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.
The Florida Clan wanted to come for a visit and try some of that Arizona Sweet Tea. Haven’t seen them all in a group for close to 30 years. But, Robin’s and I trip started on Halloween Day from our home in Reno to Laughlin, NV. That’s about as far as I can drive in a day! We cut through Searchlight, NV and passed a couple washes I’d like to revisit. Next morning we cut out to Wickenburg, AZ for a visit with Friends that just moved there a few months back. Mike & Yvonne formally from Rural Oregon made the move to Wickenburg for the love of Team Roping and the Hunt for gold. Didn’t take Mike long to find a Welcome to Arizona Patch which currently is close to a 2-oz patch! (Below in my hand are the fat ones). Mike took me when we arrived to their home for a short swing! It was a hill side small drainage wash that feed into the big wash. I explored the patch and several nearby spots in the Reno Summer like temperature of 87 degrees. I was roasting when I noticed a Cholla stuck to my Boot which I removed with 2 rocks with a dozen or more of its spears stuck deep into the leather! Well 1/4 mile more and they worked their way thru the leather and now poking my foot! We had to leave with no tools to remove needles. Well off to my Folks and a week of fun with my Family traveling the sights from the Grand Canyon, Sedona and Tombstone. Heading back we stopped at Mike & Yvonne’s again for a longer hunt and then hit the local Rodeo grounds for dinner and some cold beers. Again, it was more than warm for this Northern Nevada guy. We seen some likely hills with some colors we liked. I was 3 gullies over (1/2 mile). I just worked up the side hill wash to the top of the hill and swung over to the next wash to work down it and repeat. I heard Mike say, hey the old timers worked this one! Sure enough old dry wash piles. I was up at the head of the wash and he was midway swing up. I pulled a dink nugget out and then Mike got on a string of nuggets. Sure there was some trash, but there’s 9 little nuggets the old timers left us! We know there is more to find at this spot, but water was getting real low and cold beer was at the Rodeo Grounds. Off we went leaving the new patch to catch it’s breath after a 30 minute beating. There’s still plenty of ground to explore in this old placer area(s) of Morristown! What a great Vacation and yes, we are home to nice and cool Reno 😂. Until the Next Hunt
By Gerry in Idaho
Rye Patch is a scenic area (for its own reasons), this time of yr. If you can catch warm Temps in 60s, no wind, and sunny days, it doesn't get much better. Add the chance to cross paths with some DP members makes it even better. A few other things allowing an adventurous trip, a hairy legged tarantula, some more intricate nuggets and always a handful of lucky crystals.
I have been blessed so far with all. Including chatting with members, Condor, Bill in CO, Chet and Tom from CA., and today hopefully a few others.
Memories to add to my scrapbook.
By Old Line Paul
This is the second half of my post for lurkers and noobies
On May 13, I went detecting for the very first time and found my first penny. I was hooked! I went back to the park on May 16, May 19, May 31 and June 7. I stuck to the playground and Fitcore lot because the digging was easy and I figured people were most likely to lose items while active. My expectations were low. My detector is basic and the park is a 25 year old suburban athletic field, not a 150 year old park in the center of town. I was out for the nice weather and the thrill of the hunt. I always came home with at least one coin.
The problem with my search strategy was that the playgrounds are the most-used part of the park on weekdays. In this day and age, I didn’t want to be the Weird Old Man who shows kids his metal detector. And I certainly didn’t want to annoy the musclemen when they were working out!
On June 14, I was crowded out of the playgrounds. So I tried the sidelines of the soccer field. My neighborhood is largely immigrant, and amateur soccer is a very big deal. Still, I wasn’t optimistic. How much can you drop watching soccer? Do young people even carry change any more?
I started swinging. Keep in mind that I still was using the “all metal” setting and digging every target. Also the ground was bone dry and rock-hard from being trampled by spectators. Much to my surprise, I was finding a target every few feet. Because of the soil condition and the fact that this is a park, I didn’t dig more than 2” before giving up. Still, after 2 hours, I had found 2 dimes and 3 pennies (in addition to countless bottle tops).
QUESTION: How the heck does a coin minted in 2018 end up 2” under turf in 2021?
Before I left, I looked around. How did I not notice there was a shaded hill at each end of the field? A quick check showed they not only had perfect views of the field, but plenty of trash and trampled grass. Hey, I was learning to read the terrain!
On June 17 and June 23 I hit the hills. Not only did I find 2 dimes, 3 nickels 11 pennies (a huge haul for me at the time) but I was getting a PhD in telling trash from treasure. For the first time, I started playing with the discrimination knob, finding the spot where I could dial out the countless beer bottle tops.
Armed with this new knowledge, I hit the more productive of the hills on August 4. Here’s what I found in 3 hours:
I continue to hit those hills, especially on Mondays. On August 23, I decided to detect the field itself. I figured young Central American men + competitive soccer = lost gold chains. Since I was looking for surface finds and didn’t want to leave holes players could trip on, I only probed targets with a thin screwdriver. No gold, but I did pop 1 dime, 2 pennies, and a house key, along with 2 aluminum cleats (which really pegged the meter!).
