Mary has many hobbies and shares her ideas and passion in an easy to read user-friendly way.
Why You Should Use a Metal Detector
Whether you are new to metal detecting or have simply lost interest due to a lack of success, I've brought together some places where you may not have considered using your metal detector.
I can't guarantee you'll find a treasure chest bursting with Spanish doubloons and gold chalices but who knows!
We all dream of finding a treasure of forgotten gold jewelry or coins but don't dismiss other smaller finds, these can be equally as interesting but perhaps not as valuable. Whether your interest is coins, artifacts, or jewelry any discovery, I'm sure you'll agree, is a welcome one.
Gerber Folding Shovels
Detect for Metal on a Crowded Beach
Have you ever dropped a coin in the sand? I know I have and guess what, so have lots of other people and it is nigh on impossible to find it without a metal detector. It's almost as though the sand has swallowed it up, claiming it as payment for the using the beach.
Not only for lost coins but also for jewelry. These could be things that were put into a bag that was knocked over or simply came off when the owner was wearing it. Imagine someone throwing a beach ball and their ring flying off, it is lost waiting for you to find it. Likewise, when people go into the cold water, loose rings can slide off because of the change in temperature.
The best time to go searching is as soon as the crowd has left for the day, as it is likely other metal detectors will be out scouting as well. Don't be put off by them, get your headphones on and start scanning.
Often in front of a kiosk which was selling drinks, snacks and ice cream is an ideal place to start. As people are opening and closing purses or rummaging in pockets, coins fall out and get lost.
After a storm is also an excellent time to go detecting at the beach. This will have disturbed items that had been lodged, possibly underwater, and are now thrust into an area within your detecting zone. The advantage of doing this is there will be fewer people out metal detecting.
If your detector is one that can be used underwater or in shallow water, schedule your visit for low tide. Items from the beachside often get lodged near rocks as the tide goes out.
If you are detecting in or near the water, always play it safe. Know your tide tables and don't get caught by an incoming tide.
The rocks are good for trapping items lost on the beach. The opposite side is excellent for anything brought in with the tide. Working around rocks can seem tedious, but it's often an excellent area for finds. Watch out for crabs when digging as they like to hide in areas near these rocks.
Detect for Metal Under Seats and Benches
What happens if you're wearing pants or shorts and you sit down? Sometimes coins fall out of your pockets. If you doubt this, go look in your sofa.
Under benches is a great place to look for coins. But remember, don't just look where there are "new benches" go and find old benches or even a place where benches used to be and have been removed. This is the place you will find older coins.
People also have rested against trees, had picnics on the grass look for these types of places as well.
Metal Detecting in Deserted Towns
Do you know of a deserted town? There are disused areas dotted around the country. Perhaps where businesses have closed down and the population left the town without because there was no source of work. Old mining towns for example. Here would be a good place. Not only would you find old coins but other items of a bygone era.
Speak to Older People
Your grandparents are a wealth of information on where people use to congregate, where they sat for picnics and buildings that are no longer there. They will love telling you stories of how life used to be. Remember you have to be a bit of a detective to decide where to metal detect!
As one reader suggested, coins fell out under washing lines. Pants were hung upside down and the coins would have fallen out unnoticed.
Metal Detecting Near Trees
Think about how trees are used. They are used not only for climbing but also people use to lean up against them to rest. Here again, things could have fallen out of their pockets or bags and lodged themselves in the roots. If this was covered with grass, it is possible the owner would never have found it or even noticed it was missing until later in the day.
Kids often were climbing trees, hanging upside down. Articles or even coins could have dropped out.
Going even further back, when people were riding through the countryside on horses and needed to hide something of value, often near the base of a tree was a good place for them to remember its location. For whatever reason, they may not have returned to collect it. Remember to think about times gone by, where were the old passageways? Look for old trees or mounds where stumps have been and rotted away.
