, also. Then it struck me - there was a “cap and pole” design behind Miss Liberty’s head. After careful cleaning, a 1794 dated large cent was revealed. What a moment! Whether it’s a camp site, picnic grove, house yard, river ford, or a host of other locations, with a little research, and some detecting effort, you too may be able to bring a bit of American history back to life!
About The Author
1794 Liberty Cap large cent and a fractional Spanish silver coin shown just after being recovered during September 2013 excavations.
Ian “Mac” McAtee enjoys early American history and historical research. This fits nicely with his interest in recovering and preserving historical artifacts from the numerous western Ohio frontier period sites that his studies have led him to.
January- February, 2016 American Digger® www.americandigger.com
2016 American DiggerÂŽ Magazine Sampler
Want to2015 experience the ence the Want to experience the The 15 of mining Alaskan ng Alaskan adventure adventure of mining Alaskan gold? Be prepared spend to spend ed to spend gold? Beto prepared Gold Diaries ries andofmoney first. money first. plenty of time plenty time and money first.
Want to experience the adventure of mining Alaskan gold? Be prepared to spend plenty of time and money first. tells of onetells veteran f one veteranThis account This account of one veteran This account tells of one veteran prospector’s experiences. prospector’s experiences. periences. prospector’s experiences.
By SteveBy Phillips Steve Phillips
By By Steve Steve Phillips Phillips
Originally published in Vol. 12, Issue 2. Click here to order single copies.
July 2, This I got up about 4:30with and had to coffee, than itcoffee, was a couple ofitmorning years Dredging days little no withthan fee, daysand with little to 2015: no than was aago. couple of years ago. Dredging days littleittowas no a couple of years ago. Dredging days with little to no 4:30 had gold on arethe common now. Emily has been playing with seals on the whiskey, and a cigar before anyone elseplaying wakes has up. been I seals stoked gold are now.are Emily has been with onupthethe theup.with ying seals oncommon the gold common now. Emily playing with seals es I stoked up the beachbite. some this week. Don’t get too close, I tell her. They bite. woodsome stove to week. chase chill. good. Yesterday weher. They beach Don’t getEverything too close, Iistell her. bite. we Igood. tell her. They bite. beachthe some this week. Don’t get tooThey close, I tell Yesterday wethis took theago used ¾-ton pickup truck that I bought a couple days ago ago ht a couple days from Vern Adkinson and three ATVs on to my worn-out out July a17: onbeen to my worn-out July 17:a lot Spencer, Jimmie, and Sasha have been getting a lotbeen getting ve getting July 17: loaded Spencer, Jimmie, and Sasha have lot Spencer, Jimmie, and Sasha have been getting a lot trailer to aBreakdowns small mountain near Arctic The eachofday. The dredging ear Arctic The ofCreek. dredging in this week. continue each Creek. day. All ntinue each day.and Allhauled of them dredging in this week. Breakdowns continue All in this week. Breakdowns continue each day. All trailer is falling apart, butmy still didmajor theRangers job. Wehave sawthat a falcon flying that three my Polaris Rangers have major problems that we can’t eing saw a three falcon offlying my Polaris Rangers have problems weproblems can’t oblems that we can’t three of Polaris major we of can’t around the cliff. Don and I stayed in the truck to stay warm. Emily mily fix ourselves. The oil leaked out of the 2014 Ranger 6x6 and to stay warm. Emily fix ourselves. The oil leaked out of the 2014 Ranger 6x6 and 014 Ranger 6x6 and fix ourselves. The oil leaked out of the 2014 Ranger 6x6 and is doing fine up here, no whining or bellyaching. She is the best best caused serious engine troubles. It has all kinds of electronic hing. theserious best engine caused It has troubles. all kinds It of has electronic l kindsShe of iselectronic causedtroubles. serious engine all kinds of electronic female I have had in my camp. Jano gave me a 20-foot container sensors built in, but no form of oil gauge or protective sensor. ener 20-foot container sensors built in, sensors but no form or protective sensor. ora protective sensor. built of in, oil butgauge no form of oil gauge or protective sensor. and it was hauled to engines the I bought. I need to getand mywill other con- andEven onto get my other conEven our little pump have lowengines oil sensors sensors and will stop Even ourland little pump have low oil stop sensors willour stoplittle pump engines have low oil sensors and will stop over there. thedamage. waves are up2011 again, so no gold old engine before damage. The 2011 Ranger 6x6 has a damaged again, no hauled gold thetainer before damage. The 2011 Ranger 6x6 has aRanger damaged rup 6x6 has asoengine damaged the engineToday before The 6x6 has athe damaged coming in; only money going out. Today we will start moving stuff tuff transmission will start moving stuff transmission and we swapped it with the transmission that is in ansmission that is in transmission and we swapped it with the transmission that is in and we swapped it with the transmission that is in out2008 to the bought. The other guys are engine. starting to stir so We , so tomy myare 2008 Ranger that already has a destroyed engine. We are very stir now, soland Ithat Ranger already has a that destroyed We arenow, very dtarting engine. We are very my 2008 Ranger already has a destroyed engine. very I better quit writing and start cooking pancakes for Emy. hardserious on these vehicles that are not really designed for such serious es for for Emy. hard these vehicles thatthese are not reallythat designed suchdesigned serious for such gned suchonserious hard on vehicles are notforreally and certainly not around saltwater and sand. If we only used and certainly not and around saltwater and sand. If we only used If weuse and. If use we only used use certainly not around saltwater and sand. only used our equipment inland and in and around fresh water our problems July 11: This past week the weather and waves have been good, our equipment inland and in and around fresh water our problems od, hves water problems our equipment inland and in and around fresh water our problems have been good, would be less. Eventually, I hope we work more inland and so the dredges were able to operate. Routine repairs to vehicles beand less. Eventually, I hope we workI more andmore inland and cles morewould inland would be less. Eventually, hope inland we work erkrepairs to vehicles away from the sea, the salt, and the government regulators. and dredges day. athe cleanup of and his concentrates away fromeach the theSasha salt, did andsea, government regulators. vernment regulators. getsea, away from the the salt, the government get regulators. pates of his get concentrates This week, Jimmie has been harassed by Department of Natural from the last 30This hours of dredging found 7 ¼ oz.ofgold. This Jimmie hasweek, been harassedand bybeen Department his of week, Natural Jimmie has harassed byNatural Department of Natural department 7 ¼ oz.This gold. This Resources was mostly fine gold. He averaged ¼ oz for each hour underwaResources employees on two different days and prevented from waand prevented from Resources employees on two different days and prevented from employees on two different days and prevented from each hour underwadredging both days. You would think these people, whose salaries ter, and that is really good since the gold is much harder to find dredging both days. You would think these people, whose salaries find eople, whose salaries dredging both days. You would think these people, whose salaries much harder to find ® ® 30 28 American Digger Vol. Digger 12, Issue® 2Magazine 2016 American
II Pa rt
The 2015 Gold Diaries
Want to experie adventure of minin gold? Be prepared plenty of time and m This account tells of prospector’s expe
“Two days ago Spencer rode the ATV to go dredge and crashed... the nut came off the steering arm and allowed the left front wheel to flop over, which flipped the vehicle.”
are paid by us, the taxpayers, would be here to
than wasthat a couple years ago. Dredging da July 2, 2015: This morning I got up about 4:30 and hadhelp coffee, and assist us,itbut is not of how it works in
gold are common now. Emilyout hasthat been playin whiskey, and a cigar before anyone else wakes up. I stokedour upworld. the After 69 years I have figured beach some this week. Don’t get too wood stove to chase the chill. Everything is good. Yesterday we any government agency’s purpose in life seems to close, I te “Jimmie and Spence loaded the busted ATV into the took the used ¾-ton pickup truck that I bought a couple days be toago harass, hurt, and hinder the public. bed of our truck andloaded Sashathree intoATVs town.” from and Vern hauled Adkinsonitand on to my worn-out Spencer, Jimmie, and we Sasha have Gold is aJuly more17: pleasant subject. Although trailer and hauled them to a small mountain near Arctic Creek. The good of dredging Breakdowns conti are finding gold now,init’sthis notweek. nearly enough to trailer is falling apart, but still did the job. We saw a falcon flying three of my Polaris Rangers have major prob cover even half of what I’ve spent this summer in around the cliff. Don and I stayed in the truck to stay warm.Nome. EmilyWe hope fix ourselves. The oil leaked out of the 201 for good weather so we can dredge is doing fine up here, no whining or bellyaching. She is and the best caused serious engine It has all k find lots of gold. Our season is halftroubles. over. female I have had in my camp. Jano gave me a 20-foot container sensors built in, but no form of oil gauge or and it was hauled to the land I bought. I need to getJuly my other Evenfor oura little engines have low oil sen 30: conI went home weekpump to escort my grandtainer hauled over there. Today the waves are up again, so no gold the engine before damage. The 2011 Ranger 6 daughter. She had a great time up here, and I expect her back coming in; only money going out. Today we will start moving stuff andEmily we swapped with the tran each year. I have four transmission granddaughters; tells meit that out to the land I bought. The other guys are starting to stir now, so my 2008 Ranger that already has a destroyed e she is the closest thing I’ve got to a grandson and she is right. I better quit writing and start cooking pancakesThis for Emy. hard on these vehicles that are not really morning I got up about 4:30 and made coffee. I poured design use andwhiskey certainlyasnot around saltwater in a couple fingers of drinking a sweetener and I and san our equipment inland and in and around fresh w July 11: This past week the weather and waves been good, thinking about how much I like being gothave a little melancholy wouldI started be less. Eventually, I hope so the dredges were able to operate. Routinehere. repairs to vehicles I teared up a little when thinking about my dad- we work get away from the sea, the salt, andI the gove and dredges each day. Sasha did a cleanup dy of his concentrates and how much he would like to be here, and how much This week, Jimmie has been harassed from the last 30 hours of dredging and found wish 7 ¼ oz. gold. This I could have shown him the Alaska I know. He loved to by Dep “Emily has been playing with seals Resources employees on two different was mostly fine gold. He averaged ¼ oz for each underwafish, hour but never saw a salmon. I would love to have him here days a on the beach ter, some this week. Don’t both days. Youand would and that is really good since the gold is much to find at myharder cabin and fix him dredging biscuits, sausage gravy eggsthink like these peo
get too close, I tell her. They bite.” ® ® 30 American Digger
Vol. 12, Issue 2
® ® March-April, 2016 American Digger 31 www.americandigger.com www.americandigger.com 29 2929 www.americandigger.com
Want to experience the dventure of mining Alaskan gold? Be prepared to spend enty of time and money first. up is account tellsSpencer of onecleaning veteran gold concentrates. prospector’s experiences.
By Steve Phillips
I cooked this morning. He would love the cabin and the idea of roughing it up here, although we are not really roughing it at all. I personally don’t care to fish, but Daddy loved fishing. What if he could catch about a dozen big salmon? He’s been gone about 20 years now, and anybody reading what I write should spend more time with their mom or dad if they are lucky enough to still have them. On my music machine up here I have a couple thousand old country songs, but today as most days I just play Kitty Wells songs from the 1950s. She sings like my wife, and that makes me even more melancholy. The weather is better now, and dredging is getting better. Spence, Jimmie, and Sasha are each dredging five or six hours underwater each day now and finding better gold. Breakdowns continue, but have eased up some. My expenses have been very high, and I doubt that I break even for the year, but really I don’t much care. Life is good. ple of years ago. Dredging days with little to no now. Emily has been playing with seals on the August 7: Spence and Jimmie have been able to dredge a few week. Don’t get too close, I tell her. They bite. days this week, and the gold is better. Spence found a 3.6 pennyweight nugget yesterday. Sasha is proving to be too lightweight er, Jimmie, been getting a lot the dredge every time he forand whatSasha all wehave do up here. He breaks is week. tries Breakdowns continue each day. Allwithout lots of help. I spent to use it and he can’t fix anything ris Rangers have major problems that we can’t five hours yesterday and four today helping him. His idea of rehe oil leaked outaof the is2014 Ranger pairing pump to replace it. 6x6 He isand okay on the bottom dredging, ngine troubles. It has all kinds of electronic but then he comes up and the problems start. We don’t let him but no form oilusgauge or protective sensor. He finds good gold, but live of with because he acts differently. ump engines have low oil sensors and will stop costs a lot to maintain. Saturdays he won’t dredge because it’s his damage. religious The 2011day. Ranger 6x6 has a damaged I think he is a Muslim. So now my associates up we swapped the transmission that is ina Muslim, and the rest of us here itarewith Lonnie, the devout Morman, that already engine. Wehandlers. are very As far as I’m concerned, arehas justa destroyed normal Baptist snake icles that are not really designed for such this is just a rough mining campserious and town, not a prayer meeting. not around saltwater and sand. If we only used and and in and around fresh water our problems August 10: Jimmie and Spence have dredged the last five days, Eventually, I hope we work more inland and and are now finding good gold each day. We need it. Sasha pidhe sea, the salt, and the government regulators. dles around and only dredged one day of five. About 90 percent ie has been harassed by Department of Natural of all dredgers up here never dredge. They wait for perfect weathyees on two different days and prevented from er and visibility. The waves and wind are up this morning so we ys. You would think these people, whose salaries ® 32 American Digger Vol. 12, Issue ® ®2 3030 2016 2016 American American Digger Digger Magazine Magazine Sampler Sampler
are going to our inland claims about 60 miles from Nome. We are at the Casadepaga River at my Monument camp. We brought lots of equipment to leave here and 35 gallons of gas. Spence and Jimmie went fishing in the river and caught about a dozen Dolly Varden and Grayling. They kept enough to feed us tonight. The water in all creeks and rivers is very low this year and will limit what kind of gold prospecting we can do. The camp is in pretty good shape this year, and only one part of one cabin had been invaded by animals. I think it was just foxes. No bear damage this year. We traveled around several miles of this area and spent some time exploring an old abandoned bucket line dredge on lower Willow Creek near one of my claims. Relics are all over the interior areas. We set up a new small high-banker right in front of our cabins and shoveled into it for less than two hours. It worked good and we found good color. Not much gold in weight, but more than you would find in a couple days in the lower 48. We didn’t prospect any but just started digging in an existing hole. I’m sure gold is on all my claims; I have 200 acres of claims. We only stayed there two nights and are back in our West Beach cabin now. The waves are up so no dredging for a few days. Jimmie is panning out his gold from the last few weeks. I cooked fajitas for supper; they were good. I started this day off before they got up with whiskey in my coffee, and I’m finishing tonight with whiskey in my coffee. Not an everyday deal, but it is a “some days” deal. Wild Turkey is hard to beat.
August 17: I feel a little melancholy this morning but I am
very impressed with my guys. Yesterday Spence had a broken six-inch hose while he was out. He called me and luckily I had the generator running so my phone worked. He told me to bring the generator and grinder so we could repair his hose and reinstall it. We repaired the damage and got him back out. He got five hours underwater. Jimmie had a broken pull start assembly that could not be repaired, with a broken spring. Instead of quitting as most people would have done, he cranked one engine, then removed the assembly and put it on the broken engine. He cranked it and
Jimmie doing one of many repairs.
