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Trash or treasure? Either way, this group is digging up Ohio's lost trinkets

OREGONIA, Ohio -- There's a surprising amount of history lurking just inches below our feet.

There's also an astounding number of aluminum cans downs there.

Members of the Ohio Detectorists Association seek out these treasures and also take away the trash they find wherever they search between Cincinnati and Dayton.

Detecting is mostly an individual pursuit, but the association's members sometimes go out "hunting" together. The club also gives members an opportunity to swap tips, share their different areas of expertise and show off cool finds. The association's 60-ish members range in age from 12 to 80-year-olds, and include men and women of all skill levels.

The association recently began meeting at the Camp Lebanon Retreat Center in Oregonia after losing their former home, the now-closed Holly Hills Golf Club in Waynesville. The camp includes a mix of fields and wooded areas, as well as some local history.

On a recent hunt at the camp with a newbie detectorist/reporter in tow, association President Christopher Rhoden, Vice President Gary Fishman and former President Jeff Filaseta discovered some historic coins, a key, bullets, old toy trucks and other items. The reporter found a bunch of "canslaw" -- the detectorists' term for shredded old cans -- and a couple pennies from the '80s.

Filaseta compares metal detecting to fishing. It requires patience, but there's a jolt of curiosity and excitement when getting a tone on the detector that's similar to a tug on the line.

"If you like fishing, you usually like this hobby," he said.

In pop culture terms, members of the club say the experience is less like National Geographic's flashy reality show "Diggers" and more along the lines of the understated BBC comedy "Detectorists."

"No traffic, no yelling people - it's just nice," Rhoden said.

Most of their finds are not worth much money, but some of them hold historic value. Members show off finds like a Civil War officer's belt buckle, rare old coins, a Ford Model T ignition piece or a token advertising Abraham Lincoln's presidential campaign.

"They think you're finding big bucks, but you're not," Filaseta said.

"It's all about history," Fishman added.
Metal Detector Discussion / Garrett have published the user manual for the ATMax!
« Last post by Tascio on August 16, 2017, 02:16:12 PM »
Garrett have published the user manual for the ATMax on their web site! Download it here:
St. Louis Group Searches for Historic Civil War Battle Site

More than 150 years ago the sounds of gunfire rang out across the hills and valleys of southern Scotland County as America’s Civil War found its way to rural northeast Missouri in the form of the Battle of Vassar Hill.

While the struggle isn’t found in most Civil War history books as the 28 confirmed casualties didn’t likely have much impact on the war’s outcome, it remains an interesting part of local history.

In an effort to help confirm some of the lore surrounding the fighting, members of the St. Louis Metal Detecting Club recently visited the Bible Grove area in search of artifacts that might help determine the actual battle sites.

Bible Grove resident Jordan Dunn, who took part in the search process, shared some of the history surrounding the county’s Civil War conflict.

“Fifteen miles south of Memphis, near the town of Bible Grove, there was a skirmish fought between Confederate and Union troops on July 18, 1862,” he said. “Confederate riders had set out from Memphis and rode south, where they would set up an ambush on the old Memphis-Kirksville road.”

Dunn, who is a history major at Truman State University in Kirksville, spent this summer doing an internship at the Missouri Civil War Museum in St. Louis.

Dunn said the battle began as the 125-man Confederate force dug into Vassar Hill, waiting for the 280 Union soldiers to cross the North Fabius River and fall into their attack.

History tells that with each series of volleys, the Confederate men would fall back to a new defensive position and wait for the Union commander to order another advance. For two hours this went on, the valley filling with smoke, men and horses being killed or wounded.

“Finally the Union commander ordered his men back, believing the Confederate force that he faced to be far superior in number than the reality,” said Dunn.

Union casualties numbered 23 in total with an additional 60 being wounded, compared to the five killed or wounded for the Confederate army.

But inconsistent reports and stories have left the actual location of the Battle of Vassar Hill up for debate.

“Because of the conflicting records there is a chance that the main location of the fighting has yet to be detected,” said Dunn.

Matt Brewer helped facilitate the operation, granting permission for the searchers to access the Brewer farm, while also sharing some of the many different versions of the history, which highlighted no fewer than three possible locations to focus the efforts upon.

Dunn and his family members, including his grandfather Keith, joined the club members, scouring over approximately 20 acres of land. They discovered two Union bullets and four other mini-balls, leading them to believe that more searching could lead to the discovery of where this battle took place over 150 years ago.
Metal detector enthusiasts uncover Bronze Age weapons in Durham

A father-and-son metal detecting duo could see their second lot of treasure put on display in a museum after they uncovered Bronze Age weaponry while searching near Barnard Castle.

David Hopper, 62, took up metal detecting as a hobby five years ago after he retired.

The former highways worker soon recruited his son Kevin Hopper, 33, as his sidekick and the duo have been spending their weekends hunting for ancient relics ever since.

A treasure inquest held at County Durham’s Coroner’s Court on Wednesday confirmed that the duo had uncovered 21 items including spearheads and axe heads dating back to 900bc in July 2016.
Oxfordshire Metal detectorist mistook 'find of his life' for rusty tent peg

A RARE Roman artefact, described by a metal detectorist as the 'find of his life', was initially mistaken for a tent peg.

