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Getting Into a New Hobby: Metal Detecting

Metal detecting has roots that go back to the 1800s. While some people may associate metal detecting with security checks at airports or other crowded and large events, others see it as a fulfilling hobby. For some who take part in it, metal detecting allows them to play the part of a detective, and they may even offer their services to people who have lost an item made of metal, such as a wedding ring, for example. Others use their metal detector as a means of entertainment as they search for hidden treasures. Some individuals even work with archeologists. Before taking up metal detecting, it’s crucial that people do a little research. It’s important to not only know what tools are needed but what rules to abide by.

The first thing one needs to do is to buy their equipment, which means purchasing the appropriate metal detector for their purposes. Three types of metal detectors are available for hobbyists: beat frequency oscillation (BFO), very low frequency (VLF), and pulse induction (PI) detectors. The PI detectors are frequently more expensive and use technology that makes them a good option for individuals who search for metal that’s been deeply buried. It is not a detector that can distinguish different types of metal, which is a trait of the VLF detectors. A VLF can not only distinguishe between metal types, but it is also highly accurate. In terms of price, it is less expensive than PI detectors but more expensive and more powerful than BFO detectors. A BFO detector uses basic technology, which helps keep its cost lower, and this type is often considered to be a good choice for people who are new to metal detecting.

There have been many amazing finds by people who engage in metal detecting. In 1989, the Boot of Cortez, which was a gold nugget that weighed more than 26 pounds, was found in the deserts of Senora, Mexico, and later sold for $1,553,500. A gold and sapphire ring called the Escrick Ring, which may have once belonged to royalty roughly 1,600 years ago, is another example of such a treasure. The ring was discovered by an amateur metal detector in 2009. In yet another find, Viking artifacts of gold and silver that date back more than 1,000 years were unearthed in Scotland by a detectorist named Derek McLennan, who had previously found 300 medieval coins.

There are certain locations where one is likely to have the best results when using their metal detector to find treasures such as coins and jewelry. Before visiting these locations, one must know what the rules are regarding metal detecting in the area. Historical sites, for example, do not allow people to use their detectors or remove items. Some common locations to find metal treasures are areas that see a lot of traffic or have been used by a lot of people over a long period of time. This includes public parks, schoolyards, and playgrounds, beaches, grassy or sandy parking areas, old campgrounds, and old home sites. People also commonly find items ranging from earrings to steel pennies at amusement parks and fairgrounds after concerts. If there is any question about an area or if it is on someone’s property, one should always ask the owner for permission to go treasure-hunting in advance.

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By Alan Bernau Jr.

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