Treasure Hunting Begins
Mercury Dimes found at Optimist Park in Huntsville, Alabama. Photo
courtesy Metal Detecting In The USA
you are like me, you never get enough of the hunt, whether on the search
for rocks and gems, fossils, or
Now that the cold, wet weather is putting a damper on outside searches for
those in the north, it is prime time for indoor searches. After all, while
you can, every once in a while, stumble upon a great place to hunt for
while just hoofing around in the wilderness, most productive
searches start inside.
The first task in
hunting is to figure out where exactly it is that you want to hunt.
It's best to be realistic. You may have a dream to hunt in the South Sea
Islands, but if you have no means to get there you have much better ways
to spend hours and hours of research. Productive searching close to home
may just help you fund some of your dream searches. So to start, keep it
close -- somewhere you will actually be able to spend some time searching.
Once you have your target area pinpointed, it's time to hit the history
books and old newspapers.
The information you are
seeking is about old boom towns, mining areas, battle areas or routes,
ghost towns (whether structures still stand or not), town areas leveled by
natural disasters and never rebuilt, pilgrim migration routes, and
anything else that can lead you to spots that were once inhabited or
attacked, and are now deserted. If you are on shorelines, you might also
be interested in information about pirate localities, sea battles, landing
areas, old settlements, and anything else that might point you to buried
artifacts along a coastline, or even in the water if you are into
Once you pinpoint the areas that look good to
search you want to find out what is on public land, and what is privately
owned. The last thing anyone needs is people roaming around private land
Not only can this cause
trouble for you personally, but it can hinder all who want to search as
mass trespassing can lead to complaints that in turn lead to laws limiting
searching for everyone. City halls or a local branch of USGS will be able
to provide you the information about public and private lands, and will be
likely to appreciate your efforts to be respectful about searching.
Chatting with people who have been employed for long periods in these
places can sometimes get you some bonus leads, too, especially in less
populated areas where people are more likely to know in depth histories
and legends from their areas.
When you find information
of interest, you will want to dig up any old pictures you can find so you
can get an idea of what was located where. Some landmarks may still exist
even if the town itself doesn't. County offices sometimes have records of
town layouts that will actually give you coordinates of old buildings and
other useful information. Now that you have all the hard information
resources you can dig up on battle routes, massacre areas, stage coach
robberies, settler camps, towns leveled in natural disasters, and so on,
it's time to start using your imagination.
This exercise just goes
Hmmm. They never
located the relatives when the old guy that lived there died - I wonder
what he may have hid or lost around his place.
Hmmm. There was a
saloon located right there - I wonder where the outhouse was. (A place
where a lot of drunk men were taking their pants off might turn up some
quantity of nice pocket artifacts - especially old coins.)
Hmmm. Look at that rock
right behind that train wreck in this picture - I know where that rock
Hmmm. The Northern
armies passed right through here in the civil war. I wonder how many
people buried money and valuables to hide them. I wonder which of them
never made it back to them.
Now you get to draw
yourself a few of your own maps to take with you when the nice weather
comes back around. These maps can be valuable all on their own.
When your hunting
season is over, you can add your stories about what you found in the
areas you have mapped and searched. By compiling these maps and stories,
you have created an archive which may be sold to other hunters, or saved
for future generations.
©2005 Sally Taylor, updated October, 2015.
About the Author:
Sally Taylor is an
avid gem and treasure hunter, explorer, writer, and is the owner of
Station 1, a global rockhound community website that
provides forums, articles, a newsletter, and more.
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