Back to Back Issues Page
The Digger :Your Metal Detecting Newsletter
October 31, 2022

Welcome New Subscribers

Thank you to the new subscribers to "The Digger." Each month I try to bring new and fresh ideas and articles that pertain to the hobby of metal detecting. But each month is a work in progress and a challenge to keep "The Digger" ongoing. As I often mentioned, I try to avoid redundancy but do at times post stories or articles that were previously in past issues of "The Digger." I do this so that new subscribers get a chance to read them.

Of course, I always welcome emails, comments, and any ideas that you would like to see in "The Digger."

Thanks again for subscribing.


There Was No September Issue

Unfortunately, I was unable to get the September issue of “The Digger” written and emailed to you. Sorry!

Where Can I Dig?

One of the questions I am often asked is, “What is the law in my state regarding what and where I can metal detect and dig.” Because of my experience with those laws and the archaeology community that verbally attacked me when I was filming, I had to research and learn those laws to fight back against them. I have tried to enlighten people about those laws. What follows is a synopsis of those dictates.

Be advised, I am not a lawyer, and I am not giving legal advice. Nor am I responsible for any information that I give due to the ever-changing scads of dictates and fiats. I would advise that you research this information further if you have questions.

Federal Metal Detecting Laws, Do They Exist?

The only areas that I know of that are lawfully off limits to metal detecting are historical battle sites, like Gettysburgh. Other than those areas the laws for digging artifacts or relics on state or federal lands are well documented by law.

When you are on state or federal lands, there are no federal laws against metal detecting. However, there are many state laws against digging for an artifact, or relic that is more than one hundred years old. In New York State the law says not to dig any item that is not at least fifty-one years old. That means here in NYS if on state land, and you dig a 1971 Lincoln Penny, you are breaking the law. That 1971 Lincoln cent is now considered an ancient artifact according to the beauracrats and politicians, with the help of state archaeologists. And to make things even more absurd, any item found on state land in NYS as well as many other states, are to be turned over to the state museum to be viewed and admired by the public. Can you imagine the museum director receiving a bag full of clad Lincoln pennies for display? I have hundreds of them that I’ve found over the years in various backyards and farmlands. I have often thought about taking them to the state museum and graciously giving them my Lincolns to put on display and enjoyed by the museum visitors. I’m sure my bag full of relics will enthrall the frequenters of the museum.

Now think about this. You can swing your detector all day long, but you cannot dig an artifact or relic unless it is at least one hundred years old, or fifty years old in NYS. So the first question that comes to mind is if you are metal detecting on BLM land, state land, or any federal land, and you get a signal, how do you know that the artifact below your coil is at least that old? Maybe someday someone will invent a seeing-eye coil, a coil that can see beneath the ground, and alert us via a small video screen housed on our detector that will allow us to view the item, and then we can decide if it is old enough to dig.

The granddaddy of all the state and federal land laws is the Antiquities Act of 1906, which was put into play by President Theodore Roosevelt, it reads:

"“In 1906, Congress passed the General Antiquities Act. The Act, drafted by an archaeologist, gave the President the power to set aside objects and structures of historic and scientific interest as national monuments. 54 U.S.C. 320301. The Antiquities Act provides, in relevant part: “The President may, in the President’s discretion, declare by public proclamation historic landmarks, historic and prehistoric structures, and other objects of historic or scientific interest that are situated on land owned or controlled by the Federal Government to be national monuments” and “may reserve parcels of land as a part of the national monuments.

54 U.S.C. 320301(a), (b). The statute also provides that “[n]o extension or establishment of national monuments in Wyoming may be undertaken except by express authorization of Congress.” 54 U.S.C. 320301(d).”

The next law enacted by states is ARPA, The Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979. “This statute (16 U.S.C. 470aa-470mm; Public Law 96-95 and amendments to it) was enacted secure, for the present and future benefit of the American people, the protection of archaeological resources and sites which are on public lands and Indian lands, and to foster increased cooperation and exchange of information between governmental authorities, the professional archaeological community, and private individuals (Sec. 2(4)(b)).”

This law extended the 1906 law with more stipulations as to what and where you can dig. My recommendation to everyone that asks where and what I can dig in my state is to look at their state ARPA law. My website has all of that information for each state and makes it easier to understand instead of researching on your own.

