Updated: Jan 25
Wintertime is a great opportunity to spend some time researching spots where you can go metal detecting. I've always had a passion for learning and a love for history so I really enjoy researching my local community's history. It certainly not as much fun as metal detecting but treasure hunters who put in the time researching are usually the ones who find the really good stuff. Researching to discover ideal spots to detect simply increases your quality of finds and your chance of success within this hobby. Research will also end up saving you time in the long run. Otherwise, you are just out there swinging your detector aimlessly hoping to get lucky.
Before researching spots to go out detecting you'll first need to determine what it is you are most interested in discovering. Are you hoping to find jewelry, clad coins, or old coins and relics? Different locations are more productive than others for finding certain types of items. If you are interested in coin shooting you'll want to look for locations that are well traveled, spots where large events took place such as fairgrounds or parks. If you are interested in finding old coins and relics you'll want to search for places where historic events occurred or older locations such as old homesteads, churches, and school houses.
Online research is a relatively easy, quick way to find local places to go metal detect. There is loads of information online. You can find information about news stories, old town records, pictures and images, maps and more. Google maps can be a great resource too. Sometimes you can even spot old roads from the satellite view. There's a ton of complete nonsense on the internet too though so you have to remember that the research you discover might not always be the most factual of information.
Visiting your local library can be extremely beneficial. Libraries are rich repositories of local history. They hold records that might not be easily available elsewhere. Most libraries have a local history section with a collection of books that recount earlier times. They can be a valuable resource. The books might even show pictures of past events. You could compare the photos to modern ones to help determine the location where such events occurred. Libraries also house copies of old newspapers. Most modern newspapers are full of worthless human interest stories. Historic newspapers, however, are a totally different story. They actually reported on real news. Look for stories about celebrations, sporting events, local businesses, and meeting places. Historic newspapers can give you many good ideas for places you could go metal detecting in your community.
Old maps are a powerful resource. They provide details on your town's original layout and can be helpful with finding locations of old homes, schoolhouses, and churches. Maps will give you a great idea of where to start hunting. I encourage you to look at as many old maps of the same area as possible and then you'll want to compare them to modern maps. There are map overlay tools on the internet that you can use to help you determine the location of old sites. Basic map research and footwork requires little skill, is easy to conduct, and often can prove to be quite effective.
It is also really smart to talk with people who are knowledgeable about the area you want to metal detect. Older residents have a wealth of valuable information on where older homes were located. They might be able to share information with you about places where people used to congregate such old picnic groves or swimming holes.
Each town has its own story to tell. Spend some time learning about the significant historic events that occurred within your community. Take note of gathering spots from years past. Just about anywhere that people have congregated is a good area to do some detecting. Good detecting sites are locations that were used by a few people over a long period of time or places that were used by thousands of people over a brief period of time. Of course, the best sites are those that have not already been detected by very many people. Sites that are obvious and easily accessible can also be productive too. These locations often end up being overlooked by many people who simply assume that they must be hunted out.
Please remember to check the rules first before you go metal detecting anywhere on public land. Rules may vary from location to location and it's important to know where detecting is allowed and where it is prohibited. Also, you always need to seek permission before setting foot on private land, even if it's not posted.
In conclusion, if you spend some time digging for information prior to heading out to dig for treasure I think you will end up having greater success. Will your research always pay off? No, there will be times it won't lead you to what you were hoping to find. After all, you can't expect to find great stuff every time you go out detecting. It just doesn't happen like that. The more footwork you do the more successful you often are though. If you have any research tips you would like to share with the group please leave a comment in the section below. Remember in order to leave a comment on this post you must login to the website. I wish you great success on all your metal detecting adventures. Have a wonderful week!