The Biggest Secret In Metal Detecting!

bigscoop

Gold Member
Jun 4, 2010
13,521
9,063
Wherever there be treasure!
Detector(s) used
Older blue Excal with full mods, Equinox 800.
Primary Interest:
All Treasure Hunting
The Gravity Of The Situation:


Most seasoned detectorist are aware of this but for those detectorist who aren't this is something one should always keep in mind because it can certainly lead you to more good recoveries. And this is true be it on land, at the beach, and even in the water.

Take a quarter and hold it out away from your body, now let go of it and it will fall to the ground, this rate of fall varying depending on the density and the resistance of the item being dropped. Pretty darn basic physics.

BUT, even though these items stop falling when they hit the ground gravity is still, and always, trying to pull those items closer. This is why they remain on the ground. Now then, what might happen over a long period of years if this ground is soft or not very dense? Well, those items are just going to continue to get pulled deeper and deeper until they reach a point where something is in the way to stop them, or until they reach a point where the density of the matrix is equal to, or greater than, that sinking item. See where all of this heading? Let me offer you a few examples as to just how important this gravity situation is.

Take those Florida beaches I use to hunt every day. At low tide one can walk out onto the newly exposed sand after it has drained a bit and that sand feels firm and hard. But if we go back out there after the tide has returned one can sink his scoop into that same area of beach with the easy of scooping butter. So once that water has returned and saturated that sand again items will begin to sink more quickly, and at times at an alarming rate, especially during the summer season when there is additional inches, and even additional feet, of soft fluffy sand on the beach.

And this same thing holds true on land as well. If that ground isn't very dense and it's easy to sink your digger into it for several inches or even a foot or more then the odds aren't very good that older items of value are going to be within our reach regardless how old that property might be. On the other hand, if that ground is firmer, maybe gravel and stone and root infested, or if it has been packed down over long period of years, then our odds of finding those older items start to increase. Of course, this is likely also going to mean the encountering of more trash for all of the same reasons, especially in places where there exist a long history of human use.

If you're finding pull-tabs and other lite items like those aluminum bottle caps at 4 or 5 inches, or more, then be suspect that the ground is simply too soft and too loose to support those older items. I know many such places that even have thick layers of grass and those surface roots but once you get below this layer it's not uncommon to recover those pull-tabs and aluminum bottle caps at 8-9” or more. So unless I'm just tooling around in search of recent drops I avoid these areas at all cost. The same being said of my beach hunting and water hunting too.

The following is the biggest secret in metal detecting. “Always keep your coil over those accessible firmer bottoms where those desirable items can settle and gather.” If you focus on nothing else this alone can make all the difference in the world in your metal detecting success.....Cheers!
 

Upvote 15
“Always keep your coil over those accessible firmer bottoms where those desirable items can settle and gather.”

I always prefer firmer bottoms.

beavis-and-butt-head-laughing.gif
 

Gravity doesn't work on dirt? Why are rocks on the surface if gravity should pull them below the surface? I believe that soil erodes and or grows over the item and that is how items get buried. Nature in motion.
The great finds around the pyramids in Egypt were buried. They didn't sink. The soil was either moved by man over the items or the wind and other natural occurrences moved the soil over the item, or both.
I'm sure there is some truth to what you say as one item is heavier than another, but gravity is extremely hindered once an object hits the ground. Basic physics.
 

Gravity doesn't work on dirt? Why are rocks on the surface if gravity should pull them below the surface? I believe that soil erodes and or grows over the item and that is how items get buried. Nature in motion.
The great finds around the pyramids in Egypt were buried. They didn't sink. The soil was either moved by man over the items or the wind and other natural occurrences moved the soil over the item, or both.
I'm sure there is some truth to what you say as one item is heavier than another, but gravity is extremely hindered once an object hits the ground. Basic physics.
"Unless it reaches a point of equal or greater density or there is something to support it." If one mass is greater than the other who wins?
 

Climate where I live allows "frost seeding" of smaller seeds.
Freeze thaw cycles work cracks in soil allowing seed dept vs laying on the surface post broadcasting.

