How to recover treasure.
So you have identified what you believe to be valuable metal beneath the soil. Now its time to recover it.
One needs to use the correct technique to recover treasure like coins so that they are not damaged and so that you don’t leave big holes in the ground or spend too much effort digging it out.
First you need the correct tools of the trade. An essential in a metal detectors toolkit is a large Small Garden Spade – You can buy custom digging spades that look more like knives with a serrated edge from metal detector shops. However you can also use a sharp Bread-knife with a point. An example is here on the right. This will allow you to dig a nice deep “plug” and cut through tough grass and solid soil without trouble and drastically speed up treasure recovery.
After you have pinpointed your target its time to dig.
Start by pressing your knife into the ground a few inches away from the spot you think your treasure lies. now work your way around in a circle around the suspected items location. This will cut a circle of earth around the object and through the grass routes and create a “plug” or chunk of earth that you can remove in one piece (see image below). Some people use a spade or “composite digger” to achieve same thing objective and literally dig a circle around the object. A “composite digger” is also recommended so that it does not interfere with your metal detector like a metal spade would.
Next remove this piece of ground from the hole and rescan the empty hole with your metal detector. If you don’t pick up anything chances are the metal is inside the plug you removed, so scan the plug next. If its still in the hole then dig a little deeper with your knife to find it. If the item is in the plug then carefully inspect it and tap sand away from the plug until you find it.
Once you have located and removed your find, be sure to put the plug back in the hole. Leave only footprints behind.
*Handy Hint – You can take fists of earth out the hole and while still in your hand sweep the first of earth across the coil to see if the metal is in your hand.
*Handy Hint – You can use a Metal Detector Pinpointer to help you find your treasure in the hole or plug with lightning speed.
Using a Probe
Many detectorists use a probe. This is an item shaped like a long thin screwdriver. You can push this into the surface to try and feel the item before you start digging. However this tool can very often damage your valuable metals before you have them out of the ground.
Using a Garden Spade
Often on Hunts in the veld you will also find a normal garden spade useful. Simply dig a large hole in the earth away from the object or relic so as not to damage it. I nice sharp and big garden spade is essential in tough ground conditions where you are not worried about damaging the ground like in a public park.
Using a Scoop.
When Metal Detecting at the beach many individuals also make use of a scoop. It is essentially a metal bucket with holes in on the end of a long handle. As the sand is soft you can stay upright and scoop up sand shaking the sand out the bucked until the item remains in your scoop.
Adapt to the condition.
There will always be an appropriate tool for the job. So know your conditions and pick the right one for the situation. for example a rocky hillside covered in small stones can be tackled nicely with a claw shaped fork to scratch away stones.
Good luck with speedy safe and clean recovery!