Last week I spent the whole week in Virginia at the Diggin in Virginia Event. DIV 50 was spread over 4 different farms which comprised of thousands of acres. 5 days 10 hours a day metal detecting, what a dream. I don't attend too many metal detecting events, it's just not me. But DIV is different and offers sites you just can't get on otherwise. Now although some of these farms have been hit by DIV upwards of 10 times, they are still giving up relics. Most of the DIV digs take place in Culpeper County Virginia and is known for it's very hot dirt. VLF detectors struggle in this environment so a PI like the GPX, TDI or ATX are preferred. But you always get the person that can't afford or is unwilling to spend the money to rent or buy a PI and will take a go at it with a VLF. DIV 50 was no exception. I saw many people metal detecting with VLF's I even had a gent check a target for me in the woods that was using a White 6000 DI. I had just dug part of a Shako hat pin and got another signal under a tree root and couldn't tell if it was big iron or big brass (the rest of the hat pin) so had him check it for me, it turned out to be iron. So VLF's will do ok in the woods or in thick iron patches, but out in the fields it's GPX all the way. Right tool for the right job, so come prepared. I always take the GPX and either the Deus or Equinox as backup. If you decide to go, make sure you know your metal detector well. We talked to a group that all had GPX's and didn't find a single relic. They spent their time digging nails. It doesn't matter if you have the best metal detector in the world, if you don't know how to use it, chances are you aren't going to find good stuff. That goes for VLF detectors as well. If you know your machine you can find stuff in the hot Culpeper dirt. Knowing your machine and how to make changes for the soil can mean the difference between success and failure.
On this particular DIV, it being 50, some of us figured it may be the last. So my group decided to concentrate on the fields where we knew the Confederates camped prior to the Union Army moving in for the Winter of 1863-64. Other than going to a Union Camp for a day where you have a chance at digging some nice bottles of finding a whole Shako hat pin. We spent our time on a strip of land that boarders a creek where the Confederates camped. On day 2 we went to a part of the farm we hunted last Fall and was finding Gardner, ring tail sharps and 69 caliber round balls. These are all considered bullets used by the Confederates. the camp was located on a hillside that sloped toward a wash that ran into the creek. Last year I hunted that wash and was finding numerous 69 caliber round balls in and amongst the modern fencing and wire pieces. So I decided to hunt my way down the hill towards the bottom of the wash. As I approached the bottom of the wash I started hearing all the wire signals on my GPX and slowed down to investigate each one. I finally got a good solid signal and dug a ring tail sharps. Next signal not more than than 2 feet from the sharps bullet I got a signal that sounded like wire but wouldn't break up so I decided to dig it. When I got down about 12 inches I got my pin pointer out and got a signal in the bottom corner of the hole. I though due to it's orientation in the hole it was most likely a piece of wire. But got my hand digger out anyway to complete the recovery of the target. To my surprise it was a CS tongue, I never in my wildest dreams ever thought I would find one. To make things even better I got the excavation of it on video.
Some other highlights of the trip were finding fuses for artillery shells, artillery shell fragments and one of the other guys in my group found a pewter CS saddle shield which is also a very rare find. I had a great time and have made some good friends at DIV over the years. There are a great bunch of people that put together DIV and an even greater bunch of people that attend them. Some of these people have been attending since the very first one and are willing to share their knowledge with anyone who asks.
One of the places I have permission to hunt will soon be developed and under hundreds of new homes. It's a darn shame because the property sits in a beautiful valley where there once was an old town site dating back to the late 1800's. There are also several old home sites that are nothing more then just dots on the old as maps there are no structures left...all you might find is some bits of pottery and the iron grunt of your detector telling you are in the right spot. I've detected these areas off and on for several years as it's close and I can easily put in a hour or two after work. Recently I was told that I had till Jan 1st and then the land movers will be coming in so I've been going over the place hitting one spot then another...I've made some good silver coin finds over the years but I've had to work for every one of them as the place is no secret and it's been hit hard for many years before I was into this hobby. My main goal was to try and find a $1 gold coin...I just know there has to be one out there around the old town site. The place is littered with head stamps and 22 casings and other low to mid conductors.
Yesterday I had had enough of digging junk for mostly nothing at the old town site and decided to hit one of the old home sites...I have detected this area before and found a really nice engraved silver buckle...that time I was with my friend Merton and we had went over the area pretty good but we were mostly cherry picking high conductors. Yesterday I was in a dig it all kind of mood. I was getting lots of brass rivets and some other mid/high conductors and fully expected the next target to be more of the same when out of the hole pops a token..cool the day is saved I think to myself...then just a foot away same signal same reading on the detector and out pops another of the same style token...so now it's game on. For the next hour I stayed in a circle no more than 15 feet in diameter and plucked token after token out of the ground. And for desert I got a very old gold ring with two hearts on it and one gold cuff link...plus a smashed barber dime... today i went back and got another token and found the mate to the gold cuff link. All the finds were with the CTX 3030 all of them were at least 6 inches deep or deeper. Some were faint signals...I went back over it again today with the Nox but no dice. The strange shaped tokens are from a place called "The Palace Beer and Billiards Market St San Francisco" the round ones vary...one says cigar on it the others are hard to read.
I figured this was worth posting so I broke out my ole trusty rock from Rye patch and did a photo op. The gold ring is hard to see upper left it's in good shape but has lots of staining from sitting in cow piss for over a hundred years..got it soaking in CLR right now. One of the pictures explains everything...Happy Hunting and Happy Thanks giving.
Went up to the racetrack again yesterday, thought these finds deserve a post of their own. There is a small plot of land next to where the house stood. It had a barn and the cemetery behind it. It's about a half acre. Lots of corn stalks 😵
At first the going was kinda risky, the wind was blowing about 20 mph, big low off the coast. I had to search under trees in the background and these were falling everywhere.
If any of you have ever been hit in the head by one of these Black Walnuts, you know what the fun part is. They were coming down like rain. I suppose I could have waited a few more days but hunting season starts soon. The trees are about 50' or more, and they get a bit of velocity. 😀
I really didn't expect to find much at all, a scout search last spring gave no indication there was anything good here, but I was determined to grid something out of it after my finds from previous days.
This is another example of "persistence pays off". All of these relics are very old. A pistol ball, an as yet unidentified fired ~45 cal bullet (the sharp end is throwing me off).
The first button says "Gilt Colour" and something else on the back and still has some thread. Second has a triangle on the front and possibly some other marks, and says "Plated" on the back. The third is my favorite, an ancient convex Tombac with some off-center engraving. It has a square shank boss on the back.
By afternoon someone was shooting a handgun in my direction, must have fired about 100 rounds. I didn't hear any "snaps" so I presumed the shooter was on a lower elevation and hoped there was a backstop. 🙄 Guess I'm gonna have to get a boat horn. 😵
Another bit of excitement was coming across two of these "little" guys building webs across the corn stalks in front of me.
The Yellow Garden Spider can grow to 1 1/2 inches in body length. They rarely bite but if they do you know it, those fangs flip out. I'm glad that metal detectors are out in front. 😀 I let them both carry on... 😬