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The Digger :Your Metal Detecting Newsletter
March 29, 2021

“Never Allow Them To Intimidate You”

Many archaeologists believe they are the "supreme diggers of dirt." They arrogantly presume that God only bestowed the right to dig in dirt upon them. Now, I will admit, a few archaeologists have had the courtesy to understand where we in the hobby fit into the dirt-digging discussion. With years of experience, one distinguished archeology professor has gone so far as to tell me that the problem with many of his peers is jealousy. They are jealous of us because we get to find relics, where the archeologist sits in a stuffy museum or teaches a class while wanting to be on a dig somewhere. I was told by this admirable professor that there is not enough money to support archaeology digs and have archaeologists head them. So, the archaeology community belittles the metal detecting hobby, takes out their frustration on us, calls us looters and pilferers, and tries to shut us down. At times, they act like petulant children.

I recently was told a story about an archaeology professor that happened upon a guy metal detecting a piece of private property with permission. The story was told to me by the individual, I’ll call him Mike, not his real name, in order to keep him from being vilified by those who have nothing better to do than to trash talk victims. Anyway, Mike was detecting this property that had been abandoned for years. The 1800s house on the property was falling due to disrepair. It was located in the country on a narrow dirt road. The nearest home was a mile away in either direction.

Out of the blue, a stranger approached Mike as he was metal detecting the front lawn. Mike stopped detecting, removed his headphones, and engaged in a conversation with the stranger. The stranger's first question was, "what are you doing here?"

Mike was surprised by the stranger's attitude and the way the question was asked. He told the stranger he was looking for old coins. The stranger then said, "you need to leave this property."

Once again, Mike was shocked by the abrasiveness of the stranger.

"Why do I have to leave this property?" Mike asked.

"I am an archaeology professor, and we have an eminent domain right to this property. The home will be torn down, and a road will be going through here. And everything on this property and beneath it belongs to the state. I am in charge of this property." The archaeologist told him.

Now confused and somewhat upset that he may have to leave the property, Mike told the archeologist that he was not going until he talked with the property owner. The brazen archeology professor told him that he would call the police and have him removed if he did not leave now.

"I’m not leaving,” Mike told him. “But I am calling the property owner.”

Within a few minutes, the property owner was on the phone with Mike. The property owner told Mike that eminent domain would not take effect for another month. And that he had the papers to prove it. The property owner told Mike to hand his cell phone to the archeologist. The property owner then told the archaeologist to get off his property, or he would call the Sheriff's department and have him removed for trespassing. There were three “No Trespassing” signs on the property.

The arrogant archaeologist told Mike that he would leave the property, and that he would be sure to write down the license plate number of Mike’s vehicle as he was going. Mike was now a bit more than upset. Now he was downright angry.

“If I see you write down my license plate number, I will physically remove you from this property.” He told him.

The archeologist walked away, saying, “you haven’t seen the last of me.”

After the archaeologist walked off the property, Mike continued to metal detect.

“I’ve been in this hobby for forty years,” Mike told me. “I have never had a situation like this happen. What in the hell is going on?” He asked.

“Those kinds of archaeologists have always hated us and the hobby,” I told him.

“Only now, there are more of them.”

“How do we beat them back?” He asked. “Many of them don’t want to work with us.”

It was a question I’ve been asked ever since I filmed my TV series, “Exploring Historys Treasures,” when archaeologists tried to shut me down, and called me a pilferer and looter, even though I was filming on private property with permission. The archaeologists were also ignorant enough to sue me. But in the end, I won. I won because I did not back down, and countered sued them.

So my answer has always been the same. And that answer was given to me by the archaeology professor that befriended me. He told me, “Frank, never back away from them. Never allow them to intimidate you. And always try to turn the situation around on them. Have them show you a law, not an ordinance, that states that you cannot detect where you are.”

There are a lot more archaeologists today than years ago, but we still outnumber them. And that also pisses them off.

Cache Hunting Close To Home

Fact…buried caches exist not too far from where you live.

I learned this cache hunting treasure secret years ago from an old-timer treasure hunter. He sold me my first metal detector. Old Man Dan we called him.

Old Man Dan told me that if I wanted to find buried treasure that I didn’t have to venture too far from where I lived. Of course, I thought Dan was full of it. He was a joker and a storyteller. I knew his adventures into the world of treasure hunting were true because his treasure hunting shop was filled with relics he had found from around the world. His photo albums showing Dan holding gold nuggets, silver reales from Spanish wrecks, silver and gold jewelry from the 15th and 16th century, were testaments to his stories. However, Old Man Dan also has a penchant for exaggerating. So when he told me not to venture too far away from where I lived to find buried treasures, well, I didn’t believe him.

