January 31, 2012


Bob Sickler emailed me earlier today, and shared his thoughts on the Alabama and Kentucky situation. He also sent a copy of his correspondence, and like everything else Bob does, it's top notch. He gave me permission to share it here in the hopes that it might inspire a few more of you to write. Please read it, and if you need to pull a few quotes for your letter I don't think Bob will mind. If we beat the drum loud enough, others will hear.

Bob Sickler

Bob Sickler has been a friend of mine now for almost 30 years, and is one of the most knowledgeable detectorists I know. He was, and still is the guy metal detector manufacturers want to do their field tests, and whose input they seek. He is also the author of "The Detectorist", in my mind the best book ever written about this wonderful pastime. If you are interested in knowing more about Bob, or if you are interested in ordering his book (very few left), just click here.

Metal Detecting — More Than Just a Recreation

I've taken to writing in defense of having a recreation which is greatly misunderstood by many and unfairly threatened and discriminated against by most of the archeological community world-wide. More specifically I write about a recreation called metal detecting.

So what is the recreation of metal detecting all about? To me it has been more than just a simple outdoor activity, it's a 44 year continuing journey to satisfy an intense desire to know first-hand my country's history, more importantly the people (our ancestors) who lived it and created it. It's the excitement of recovering something lost in the ground for centuries and knowing you are first person since the last to touch it again... My link to the past and the education it provides. We all inherited our past and no one person or group has the right to keep anyone from discovering it in a responsible manner and learning from it.

Many in the misinformed general public unfortunately tend to view we Detectorists as "scavengers", "looters", "grubbers", "pot hunters", "thieves", and greedy "treasure hunters". Fact is a lot of people are jealous of the recreation simply because they can't stand to see anyone profit from anything, even if it's one penny at a time. Many of us are just simply finding and collecting lost coins. In the many years I've enjoyed researching huntsites and operating a metal detector, the worth of anything found collectively would never equal the expense of owning the equipment necessary to do so. It's never been about profit for me in my pursuit of history. It's been about the rewards of educating myself and others about the items found and giving myself some quality time outdoors. It's also about rescuing these pieces of history from the ravages of time and acid rain destruction. In the years I've enjoyed my recreation, I've actually witnessed an accelerated degradation to metal finds. It's about time spent sharing friendship and comradery with people of similar ideals. It's honor and respect and returning a precious lost heirloom to someone who asked for your help and you never ask for anything in return. It's about volunteering our time to help law enforcement at crime scenes or to help anyone in need of our skills.

The only monetary profit I ever gained from my recreation was to write a book to help others enjoy the same recreation. The profits went directly into providing a living for my family when employment was just not enough. The true profit and satisfaction was knowing I taught others to use their equipment well and promote responsible use of a metal detector. Undoubtably, there are some of us who would conceal a significant find from the rightful owner or do something illegal as a means to their end... But this is unfortunately human nature and this behavior is not exclusive to any recreation or our critics.

On a more personal level, the rewards of strenuous exercise and fresh air provided by this recreation far exceed the benefits of any pharmaceutical. Since childhood, I've had trouble controlling blood glucose levels. I have an occupation that confines me to a drawing board and in later years, a computer. Any weekend spent walking miles in the sunshine outdoors, bending over, kneeling, retrieving targets and standing back up again to do it all again countless times has a significant effect on glucose levels no pill or injection can compete with. My recreation is probably the reason why I'm still here to write this.

For years, our detractors have continuously fought to restrict our rights and want eventually to make our recreation become illegal and give themselves exclusive rights to dig and touch OUR history. During this time, the majority of the archeological community has consumed precious public resources trying to eliminate our recreation and influence lawmakers. Many legislators are finally realizing we Detectorists are not the monster threat they were lead to believe. Currently a few lawmakers are seeing this "inquisition" as a self-preservation tactic to insure a livelihood. If our critics were to succeed, not only will they deny people a healthy lifestyle, they will destroy American metal detector manufacturers and the employment they provide.

Without metal detectors, the archeological community would not have the major discoveries made recently in Great Britain such as the largest cache of Saxon gold artifacts in modern time. Even before this grand discovery, the English government adeptly recognized the significance of the metal detectorist as an important resource... The British government has intelligently resorted to rewarding their responsible detectorists rather than prosecute them. They financially compensate the landowner and detectorist for the value of the find so it can be preserved for public view for ALL to appreciate and learn from. If the item has been found not to be a major significance, they allow the finder to simply keep what they found. A fair system we should adopt in the USA to get significant finds into daylight more quickly. Without this cooperation we shorten precious time in which great discoveries can be made. Conventional archeology in the U.S. today cannot compete with powerful swift commercial land development. Wait long enough and nature has a way of reclaiming historical artifacts permanently. Punishing a people's recreation is not the means to making great strides in archeology.

However, not all archeologists are our detractors, at least not the progressive few. Significant history changing data was gathered at the battle site of Little Big Horn because a few forward thinking archeologists realized they could work with detectorists and harness our skill for the good of all. In effect, they made their own occupation easier, faster, and promoted good will instead of destroying it. The volunteer detectorists I'm sure made the project significantly less costly as well. Many of us, myself included, would be honored to serve on any project like that. This was a small step in the right direction, why is there not more of this happening today?

In summation, I hope these words help to convince everyone we need to work together and not waste time rescuing our history. When I became sixteen years old, I started in metal detecting because I knew my family's financial resources would never support the extended education necessary for my life's desire of becoming an Archeologist... Now you know why our "recreation" is so important to everyone.

— Robert H. Sickler

Author, "DETECTORIST, A How-To Guide to Better Metal Detecting


January 29, 2012


Ron Guinazzo, a.k.a. Chicago Ron will once again be making the news, and deservedly so. He will be featured in a National Geographic series called "Treasure on the Thames". Click here for a preview, dates and times.