The 2015 Gold Diaries “Spence found a 3.6 pennyweight nugget yesterday.”
him into the sand and rocks. Luckily, he was not badly hurt. I took him to theWant hospital where he was x-rayed and to experience thechecked out. Nothing is broken, just strained and bruised. He is just lying of mining around foradventure a few days now and will go homeAlaskan on Thursday. The weather is turning bad. gold? Be prepared to spend
of time and money first. Augustplenty 25: The cabin is trembling and has been for a day
and night. The account winds are up tells to 40 miles an hour. The seas are This of one veteran high and the beach is mostly gone. I hope our three dredges prospector’s experiences. have survived. We pulled them up to the tundra on Sunday and tied them to whatever could be found. The storm is pretty By Steve Phillips bad, but I’ve seen much worse in some years. It is all part of the adventure. Alaska can be easy or rough, depending on how long you stay.
August 29: Spencer went home two days ago, so just Jimmie and me for the next few weeks. This morning the waves were left both engines running all day. Jimmie got six hours underdown and it looked like Jimmie would finally get to dredge. It water. Most dredgers would have quit for the day over either of was cold and ice had formed on water in pans at the cabin. Northese problems, if they got out at all. Sasha must not have had mally it isn’t this cold until the end of September. Jimmie had any bad problems, and was able to get 9 ½ hours underwater. to work on one of the dredge pumps and by the time everything The weather is good now and we hope to be able to make up for was working the wind had picked up again, so no dredging. some of the lost time of the last two months. Pancakes, bacon, Yesterday Jimmie replaced a starter and clutch assembly on the and eggs for breakfast. Polaris 500 ATV. Spencer replaced a Bendix in one of the PoRobert Service wrote the best poems about miners and laris 400 ATVs just before he left. I will not be getting the parts Alaska, but I don’t think he ever wrote one about the guys who for the crashed Yamaha until I go home. We will fix it next year. just won’t quit. He should have. Then again, he didn’t know Most people suffer frustration and despair from all the conmy guys. stant breakdowns and repairs. I’ve been in the repair business for all of my adult life, so to me it is just another day. I am lucky August 20: Whitecaps and whiskey. I got up about 4:00 and it’s that Jimmie and Spence do the repairs on most everything. I dark now, not like early in summer. Wind and waves are up so I can still figure out what is wrong and help people by telling flavored my coffee with a little Wild Turkey. I’ll fix breakfast in them how to fix something. However, my right hand does not awhile, and get Spence and Jimmie up. Listening to Kitty Wells work well enough for me to do much with tools as I once could. on the music maker. Yesterday the boys worked on a couple of The best age to be up here, and really able to do what is needed, Hondas that have failed to work. I got the air compressor and is 30 to 60 years old. Younger than 30 guys are really pathetic it was athey couple years Dredging days with littleand to nomade Julyrebuilt 2, 2015: Thisvalves morning got upgood about 4:30 andairhad coffee, the reed so itI gives breathing now. The en- thanunless grewofup withago. a father who is a mechanic gold are common now. Emily has been playing with seals on whiskey, before anyone else wakes up. I stoked theboys ginesand are aa cigar different story, and continue to befuddle us.up The them learn. Young guys can break almost anything, but the can fix some this week. Don’t get too close, I tell her. They bite. woodtook stove chaseapart the chill. good.ofYesterday we The beach onetototally to tryEverything and find theiscause the ailment. almost nothing. tookdiagnosis the used ¾-ton truck I bought a couple days ago is that pickup we don’t havethat a clue. from Vern Adkinson and loaded three ATVs on several to my worn-out I panned out Spence’s gold from the last weeks and he July 17: Spencer, Jimmie, and Sasha have been getting a lot trailer and hauled them to a small mountain near Arctic Creek. had over 10 ounces. Sasha also did a cleanup and his wasThe awful. of dredging in this week. Breakdowns continue each day. All trailer fallingfind apart, but still didfor thegas. job. ItWe sawyears a falcon flying Heisdidn’t enough to pay takes to learn how to three of my Polaris Rangers have major problems that we can’t around thegold cliff.and Don and I stayed inbottom. the truckSpence to stay warm. Emily track prospect on the has been coming fix ourselves. The oil leaked out of the 2014 Ranger 6x6 and is doing finesince up here, no whining bestcame caused serious engine troubles. It has all kinds of electronic up here he was 15, and or he bellyaching. is pushing 40She now.is the Sasha female haveyesterday had in myand camp. Janoto gave mehis a 20-foot container outIhere managed crash ATV into a log on the sensors built in, but no form of oil gauge or protective sensor. and itbeach. was hauled to the land I bought. I need to get my other He tore up the ATV and himself. His head and coneyes are Even our little pump engines have low oil sensors and will stop tainerswollen hauledand overcut there. theone waves aresteaks up again, no gold up. Today He took of our andso stuck it on his the engine before damage. The 2011 Ranger 6x6 has a damaged coming money Today we will movingI stuff facein; foronly an hour or going two toout. try to preserve hisstart prettiness. told him transmission and we swapped it with the transmission that is in out to The other areweeks. startingItowouldn’t stir now,let so him my 2008 Ranger that already has a destroyed engine. We are very tothe justland manI bought. up and hurt for a guys couple I better and start cooking pancakes forhe Emy. takequit thewriting cellophane wrapper off our steak so couldn’t foul our hard on these vehicles that are not really designed for such serious meat. Jimmie and Spence loaded the busted ATV into the bed of use and certainly not around saltwater and sand. If we only used our equipment inland and in and around fresh water our problems Sasha and intowaves town. have been good, Julyour 11:truck Thisand pasthauled week ittheand weather would be less. Eventually, I hope we work more inland and so the dredges were able to operate. Routine repairs to vehicles and August dredges each day. Sasha did a cleanup of his concentrates 24: Two days ago Spencer rode the ATV to go dredge get away from the sea, the salt, and the government regulators. fromand thecrashed. last 30 hours of dredging andorfound 7 ¼the oz.nut gold. This He didn’t hit a rock log, but came off the This week, Jimmie has been harassed by Department of Natural on two different and prevented from anddays whiskey.” was steering mostly fine He averaged ¼ front oz forwheel each hour underwaarmgold. and allowed the left to flop over, which Resources employees“Whitecaps ter, and that the is really goodItsince the on goldtop is much harderand to find flipped vehicle. landed of Spence crushed dredging both days. You would think these people, whose salaries 30 American Digger®® Vol. 12, Issue 2
® March-April, 2016 March-April, 2016 American American Digger Digger® www.americandigger.com www.americandigger.com
The 2015 2015 Gold Diaries Diaries
September 7: We have had good weather for the last two days Want to experience the and expect more dredging days this week. It is changing Wanttoward to experience the winter fast now. The leaves have turned yellow and the fireweed adventure of mining Alaskan adventure of mining Alaskan is dying. Jimmie and Sasha are putting in longer hours in the water trying to get gold. Today I am going to help Jimmie gold?with Beprobprepared to gold? spendBe prepared to spend lems on his dredge. The water heater is causing trouble, and either plenty of time and money first. plenty of time and money first. burns him or is too cold. We also are replacing two tires on the Thisveteran account tells of one veteran red Ranger. Morgan’s has still not fixed myThis green Ranger. Hunt-tells of one account ing season has started; all of the mechanics have gone hunting, so prospector’s experiences. prospector’s experiences. no repairs until they kill their moose. Earlier in the summer the mechanics all left to go fishing. This is strange to outsiders, but By Steve Phillips I understand. Fishing and hunting are not just a sport here, itBy is Steve Phillips their life. They must harvest the fish and game just as a farmer ground. Luckily I didn’t land on anything that would puncture me will harvest his crop. and just heard and felt some cricking and popping in my bones. September 8: The weather is really good now for dredging. Nothing broke, but I will be sore.
Yesterday I helped Jimmie repair his dredge. He had a problem with the heaters for hot water in his suit. We found the water line and two heater coils were partially stopped up. He was not using a filter and sand and debris had built up, causing several other problems. We also had compressor problems and ended up breaking a Gast compressor. We took another one off of the unused dredge. We also replaced a fan belt on the compressor and a water pump seal on one of the pumps. He also had a leak on one of the hoses and we put a splice in it. This all took us four hours. Jimmie then went out dredging for five hours underwater. I replaced two tires on the Ranger. Sasha and Jimmie are both getting good gold now, and we hope the weather will allow a few more days to work.
September 23: Yesterday was a beautiful day in the afternoon.
The morning was freezing with a low of 18 degrees in Nome. After Jimmie and Sasha were able to thaw out their hot water lines, the dredges went out. This was their last day of dredging this year, and they got about three hours each before they went up Snake River in fresh water to wash off the salt from the dredges. We hauled the dredges out, and plan to disassemble them today and winterize the pumps and outboards. We will haul them on a trailer to our land. Jimmie had a very good day dredging. He hit a small spot that was loaded with red sand and lots of gold. He found several ounces. It is storming this morning.
September 25: Jimmie and I will be going home to Alabama on Monday. The dredges are all put away now. We have still a good today the waves picked up again, so no dredging. Jimmie and I bit of work here getting the cabin ready to move to our property. repaired a pump and winterized it for storage. We took the pumps Jimmie will be replacing a CV boot and a wheel bearing on a and outboards of Spencer’s dredge and carried them to our conPolaris 400 ATV today, and I will be packing cabin stuff up for tainers. My truck broke down and had to be towed back to town the move. for repairs. We got back the 2014 Ranger that has been in the shop than it was a couple of years ago. Dredging days with little to no July 2, 2015: This morning I gotthan up about and had coffee, it was4:30 a couple of years ago. Dredging days withmining little to I got up about 4:30 and had coffee, The gold is no done for us this year. The weather was not for 2 ½ months. I replaced a coil in wakes one ofup. Sasha’s water heaters gold are common now. Emily has been playing with seals on the whiskey, and a cigar before anyone else I stoked up the gold are common now. Emily has been playing with seals on the yone elseon wakes up. I stoked updid thea cleanup and panned the gold out. He good and production was low. Our dredges only found 86 ounces, his dredge. Sasha beach some this week. Don’t get too close, I tell her. They bite. wood stove to chase the chill. Everything is good. Yesterday we beach some this week. Don’t get too close, I tell her.will They Everything isagood. Yesterday we and my part onlybite. pay about half of what I spent. That includes had little¾-ton over four ounces. took the used pickup truck that I bought a couple days ago uck that I bought a couple days ago the land purchase; if I take that out I broke even. We spent four fromATVs Vernon Adkinson and loaded three on to myJimmie, worn-out July 17: Spencer, Jimmie, Sasha and haveI have been no getting a lot or ded three to my worn-out JulyATVs 17: Spencer, and Sasha have been getting a lotand months on a great Alaska adventure, complaints September I’m cold. 10:30 AM and theCreek. sun isThe up and of dredging trailer and them to aThe smallIt’s mountain near Arctic in this week. Breakdowns continue each day. all mountain nearhauled Arctic19: Creek. of dredging in this week. Breakdownsregrets. continue day. All We each are making our plans for next year when we willAll probwarming the tundra now. The water in pans outside is frozen. The trailer is falling apart, but still did the job. We saw a falcon flying three of my Polaris Rangers major problems that we can’t did the job. We saw a falcon flying three of my Polaris Rangers have major problems that wepounds can’thave ably find a hundred of gold. in the outhouse are frozen solid.to I’m sitting by a Little fix ourselves. The oil leaked out of the 2014 Ranger 6x6 and thetocliff. Don and I stayed infixtheourselves. truck stay warm. Emily yed in around the Huggies truck stay warm. Emily The oil leaked out of the 2014 Ranger 6x6 and Buddy propane heater and the wood stove is burning wood. I’m is doing fine up here, no whining or bellyaching. She is the best troubles. It has all kinds of electronic ning or bellyaching. She is the best caused serious engine troubles. Itcaused has allserious kinds engine of electronic stillme We’re going to have togave gather cut more firewood. Icold. have had incontainer my camp. Jano meand a in, 20-foot container in, but nosensor. form of oil gauge or protective sensor. . Janofemale gave a 20-foot sensors built but no form of oilsensors gauge built or protective will dredging inI bought. a coupleI hours, but first the hot water Even our little pump engines have low oil sensors and will stop andIThey itneed wasto hauled toother the land need to get my other conbought. getbemy conEven our little pump engines have low oil sensors and will stop lines be thawed out and ice removed. We hope a few the engine before damage.About TheRanger Author6x6 has a damaged tainer hauled over there. thethe waves are before up again, so nofor gold The 2011 y the waves aremust up again, so no Today gold engine damage. The 2011 Ranger 6x6 has a damaged more dredge days, then we must get the camp ready and leave. I Steve Phillips, relic hunter, prospector, diver, and coming in; only money going out. Today we will start moving stuff transmission and we swapped it with the transmission that is in out. Today we will start moving stuff transmission and we swapped it with the transmission that is in have arranged to have my cabin moved, after we leave, to the land adventurer, is co-owner of Southern Skin Diver Supply out to the land I bought. The other guys are starting to stir now, so my 2008 Ranger other guys are starting to stir now, so my 2008 Ranger that already has a destroyed engine. that We already are veryhas a destroyed engine. We are very I bought. $4000 is what the cabin costs and that is a good hard onand Scuba School in Birmingham, Alabama. Heserious invites quitfor writing startmoving cooking pancakes for Emy. these vehicles are not really designed for such ookingI better pancakes Emy.and hard on these vehicles that are not really designed for such that serious deal. Both of my Polaris Rangers are back in the repair shop, so use andanyone insaltwater participating in anIfAlaskan certainly notonly around and sand. we onlyprosused use and certainly not around saltwater and sand. If interested we used we are counting on the truck for many chores. We are hauling pecting adventure to call him at (205) 672-9310. our equipment inland and in and around fresh water our problems July Thishave pastbeen weekgood, the weather waves have our and equipment inlandbeen andgood, in and around fresh water our problems weather and11: waves stuff to the new property havingRoutine to stay repairs in townto at vehicles the beach to would be less. Eventually, I hope we work more inland and the dredges were to and operate. would be less. Eventually, I hope we work more inland and perate.so Routine repairs to able vehicles haul in theeach dredges each night. Other thanof being cold each morn- get away from the sea, the salt, and the government regulators. and dredges day. Sasha did a cleanup his concentrates get away from the sea, the salt, and the government regulators. a did a cleanup of his concentrates ing, the weather andofseas are good. Thisbyweek, Jimmieof hasNatural been harassed in by Vol. Department of Natural from the last 30 hours dredging and found 7 ¼ oz. gold. This This week, Jimmie has been harassed Department ging and found 7 ¼ oz. gold. This Originally published 12, Issue 2. I was loading a big heavy ¼ wooden spool in the bed of the Resources employees on two different days and prevented from was mostly fine gold. He averaged oz for each hour underwaResources employees on two different days and prevented fromto order single copies. raged ¼ oz for each hour underwaClick here truck when the tailgate since fell off and sent me andharder the spool to the dredging both days. You would think these people, whose salaries andisthat is really gold isboth much find dredging days. Youto would think these people, whose salaries nce theter, gold much hardergood to find the September 11: We have had several good days of dredging but
® ® 32 2016 30 2American DiggerAmerican Vol. 12, Digger Issue 2 ® Magazine 12, Issue
March-April, 2016 American Digger®
The 55th Massachusetts sufferedThe 55th Massachusetts suffered greatly while in South Carolina, literally greatly while in South Carolina, liter fighting for their lives. Now, a relic fighting for their lives. Now, a relic hunter and a soldier from that all-black hunter and a soldier from that all-bla regiment have a meeting of sorts.regiment have a meeting of sorts. Originally published in Vol. 12, Issue 3. Click here to order single copies.
By Robert Bohrn
By Robert B
stenci read t 55TH ally in ended stenci I Peril ( the Af setts,
jungle canopies of the South Carolina coast have always been my sanctuary. Beneath the palmetto fronds and Spanish moss-bearded oaks lay artifacts suspended in time. With the right detector, research, and patience, those relics can be unleashed from the soil to tell their stories. It was in one of those spots that I made an extremely rare find. And this rare find talked. In the years following its discovery, it spoke volumes to thousands of Civil War enthusiasts. Today, that find will speak to you. That day in 1985 was like any other. A crisp autumn morning with the smell of the pluff mud from an adjacent saltwater marsh creeping through the vines. I had hunted this Union campsite many times over the decades and so had others. But the finds were still there. Newer detectors and patience brought the relics out to play on every trip into it. The first signals were the typical campsite finds. Eagle tunic buttons, .58 caliber Minié balls, and melted camp lead from campfires cooled long ago. Fun stuff, but even then I was really not expecting anything earth shattering. And that’s how it was, until a slight double beep from my metal detector touched two lives that day. Kicking away the pine needles and autumn leaves so that only bare ground was exposed, I cut a plug in the sand with my shovel. Turning and spilling the mulch and sand to the side of the hole, I spied what looked to be a rolled-up piece of nondescript brass. Taking out a brush to clean it, I saw what appeared to be small letters cut through the thin brass. That is when I knew what it was, and suddenly time stood still. “I’ve seen this before,” I spoke aloud. Rolled up into a tube shape, I could see that this was a soldier’s identification 1
Although the name was first thought to be
on the stencil, it was®actually “Pearl.” 2016“Peril” American Digger Magazine Sampler
stencil. As I bentjungle apart canopies the brassofslowly and methodically the South Carolina coastI read the words out loud: “HARRISON PERIL 55thBeneath REGT. have always been my sanctuary. 1 In that briefest of moments, I was person55TH MASS. V.” the palmetto fronds and Spanish moss-bearded oaks lay arally introduced to in thistime. soldier from War. That find tifacts suspended With the the rightCivil detector, research, ended my day of searching for relics. I carefully placed and patience, those relics can be unleashed from the soilthe to stencil into my digging pouch and headed home. tell their stories. IIt immediately searching library for Private was in one ofbegan those spots that I my made an extremely rare Peril (not knowing his name was actually Pearl). I knew that find. And this rare find talked. In the years following its disthe African American regiment, the 55th Massachucovery, it spoke volumesUnion to thousands of Civil War enthusiasts. setts, was camped in the area where the stencil was found. Today, that find will speak to you.
That day in 1985 was like any other. A crisp autumn morning with the smell of the pluff mud from an adjacent saltwater marsh creeping through the vines. I had hunted this Union campsite many times over the decades and so had others. But the finds were still there. Newer detectors and patience brought the relics out to play on every trip into it. The first signals were the typical campsite finds. Eagle tunic buttons, .58 caliber Minié balls, and melted camp lead from campfires cooled long ago. Fun stuff, but even then I was really not expecting anything earth shattering. And that’s how it was, until slight double beep from my metal detector touched Thea relic that introduced author Robert two lives that day. away the pineno needles andthan autumn Bohrn to Kicking Pvt. Pearl was more leavesasorolled-up that only bare ground was exposed, I cut a plug in the piece of brass when found. sand with my shovel. Turning and spilling the mulch sand Carefully straightening the pieceandreto thevealed side of the hole, I spied what looked to be a rolled-up it to be a personal stencil. These piece of nondescript brass. Taking out a brush to clean it, I saw were popular among soldiers to mark what appeared to be small letters cut through the thin brass. their intime a worse That is when personal I knew what iteffects was, and and, suddenly stood still. caseseen scenario, to help identify their body. “I’ve this before,” I spoke aloud. Rolled up into a tube shape, I could see that this was a soldier’s identification ® May-June, 2016 American Although the name was first thought toDigger be “Peril” on the stencil, it was actually “Pearl.”
T B a C v w t c
il. As I bent apart the brass slowly and methodically I the words out loud: “HARRISON PERIL 55th REGT. H MASS. V.” 1 In that briefest of moments, I was personpulled the 55th’s history from ntroduced toI this soldier fromregimental the Civil War. That findthe shelf and searched for the company rosters. d my day of searching for relics. I carefully placed the There,pouch I quickly He was listed in il into my digging and found headedhim. home. company “K.” There was on 143: immediately began searching myhelibrary forpage Private “Harrison, Peril, Private. Occupation: farmer.” (not knowing his name was actually Pearl). I knew that forward thirtytheyears 2015. Lifrican AmericanFast Union regiment, 55th to Massachubrary index Dewey decimal was camped in the area cards whereand the the stencil was found. system have long gone the way of the dinosaur. Searching the Internet, I recently found Private Pearl again. He was born a slave in Maysville, Kentucky in 1843. His master’s name was Joseph Firmin. In 1863 Harrison Pearl traveled from Kentucky to Hillsboro, Ohio. There he enlisted in the 55th Massachusetts on June 11, 1863. I also discovered that his last name was Pearl, not Peril; his name had been misspelled in his unit’s muster rolls. But in the Union army he did find The relic that introduced author Robert peril. I discovered that he was wounded in Bohrn tothe Pvt. Pearl thanby a left arm by awas shell,no andmore in the hand a rolled-up of brass when found. ball,piece while charging a Confederate battery at Carefullythestraightening the Hill, piece bloody battle of Honey SouthreCarovealed it lina to be a personal stencil. These on July 11, 1864. He was mustered out were popular among mark of service on July soldiers 23, 1865 into Mount Pleasant, South Carolina.and, I also learned that he was their personal effects in a worse buried in cemetery in an African-American case scenario, toa help identify their body. community called the Gist Settlement in New Vienna, Ohio. May-June, 2016 American Digger® 57 58 American Digger® Vol. 12, Issue 3
(Above) In this illustration from Harper’s Weekly, jubilant members of the 55th Massachusetts Regiment march into Charleston on February 21, 1865. At the top of page, a painting by artist Jeff Trexlar shows two members of the regiment in camp at Folley’s Island. It was here that bulldozers uncovered the remains of one of the soldiers. Spearheaded by relic hunter/ author Robert Bohrn and aided by the professional archaeological community, 19 graves were eventually discovered there and reinterred with honors. www.americandigger.com
inding and visiting his buriArriving at the cemetery, I could al spot has always been of easily see his military headstone great importance to me. Beacross the road. Walking towards his ing a relic hunter, the artifacts that grave I welled up with the decades I find are very personal to me. To of tears that I had held inside for him. visit his final resting place was a Stopping at the foot of his grave, I dream that I have had for years. stood at attention and saluted him. Now knowing that he was buried Kneeling down on his grave, I spoke in Ohio, a hundred plus miles from to him. Those words I spoke to him where I now live in Kentucky, preare known but to him and me. We sented the opportunity that I had had a long and intimate talk as if we dreamt of. were old friends. We met because of Was finding this new informatwo fates. His fate was to fight in our tion on this soldier’s burial place country’s bloodiest war. My fate was fate or happenstance? I choose to to find his stencil on a sea island near believe that fate is what brought Charleston, South Carolina, near me to that winding country road where that terrible war began. As I near New Vienna, Ohio. I canleft, I removed a Union eagle butnot express the feelings that I had ton and Minié ball from my pocket. as I made my way to meet Pvt. I had found these the same day as I Pearl. I kept thinking back on the found his identification stencil. PlacPvt. Pearl’s gravestone, past thirty years since I found his ing them beside his headstone, I Gist Settlement Cemetery, stencil. How, a few years after the thanked him for his sacrifice and his New Vienna, Ohio. stencil’s find, I discovered the regift to me of history. mains of nineteen of his comrades Returning to my car, I once in the 55th Massachusetts. Their once-forgotten graves again stopped and saluted him. Was this closure for me? had almost been obliterated by progress. Once I discovHardly. It was a family reunion of sorts that I hope to have ered them, a team of archaeologists and anthropologists again. I can only hope that somewhere up in the heavens, he were brought in to study and excavate the remains before was saluting me, too. they were reinterred during 1987-89. Driving that remote road in Ohio and passing houses from the mid 1800s was like going back in time. The thouAbout The Author sands of acres of harvested cornfields beckoned me back Robert E. Bohrn, Jr. , has been a Civil War relic hunter for to when Pvt. Pearl came here to enlist in the 55th back in the past forty-six years. Born and raised in Charleston, 1863. And it was thrilling to know that he returned here afS.C., he has spent his life in the pursuit of history in the ter the war’s end to start his new life as a free man of color. Palmetto state. He is a retired Certified Chef, and former Here he married a local woman named Charity Good. The Chef Proprietor of Moultrie Tavern 1862. couple had two daughters, Mariah and Elsie Mae Pearl. He lived as a farmer, and later in life received his military pension for his disabled arm and deafness caused by cannon fire. In 1915, he passed away and was laid to his final Originally published in Vol. 12, Issue 3. rest in the Gist Settlement Cemetery in New Vienna, Ohio. Click here to order single copies.
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New Hampshire Colonial Hunting & Cellar Hole Hopping
Our Mission: To recover history from every state in the Union.
By Butch Holcombe
Originally published in Vol. 12, Issue 4. Click here to order single copies.
here are many reasons to visit the magnificent state of New Hampshire. The beautiful scenery. The luscious greenery. The gracious inhabitants. The history. And, of course, metal detecting. Not that these were our only reasons to visit the Granite State. We had also been invited to come to New Hampshire to accept not one but two awards from the Best of North East Association, commonly called “BONE.” While this was reason enough to visit, it was also a great opportunity to check another state off of our detecting bucket list that we call “American Digger® On The Road.” As the BONE organization was sponsoring four days
of relic hunting at a large colonial site plus an artifact and treasure show to boot, it was the best of all worlds.
American Digger® Publisher Butch Holcombe digs a 1700s King George penny (above); the photo at left shows a silver thimble just seconds after he unearthed it from the Vilas house site. At the top of page are the remains of an early 1800s shoe factory. 46 American Digger® Vol. 12, Issue 4 46 American Digger® Vol. 12, Issue 4
Mike Fox, 1723 2-reale
Bob Karpf, 1777 2-reale
Fred Stedtler, half reale Dan Lewis, Fujio cent
Shown on this page are just a fraction of the finds from the Best of North East colonial hunt, April 19-23, 2016.
Gary Douglas, eagle pocket watch key
Tony Browning, shoe buckle, & flat button Lynn Merritt, silver 5-cent piece
Norman Messier, medical bleeder
Butch Holcombe, dandy button
Julio Razquin’s finds included a spur rowel cut from a coin.
Kyle Meyerrose, Connecticut copper
Terry Smith spent four days excavating a trash pit beside the house site that once belonged to the Vilas family. The house was built in the late 1700s, although only the cellar hole remains. 40
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(Left) This colonial-era water pipe, formed by drilling slabbed soapstone and fastening with lead couplings, was found at the site of an early 1800s shoe factory. (Right) An 1860 Prince Edward Island “Success to the Fisheries/ Speed the Plow” token found by Julio Razquin.
Another plus: my host was a longtime friend, Julio Razquin. Never mind that this was my first time meeting this extraordinary relic hunter in person; he has been an online friend and American Digger® freelance writer for several years. He was also a great host and typical of those I met in New Hampshire. The BONE natural hunts were held this year on a large tract of land which had several cellar holes and old house sites, plus a shoe factory. As a bonus, the people who once lived here were fairly well off. Translated into detector speak, that means they had better things and more money to lose. Money such as a pair of silver 2-reales, a few ½ reales, several King George coppers (I even managed to find one), at least two Connecticut coppers, a Fugio cent, and other miscellaneous coins. But that wasn’t all.
(Above, L-R) Terry Smith, Kyle Meyerrose, Julio Razquin, (shown petting Diesel Streeter), and event organizer George Streeter (owner of Streeter Electronics in Marlborough, New Hampshire) discuss strategy at the BONE event.
It’s hard to pick the best eatery in New Hampshire, although the author highly recommends these in downtown Keene. However, it is hard to pass up any dinner when it is accompanied by awards like those shown above, given at the BONE banquet.
Also found were numerous civilian buttons, musket balls, flatware, and even a brass cased fleam (medical bleeder). There were even several sections of colonial-era water pipe cut from drilled soapstone and connected with lead flanges. Trophies were given for the best finds daily, an added bonus. On Saturday, a show was held featuring displays, metal detectors, prospecting supplies, and speakers. And on Saturday night, the big dance; i.e. the awards banquet. In addition to dinner, numerous prizes and awards were given, including one to my host Julio to celebrate his induction into the Hall of Fame. However, American Digger® was the big winner here, with not one but two awards: One for Best Magazine and another for our Relic Roundup talk show. “Humbled” and
Royal Irish Pipth button found by the author and “Anti-Pain Pill” container found by Julio. According to the embossing, the medicine contained “No morphine or cocaine.”
“honored” are words too inadequate to use here. My last day was spent on a private hunt set up by Julio and his hunting partner, Kyle Meyerrose. Kyle had mapped out several cellar holes, all of which produced something. But the second one produced the most excitement. The small rocklined hole had somehow been missed by previous detectorists and immediately began giving up flat buttons for Kyle, Julio, Minelab Director of Business
Development Debbie Smikoski, and myself. After one particularly strong
signal, I took a single shovelful of dirt from the hole, which revealed three early 1800s flat buttons. Before I closed the hole, a total of eight buttons, likely the remains of a coat, had been recovered by me. The next cellar hole also produced, although it seemed to be of a later vintage, probably mid 1800s. It was here that I dug my oddest find, a Royal Irish Pipth button, although the age is uncertain (the back, which might precisely date it, is missing). I also recovered one
(Above) Minelab’s Director of Business Development Debbie Smikoski is all smiles after finding her first 18th century button.
This small cellar hole (upper left photo) produced eight flat buttons from one hole, likely the remains of a discarded coat, for the author (upper right). The photo at lower left, taken after only the first shovelful of dirt, shows three of the buttons. At right they are all shown after cleaning. Some show remains of their original gilt finish. 42
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This small colonial buckle was dug by the author at the second cellar hole. on the smallest cufflinks I’ve ever seen. Julio also found his best find of the day, an 1860 Prince Edward Island “Success to the Fisheries/ Speed the Plow” token. Before I left to return to our offices in Georgia, I was treated to two culinary delights in downtown Keene. One, aptly titled simply “Local,” served monstrous burgers made only from locally grown beef. It was delicious, and what better way of supporting the local economy and area farmers. The other, “Amicci’s Italian Style Pizza,” is as close as a connoisseur can get to New York style pizza without crossing the border. No matter which you choose, we promise you’ll be well fed. The end of the trip came too soon for my taste (no pun intended, but I’ll take the cheap laughs). After a search of my luggage by TSA
(it seems short sections of colonial pipe wrapped in a sock is cause for alarm) and a long two-hop flight, during which time the airline managed to break my Fisher F75 (matching the damage done to my Garrett AT Pro on the flight into New Hampshire the week prior), I was back in the hustle and bustle of Atlanta, a world away from the beautiful rolling hills and stone walls of New Hampshire. Yes, I miss it already.