QUESTION: How the heck do coins end up in the middle of a soccer field?
That’s the end of my tale. I don’t consider myself a Tenderfoot any longer. A beginner, but not a Tenderfoot. As I sharpen my skills, I continue to find more coins, not fewer, as I work the same park. I hope I have inspired others. You don’t need a fancy rig or an historic location to have fun.
By Old Line Paul
This post is for all you lurkers and newbies.
In December, I won a Barska Winbest Pro Edition in a church raffle. I always wanted a metal detector as a boy, but Santa never came through. But as they say, “It’s never to late to have a happy childhood.” Shortly thereafter, I found this website and started reading about the hobby.
May 13 was a beautiful day, so I unboxed my new toy, plugged in an old pair of iPhone earbuds, and headed off to a nearby park. I didn’t have high expectations. First, because I had looked the Winbest up on Amazon and knew it retailed for under $70. Second, because the park is less than 25 years old and has no concession stands. It’s a sports field with a tot lot, a Fitcore station, soccer field, baseball diamond and tennis courts. How much loot could there be?
I hit the Fitcore lot first, since maybe people would drop stuff while working out. More importantly, the lot is surfaced with wood chips, which would make digging and refilling holes a lot easier. Being a rookie, I had read on this website to set the detector to “all metal” and dig every target until I learned how my machine worked. So I started swinging.
Minutes later, I heard my first signal. I scratched through the wood chips and out popped a 1995 penny! I couldn’t believe my eyes. Seeing old Abe staring up at me was quite a thrill. Over the next hour, I dug up 9 pieces of trash. But I didn’t mind. I was gaining confidence in my detector, since each time I heard a signal there was something down there.
The Detector Deities were looking out for me that day. If I had found the trash first, I would never have persevered long enough to find that penny. The Winbest would have gone to the thrift shop and the day would soon be forgotten.
I hit the Fitcore and tot lots a few times more, and found a few more pennies and some broken toys. But the problem was not the slim pickings but the fact that a lot of people used the playgrounds. I didn’t want to attract attention or make a nuisance of myself, so I reluctantly headed off to the empty soccer field.
Reluctantly, because, I mean, how much stuff can there be on the sidelines of a soccer field? (To be continued…)
I never dreamed I would find a spot like I did today, turned out to be my best silver coin day ever!! I've been on a 6 day hunt starting last Wed and ending Tuesday morning when I head home. I've been hitting a couple parks in the town I'm staying in and a couple of surrounding towns as well. I managed to get into some producing spots and have done pretty well with multiple silver days everyday. Today, my plan was to drove over to a town about 60 miles from here and hit a pretty big park that's been around awhile. I got up early, grabbed some breakfast and hit the road. About 20 miles in, I figure out I forgot my phone, so, I head back to the motel. I decided to stay here and look for a new spot so I googled the town and saw a couple of parks and schools that I decided to go check out. Well, none were in older neighborhoods, so I headed to a park that had produced last year. As I'm driving over there, I see an old high school that's been renovated and drive around back and see a big open area with old backstops in each corner. I decided what the heck, might as well stop and swing awhile, maybe I'll get lucky and find a wheat or 2 I started out in front of one of the backstops and get a copper hit. The shovel slid easily into the ground and I pulled out a memorial. I move straight out towards the pitchers mound and get another penny signal. I go to dig a plug and the ground was hard as a rock, nothing but compacted rock and gravel. I take my pinpointer and scan the ground, thankfully I got a hit. I began to chisel my way thru the rocks and pop out a wheat, oh yes, it's on now. The next target was another wheat, again, within range of the pinpointer, out pops another wheat. Now I'm getting excited, within 5 minutes I have 2 wheats, that's good sign. The next 2 hits were funky signals and turned out to be mercs, both shallow and picked up by the pinpointer. Every swing of the coil sounded like a machine gun, 6-7 iron targets per swing. I'm in the middle of an iron infested spot, with compacted ground. I hunted for the next 30 minutes and ended up with 3 merc and 6 wheats, no clad, I'm only 45 minutes into this hunt and it's only 8:15 am, gonna be a long day lol. This old playground area is about 1 square block, so, I head off toward the other backstop and within 50 I get a hit. The ground is as soft as butter and out comes a clad dime. I hunted about 30-45 minutes at the other backstop and dug nothing but deep clad. I realized real quick that the spot I was in must have been avoided because of the rock hard ground and all the iron so I headed back. I decided to start grid off the area and see how far this hot spot goes. Turns out it's roughly a 60-70 foot area in front of the backstop. The soil outside of this spot is completely different and relatively trash free. I guess they dug out the original soil and missed this area, I have no idea. I hunted all day, started at 7:30 and called it quits at 5:45 when I quit digging keepers. I never thought I would stumble on a place like this just out of pure dumb luck. I'm glad I decided to stay in town. I ended up beating my single day silver coin finds of 13. Sorry for any grammar or punctuation errors, I'm celebrating with a couple of cold ones:)