Besides coins, tree roots hold gold. Many years ago in northern California, gold was unearthed after a heavy rainstorm. It had been trapped in tree roots. Gold is where you find it, as they say, and this time it was in under a tree.
Another good place to detect is near gates. As people climb over them, articles could have fallen out of their pockets or they could have used this as a marker to return to just like at the base of a tree.
Detect at Crossroads
Old crossroads are a good place to look for treasure. Years ago when people were traveling on foot or horseback they may have needed to leave behind things. Perhaps they were saving them from being stolen or perhaps they didn't want the extra weight. For whatever reason, they would have needed a point of reference to return to. This was often where two roads met. A crossroad.
Of course the crossroads of today may not be the same as they were hundreds of years ago. This is where you have to become a bit of a detective again. By using old maps you can discover the roads of yesteryear. To find old maps of your area, start at the library in their local history section.
Farmland Can Hide Treasure
Ask a farmer if you can detect on his land between plantings. If you offer him a 50-50 share of the finds, he would probably be more than pleased. When covering such a vast area, it is a good idea to use a grid pattern when covering the ground. You don't want to be scanning an area twice or missing any areas that could unearth a find.
- BBC News - Devon treasure hunter discovers 22,000 Roman coins
A treasure hunter from Devon has discovered the biggest hoard of 4th century Roman coins recorded in Britain.
History and Metal Detecting
Above is a drawing of Newstead Abbey in Nottinghamshire, England. Near this abbey are underground passages that run outside the abbey grounds. Located within a close proximity was found one of the richest finds in England called the Fishpool hoard.
Know your history and local area.
The Dangers of Metal Detecting
If you are searching in an overgrown area, be it under trees, benches or any scrub land, watch for spiders, snakes, and even scorpions. Using a metal detector first, may scare away snakes but not the spiders or scorpions.
It is a good idea to have gauntlet style gloves in your bag to wear for this type of location and also a stout pair of boots.
Although not a potential problem in America, it does happen in Europe. Remnants of WWII, when bombers were depositing their payloads over England and most of Europe. These unstable bombs could explode if disturbed. If you do find one, contact the police and give its location.
Don't try to dig it out!
The area will be cordoned off and the bomb will either be removed or detonated in a controlled explosion.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2011 Mary Wickison
Have you tried metal detecting?
tanata from Odessa on January 22, 2020:
Besides jokes, it was really just a bonus. Yes, there is a lot of garbage on the beaches, but often gold, silver jewelry, and just beautiful things come across. But the exciting findings lie in the ground, not in the sand :) Thank you for the excellent review!
Mary Wickison (author) from USA on January 22, 2020:
That was a bonus! It's great to hear success stories. It also encourages you to keep detecting.
tanata from Odessa on January 21, 2020:
We found a lot of coins on the beach and paid the way home :)
Mary Wickison (author) from USA on June 12, 2019:
It sounds like you are hooked! That is a great start. You will always discover some 'junk', be sure to remove it.
Starting in your backyard is a good idea to get a feel for your machine and practice your technique.
Well done and happy hunting.
Abby in Oregon on June 09, 2019:
I got a Metal Detector for Christmas but just used it for the first time in my backyard!! I found a Sacajawea dollar, dime, penny and some nails.
Mary Wickison (author) from USA on September 29, 2018:
I'm glad you enjoyed it. Definitely suggest the other places to him.
Florida has a long and varied history and I'm sure anything you find will be if not valuable, interesting.
Good luck with your searching.
Anita Wells from Orlando on September 29, 2018:
Great article!! My husband does some metal detecting but mostly at the beach, I might have to suggest some other places and go along for a try. Thanks!
Mary Wickison (author) from USA on June 27, 2018:
I definitely think you should try it. There are so many benefits to doing so. Even if it is down to the beach, you're out getting fresh air and exercise. Anything else is an added bonus.
Ethel Smith from Kingston-Upon-Hull on June 08, 2018:
Fascinating. Hubby has a friend who regularly goes out wth his metal detector. I could be persuaded to do so too I think
Mary Wickison (author) from USA on November 15, 2017:
You're right where Will is heading sounds great.
