Friday, October 10, 2014

Claire Liebig-Denham's New Book Reviewed.


If you are just starting out in the fascinating hobby of metal detecting or treasure hunting, or even if you have been in it for a while, who do you turn to for advice? Someone who has only recently got their feet wet in the hobby or an old hand who can hardly remember what it was like to be a beginner? Personally I would go for both views and this is the excellent well-researched starter’s view I can thoroughly recommend.

I like the way Claire has put this book together, with the main text covering the essentials, in 130 pages, together with many links to videos and web pages leading to more in-depth information.

The contents include: eight pages of useful TIPS to get the best out of your detecting. This is a boon for newbies and a refresher for old hands.

There are ten pages of RESOURCES with many links to excellent sites related to metal detecting, such as maps, soils, site finding, history, finds identification and dowsing. This section is invaluable, for here I discovered a fantastic website, which led to nearby land where several Roman gold coins had been found. A cache hereabouts is likely and needs investigating.

Sixty pages of INFORMATION follow that you can dip into at will. The information is divided into three main sections covering clubs, associations, forums and websites; a comprehensive section on voluntary codes, finds reporting, rules, regulations and laws around the World and finally a glossary of metal detecting terminology essential to beginners.

The find of a lifetime starts with getting permission and the PERMISSIONS section gives good coverage of techniques you can use to persuade landowners to grant you access to their land so you can make those great finds.

Everyone in the hobby knows the importance of research to find sites of human activity in the past but few carry out the research. I once asked a group of thirty detectorists why they did not do research and the answer came back; “we don’t know how.” The SEARCH section gives plenty of ideas on places and clues to look for, so you will know how and what to research.

Even though I have been in the hobby for over 40 years I was still able to learn from this book. It contains a goldmine of tips, resources and information, not only for beginners but for all metal detectorists and treasure hunters.

For more information please visit:

Wednesday, August 27, 2014


I switched back to baiting the Anderson PMR-II with pure silver on the basis that it should cover almost the entire spectrum of desirable finds, including solid gold, while reducing the apparent sensitivity to gold plate. It worked! It wasn’t long before I was holding an Iron Age gold stater coin, which I had dug up after the Anderson had led my detector to it. One swallow (or is it one stater?) doesn’t make a summer, they say, so I ended my summer with a second gold stater found in exactly the same way.

The coins are Gallic War Uniface gold staters of the Ambiani tribe who were centred around Amiens in Northern France, dating c.60-30 BC. It is believed they were mainly brought to Britain by way of payment to mercenaries fighting Caesar’s armies in Gaul.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Metal Detecting on the Coast: The Ultimate Guide by Edward Fletcher

Coastal detecting is quite neglected in Britain but if you know how to work beaches and foreshores it can be more consistently rewarding than searching inland sites. And not just for modern coinage and gold and silver jewellery aplenty, for with a little application you can make the same range of finds from Bronze Age to modern that you can make on inland sites.


There are very few British books on coastal detecting but Ted Fletcher’s, Metal Detecting on the Coast: The Ultimate Guide, first published in 1997 and reprinted in 2003, has stood the test of time. The principles explained in the book are still true today, quite simply because coastal forces re-distribute lost finds in much the same way they have always done, the World over. I bought a copy of this book soon after it was published and applying what I learnt, I have found Iron Age gold coins, as well as Roman, Saxon, medieval and modern silver coins, all on beaches and foreshores. So if you can get to the coast, there is much to be found and what’s more getting access is much easier than on farmland, as formal permission is rarely needed.


Edward (Ted) Fletcher has been writing books for metal detectorists ever since the hobby began in Britain, in fact I think he started the hobby here - he certainly got me started in metal detecting. Ted really knows his stuff and happily passes his great knowledge on to us all.


The topics in this indispensible book include:


  • Why do holiday beaches make such good detecting sites?
  • What happens to coins and jewellery after their owners lose them in sand or surf?
  • Eyes only plus two sample tools: A beachcomber’s way to make finds on the foreshore.
  • Metal detectors and accessories for coastal sites.
  • Britain’s 100 best beaches and how to locate their gullies and glory holes.
  • A look at some continental coasts and their top resorts.
  • How to detect history around the coast.
  • Legal aspects.


