It is not hard to find some inspiring stories of amateur treasure hunters who have managed to discover something rare or valuable, even both, simply by combing the ground with their metal detector in hand.
If you want to give this pleasurable and sometimes rewarding hobby a go, here is a look at how to get started.
There is an overview of how metal detectors work, plus some ground rules to consider, and what tools you need to improve your odds of a successful treasure hunt.
Finding out what’s beneath your feet
If you are using a VLF metal detector, the way they are able to detect metal objects in the ground below might be a bit of a mystery to you at the moment.
These very low frequency (VLF) machines work on the principle of conductivity. What this means is that a good metal detector should be capable of locating any metallic object that has a conductive surface, provided it is buried no more than about two feet underground.
A signal is generated because an electromagnetic field is generated and flows out into space away from the search coil.
Your odds of finding a gold coin, for example, would be enhanced if the coin was lying flat rather than on its side. This is due to your detector reacting to the surface area rather than mass. So you need a bit of luck to increase your odds of finding something worthwhile underneath.
You should find that most VLF metal detectors are equipped with an alternative mode which is called a TR discriminator. Look out for this when choosing a model, as it can achieve almost 90% accuracy when distinguishing between ferrous and non-ferrous substances.
There are rules to remember
This is a hobby that will take you to all sorts of different destinations and what you don’t want to do is go where you shouldn’t be or leave the wrong impression of treasure hunters by the way you treat each search site.
There is a basic code of ethics to follow which should also help you to get the most enjoyment out of your hobby as well as making sure you understand the rules of engagement.
The right tools for the job
Aside from the metal detector, there are a number of other useful tools that you will need to bring with you when you go hunting for treasure.
Your smartphone can also be a useful tool and if you want to know what the weather conditions are going to be like while you are out searching, you can use this app instead of a thermometer.
There are some specific metal detecting knives and trowels that will help you to retrieve your potential find in the most efficient and safe way. Some suggested tools include a Lesche digging tool, Pro digging trowel and a saw tooth pro digging trowel.
A good all-purpose shovel and sand scoop will also be required and it would also help to learn how to use various digging techniques so that you don’t damage the item and don’t cause unnecessary damage to the ground either.
When you take up metal detecting you could potentially become part of a story about an amazing find, but even if that doesn’t happen, you will have plenty of fun searching for that elusive treasure.
Christopher Bird loves spending time outdoors and has amassed a range of hobbies that he enjoys in his free time, from geocaching and metal detecting to fishing or off-roading.