However, your area hasn't always been suburbs. Research what was there before houses were built.
Head to the local library and see if they have old maps of the area. Now there may be farms where an old crossroad was, ask the farmers if you can scan their land.
Not only will you be learning more about your local history, you could find another stagecoach stop or something equally as interesting.
Mary Wickison (author) from USA on November 15, 2017:
That sounds like a perfect place to go metal detecting. You must let me know how you get on.
That is a good example of detecting where you are most likely to find something. Places such as where they tied their horses or stepped down from the stagecoach, you can almost visualize how items could have fallen.
And Drewson from United States on November 15, 2017:
It's all burbs where I live. Such a place as an old stagecoach station sounds like so much fun!
WillStarr from Phoenix, Arizona on November 15, 2017:
My best friend owns an old dude ranch in Arizona. Across the road is the remains of an old stagecoach station. On top of all that, it's all adjacent to a gold bearing stream!
Needless to say, I'm itching to take my detector there for a few days. There's a very good chance of finding old gold and silver coins and perhaps some nuggets.
Well written and interesting article, Mary.
Mary Wickison (author) from USA on October 26, 2017:
Oh yes, in fact, many gold finds in rivers are discovered this way. Plus scuba divers also use them.
Obviously, those which are waterproof will be more expensive. If you aren't using it in deep water, it is possible to change the head to a waterproof head as long as the electrics in the control don't get wet.
Dolores Monet from East Coast, United States on October 25, 2017:
Recently at a local beach, I saw a guy wandering around in the water, about waist deep, with a metal detector. He had a little float for his finds. I had not realized that there were metal detectors you could use in water!
Mary Wickison (author) from USA on March 24, 2017:
I don't know if detecting is something you do, but with your knowledge of history, you'd be well placed to discover where items may have been left. Of course, not everything found is valuable even if it's hundreds of years old. I've often seen finds for sale on Ebay (UK) which detectors have chosen to part with.
With such a rich history both monetarily and culturally, England is a fantastic place to start.
Wherever I lived in the UK, there was something of historical importance which happened there. Although Californian, I lived in the UK for 20+ years.
In California, there are many missions still standing and they are fascinating but gold is what most detectorists are after. In northern California, there are still those who pan for gold and use dredging machines to find it. After a heavy rainstorm some years ago, road workers found it under the road when doing repairs. Also, heavy rains expose tree roots where gold lodged itself. California is called the Golden State and for good reason, there is still gold to be found there.
Great to hear from you and thanks for such a detailed list of different eras in the UK history.
You're right, it is best to be ethical in all discoveries and report findings as it may be considered treasure trove. Also when digging, I can't stress this enough, people should fill in their holes. It takes virtually no time at all and keeps metal detectorists from getting a bad reputation.
Alan R Lancaster from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire) on March 24, 2017:
Some solid advice here, Mary. Your native California was originally settled by the Spaniards in what was then named New Spain. Who knows what's under the ground in some deserted or ruined hacienda?
Elsewhere, as in the UK - especially England - we've had the pre-Celt era (e.g. Lake dwellers) , the Celts from different parts of Europe, each with their own particular artforms, the Romans came next (AD 45), followed in different regions by the Jutes (Kent, Isle of Wight, Hampshire), the Angles in the east, the midlands and the north-east. The Saxons came in through the Thames and fanned out north and south, as well as in the south and south-west as far as the River Tamar. In the north-west we had the Kingdom of the Strathclyde Britons, then Norsemen booted out of Ireland or migrating from Orkney, Shetland etc. In the east we next had the Danes between the Tees and the Thames, twice (second time led to Knut being made king) and the Normans, another brand of Viking who showed their origins from time to time. There were villages burnt to the ground between the Tees and Lincolnshire in 1069... Lots of opportunities for gold diggers!
