Monday, March 29, 2010


So you bought your cheap metal detector, now, what the heck do you do with it? Many, many groups of people taken up metal detector hunting every year - and just as many give up within weeks. Why do you think it is that people give up metal detector hunting so quickly?

The reason is pretty simple, people that start metal detecting as a hobby think all they need do is find a good cheap metal detector, buy the metal detector, switch on the detector, head over to the nearest beach, field or old abandoned building and you will find all kinds of and tons of metals, coins, and rare items.

The thing is, sadly, it doesn't work like that. Metal detecting is a great hobby but it can be a hard one to do successfully. It can take years of frustration, trial and error.

Owning a decent detector certainly helps. However, I've known people with some top of the range machines who have quickly given up. That means that equipment isn't the only reason that you will be successful. You need to have good equipment, but you also need a few more tools to be successful in metal detecting.

One thing you need to do before you make it successfully, is do your due diligence. That means knowing more about where you are going to hunt helps. For those that quit too early, if only they'd done just a little bit of research before going out in the field. Doing the right preparation will make all the difference in the world. There is no greater thrill than pulling a 200-year-old coin out of the ground - except unearthing a 600-year-old coin!

First, obtain an old map from 50, 100, 150 years ago or older. You can buy them online. Just put "old maps us" or "old maps uk" in your favorite search engine for a list of suppliers. Then get a map of the same area. One that is modern and shows all the new detail and development. Then look at both side-by-side. When seeking out your map, try to pick areas of possible historical significance, or those that have had reason to have traffic from old days.

Look for areas on the maps that coinside and have not changed much over the last 100-150 years. You'll find lots of such areas. It's amazing how tracks, or shortcuts from destination A to destination B, which often appear to be temporary and modern, have actually been around for a hundred years. And if they've been around a hundred years (because they appear in both the old map and the new), chances are they've been there for 200 years or 300 years. This is the kid of area you are looking for.

Field boundaries are another area to look at. They might change slightly as land is bought and sold over the years. But basically they remain the same. I have found some of the oldest coins and artifacts in such fields. These areas may not be found in heavily developed areas, but places on the East Coast of the United States offer great opportunity.

When you've identified the areas that are the same, or nearly the same, in both the old map and new map, mark each area with pencil.
This will be your target areas to search. Now go and physically check each. Spend a day, or two or more doing this. Find out about the land, the ownership, and make sure you are not illegally searching the property. If you do not obtain the correct permission, you could be stealing. The owner of the land is the owner of the items on that land.

At the same time, keep your eyes open for areas that appear to have changed but in fact have tiny sections that have escaped development over the years - perhaps too small to identify from the maps. These pockets, tiny pockets will usually show up as little areas that maybe could not be developed, and are often areas with trees, and shrubs.

So don't give up metal detector hunting. If you only ever follow the tips above, great finds will come your way. Take that cheap metal detector that you just got a deal on, make sure you have a good map and a strategy laid out, and go have some fun!

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