A park I know has a "basement".
Rubble in areas that prior larger surface objects won't pass.
Between the surface and the basement are all kinds of contortions along the way.

Ever find a coin on edge?
It probably didn't land that way.

Nails and or other stuff above a coin? Certainly. And the reverse can happen as well.
A slow race. with the first to start often in the lead to depth.
 

Was watching a deal on Mayan pyramids last night and the commentor stated that the hill behind him was a pyramid underneath. I believe the soil....leaves, growth of tress, bushes, etc and wind or other natural causes BURIED the pyramid. It didn't sink.
 

Just thinking'.... If a coin is placed in a low viscosity fluid like water, the greater density of the coin will cause it to sink, displacing water molecules below it, which will flow up around it and then over it. The same process would have to happen in soil. For a coin on top of the ground to become buried, soil particles under the coin would have to be displaced from beneath the coin, around the edges and then over the top. It seems to me that soil is usually much too viscous for this process to occur. An exception might be the fluidized sand mentioned by bigscoop, where the viscosity of the fluid sand and water could be low enough for the required flow around the coin. From this reasoning, I cannot imagine how a coin or other relic could sink by the physical process described.
However, the soil is a very active place, with earthworms and insects tunneling in it constantly. Their efforts could contribute to a relic's settling and might be a major cause.
 

I really don't put much stock in the density theory when it comes to turf. Too many variables.

On soccer fields, I often find silver and gold jewelry 2-3 inches in places where lightweight zinc pennies can be as deep as 6 inches. All targets were dropped within the same 15-year time frame of the field's creation.

At a school with loose sandy soil, I often find wheat pennies, buffalo's and silver coins fairly shallow, some as little as 2 inches deep. At the same school, I find zinc pennies, memorial pennies, nickels and clad dimes as deep as 8 inches. Just this spring I found a 1949 10k gold class ring at 4 inches. That's been in the ground as much as 75 years.
 

Was watching a deal on Mayan pyramids last night and the commentor stated that the hill behind him was a pyramid underneath. I believe the soil....leaves, growth of tress, bushes, etc and wind or other natural causes BURIED the pyramid. It didn't sink.
Well, that's sort of an apples and oranges thing.
 

I really don't put much stock in the density theory when it comes to turf. Too many variables.

On soccer fields, I often find silver and gold jewelry 2-3 inches in places where lightweight zinc pennies can be as deep as 6 inches. All targets were dropped within the same 15-year time frame of the field's creation.

At a school with loose sandy soil, I often find wheat pennies, buffalo's and silver coins fairly shallow, some as little as 2 inches deep. At the same school, I find zinc pennies, memorial pennies, nickels and clad dimes as deep as 8 inches. Just this spring I found a 1949 10k gold class ring at 4 inches. That's been in the ground as much as 75 years.
It's all relative. Surface area also plays a part. I could prepare a hundred different bowls of different compounds of different densities, set the same year quarter on top of each one and the sink rates would all be different. BUT, if those densities are less than the quarter itself, well, that quarter is going to eventually sink.
 

Once when I was a very little kid I had a simple detector that would just beep constantly because it wasn't set properly and I would simply keep digging deep holes following false phantom signals. After doing this a few times I found a buffalo nickel by pure chance 2 feet under the dirt. Keep in mind the detector was useless and didn't actually lead me to the coin. So now imagine how many things are below the detection power of most detectors.
 

Once when I was a very little kid I had a simple detector that would just beep constantly because it wasn't set properly and I would simply keep digging deep holes following false phantom signals. After doing this a few times I found a buffalo nickel by pure chance 2 feet under the dirt. Keep in mind the detector was useless and didn't actually lead me to the coin. So now imagine how many things are below the detection power of most detectors.

The reality of the situation:

I've metal detected since about 1990with only moderate success “until I began to focus on those firmer bottoms that can support gold and silver items” at which time my rate of success sky-rocked. Most of these recoveries being, “old gold and silver.”