(Above) The author’s finds after five days of New Hampshire digging. 50 American Digger® Vol. 12, Issue 4
To see the complete video of this hunt, please subscribe to American Digger's Youtube channel, or scan this QR code.
Originally published in Vol. 12, Issue 5. Click here to order single copies.
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Published in Volume 10, Issue 3 GROUND BALANCE - A quick press Originally of the button Click here to order single issues. “grabs” the ground for accurate ground balance. TARGET RATCHETING - A quick press of the button ratchets in on strong target signals. OVERLOAD INDICATOR -A large target will create a series of long audio/vibrate responses to signal overload. LOST PINPOINTER ALARM - After 5 minutes of inactivity it sounds a long beep every 15 seconds, helping to locate it. AUTOMATIC POWER DOWN - After 5 minutes of the Lost Pinpointer Alarm, it will power down to save batteries. HOLSTER - TRX features a handy belt holster with lanyard loop. REPLACEMENT SHELL - Designed so if the shell becomes worn down, it can be easily replaced. WEATHERPROOF - Rugged, water resistant. LOW BATTERY ALERT - 3 cycles of double tone indicates low battery, with continous blinking LED. RULER - A handy ruler is printed on the case to help determine target depth. DUAL BATTERY SYSTEM - Runs on included 2-AA’s or a single 9-V. Adapter included. BATTERY LIFE 20 hours. $159.95 MSRP
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Getting h Deep With ersThe Diggers
We get down and rite dirty with TV’s favorite detectorists By Jocelyn Elizabeth Originally published in Vol. 12, Issue 6. Click here to order single copies.
thetoshow, Elizabeth spoke with the guys to learn of a hardcore relic hunter or just the you’re show, Jocelyn Elizabeth spoke with the guys learnJocelyn of e relic hunter or justhether occasionally dabble in the hobby, you’ve probtheir love for their hobby, their show, and their plans for e hobby, you’ve probtheir love for their hobby, their show, and their plans for heard of George “KG” Wyant and Tim the future. KG” Wyant and Timablythe future. “Ringy” Saylor. George and Tim are among the select few among the select few Q- How did these two meet? taken Qtheir metal How did detecting these two dreams meet? and turned g dreamswho and have turned A- Although reality television A- aAlthough they triedshow. to convince me that they had met they tried to convince me that they had met n show. them into a reality... “Diggers” first aired on National Geographic Channel in prison, I suspected that their friendship did not blossom Geographic Channel in prison, I suspected that their friendship did not blossom over matching in January of 2013. The pilot episode followed KG and over matching prison tattoos or questionable toilet wine. prison tattoos or questionable toilet wine. de followed KG and Ringy as they traveled western explorethat After a little bit of prying, Tim admitted that their friendnnsylvania to explore After atolittle bit ofPennsylvania prying, Tim to admitted their friendship began the heart of the Whiskey Rebellion. Since that first episode, ship began thirteen years ago with a phone call. “My ex-thirteen years ago with a phone call. “My exnce that first episode, Tim and George, as we’ll most refer them, have on the phone with George’s wife. I was in the n refer to them, have wife was on theoften phone withtoGeorge’s wife. Iwife waswas in the backyard with my metal detector and found three silver filmed a total of 66 episodes and four seasons. After learning backyard with my metal detector and found three silver easons. After learning National Channel has chosen not to renew coins. George overheard the two ladies callingcoins. me aGeorge nerd. overheard the two ladies calling me a nerd. s chosen that not to renew Geographic Then he heard the words “metal Then he heard the words “metal detector.” He says, ‘Put him on the detector.” He says, ‘Put him on the phone. I want to talk to this guy.’ It phone. I want to talk to this guy.’ It just snowballed from there.” just snowballed from there.” Tim spent a little time researchTim spent a little time researching metal detectors. He eventually ing metal detectors. He eventually decided to purchase a top-of-the-line decided to purchase a top-of-the-line Garrett GTI 2500. George thought Garrett GTI 2500. George thought the price tag was a little high but Tim the price tag was a little high but Tim told him, “That’s what I’m getting. told him, “That’s what I’m getting. You can get whatever you want.” You can get whatever you want.” So in the end, George also bought a So in the end, George also bought a GTI 2500. Tim claims it’s because GTI 2500. Tim claims it’s because George “didn’t want me having a George “didn’t want me having a better machine.” better machine.” Tim says their friendship was Tim says their friendship was just “one of those things. I moved just “one of those things. I moved to Montana thinking that I’d be by to Montana thinking that I’d be by myself out here and never talk to myself out here and never talk to anyone. The chances of meeting anyone. The chances of meeting 30 American Digger® Vol. 12, Issue 6
Getting Deep With The Diggers We get down and dirty with TV’s favorite detectorists By Jocelyn Elizabeth Above, George and Tim's finds run from the typical to the spectacular. The “CS” oval belt buckle is Tim’s favorite find. Below, he celebrates on dirt pushed up from a Roman site in Germany, after finding “a small piece of Rome.” _______ the show, Jocelyn Elizabeth spoke with the guys to learn of hether you’re a hardcore relic hunter or just occasionally dabble in the hobby, you’ve probtheir love for their hobby, their show, and their plans for somebodyably as heard weird of andGeorge screwed up as me were pretty thebut it was really just for three months. That was about it.” “KG” Wyant and Tim future. remote and it happened anyway. So, here we are.” “Ringy” Saylor. George and Tim are among the select few What their favorite Q- QHow didare these two meet? finds? who have taken their metal detecting dreams and turned QHow long have they been detecting? AOver the course of show, Tim A- Although they tried tothe convince me and that George they hadhave metunthem into a reality... a reality television show. ASeveral years before meeting George, Tim had purcovered some incredible history. Tim had a hard time choos“Diggers” first aired on National Geographic Channel in prison, I suspected that their friendship did not blossom chased a White’s 3000D.followed He used the ingmatching just one prison favorite, so he or picked two. “Mytoilet obvious over tattoos questionable wine.pick in January of 2013.Coin The Master pilot episode KGdetector and for a couple of months one summer, but never picked it up is my CS buckle. On season two, I found that belt buckle. Ringy as they traveled to western Pennsylvania to explore After a little bit of prying, Tim admitted that their friendagain until he moved to Montana. He states, “I guess you I had never found an oval Civil War buckle before. When ship began thirteen years ago with a phone call. “My ex- I the heart of the Whiskey Rebellion. Since that first episode, say I was saw theon corner of it, I expected a ‘US’ wife. buckle. Then,inI pulled Timcould and George, as detecting we’ll mostyears oftenbefore refer meeting to them, George, have wife was the phone with George’s I was the it out of the ground and sawsilver ‘CS.’ I backyard with my metal detector and found three filmed a total of 66 episodes and four seasons. After learning lost my mind. It was coins. George overheard just the two ladies calling meawesome.” a nerd. that National Geographic Channel has chosen not to renew Tim describes his second favorThen he heard the words “metal ite findHe as says, “a copper pin that says: detector.” ‘Put him on the ‘Anaconda, The Capitol of Monphone. I want to talk to this guy.’ It It’s a favorite because it’s from justtana.’ snowballed from there.” the in. It’s from Timtown spentwea both little lived time research1894 when they were voting for the ing metal detectors. He eventually capitol of Montana. Anaconda decided to purchase a top-of-the-linelost, so theGTI pin is kind George of untrue.thought It’s just a Garrett 2500. weird little piece of history about the price tag was a little high but Timour toldhometown.” him, “That’s what I’m getting. George also had several favorite You can get whatever you want.” finds, to pick just one. So in the but end,managed George also bought a He recalls digging a small metal GTI 2500. Tim claims it’s because capsule from want the ground. “I shook George “didn’t me having a it andmachine.” there was something inside. We better got home I pried it open.was There Tim saysand their friendship was a solid silver St. Christopher just “one of those things. I moved statue inside the capsule. I have to Montana thinking that I’d be by a lot of favorites, but that one was myself out here and never talk tojust so cool.” anyone. The chances of meeting
® 30 American Digger Vol. 12,Digger Issue 6 ®® Magazine Sampler 46 2016 American
November-December, 2016 American Digger®
Left, Tim walks the edge of a coal mining operation in Germany at a Roman site, recovering artifacts before the machines swallow up that section of earth. _______
us.” Tim says, “We have people ask us all the time, ‘How do I get my idea on TV?’ Honestly, I don’t know. I was just working at my computer one day and the phone rang. The girl asked, ‘Do you want to be on TV?’ I thought George had someone call me as a joke.”
Q- How did they get on TV? the and show, Jocelyn Elizabeth spoke with the guys to learn of relic hunter or just Tim A- “Everything I do, we pretty their love for their hobby, their show, and their plans for hobby, you’ve probmuch go overboard,” admits George. KG” Wyant Tim thetheir future. Afterandpurchasing metal detecamong the select few tors, they started researching instrucHowThey did these two meet? dreamstional and turned books and QDVDs. say that, Although they tried to convince me that they had met n show. at the time, thereA-weren’t many metal in prison, I suspected Geographic Channel detecting resources to choose from. that their friendship did not blossom de followed KG and over matching prison They eventually found a DVD out of tattoos or questionable toilet wine. prying, Tim admitted that their friendnsylvania to explore Canada, but the After contenta little was abit bitofdry nce that first episode, for their taste. ship began thirteen years ago with a phone call. “My exwifeinspired was on the phone with George’s wife. I was in the refer to them, have The guys were to start asons. After learning backyard with my metal detector and found three silver making their own videos. They proGeorge’s from a sincoins. overheard the two ladieskeepers calling me a nerd. s chosen duced not to renew six DVDs and George Tim wrote a gle day of detecting an old book, but their big break came when Then he heard the words “metal horse racetrack in Kansas. they began posting teasers on You- detector.” He says, ‘Put him on the phone. I want to_______ talk to this guy.’ It Tube. “The next thing you know, we had TV production companies calling just snowballed from there.” Tim spent a little time researching metal detectors. He eventually decided to purchase a top-of-the-line Garrett GTI 2500. George thought the price tag was a little high but Tim told him, “That’s what I’m getting. You can get whatever you want.” So in the end, George also bought a GTI 2500. Tim claims it’s because George “didn’t want me having a better machine.” Tim says their friendship was just “one of those things. I moved to Montana thinking that I’d be by A few of the many coins foundmyself by Timout “Ringy” here and never talk to Saylor are shown in these anyone. two photos. The chances of meeting 32 American Digger® Vol. 12, Issue 6
Q- Are your reactions on camera real or just for television? A- Tim says, “Sometimes on TV, we have to do a little more than we want to. We might not necessarily be excited about what we’ve found, but we have to be excited because they want to use the footage for the show.” George adds that “If we find something that’s really cool, they almost have to duct tape us to a chair because we’re freaking out.” They almost had to break out the duct tape when Tim found the CS buckle. “That was a complete onehundred-percent [authentic] reaction. When I saw the edge of it, I knew it was important and we needed to film it. I had no idea it was a CS buckle. I ended up running around and jumping on a tractor. When I jumped off the tractor— this was after they stopped filming – I actually broke my foot.”
www.americandigger.com www.americandigger.com 47 47
Getting Deep With The Diggers We get down and dirty with TV’s favorite detectorists
Heath Jones (Treasure Mountain Metal Detectors) and Scott Duncan inspect a relic George has just found. At right, he poses with publisher Butch Holcombe at a hunt in Virginia.
By Jocelyn Elizabeth
metal detect.” Q- How did their working relationship with Garrett began? Tim adds, “It’s been a lot of fun. We both know how A- Tim recalls, “The ‘Anaconda, Capitol of Montana’ pin is lucky we are to get to do this. We’ve basically been on a the first thing Garrett noticed about us. They put us in The five-year metal detecting vacation.” Searcher magazine. the firstrelic time hunter Garrett or really Jocelyn Elizabeth spoke with the guys to learn of hether you’reIt awas hardcore justheardthe show, of us, but then we developed relationship with probthem.” their love for their hobby, their show, and their plans for occasionally dabble inathe hobby, you’ve Q- What is the best part of their job? ably heard of George “KG” Wyant and Tim the future. A- “The love of treasure hunting and metal detecting Q- Since partTim of Team Garrett, andfew George “Ringy” Saylor.becoming George and are among theTim select is worldwide,” attend organized hunts and rallies across the globe. Does Q- How did these twoGeorge meet? says. “Everywhere you go, you who have taken their metal detecting dreams and turned can’t necessarily the language but you can still ever get old? A- Although they triedspeak to convince me that they had met them that into lifestyle a reality... a reality television show. communicate. They have stuffdid to not show us. It’s just A- “No.” George says “No, no,Channel no. no. Film“Diggers” first aired onemphatically. National Geographic in prison, I suspected thatalways their friendship blossom the amount of people and placestoilet we get to see.” ing forofthe2013. showThe would drainfollowed on us, but matching prison tattoos or questionable wine. in January pilotreally episode KG with and Gar-over incredible just metal and having a to good time.” HeAfter a little bit of prying, Tim admitted that their friendRingyrett as we’re they traveled to detecting western Pennsylvania explore Q- What is theiryears favorite adds,of“The show kind of kept us fromthat other detector-ship began thirteen ago episode? with a phone call. “My exthe heart the Whiskey Rebellion. Since firstmetal episode, some briefwith deliberation, guysI agreed ists because be bymost ourselves the to middle nowhere.wife ATim and George, we’d as we’ll often in refer them,ofhave wasAfter on the phone George’sthe wife. was in that the their Garrett, they send usfour to rallies. We’re backyard with my metal detector and found three silver filmedWith a total of 66 episodes and seasons. Aftergoing learning to this place and that Channel place, with people who coins. George overheard the two ladies calling me a nerd. that National Geographic hasother chosen not to renew Then he heard the words “metal detector.” He says, ‘Put him on the phone. I want to talk to this guy.’ It just snowballed from there.” Tim spent a little time researching metal detectors. He eventually decided to purchase a top-of-the-line Garrett GTI 2500. George thought the price tag was a little high but Tim told him, “That’s what I’m getting. You can get whatever you want.” So in the end, George also bought a GTI 2500. Tim claims it’s because George “didn’t want me having a better machine.” Tim says their friendship was just “one of those things. I moved Above, Georgeto“KG” Wyant shows a freshly dug Montana thinking that I’d be by relic to the cameraman; at left some myself out here andare never talkmedito eval coins he anyone. found while detecting in France. The chances of meeting
30 American Vol. 12, Issue 6 ®® Magazine Sampler 48 Digger 2016® American Digger
November-December, 2016 American Digger®
Left, an assortment of finds found at a house site by Ringy. Below, Ringy and KG prepare to hunt relics with their Garrett AT Gold detectors. _______
favoriteorepisode a time Elizabeth capsule that contained the finding show, Jocelyn spoke with the guys to learn of e relic hunter just was computer mousetheir that belonged to Steve Jobs.their Timshow, relates, he hobby,a you’ve problove for their hobby, and their plans for “Thatand one Tim was onethe offuture. my favorites because it was unusual “KG” Wyant We don’t among for theus. select few usually look for a thirteen-foot plastic tube. It was weird andQ-it was in 1983. Howonly did buried these two meet?Most people g dreams andsoturned it was supposed to betodug up in 2000 A- Although they tried convince me that they had met on show.didn’t understand that and we were already thirteen years late when we dug it up.” l Geographic Channel in prison, I suspected that their friendship did not blossom continues, “It was all or nothing. We either had a over matching prison tattoos or questionable toilet wine. ode followedHeKG and show we didn’t. In most of bit ourofshows, would talk that their friendennsylvania to or explore After a little prying,we Tim admitted whatever weship found andthirteen weave ityears into the began agostory. with aThis phone call. “My exince thatabout first episode, the was time on capsule. If wewith didn’t find thewife. I was in the n refer episode to them, was haveaboutwife the phone George’s we didn’tbackyard have a show.” with my metal detector and found three silver seasons. capsule, After learning agrees,coins. saying that “‘Finding Steve Jobs’ladies Timecalling me a nerd. George overheard the two as chosen notGeorge to renew Capsule’ was probably the most emotional episode we everthe words “metal Then he heard did. We were nervous and sick to our detector.” stomachs with the ‘Put him on the He says, possibility that we might not find what we were looking for.talk to this guy.’ It phone. I want to Then finding it was just unbelievable.” just snowballed from there.” Tim spent a little time researchfinds. Tim admits, “This takes an entire day and it’s painful. Q- What was their favorite moment caught camera? ingonmetal detectors. He eventually We just sit there and answer questions. We have to pretend A- George says, “My favorite moment would be when we decided to purchase a top-of-the-line like we’re excited because we’re talking in the present tense. unearthed that gold coin in New Orleans. I just GTI remember Garrett 2500. George thought the look on Tim’s face and the feeling the I had when I held price tag was a littleTim’s high favorite but Tim moment, not caught on film, happened during these interviews. that coin in my hand. I’m looking at him andhim, I’m“That’s lookingwhatone told I’mof getting. Tim begins talking about the episode from Ludlow, around. I couldn’t believe we had just found a gold coin.” You can get whatever you want.” got this serious, horrible thing where Tim agrees. “Yeah, that was pretty shocking. So in theWe end,found George Colorado. also bought“We’ve a burned to death. We did a great job saving artifacts. a half dime and that was shocking enough. We’dTim never GTI 2500. claimspeople it’s because kind aof an emotional episode. We’re just getting found one of those either. Two seconds later, we “didn’t found that George want Itmewas having ready to sit down for the interview. Everything is set up. gold coin right next to it. It was crazy.” better machine.” George is was in place. I sit down.” Tim says their friendship “This episode was about mining, so we’re talking about Q- What was their favorite moment that didn’t make it on TV? just “one of those things. I moved mining. George A- The process of filming an episode involved a full day that to Montana thinking I’d be by has been a miner his whole life. He answers firsttalk question from the producer and he says, ‘Yeah, I of interviews. For the duration of the interviews, guysand the myself outthehere never to was miner. My dad was a miner. My grandpa was a miner.’ would sit and answer questions about their experiences and anyone. The chances of a meeting ® 34 34 American American Digger Digger® Vol. Vol. 12, 12, Issue Issue 66
www.americandigger.com www.americandigger.com 49 49
Getting Deep With The Diggers We get down and dirty with TV’s favorite detectorists Left, Ringy searches a field in Virginia; right, the
By Jocelyn Elizabeth pair show off a just-dug WWII-era machine gun.