Ron is starting to get on my nerves, and I told him that. He's having too good a time, finding too damn much, and it just ain't right!

All kidding aside he is gem of a guy, and a fantastic ambassador for the pastime. Be sure to watch this series....should be a great one. Congratulations Ron!


Thanks to Keith Wills, president of WWATS for the following info. While primarily affecting California, it's also a wake up call to everyone. That is if anyone really cares....?

Urgent Request for Response

To: All Mining and Prospecting Clubs

Subject: Request for Coordination of Efforts

The California Department of Fish and Game is scheduled to release the final SEIR and dredging regulations on February 15th. We believe there will be only small changes from the draft we reviewed last April – May. This means the regulations will be highly restrictive to dredging and large parts of the State will permanently be closed to dredging.

It is critical that all pro dredging, prospecting and mining organizations across the State (or organizations or individuals in other states who are interested in what happens legislatively in California) need respond with a coordinated effort. Our responses will not change the SEIR or the regulations – that much is clear. However, a strong coordinated response will provide the groundwork for an administrative challenge of the SEIR. It is crucial to the future of dredging that we challenge the Significant Findings and make the State prove the science.

This challenge may also create a precedent where the government and states will have to stop using flawed science in order to come to pre-concieved conclusions. This ruling may affect further rulings in ALL states!

The Western Mining Alliance is not a club. We are simply a handful of people- who are researching, writing papers and publishing the information to fight the ban on dredging. Our objective is to provide information and organize a coordinated response to the regulations.

Currently, our effort is in California, but it is obvious that ALL organizations in ALL states need to develop a network where we can collaborate and share information, as our industry is being attacked from all sides, and so far we have no coordinated response, anywhere!

We ALL need to create grass roots organizations in ALL states.

We need everyone to stand together to change the laws, which unfairly restrict our right to mine.

We must be proactive and for once go on the offensive. We have prepared lobbying sheets, media sheets and summary papers for our prospector/miner (this means ALL GOLDSEEKERS) lobbyists to talk to legislators with in California. We have a designated person to coordinate a lobbying effort. I’d like to discuss with you how we can collaborate within a short deadline to mobilize all mining supporters in the State to challenge the suction dredging regulations for right now and any other upcoming regulations in the future. Our futures depend upon our coordinated response RIGHT NOW.

I need to talk with you as your earliest convenience, as time is short and we need a massive movement of miners, literally within a month.

If you live outside California and want help in our efforts or you want to talk about future coordination efforts (our hands are pretty full here in California), I still would love to talk to you.

We are looking for businesses/people who want to be listed on our supporters page. The businesses don't need to be based in California. Let us know if you know anyone.

By the way, it doesn't cost anything to join our organization. If people cannot afford $25 (it helps our admin costs), but they want to be active volunteers, that is ok too. We need lots of people working across many states, working for the benefit of the whole industry.

Currently we are looking high and low for research scientists, attorneys, and engineers who want to help with the fight. A web person who understands wordpress would help too.

Rick Solinsky, Chief Operations Officer, Western Mining Alliance



The following book review was shared on Facebook by Butch Holcome, publisher of the American Digger. Please read the last four paragaphs to understand why I used the word rhetoric. There's a better word that comes to mind, but my wife gets on my case when I use it, so insert your own!

From the Civil War News

Hard to imagine anyone not being familiar with American Digger, but if not check out Butch's website, and better yet subscribe. You won't be sorry. Incidentally tomorrow night (January 30th) Butch's guest on the Relic Roundup will be Keith Wills, president of the World Wide Association of Treasure Seekers. You can listen in, and call in if you have questions. Be sure to check all the details on the American Digger site.



Terry Herbert, finder of the Staffordshire Hoard, stopped in at what is obviously his favorite metal detecting shop anymore, Regton, Ltd., in Birmingham, UK. Terry even brought in his original receipt for the White's Spectrum he used to find the treasure. Thinking maybe Nigel hit him up for a lunch or dinner, but not sure about that.....



Thank you to Harold Lowenfels and Jessie Thompson for forwarding the following great article. Please read it, and you will know why I suggest saving it. Thanks guys...




As I stated a few days ago I will continue to pass along important news, especially legislative news, here on Stout Standards. I will also do my personal part in helping, but I have decided that anything further will be up to all of you out there. Recent correspondence, or should I say lack thereof, has been extremely aggrevating, and I will not be party to a lot of bluster and little substance. BS all you want on the forums, and spend your money attending hunts, but when you suddently have no place to use your metal detector, don't say I didn't warn you!



Decided to throw the detector in the car today and try to do a little hunting. Weather nice, temps in the mid sixties, and lots of sun. I crossed the lake into Rockwall and headed to the elementary school (was high school years ago), where I can almost always find a decent find or two....

Started swinging the MXT and my shoulder started hurting, "as in arthritis pain". I decided to try the left hand, and dig with my right. First decent signal took me five minutes to recover, and despite three inches of rain last weekend I was digging hardpan! Came away with a new penny. Then my left hand, "as in carpel tunnel pain" started hurting big time. Dug two more pennies, headed home, and took couple of pain killers. Apparently my surgery for CT in November did not work, and I am not sure where to go next..... Bitch getting old!!



Got the following video from Brian Mayer, who he said was influenced early on by the two individuals in the film. For those of you who go back a ways, and who lived on the East coast, Frank Carter and Bob Trevillian were legend. They hunted day in and day out, and actually made their living doing it. Their book "The Poor Man's Treasure Hunter" is a classic, and one you might to look up. Lots of good reading and tips.....

Note this video is quite long, thus the link and not the YouTube screen....






January 27, 2012


Know I will hear a lot of grief about calling him "big" John, but who cares. He swears he's slim and suave now, but Skype is not doing him any justice. Likewise we have traded insults longer than I care to remember. In any case Bubba has graced Stout Standards with a lengthy update, and I think you will enjoy it. Along with sharing a few tips on the Sea Hunter II, he throws in a few haha's and a few barbs (so what else is new?). I have tried to shake this guy for years, but somehow he keeps finding me. Thank God for the Atlantic ocean!

