TIP OF THE DAY

Don't Pass Up Easy Sources of Productive Sites
By Andy Sabisch
From Page 54
June, 2003 issue of Lost Treasure
Copyright © 2003 Lost Treasure, Inc. All rights reserved.

This month’s column will cover two proven techniques intended to help you find sites that hold the type of targets you are looking for with a minimal amount of effort.If you want to become part of the 5% of the treasure hunters that wind up finding 95% of the goodies, you need to adopt this way of selecting sites to spend your time in the field.The area you live in dates back to the 1800’s (or even earlier depending on what part of the country you live in); however, you are not making the kind of finds you feel you should. Clad coins, the occasional wheat cent or silver coin from the 1940’s, and a few pieces of jewelry, nothing to write home about, are the typical finds you come up with. There have to be better finds to be made, but the $100,000 question is where?Obviously the sites you have been searching don’t hold them, so how best to find the sites that do? Over the years, I have found that one of the best sources of leads to the sites that do hold these targets has been one of the easiest to access.Senior citizens living in your community have first-hand knowledge of sites that 99% of other detectorists are not even aware. These people can tell you exactly where an old picnic grove or swimming hole was located, since that’s where they were spending free time when they were growing up. Most of them are more than willing to spend a few hours reminiscing about the good old days and a few well-directed questions might just help steer you to a virgin site or two.Try and find someone who has lived in the local area most of their life, since the sites they can tell you about will be the ones closest to you. Ask them where they spent their free time as a kid and you will be surprised at the number of sites they will describe for you.Keep your ear open for any mention of swimming holes on the local creek, church revival sites, areas where circuses or carnivals would set up, one-room schoolhouses that may have been torn down or converted into private homes, or even where the old lover’s lane used to be.Do you live in a part of the country that was touched by the Civil War? They may have heard stories of troops moving through the area from their grandparents that may steer you to a campsite or skirmish area. Any one of these sites will hold they type of targets we are all hoping to find and you will probably be the first one to search them.A few months ago I spent some time talking with an 83-year-old friend of the family that had lived in the same house all her life. You could tell she really enjoyed talking about the history of the area she knew so well and, over the course of the conversation, several potential sites came to light.One that stood out was a small picnic grove that had been used by her church through the 1950's. Unused for more than 40 years, it was easily found with the directions she provided. Four hours of searching the small site produced close to 100 coins, none dated newer than 1953. It’s been a while since I found a site that produced 23 silver coins in four hours, but this one had been handed to me with no boring research.Another way you can obtain a number of leads from senior citizens in a short period of time is to put on a talk about treasure hunting at the local senior citizens’ center or nursing home. Most of these facilities welcome presentations that may be of interest to their residents. In addition to talking about metal detecting, take along some of your finds to share the excitement your hobby brings each time you make a recovery. An added benefit of using this method is that you may find some of the people you talk to may have grown up 50 or 100+ miles away and can provide you with leads to sites in those areas as well.If you do not want to spend hours on the road driving to those sites, why not exchange sites with fellow treasure hunters in those areas? If they come across sites in your area, they could reciprocate the courtesy you provided them. Try putting on a follow-up presentation at the senior citizen center to show some of the finds you made at the sites provided to you at your first presentation. You will probably receive even more leads that may have been previously forgotten. By sharing success stories with them, you will also make them feel a sense of importance in helping you recover a piece of the past.The other technique that some of the more successful treasure hunters use on a regular basis can best be described as keeping your eyes open. While this may seem to be an unusual name for a way to find new sites, it’s one that most detectorists do not use at all.Do you typically load all your gear in the truck, pull out of the driveway, turn on the radio and think about life in general as you drive to the site you’ve staked out to hunt? If so, you’re not alone; most people tend to find themselves arriving at their destination with little memory of what they passed on the way. The next time you drive anywhere, start looking around with the purpose of identifying possible sites to swing your detector.Over the years, I have come across countless sites simply driving past them that I would not have found any other way. They were not mentioned in any research material I had looked through nor had any old timers mentioned them in conversation.What type of sites am I talking about? The list is endless, but some of the more common sites I have come across by keeping an eye open as I drive around include abandoned houses, foundations, old stone walls, tree-lined drives leading to nowhere, fallen-down baseball backstops, private homes that appear to have once been schools or churches, and overgrown dirt roads that haven’t been used for years.Keep a small notebook and possibly a camera in your car or truck to capture details on these sites when you see them. This information will allow you to do some follow-up research to find out about what the site was later, or to find out who the property owner is to get permission to hunt on it.If you are a computerized treasure hunter, a digital camera is ideal for documenting sites and a decent camera for this purpose can be purchased for under $100 nowadays. I have a basic digital camera in both of my vehicles and have used them to take pictures of many sites that I came across in my travels.Recently, I snapped a photo of an overgrown backstop I passed taking a back road to the local mall. I showed the photo a friend of mine that had grown up in the area and he immediately gave me the background of the site. It had been used for Babe Ruth ball games in the 1950's and 1960's. The farmer that owned the field had let the community use it for more than 20 years, as his children were on the teams that used it. Time marched on and the field fell into disuse.He gave me the name of the owner and, after a short conversation, I had permission to hunt the field any time I wanted. Well, the first signal I received turned out to be a 1954 quarter and the quality of finds continued over the next few weeks. This was another site that, despite there being an active metal detecting club in the area as well as several local dealers, had not been hunted before.Use these techniques to make this your most productive year yet. There are still plenty of sites that have not been hunted out in your area and you don’t need to spend hours pouring over dusty history books to find them. A few, well-placed questions or keeping your eyes open as you drive around will reveal more than enough sites to keep you busy for months to come.




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