I cut in, ‘Wouldn’t you like to be a miner, too?’ I started putting those episodes in the bank and then hopefully we’ll laughing. I just lost my mind. I thought it was so funny. The get signed by one of the networks here— Travel, Outdoor, the show, Elizabeth with the guys to hardcore relic hunter or just Channel. producer got so angry with mehether that I you’re laughedaeven harder.” or Sportsman It allJocelyn just depends. Likespoke George said, occasionally in the hobby, there’s you’ve even prob-a German their love for their their show, and their p “Finally, he just kicked me off the set. Idabble was still miced company that’shobby, interested.” heard George the future. up and the sound guy let theably thing run. of I was out “KG” in the Wyant and Tim “Ringy” Saylor. George among the few parking lot trying to contain myself. It and tookTim meare twenty Q- select Is there anything they’d like to share with our readers? Q- How two meet? who have Itaken their metal detecting dreamsA-and minutes to stop laughing. was laughing so hard I could Timturned says, “There were did a lotthese of people who were kind of A- –Although theyend tried me that they them into a reality... a reality television show. disappointed when barely breathe and I was crying.” towards the of to theconvince whole series, “Diggers” first aired on National Geographic Channel in prison, I suspected that their friendship George adds, “The thing about it was, it was the last day like in the last part of season three—we stopped doing did not over matching questionable toil 2013. The pilotlate episode and bet and we had to fly in outJanuary the next of morning. We were settingfollowed someKG of those payoffs. Thereprison were tattoos tons oforkids and a Ringy as theySotraveled to western Pennsylvania a little bit forward of prying, up for the interviews anyway. we’re behind and we have lot toofexplore adults whoAfter really looked to Tim that admitted and werethat thei began thirteen years ago with a phone call. heart Rebellion. Since that disappointed first episode, thatship to get all the stuffthe done so of wethe canWhiskey fly home in the morning. we weren’t doing them anymore. Anyway, Tim and George, as we’ll most often refer to them, have wife was on the phone with George’s wife. I wa And then Tim decides to lose it at the moment we need to I just want them to know that when we filmed the first two with my detectorinand found thre learning keep it together.”filmed a total of 66 episodes and four seasons. After shows in Europe,backyard both of those havemetal bet payoffs them George the two ladies calling me thatadds, National Channel hasguy chosenbecause not to renew Tim laughs and “I’llGeographic tell you what. The one we have coins. creative controloverheard of these now.” Then he heard the words who liked it was the sound guy, because he never turned me detector.” He says, ‘Put him off. One ear is me and one ear is George. He would only Even as KG and Ringy part ways with Nat Geo, wetocan phone. I want talk to this turn it off so he could focus on what George was saying rest assured that we have not heard the last of them. Their just snowballed from there.” during the interview. Every two or three minutes, he would passion, energy, acrobatics, and friendship are a welcome Tim spent a little time r flip the switch and turn me back on. He said he would just addition to the weekly television lineup. the words of He ev ing In metal detectors. hear this high pitched squealing sound.” George “KG” Wyant, “We’re like a bad rash, we just keep a top-of decided to purchase coming back.” Garrett GTI 2500. George Q- What is the future of the TV show? the price tag was a little high A- After four seasons and sixty-six episodes, National Geotold him, “That’s what I’m graphic has chosen not to renew “Diggers.” However, we You can get whatever you have not heard the last of KG and Ringy. George assured About The Author So in the end, George also b me, “There’s no end to us.” He goes on to explain, “While Jocelyn Elizabeth of Pennsylvania is a metal detectorist, GTI 2500. Tim claims it’s we were in France and Germany, we were actually filming freelance writer, blogger, and videographer, as well George “didn’t want me h shows. We’re getting them edited and setting them aside. as a regular columnist for American Digger®. Visit better machine.” We have a few networks who are interested in us, including relicrecoverist.com to read more about her. Tim says their friends one overseas company.” just “one of those things. I Tim adds, “We have stuff going on. We’ll be busy boys. to Montana thinking that I’ We won’t be on Nat Geo anymore, but we’re continuing to myself out here and never make shows and we’re going to try to get about six shows anyone. The chances of done this season. This will just be like a mini season. We’re Originally published in Vol. 12, Issue 6.® ® 30 American Digger Vol. 12, Issue 6 ® ® November-December, 2016 American Digger 35 50 502016 2016 American American Digger Digger Magazine Magazine Sampler Sampler Click here to order single copies.
The Digs That Started It All Originally published in Vol. 12, Issue 5. Click here to order single copies.
By Robert Arnot, Jr.
John Franssen bucketing out clay and brick while Tom Kennedy Jansen works the hole. _________
A look down into the privy shows what Tom is seeing. Note the bottles at center. _________
About the fourth hour in, neighbors began coming around, wondering what the heck we were looking for. all started back in June of this year when I met After explaining the process and showing them what we a group of guys who had the same passion for were doing, they seemed to develop an interest and gave history and digging as me. Being almost comus permission to check their yards if we would like. We pletely new at digging privies, I decided to line up perthen continued our dig and were getting very tired movmission for a dig with the help of my new friends Tom ing bricks, clay, and shards until Tom shouted out to us to Kennedy Jansen, John Franssen, and a friend of theirs. The look at something. We peered into the hole about seven privy I had lined up was in my feet down to him. A layer of old neighborhood, at a house bottles was coming into view. that was built in the 1860s. The sight was amazing. All We started our first dig around of our hard work was about to 8 a.m. and quickly found that pay off. this was no brick-lined privy Tom continued to carefulcommon for the area. What ly remove the brick, clay, and are normally found here are broken shards from above this shallow wood-liners or single layer of bottles, being care8-foot brick-liners. This one ful not to let anything fall and was double the normal width, break them. An hour later we and loaded with red brick and had an even better picture of heavy clay. After about three how good this privy was. hours of removing brick, clay, Now the fun had really and a lot of broken 1890s to begun, and we started removing A layer of 12 blob and squat bottles 1920s shards, this privy startthe bottles. The first bottle out discovered seven feet deep in the hole. ed to show its bounty. of the hole was a crude Udolpho
30 American DiggerÂŽ Vol. 12, Issue 5
The first bottle out of the hole was this Udolpho Wolfe’s honey amber Schnapps. _________ Wolfe’s honey amber Schnapps with a really nice pinched neck. After that, the bottles just kept coming one after another for the next two hours until we finally found bottom. Soon after that, we knew the fun was over and it was time to fill in the hole. Once we got the hole filled back in it was almost dark, and it was time to figure out what
exactly was in the five buckets of whole bottles we had unearthed. There was a total of 87 bottles, with only 20 being unmarked medicines. We lined them all up on Tom’s tailgate so we could start the picks. As privy digging is a group effort, it is important to establish the rules up front; most diggers agree, after deciding who gets first pick, to choose in order until all the finds are gone. After all the picks were done it was too late to check the other yards we now had permission to look at, let alone dig another hole. We had talked as a group and decided that I would come back later in the week and probe the yards to find our next digging spot for the following weekend. I headed out after work a few days later to see if there were any privies in the neighbors’ yards. I discovered quickly that every yard had one. As we knew that people had been digging in this area since the 1960s, we were very skeptical that they would all be un-dug or hadn’t been scooped. For those who don’t know what “scooped” means, a lot of cities and towns in the late 1800s to the early 1900s had laws that privies had to be cleaned out every so often before they were finally filled in. With that in mind we decided to just dig the next one in line, with the full realization that we would not know if they had been dug or scooped until we had dug them.
The best bottles are shown after culling the unembossed and damaged ones from the first hole. 52
2016 American Digger® Magazine Sampler
The green Dyottville Glass Works iron pontiled squat bottle from Philadelphia, found in the second hole. _________
he following Sunday we all met up on the block at 8 a.m. again to start the dig. This time around it was Tom, John, and me, with a special addition: John’s son, Jake, who was home for a visit from active military duty. The privy started out the same as the one the week before,
John Franssen and his son, Jake, home from active military duty, enjoy a nice Sunday dig. September-October, 2016 American Digger®
Keepers from the second hole. This was nickTom is making sure the foundation is secure named the “Oops Hole” after some confusion enough to continue. Safety is paramount in over our permission to dig there. such situations to prevent deadly cave-ins. _________ with a lot of brick clay for the first owner, we learned that this property and not return unless we had written 4-5 feet. Then signs started to show was not owned by the person who permission to excavate the site. We that this one was also a winner. The claimed to own it. The visitor said informed the officer politely that we first find was a pontiled bottle. But, that we could finish, but not to come were 20 minutes away from being oddly, there was nothing else with back until we talked with the actual done, and asked if we could finish. it: no shards, ash, or anyHe agreed and let us. thing else. This told us We quickly finished the pontiled bottle was the hole and filled it in, most likely tossed in the making sure everything hole while they filled it was cleaned up, with the in. After digging another property looking even two feet of clay and brick better than had originally we got into what privy been the case. After this diggers call the “pay laymisunderstanding, we deer.” This one didn’t have cided to do a little more as great a number of botresearch on the propertles and relics in the hole ties to make sure we had as the first one did, but proper permission before we did find some good we dug another hole on bottles. the block. When we were about We didn’t dig the folHeartbreakers: Remains of a Washington and two feet from reachlowing week due to rain. Taylor political flask (left) and broken Drake ing bottom, we received Moreover, we still needed Plantation Bitters bottle (right). a visitor from down the to get written permission _________ street. Now remember, from the property owners so we wouldn’t upset the we had permission from local police. I decided it was best the neighbors to dig here. Or so we owner. About 30 minutes later a to use this time to research and do thought. police officer pulled up and laughsome door knocking to see if I could The gentleman approached us ingly asked us what the heck we get the permissions in writing from and asked what we thought we were were doing and whether or not we the other neighbors who had given doing. All of us could tell that he were aware that we were digging on us verbal permission weeks before. was not happy. After explaining to private property. We explained the If you’re a digger you know verbal him what we were doing and that situation to the officer, after which permission is a lot easier to obtain we had gotten permission from the he requested us to fill in the hole 32 American Digger® Vol. 12, Issue 5
he week after, we started again at 8 a.m. to dig the fourth privy on the block. This one only had a few local medical bottles in it with the normal marbles and pipes. Because of the commonness of those items, the two flasks did not get added in on that pick, but we noticed something was changing within the group. The friend who was “temporarily” keeping the large flask apparently was having issues with the earlier agreement, but wasn’t speaking up about what it was. After we finished this privy I spoke with my new digging partners about bringing one of my metal detecting friends that had never dug a privy before. The smaller of two embossed Sensing there was already an issue brewDrove Yard Hotel flasks dug. ing, I wanted to make sure it was okay. This one was a pint size. Everyone gave their approval. We met up that weekend to dig, but _________ someone was missing: the friend who was holding the large flask that we had yet to than written, because the latter tends pick. His reasoning was that he didn’t want to scare the property owners, making to be there because the group was getting them wonder why written permission too large. It ended up being Tom, John, my is needed. But I was able to obtain friend Nathan Long, and me. This privy written permission from three more started off just like the rest, with a lot of neighbors and set one up to dig brick clay and trash. From just befor the following Sunday. low those the bottles started coming We again met up around 8 out again. a.m. and started the privy. This In this hole nothing major had one proved to be a lot harder survived except some odds and to dig than the first two beends. Knowing this was our last cause the privy had a garage permission and there were still three built over it back in the 1960s. more privies we needed to work on When they tore the garage getting permission for, I went knockdown, they left the foundation, ing on doors again. within which the privy was I was able to secure permission dead center. for the last three from a nice elderly After Tom made sure the lady who happened to own all three hole was safe to dig (a cinproperties. I went back to the hole to der block wall ran through the inform the group of the good news center of the privy), we began and help finish so we could clean to dig. This hole was pretty up and do our picks. We had a few much the same as the other good bottles to pick from, including two except there was a sign of another embossed “DROVE YARD older bottles. The first surprise HOTEL” flask. The group had dewas a Drake sticking out becided that, because of my hard work tween some brick. Sadly, the on this block, and because it’s on the top was sheared off. Then we top of my bucket list for my collecstart finding shards of a clear tion, that flask should go to me. Such Nathan Long, John Frassen, and Tom pontiled “Washington & Tayarrangements aren’t unusual among lor” flask. We continued digKennedy Jansen get ready to split friends. But there were problems ging shards and broken bottles the finds from the 4th dig. with the fellow who had the large for the next three feet of the pay layer until another whole bottle came out. It was a good one; a large embossed saddle flask from the Drove Yard Hotel in Chester, Pennsylvania, which was just a few towns over. We then started to find more and more relics along with a lot of heartbreakers, such as a broken scroll flask and a redware plate. Once we found the privy floor, we filled in the hole and started setting up for picking our finds. Since only two really nice items came out this hole, one of our group’s diggers suggested that we hold them until we had a few more finds to make it fair for everyone. This was something we wouldn’t normally do but, as there had never been trust issues with anyone in the group, we decided that this was a good idea. Therefore we did our picks without those two flasks, one of which the unnamed friend mentioned previously took home until we had better items to go with them.
