Sunday, January 30, 2011

Another fantastic hunt

Sunday morning , weather was superb and I was at my farm site at 6.15am. I headed straight for the hot spot and started going over the area again. This time I concentrated on the clumps of smaller trees and the areas between them. I know that there could still be a lot to find as I have been picking the easier areas, in the open and under the larger trees.
Well the targets come thick and fast in this place so I was digging my first within 5 minutes....probably more like two!

 The first hit  that I had was a small brass buckle. It was at 200mm and in a nice soft spot. It was quickly recovered and I continued....for one swing and then I was digging again. In the picture above you can see the buckle hole covered up and the next target is marked with the digger. Nice!
This turned out to be a 1942 1d in fair condition  and only 100mm down . I literally just flipped it out of the ground.

Okay so now I had my hand....or ear "in" and I started to pick up the pace. I carried on for another 2m or so and the next target rang in my ears, this time closer to a small poplar and indicated at 10 inches. I started digging and hit a root almost immediately. I battled for another few minutes and recovered a small musket ball.

It is considerably smaller than the other two which I have found so far. Roots can be a real pain, but they do tend to hold nice finds. Depth was around 250mm.

I thought I would just include the next pic to show you what my holes look like once I am done, when you hunt on someone else's land it is important not to leave ugly ground scars. I like to fill my holes, tamp then down firmly and then camouflage them with the local ground covering be it leaves, grass or even small branches .
The picture left is the hole once I have" fixed it up." They obviously don't all end up perfectly but you should do your best to minimize the visual impact of the digging.

 I moved over to a larger tree and immediately got a crystal clear signal indicated at 12 inches. This time the roots are ridiculous. I decided to take a few pictures of this dig as it is probably the most difficult one I have ever done.
The digger marks the pinpoint on the target.
Starting to get somewhere, removing the soil in between the mass of roots.
Another 5 minutes work and the target is still pinpointed at the same place directly under the center of the roots mass.
Finally I scratched it out of there and it was another "1800's" penny. The dates on these coins are mostly illegible because of the deterioration of the coin. The depth was at 250mm. This whole process took the better part of 20 minutes , so I decided to up the level of the discrimination for the rest of the hunt. I basically notched out 'hot rocks" and iron. Only  good signals from now on, I can always clean up the iron later.

The coin perched on a root. a smaller root is visible below it.

About 3m further my next customer was singing to me and it was indicated at 15 inches. One root ran directly over the target and my heart sank.....not again! But as it was the root was on its's own and posed little problem on this one. The find was a silver 1945 6d and it was far down, over 400mm .
Quite a nice coin in very good condition! I don't think I will battle finding deep caches with this machine. The depth is excellent and the pinpoint is very reliable.

The next target was a bit "iffy" but I decided to give it a bash anyway and I am glad that I did because it turned out to be another Penny, too corroded to date in the field so it would have to be given a clean at home.

Not wanting to waste any time I continued and it wasn't long and I had a strange looking button in my hand.
Another followed shortly and the battery on my phone died.....end of the pictures for now.
I continued hunting for another hour and a half and the finds came one after the other. I  finally called it a day having found, 4 buttons,2 musket balls,1942 1d, 1943 1d, 1945 6d, 2 brass buckles and 3 1800's pennies.

I went home and started cleaning the finds up over a cup of  Java. I took some pictures this evening and here they are, I hope you enjoy seeing them as much as I enjoyed recovering them.
1943 1d

Left is a picture of the large odd looking plain copper buttons that I found, they where really deep and really loud!
The button in the front is plain and flat. The large"puffy" buttons look very "Napoleon" and are both dented in the front in a similar way.

Another view with the British button for a size reference, these really are big buttons. The top button is the flat one and just visible in the lower left is the fourth button found today. It is brass and quite heavy an has a lip around the back.

The last button is heavy and made of brass. It has no markings on either side and the little eye on the back is missing.
The first 2 old pennies today are in similar condition...........terrible! I found three of these today alone.
On the one I can get partial date....18??

I really can't wait to find one in a better area, where the ground has not ruined the coin to this extent. . I nicked this one while digging out of the roots....really have to be more careful.........or patient!
This picture shows the different sizes of the musket balls, I had no idea that they came in different calibers.....
I thought a musket ball was a musket ball. Once again they seem to have a conglomeration of soil around them and you actually have to crack or peel them like a nut!
The two small buckles are quite nice, they are always nice to find and look great in display cases.
And finally the little silver 1945 6d. This is going to clean up very nicely. Some more "bling" for the display case.

