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All About Metals and Metal Detecting

Metal detecting is a fun and educational hobby in which a person uses a piece of equipment called a metal detector to find objects buried in the ground. Metal detectors use electromagnetic principles to pinpoint metal objects by sending magnetic currents through the earth. When the current hits a metal object, it sets off the sensors. Some of the most commonly found items include coins, buttons, commercial tokens, pins, badges, bullets, toys, and tools.

How to Get Started Metal Detecting

Experts recommend that when you’re just starting your metal detecting journey, it’s best to begin at a local park or children’s play area. Since these are well-trafficked areas, it’s easy to find a coin or two without having to do a lot of digging. When you’re just getting started, you should dig up everything your metal detector finds in order to make a mental note of what each object sounds like on your detector; that way, in the future, you’ll have a better idea of what you’ve found before you dig it up. However, even the experts say they dig up almost everything long after they’ve gotten used to the sounds because sometimes, you’ll find something unexpected.

When you’re just getting started, it’s important to read your detector’s manual. All metal detectors are different, and your manual will offer guidance to help you learn the ins and outs of your new tool.

Metal Detecting Gear, Supplies, and Accessories

Metal detecting is easier and more fun when you have all of the tools you need. Some of the most common tools and accessories used in this hobby include:

  • Metal detector
  • Backpack
  • Shovel and other digging tools
  • Gold pans
  • Headphones
  • Extra batteries
  • Pinpointers
  • Scoops
  • Search coils
  • Sunblock
  • Comfortable shoes
  • Weather-appropriate clothes

Once you decide on a general area where you’d like to go metal detecting, do some research on the area by looking at historical records and maps. This can help you pinpoint good places to search for treasures. Look for places where people gathered in the past, some of which may not be popular places to go now. You can always visit your local library for records like newspapers, photographs, maps, and local history books. Most areas also have a local historical society that can give you more information that could lead to great metal detecting spots. Thanks to the Internet, it’s also possible to view old aerial maps of areas all over the world to help you come up with even more places to potentially visit for metal detecting.

Old Maps

  • Historic Aerials: Type in the coordinates or street address you’re looking for in order to get aerial photos, topographic maps, and an atlas of the area.
  • Old Aerial Photos: This page has more than a million aerial photos of the United Kingdom from the 1940s to the 1990s available with just the push of a button.
  • Aerial Photography: The U.S. National Archives hold more than 35,000,000 aerial photos from the United States and abroad.
  • USGS Topographic Maps: Find free topographic maps from the U.S. Geological Society.
  • Collections With Maps: Collections of aerial maps around the world spanning hundreds of years are available for download from the Library of Congress.
  • Zoom Earth: This page allows you to see a minute-by-minute aerial overview of the entire world. Zoom in on the spot of your choice to get detailed overviews from today or any other day you prefer.

Metal Detecting Clubs and Organizations

  • Federation of Metal Detector & Archaelogical Clubs Inc.: FMDAC is an incorporated educational organization devoted to the preservation, promotion, and protection of metal detecting as a hobby.
  • Metal Detecting Clubs in the United States and Canada: Looking to join a metal detecting club in your area? This page has a state-by-state breakdown of metal detecting clubs that you may be able to join.
  • Metal Detecting Club Finder: This map makes it easier than ever to find a local metal detecting club near you. All you have to do is input your desired location and it will bring back all of the clubs in the vicinity.
  • Metal Detector Clubs: The Gold Digger can help you find local metal detecting club Facebook pages from every state.
  • Metal Detecting Clubs: Click on the state you’re in to find local metal detecting clubs as well as any local regulations you might need to know.

Metal Detecting Tips, Tools, and Resources

Metal Detector Manufacturers

Many companies are dedicated to creating metal detectors and metal detecting accessories for hobbyists. These companies manufacture devices ranging from popular all-purpose metal detectors for use on land to submersible detectors.

Metal Detecting Blogs, Forums, and Miscellaneous Websites

One of the best ways to learn more about metal detecting is to talk to people who engage in this hobby. Seek out people on metal detecting blogs and forums to get advice about what they do and how you can get started.

By Alan Bernau Jr

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