Tim Moody, from Charney Basset, near Wantage, discovered the ancient measuring instrument – similar to a pair of compasses – about 10 inches beneath the surface of an undisclosed farmer's field, somewhere in the county.

The 18cm bronze 'dividers' feature an eagle's head and decorative scrolls, and would have been used for drawing maps or illustrating manuscripts at the end of the Roman period in Britain.

It only caught Mr Moody's attention when he examined his day's findings.

He said: "When I first pulled it out of the ground I thought it was an old tent peg.

"I put it in my finds bag and thought no more about it until I washed it in the sink later on. I could see the detail – the eagle’s head and the scrolls – was unlike anything I’d ever seen and I realised immediately it must be something of importance."
Metal Detecting Finds / 'Find of a lifetime' in York field could be worth £20,000
« Last post by Tascio on August 12, 2017, 02:14:46 PM »
'Find of a lifetime' in York field could be worth £20,000

HE has spent 36 years searching for buried treasure - now a metal detectorist has told how he made the discovery of a lifetime in a field near York.

Paul Ibbotson found a stunning medieval gold ring, engraved with flowers and set with ruby and emerald gemstones, lying six inches below the surface of the soil.

The 50-year-old said he knew straight away he had found something special when he saw first the delicate engraving and then the jewels, glinting in the sunshine, and he dropped to the ground in shock.

“I was shaking,” he said. “I was so shocked. I just looked up to the skies and said 'Oh my God, this is the find of a lifetime!' Then I rang my family to tell them. It was in perfect condition - I didn’t need to clean it.”

He was speaking after the ring was declared to be treasure at a York inquest, at which it emerged that York Museums Trust is interested in acquiring it to put it on display at the Yorkshire Museum. The inquest was told it was thought to date back to the 15th century.

Mr Ibbotson said he found the ring on December 29 last year after driving to York from his home in Lancashire, and was on his own with his metal detecting device in a field which was awaiting ploughing after growing potatoes.

“It was an extremely cold morning,” he said. “The ground was frozen so I followed the sun as it warmed up the ground.”

He said he had been a detectorist since 1981, when he was still at school and only a few years after the detectors became commonly available, and had been out for thousands of hours, often in the pouring rain and the wind.

He had been searching in the York area once or twice a month for the past 30 years, travelling such a long distance because the area had such a wealth of potential finds - in reflection of York’s wealth and prosperity in medieval times.

When his detector picked up something metal, it turned out nine times out of 10 to be worthless rubbish - for example a part of an agricultural implement. On other occasions, he had found items such as old coins, but never anything like the ring.

He believed it had belonged to the wife of a nobleman, possibly at the time of Henry VIII, and might have been dropped while she was out riding. Another possibility was that she was the victim of a robbery, during which the ring was dropped.
'Angels of the Beach': Ring Finders Spread Joy By Returning Lost Possessions

During her backyard wedding on July 30, Malibu resident Rosalie Benitez had her two puppies act as ring bearers, but instead of making for a cute photo-op, the four-legged ring bearers never actually delivered the ring down the aisle.

Before the ceremony began, the two puppies began wrestling and the ring was flung into her backyard. Benitez and her wedding guests searched for hours, but eventually called it quits, moving forward with the ceremony without the ring.

The next day she Googled "lost wedding ring" and found The Ring Finders, a global directory of people who spend their time using metal detectors to find others' lost jewelry.

The service is anything but traditional. Ninety-seven percent of the ring finders work on a reward basis, meaning they ask customers to pay whatever the service is worth to them. Some ask for nothing and most ask for little more than gas money.

"I don't wanna deprive anybody of getting what they love back," said ring finder Steve Smith. "To see the joy that I'm able to give back to people — that's my motivation."

And when he found Benitez's ring in her backyard after more than an hour of searching, that's exactly what he got. She'd already gone inside to begin online shopping for a replacement ring when he discovered it hidden in the grass.

"I really screamed," Benitez said. "It was great to be able to finally put it on my finger. And then I felt really married."

Vancouver native Chris Turner, who's been metal detecting since he was 12, founded The Ring Finders after experiencing first-hand the joy that finding somebody's belongings can bring.

He said that after he found one woman's ring, which had been lost in her garden for more than 10 years, she brought an apple pie to his doorstep almost every week for a year.
"There's nothing out there like it," Turner said. "You just have to return one ring and you're hooked."

Now, the directory spans more than 20 countries, with ring finders heavily concentrated in the United States and California. Since the directory was created in 2009, Turner said there's been more than 3,700 reported recoveries.

He alone has found more than 500 rings and other lost possessions. With every recovery, he said, he feels as happy as the people getting their jewelry back.

"Every ring has a story attached to it," Turner said. "I don't think there's a ring I'm not happy about. When that ring's lost that story is lost."
Inspiring the Central Coast: Finding lost items at the beach

If you've ever lost something important you know that panicky frenzy that can follow. If that's at the beach, where sand can swallow items and leave no trace, the search can seem impossible.

Larry Royal is just the guy to call when you're trying to find that needle in the haystack. He's a sort of Central Coast beach search and rescue guru, only the haystack is the beach and the needle is frequently something far more valuable. You'll find him on the sands of Pismo Beach just about every day of the week, sporting some fancy metal detecting gear, a scoop, and his Kansas City Royals T-shirt.

"My last name is Royal," he explains with a chuckle.

Especially at low tide, you'll spot him pacing out the area, his headphones on, waterproof metal detector floating back and forth over the sand, scouring the beach for people's lost treasure.

"All because they put suntan lotion on and hit that water. Fifty-eight degrees.. off comes the ring!" he explains.

Unlike other folks with metal detectors, Larry's mission is a public service.

"I do this free for people that lose things," he explains. "Every piece of jewelry has a story behind it. It was given to you by a mother, a brother, a lover, a friend, a husband or wife, so every piece of jewelry has something behind it and has such a sentimental value."

Some folks hear about him through the grapevine, others on his website full of testimonials and notes of appreciation.

"I actually had one lady who shook a towel out with a diamond ring on it and I went to where she was, where she'd been. I know which way the wind blows, so I knew which way she'd shake the towel, and I took three steps and found the ring," he says with a look of satisfaction.

When that yellow hoop sweeps over the sand, precious metals trigger sounds in his headphones.

"I can say I think that's gold. I'll get a real smooth, low, buttery sound. If I go over something silver, I get a high-pitched sound."

He combs the beach in grids, his stainless steel scoop charting his course as he goes. Sometimes he ventures into the water, as he did for one woman who lost a $7,000, three-carat diamond ring.

"Surf's coming in, waves are coming in and I wade out into the water up to my chest," he explains. "The water's hitting me and I couldn't find it. It took me 19 days and a low tide and I finally recovered it under a rock, neck deep. Reached under there with this," he points to the shoebox size stainless steel sifter he carries in the arm not swinging the metal detector. "I got my special scoop and was able to dig it out and I got her ring back to her."

His persistence has born lots of shiny fruit but some of the loot goes unclaimed. He showed KSBY News a few of the sparkling bits of jewelry, including a chunky gold men's ring.

"It's got seven diamonds in it. That's 14-carat gold."

A women's cocktail ring resembles a small red pine tree.

"Those are 58 rubies on an 18-carat ring."

Then he holds up what looks like a jagged set of dentures.

"That is a gold grill, like hip hop artists wear."

Larry says he'd like to have fewer of the items in his possession.

"When I'm able to return something and see the smile on their face, and the joy in their hearts from getting it back, I mean, it just brings joy to me. I've helped somebody."

By the way, Larry has dive gear and he'll go full SCUBA, if necessary.

If you've been at a local beach and lost something that's made of metal, you can enlist Larry's help, too. All he asks, is that you consider a tip. It should come as no surprise that he donates a portion of what he's given to the food bank. 
Metal detecting rally raises thousands for charity

Celtic and Roman coins and a medieval cowbell have helped to raise more than £2,000 for two very good causes.

A rally held at Ilminster and organised by Detecting For Veterans turned up some long-lost gems and raised £2,500 which was split between The Veteran's Charity and Raleigh International.

Despite damp conditions, 75 metal detectorists turned out at Manor Farm in Seavington St Mary for the the event.

The more interesting finds of the day included some hammered coins, a gold ring, an 18th century candle snuffer and medieval cow bell.

A gold ring, believed to have been lost by a German Prisoner of War was also found.

The organiser of the event, Jason Massey, thanked the landowner and those who came along for helping to create a successful event.
World's best gold panners aiming to shine in Moffat

Top gold panners from around the world are gathering in Moffat for their world championships.

It is only the second time in its 40-year history that the event has been held in Scotland.

Competitors from more than 20 countries are expected to take part in proceedings which run until Saturday.

Organiser Richard Deighton said he hoped the championships would have a significant economic impact for businesses in the area.

The World Gold Panning Championships were first held in Finland in 1977.

They have been held every year since in the likes of the USA, Italy, Canada and Australia but the only other time they have been in the UK was also in Scotland at Leadhills in 1992.

There are a range of different categories in which 30 competitors at a time each receive a bucket of sand and gravel containing a few flakes of gold.

They race against the clock to find as many pieces as they can with the quickest progressing to the next round.

The winner on finals day is then crowned world champion.
'Huge influx'

"Each competitor gets maybe 15 kilos of sand and gravel from the local area," Mr Deighton said.

"There is a sand supervisor who will place between five and 12 pieces of gold into the sand and gravel.

"It is the competitor's job to find it in as quick a time as possible and for each piece of gold that is lost there is a three-minute time penalty.

"So it is basically a speed competition."

Mr Deighton said he was sure the competition would have a positive impact on the town over the next few days.

"It is an absolutely amazing event for Moffat," he said, adding that the town was being "showcased on a world stage".

"Just about every accommodation in Moffat is fully booked for the week," he said.

"Local businesses are beaming, they are really happy to have this huge influx of tourists to the area."

He said an impact study would be carried out to assess the overall economic benefits of the championships.
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