What’s in YOUR yard?

What’s in YOUR yard?

What’s in YOUR yard?

Whether you just purchased your first detector, or are a veteran with many decades of experience, you’re always going to be on the lookout for that old building, well used park, large outdoor athletic complex, or any other area that receives a lot of human attention.

One place that I think is ignored by many detectorists is right out your front door: Your own yard! Having owned several homes over the years I am guilty of this travesty as THREE of my past yards had never experienced the soft touch of my detectors frequency. My mind was focused on hunting elsewhere while ignoring the potential treasures that could have been found just a few feet from my own front door.

I had a variety of reasons why it wasn’t worthwhile to hunt my yards, and after listening to other detectorists over the years, I began to see similarities.

My home is too new.

A majority of the homes in this country were built within the last 60 years or so, which would make one think that finding silver, let alone more than a handful of coins, just isn’t going to happen. Instead of giving in to this idea, think beyond the homes age, and think about the very old age of your yard.

What was there before?

A little research goes a long way. Did a homestead exist on, or near your property once? Could people have camped on your property 100 years ago? Did a well traveled trail once traverse your land? When I lived in the suburbs of Chicago many years ago, there was a huge expanse of suburbia pushing west. I remember seeing many old farmsteads where homes would soon be.

One of the homes I owned, in Michigan, was in an area frequented by folks from Detroit in the 1930’s, 40”s and 50’s, as there were many lakes nearby. A home I had in WY was close to where General Crooks soldiers camped on their way to, and from the Little Rosebud battle. My current home in MT sits near where the teamsters camped out west of the cities original town site in the late 1800’s.

As you can see the possibilities are endless, and with a little research you may be surprised of what occurred near, or underneath your current modern home.

What’s in the fill Phil?

Many detectorists who live in new subdivisions, may think that the amount of coins in their yards are going to be just as skinny as the newly planted trees. But as most contractors know, a lot of that earth was scraped up earlier before the foundations were poured, only to be laid back down when the houses were close to being finished. I reference back to those many subs outside of Chicago where large hills of black dirt were piled up waiting to be returned to the surface. Could some of that dirt have been the same dirt around that 1800’s farmhouse?

At my current address I discovered that it was once marshland (yay!), and that dirt was brought in as fill from who knows where, as I found out from one of my “old timer” neighbors. Where did that dirt come from? A construction site where some old busi100_2158ness once existed? A farmers field? A buddy was hunting around a hill that was composed of fill at our local fairgrounds, and found a buffalo nickel about 6” down. Interesting, since the fill was piled there sometime in the 1980’s. I have found an antique silver ring in my own yard about 4” deep. Did it arrive with the fill dirt, or was it lost by a previous owner? Its always worth a look.

Final Thoughts


The sad truth is that many hobbyists neglect their own property because they think that the grass is greener somewhere else. But where else can you hunt when you only have 15 minutes to do so? Where else can you dig that proverbial pit when you find something 15” down with little worry? Where else can you get permission with just a thought? Sometimes the best great place to hunt is right out your front door.

There is 1 comment for this article
  1. Jsan at 12:16 pm

    Great article, I have found in my backyard a lot of junk, but was able to find a very old silver amulet, and in my front yard, coins and a couple of very old toy metal cars.
    My neighbor was moving and I asked for permission to search his front yard, I found my first silver coin, a 1949 Ben Franklin Half Dollar.

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