The lost treasure stories I always read were located in other parts of America or another country. I never heard of anyone finding a treasure in the area where I lived. Nor could I even imagine one being anywhere near or in the town I called home. But that belief changed after I located my first mini-cache. That treasure was two mason jars filled with coins. The coins dated between 1856 and 1872. I found them not more than five miles from where I was living. If it had not been for Old Man Dan and his advice, and me following that advice, that cache and others would still be hidden.

It’s human nature for people to hide their possessions. There are many reasons why.

In America, during the Spanish Inquisition, millions of dollars of gold and silver were buried. The Spanish stole silver, gold, and precious jewels and then hid treasures for various reasons.

When America was fighting during the French & Indian War, the colonists hid their items from the British and the French.

During the American Revolution, people buried their possessions from the British and the Tories. The Civil War caused many homeowners to hide their belongings from both the Union and Rebel soldiers.

Mobsters and drug dealers have always hidden their money.

Spouses hide money from their significant other. In next month's issue of "The Digger," I'll tell the story of how we found a cache hidden from a spouse.

Since the beginning of the banking system, people have distrusted banks. So hiding their money was an option.

The above situations lead the way for the opportunity to take cache hunting seriously.

Many times caches are left behind because the survivors were never told that money or valuables were hidden. So what happens when everyone in the family dies or moves away? Obviously, the treasure stays behind.

Homeowners remodeling their homes have found valuables hidden in secluded areas of the house. Places like behind walls, ceilings, and under floorboards have produced hidden treasures of all sorts. Homeowners have found caches buried in what used to be gardens. Gardens used to be, and still, are a popular burying site for treasures. The two mason jars full of coins I found were most likely buried in what used to be the garden of the homestead.

Begin in your own area. The best way to locate buried caches is to visit the historical society of the area you live in. Most of them have old newspapers on file. By reading through the old news, you may be able to pick out a brief story that relates to a possible buried cache. Often old newspapers gave accounts of a person that died, leaving behind money or valuables unaccounted for.

This cache hunting information has worked for me. Many of the old newspapers are on microfilm. You may be able to learn about a hermit, a miser, or a loner that died. The characteristic of this type of individual has been known to hide their money. Their secluded lifestyle, living away from society, is a red flag. Chances are, they have cached valuables. And, if there were no family members to claim or search for any of that cache, then it's an opportunity to search for the treasure. Old man Dan reaped the benefits of searching out those kinds of treasures.

A Piece From The Past

The following story reminds me of the time we found a mini cache beneath a rock next to a well that was located behind a cellar hole. I've also heard from treasure hunters that have located caches inside the wells.

“Duane Alderman of Pendelton, Oregon, reports that more money has been recovered from the property listed on page ten of the 1970-71 Treasure Hunter’s Yearbook. Seems than an old well was discovered to contain an extra waterpipe, some 20 feet in length, which was found to contain a quantity of silver dollars. The estate is now in private hands, so be forewarned.”

Treasure Seeker Magazine April 1974

The Search for Buried Treasure Leads to Adventures and Fond Memories

“ELOIT — Sometimes the treasure hunt isn’t about the treasure at all and it’s more about the quality time spent with loved ones along the way on the adventure.” Search Leads to Fond Memories

Museums Buy More Treasure Finds as Metal Detecting Discoveries Soar

“Artefacts found buried in the ground by metal detectors across the UK has yet again increased Treasure finds allowing museums to boost their collections.” Museums Buy More Treasure

Good, Clean Fun’: Northern Maryland Dirt Diggers Bond Over Discovery

“One of the bedrooms in Robby Devilbiss’s residence is home to more than 40,000 artifacts he has collected while metal detecting.” Good Clean Fun

Modern Day Treasure Hunters Reunite People With Lost Heirlooms

“Whether it’s a family heirloom that’s been passed down for generations or a brand new engagement ring, losing a treasured piece of jewelry can feel like losing a piece of yourself.” Modern Day Hunters

I Will Be a Guest On Josh Kimmel’s Podcast

On March Wednesday, 31 st at 8 PM, I will be a guest on Josh Kimmel's podcast "Beyond Sight and Sound."

It's always a privilege to be a guest on Josh's podcast. His show is by far the best podcast in the hobby. Josh's dedication to his show's integrity and his love for the hobby is a testament to his hard work at keeping his podcast the best.

I am honored to be a guest on Beyond Sight and Sound.

Hope you can listen in! Josh Kimmel Beyond Sight and Sound

We Want Your Stories and Pictures

One of the excitements we get from metal detecting is seeing what kind of “stuff” others are finding. Not only do we enjoy seeing the items found, but many of us like to hear the stories about how those finds were located. So, let’s see your “stuff.”

Many have posted pictures and brief stories of their finds at my website. It’s easy to do. You basically create your own webpage with a picture or pictures, and a brief story of how you found the items. Once your page is posted, others will be able to view your page, and make comments. You will also have your own url link to the webpage you built. Use that link to post to Facebook, Twitter, or Pintrest and share with others.

So show your “stuff.” We want to see the goodies! Stories About Your Finds

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