If you are bored and want to laugh a little give his latest update a look by clicking on his ugly face below.....



Thanks to Mark Schuessler for forwarding the following information. I love it. For once our efforts are being noticed, and our opposition is being exposed for their sole eliminate our pastime and save their jobs. Please read, and more importantly, continue contacting the legislators in Alabama. You will find all the pertinent contact information in my post of January 22nd. Prepare a response, and make sure all who have email addresses receive it.





My friend Denny Morrison sent me a copy of his letter to the Alabama House and Senate, and I wanted to share it here in any of you are stuck on what to say. Hopefully it will offer you a few ideas... Here is Denny's letter:

Dear Senators,

It has come to my attention that SB 81, introduced by Senator Cam Ward, R-Alabaster, will be going before the House (HR-54) and Senate for consideration.


Under existing law, the Alabama Cultural Resources Act prohibits the salvaging of cultural resources from the waters of this state except with a permit. The term "cultural resource" is broadly defined to include underwater items on lands under navigable waters whether or not associated with a shipwreck. A violation of this act is a criminal offense.

This bill would amend the definition of cultural resources to specify cultural resources are those found with any shipwreck, would add a definition for artifacts, and would provide that it would be lawful to recover abandoned artifacts which are not cultural resources from submerged lands that are under navigable rivers in this state.

As one who travels often, I enjoy metal detecting as a hobby. Occasionally I like to water detect and the way the law reads now in Alabama, I would be prohibited from enjoying my hobby in your Great State. I am not alone in my love of metal detecting. A great many enjoy this pastime, and those who dive also number in the thousands. They also enjoy boating and fishing, put a lot of money into their equipment, and pay a considerable amount of taxes to your state coffers.

I am asking you to please read and approve this bill. As one who has been metal detecting for over 25 years, I do it for the preservation of history, and I for one have never sold anything that I have found. I have donated several items to local museums, all of which were grateful for the gift. If I had not found these items they would have been lost to history. Today they are available for all to see. Those of us who metal detect do not get rich from is our hobby, our pastime, and we want to be able to continue enjoying it.


Dennis L. Morrison


Found this on the White's Website and thought it was pretty cool....enjoy.


January 26, 2012


Once again John Winter has eloquently stated the case for our pastime, and I urge you all to read his latest entry (Our Finest Hour), and to make his blog a must read from here on. Today's is one to save, savor and pass on, especially given the difficulties many detectorists face here in the US.

We definitely need someting along the line of the Portable Antiquities Scheme here, but who is able to take up this challenge and make it happen? The Task Force for Metal Detecting Rights? The Federation of Metal Detector and Archeological Clubs? The World Wide Association of Treasure Seekers?

My guess is that it would take all of the above, plus the manufacturers, and a very vocal majority of detectorists to even get the idea off the ground. As things stand now the pastime lives on social get-togethers, a lot of bluster and not much more. Hopefully someone will prove me wrong....



My friend Ina Finn made the news recently with the return of yet another ring. To read the whole story click here. Good job Ina.....!



Ron Guinazzo, a.k.a. Chicago Ron, member of the Midwest Historical Research Society in Chicago, just had his "falconer's whistle" accepted by the Colchester Museum in the UK. Ron found it on a trip to the UK in 2009 and offered it to the museum. It is only one of two known in the world. The other resides in a Whistle Museum in Germany, and Ron's will now be on display in Colchester. For those of you not familiar with this item you can read more here Ron is one of a kind, sharing a lot of his adventures via videos and teaching. Thanks Ron.


January 24, 2012


After receiving the note from Keith Wills about SB81 and HB54 (Alabama) I shot off an email to all those TH'ers on my contact list asking them to pass it on. I received a few replies thanking me and saying they would indeed get on it. Then, as I have done in the past, I posted the same information on a few of the most popular forums, and it was apparently a waste of time. Without naming the forums it went as follows:

FORUM 1......49 views, 1 replies
FORUM 2......31 views, 0 replies
FORUM 3......56 views, 0 replies
FORUM 4......18 views, 0 replies

Granted I cannot be sure that some of those viewing my post did not act on the matter, but it's my guess hardly any did. What kind of topics received the most replies? Things like...."Any tips On Snow Hunting?"...."Hello From Dubai"..... "$29 Silver Spot Price" and "Dumpster Diving and Garbage Picking" to name a few.

Folks I am beginning to think we are a bunch of "do nothings". Hate to say it, but all things point to that. Hold a hunt, give something away, share a potential site, and everybody and their brother spreads the word and shows up. Mention legislation aimed at killing our pastime and not a peep. What is even more frustrating is that with the internet we have the ability to get the word out instantly, yet we cannot be bothered. Sad state of affairs!

I will continue to do my part in helping others, but I will do it by telling those I know I can count on. I have come to the conclusion that anything else is a waste of time.....




My good friend Neil Schwartz (Neil in West Jersey) sent me the following old photographs, and they brought back a lot of memories. I spent a lot of time at Bellewood Park and it gave up a lot of old coins and collectibles. It was only open from 1904 to 1916, and was run by the Lehigh Valley Railroad. When I was first given permission to detect the area it was overgrown and about to become a quarry. I was able to locate the site of the railroad depot, and went from there. Thanks Neil....




Finally heard back from Richard Ray. Was concerned not hearing from him over the past few months, but he is alive and kicking... He responded to situation in Alabama with the following....

"These articles sound a lot like the fights I had with the Texas Antiquities Committee, during the 1980's. The way the Antiquities Code was worded it could be interpreted so as (depending upon the reader) the simple act of picking up a gum wrapper (or other piece of trash) COULD have been construed as a violation of the law. I had round after round of confrontations with them, appearing in Austin several times. Later I filed for their entire committee to be shut down under the "Sunset Law", and shamed two Senators with a rebuttal over an article they published in the Houston Chronicle about my salvage of artifacts off the blockade runner Acadia".

