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Need Help To Detect Gold Bars 4-6 Feet Deep

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Hey guys, I was recently contacted by a local person with a personal treasure story.

Apparently this woman's ex-boyfriend buried a box with several gold bars in their back yard. It was meant to be a surprise for her but he tragically died in a car crash and didn't get the opportunity to present her with it. She learned of this recently after his death.

She knows which property it's located on but the area is 1/4 acre in size and she figures it's buried 4-6 feet deep. There are apparently several gold bars the sized of Hershey bars. There is supposed to be other treasures but she doesn't know what those are. She doesn't know what kind of container this stuff is buried in. If it was metal we could find it pretty easily with a magnetometer but she's not sure.

What technologies are available to detect at that depth? I'm not aware of any detectors that can reliably go that deep.

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Backhoe. There are stories of a 3030 finding a car a few feet deep and silver bars in the hundreds of pounds that deep, but I would rent a backhoe, scrape, detect, scrape, detect, rinse and repeat. I own buildings that they say had gambling and slot machines buried or bricked off before authorities got to them. That said, I’m not knocking down walls and following hearsay. 
Don’t forget to call 811 and probably don’t invest too much into a story. Especially if she thinks they are that deep. He wasn’t digging that deep without equipment or someone seeing him dig for weeks on end. 

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2 hours ago, jasong said:

Should be able to see the disturbance by eye if the hole was really 4-6ft deep. If it isn't that deep, then it may be within detecting depth of a metal detector with a large coil.

Having dug and repaired a lot of sewers to houses around 4-8ft deep, one thing I can say is that even if you refill the hole/trench, it'll sink in (this is visible by eye as a depression) unless you really get in there and jet out the cavities/voids with water and then stack more dirt on top. Or, preemptively stack about 6-12" of dirt on top of the disturbed area (also, visible) so that it levels out once the disturbed dirt starts compacting. This is a long process up to years, depending on dirt type/moisture, and is definitely visible by eye both in the dirt levels as well as vegetation until things flatten out again.

So yeah, I'd just take a good look by eye first to look for large disturbances. But I doubt someone would have dug a hole that deep to bury some hershey sized gold bars, it'd probably take equipment to dig, and equipment to recover. The point of burying something I'd guess would be to discreetly hide it, not bring attention to it. So, it may be shallower than they think and within reach of a detector.


Good tips.  Apparently after the treasure was buried the new owners of the property did some landscaping and added about 2 feet of soil on top of the whole place.

It's a 1/4 acre on a residential yard so we're not going to rip up the whole place with heavy equipment.  If it was vacant land in the bush we'd definitely do that.  This will need to be detected somehow.  

I am considering GPR but I'm not sure if it would pick up something of this size.  I own seismic sensors but they don't have the resolution for this.  We also have a survey grade magnetometer but that won't sense the gold, if we're lucky and there's a lot of ferrous metal in there too the mag will pick it up.  There are possible utilities and a septic system so that will probably throw off the mag.

I'm looking for a deep metal detecting option, possible a micro-IP or resistivity system.  I don't have experience using that equipment for this application though.  I am a mining exploration professional not a treasure hunter but this is a cool story and I want help them out.


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Process of elimination then, try a GPZ with a large coil, or a GPX 4500/5000 with a large mono.  If that fails you might need the brute force approach of a with an excavator, if there was really a bunch of gold bars there no one would care about digging up some grass to recover them.

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21 minutes ago, Placer Gold said:

I am considering GPR but I'm not sure if it would pick up something of this size.

You would use GPR to detect the soil disturbance, not the box, if it's a small target. A large hole like that dug within the last few years would show good contrast to the older, more compact soil around it on a GPR. 

Renting one, along with an operator to interpret the data, may cost a few thousand bucks though, which could be a significant percent of the gold value depending what's there. And if you had the wrong yard, then that's a chunk of change to lose. 

21 minutes ago, Placer Gold said:

There are possible utilities and a septic system so that will probably throw off the mag.

That actually helps you, because you know where not to dig and can narrow search areas down. If it has a septic and active leach field then that'll narrow your search area down hugely as I doubt he dug through a wet, active leach field by hand (4-6ft woulda put him into dirty aggregate). You can find the leach field location on the permit, go pull it at the county, if the lot is only 1/4 acre then a good portion of it will be taken up by this septic system. You can also rule out the tank location too (though might as well look inside, maybe he hid it there), and any utilities buried shallower than your suspected hole depth - phone, cable, gas are often 1-2ft. Electric varies by code, but often can be shallow especially if older. 

You could really eliminate a lot of potential spots to dig with what little info you have. Then you could get a 12" trenching bucket and a mini excavator and trench the likely spots and look for disturbed soil in the cut. Or just a Ditch Witch.

It'll be work and money no matter what you do, but that's the brute force method I'd use if it were me doing it and I didn't want to tear the whole yard up. Track on planks, save the grass, put the trench fill on tarps, backfill as you go.

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