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A Metal Detecting Secret


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 drought.

* 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.

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