Well that just about wraps it up for another hunt. Thanks again for having a look at my finds. I think things are going to get more exciting when I start hunting in the dams, time to put the CZ21 to the test in fresh water.
I think that the people on this farm must have used the dams as recreational areas and the murky water and thick reeds might hold some worthwhile treasures....not the friendliest environment mind you, I can think of a lot things that I would rather do than scratch in the mud at the bottom of a 300 year old dam.....but the potential is too good to be ignored!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Early morning hunt sheds new light

Today was a great day in my metal detecting adventures. I managed to recover some great  relics and in doing so, I answered several questions that had been tormenting me for a while now.

The elusive 1800's ....where in the world are all the lost goodies from the 1800's ? Why can't I find any?
Am I doing something wrong? Are they just too deep? Am I in the wrong area?
And these are just some of the questions. These lead to other more complex questions....but my goal is not to bore you . So let me rather just get on with this morning's hunt.

Woke up early to a perfect day for an early morning ramble in the country side. I got my stuff together and was at my site around 6 am. I decided to hunt the area that last produced the military wings, an area beneath a fairly decent sized Oak tree.
You can just make out my detector leaning against the tree, on the left.

The going was slow and the first decent signal turned out to a be 1971 1c piece, depth on the indicator was at 7 inches, I eventually recovered the coin at around 200mm, not bad  performance I would say. And the signal was clear enough to get the blood pumping! Those old copper coins really sing when you find them.
1971 is the year I was born so it's still a 40 year old coin!

The next few target sounded really promising only to be bottle tops....really old bottle tops! The large one has a picture of a Galleon on it so I thought it might look interesting in a show case.
Next out of the ground was the nail in the top of the picture, followed shortly by the eye of a tarpaulin..........or a tent maybe?
I have found these in clumps around this farm and I started to wander if there might not at some stage in history, have been a military presence on the farm. Strangely enough this one was on it's own.
The shaft is of brass and could be a part from an irrigation fitting, not too sure. It gave a wonderful signal at the base of a poplar tree and it's other part was lying about 20 cm away.
Now it started picking up. I decided to give the opposite side if the gravel road try and within 3 seconds I had a hit the base of a old dead Oak tree. It looked like a clump of dirt about 25 mm across. I gave it a squeeze and as with the last musket ball I found, the crust  gave way to reveal a perfect specimen.
They also all seem to have the same colour patina. That is one old piece right there and I am pretty sure that it has not seen the light of day in well over 100 years.
Very next signal gave me a solid 81 on the screen and really clear sound . The depth said 13-14 inches so I thought it was a small silver coin that was probably at only half that depth.  So I started digging......and then some more ......
Finally it was out and it turned out to be another of the large, very damaged copper coins, that I had found on the last two hunts.You can see it lying just above the coil.
But this one is different because the soil on this side of the road is lighter and dryer for some reason, and the time in the ground left one or two unmistakable details. Namely a date and a few letters!
You can also see the faint details of a person sitting on a throne, with a long "trident" type object running just off vertical to the top of the coin.1878....Yahoo!, So that answers  all the questions that had been niggling me.
I am finding them...I have three so far!
No, I am not doing anything wrong, my settings are perfect (for now), and the T2 is working like a champ!
Yes the stuff is deep and yes, I am in the right area! Well I can tell you that this is one hell of a confidence boost! And incredibly rewarding.
It's as if the universe decided to stop taunting me and leave just enough detail to put my doubts to rest.
Just a few letters  are still visible on the obverse side. Man that really is some nasty deterioration. This ground is really rough on the relics.......all the more reason to get them out ....before they're all gone.
Well it was getting to 8.30 and I knew the kids would be getting restless to start the Sunday morning grocery shopping routine, so I slowly head back to where I had parked the bakkie.

Ping Ping Ping.........nice! What could it be......  
It turned out to be a Ticky lying in the open at around 15cm, but I was now back on the previous side of the road and this little silver coin has taken a beating. I am going to try the electrolysis method of cleaning coins and I think this will be a great little test subject. I really would like to get a decent look at it.
The Ticky is the coin on the lower right side.
I was happy, I had a great hunt and I was looking forward to a cup of coffee so I continued walking towards my car, I had gone about 3m and bang there it was again, "awesome but this must be the last one" I thought to myself and proceeded to clear the grass and sticks away, scanned again and yes there it was still giving me a good solid repeatable whistle ....this sounded like a big aluminium bottle cap again.
Depth was indicated at 12-13 inches so I thought that if I found it at, say 8 inches it would most likely be a cap. Finally it was out of the ground at about 30cm in a soft, spongy patch of soil.......AH.... NO WAYS!!!.....
Now this is what I'm talking about hehehe!
Well I could only guess that this was a military button of sorts and, the fact that it was so ornate......only the British would come to the  African bush wearing this type of clothing HAHAHAHA!
I must say I was shaking  when I  picked it up.....this is a true relic.And a beautiful piece for any collection.
Once I cleaned it up a bit at home I could make out some wording on the back, it says something like "Player Bros" and "Birmingham"  ...I thought it was British!
This a pic I took late this afternoon, not the best lighting I know! She sure is pretty though. A very quick research session on Google suggests a period Pre-1902....that means BOER WAR! And that also means that at least one British Soldier was on this land at around that time. Another question answered, I think I might have to start taking a closer look at the places that produced the Tarp eyelets, there could very well have been some sort of military presence here. Funnily enough now that I think of it those spots also produced a few old tent pegs that now warrant a closer look.
That sums up this weekends hunt , I really must do a post on my recovery business but this is just so much more fun!
Feel free to leave a comment, and thanks for your time. I will try and keep the good stuff coming and who can tell, maybe one of those Redcoats left us a cache or some gold coins. Both preferably!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Early morning Farm Hunt

I got up early on Saturday morning and decided to get out in the bush for a couple of hours.
I started where I left off last time, having found an old spoon. And a good choice it was because within the first 5 minutes I had a crisp, clear signal screaming at me through the headphones.
Cool !  I never did find a whistle before. This picture is taken prior to cleaning, once cleaned it worked like a charm hehehe, now I have something to freak the kids out with when their screaming gets too much!
The whistle was not that deep , probably only 10 cm or so. I found it close to the base of a tree along side a stream.
It says "The Hustler" Made in England on the front ....and it is going to look great in a display case!

Well it was not much of a wait and another signal indicated a target beckoning to leave Mother Earth, this time a more broken and fainter signal, but still giving a fairly high tone and sounding worth the effort.
Well you guess is as good as mine but it is a coin. Judging from the level of deterioration it has been there for a while. I scanned the hole again and there was still a good signal. Now it's getting interesting hehe! I love it when you get more than one target in a see the work is already done as the hole is the reward just doubled!
Okay so I scratched around a bit more and  turned out to be another coin. Also completely destroyed but this one has the remnants of  word......"PENNY". I am not sure if you can see it but if you have a closer look you will see the word appears along the outer edge on the top right hand of the coin.
This leads me to believe that it may be an 1800's Penny , which would explain the condition of these coins in relation to ....the next target. This time another coin but from 1943.
Now this coin is from well before my time so I am not too sure but it has a ship on the face and I think it may be a half cent. Anyway it has stood up to Father Time a lot better than the previous pair.

I decided to cross the road and search beneath an oak tree that I have been eying for some tine now.
Well it seems like I was on a roll and the targets kept on coming. The first target under the tree was a bullet case....mind you so was the next one....right next to it. They appear to be .22 cal shells and they have been lying there for a while...
I moved closer to the base of the tree and immediately started getting a fairly strong signal, but broken and annoying so I decided to give it a bash. I don't know what it is....some kind of "partefact" But when I looked at it the first time , from this angle.... had  looked like a small figurine of some sort. Well it isn't, it is a some kind of link or machine/implement part.....Moving up was a small nugget of metal that I was hoping to be a button...but alas, more junk I am afraid.
Bullet shells, partefact and suspected button.
The next half an hour was quiet and uneventful . Then the scream was back, and what a nice sounding target...
it had a nice shrill sound to it and it did not skip a beat once, just a solid repeatable ping every time I scanned the area. The detector was telling me that it was about 13 inches down and the digging was a mission in the hardened ground. Once I had a 13 inch...ish hole I scanned again and found that it was out of the hole.
When I first spotted it I could hardly believe what I was holding.....

A nice set of wings. Not a common find around these parts, I can assure you! Man this is a nice find....something you can research and date and another awesome show piece.
I dropped it in my soft pocket which is a dedicated pocket that only gets the really nice finds, to avoid scratches and damage.....going to clean that up later.
The last two targets of the day came in quick succession and turned out to be this 1965 Afrikaans 2c (above)
And a nice 1945 Tickey pictured below. Being silver the Tickey will clean up as good as new.

So I had been at it for 2 and a half hours and I was rather chuffed with the finds. It just goes to show that this site still holds some awesome little treasures just waiting for the coil to reveal their hiding place.
The wings cleaned up nicely and turned out to be WW2 issue SAAF shoulder wings, the fact that the birds head faces to the right tells me that this is probably the badge that was worn on the right shoulder that the bird faces forward.
Any way it is a find that I will remember for the rest of my metal detecting days. Here is what they looked like after a wash and a little (gentle)scrub.
Okay well that concludes another hunt. Thanks for checking it out and do feel free to contact me should you have any questions relating to this hobby or to the actual finds.

I think Bushpig and I will be out on the beach again this Sunday morning as the tides are getting to their lowest point now.