"Then after I uncovered the theft of the 1553 plate fleet treasures by many State employees, it all went quiet, (in fact I actually purchased some coins from a state employee). I had a 40 page, single spaced list of all the treasure recovered by the Patoro salvage company, and another copy of the things that were turned over to the University of Texas lab for reconditioning. There was hardly any treasure at all on that list, it had simply vanished..."


For those of you who just getting into the pastime or who are not familiar with Richard be sure to read his story from last year


January 22, 2012


Received the following information from Keith Wills and thank him for bringing it to my attention. Now hopefully I can get you involved as well. These folks need our help and they need it fast. It will involve emailing quite a few state reps, but you can easily do that by copying your letter, and simply pasting it when contacting them. Let's get on it.....

Public Lands and Waters

My sons and I have helped introduce a new bill in the Alabama Senate, SB-81 (HB-54 in the House), that will make the current law easier to understand. The public currently has the right to find isolated underwater finds, but some professional archaeologists and their cronies at the Alabama Historical Commission have misled some law enforcement officers into believing that it is illegal to find and keep isolated finds such as an arrowhead, a coke bottle, or a coin. This is not true, but people have been harassed, detained, and their property confiscated on the Tennessee and Alabama Rivers, and in Mobile Bay.

Our bill does three things.....

Deletes (whether or not) from the definition of Cultural Resources

Adds a definition for an artifact where no definition currently exists

Adds the already existing state and federal law numbers to the bill, so that it protects Indian burial grounds and any other cemeteries that are underwater

All historic shipwrecks are currently controlled by the AHC, and we are not trying to change that at all. SB-81 does not increase or decrease any current or future cultural resources that are to be permitted by the Alabama Historical Commission. We just don’t want our law enforcement officers to be used by professional archaeologists to stop divers from legal diving.

Please read SB-81 (HB-54 is identical but not yet available).

An article was in the Birmingham News this week that brought attention to the matter, and some of the professional archaeologists have been emailing and calling the Senators and Representatives asking them to kill our bill. These professional archaeologists and their cronies want exclusive rights to our 77,000 miles of waterways and to everything underwater. They could just as well claim all fish belong to the state, so no one could keep a fish.

Alabama has over 100,000 divers who work and pay taxes. We are permitted and certified. We have our boats permitted, and we support Alabama. Divers should find isolated items and save as much of our lost history as possible, and we need them to not be afraid to tell what they find because they fear harassment. Significant finds will be made in the future and we all want to learn from these finds. Other states have friendly dive laws that encourage divers to search and share what they have found, and we don't want Alabama divers to feel they must keep their finds secret. These items are rusting and eroding away and need saving. We divers do not want to limit the efforts of the professionals, but we don’t want them to be our masters or regulators. We are the public and the public waters are ours individually as much as theirs. Individual Rights are what our constitution guarantees, not that the mob rules.

Items that are found are often placed in museums such as Tannehill State Park. All reference books identifying relics and artifacts have been written by authors using collectors such as our family, and over twelve reference books have been written using Steve’s collection alone. Professional Archaeologists have written none of these, or any other, Civil War reference books. Hunters, fishermen, arrowhead collectors, fossil hunters, relic hunters, gold prospectors, historians, museums, and amateur archaeologists, as well as divers, have a common interest in using our public lands and waters. Being amateur archaeologists or historians does not mean that we are lesser people, it just means that we are not paid. We don’t want grants or contracts as the professionals try to get for anything they do. Amateurs are good. The best golfer in history was an amateur. His name was Bobby Jones and he golfed for love of the game, not money. We, the public, use our waters for love, not money. SB-81 is supported by the Alabama Tourism Department and the Indian Tribes.

We need your individual support to help us pass this bill. A State Senator told me in email this week:

Steve, another barrage of emails have gone out around the state today to legislators about our bill. I have had four committee members contact me and ask that we not even bring our bill up for a vote in committee because of such strong opposition they are hearing. We really need to get some people contacting their legislators to support this or I am afraid it will be soundly defeated in a committee vote.

Please take a moment and contact ALL Senators and Representatives and ask them to Support SB-81 and HB-54. You can find their contact info on these pages:

For people in other states . We want you to feel welcome in Alabama. Please email all the Alabama Representatives and Senators To Support SB-81 and HB-54....



Please Support SB-81 and HB-54. Save our lost history....

Steve, Forrest and Spencer Phillips/Southern Skin Diver Supply

205-595-3052 work, 205-672-9310 home

Here are a some additional links from the past that relate to this issue:

Historical Commission Letter to the Alabama Gun Collectors Association

Archaeology Heist By Professional Archaeologists Revealed In Alabama


Got my Large Cent back from ANACS this week, and now I have to decide if I will sell it or not..... It's a 1796 LIHERTY ERROR cent, and it's graded, VG8, Variety S-104. I think it should have graded Fine, but then again I am prejudiced. In any case I have been scanning the internet and can't feel comfortable with a fair to midlin price. I also understand an item is only worth so much if you have a buyer for it. Thus the sell or not sell. If any of you have thoughts on the matter, let me know....

This coin was found at a very old turn of the century home in Buckingham, Pennsylvania, back in the 80's. It was the only coin I found there, and it came out of an area that was extremely pourous, as in a pile of decayed leaves. Suspect it had to do a lot with the condition of the coin. Most all my large cents previously were pretty corroded....



I was chatting with my friend John Hawken today, and he told me that that the Lost My Stuff Group is doing extremely well. The membership is now up to 856 members, encompassing 12 different countries....

The group has issued reports for over 225 lost items, and of these the group had enough members to search for 131 items. 59 of these were found and returned to the owner. John said as more members sign up their stats will improve. Do yourself a favor and check them out, and more importantly sign up to help. Great group!!



