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Jack, there is a simple answer: 'Coins Don't Sink.' -- Also, a long storied post for ANYONE to read and answer.

September 28, 2019 08:13AM avatar
This is something I have had many discussions about this with some design engineers (metal detector and other lines), a few archaeologists when we were working a military training encampment from the latter 1800's over a hundred years later, and other individuals from time-to-time who you could say were well educated.

It has come up in discussions quite often with people who enjoy this great metal detecting hobby, and sadly with many people who have simply taken the opinions of people who seem to enjoy sharing their unexplained calculations broken down into 'percentages' and such. We won't go into whoever's website you refer to who often shares some nutty 'percentages' that don't have any measurable numbers for normal calculations. I can guess who that individual is, but we'll just leave names out of this discussion.

Let me relate, if you don't mind, a little story I have used since I started my first day-long metal detecting seminars back in '81. In those earlier years of hosting these classes of training and discussion, many were aware of the impressive number of finds I made, routinely, because I spent a lot of time detecting and was active in a few metal detecting clubs. I also had a metal detector shop and that was in the hey-day of this great sport when many got into it. And, since the typical hobbyist was interested in Coin Hunting and wanted to find older era coins, they were curious about where I found what I found and how to find them.

Naturally, when a newcomer gets out into the real world and starts using their new-to-them detector they quickly discover that not only were coins hidden from site, but also a lot of other metal objects seem to have joined in some crazy game of hide-and-seek because metal trash was / is everywhere! Those first two years of seminars I held, in '81 and '82, hosting them myself and by contract for other dealers in several western US states, averaged about a dozen-per-year.

Most of the attendees had been into this fun sport for a day or two, and up to about the prior 5-6 years, and those first two years of seminars were right before we got visual Target ID which came out sometime in 1983. Therefore, everyone was learning how to find stuff with BFO's, conventional TR's, and especially with TR-Discriminators, VLF/TR-Disc. models and the newer on the market VLF-Discriminators. (To those newer to this sport, the term VLF (for Very Low Frequency and referring to models that operates from 1+ kHz to 30 kHz range which allowed them to Ground Adjust or Ground balance or Ground Cancel as well as Discriminate unwanted trash which incorporated a need for motion-based Discrimination ... such as used in virtually every hobby-based detector made today) and that meant relying on an audio response and not visual Target ID or soon to arrive Tone ID or even a suggested Coin Depth gauge.

I had several mixed questions from the seminar attendees, some of which I would jot down in the corner of the marker board and get back to them later. Questions like:

• Targets on Edge
• How to 'Classify' good and bad targets (remember, w/o visual TID)
• Average Coin Depths
• Scatter Patterns of Trash
• Sink Rate
• Deterioration Rate of Ferrous Trash
• Commonly-Encountered Ferrous Trash
• Pinpointing
• Good and Bad 'Dynamics' or different Search Coil Types
.... and other things.

Some of these I would answer as I covered different topics, such as A.T.C. or Audio Target Classification. Things I learned and relied on since '69 with BFO's and '71 w/TR's to help audibly classify most common ferrous trash, such as round washers, bottle caps, common iron nails and other discarded or encountered Ferrous and Non-Ferrous targets. I have used and continue to use these same techniques to this very day because I search a lot of ferrous-challenged sites.

Part of what I learned decades ago when I started were some sweep techniques that were very helpful, then and now, to accomplish some of the A.T.C. methods to help 'classify' a lot of the iron trash. I used them since '71-'72 when I added some detectors to my Outfit that used Double-D search coils which respond differently from a Co-Planer or Concentric type coil. I named these techniques E.P.R. for Edge-Pass Rejection, and then in '83 I added 'Quick-Out' as a helpful technique at times with some of the new slow-motion / quick-response models that were just coming on the market to also help with rejectable iron junk.

Some of the questions that were asked I saved 'til the end of some areas of training and discussion and worked them into a story, which I referred to earlier and I'll get to it now. I brought it up for several reasons because many Hobbyists or just newcomers had experienced common urban Coin Hunting, but were now interested in adventuring into Relic Hunting because they wanted to search older places in hopes of finding older-dated coin, maybe some trade tokens, and possibly even some interesting older artifacts.

Also because many were curious about some of the displays of 'old stuff'' that can be found, such as harmonica reeds, old clock gear parts, and interesting tableware in my display I grabbed test samples from. They wondered about where I find such things, so I shared a story about a pioneering family who were making their way "Out West." ..... to continue ....

Isaac & Lola Kate Allred had a late start when they joined a wagon train, taking their two sons and two younger daughters on their journey to find a new place to live after reading the letters that occasionally arrived from friends and relatives who made that trek in 1847 to what became the Salt Lake City valley in Utah Territory. A few traveled on from there to help start some settlements a couple of years later in Northern Utah, Southern Utah, and some even to went on to California.

