When in Doubt – ASK!

There’s a stretch of beach close to me with a pebble and sandstone reef of such ferrous intensity that there’s hardly a metal detector able to cope with the conditions. The reef is a natural coin, relic, and jewellery trap that ensnares these items as they wash ashore on the Flood Tide; tantalisingly, a 17th century wreck lies close inshore.

Such is the ferrous contamination of this  reef that previous attempts to open its secrets have rendered my ATPro International with the efficacy of a concrete parachute  (even with the Sniper coil) along with a constant background noise making it almost impossible to pick out the good signals. My Sea Hunter II pi was not much better either; worse even. My ATGold was a ‘no-no’ since it’s not a beach machine and so I’m told, goes berserk near saltwater. So, it was a case of back to the drawing board and to mull things over with Mr Johnnie Walker (a fine Scot) to mull things over to find a solution to the problem.

In the event I emailed my knowledgeable friend in Garland, Texas, Garrett’s globe-trotting in-house treasure hunter, Steve Moore, with  the problem. His reply was like a smack in the mouth: “ATG may be the answer. The next best thing will be a PI machine that can ground balance to that mess.” Huh? Wassat? Saltwater? Beach? ATGold? Huh? Wos coming down here?

Steve advised using the ATGold in DISC 2 (US coin Mode). Bearing in mind the ATGold can cope with heavily contaminated ground and still zero-in on tiny flakes of gold and small nuggets – notwithstanding the manual says to keep it away from saltwater – Steve Moore had me baffled. Still, hope springs eternal.

This 2,000-yr old roman coin was my oldest beach find, trapped in a low-water reef. Found using a Sniper coil in the County of Cornwall.

Shortly after receiving his email, I was down at the water’s edge, ATGold in hand, and I must say, not at all hopeful! It crossed my mind he was playing a terribly cruel example of an American practical joke…nah, he wouldn’t do that…would he? I pressed on. The tide was nearly in and the pebble reef almost covered, but I reckoned I’d got about 45-minutes leeway. However, still not wholly convinced that DISC 2 might prove a winner, especially with all those pre-set gaps in the Notch Discrimination Scale, and notwithstanding Steve’s email advice that it might miss some gold, I followed his set up suggestion as follows:-

DISC 2, and GB’d (over the reef) to ’90,’ set the GB ‘window’ to ‘6’ to spread the GB variance; dropped the SENS to ‘3’; Iron Discrim to Max; and finally switched off the Iron Audio.  Magic! It worked! I was not disappointed and a few coins soon followed before I was flooded-off.

The moral of this story – and before you gallop off to try something similar, or, become over-enthused in a whiskey-fuelled ‘Eureka! Moment’ – is always go for a second opinion from those who know about these things.

An email dropped in the right ear often works wonders!

NB: The above is an adaptation of a previous article  for The Garrett Searcher


Remember, if you are sending old coins abroad don’t forget to mark the envelope, “NUMISMATIC SPECIMEN.” It’s a sensible precaution to  help prevent unwanted attention. On the reverse write, “PAPERWORK INSIDE,” and make sure it is!


Full Steam Ahead to a GLORIOUS 2018

Despite what some barmy high-handed narcissists on the loony outer fringes of political-archaeology claim in their increasingly panicky and anxious fake news items to put the wind up the impressionable, the Portable Antiquities Scheme continues apace as a world leader. It employs many leading historians and archaeologists; is used as the basis for umpteen scholarly works thanks to Britain’s detectorists. It’s a wonderful system representing government money very well spent. All Tekkies can be rightly proud of their achievements.

 John Glen MP, Minister for Arts, Heritage and Tourism recently had this to say: “Twenty years after the Treasure Act came into force, it is fantastic that Treasure discoveries have reached a record high. Thanks to the PAS, every year thousands of found objects are recorded so we can learn more about our past. I am pleased that a large number of the finds have also been added to museum collections and are on public display.”

 Hartwig Fischer, Director of the British Museum, says: –  “The PAS is a unique partnership between the British Museum and our national and local partners. Its main aim is to advance knowledge, but the Scheme reaches out to people across the country, and helps bring the past alive. The British Museum is passionate about the PAS and what it achieves, for archaeology and local people.”

The PAS is a partnership project, managed by the British Museum working with at least 119 national and local partners to deliver the Scheme’s aims. It is funded through the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport grant to the British Museum with local partner contributions. All the Finds Liaison Officers working for the PAS are employed locally, but work as a national team.


 Lamebrains or 1Cockroaches?

Unfortunately, there’s a minority of mindless, undistinguished detector-hating morons –  often posing as ‘heritologists’ – who  have made it their life’s work to insult online and in the most objectionable manner the Portable Antiquities Scheme, British Museum, The National Trust, and English Heritage among others.

Such deplorable  behaviour is alas, a fact of modern internet life where  imbeciles and others with glitches in their personalities lack the ability to conduct or control themselves graciously – preferring the vernacular of the gutter – and have uncensored  access to spew their bile.

Perhaps  we ought to feel sorry for these inadequates  – many simply yearn for  recognition and/or peer approbation: Others though, are just plain, unreconstructed ***holes.

1 Most cockroaches prefer to live in warm, dark, wet areas, like sewers and basements. They often enter structures through drains and pipes.


As Lana Turner once said…

A successful man is one who makes more money than his wife can spend. A successful woman is one who can find such a man.



6 thoughts on “When in Doubt – ASK!

    • As I recall, ’twas the other way round. It was in that bar in AC when that young lady sidled up to you and whispered in your ear, “Hello big boy. [guffaws all round] Can I have a go with your deep-seeker.” You then patted your pockets and said that you’d left your wallet back in NJ, and I loaned, yes loaned, you $20 for what purpose I remain unsure.


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