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: This was a great pocket spill – 4 Barber dimes plus an Indian cent. This spill was awesome in its own right, but the great thing about it was that in 30 years and close to 1000 silvers, I had only previously recovered a single Barber dime, and that one was right on the surface of a church yard. I’ve dug over ten Barber dimes in 2015, so that just goes to show where statistics will get you in this hobby!
SITE: Front yard of old house in what used to be an old park on a trolley line.
SITE EVALUATION: 5 of 10 Hunted two hours without finding anything but trash, then Pop Pop Pop!
PERMISSION: Caught a man and his son outside. They were very friendly and happy to let us hunt.
Finish Strong: We hunted two hours and I had a part of an old makeup compact to show for it. It is easy to get frustrated and move on, but when I get permission I want to “convert” by finding something. Make sure you at least scan every part of the site once. Once you’ve had enough, set a time limit, even if its just “15 more minutes”. Once the time limit is up, force yourself to dig 3 more targets. If you still haven’t found anything, you can walk away with confidence that you gave it your best.
Hunt with a Partner: There are lots of reasons to hunt with a partner – adventure, comradeship, and you push each other are a few. One of the most unheralded, but best reasons for me, is the phenomenon that occurs when you or your partner find something significant. Suddenly it is “on”. Knowing that the site holds the goods, however hard to find they may be, automatically causes me to kick it into another gear I can’t make myself jump into. If you are a veteran detectorists, you know what I mean. You hunt for a while without finding anything, and once that first coin, bullet or relic pops out of the ground you get “tuned in” and more finds come.
In this instance, we had hunted two hours – first the front yard, then the back. We hit the front yard one more time on the way back to the truck. My partner suddenly dug 2 bullets like “bang bang”. And a few moments later I’m milling around in the dead middle of the front yard and suddenly get an easy dime signal. Am so surprised when a Barber dime comes out I actually walk over and show my partner – remarking its only my second. I come back and rescan before I fill in my plug and bam. Deja vu. Then again. Then again. I drop into dig anything-out-of-the-hole mode and am awarded with a bonus Indian for my efforts.
Savor It: Recovering pocket spills like this one are some of the most fun and greatest moments in detecting. Usually we get a find here and a find there. So soak it in, jump up and down like a jackass, and pump your fist and yell “YES”! If you’re like me, you’ll need to remember this moment at some point in the future when you aren’t finding squat to remind you why you’re out there!
Spill Check: Rescan your holes! Items are not always lost solo! Make rescanning a mindless habit. Sounds easy, but it is not when you are tired or distracted. I could have easily dug a single Barber dime and missed the rest of this spill. Also, when you dig a pocket spill, dig EVERYTHING out of the hole and surrounding area – nails etc – and scan the bottom of the hole with your pinpointer. Make sure you get the whole thing.
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