There are stipulations and laws about finding treasure here that apply, such as 'Treasure Trove', large hoards such as found near Tamworth, where not only the landowner has vested interests but also local or national museums and county councils. Scattered finds on farm land can lead to profit, but again the landowner gets a share (up to 50%) that the finder MUST abide by. There are some rogue detectorists who ruin archaelogical sites in 'night raids' by not recording where artefacts were found, and moving them away out of context. Archaeologists are then unable to provide a 'picture' of an important site.
On public land a detectorist who finds items keeps them, but if they are historically important then the sites need to be advised to local museums.
In the Staffordshire Hoard there were artefacts of Byzantine, Pictish and Northumbrian origin, as well as Celtic Christian, scattered across a field near two major roads. Finder Terry Herbert and his friend reported the finds and along with the farmer received a percentage of the estimated value. He was one of the 'good guys' who understood his responsibilities. There are many who ignore the niceties and spoil it for the others.
Mary Wickison (author) from USA on March 07, 2015:
It is an interesting hobby, plus you're out there in the fresh air getting exercise. All of that and the chance at finding something valuable.
Glad you enjoyed the hub, thanks for the vote.
Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on March 07, 2015:
Real interesting to know about metal detecting and the hidden dangers from it. Thanks for sharing. It sounds like fun. Voted up!
Mary Wickison (author) from USA on August 21, 2014:
Hopefully you will find something both interesting and valuable.
Tristan30404 on August 20, 2014:
I find this site very helpful and would like to thank you for your advice ut should help me when i go to beaches
Imtiaz Ahmed from Dhaka, Bangladesh on July 31, 2014:
Blond Logic nice articles you written. I really liked this one. I will take metal detector with me when going to the beach and going to a visit to the Farmlands :) thank you
Mary Wickison (author) from USA on June 23, 2014:
Interesting question. No I have never taken it on a plane. If you do you will probably have to pay additional fees such as when people take golf clubs or surf boards. Plus if you are going to foreign shores, you will need to read up on the laws regarding metal detecting there and those sites may not be in English.
Finding trash is a problem when you are detecting. I keep a bag close by to take any I find away with me.
There is nothing wrong finding treasure in the antinque shops, garage sales and such. There is an old saying, "gold is where you find it".
Thanks for reading, I am glad you found it interesting. Wherever you go, happy hunting.
LisaKeating on June 22, 2014:
I love metal detecting but never really do it. Do you take your detector on a plane? The only time I am at the beach is on vacation. I have thought about using my detector around our local lake park, but I think I would mostly find trash. Thanks for the ideas here. I love treasure hunting but usually just stick to antique stores!
Mary Wickison (author) from USA on April 07, 2014:
Good luck with your hunt, let us know what you find.
james on April 07, 2014:
Great idea thanks I will go to the beach soon! Yay
Mary Wickison (author) from USA on February 02, 2014:
It is an exciting hobby, you never know what you'll find. Thanks for reading and commenting.
Deborah-Diane from Orange County, California on February 02, 2014:
We live near Laguna Beach and often see people out with their metal detectors, especially right after a big holiday weekend. I'm sure they find lots of fun treasures!
Mary Wickison (author) from USA on October 08, 2013:
Glad you enjoyed the page. Thanks for your comment.
Ilona from Ohio on October 07, 2013:
Fascinating. I always wanted to use a metal detector.You give so many good ideas on where and how to look for "lost treasure".
Mary Wickison (author) from USA on May 05, 2013:
I would love to hear if you find anything interesting and so would other readers. Often it isn't just about things for monetary gain, it is also interesting from a history point of view. Glad you enjoyed the hub, and I look forward to hearing from you again when you find your buried treasure. Thanks for stopping by.
Kevin Peter from Global Citizen on May 02, 2013:
Nice hub. I used to detect for metals when I was young. The places that have more chances of finding metals are explained well in the hub. I have decided to try some of the methods mentioned. I will surely inform you if I find something. Thanks a lot.