I have seen such high prices being asked for Metal Detecting on the Coast: The Ultimate Guide that it is probably in short supply, however I have managed to secure a small stock of brand new books from the 2003 printing that I am able to pass on at the very reasonable price of just £8.97 each, plus shipping. So pop along to and invest now and improve your coastal detecting before they are all gone!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Detecting with the Anderson Rod

Using the Anderson rod in one hand and my detector in the other worked surprisingly well. I had absolutely no issues balancing the Anderson, I suspect its weight keeps it stable. I did initially have a bit of a problem storing the Anderson when I needed to dig. I started by carrying a cloth to lay the Anderson on, when I put it on the ground, but that became a bit of a chore. Then I discovered that the Anderson could be rested across the handle and against the control box of my Detech EDS detector and would sit there quite happily when I was still holding my detector while digging. I do keep my hand on it though, as should it fall it may damage the antenna. The antenna is replaceable but why have the hassle of buying and importing a new one from the manufacturer? If the digging gets a bit tough I need to lie my detector down and I found that the Anderson will rest in the detector’s arm cup.

So I started by baiting the Anderson with silver and that seemed to work well in that I found silver coins and silver plated objects as well as copper-alloy (the Anderson is constructed of brass, I believe) and lead (old lead tends to contain silver as an impurity). So far so good!

I then baited the Anderson with gold, which I expected to turn up gold coins but that did not happen. Over the past 200 years many fields in the south of England have been fertilized with rag waste, which was contaminated with buttons and other metal objects associated with clothing.  The Anderson took a great liking to gold plated buttons (as in picture) and the like as well as copper-alloys. I guess this is because I was using almost pure gold bait and gold plating generally consists of high karat gold so to the Anderson it is a perfect match.

Now I was hoping to find Iron Age gold stater coins which have a variable mix of gold (70-80%), silver (10-20%) and copper (5-10%). This is a moving target effectively so even using a gold coin as bait there would be no guarantee that the coins buried scattered in the field would be a match. I could persevere with the gold bait or on the basis that all man-made gold objects contain either silver or copper or both I could switch back to silver bait…

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

METAL DETECTING MADE EASY: A Guide for Beginners & Reference for All

Metal detecting is a very rewarding hobby in more ways than one. Just swinging a detector on a warm sunny day in pleasant surroundings is a real pleasure in itself. Not only is there the prospect of making a major find in amongst the interesting coins and artifacts you will uncover but the hobby's many benefits include anticipation of the unknown, collecting, education, exercise, excitement, family involvement, fun, new friends. And history – like it was never taught in school!

Over thousands of years, literally many millions of coins and metal artefacts have been lost, mislaid or buried on land and beaches and in rivers and the sea. Armed with a metal detector you can bring history to life. Perhaps you will discover a roman brooch in your back yard or a Piece of Eight, on a beach, from a Spanish wreck or over a thousand Saxon gold and silver artifacts in a farmer's field, like Terry Herbert, who found the famous UK Staffordshire Hoard. And even a humble find can lead to an exciting quest of discovery as to what it is, what it was used for, who owned it and why it was where you found it.

Metal detecting is one of the greatest hobbies suitable for either sex of any age from three to 113, with the very real possibility that at any moment you can change history, or even your life, forever.
However, unless you are extremely lucky, you are unlikely to beg, borrow or buy a metal detector and start making great finds with it from day one -- you need to know a few things first. That is the purpose of this manual -- to show you what equipment you need, how and where to use it and how to overcome any obstacles along the way. And much, much more...

It is not rocket science and with guidance from a detectorist with over 40 years experience in the hobby, you will become a successful metal detectorist in no time.


The Basics - What You Need to Know
Code of Practice for Responsible Detecting in England and Wales
Treasure Law
The Treasure Act in England and Wales
Organisations, Clubs and Magazines
  • Includes Worldwide contacts.
Metal Detectors and Search Heads
  • How to choose the right metal detector for you.
  • You will also need a digging tool at least and there are a number of other accessories that will improve your detecting experience.
How to Use a Metal Detector
  • Like any tool or instrument you need to know how to use it to get the best out of it.
Gaining Search Permission
  • The find of a lifetime starts with gaining search permission. Here you will find the easy painless approach.
Search Agreement

How and Where to Search
  • If you habitually search where nothing much ever happened then you can expect your finds bag to contain nothing much!
Water Sites
Farmland and Other Inland Sites

  • The number one secret to successful treasure hunting.
Identification of Finds
  • How not to gain the reputation of being the twit who sold a $1000 find for a $1.
Cleaning and Conservation
  • Looking after your finds and cleaning them safely, without wrecking them.
Cleaning Finds

  • How to multiply your finds rate without really trying.
Bibliography and Resources

(True Treasure Books, 2014) Soft Cover, 54 black and white illustrations, A5 size (210mm x 146mm or 8.25 inches x 5.75 inches), 128 pages. ISBN 978-0-9550325-7-8
Printed Book £5.47 + shipping. E-book £2.97

Friday, June 20, 2014

Anderson Precision Mineral Rod (PMR)

Continuing with my dowsing for treasure exploits using a baited rod, designed and built by my Greek friend Takis, my gold and silver finds definitely increased. Then Takis said what I really needed was a vintage Anderson PMR-II. This wasn’t the first time I had been told this, for in 2010 I had some dowsing and treasure hunting lessons from Jerry Nokes who clearly thought that this rod was the best thing since sliced bread! Jerry said that he had bought one in 1977 and it had almost dragged him across a field to a treasure target, which he was able to dig up without even needing to use a metal detector. Praise indeed!
Now Takis, Jerry and many others were saying you have to get an older model which was made by Carl Anderson, the inventor himself, as the formula for the crystal charge installed in the rod was lost when he died. The PMR-II is still made today by Carl Anderson’s son-in-law, Russ Simmons, who wrote the book Dowsing for Treasure, which started my interest in baited dowsing rods in the first place. The cut-off point is 2003 according to Jerry, which is presumably when Carl Anderson died. Now these rods are still being made and sold today so they have stood the test of time and the lost secret formula may just be an urban myth. Nevertheless I went with the given advice and on the third attempt bought a vintage PMR-II on Ebay, from the USA, for around $400.
The picture shows Takis using a PMR-II. The device is certainly very well constructed and handles well. The concept is a main tubular body, pre-charged with radioactive crystals, according to the instruction sheet, which has a bait chamber behind a removable cap. You can use it as is but the main idea is to put a sample of gold, silver or whatever you are looking for, in the chamber. An adjustable antenna attaches to and extends from the body, while a variety of handles can be attached at right angles or in line with the body. I only had two handles with mine at the time, a single-handed bearing handle, which makes it work like an L-rod and a spring handle, which makes it work somewhat like a pendulum.
To familiarize myself with the device, I started off by using it as an L-rod, without the antenna extended as advised by Takis and marked targets for later retrieval when I would use a metal detector and spade. Now while I did find a number of gold or silver plated buttons, which tied in with the sample in the chamber, I also found a lot of iron! Would it work better if I used the Anderson in one hand and metal detector in the other as I did with the L-rod?

Friday, May 30, 2014

Biggest Treasure Finds Across the Globe by Michael Bernzweig

You don’t have to play the lottery to get rich. With a LOT of luck and a decent metal detector, you too can join the “winner’s club.” All around the world, there are stories of people uncovering treasure. To some treasure hunters, a find is only as good as its monetary value. But to others, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Relic hunters, like the “Diggers” of the National Geographic Channel, place more value on a hard-to-find military flat button than something with more face value. If you’re a history enthusiast, unearthing an artifact holds dearer to you than finding an expensive gold bracelet at the beach.


It’s always interesting to stay tuned to metal detectorist’s big finds- whether surfing the internet or reading the latest issue of Western & Eastern Treasures. You may have noticed the recent reports of shipwreck discoveries. This is largely due to technological advances in marine salvage metal detection equipment. Companies like Tampa, Florida-based Odyssey Marine Exploration invest a staggering amount of time and money into finding lost shipwrecks. According to the company’s president, their work is paying off tenfold. Odyssey recovered over 61 tons of silver bullion in June 2013 from the SS Gairsoppa which sunk in 1941 off the coast of Ireland. The cargo has yielded a total of 2,792 silver ingots, or 110 tons. And that’s just one wreck! Odyssey and many other marine salvage companies are fully invested.