There are two general approaches to this hobby, “detecting for old gold and silver” and “detecting for recent drops” but.............”Only the prior gives us access to both.”

“Someone who is well versed in what it takes to hunt for, and to recover deep targets of value, will also detect anything in between these two deep and shallow layers.”

The later will forever only have access to recent drops or those very rare shallow older items due to luck and happenstance.

Understanding “the value” of gaining access to those firmer bottoms is the key to, “consistently successful treasure hunting.” :icon_thumright:
 

Thought I'd found a shiny wrench about a foot and a half deep.
The curve in it looked interesting in the former plughole being dug deeper and deeper.
Expanding the now digging more than recovering outward at the bottom the curve continued.
Well it's not a wrench , and I'm in a park....
Filled the hole and blended the surface and moved on.

Someone better in the know later explained there was a former restroom on the site that had been bulldozed along with it's stainless sink top.
A better detectorist than I who works that park never dug for it. ...

Several yards from the sinktop came heavy metal cross. More like a "Heavy Metal" cross.
Not far from it were a pair of nails with heads facing up. (A favorite ring a ding ding for my not very fancy detector those round heads upright.)
Almost got past them as iron but for a tiny high peep when the coil was wiggled just right made me dig the silver dime below them..

Just the resistance of a nails head steers the less resistant shank lower? From an E-W (9-3) position to N-S (12-6) position?
By that , a class ring should have the narrowest part of it's band facing upright or downward?
:laughing7:
 

I've metal detected since about 1990with only moderate success “until I began to focus on those firmer bottoms that can support gold and silver items” at which time my rate of success sky-rocked.

How do you identify such areas? The only thing that comes immediately to mind is plowed fields, where there is often a "hardpan" layer just below the plow line.
 

How do you identify such areas? The only thing that comes immediately to mind is plowed fields, where there is often a "hardpan" layer just below the plow line.
Great question, but many times you just have to test the waters, sort to speak. Generally it won't take long to do that. Other properties can be firm in scattered areas and soft and loose in others. It's all about getting to know the nuances of the lands, beaches, and waters we hunt and after a while you just get a feel for it that can really help you out at new locations. It usually doesn't take me very long to assess if I'm hunting over ground or bottoms with good potential of not.
 

It's all relative. Surface area also plays a part. I could prepare a hundred different bowls of different compounds of different densities, set the same year quarter on top of each one and the sink rates would all be different. BUT, if those densities are less than the quarter itself, well, that quarter is going to eventually sink.
If you put loose sand inside a jar, place a quarter and a gold ring on top of the sand, without any outside influence, the sand will suspend the quarter and gold ring indefinitely.
 

If you put loose sand inside a jar, place a quarter and a gold ring on top of the sand, without any outside influence, the sand will suspend the quarter and gold ring indefinitely.
How many locations do you hunt that never have any outside influences? And have to you attempted doing this over a period of years, 5,10,15,20,50,100, etc.?
 

How many locations do you hunt that never have any outside influences? And have to you attempted doing this over a period of years, 5,10,15,20,50,100, etc.?
This is what you said; "I could prepare a hundred different bowls of different compounds of different densities, set the same year quarter on top of each one and the sink rates would all be different. BUT, if those densities are less than the quarter itself, well, that quarter is going to eventually sink."

I'm telling you that is absolutely untrue without outside influence to act on the compound allowing the quarter to displace the solids beneath it. Sand, flour, cornmeal or mud, take your pick, that quarter is going to sit on top forever until the compound is agitated.

Sand for instance, when a quarter is dropped on it, the weight of the quarter causes the granules of sand under it to interlock against each other. Unless there is something to break the friction between the granules of sand, they will stay interlocked together forever supporting the quarter.

I submit to you that a quarter made out of gold will probably take longer to sink in the earth than a clad quarter. Why? Because the weight of the gold quarter will cause the granules of sand to lock tighter together beneath it than the clad quarter. Thus, partially explaining why gold jewelry is often found closer to the surface than many other targets dropped during the same timeframe.
 

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