John Winter, as in John Winter skunked me. While chatting on Skype John told me he was going to post next about his "first metal detector"....a topic that intrigued me. He wouldn't divulge much, and now I know why. I must say I like his lastest posting a great deal, and can relate to it having spent an afternoon with Nigel Ingram in the Birmingham area where a similar hunter made off with a coin I had laid on the ground. Thanks John for putting it to me. Will get even with you soon....



If my hunches are correct....

Got the topo's out this morning, did a little Google Earth searching, and have a place in mind to hit tomorrow. Batteries charged, detector near the door, and gas in the car. Will let you know how I fare next time....


January 18, 2012


My bosom buddy from across the pond has decided to grace this site once again with his views and opinions on all things unimportant, and this update is surely one of them. Since I've given John pretty much complete control over the Malamute Saloon link (Jeezus what was I thinking?) I have decided to go ahead and post his latest submission. Note there will be nothing further to post on this subject. I hate wasting time, pissing in the wind, and talking with idiots.

You can find John's latest response in the Malamute Saloon link, or can merely click HERE. You proceed at your own risk.



Minelab Stolen Detectors

A Man with a Mission


If the weather forecast holds I plan on getting out and actually swinging the coil over the next few days. Temps in the high 60's, low 70's predicted, and while I don't have any particular place in mind, anything will do. I am that desperate to get back into things. Here's hoping.....


January 16, 2012


Apparently I have a new follower for my website, and his purpose is to choose the topics that fit his need at the moment. Paul Barford is a British archaeologist, now living in Poland, and his recent updates indicate that he is apparently in need of visitors to his blog, or at best, something to bitch about. He, like so many others in the academic community, finds our pastime distasteful, and is quick to paint us as "thieves" and hell bent on destroying history, never taking the time to delve further into the subject, especially our contributions to so many museums, historical societies and communities.

Mr.Barford's observations..

Focus on Metal Detecting

Fitting the Stereotype

Apparently Mr. Barford didn't care to read or write about the many entries I have posted over the years concerning what good we do, but drooled over the photo of Archie Ray with his finds. I know Archie and have had the privilege of working with him, hunting with him, and his integrity is above reproach. I can most assuredly say that any finds that Mr. Barford finds distasteful in the photo were found on public land, and legally accessible by any detectorist. To assume otherwise is dishonest. I suspect Mr. Barford would prefer Archie donate them all to the local archaeologist in his area so they can be stored in a drawer in a basement somewhere.

I will leave the analysis of Mr. Barford's comments up to you, and I thank him for sharing my website with others. Lastly, I am proud to lend my ugly face to my website, whereas he apparently prefers to be hidden in anonymity. will stand on it's own, and yes even without his following...



Added another recipe for those of you who are into the smell and taste of good food. Fay and I went shopping at a local Vietnamese market this past weekend, and found ingredients for this very tasty Sweet and Sour Soup. Hope it hits your fancy....



Wanted to remind everyone of the following two events....both are worth attending, and I highly recommend them. Mark them on your calendar.

19th Annual Best of Northeast

Texas Council 2012 Treasure Show



January 14, 2012


Thanks to Lisa Law for forwarding this article to me. Great story!! Merci beaucoup!



January 13, 2012


Passing along a copy of the letter Harold Lowenfels (Task Force for Metal Detecting Rights) sent in support of the Senate Bill SB6 in Kentucky. I urge you all to take the time to write to Senator Seum as well. He cares, and is doing what he can to help our cause. Please ask that your email/letter be passed along to all who will vote. Numbers are important.....

Subject: Metal Detecting Bill: Please forward as a group message to all senators


Date: Wednesday, January 11, 2012, 12:38 PM

Dear Senator Seum

My family and I wish to thank you for advocating for those who enjoy recreational metal detecting, by sponsoring the bill, shortly to be voted on, that would open up state parks to this healthy and wholesome activity. I have been active in metal detecting since 1975, later to be joined by my wife Fran and still later by my sons Dennis and Ian. I can't tell you how many quality family hours we spent together combing the great outdoors and discovering what those that came before us had left behind. When my family goes on vacation, we always pack our metal detectors in the car. If some place does not allow metal detecting my family doesn't go there.

Human history is every where and I understand the importance of preserving the historical record and the relevance that artifact context has, but the fact is that there are very few primary sites, not already on the National Registry. The reason for this is that most sites, not already registered have been disturbed by human activity such as landscaping, farming or construction or any other movement of the earth. Once the ground has been disturbed, artifacts still survive, but their context is no longer reliable, and using artifact context in such situations will yield bogus information.

Nobody is better equipped to find metal artifacts than the metal detectorist, and unlike the state Archaeologists, the detectorist does not cost the taxpayer one penny. If not threatened with exclusion from secondary and tertiary sites, the detectorist would be more than happy to partner with and cooperate with the Archaeologists. The prudent way to proceed would be to model a metal detecting policy after what has worked so well in Great Britain. Approximately 90% of the metal artifacts in British Museums have been discovered by metal detectorists. The finder, turns in the discovered artifact, where it is evaluated for it's uniqueness, and relevant information regarding its discovery is obtained. The artifact is then either returned to the finder, or purchased by the government for display. Fair market value is given if the artifact is purchased. This is a win/win situation.

Thank you for your support and please share this correspondence with those that will be voting on your bill....

Sincerely, Harold S. Lowenfels

Please check HERE for further information on how you can help....

Background info on SB6 from the Northern Kentucky Treasures Hunters Club




I gathered the above information from a many sources, and hope that all the details are accurate. If by chance you find otherwise please let me know so we can get to work on this very important issue....


January 12, 2012


All I have to do is print a negative commentary about our pastime, written by someone from the academic community, and John Howland will be on it in a heartbeat! Nothing eats at him like an archaeologist attacking a treasure hunter or detectorist. He goes beserk, goes for the jugular, and leaves no hostages. Blindfold them, and put em against the wall.... The recent commentary about Ms. Deagan was all the ammunition he needed, and you can read his response here.

Please also read this ARTICLE again, and this time read the follow up comments at the bottom. If it doesn't get your hackles up nothing will....



Here's another link for this event, and it included registration forms.....



This article was well written and very deserving for an old club that had done a lot to promote our pastime....great job guys. I would also urge you all to check out their Website It's a great one.


January 10, 2012


My good friend John Winter (as in John Winter ), emailed the following two articles this morning and I had to share them now. Once again a great article about the pastime is taken to task by the archaeological community, and once again they are taking liberties in how they view our endeavors. Please read both, and then if you feel up to the task please write to Ms. Deagan at I personally will be emailing both the professor and the website. We cannot let this sort of degradation continue. We deserve better....




January 9, 2012


Following up on my effort to have more of you probing I found the following article. Thank you Ohio Detecting

How to Retrieve Targets .


John Howland, the lone resident of the Malamute Saloon, sent a few photos from the holidays, and just had to share this one from his New Years party....



Thanks to Nigel at Regton, Ltd. for the following story. Not sure why but Howland comes to mind when I read this....?

Brothel Token Found



If you find photographing your finds for sharing online difficult be sure to read John Winter's latest blog entry . As always it's well done and informative..



The hardpacked soil mimics what I encounter here in my area....



Found an old program from AC weekend in 1987....great group of seminar speakers.



1793 Penny Sets Record

Just sent off my 1796 LIHERTY error cent for certification and will keep you posted.....



Received an email over the weekend from a detectorist who said he didn't care for my website. Apparently I wasn't offering anything of use to him. He went on to say that he liked websites that talked about how to use his detector, and that had a forum.

First, I am not sure why he took the time to email me. He could have simply chosen to ingore my site, and not visit again.....chalk it up to a mistake on his part when searching the internet, or simply accept the fact that I have nothing of interest for him. The fact that he took the time to email me makes me question his motive?

In any case, you don't have to like my website. It's okay. I acknowledge it's not all that Hi-tech, and I know it's pretty much a lot of "old hat". Stout Standards is a site that I created to allow ME to share MY thoughts and MY past with others. It's my diary if you will.... I am not a website guru, nor the second coming of Mel Fisher. I cannot offer you any "secret setting" for your detector, nor can I share earth shattering finds. The internet is loaded with such things however so you should not be wanting.

I do not get out detecting as much as I'd like thanks to my age, aches and pains, and yes I sometimes talk about that a lot. I hope that will change this year, and that I can offer more in the way of "in the field" experiences. In the meantime I hope you will continue to at least check in from time to time. If Stout Standards bores you I am sorry. Que Sera, Sera....


January 7, 2012


Please check the Task Force For Metal Detecting Rights website for directions on how to get your voice heard.



Just received word from the East Coast Research and Recovery Association that they holding a huge hunt in Atlantic City. Be sure to check out the details here!


1980 vs. 2012....DETECTING THEN AND NOW

As I get older I feel more and more left in the dust. Having started back in the late 70's I feel like a Dinosaur. I know it’s normal for things like this to happen as you age, but just didn’t expect to be so damn profound!

When I purchased my first metal detector I paid for it in payments. A local White’s dealer, Joe Attinello, sold it to me, and about two months later I actually had it to use. Joe and I eventually became good friends and still stay in touch. Joe was also one of those very instrumental in the formation of the FMDAC years ago, and was the only detectorist I know who could probe a coin out of the ground in seconds without a trace of his having done so.

In any case once I brought the detector home I needed to justify buying least to my wife (not sure she ever really knew it’s original cost in that I never shared the payments that were going on). At the time the detector was all I needed. No headphones, just a long handled screwdriver and a carpenters first arsenal if you will, and I was in business. Yep, it took a couple of days before I figured out what mineral and metal was about, but I found coins...silver coins at that, and I was hooked.

The old and the New....

Fast forward to today. The equipment? High tech computerized detectors. High quality headphones, electronic pin-pointers, digging utensils that could kill, and every research tool available thanks to the internet. Add in hundreds of related website’s, forums and blog’s and you are inundated with information and immediate knowledge. A bad thing? Absolutely not, but I will not trade my initiation to the pastime such as it was. Almost’s hunters are obsessed with filming their adventures.....who would have figured?

I check in at a couple of forums on the net, as well as a few websites, and the finds knock me out. The obvious trend is relic hunting, and the ability to bond with others via the internet is astounding. I often wonder how much quicker and how much easier it would have been to organize things way back when? Today you go online, state you are looking for a detecting buddy, name the locale, and bingo. You are in business.

Detecting in the early 80's
Today this old man needs frequent breaks

The finds that I see today far surpass what I have accumulated over the years. I have lots of silver coins, most common date, but a few more collectible. I also have ancient coins from my travels overseas, and they too are not necessarily all that valuable (hard to believe, but true). I will always be a coin hunter, and as of this writing a part-time one. I have a feeling that if I were back in New Jersey, back in the Northeast, I would be a more active and more proficient hunter. I dream of that a lot.......

I mention all this is because I still get emails and letters from people who envy my background, and all that I accomplished as a treasure hunter. Please....stop. I was fortunate to be in the right place at the right time, and to reap the rewards. That’s it in a nutshell. Then and now I am just someone who enjoys metal detecting, treasure hunting, and wants to be able to do more of it. Hope we can get that out of the way...

In any case know that I envy all your finds, your in-the-field experiences and your videos. I will certainly not be able to top them, and only look forward to seeing more of your adventures.

As Bob Dylan said, “the times, they are a changin”....



Thank you all for continuing to send me your club newsletters. Here are a couple for you other editors to check out.....

