Indicators To Look For When Detecting Homesteads

Indicators To Look For When Detecting Homesteads

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Plants Can Indicate Old House Sites


If you see Yucca plants or daffodils near a path or walkway, or even just randomly in the woods, you are more than likely near or on an old homestead. Someone planted those flowers since daffodils are not a native plant to the United States. The species is native to Western Europe from Spain and Portugal east to Germany and north to England and Wales. Some old timers say that daffodils are deer resistant which is why they thrive well in gardens. Yuccas are widely grown as ornamental plants in gardens. Many species also bear edible parts, including fruits, seeds, flowers, and flowering stems which may explain why Yucca plants are found on old farmsteads. Native Indians found yucca plants very useful for many things such as needle and thread, rope, and even used it to make shampoo.

Another good indicator of an old homestead where no house stands today is if you find non native trees growing seemingly at random in the woods. Look for trees or bushes that are in a row. If you see fruit trees in an area that seems out of place, chances are you’ve found an old homestead.

A great area to find old coins is along walking paths and sidewalks. Older sidewalks will be lower than the surrounding grass and soil. That indicates that over time the soil has accumulated and that more than likely the sidewalk has sunk a bit over time. If the soil is level with the sidewalk that may tell you that some topsoil has been removed. That can be a good sign because older coins are going to be deeper usually, so with some topsoil removed you may be able to get to some deeper coins. If you’re detecting where the sidewalk is level with the soil and grass and you aren’t having any luck finding old coins, chances are that when the soil was removed, so were the older coins. Both instances will give you one more idea of where you should concentrate your efforts and maximize your detecting time. I’ve found more Quarters near sidewalks than in any other two areas combined!

Another spot that you may want to focus on is large bare areas where the grass doesn’t grow very well. If you notice that the grass grows beautifully everywhere except a certain spot, that might tell you that a building or outhouse may have stood there at one time. It can also indicate a high traffic area that people may have congregated in the past. Check out those bare spots.

The cracks in sidewalks are often over looked by most detectorists. Coins can work themselves down into the cracks and become lodged. Most older sidewalks don’t have rebar running through them, so in older spots you can get away with scanning over the sidewalk. I have found old coins this way, and usually just use a screw driver that’s been rounded and blunted to pop the coins from in between the cracks.

Along old driveways, both concrete and gravel are great areas to detect. In the gravel and beside the driveway can be a honey hole for coins. Think about it, you’re reaching into your pocket for car keys and when you pull your hand out coins drop in the grass, or your wedding ring comes off and you don’t even notice that it came off. Detect those areas along driveways and walking paths.

In days gone by mailboxes were at the end of driveways and people could pay for postage by leaving coins in their mailboxes. As a result, coins were lost where the mailbox once stood. Don’t ignore the beginning of a driveway when detecting an older homesite.

Additionally, the front steps of an old house are another great area to find lost items. When people reach into their pockets to pull out their house keys coins and other items can come out with the keys and fall through the cracks in the wooden stairs. Sometimes you can detect under those steps if they have open sides. The area under steps is a nectar sector for old coins that were dropped through the years. (I just wanted to say nectar sector) You can also look for sidewalks that seemingly lead to nowhere. That can tell you that another building or outhouse may have stood there at one time but is now long gone. It can also indicate that the house may have been remodeled or rebuilt at one time. Maybe those sidewalks led to a side entrance, or possibly to a porch that was removed.

Old gas lamp posts in the yard can be a good indicator that a house is older than the 1970s. Gas lamps were used regularly up until the ‘70s before becoming too expensive to operate. You might also look for old swing sets or other play areas like a sandbox. Those can indicate that children do or did live there at one time. Those spots can hold old coins and other artifacts lost by kids playing.

Read More to Learn even more Indicators to look for…

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There are 4 comments for this article
  1. mike at 7:12 am

    You’re right i found a old home stead deep in the NC woods yesterday and a 1953 tag and a old hand gun first day thank you for the tips ; ]

  2. horsesterry at 11:02 am

    very informative. i have been using some of your methods while detecting in the woods, but i haven’t come up with anything yet. though, I have found someone else’s iron pile and rotting batteries left in the woods by a cellar hole! ugh….

    • Rob Williams at 1:02 pm

      Just keep pluggin away, your find of a lifetime is still out there! Most others shy away from areas with a lot of junk but if you’re persistent you’ll be rewarded eventually! Thanks for reading D365!

  3. Pingback: 1853 Braided Hair Large Cent Found Metal Detecting! | Antiques Detectors - Your Metal Detecting Store

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