Lucky Folks who Struck it Rich!

Here are a few of the most exciting treasure finds in recent months. Every day individuals are locating metal detecting finds all around us.  All of these hoards were located with a metal detector, with the exception of the North California windfall. Ironically, the $10 million gold coin hoard was spotted in plain sight. But a metal detector would have picked up the canisters years earlier.  


-          California Couple Finds $10 Million in Gold Coins

This is a truly amazing story and an inspiration to treasure hunters everywhere! A Northern California couple was taking their normal leisurely walk when they noticed an old rusty can sticking out of the ground under a large tree. It was on their own property—a sprawling hilly area that happens to be in Gold Country. What struck the woman who bent over and picked it up is that the can appeared to be dated and eroded, but the lid was firmly intact. When the pair opened the can, they were shocked to see it was full of mint-condition gold coins. They dug around the area- uncovering a total of 8 canisters filled with 1,427 gold coins dating from 1847 to 1894. According to the Professional Coin Grading Service of Santa Ana, some of the coins are so rare that they could sell for $1 million each. Interestingly, the coins were placed neatly in the canisters in chronological order. The dates and method used indicate that whoever buried them was using the ground as their bank. David Hall, who authenticated the coins said, "Somebody could have buried them and then died before they let anybody know where they were." Prior to this hoard, the most recent land-based gold coin discovery took place in Jackson, Tennessee in 1985 when construction workers stumbled upon $1 million in gold coins.


-          Treasure Hunters Uncover Twynholm Silver Coins

Two men from Scotland have uncovered what is believed to be the largest collection of medieval silver coins ever found using metal detectors. Gus Paterson and Derek McLennan, from Ayrshire, Scotland, discovered the coins in a field in Twynholm in December 2013. After several return visits, their haul tops 300 coins. The men conducted quite a bit of research prior to their search and targeted that particular field. They were on the verge of giving up when Paterson’s detector hit on the first two coins. The value of the silver coins has not been made public and the men will turn the medieval coins over to the Crown as treasure-trove.


-          Nibelung Treasure or another Trove?

In February, 2014, an amateur archaeologist unearthed a treasure trove of gold and silver in a wooded area in western Germany. His find is estimated to be worth approximately $1.37 million. German residents are left to wonder if these jewels are part of the legendary Nibelung treasure. The Nibelung treasure once belonged to a German king who was said to have buried them along the Rhine. Although they have been sought after for centuries, this enormous bounty is the only one to resemble the storied treasure. Authorities recently seized the gold and silver, as it was reportedly dug up illegally by a man with a metal detector.


If you’ve got the metal detecting bug you can discover some of the best underwater metal detectors by doing your research online. Just imagine if your metal detector find was all over the headlines!   


Michael Bernzweig manages in Southborough, MA. He has written on the subject of treasure hunting and metal detecting since the mid 1980’s. He enjoys traveling with his metal detector and helping to educate others in the correct use of metal detectors in their explorations.

Friday, May 02, 2014

Hands Free Carrying

The one big problem I found with dowsing and detecting simultaneously is that you need to use both hands and therefore you have no hand free to carry a digging implement. Small digging implements can be carried in a finds bag and for a long time I carried a ‘T’ handled foot assisted trowel on a tool belt, which has worked reasonably well. But now metal detectors go considerably deeper than they have in the past, it has become necessary to use a small spade. In fact I use a Draper Mini Spade with D Handle. The digger is 720mm (28in) long and has a rounded point hardened steel blade with foot bars. The high strength Glass fibre shaft makes it extremely strong yet light, weighing just under a kilogram (2.2lbs). Now I have been able to drag this spade quite successfully by fitting a quick release loop through the D handle and attaching that to a tool belt. That’s fine on a beach or grass or bare earth (it even leaves a trail so you can see where you’ve been) but if, as I often do, you search among growing crops then the crop is likely to be damaged and the farmer won’t be happy. So I needed a way to carry the spade without it making contact with the ground.