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flask. In short, he still has that flask and we have not dug with him since. There are still two privies left to dig and hopefully we can get them done before the year is out and possibly work out the issues with the friend we were digging with. Friends are important and not to be taken lightly. To me and many others, including those in my own small circle, the hobby is about enjoying the dig with some great guys and having fun.
here are a few lessons I have learned from digging this block of privies, and I think they are worth passing on to the reader:
1. Make sure you have proper permission before digging. 2. There is a lot to learn from others. You just need to listen. 3. Not everyone digs for the same reasons. 4. Make sure you don’t change the rules during the dig, and agree beforehand how the finds will be split. 5. Have fun. Otherwise, you may be missing the point.
Some of the author’s best picks from the block so far. Pit digging with partners is best done with a system in place for splitting the finds before they are dug. Often this is done via rotation: all the finds are laid out and each member in turn picks an item.
About The Author Robert Arnot, Jr., age 31, is married and has three sons. When not digging history or spending time with his family, he runs his family’s contracting business.
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Reports and Commentaries on Issues That Affect the Hobby by Mark Schuessler A Step Forward? The long-standing impasse between the archaeological community and the metal detecting hobby has begun showing some cracks in the armor. We have had a long and storied relationship marred by constant attacks on us coming from the professional side of the issue. There have been many successes in breaking the ice. They have been miniscule in number, however, compared to the overall picture and far overshadowed by a constant onslaught of vicious attacks. In mid-August a statement was put out by the Society for American Archaeology (SAA) which included many purposed ways to better work with the hobby metal detectorists. This was touted as a work in progress in which they were asking for comments from all interested parties, including hobbyists. Unfortunately, this letter was not well circulated outside of the archaeological community until this magazine received and shared a copy from a third party. I hope that many of you who were aware took advantage of this opportunity and answered the questions posed in the letter. Although we had planned to reprint the questionnaire in this issue, the SAA has asked us to hold off until further notice, in order to form a more solid foundation. However, you can find a link on www. fmdac.org or on one of the many Facebook pages that shared it. We are finally witnessing a national archaeological organization advocating for a working relationship with amateurs and collectors. This is a major first step. Our side has been saying for years that we need to join forces for a cooperative effort. We have been putting forth an effort wherever we have found an opportunity. Sometimes we met with success and sometimes the outcome was negative, but the attempt was made. The problem with our efforts is that they only work when there is a willing participant on the professional archaeological side. There are archaeologists who have seen the light and have forged reasonable working relationships, but
more often our hobby receives little or no respect and nothing but disdain on a national level. The SAA statements are far from a best case scenario, but they represent a good starting point. It will require compromise on both sides to be successful. The important thing is that a sector of the archaeological community has offered the collector a seat at the table and is apparently willing to discuss taking steps needed to forge a working relationship. I find the letter’s proposals and questions to be a mixed bag. They have made quite a few concessions, but in other areas are holding the line. I would expect nothing less. I can say that overall I am impressed. For myself one of the most noticeable revelations is that they clearly state that for this plan to work they must treat the collector/amateur archaeologist with respect. Before now, we have not seen any measurable level of this. Their description of what they consider a responsible collector is not quite the same as mine in a lineby-line sense but it is has the same general direction. Once again, it is a good starting point. I am pleased that they have apparently conceded that what they call the “plowzone,” where a great deal of our activity takes place, has a minimal effect on the archaeological record. What they neglected to add into the statements is a definition of what they consider the plowzone. Without a firm definition, this could be construed to mean whatever the professionals interpret it to be. At some point, activities that take place below that plowzone must be addressed. Bottle digging is just one example. Bottles are typically found in privies and dump sites, both technically below the plowzone. Additionally, there are tens of thousands of such sites spread across the country. Every homesite had at least one, and several if the house was there for a long period. Also, every town or locality had a dump site. With these sites being so plentiful, these should be addressed in any future revisions by the SAA. A second area outside the plowzone that I am certain will lead to contention is the excavation of Civil War hut sites. Again, there are tens of thousands of them; many of them have been built over and many more are now under farm fields with no visible signs of their existence. They are found through diligent efforts by relic hunters and carefully dug to limit damage to the artifacts. They are in actuality dug in an “archaeological” manner and I would guess that most who dig them record their finds. As to arguments of “lost context,” it was a common practice to dump any and all camp trash into these living quarters when the camps were abandoned. The best-case scenario here
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would be for the archaeology community to recognize that those who dig huts could be of great assistance. In the spirit of this step forward the hut diggers, who have a special expertise, could instruct the archaeologist on how to go about locating and digging them. That is, if the archaeologists open their minds and are willing to learn from hobbyists. Our community has extended its hand of assistance on many occasions. Some scenarios have worked out well for both sides, but in more than a few our helping hand has been slapped and bitten. I know of one individual who has a vast collection of artifacts from the earliest European occupation of this country. He has researched, located, catalogued and preserved his extensive collection. Most all of his attempts to share this information with the professionals have been a complete bust. He has been met with disdain and condemnation even to the point of a ridiculous public threat of arrest. As you may guess, he now has no interest in working with the professional community. This kind of action must cease. Within the statements of the SAA was a mention of the “European system” (I am assuming they are referring to the Portable Antiquities System) as a model for future cooperation. That would be a far better method than what we have now. We would not have to even go as far as that. Relations between our two camps could improve with a simple change of attitude amongst the archaeological professionals. That change must include some of the same points that have been made in the SAA statements: 1. Mutual respect. 2. Cessation of efforts to regulate and outlaw hobby detectorists and collectors. 3. A two-way street of sharing information, techniques and knowledge. We can learn from them and they can learn from us. 4. Recognizing that, as much as they are experts in their fields, we are also experts in our respective specialties. 5. Realizing that there are bad apples in both camps. 6. Recognizing that the largest percentage of sites searched by the hobbyists are of little or no significance to the archaeological record. In the instances where there is grey area, they should work with us to recover information instead of leaving it in the ground to deteriorate. 7. Realizing that hobbyists are researching and finding thousands of sites that would otherwise remain lost. Give us an avenue to record
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this work without fear of retribution. This could be a large step in the cessation of hostilities between the two camps. My general feeling from the detecting/ collecting side is that we are more than willing to put forth the necessary efforts to make this improved relationship a reality. There will be a few bumps and bruises along the way and there will be individuals on both sides who will not agree to peacefully coexist. But it is a start. The biggest unknown right now is whether or not this is a genuine action that is supported by more than just a small core group in the SAA. Time will tell. (Originally Published in Vol. 12, Issue 6 ) Opinions and research expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of American Digger®.
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relicroundup.blogspot.com Federation of Metal Detector and Archaeological Clubs Inc. Promoting and protecting the metal detecting hobby since 1984 Join us - The hobby you save will be your own! Visit us at FMDAC.org and on Facebook. Mark Schuessler – National President firstname.lastname@example.org or call (585) 591-0010
Product & Book Reviews Product Reviews
American Digger® regularly brings our readersfor reviews on both new Reviewers this issue: Anita products and books concerning Holcombe & Butch Holcombe. digging and collecting. _________
Old West Bottle Probe MSRP: $15-$75 (price depends on length) (707) 823-8845 www.oldwestbottles.com ______
ottle diggers have long known that the most effective way to discover if a dump lies beneath the surface is to use a probe. By developing a feel as to what the probe hits underground, and knowing what to look for in the minute soil samples its tip picks up, it is possible to discover concentrations of debris underground that call for a test hole. To do this consistently requires a well-made probe that is both sensitive and tough. While some diggers have used other materials in their choices of probes, these generally lack the “telegraphing” feel that a good spring-metal probe incorporates. Unfortunately, good metal probes are not a common hardware store item and most are custom made by individuals to varying degrees of success. Generally speaking, these are not a good do-it-yourself product, requiring specialized materials, equipment, and skill not only in metal working but bottle digging. Fortunately, there are a few
and side ways. Greater sensitivity is achieved with the blunt tip as opposed to a pointed tip. In reading the ground via a blunt tip, you’re able to not only better feel what it’s touching but also feel the consistency of layers in the soil.” The maker also notes that the best and most accurate soil sample comes from the very tip and not the back edge toward the rod. That sample collected on the back edge can be from the very last bit of soil collected as the rod is removed from the last inch of ground. By having a blunt end, it collects a good sample on the very tip from as deep as the rod is pushed and nowhere else. This is also a safe probe to use, as the rod is inserted through one wall of the handle and allowed to butt up to the inside of the other, making it impossible to injure a user by having the rod come through the T-handle. It is also double brazed. We did have some initial concerns about the choice of brazing over welding. Improper brazing can draw the temper from the rod, making it soft and susceptible to bending. However, we bent the rod severely and purposefully during the tests and it showed no signs of losing its spring or being brittle, always returning to its proper 90˚ angle. This is due to proper annealing and care used during the process. The maker notes that, out of the hundreds made and sold over the years, they have yet to have a rod soften or break due to the brazing. All in all, we liked this probe and would not hesitate to use it again. It is available in all lengths from one foot up to nine feet long.
fabricators who are now selling quality bottle probes as an extension of their own hobby. Among these is Western Bottles, an online bottle site. The website advertises that their probes are “professionally manufactured using only high quality new American made materials. The rod memory is so good that you can bend a [long] section in a circle and it will bounce back straight as an arrow.” The company goes on to say that the materials used are superior to conventional spring steel in rigidity and retention, which allows the rod diameter to be smaller. By using the thinner material (.280), the product allows for easier and deeper penetration, with less fatigue and greater sensitivity. It is also lighter than most metal probes, weighing in at about 2¼ pounds. In use, the probe performed well, telegraphing the crunch of even the slightest concentrations of oyster shells that I hit when seeking a Civil War-era trash pit. While no bottles were forthcoming during our tests, the probe did a time or two hit on broken glass, giving a unique “squeaky” feel that is almost unmistakable. Also, dropping it straight down on concrete produced a loud ringing, showing good materials and construction. The tip is made of carbide, a nearly indestructible material which should show no wear over an extended period of use. The choice of a blunt tip over a pointed one is not an accident, as explained to (Originally published in Volume 12, Issue 3) us by the maker: “When you think of driving anything into a surface what seems most logical is that the tip must be pointed. A pointed tip forces what it pushes out to the sides and a blunt tip forces it down
May-June, 2016 American Digger®
Metal Detecting For Beginners (101 Things I Wish I’d Known When I Started) By M.A. Shafer MSRP: $7.95 100 ppgs Softcover, 5”x 8” Sweet Myrrh Books 5935 Rt. 412, Ste. 6 Reigelsville, PA 18077 (610) 847-2456 www.wordforgebooks.com
Available from the publisher, Amazon, American Digger®, and selected dealers.