Now, searching on private property is a different matter. You can metal detect and dig on private property as long as you have permission from the land owner. The Antiquities Act and the ARPA law do not affect private property.

Hope this helps!

Treasure Maps

Buried treasure maps do exist. Over my fifty years of metal detecting/treasure hunting, I’ve seen many different kinds. Of course, most are fake. Some are drawn with half-truths. And the truly real treasure maps are hard to come by.

Coming across a legitimate map is like finding the needle in a haystack. Finding an honest-to-goodness treasure map is a treasure in itself. Not many exist. The maps that do exist are as secretive as their treasures. That only makes sense. Why would anyone who discovers one of these maps share the information with another person? Usually, a map of this kind suddenly appears by accident.

Treasure maps come in all shapes and sizes. Many were made of pictures drawn on paper. Some maps were drawn on rocks and cave walls. Secret societies like the Knights of the Golden Circle (KGC) used all of the above maps.

I saw maps that looked to be treasure maps chiseled in stone of strange symbols in six different states. Some of the maps were reported to be of treasure buried during the Spanish Inquisition. Other chiseled stone maps were supposedly those of Egyptian hieroglyphs. Yes, the Egyptians were in America well before Columbus set foot on its soil.

Although many of the maps were drawings, some maps used coded messages to describe where the treasures were hidden. One such map was the famous map of the Beale Treasure. Thomas Jefferson Beale supposedly came upon this treasure in 1818. However, there are no records anywhere of Beale’s existence.

The Beale treasure supposedly consisted of gold, silver, and jewels and has been estimated to be worth today upwards of 50 million dollars. It was found by Beale and a team of twenty-nine other individuals, north of Santa Fe, New Mexico. In addition, the Beale treasure was found by accident. Here is a brief explanation of how.

Beale and his group of twenty-nine individuals were on their way west to hunt buffalo. They were in the area of Santa Fe when they stopped to camp. Here is an excerpt from a note that was found inside an iron box, that Beale gave to Robert Morriss of Lynchburg Virginia after he located the treasure. Robert also becomes a critical figure in the Beale treasure.

“The party, encamped in a small ravine, were preparing their evening meal when one of the men discovered in a cleft of the rocks something that had the appearance of gold. Upon showing it to the others it was pronounced to be gold, and much excitement was the natural consequence.”

The note explained that Beale and his men worked the site for the next 1 ½ years. During that time they accumulated a large quantity of gold and silver. The silver was mined close to the area where they had found the gold. Eventually, the men decided that the best thing to do with the treasure was to take it back to Virginia, where they were from, and hide it for safekeeping. However, because of the weight, which would make traveling difficult, the men decided to trade some of the gold and silver for jewels. It was 1820 when Beale headed to Lynchburg, Virginia, and buried the treasure. The Beale treasure is supposedly buried near Montvale in Virginia.

Robert Morris was a Lynchburg innkeeper. It was in 1820 when Beale met, and entrusted Morriss with the locked, iron box. However, it wasn’t until twenty-three years later, that Morriss opened the box.

Many years had gone by since the time that Beale gave Morriss the iron box. Beale had left Virginia many years earlier, no one knowing where he went. Morriss assumed Beale was now dead, and with his curiosity peaked, he decided to open the box. It was then that he found the note. Also in the iron box were the three ciphers.

The Beale ciphers consist of separate ciphertexts. There are three of these ciphertexts. One of the ciphertexts explains where the treasure is today, and the other two ciphertexts explain what the contents of the treasure are.

Robert Morris felt a responsibility to the family of what he now thought were dead miners. He wanted to find the treasure, and then pass it on to them. However, he could not understand the coded messages. For the next twenty years, Morris tried to understand the messages. Then, in 1862 when he was 84 years old, Morris decided it was time to share what he had with another. He gave the ciphers to a friend. Unfortunately, no record was made of who the friend was. But from that friend came two important happenings. The friend printed a pamphlet that contained Beale’s story, and information regarding the ciphers. Next, the unknown friend of Beale supposedly deciphered one of the coded papers. Interestingly, the coded texts were supposedly tied by numbers to the words of the Declaration of Independence. Below is the message derived from the codes.

“I have deposited in the county of Bedford, about four miles from Buford’s, in an excavation or vault, six feet below the surface of the ground, the following articles: ... The deposit consists of two thousand nine hundred and twenty-one pounds of gold and five thousand one hundred pounds of silver; also jewels, obtained in St. Louis in exchange for silver to save transportation ... The above is securely packed in iron pots, with iron covers. The vault is roughly lined with stone, and the vessels rest on solid stone, and are covered with others ...”

The ciphered message also indicated the amount of the treasure. When the anonymous individual discovered its worth, he spent much of his time trying to decipher the other two codes. Unfortunately, by 1885, the unknown individual had enough of trying to figure out where the treasure was buried and decided to make public his story but still wanted to remain unknown.

Who was Thomas Jefferson Beale? Did he exist? Is this treasure story just a finely tuned figment of someone’s imagination? All of these questions regarding the Beale treasure cannot be answered until the real Thomas Jefferson Beale is authenticated.

And what about the ciphers? Were they real?

Then we have pirate treasure maps. As children, many that are my age are familiar with the movies and stories about pirates and their buried treasures. “Treasure Island”, “Blackbeard the Pirate”, “Sea Hawk”, and “The Buccaneer”, were movies and books that captivated our young hearts. Buried treasures depicted by treasure maps were a constant theme in those stories.

Pirate maps were also written or scribed on various items.

A pirate map on a copper chart was supposedly engraved by the pirate Jose Gaspar. Gaspar was well known as the pirate, “Gasparilla.”

For more information regarding this map and Gasparilla. Gasper the Pirate

A Piece From The Past

In 1883, clerk James C. Pusey stole at least $5000 in gold coins from the state prison in Lansing Kansas. When the theft was discovered, he fled in such haste that it is believed that he left the gold coins somewhere in Lansing. He was captured and returned to the prison to serve a sentence where shortly afterward he died. Some believe that the hoard of gold coins was hidden behind the walls of the Lansing State Penitentiary.

Credit A.T. Evans, author

Credit A.T. Evans, author

Teaching Seniors About Metal Detecting

By Rich Creason | For The Times-Post

“Many older folks wish they had something to do to fill their leisure time.

Unfortunately, due to finances, health issues, or other problems, these people end up sitting at the table working a crossword puzzle, playing cards with friends or family, sitting on the front porch watching the traffic go by, or just switching channels to find something to watch on the TV.”

Teaching Seniors About Metal Detecting

Isle of Man Metal Detectorists Reminded to Speak to Landowners

Sometimes I’m asked why I show stories from countries other than the U.S. which is where I and my website, newsletter and the majority of my newsletter subscribers and visitors to my website are situated. Although I feel that I should not have to explain my reason for posting stories from other countries, I will do so, because it makes me feel good to get it out there. If I lose a few subscribers because they don’t like what I say, then so be it. I learned a long time ago that you cannot please everyone. So why try?

Here is my explanation as to why I post those stories from other countries.

I do so because I have subscribers and visitors to my website from countries all over the world. Another reason is that the overwhelming majority want to read about what is going on in the hobby in other areas of the world. And the last reason why I add the stories regarding countries other than the U.S. is because - this is my newsletter. I can do whatever I like with it.

The following is a story regarding the Isle of Man.

“Treasure hunters on the Isle of Man must get permission from landowners, a metal detectorist has warned.” Isle of Mann Metal Detectorists Reminded to Speak to Landowners A lot can be said about this next story.

Metal Detectorist Told to Put Found Wedding Ring Back in the Ocean

“So much for “happily ever after.”

A UK metal detectorist triumphantly returned a long-lost wedding band to its owner — who promptly told him that she ditched it after a nasty divorce and wanted it thrown back in the sea.” Metal Detectorist Told to Put Found Wedding Ring Back in the Ocean

Guernsey Metal Detectorists Warned Off Protected Areas

“Metal detectorists in Guernsey are being warned to avoid ecologically and historically sensitive areas.

The States said holes had been found dug on protected land that it owns." Guernsey Metal Detectorists Warned Off Protected Areas

Explorer Finds Rare Civil War Relics On Banks Of Drought-Stricken Mississippi River

“A Memphis, Tennessee, history lover and relics collector made a fascinating discovery along the banks of a drought-stricken Mississippi River.” Explorer finds rare Civil War relics on banks of drought-stricken Mississippi River

Four Men Arrested on Suspicion of Metal Detecting Over An Ancient Monument

“Four men have been arrested after being found at a scheduled ancient monument with metal detecting equipment.” Four Men Arrested On Suspicion Of Metal Detecting Over An Ancient Monument

Rings Lost During Mardi Gras Parade Found Six Years Later

“A former high school football star who lost two championship rings during a Mardi Gras parade was reunited with his lost items when they were found by a man using a metal detector six years later.” Rings Lost During Mardi Gras Parade Found Six Years Later

Death Be To Traitors

Finally, after years of research and writing, I have completed my book, “Death Be To Traitors.”

And for my subscribers to “The Digger,” I am offering this book at a reduced price of just $4.95. This price is a discount of 50% off the price at my website at $9.95.

The book is a digital eBook in PDF format and contains 265 pages. So it can be read on most devices. There are no soft cover or hard book copies available.

Here is a brief description of “Death Be To Traitors.”

Legends of buried treasure are in every state. However, there is not much written about the possible treasures that funded the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. In addition, like President John F. Kennedy's assassination, questions about who the killer was had never been answered.

John Wilkes Booth was named the murderer of President Lincoln. Yet, questions arise about why he killed him. Did he act alone, and, if not, who also was involved with the murder.

At that time, a known secret society was the KGC, the Knights of the Golden Circle. The Knights of the Golden circle were a secret society started by George Bickley. Bickley was from Cincinnati. He was a master at lying and set out to convince others that his secret society, with the help of the southern border states, could conquer Mexico, Central America, and Cuba.

This circle of countries would represent the "golden circle" of the KGC, thus the Knights of the Golden Circle. Included within the circle were individuals from northern states who sympathized with the south and their belief in slavery. The KGC wanted to use those northern influences and extend slavery into the "golden circle" countries and the southern states, thus enhancing slavery in the southern states.

Bickley gained the support of some Southerners. In 1860 members of the Knights of the Golden Circle were paying dues. They intended to use the money to purchase arms to support their efforts. High-ranking officials from the states of Indiana, Ohio, and Illinois also supported the confederacy's idea of perpetuating slavery. The sympathizer states ran secret cells or castles where they held meetings. When the civil war broke out, the KGC cached millions of dollars of currency, gold, and silver to fight a secret war against the northern army. They intended to help the south win the war and keep slavery in existence. Unfortunately for the KGC, President Abraham Lincoln and his efforts to end slavery were a thorn in the side of the KGC's plans to preserve slavery. Stories circulated that some KGC members were unhappy with Abe Lincon's ideas regarding freeing enslaved people, which led to the idea of assassinating him. More stories came to light after John Wilkes Booth assassinated President Lincoln. The narratives expressed that the KGC approached Booth to commit the crime.

The KGC had the means to pay Booth for the crime. Besides the dues they collected from its members, the secret organization was also a criminal sect. They stole millions of dollars of cash, gold, and silver from banks, civil war payroll trains, and stagecoaches to help finance their illegal activities and then hid their caches in various states. The legends of buried treasures regarding the KGC ring true. KGC treasures were uncovered in states across America. And there are still millions of dollars yet to be found. Regrettably, greedy government officials, agencies, and ruthless criminals have been stealing KGC treasures for profit. As a result, treasure hunters searching for these treasures are threatened. However, undeterred by the threats from powerful individuals, treasure hunters continue to search for KGC caches.

Two treasure hunters peel away the layers of myths surrounding the assassination of President Lincoln and the involvement of the KGC in that treasonous act by questioning the myths and researching for answers. “Death Be To Traitors” is the result.

I have dedicated this book to those brave men and women in the hobby of metal detecting who research, locate and share their historical finds with the public, academia, and government officials, even as those people criticize them.

For more information and to purchase “Death Be To Traitors”, click the following link.


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

Back Issues

If you’re new to “The Digger” and you’d like to see back issues, or if you know anyone that may be interested in “The Digger” you can direct them to the “Back Issues” page for their review. The Digger back issues

Thank You


Contact Me

Contact Me
Back to Back Issues Page