I came across the Bigg Lugg belt hook pictured above (there is also the McGuire-Nicholas 93333 Monster Hook Cordless Drill Holder Holster Belt Clip), which after some experimenting has proved to be the ideal solution. I first tried using the hook on my trouser waist belt on the opposite side to my detector, the problem with that was that the spade acted like a pendulum and kept swinging too close to the detector head and causing a signal. I then remembered, Phil, a detectorist who sadly had lost one arm in a motorcycle accident. Phil used a belt hook to carry his spade behind him, although I didn’t realise at the time why he carried his spade in that position. Once I moved the hook round to the rear, searching became nice and silent once more (until I hit a target, that is). An added bonus was that if I moved too fast the spade tapped gently on the back of my legs to remind me to slow down.

Another slight problem remained, which was the weight of the spade on my waist belt made my trousers slip downward and to keep pulling them up was a bit of nuisance. I resolved that one by using a separate dedicated belt for hook and spade. So I can now dowse and detect simultaneously on any terrain without any distractions.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Gold Test

I changed the bait to gold on the L-rod and spent a further four hours detecting on the same field as the Silver Test (see previous post). The photo illustrates the finds. The first three objects from the left on the top row all have some gold plating remaining, while the fourth object is silver plated copper-alloy. The remaining finds are all copper-alloy. There was also some junk in the form of iron and aluminium although this was minimal.

Now I admit this is not a very scientific test because every time a find is removed from the ground, the conditions of the experiment are changed. You can see this in that the number of finds in the gold test was only a third of the number found in the silver test, for the same amount of detecting time. The law of diminishing returns in action! What is significant though is that in both the silver test and the gold test around one quarter of the finds contained the metal used for bait. If that continues in the field then, I am sure you will agree it must make a big difference to treasure hunting success…

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Silver Test

I had a small pasture field available, which I had searched in the past and made very few finds. The field had just been mown so searching conditions were as good as they could be and I decided to use the field as a test site for natural finds. I was now using a Detech EDS metal detector, fitted with 12 inch SEF coil, which I had not used on this field before. I baited the rod (see Trust the Greeks, especially when they bear gifts) with silver and used the rod in one hand and my detector in the other, the principle being that the rod guides the detector to the finds. Bear in mind that the brass (copper-zinc alloy), which the rod is made from, forms the largest sample or bait by far, so the rod will naturally find copper alloys and should also find silver because of the added silver bait. There may also be chance finds that you just happen to walk over.

The photo shows the finds made after a four hour search (plus there were three lead objects that I couldn’t fit into the photo). The top row of seven objects all have some silver content (the two George V sixpences are 50% silver) and it is likely that the old lead objects contain traces of silver as an impurity. The rest of the coins and artefacts in the photo are copper-alloy. There was also some junk in the form of iron and aluminium although this was minimal.

Next time, I’ll perform a field test using gold bait…

Friday, March 28, 2014

Trust the Greeks, especially when they bear gifts

Continuing on from my previous post, Dowsing for Treasure, this is one of the L-rods Takis sent me, although I have digitally shortened it in the above photo. Actual dimensions are: length 52cm (21in), height 15cm (6in) and return 8cm (3in). The diameter of the rod is 2mm (1/8in) and the sleeve handle 6mm (3/8in) outside diameter; 4mm (1/4in) internal. The only metal (alloy) used in construction is brass. The sample or bait container is a 2ml plastic test tube with screw cap. In the original version above the tube sat in a short length of foam tubing attached to the back of a self adhesive hook plate (the hook had been removed and the plastic plate threaded on to the rod). However, in the damp British climate, the adhesive bond kept failing so the sample tube now sits horizontally on the rod secured with two rubber O rings or grommets.


The rod can be used either way up. I prefer to use it with the long arm below the hand as shown above, while Takis prefers the rod the other way up, with the long arm above the hand.


The sample or bait tube contains either a pure (or as pure as you can obtain) sample of the metal or substance you seek, or an exact mixture imitating the content of the target you seek. For instance as I am interested in looking for Iron Age gold coins, Takis said I should grind a gold stater coin up to fit in the tube. I refused to do that and the alloy mix in ancient coins varies anyway, so I stick to pure metal samples.