his small volume is a wealth of information written in an easyto-understand format. The subtitle, “101 Things I Wish I’d Known When I Started,” says that you will find many helpful tips and lots of advice. The title may say “For Beginners,” but even longtime diggers can learn a thing or two from this softcover book. The author, Mary Shafer, may be considered a “newbie” by some old timers’ standards, but that is what I think makes the book so good. She brings her passion and love for the hobby to this book. She has been digging for a dozen years and what she has learned from experience is shared in this guide. She explains the basics and continues guiding the digger into this hobby. As noted detectorist D.J. Yost says in the forward: “After reading Mary’s book, I
have to admit there were a lot of things I’d forgotten about experiencing as a beginner.” She is also generous with her praise of the many folks who helped her learn and enjoy the hobby even more. We all had to begin at some point, and taking the time to put all she has learned into this book is a welcome gift to detectorists. After the introduction, the book begins with an eleven page “Glossary – Vocabulary and Slang.” I’m glad she included the slang, because old time diggers, often forgetting that beginners don’t know the terminology, rattle off terms that can be confusing. Ms. Shafer helps it all make sense. The heart of the book is the “101 Things.” These are divided into categories which will help the reader find the tip or answer they seek. The first 20 are about the hobby and type of digging you enjoy. The next 28 are about equipment, sub-divided into “Must-Haves,” “Accessories,” and “Nice-To-Haves.” My only disagreement here is that I would place headphones in the “MustHaves” section rather than “Nice-ToHaves.” Although detectorists love to hear the beep of a target, those around you (other diggers, onlookers, sunbathers, picnickers, etc.) may not want to hear it. Also, I think you best hear nuances of beeps with headphones rather than without. Batteries last longer when you use headphones, too. Numbers 49 through 70 cover “Finding Hunting Spots.” This is a very extensive list with tips about getting permissions and knowing the laws in the areas you hunt. This section I think is very important for beginners to read. The last section, “Hunting,” covers a bit more of the basic, but easily overlooked, tasks that enhance the metal detecting experience, as well as safety, etiquette (including the Metal Detectorist’s Code of Ethics), weird stuff, and finds. The book ends with a “Bonus Section on Resources,” beginning with your machine’s owner’s manual and moving on to social media, books, magazines and more. For a small pocket guide book, this one packs a lot of helpful information
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into its 108 pages (including an index). I would suggest every beginner in the hobby own a copy, but experienced diggers can benefit as well. (Originally published in Volume 12, Issue 4)
st ns Fir ssio re mp
XP Deus WS4 Wireless Metal Detector MSRP: $1825 Weight: 2 lbs. Manufactured by XP Metal Detectors 31320 Castanet-Tolosan France www.xpmetaldetectors.com\ Email: email@example.com Available from selected dealers or visit xpmetaldetectorsamericas.com _________
ne of the first thing we noticed about the XP Deus sent to our office for review was the weight of the shipping package. It was feather-light, hinting at either a very light detector or an empty shipping container. The box wasn’t empty, though. It contained the twopound Deus detector which, by most accounts we have heard, is a powerful feather-weight metal detector suitable for almost all types of searching. After unpacking the machine, the
second thing we noticed was a lack of wires. The XP put on a smaller coil.” Deus is the first serious detector to be 100% wireless. In tests in relatively stable ground, our preferred preset Never again will a user have to worry about snagging was #9-Basic 2. This program gave the detector substana headphone wire on a tree limb, or an electrical short tial depth and clear tones. Still, it is important to explore caused by stress on a search coil wire. Nor for that matthese settings on your on in relation to where you are ter, replacing batteries. The remote control, search coil, using it. and headphones each contain their own small rechargeThe WS4 headphones (actually “backphones” able my lithium battery, are torecharged which wrap around back of the head) arenewspaper’s a control Now reputation was atwhich stake and add in- without rethat Dr.the Dorfman delivered to the own. I discovered this after randomly moving the battery. It is all self-contained, requiring unit of their sult to injury, the point’s provenance was now archaeologist after the point was published. pushing buttons whichand could havereason. been charging theso-called three main components A threetainted. This “professional” had separately. gone The (an man agony was shamed for good avoided by reading manual wire adapter included charges the coil, and then turning out of his way toisslam me andwhich I had tohandily react. My Perhapsthe in the future,first) this reckless professional allfrom at once, control box, and earphones the remote control boxa off. Yet, I still heard a signal redemption, however, was to come an un-assuring all rewill take few moments to acknowledge the usual unexpected place. contributions of serious Honestly, ceiveand ancompletely equal charge. coming from the headphones. I wasamateurs. then shocked to though, I wouldn’t take any bets on it. An out of theasbox convenience is that learn that the remote can be bypassed in favor of using Weeks passed I allowed my anger to almost no asI summarize weird and somewhat comidiminish develop abeyond viable plan C. One the day,search coil and sembly and is required attaching the headphones for control. this Most adjustments that are (but lately toobecommon) asking atclipping an auction, a rather distinguished looking on the control box. Longtime users do recomavailable in thecalcontrol box all can made intale thebyphones. what should we, thethe nonprofessional collector, elderly over to my mend gentleman tethering strolled the control the table. shaft,He though, because You can also can toggle through programs and select take away from it? Political correctness and an seemed very interested in my coprolites, which if it comes loose from the mount, there are no wires one, all by using the headset. emotionally overcharged sense of what is hisare 75 million years old fish feces (you read that to hold it. There are tales of detectorists searching for The addition of a hard case for storing the earphones right unit have are infected society like an right) the local creeks. hoursretrieved trying from to retrieve a lost control unit. An easy soluand pouch for torically the remote niceour additions. This out-of-control virus. Theis gentleman, Ph.D was for $8 ($10 if tion the controlDon unitDorfman, tether. Available latter is very useful if one decides to utilize the detecIt is now three times as hard to collect, prehead of the Marine Biology Department at theit is highly recpersonalized) from Detecting Doodads, tor separably from the control (it being wireless, some serve and report finds at a local level. All the avUniversity of Monmouth (West Long Branch, ommended, and much cheaper than a new Deus remote users prefer to keep the box in their pocket, reducing erage citizen is supposed to do is visit museums New Jersey). Don had both serious academic control unit ($800). the swinging weight even more). Or to really lighten the and watch the History Channel. We, as Americredentials and an open there mindedis attitude. Mostcurve to using Be forewarned: a learning load, just use the headset still as described above. Besides can citizens, have the right to collect and importantly, he gladly acknowledged the contrithis detector, even with the preset factory settings, but as being very lightdig, inasweight and powerful, there is anothlong as we do it with permission and stay butions of amateurs to science and was fascinatlong as the factory manual is followed, it is a relatively er bonus for those using this detector. be within the bounds of the law.Upgrades It is neithercan a right ed by my finds. After the Dalton point debacle, painless and quick procedure. In fact, my biggest obdownloaded directly from xpmetaldetectors.com. nor an obligation to follow in lock step behind Don became my ace in the hole. Professors pubstacle was remembering what each button does (they are Yet another very feature on thishowever, detecthose whoimportant hold degrees. The margins, lish like a rabbit making bunnies and soon we only identified by symbols). Once that is learned, life tor: it fits perfectly in a carry-on bag or backpack for are narrowing and the eyes (and voices) of those teamed up to publish a series of scientific articles with on themyDeus muchyou easier. After only a Point air travel. somewould reason, manyusdetectors seem to be condemn are everywhere. The half Dalton whichFor who based finds.becomes The first was guessed day, this reviewer felt fairly comfortable in operating it. about an inch too long for proper carry-on purposes, at it on coprolites, then others followed. I evenwas rejected for publiCustom programs can also be written for the least according to airline specs. With the Deus in a colPostscript tually asked if he could help me with the long cation by the newspa2010, I discovered an amazing 5.5 inch detectorDalton but, for the purpose of this “first impression” lapsed state, it is aInbreeze. neglected piece. per’s archaeologist. stemmed Paleo point in Marlboro, New Jersey. review, we the willantagonistic not delvearchaeologist into the many we had were the backphones (a Don knew and possibilities, __________The only concerns It was perfect Paleo point number two and, of instead concentrating on the presets. We will, however, full cup over-the-head model is also available). The confided that he had a reputation for arrogance hadawkward to be recorded. be publishing a separate article in point, the near future on backphones feltcourse, looseitand to me,Unfortunately, as I am usedI even among his peers. As for my Dalton went through many of the same problems I’d experienced almost is writing and utilizing custom programs designed to heavier, tighter-fitting headphones. Their toughness he suggested we submit an article to theespecially annual New Jersey half a decade earlier. It was a bit depressing; it felt like I’d never also a concern, especially since one side of them contains for your type of detecting. Archaeology Bulletin. This periodical annually highlights the the vetting process.computer. Thankfully,However, a local commercial Garden State’s finds and is programs highly prestigious whatthrough is basically a miniature regular There aremost tensignificant preloaded factory and it in is gone monthly picked it up and did a better than expected job on the scientific circles. One of Don’s closest friends was the managing users say this is not an issue. With a five-year warranty, recommended that the user become familiar with these article. chief editor and, ironically newspaper’s archaeologist it is obvious the company stands behind this detector. before trying to writeenough, their the own. After all, if one of More recently, my discovery of a partial mastodon skeleton also sat works on the board of the magazine. thattowas being As previously stated, in the near future we’ll be these well for you, there isThe noweb need reinvent brought quite a bit more recognition. Finally! It only took woven around this single spear point was getting thick indeed! sharing some custom programs with a proven track rethe wheel. However, most serious Deus users prefer to numerous phone calls, several interviews and the backing of three In the spring of 2006 (almost year special after myneeds. find), the bulletin cord with our readers, plus “tuneup” tips from experitweak the detector to theiraown people with Ph.D’s. But I had evolved. I now at least existed in arrived with an accurate, objective and photos the enced operators. for could now, we recommend this detecAccording to Heath Jones,write-up, sales manager at of Treatheir eyes and thus, But the find be properly documented. The Dalton point. It was late in coming, it was:unit a literal tor even for use in its factory programs. sure Mountain Detectors, “With but justthere the stock and media giveth and the media taketh away. But it should never be exercise in persistence programs, a personand canluck. basically have a good machine able to rob a find of its provenance. gravycoins, on topbeaches, of my ‘taters verbal dressing forThe relics, and was eventheprospecting, alldown with (This review originally appeared in Vol. 12, Issue 6) the push of a button to pre-programmed settings. By simply changing programs it can go from being a very deep relic machine to a super fast recovering machine capable of picking through some of the nastiest ironOpinions and research expressed in this column are those of the filled homesites for coins or relics, all without having to author and not necessarily those of American Digger . About The Author Glenn Harbour has been digging and collecting since his teenage years andwww.americandigger.com has traveled both the west and63 ®
Confessions of a compulsive digger By Jocelyn Elizabeth
hen I find joy in something, I have a hard time keeping that something to myself. When I discover a good restaurant, I Yelp all about the experience on the interwebs. When a viral kitten video makes me smile, I share that sucker all over Facebook. The same goes for metal detecting. My hobby brings me joy and I have a really hard time keeping that to myself. Most of my family and friends can attest to my enthusiasm when I share my hobby. At one point or another, I’ve whisked them away to historically significant locations and shoved a metal detector in their hands. A few took to the hobby. The others return with a pocketful of roofing nails and an expression that speaks for itself: “You do this for fun?” Such was the case with my parents last year. I dragged them to one of my favorite haunts and provided an instructional demonstration on the basics of metal detecting… which consisted of “this sound means there is metal in the ground.” I then handed Dad and Mom my extra metal detectors. We did have to make a few height adjustments — because my parents are giants — but then they shuffled off in opposite directions to search for treasure. As I recall, they never did find treasure. Actually, I’m quite sure Mom left empty-handed… er, empty pocketed? She must not have paid attention during the instructional demonstration. Dad found a few nails, a crushed can, and a piece of wire. They still don’t understand why I love metal detecting as much as I do, but at least they understand what I do: I dig in the dirt and about nine times out of ten, I have nothing to show for it. My parents aren’t the only ones I’ve taken on adventures in an attempt to spread the joy. Last year, I brought my friend and her children on a metal detecting expedition to the state park (after securing the appropriate permits, of course). This particular location had witnessed Civil War activity and we had high hopes of retrieving at least a bullet or two. Instead, we ended up with an axe head, some square nails, and a railroad spike. I was a little disappointed, but they were thrilled. The joy had been spread that day. Just recently, I attempted my bar-theory. For those of you who don’t follow my blog, the bar-theory involves parking oneself at a local drinking hole and striking up
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“Before last year, I had never owned or used a metal detector. Since last year, I’ve set out on an epic metal detecting adventure. My mission is to discover tangible history — even if it means getting a little dirty. I hope that through writing this column, I can take you along on my adventures and feed that spark for history.” Jocelyn Elizabeth conversation about metal detecting. The hope is that someone with a few too many drinks in their belly will invite you to metal detect their property. On a side note, this also works with bottle digging. As soon as you mention old bottle dumps, most patrons start spoon-feeding you locations. I won’t lie; this theory has been known to backfire when said drunken individual doesn’t remember ever meeting you. Luckily, my last attempt at bar-theory was a success. I learned about a few locations that had somehow avoided my radar. I also made a few friends who I introduced to metal detecting a week later, thus spreading joy once again. By the time you read this, metal detecting season will be in full swing. (Yes, pun intended.) Don’t forget to spread the joy and introduce others to the hobby. (This column originally appeared in Vol. 12, Issue 3)
Jocelyn lives in south central Pennsylvania. She is a mother of two (in her words) “adorable hellions.” In her fleeting moments of free time, she writes a blog called Relic Recoverist — the perfect union between her passion for writing with her passion for metal detecting. She also has two droopy rescue hounds and a cat named Sampsy. To see a video by Jocylyn, click the QR code at right. Opinions and research expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of American Digger®.
Join Jocelyn Elizabeth in each issue as she shares her observations on metal detecting. Don’t miss out, click here to subscribe!
Detecting and Collecting Clubs Memphis Metal Detecting Club meets third Thursday of each month at 7 PM at OLPH Church, Germantown, TN. 971752-6704 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.
West KY Treasure Preservation Society meets 1st Thursday, 7 pm at Jim’s Metal Detectors, Marilyn’s Medical Freedom Bldg, 4860 Old Mayfield Rd., Paducah, KY. Contact Jim, 270-519-0697.
Hanover Metal Detector Club meets the 1st Wednesday each month at the Ashland Volunteer Rescue Squad Building. Contact D. Yates at 804-241-9541.
North Georgia Relic Hunters Association meets 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, email@example.com.
Georgia Research and Recovery Club meets the 2nd Thursday of each month at 7 PM, Delkwood Grill, 2769 Delk Road Southeast, Marietta, GA, 30067. For more info visit www.garrc.com.
Pelican Relic & Recovery Assoc., Baton Rouge, LA Meets 3rd Tues. of each month at 7 PM, Kung Fu Buffet, 1823 S. Sherwood Forrest Blvd., Baton Rouge, LA. Info, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Central VA Civil War Collectors Assoc. 4th Tuesday of each month (except December) 7:15 PM, Glen Allen American Legion Hall, 2522 Indale Rd, Richmond. Visit www.cvcwca.com for info.
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, email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.com or visit www.tc-rc.com.
SC Dirt Diggers Meets every third Saturday in Lexington, SC. Visit our Facebook page for more details or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
Mufreesboro Metal Detecting club meets in Murfreesboro, TN last Tues of each month. Visit our website borodiggers.wix. com/mmdc or email borodiggrrs@gmai;l.com
Want to find out how to get your club listed here, as well as in each issue of American Digger® magazine? Call 770-3628671 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how!
Maryland Freestate Treasure Club merts 4th Thursday of each month at Victory Villa comunity Ctr., 404 Compass Rd., Esses, MD. Marylandfreestateclub.com.
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A look into ancient artifacts and the cultures that used them By Pete Schichtel
aptain Smith must have known that he was part of something big when he stepped out of his boat onto the river’s edge in a spot that was to become the Jamestown settlement. I wonder, though, if he knew that what he had in the little box under the boat’s seat was going to change the culture of the indigenous inhabitants of North America forever. Within a few days, Captain Smith had been able to make contact with the chief in the area, Powhatan. Powhatan had little interest in trading with the English until Captain Smith dangled a string of blue beads in front of the chief’s face. From that point on, the natives couldn’t get enough of those glass wonders. The Jamestown settlers weren’t the first to dazzle the inhabitants of the New World with beads. Columbus supposedly wowed the natives of the island of San Salvador, in the Bahamas, with shiny white beads; not for the purpose of trade, but rather to impress them. It worked. The greatest land-grab in the history of the world was on and shiny colorful beads paved the way. Glass beads that were produced mainly in Europe were around for hundreds of years before they were introduced into the North American market. Glass centers in the Netherlands, Italy and Spain became noted for the qual-
ity of the beads they produced, and their beads became in high demand among the early explorers and traders. Venice became the largest producers of glass products. By the 1500s, the land race was on and the acquisition of territory became the quest of almost every European country. Huge trading entities with names like the East India Trading Company and the Hudson Bay Company were formed and became nearly as powerful and influential as countries themselves. Along the east coast and up every major river the traders probed, seeking contact with the natives. Beads quickly became, to the American Indian population, among the most sought-after item that the Europeans had to offer. The attraction to colorful beads is not hard to understand. We humans are not so different than the rest of the animal world. As I child, I remember examining birds’ nests and being intrigued by the little pieces of foil and colorful bits that the birds had intricately woven into the fabric of their nests. The birds seem to deliberately seek out the colorful to adorn their homes. Fish are attracted to shiny bits of metal painted with a bit of bright color. People are no different when it comes to flashy things. Glass was not produced by the indigenous people of North. The native beads were mostly made from shells, bone, and teeth; not particularly exciting when compared to blue, red, green, and other colors that the new visitors were spreading just about everywhere they came in contact with the American Indians. The native population quickly absorbed these glass beads into their own lifestyles. Traditional ceremonies, forms of adornment and units of trade were changed by the introduction of beads. There were hundreds of kinds of glass beads, including tiny “seed” beads (often sewn onto garments), Hudson Bay’s blue and red beads with a solid white interior, Russian Blue faceted beads traded in the Pacific Northwest, Spanish Padre beads, and the highly esteemed Venetian Chevron beads. Different beads conveyed different statuses of their owners. The aforementioned Chevron bead was one of very high status. The technique used in their manufacturer created a multi-colored seven-banded bead ranging from the size of a raisin to the size of a walnut. These were the grandest of trade beads. Because of the complex method of manufacture, they were rarer than other beads. The layering technique also made them exceedingly beautiful. Glass trade beads replaced many other measures of value and gained universal acceptance in the economy of the North American Indian. Scarcer beads such as the prized Chevron held not only material value but also cultural value. In some tribes, the possession of certain bead types showed status and power not unlike today’s status symbols of smart phones, cars, and clothing. Archaeologists have recorded the presence of large quantities of glass beads in innumerable Contact Period sites. The sheer number in some sites gives testimony as to how important they became to the Indian culture. Generally speaking, during the pre-contact period lifestyle before 1500 the indigenous inhabitants of North America lived a subsistence level lifestyle.
Fancy Detecting in England CotswoldMetalDetectingHolidays.com Don’t miss Pete’s column in every issue of American Digger®!
Most of what they needed they produced, with the remainder obtained through trade. It worked for more than 10,000 years but that all ended within a 300-year period. Monetary value entered the scene and traditional trade was affected. Trade beads flooded the market, upsetting many previous standards. Europeans didn’t want baskets or stone knives that the Indians had once traded among themselves. They wanted animal skins and the land these animals thrived on. Indians stopped producing the things they needed and, to quench the European appetite, began searching for the things the traders wanted. American Indians began losing their traditional skills because of their desire to have items of beauty. Some traded their hunting lands and, eventually, their village and farming lands, and many became destitute. By the 1700s, many of the natives on the Eastern Seaboard had been pushed westward. By the mid-1800s, nomadic bands remained on the plains as other tribes were resettled on reservation land. By the late 1800s, it was effectively over for the indigenous lifestyles of the North American Indian. Beads alone can’t be blamed for the collapse of the North American Indian’s indigenous culture any more than shiny new cars and the desire to have the latest smart phone can be blamed for the decline of our culture, but the impact and effect that glass trade beads had on historic events in our part of the world changed the Native American lifestyle forever.
To see a video on this subject, click the QR code (right).
Opinions and research expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of American Digger®.
March - April • 2013
Vol. 24 No. 2
Privy Digathon Included in this issue... A Reminiscence of 53 Years of Bottle Collecting in South Carolina (Part 1) Manchester 2013 “Collect Free or Die”
“the reality of privy digging”
Arthur McGinnis and the Great Whiskey Heist Legends of the Jar: Bo Trimble The Big Dig of 2012 (Part 2) Maloney’s Process Researching the Sources and so much more... $7.00
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2016 Feature Article Index —To order a listed issue, click link here: Note some issues may be sold out, orders subject to availability.
Volume 12, Issue 1 (Jan-Feb 2016) The Loramie Creek Portage Site...By Ian “Mac” McAtee When detectorists combine archaeological methods with good detecting techniques, the results can be astounding, as was revealed by this Ohio dig. Diving Into The Past... By Jason Foote Millions of years ago, megalodons roamed the oceans. While these giant sharks are long gone, their huge teeth remain... if you know where to look. RETURN TO COLE’S HILL... A Compilation Just how many relics can one site hold? A lot, if it is like the famous Cole’s Hill of Culpeper, Virginia, home to several Diggin’ in Virginia events. Good For What Ails You... By Bill Baab When a noted bottle collector picks his favorite, it pays to listen. Especially if one is ever stricken with the dreaded “River Swamp Chills & Fever.”
I’M STILL HERE... As told to Mike Whitfield It started as an advertisement for a Civil War relic for sale. It ended with a look into the “good old days” of relic hunting. Parrott Projectile Sabot Problems and One Solution... By Jack W. Melton, Jr. An examination of an inherent problem with Civil War field artillery and how it was alleviated. The 2015 Gold Diaries-Part I.. By Steve Phillips Want to experience the adventure of mining Alaskan gold? Be prepared to spend plenty of time and money first, as this firsthand account explains.
Volume 12, Issue 2 (March-April 2016) HARD DIGGING, HARD CIDER... By Brian & Linda Oiler Privies were used in past ages as convenient places to throw junk. Over the years, much of that junk, especially the bottles, have turned into virtual gold. That MAGIC MOMENT... By Dennis Cox Life sometimes throws a few curveballs our way. When that curveball leads to the recovery of a rare Civil War plate, it is a magical moment. The 2015 Gold Diaries-Part II... By Steve Phillips Successfully mining Alaskan gold requires luck, money, and lots of hard work. Yet the rewards, both financially and spiritually, can make it all worthwhile. A Tale of Two Survivors... By Tony Mantia & Butch Holcombe These two Civil War POW survivors had very different experiences, but their memory lives on in the relics found that once belonged to them.
American Digger® Inaugural Lowcountry Show... By Butch Holcombe The first American Digger® Lowcountry show was an historic moment in the world of artifact shows, and the dawn of a new era. One Percent... By Marshall Nych When a child discovered that he had a Native American ancestor, it opened his eyes to a whole new world of culture and collecting. Looking for Jerry... By Brian L. Walsh. It started with finding a cigarette lighter engraved by its owner. It ended with uncovering a story of a Vietnam Veteran who lived life his own way. Devastation and Determination... By William (Bill) Jones After the Civil War, poverty gripped the South. It was only fitting that some tools of war were put to more practical uses after the battles were over. DETECTING HAZARDS... By Quindy Robertson Nothing can ruin a good day of metal detecting faster than an accident. Here are some common hazards that should be avoided.
Volume 12, Issue 3 (May-June 2016) FRIDAY THE 13TH... By Nick Longwith Forget superstitions. Forget old wives’ tales. No matter what day the calendar says, it is hard to argue with a find like this scarce artillery projectile. A Bit More... By Tim Rostad Electrolysis is an accepted and thorough way to clean iron artifacts, but to preserve some odd-shaped relics, you have to think outside the box. THE HIGHLAND RUMRUNNERS... By Rick Weiner Located in the heart of New Jersey’s speakeasies and bootleg operations, this house showed all the signs of those who bucked prohibition. World War II in Tennessee... By Will Adams In the early 1940s, Tennessee once again echoed with the sounds of gunfire and shouts of soldiers. This time, it was only in preparation of warfare. Like Pieces Dug... By Zachary Byrd History is much more than reciting dates in a boring classroom. It is hearing the voice of our grandfathers and searching for pieces of the past. Beyond Stumpt... By Chris Carroll (as told to American Digger®) While we still can’t identify what the silver piece was used for, we can share the fascinating history of the names that are engraved upon it. Montana Metal Detecting... By Lawrence Heberle Metal detecting in Montana adds another dimension to relic hunting, as this author explains. Read of one man’s experiences in Big Sky Country. Meeting Pvt. Pearl... By Robert Bohrn The 55th Massachusetts suffered greatly while in South Carolina, literally fighting for their lives. Now, a relic hunter and a soldier from that all-black regiment have a meeting of sorts.
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Volume 12, Issue 4 (July-August 2016) Envisioning the Past... By Kyle Arey For this author, recovering a rare Ohio Volunteer Militia Civil War-era belt plate was only the start of his attempts to visualize the past. THE SECOND GREAT NEW JERSEY DUMP DIG... By Bob Roach & Pete Schichtel The last time American Digger® was there, over 25 snake buckles were dug along with hundreds of buttons. It was time to return. Springtime in Culpeper... An American Digger® Pictorial Diggin’ in Virginia XXXIII and XXXIV took place in Culpeper, Virginia, at previously hunted sites. Even so, the relics found there continue to amaze. Metal Detecting as a Family... By Laurie Gange Metal detecting can be among the most fun and exciting hobbies an individual can pursue. Share it with the family, though, and it reaches new levels. American Digger® On The Road: New Hampshire... By Butch Holcombe American Digger® heads to New England, meets great people, finds cool colonial relics and pick up an award for Best Treasure Magazine of 2016. Down N Dirty... By Mike & Patsy Whitfield There are various ways to stay clean when arrowhead hunting in the mud after a heavy rain. This story addresses none of those methods. Not Just Another Indian Head... By Greg Wolf Thomas Nast was likely America’s most popular cartoonist of all time, and not only gave us a jolly and rotund version of Santa Claus, but also the iconic Donkey and Elephant political symbols. Could he have lost this penny? The Alchemist: Digging for Gold... By Glenn Harbour Everyone likes finding gold, and if you dig a gold coin, all the better. But sometimes the path to the gold is littered with valuable scrap.
Volume 12, Issue 5 (September-October 2016) The Colonial River Road...By Patrick Edwards The road was traveled by those who fought for their independence in both the late 1700s and the 1860s. This family is fortunate to find the relics that remain. The Digs That Started It All... By Robert Arnot, Jr. After meeting experienced privy diggers, this author embarks on a new world of digging bottles, and learns some lesson about human nature. Changes: 20 years of Swinging a Coil... By Quindy D. Robertson In the twenty years that this collector has been seeking relics of America’s past, there have been many changes in the hobby; some good and some bad. Walls and Wells... By Bob Roach American Digger®’s senior editor discusses his experiences in hunting the camps used by British troops immediately prior to and after the 1885 Victorian War battle of Abu Klea, in the Bayuda Desert of Sudan.
American Digger On The Road: Pennsylvania... By Butch Holcombe Our quest to discover and uncover America’s history takes us to a colonial site and Revolutionary War camp in Pennsylvania. The Arrowhead... By Peter Schichtel A beloved uncle shows his nephew a very special arrowhead, sparking in the young man a lifelong passion in history and collecting that is still going strong. Someplace Old & Something New... By Mark H. Sweberg A chance to use a new detector at a Civil War site gives insight into both the Front Royal, Virginia battle and the Garrett ACE 400 metal detector.
Volume 12, Issue 6 (November-December 2016) The Mystery Field No matter how much research we do, sometimes it’s better to trust our instincts. Not every good site has a logical explanation or available history. By Tony Mantia Getting Deep With The Diggers Are those guys on TV serious detectorists? The answer is “yes!” We get down and dirty with questions and answers from Ringy and KG of NatGeo’s “Diggers.” By Jocelyn Elizabeth To Die For After being away from the area for years, a relic hunter returns to a Union camp in South Carolina, and manages to come away with a fine pair of hand-carved dice. By Robert Bohrn 2016 Petroglyph Expedition To The West Indies A New York adventurer returns to the Caribbean to search for ancient petroglyphs. What he discovers answers some questions and raises others. By Michael Chaplan An Immaculate Reconstruction When a shattered religious icon was discovered by a metal detectorist, a decision was made to restore it to its original condition. This article shows how it was done. By Bob Smith An Immaculate Reconstruction When a shattered religious icon was discovered by a metal detectorist, a decision was made to restore it to its original condition. This article shows how it was done. By Bob Smith THE BATTLE AT TERRY’S MILL POND Atlanta, Georgia was once the scene of bloody conflict, but the battle now is to recover what is left in the ground. We look back at the history and some of the finds recovered there by relic hunters. By William Erquitt
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The Hole Truth...
et’s talk about airplanes. Again. I know some of my earthbound friends wonder how airplanes can have anything to do with our hobby of dirt wallowing and the ogling of old... things... but that’s why those friends are earthbound: they have never had to defy the laws of gravity to go metal detecting, meaning they have never had a TSA underwear scan because they forgot to remove the batteries from their Groundscan 2000 Pinpointer, or had their backup detector disassembled by a team of Department of Disassembly trainees, before passing it over to the Department of Breaking Things. Sit down, my ground-pounding friends, and let me tell you how it’s done. I don’t fly often. It is not a matter of fear of flying, (or actually, a fear of landing, because as long as a plane is flying everything is still pretty much okay). No, it is a fear of having my detectors broken and my dignity destroyed while standing in public in my sock feet. My recent sky-high episode involved leg three of a four-flight jaunt. Flights one and two ran smoothly. That means the airline’s Department of Inconvenience had to try extra hard to make up for lost opportunities. They did so in a way that would make a tear come to the eye of any demolition expert. I experienced nothing out of the ordinary until I opened my checked luggage and removed my detector. I had broken it down into five pieces to assure the Disassembly Team would not try to take it apart where it was not intended. This did not deter them. The detector was now broken down into six and a half pieces. Don’t ask about the other half piece. It either fell out somewhere over Scranton or is now being used as a door stop in the Brotherhood of Baggage Mishandlers break room at the Manchester Airport. Having forgotten to properly humiliate me in the first three flights, the airline gods made up for that as I went through security. My only unbroken detector was in carry-on, as were a few artifacts I had dug. Suddenly, the X-ray belt came to a screeching halt, as a TSA agent took a second look at the screen. She was soon joined by several other agents, and after some non conspicuous glances in my direction, a few nodded heads, and a whispered comment, I was invited to watch an agent open my bag. Although, invited is far too weak a word. “And WHAT is this, sir?!” he said, reaching past my detector and into the depths of my carry-on bag. He pulled a solid brickshaped item wrapped in a dirty sock and held it up for all to see. “Don’t touch it, sir!” he commanded after I had reached for it. I complied, as I don’t particularly enjoy touching my old dirty socks. This one was beyond dirty, having also been used to protect a true treasure: a short piece of colonial water pipe with a healthy amount of soil and root debris still remaining. “I asked, WHAT is it, sir!”
Photo by Bob Kish
The Publisher speaks... but will he ever shut up? “A really nasty sock,” I answered. “I wouldn’t touch it if I were you.” Then, sensing his sense of humor had disappeared shortly after birth, I explained what the sock contained and why. He was not impressed. I then explained our hobby, and showed him my metal detector, and stopped just short of telling him how no metal detector should ever be broken down into half pieces. He finally let me and my dirty sock through and I barely caught my flight. In fact, the carry-on space was full by then, resulting in my detector being once again stored in the belly of the beast. I tried not to cry. Sure enough, once I got to Atlanta, I opened the bag and found that they had broken this detector also. In fact, only a quarter of a part was missing from it in a critical place, which showed more attention to detail. Their job was done. But I’ve left out the most important part. This time, I fought back. Just before departing Pennsylvania, it was discovered that I had hit the tick mother lode. They were on my clothes, on my body, in my hotel room, and yes, in my luggage. I had time to de-tick myself and most of my stuff. But after I had zipped up my carry-on and checked bag, I saw a tick crawling away from the opening. Was he just a random survivor, or had he already homesteaded in the bug suburbia created in the deep, dark recesses of my luggage? I honestly do not know. But if indeed he and his family of vermin and a few of their friends decided to ride along for a vacation, so be it. That is beyond my area of expertise, and best left to those highly trained personnel that this particular airline employed. In reality, there was probably only one tick. Or if there were several, the altitude may have killed them. Or the bag squashers might have crushed them while carrying out their strenuous duties of doing the airplane equivalent of stuffing a baseball into a Coke bottle. Even if all else fails, surely they have the planes serviced by professional exterminators. But ticks are a hardy species, and who knows? I’m just giving everyone a heads up that a certain airline may have ticks on their airplanes. Yes, it is doubtful, and if you do spot a bug at 25,000 feet, it is not my fault. Until we are sure all is safe, I’d advise you not to fly on this particular airline. Which one is it? Easy: It’s the one who breaks metal detectors. (Originally published in Volume 12, Issue 4) Happy Huntin’, Y’all! In each issue “The Whole Truth” brings a smile to www.americandigger.com our readers. Don’t miss out, click here to subscribe!75
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