Mary Wickison (author) from USA on April 27, 2013:
Well as the old saying goes, "Gold is where you find it." It could be in your back garden! Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment.
ocfireflies from North Carolina on April 27, 2013:
Makes me wish I was at the beach right now metal detector in hand. Great tips for looking in other places besides the beach.
Mary Wickison (author) from USA on March 14, 2013:
Thanks for the votes.
Metal detecting at the beach is perfect for multi-tasking. Tanning, swimming and discovering a fortune. LOL .
A day well spent, I'd say.
Thanks for stopping by.
vibesites from United States on March 14, 2013:
Wow, I think I'll do metal detecting on the beach -- now it's another reason for me to love the place aside from the usual swimming and tanning. Sounds exciting! Hehehehe. Voted up and useful, awesome.
Mary Wickison (author) from USA on February 27, 2013:
Thank you for that, I am sure everyone will check out that site. The people I have met, who enjoy this hobby, are always eager to talk, explain and are very open. (Within reason), as long as no one tries to 'jump their claim'.
Great to hear from you.
yourblingfinder on February 26, 2013:
Wanted to say that is a great list you put together for new and experience people who like to Metal Detect. I would like to add as well that there is a site that is really great at finding hidden places in almost every city for people to go out and metal detect. They are able to locate old farm house or public venues that have been plowed under or just for gotten. Some of their locations are even date back before the 1900's. They do it for free as we.. Its called MetalDetectingPlaces.com.
Mary Wickison (author) from USA on July 30, 2012:
What a great idea about where people did washing.
I now live in rural Brazil and have seen people washing their clothes in small lagoons. I will add this to the places to look. You can just imagine that coins or whatever could have fallen out. Or near a swimming hole when they leave their clothes on the bank.
Something else to mention, in Britain they used to bury their rubbish and it is possible to find some wonderful old bottles. (not with the detector of course). That is a story for another hub!
Thank you for your wonderful comment. Have a great day.
John R Wilsdon from Superior, Arizona on July 30, 2012:
Your suggestion to ask granny about where people congregated and how they acted is great. I have found beaches are so scoured that you really need to time when you go to the beach to find things. However, I don't live in England, I live in the Southwest, USA, and I have found that searching near areas where people may have washed clothes 150 years ago is productive.
Of course, you need to do some research and find out if communities used to be near river and stream avenues you have found. Trails where riders passed frequently is another goodie. Yes, big shade trees are great, especially for coins. Stadium seats are good, too. Ghost towns can yield valuable stuff, but realize that many others have scoured before you. In the United States, our history (at least history of civilizations that used metals) is much shorter. The 19th century in the United States West is the big prize. Searching for places where folks congregated, for whatever reason, is what I discovered is best. Areas where prospectors continually tried to find their riches, communities near mining towns, CHURCHES, and all other places your COMMON sense lead you to are productive.
I can't think of a better way to spend the day, either. Hmmm... every time I hear about an old Celtic ruin newly discovered with gold amulets, chains, rings, maces?, or whatever, I wish I had the money to fly over. What a hoot! There is a great advantage to having thousands of years of fascinating history! Maybe, someday, this cowboy can get there. Thanks for the hub, it was good.:)
Mary Wickison (author) from USA on April 23, 2012:
That is so true. I have found coins around the base of a tree in the house where I use to live. It was an old tree and I can just imagine people resting against the trunk or kids hanging upside down with coins dropping from their pockets. Their Mother calling them in for dinner and of course they forgot to collect the coins.
It is an enjoyable way to spend a day out in the fresh air.
Nancy Yager from Hamburg, New York on April 23, 2012:
What an awesome hub doing one of my favorite things searching for treasures. Does not matter how big or how small the treasures are, it is the fun of the search.
Mary Wickison (author) from USA on March 03, 2012:
Thank you. I think this is a fabulous lifelong hobby. A person can learn so much from this. Patience is necessary but hopefully it will be rewarded.
Jonathan Grimes from Devon on January 12, 2012: