Note: In this series, we have selected 100 metal detecting finds that were extremely difficult to detect and recover, and provide details on the circumstances and techniques that contributed to their successful recovery.
Keeper: 1842 Seated Half Dime in VF+ Condition
Site: Beautiful grounds of an Antebellum Mansion
Site Evaluation: 3 of 10. Extremely Hunted Out site that had produced major relics in years past. These are the types of sites we dream about hunting, though. Worth hunting just to hang out on the beautiful, historic grounds even if we walk away empty-handed. Any single find could be a monster due to the nature of the site.
Permission Details: Extremely nice older couple living in a home that had been in the family for generations
Hunt Great Sites No Matter What: I was hunting the beautiful giant grounds of a Tennessee antebellum mansion. After a brief survey, I realized that almost no signals were available to dig. This site had been seriously pounded seriously by other detectorists, probably for years.
Make Adjustments in the Field: Once I realized that almost all targets had been cleared from the site, I went into “deep mode”. I pulled out my deepest machine, put on a large coil, and turned my sensitivity way up with zero discrimination, all-metal mode. Since targets were scarce, I wanted to hear everything and wanted to hear deep stuff. I didn’t care about losing target ID accuracy because I was almost certainly going to dig any deep target that so much as flinched at me.
Think Outside the Box: After an hour and a half with nothing, I began to think outside the box, figuring where other detectorists might have missed. I got right up against the house and finally dug a deep horseshow right next to the drive.
On the edge of the property, I focused on a hedgerow that had been recently cut back. On the first pass, I found nothing. I made another pass, this time going extremely “Slow and Low”, listening for anything whatsoever, prepared to dig any deep signal as I wasn’t even digging nails.
Be Persistent: Many detectorists will say the same tired old thing in this situation after about 45 minutes: “This site has been hunted. Let’s go.” At a little over the 2 hour mark, I get a deep nail signal – just a small grunt. I isolate the target and see the numbers on my machine jumping slightly into the shotgun shell range from the nail range.
The half dime is about 10 inches down. I rescanned the hole and also pull a small very old brass ring out of it as a bonus.
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