Monday, January 10, 2011

December beach hunting

Well the  Festive Season has come and gone and I ended up having very little time to go out and hunt. The hunting that I did do was all on the beaches around Cape Town  including Big and Small Bay, Llundudno, Clifton Camps Bay , Sea Point and Strand.
The finds where typical present day coins, some jewelery and some other bits and pieces. It seems that over the years people have started to realize that the beach is no place for your valuable jewelery.
That said there is still a whole lot of goodies lying about and it is just a matter of time before they come within reach of  a coil again, you see a lot of the beaches are sanded in and I cannot wait for the next big storm! It's time to shake things up again.
Just after first light , a thick fog hangs over  Clifton

Another pocket spill is recovered,  R12.70 in that small space
Our hunting starts at around 4.45 am and we use headlamps for the first hour or so, until it gets light enough to
see what is going on in the holes.
Although I did not have the best hunt ever , it did produce some cool finds and there was never much waiting between targets.
The mornings takings

Find where R69, a working parker pen , 2 pocket knives and a sterling silver bracelet. The bottle top in the picture is actually off  Llundudno and was down about 30 cm , in a layer of old kelp. It seems to be an old Oros top with the running  Brooke's looks really old. I am trying to get  hold of the logo's history to try and put a date on it.
A really terrible pic of the top, my apologies. But it does give an idea of what I am going on about!

Okay! So the next coast we decided to check out was the West Coast, Big Bay and Small Bay first.
The hunt was ......well lets just say that we need a tsunami on this side! Did get a few nice pics though, and once again please excuse the quality but I think that the moist air on the lens of my phone is causing a bad picture quality.
Low tide exposes the sandbar between the bays, this shot is taken looking back from the island that is now accessible.

I scratched around on the island for a while, but there is such a thick build up of sand that I eventually gave up and just enjoyed the view.
Table mountain from the island at Small Bay
Here is Bushpig searching the one flank of the island, and the sun is just about to give us some relief from the nip.
After this session we headed in the direction of Melkbos and searched the beach infront of a school camp facility.
What we soon found out that this beach is the catchment area for all the trash that gets blown across the bay and besides a few really large sinkers and a few coins nothing was happening here either, so out came the phone and I took a few pics of the area.
I ended up trying the dunes but besides this view .....nada!
And here is a pic of my CZ 21 water machine
Then some excitement came in the form of a recovery. I was contacted by a gentleman who shall remain anonymous and told that his wife had just lost here maternity ring at the Strand. This was Saturday the 8th and at around 1.30pm.
So I jumped in the car and headed down there to see if I could recover it for them. Well we stopped looking
after 2 hours and I was quite disappointed, I was hunting with a new water machine and could not find a ring that was lost just hours before...mmmm.
On the way home I decided that I would return at first light and give it another bash. I spent the night going through the manuals of the CZ21  and experimented with the settings.
Well it must have paid of because by 5.15 the next morning I had recovered the ring and although it was a little off the mark of where we searched the day before I had no problem whatsoever finding it.
Okay so that was taken care of , Strand has warm water and I decided to give the machine a try in it's home turf...the water.
First sight ...yeeeeeeehah! Boooyah!
Platinum , 5 diamond in a row...hehehe!
As it leaves the ground, trying to get a better pic.....eish man!
So I phoned and left a message for the owner and got ready to get wet. The tide was on the rise and I started into the water. I had been in for about 30 min when I first noticed that I was being followed......
I looked around and saw that I was standing in  amongst a school of sting rays. they where all over the place...swimming around me at no more that a meter at times. Some had 1 metre spans ....awesome experience really!
I was frantically trying to pull my phone out again to get some pics but the waves where knocking me around and I still ahd a scoop and detector in hand so things where starting to go pear shaped rather quickly and I had to abandon the attempt or sacrifice some of my kit... I managed to get a few shots of and caught one just after it took off in front of me.
And in we go!
Starting to get light so now we can go a bit deeper!
What the FFFFrikkadel!
Just after a sudden burst of speed.
I really wish I could have gotten a pic of the whole gang, there where so many of them and they just seemed to tag along with me.
I met the client later and returned the ring, I must say that the rewards was most generous and well above my expectation. It really is a rush when you can recover a piece that is so dear to someone....and then get paid for it as well...... handsomely!
I took the kids back here on Sunday and we did a bit more hunting but besides some really corroded old coins and some hair clips, didn't find much else.
I spoke to the lifeguards and they told me that the rays where unusual and that they had to call the swimmers out of the water, later they had dolphins and seals as well, they said that it seemed to them something weird was going on that morning.
Makes me wonder what else was swimming around "perving" at my legs that morning in the water hehe!
Anyway, that is the latest as far as the hunting goes. But this year I am going to go out there and put my head down.

I have made some acquaintances up country and I am dying to go and meet them and do some Boer sites.
The next post will be on the recovery service which I operate and some of the stories that have come out of this avenue of the hobby.
Thanks for taking the time to see what  I have been up to and hope you enjoy it. I will post some pics  tomorrow of all the takings from these hunts.