Two passions that go hand-in-hand
arrowheads and metal detectors
 It is said that veteran hunters dislike using the phrase "treasure hunting". The opposition, the uninformed and the "bad apples" of our hobby have created such a stigma around those words that the hobbyists are reluctant to use them. This fact is very unfortunate as those words, when spoken to the average person, spark feelings of adventure, intrigue and mystery. When children hear those words you can see the excitement in their eyes. Nevertheless, it's definition covers all fields in our hobby including arrowhead hunting, metal detecting, bottle digging, prospecting and the list goes on. Any combination of the above fields can be linked together and the hobbyist should never run short of treasures to seek. For this article I will attempt to cover how the fields of arrowhead hunting and metal detecting can be seamlessly meshed together. 

  If your an arrowhead/artifact hunter, and have been digging for any length of time, chances are you have gained permissions and access to private properties and good hunting sites. These sites will more than likely contain old homesteads or areas that may have seen early military actions. If you want a break from the norm, why not add a detector to your list of digging equipment and give these areas a thorough scan whenever you happen upon one. Let's face it, Indian artifacts are the ultimate relic as they are the oldest you can dig. The relics that will be found with a detector may not compare in age or significance but they still have historical importance and a great deal of character. Let's take a look at some of the items you are likely to encounter with the detector.

Coins are fairly common. The older the better. The higher the denomination of a coin the harder it will be to find. Therefore pennies will be the most common. In the 1800's losing a quarter could be devastating and you can bet every attempt was made to find it. These older coins were the real deal. No clad here...just silver and gold. Tokens are always fun to find. Most advertise the establishment that issued them such as saloons, general stores etc. These can really paint a vivid picture of what an area was once like. Depending on what part of the country your hunting you may came across sites that have seen early military action. A common example would be a civil war campground or battle site. These sites can yield anything from uniform buttons to cannonballs.
Click images to view larger version.

Jewelry is always a nice surprise. These items allow us to connect to the people who inhabited these homesteads. We get a glimpse of their lifestyles and tastes. These were their cherrished and personal affects and you can almost feel the heartache of the person who lost it.  Some miscellaneous and common finds include buttons, buckles, silverware, metal toys, locks, keys and the list never stops. There is no end to what may come out of the ground. Just when you think you found it all something different will pop up and surprise you. Then there are the items that aren't detected but are found by chance. These relics are usually found while scanning for targets as we seem to always watch the ground in front of us. They also show up in the holes as we recover metal targets. These items may include old marbles, bottles, doll parts, buttons, clay pipes and who may find an arrowhead.

  If all this has spurred your interest and you feel the need to run down to the nearest dealer and buy a detector let me first point out some things to consider. First, metal detecting does require some practice. There will be some discouragement at first and I cannot emphasize enough the fact that you have to stick with it. Don't make the mistake of throwing the machine in the closet after digging rusty cans and horseshoes on your first few outings. These detectors can distinguish between trash and treasure but you have to become accustom to your particular brand and learn what it's telling your with its tones and beeps. If you buy from a reputable dealer they are usually more than willing to give you "hands on" usage tips and tricks which will help you overcome the discouragement factor faster than if you merely read the owners manual and set out on your own. Even better would be to find a local detectorist and have them accompany you on an outing. Hands on experience is by far the best lessons. Most major cities in the country have detecting clubs where you can find plenty of hunters willing to help. The second thing that needs to be noted is target recovery. You are no doubt accustomed to digging so that should not be a problem but recovering targets located with a detector requires certain techniques. You should learn to precisely pinpoint your targets with your detector before digging. This will allow you to recover targets quickly and efficiently and minimize the chances for damage. There's nothing worse than scratching the face of a nice token or coin with a digging tool due to inaccurate pinpointing. Good pinpointing and target recovery skills will also allow you to cover more area in a shorter amount of time. There's no need to dig a 6" diameter hole for a quarter that is a mere 2" below the surface. After you have spent some time behind your detector you will be able to pinpoint within fractions of an inch where the target lies beneath your coil and capable of approximating it's depth. 
  I know alot of you may already use metal detectors, dig bottles, prospect for gold or practice other forms of treasure hunting but for those who don't I hope this article has peaked your interest and you will join us in the other fields. We all share the same interests and values which is preserving history through the recovery and preservation of it's artifacts. I think if we can all join together and keep digging responsibly while respecting private property owners and abiding by state laws we may be able to clear the stigma from the phrase "Treasure Hunting".
 - - Garren King 
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All items pictured above were found by the author on private property with owners permission.