A Metal Detecting Secret
By Steve Gillman
There are many little tricks or secrets that treasure hunters
use, and the following is perhaps one of the most interesting
ones. It is all about the things that water hides, and the rare
times when they are revealed. You see, metal detecting is normally
difficult in deep lakes and ponds, and is usually limited to
the edges. But there are times when you get to search the depths
more easily, and that's what this secret is about. I was reminded
of it one day when my wife and I were walking in a local park
(back when we still lived in Colorado), and we noticed that the
duck pond was dry.
The few ducks and geese that remained were making noise, walking
around near one side of their empty home. They were not very
happy. On the other hand, the man who was working across the
dried bottom of the pond with a metal detector was smiling. We
stopped to talk to him.
He said that the city had drained it to dredge it out and
make it better. As far as he knew, it had been eighty years since
the duck pond was built, and this was the first time it was without
water. His detector beeped repeatedly, and he dug around in the
dirt as we talked.
During those eighty years, people had been visiting, perhaps
sometimes losing an occasional ring or other jewelry as they
tossed their bread and crackers to the ducks. They also threw
coins into the water for good luck. That meant there might be
some pretty old coins in that mud, and who knows what else.
In the five minutes I was talking to the man he dug up six
or seven coins and added them to his bulging pockets. I found
three coins just lying on the muddy surface in the course of
that same conversation. He had been there less than an hour,
he told me.
This treasure hunter used a decent $300 metal detector which
could distinguish between trash and coins or jewelry. The cheaper,
lower-quality detectors (like mine), will have you digging up
a lot of metallic gum wrappers, bottle-tops, and other garbage.
You can adjust the settings on good machines to make them more
effective according to the types of things you're finding.
He also had a small probe, which he said he paid $60 for.
This probe speeds things up quite a bit once you get a signal
that something is down there. You can push it into the dirt to
pinpoint the location of the treasure. Otherwise you'll spend
some time digging up a small area, and then pulling apart the
resulting pile of dirt to find the coin or jewelry.
Treasure hunters watch for opportunities like our dry duck
pond. Occasionally a lake is also drained, or a reservoir is
low due to a drought. When this happens, many years of accumulated
things appear. Bicycles, guns, and money are common. It's something
to keep in mind if you see an item in the news about low water
levels or the draining of some local body of water.
Here is a short list of situations to watch for:
* Lakes which are drained or shrinking.
* Reservoirs that are lowered for repair reasons, or due to
* Rivers and streams which are diverted for construction.
* Swimming areas during times of low water levels.
* Golf course ponds that are drained for improvement work.
* Large agricultural ditches that dry up during droughts.
* Newly exposed lake-bottom near boat docks when the water
level is low.
If you live near an ocean, you can also watch for any uniquely
low tides reported in the news. Many amateur treasure hunters
will have searched the easy, higher parts of the beach with their
metal detectors. But a lot of jewelry and coins get lost in the
water near shore. An especially low tide can be an opportunity
to find some of these things easily.
For other treasure hunting and metal detecting secrets you
might also want to visit the website, ColoradoTreasureHunting.com.
There are pages on obscure techniques like digging
through old gray water dumps and finding gold in culverts.