Isaac & Lola Kate wanted to hold off until their younger children, and they one they were expecting, were all born and a little older for the journey, they had read, had been a challenge for some. They had time to be outfitted with a good covered wagon instead of relying on hand-carts, and that let them head out with more possessions and needed goods for their travel. It was a smaller-size wagon train and the guide turned out to be somewhat inexperienced, and that resulted in some delays and misdirection on their journey.

All prepared to set out, they stopped for their last goodbyes at one of the town's general stores owned by Lola's parents. They wished the family safe travels, reminded them to write when they found where they would settle down, and her father reached in their cash box and removed a brand new, shiny 1854 Seated Liberty Silver Dollar and tucked it in Isaac's shirt pocket and buttoned it up. He told them it was a new dollar to recognize the year they set out on their journey, and it would bring them some good luck when they got wherever they were headed. Then, off they went.

As I stated, it was a late start by an unskilled wagon train leader and they had troubles along the way going a few different directions. Some in the wagon train party had become frustrated and turned back, while a few others just ventured off on their own in different directions to chase their dream. The Allred family ended up spending an early arrival winter with the remaining group somewhere near what today is the Western Nebraska and Eastern Colorado border.

Spring arrived early and they set out with another family and their wagon as they decided to also split away from the remaining group, especially after the younger train leader up and left the group during their winter layover. The weather was beautiful and it warmed quickly that spring of 1855 and the snows melted quickly and they had selected a favorable route to travel, even though they were "making trail" most of the way finding some favorable passes heading up the hills. Finally they reached a higher elevation where the scenery was beautiful, there was some flat and farmable land, plenty of trees to build a home, and they just decided to call it quits and settle there. The other family figured they would travel on as they only had about a weeks journey and a good looking route to reach the nearest established town site.

It was a pleasant mid-to-late spring and the Allred Family quickly got busy readying a selected spot to build a home and the boys and Isaac were busy cutting trees and readying everything to build a home. They also had to make a small enclosure south of the planned cabin site to keep their milk cow and the remaining chickens they brought along. They had a busy end of spring and start into summer and accomplished a lot with hard work. Working as a team they got a crude but livable house built, and the soil in this higher pass location wasn't very rocky and that made it easily plowable and they started a vegetable garden. Kids in those days worked as hard as they could as part of the family unit, but they still were able to get in a little play-time.

Naturally, there were times things didn't go all that well. On two occasions, once on the north side and once on the south side, Isaac was on the roof trying to get it nailed down and his small bucket of nails got tipped over or slid off the roof, scattering loose nails on the ground below so he had to stop and find some of the nails to continue. Finally, after a few days they had a livable home with wooden shutters and walked back about 20 feet from the front door to admire their new home.

Making good progress at having a new place to live. To commemorate finally settling down, Isaac was looking back at the west-facing front door, used the side of his boot and 'toe-scuffed' away about an inch of the soft dirt. He then reached in his pocket and dropped that 1854 Silver Dollar in that scuffed-out depression, then pushed the removed soil back over that inch-deep dollar and stepped it down to compact their 'Good Luck' piece to recognize their new start in a new land.

While dad was working on the garden area, the older of the boys had the hatchet and were busy chopping wood for the stove and stacking it outside the east-facing back door. All went well until the handle broke and that sent the axe head flying which landed by the wood pile outside the rear cabin door. Oh well, they could finish their chore using the larger axe.

The girls gathered eggs from the chicken's coop south of their cabin. Just another day in a life. Summer progressed and they found the location was rather arid and there was very little rain after spring passed and they didn't pick a spot with a nearby spring to provide ample water for the garden. The cow ate, but not like it used to and what once looked inviting was turning into a struggle to get by.

Summer progressed, getting into hot weather that didn't linger too long, then the days quickly started getting shorter and cooler with fall's early arrival. The girls had taken the bucket to go pick some berries and were off toward the closest creek pack past the rear of the cabin when they were startled by a cougar and hastily headed for home. The old bucket and harvested berries were left behind not far from the trail.

The boys were playing mumbley peg over near a small pine tree from the side of the house opposite from where the cow and chickens were kept, when the older brother made a good toss and stuck his brother's pocket knife firmly in a tree root. As they tried to remove it, the knife blade snapped near the handle, leaving the blade stuck in the root.

Less than a week later they were playing again and this time the youngest boy was using his older brother's pocket knife and a bad toss let it fly into some thorny brush behind the chicken coop and he soon gave up trying to find the knife. The older brother sort of forgot about it as he was busy trying to find some of the chickens that usually stayed close to the house and coop where they roosted. All he found were the remains a short ways off as some critter decided to dine on them before the family had the pleasure.

Dad had made a few trips into that nearby town, which took several days each time, just to get a few provisions, and the return trips got a little tougher as late fall turned to a very cold winter arrival, The attempts at raising a garden were terrible as the growing season at their selected elevation wasn't as good or as long as they had hoped, and with the snow arrival, they spent the bulk of the time inside their home which felt much smaller by then. That gave them a lot of time to do some thinking and discussing, and fortunately they had window of opportunity as spring got close with some unseasonal warming and rains to help melt some of the snow and figured they would be quick to pack all they could and bundle up for the remaining trek through some snow and mud and make their way down to that lower elevation townsite.

It was a struggle and worth the effort because some wintry weather returned for another month ... but they were in a better place and never wanted to revisit that homesite again. Dad bought a new harmonica after they got to town, not wanting to go all the way back for his old one ne had forgotten and left out on a stump near where their front walking path lead to the front door.

Matter of fact, hardly anyone did, and as time passed and trees grew the location was just an ignored and overgrown place that had once provided a glimpse of some potential. The Allred Family settled into that little townsite for several years, and as the girls wed and moved on, so did the remaining surviving family members. The rest of the folks who had made it a once cozy little town also soon abandoned the place and walked away from what turned into a shabby place of decaying structures as the bigger town about fifteen miles away became the popular lively town that continues today.

Here it is today, the end of September in 2019. You've been in that busier town a few times and hunted the city parks and the school, and did pretty well .... before. But things have been plucked and recoveries are fewer. Over at the café you have heard some of the local old-timers talking about "the good old days" and the old settlement a ways away, and even the remains of some old cabin up in the hills where they used to hike in for some deer hunting back in the '50s. Your interest gets sparked and joining in their discussions you've decided you ought to adventure off that way with your detectors. You have good equipment for searching older-use sites that might have some iron trash around and you just might find something of interest.

And your small trailer has your modern ATV's loaded and that can make some travels into old growth areas easier for you as well. You're retired or maybe just on a vacation and have a few days to get out and enjoy some quiet life away from any busier big towns and cities and, sure enough, you come upon the old cabin a family of six built in 1855, commemorated with a new 1854 Silver Dollar about 20 feet out from their front door, but quickly abandoned in 1856 due to harsh winters, a poor growing season and perhaps a bit of loneliness.

You're the first people there with a metal detector in-hand over 163 years after the Allred' Family left. One-Hundred and Sixty-Three years later, and it's all yours!! Here are some questions. You have no clue who built it or when they built it or how long anyone was there. No hint as to where to start detecting, either,

Let's say there are two of you who made this discovery, and I wonder who might select the best areas to search. You have detectors that could cause EMI interference if you hunt too closely, so you decide to select two of the four directions from the old cabin. Here are the four directions to detect and explore. Your options are to start hunting in these four areas. Search your areas for up to 150 feet away from the cabin, starting right at the cabin wall for that direction.

Answer this: What targets are you likely to find in these four directions if you are accepting both ferrous and non-ferrous targets?

Area #1: From the front of the cabin out to the west from the front door.

Area #2: From the Cabin's North wall on to the North side.

Area #3: From the cabin's South Wall on to the South side.

Area #4: From the Back Door off to the East of the Cabin.

If you figure this story out, list the findable targets (ferrous and non-ferrous) by the numbered 'Area'.


"Your EYES ... the only 100% accurate form of Discrimination!"

Stinkwater Wells Trading Post
Metal Detector Evaluations and Product Reviews
monte@ahrps.org ... or ... monte@stinkwaterwells.com
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*** All working well today to make memories for tomorrow. ***

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/28/2019 08:59AM by Monte.
Subject Author Views Posted

Sinking coins?

Kraemer 243 September 27, 2019 06:59PM

To Jack, WM6, Sodbuster and others regarding 'sinking.'

Monte 145 September 29, 2019 08:53PM

Re: Sinking coins?

WM6 179 September 29, 2019 12:18AM

Re: Sinking coins?

Sodbuster 151 September 28, 2019 10:02AM

Jack, there is a simple answer: 'Coins Don't Sink.' -- Also, a long storied post for ANYONE to read and answer.

Monte 188 September 28, 2019 08:13AM

Re: Jack, there is a simple answer: 'Coins Don't Sink.' -- Also, a long storied post for ANYONE to read and answer.

jmaryt 142 September 29, 2019 06:37PM

Re: Jack, there is a simple answer: 'Coins Don't Sink.' -- Also, a long storied post for ANYONE to read and answer.

BigDog 151 September 29, 2019 04:23PM

How many agree with Ron's conclusions, and do you use a different detector?

Monte 125 September 30, 2019 12:18AM

What! Nobody wants to read the story and tell me what they saw or found

Monte 136 September 29, 2019 03:37PM

Absolutely Coins Sink . . . . . . . . eye popping smiley

UtahRich 146 September 29, 2019 02:02PM

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