The Prober..... Newsletter of The Michigan Treasure Hunters Club
The Pelican Pouch ..... Newsletter of The Pelican Relic and Recovery Association


I just knew Bubba would speak on the professor Zembo situation, and here is his response to Ms. Munks....


Your piece dealing with Professor Matthew Zembo's comments demonstrates how easily it is for journos to fall for sectarian propaganda of whatever kind, whilst at the same time unknowingly bolstering the old adage of not letting the facts stand in the way of a perceived truth.

Zembo's whole thesis is based not facts, but his vague opinions, which in this instance at least, is at odds with archaeology's prime claim of being clothed in forensic detail. Irrespective of the rights and wrongs of Zembo's political cause (legislation of battlefiled sites) there exists an equally important counter argument, unfortunately ignored

Informed readers can be forgiven for wondering if other features and articles are equally shambolic?

John Howland

Again, to follow this situation, especially whether Ms. Munks follows up with a counter article, sign up for the Task Force emails

Thanks to Jim Meany for the following blurb.....

Diver Returns Ring


January 2, 2012


Hope you all had a great holiday, and that the new year brings you lots of great finds, and most of them keepers! As I said before 2011 was not a good year for me and glad to see it go. Things can only get better here...




Assume most of you are not familiar with the recent article referring to us as "pot robbers", but if not please check it out here... Many of you responded to the article, and Ms. Munks has promised to follow up with our side of the story. Thank you all for taking the time to respond. We simply cannot let comments like that be printed without any effort to verify their validity. It's time we started being proactive to this type of sterotyping, and it's time we made the public aware of who we are, what we do, and how we help the community and public at large. We are tax paying citizens dammit and deserve to be treated the like every other tax paying citizen. The blatant over-the-top lies from the academic community have to stop!


Dear Ms. Munks,

I am writing to you regarding the recent article in regarding the “raping” of another historical site by Metal Detectorists. The article was obviously not researched well, people using metal detectors would not do this; "Either he or someone he knew probably found bodies, kept digging anyway and didn't tell anyone." This is one of the most outrageous and false statements ever made about a metal detectorist and would be funny if it were not for people actually believing it. We go out of our way to keep sites pristine, our motto is to leave a site better than when we found it. Most historical artifacts from sites such as these are usually shared, not sold to museums. Without the metal detectorist bringing the artifacts to the light of day they would remained buried in the ground a decaying history instead of history brought to light and shared.

Please carefully research and consider what you type before you hit the send button, there are just enough people that believe anything they read and the Professor definitely has an ulterior motive for using such fiction when describing the metal detector users. It’s a fun and interesting hobby and I invite you to go to any local Metal Detector clubs monthly meeting to see what it is about before you destroy our hobby with blatant lies from someone who has dishonorable motives.

Thanks for reading my comments and good luck!

Regards, Mark J. Roberts

Dear Ms Munks,

A metal detector is a tool, much like a shovel, a pickax, a hammer or a screwdriver. If a pot hunter uses a metal detector to locate artifacts in a restricted area, he is a pot hunter with a metal detector in his tool kit. If the hobbyist uses a metal detector, he is enjoying a healthy, refreshing pastime with his friends or family. This amazing tool which locates metal objects below the ground, allows the user to touch history, and in a sense to hold hands with those that walked the earth before him, a continuum of the human chain.

I have read the Post Star article, based on the interview with Mr. Zembo, and many of the responses that this inflammatory article generated. If metal detector hobbyists seem overly sensitive to articles of this nature, it is because we are. We have seen all too many areas closed to our wonderful pastime, due to misinformation and outright lies, spread by people like Mr. Zembo. If we let articles like this go unchallenged, we will soon find that we have no place left to enjoy our favorite pastime.

True journalism requires that you print opposing views so that your readers are enlightened and receive a balanced picture. Your readers can then form an educated opinion on a subject that may have previously been unfamiliar to them. Printing only one side of any story promotes bias. I urge you to print one or more of the emails and letters already sent to you in response to Mr. Zembo, or to freshly interview a metal detectorist or two so that you will be able to print our side of the story.

Thank you for your consideration.

Harold S. Lowenfels,President Task Force For Metal Detecting Rights Foundation

If you are a detectorist and live in or near Warren, Washington or Saratoga counties (New York) please contact me at



Noticed a recent post on a forum about using a probe. It got me thinking that perhaps this is becoming a thing of the past, and it should not be. Using a probe to find a coin is an art, but not a difficult one to master if you work at it. I can remember the Fairmount Park effort in Philadelphia many years ago, and how we gained access by stipulating that permits would only be granted to those who passed a recovery test using a probe. We were amazed at how many could pass this test with great skill, but later on decided to go back to their old practices of plugging.

Everyone today pretty much uses an electronic pinpointer (except this detectorist), and I suspect this item has caused us all to feel satisfied with our recovery method. While this might be true to some extent it does nothing at all to alleviate the sometimes over-the-top plugs being dug.

My Best Explanation
  1. Pinpoint target with searchcoil
  2. Insert probe and make contact with target
  3. Raise probe slightly and rock the handle back and forth, making a horizontal slit in the ground approximately six inches long
  4. Then do the same, making a vertical slit approximately the same length
  5. Insert probe "under" the target and lift gently to the surface

If anyone else has a better explanation, or a video on probing they would like to share please send it along. Hopefull we can get back to this method and help stop problems down the road.


December 28, 2011


As 2012 approaches I find myself reflecting on the past year, and all that it encompassed. Unfortunately the bad had an edge over the good with regards to me and my family, but thanks to you all there were a few highlights sprinkled here and there.


My good friend Paul Tainter shared old photos from the early Treasure Expos....sure was fun looking back and reminiscing. If you missed those you can click here . Also loved the old photos from Archie Ray.