In use, having a swivel handle, I expected the rod to be very sensitive and fly around all over the place but I was pleasantly surprised at how stable it was. It is even very stable in windy conditions, which is probably a result of the thin rod used in construction.


Next time, I’ll perform a field test…

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Dowsing for Treasure

While, for obvious reasons, there is much secrecy in treasure hunting, now and again you come across someone who willingly shares their knowledge, expertise and even their equipment! Takis, from Greece, is just such a person (and not the only one I might add) and his generosity has instigated a step change in my dowsing and treasure pursuits. “I have seventy dowsing books and this is the best one”. He said, pointing me to Dowsing for Treasure (1984) by Russ Simmons.


Again with Takis’ help, I got hold of a copy of the book, read, re-read and inwardly digested the contents. The greatest insight for me was the principle of using bait, a sample or witness to aid what you want to find. Now, I had not paid much attention to this up until now, I guess because my dowsing mentor was Jim Longton, who was such a good dowser that he just used a basically plain rod, having no real need for accessories. I had discussed the possibility of adding a sample chamber to an L-rod in my book, The Successful Treasure Hunter’s Essential Dowsing Manual, but had not actually used one in my own dowsing, simply because it was clear to me that just using a dowsing rod in one hand and metal detector in the other achieved much better results than using a metal detector alone, so if it ain’t broke, why fix it? Well you live and learn!


“I will make you dowsing rods like I use.” Insisted Takis. I didn’t argue as dowsing instruments are always a bit special when received as an unsolicited gift. And soon two dowsing rods arrived in the mail…

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Metal Detecting With The Garrett Ace 250 by Crawfords MD

The design of modern metal detectors aims to eliminate many of the hassles and disappointments associated with the hobby. These include the noisiness of a machine going off when it scans over top of any piece of metal, no matter how worthless, and an overly sensitive product. Old machines used to get excited about beer bottle tops, but the new ones can determine what type of metal they are looking at.

Not too Sensitive

The Garrett Ace 250 is a relatively quiet machine in the field. It alerts the user when metal is found but without too much feedback, if any, so you can set it to high sensitivity. Its default setting is fairly high already. The major caveat is that you set your metal detecting device correctly before going out.

When you find something, your machine will let out a sound according to the item. Low tones indicate low-value metal (iron, nickel), but higher tones are indicative of higher-value metal (silver, gold). If you remember the electronic game "Simon Says," the tones given off by this machine will put you in mind of that old battery operated game.

This means you can read your machine or just listen to it. If you get a crick in your neck after a few hours of metal detecting just listen and stop watching.

Setting your Machine

What this means is pressing buttons (bright yellow on a decent-sized console here) to indicate which metals to be alerted to and which to omit. Use the "discriminate" button to determine if you want the detector to overlook iron, nickels, pennies, etc., or pick up all metals. Set it to a silver-only setting or customize the setting to find exactly what you want. It is advisable to play around with the buttons a little to get the feel for how much you can do with the Ace and how easy it is to press the wrong button.

Screen Size and Setup

The LCD screen is a good size, if a little dark. Be aware that light will affect your ability to read it and you might want to shade the screen which has space to clearly show what metals you are looking for, the sensitivity setting, battery power, and other features. It shows depth from 2" to 8"+ in 2" increments.

The Package

A Garrett Ace 250 comes with an instructional DVD, 6.5x9" coil, batteries, and headphones plus a pouch for storing treasures. Those are nice extras, though you can probably get a lot out of a Youtube video where instructions are concerned. Once you watch the DVD and use the machine just once, this could be easy and fun to use, but there are a lot of buttons to get accustomed to.


As a hobby machine, you had better hope to land on a metal-rich bit of beach because this is not cheap but just bear in mind, the Garret Ace 250 works best on dry sand. By shopping around online you can find the best available price, so do not settle for your usual online shopping site. You could be surprised where the best deals are to be found on new metal detecting machines.


Crawfords MD has been supplying metal detectors to the community for over 15 years. The business was started by Craig Allison who prides himself on respecting customer needs and providing a high quality of service. If you’re in the market for a range of metal detecting equipment, please visit our site: