One man's trash is another man’s treasure

07 Nov 2016

Trashy sites… you either love them or hate them, but one thing is for sure, as a detectorist, they are hard to avoid. Whether it is a recreational park or an old homestead you come across, years and years of rubbish lie under the soil, the waste of previous generations; but the question is, are they worth digging? The answer is yes. Trashy sites require patience, being prepared to dig lots and lots of holes and they also give you the opportunity to really get to know your machine.

In Scotland, like many places across the world, we have old city dump sites that now just look like arable fields.  Many years ago, during the Georgian and Victorian period (1714-1901) before proper coordinated waste disposal, all waste from the streets, toilets and homes was removed from the cities via horse and cart and dumped outside the city centres. At first glance the field just looks like any other, but on closer inspection the ground is littered with small broken bits of pottery, plates, bottles and glass- a sure sign that you have found a dumping ground.

On this particular site, at the start of the new detecting season, we were out with ten of our Combat Stress Veterans. The group was using a range of Minelab machines: X-TERRA 305s, Safaris and CTX 3030s.  All machines were set to all metal, with no discrimination and sensitivity adjusted to suit personal taste. The Safaris were being used in High Trash mode.

Now, on these type of sites there is no point in notching out iron or foil: discriminate out iron and you will miss a tiny silver coin right beside an iron target; discriminate out foil/ring pulls and you will miss a chance of gold (all of which we have had off the site before). Running the machine fully open, in my opinion, is the only way to make sure you are not going to miss those good targets. Furthermore, one of the great things about Minelab machines, is their reactivity speed and target separation- a nice slow swing and you will hear that tiny silver coin next to iron, when operating in all metal mode.  When searching these type of sites, a slow swing is a must, as often there are literally targets everywhere- it is possible to stand still, swing your machine in an arc and hear four or five diggable targets!

Having so many diggable targets in front of you can be a little overwhelming and the temptation is to think you know what not to dig, “Oh, I’m not going to dig that signal, that’s a tin can for sure.” On this type of site you will probably be very wrong- listen carefully to the tones, pay attention to the numbers on your screen, forget the scream of the pinpointer telling you it’s a tin can… it is a brave detectorist that walks away from a surface signal thinking it is a tin can close to the surface, when in fact, it turns out to be a large silver item only an inch down. The beauty of this type of site is just to dig every signal, apart from the iron of course, and hopefully you will be suitably rewarded for all your efforts.

On this particular outing, as a group, we did dig a lot of scrap copper, lead, and a fair amount of miscellaneous non-ferrous metal, but we also recovered some beautiful finds and our silver total for the first day of the 2016/2017 season was eight items!

We spent a full season last year with our veterans, digging the same Victorian dump site and this season it has been turned over by the plough and has started producing again. Last year we found 100+ silver coins, dozens of silver artefacts, a gold coin, a gold ring and many historic and interesting items, some of them pictured within this article.

It’s a lot of fun on a site like this and you never really know what you are going to find, but it is so enjoyable. Trust me, after a good days’ digging, you will discover that one man’s trash really is another man’s treasure.

Catch you next time for more adventures from the wilds of Scotland.


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thank you for your treasure i love
Posted By: lataupedu68 on December 23, 2016 09:45pm
There's one thing the "Treasure talk" - a possibility to view higher resoulution photos...
Posted By: soldier88 on January 04, 2017 07:51pm

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