Richard & Paul
NYC Taskforce

In February I learned about the Task Force for Metal Detecting Rights, and enjoyed watching them maneuver in the big Apple. Now they are looking to expand, and I am excited about their game. Likewise Richard Ray got in touch and shared a lot of great stories. If anyone has traveled or done more than Richard I have yet to meet him. Be sure to check out his story here .



March was a downer. I lost my Mom, and while her passing was not unexpected it was still very hard for me. March also brought forth the disaster in Japan, and folks there are still dealing with the after effects.



April was a pretty good month, mainly because Fay had her first photo exhibit and it was a big success. I am very proud of her, and hope you might take time to visit her sites at The Inquisitive Eye , and Pbase. Likewise I was back in touch with Joe Cook, old friend and former president of the FMDAC. Add in John old Garrett friend, and Robbie Morin’s Fisher F5 review. and April was one of the better times in 2011. It was also was the month I confessed to my over-the-top hoax. I was amazed that only two people picked up on my announcement that I had found a 1933 Gold Double Eagle and a 1916D Mercury Dime, both of which I boasted finding on APRIL 1ST.



Late in May my sister-in-law Maureen passed away, the victim of cancer. She was much too young to leave us, and her passing has affected our family a great deal....we miss her a lot.



On June 1 I turned the big 70, and must say I felt like I was turning the big 80. Lots of aches, pains and little did I know that later in the year I would be needing surgery. June also disappointed in that only 13 TH’er’s showed up at the NYC Task force’s Rally in New York. That did not set well with me for some time..... One highlight however was the annual Texas Council visit to the Texas Lions Camp for Disabled Children, an event that does a great deal to promote pastime. If you are not familiar with their efforts please read about them here.


Joe Cook

Not only did we celebrate the 4th, but we celebrated Joe Cooks return to the field. While only a short time on the beach it was the first for Joe in his long, long bout with cancer. Also in July Ty Brook took a few minutes to share knowledge of detectors. The big story? The heat, the drought and the unbearable weather in the southwest.



In August the drought continued to get worse, and detecting was not even a consideration here in my neck of the woods. The month wound up pretty good however.....the Carthage, Missouri parks were available again to detectorists, and the New York City Task Force website was up and running.



Drought continues here, and the NYC Taskforces uses the Freedom of Information act to force the Parks Commission to document their assertion that detectorists digging near trees were causing damage. Joe Cook’s UMO article was well received, and added to the Articles link. If you missed it just click here .


Glenn Carson

In October we were pushing hard for emails/letters and phone alls to both the New York City Parks Commisson and the TVA, who was considering putting detecting permits on hold. My aches and pains increased and I was finally scheduled to have surgery to remove half my thryoid, and at the same time have carpel tunnel surgery to my left hand. And then my friend Glenn Carson decides he’s going to retire. While happy that he was finally going to take it easy I am saddened that I will not be reading his monthly columns in WET.


John Howland

November 7th was a double play day for me.....both surgeries went well, and the week following I found out that the portion of thyroid removed was benign. Cannot tell you how relieved I was. Likewise my hand was starting to come around. The pain was almost gone, and only a little tingling remained in my fingertips. (All of which disappointed John...he had asked for my detectors should I take the short road to the heavens). Joe Cook sent me a goodies box.....lots of 35mm slides from the good old days, which I am still scanning to share here in Stout Standards. It was also during the end of this month that I heard about the forthcoming battle we have with the parks people in Louisville, Kentucky. The Task Force will be updating coming out with a plan very soon. Lastly, John Howland's 50th contribution to the Malamute Saloon arrived, and who would have guessed the guy had it in him? A real feat for someone who spends most of his time at the Mayfly Pub.


John Winter

Early this month I discovered John Winter’s site, and so glad I did. I check it every day, and have learned a lot. Be sure to check it out here . Also read his article titled Metal Detecting – The Hobby and its Detractors . On of the best articles I’ve read in a long, long time. Started posting some of the scanned slides that Joe Cook sent, and had fun doing that. On the down side I learned that Gerald Costello, John Young and John Harris, all good friends from the UK had passed away.


Thanks to everyone who contributed to Stout Standards over the year. I thought about listing names here, but I would surely leave someone out, and I don't want to do that. Suffice to say this website would not be as much fun without you all. Happy New Year and hope all your finds in 2012 are keepers!


For those of you who have stayed with me over the past year and half I have good news. Mollie, our little black pug, is finally my friend. Mollie was adopted from a rescue group who found her in a puppy mill in Oklahoma. She was only two years old, had already had two litters, and was apparently abused by a male. When we brought her home in August of last year she took to Fay immediately, but wanted nothing to do with me, running the other direction whenever I approached. Well over the past year or so she has started to see that I will not harm her, and just in the past two weeks decided she will allow me to hold her. If any of you are dog lovers you will appreciate what a good feeling this is....



Please read the Noreaster's Club latest newsletter, and take note of the McMinnville, Oregon situation. I read this, and got steamed that somone from the city would suggest doing background checks on detectorists before they were allowed a permit. The overall impression was that the detectorists were gaining ground there, but my take on it was quite different. I am not suggesting that anyone interferes, only that the side comments suggested something less than an open and fair agreement was in the offing. Will be interesting to see where this all goes....

You can read the original article here . Note the followup comment.

Aside from the Oregon situation be sure to check the rest of the Noreaster's newsletter. It's a good one and always has been. Great club.....



Just received an email from Carter Pennington, of the Task Force for Metal Detecting Rights , and he requested that the following article be shared with other detectorists. It's another example of where we are being stereotyped without any basis in fact, and yes, once again labeled pot robbers. I hope that if you find this article offensive that you take the time to respond to the author and share your thoughts. Please however do so in a courteous manner. The author is only the messenger, and just perhaps he or she will do a followup.... Thanks Carter for passing this along.

Copy of my response....

Hi Ms. Munks,

My name is Dick Stout, and I have been involved with the metal detecting pastime now for over 30 years. I have worked for a major metal detector manufacturer, and have penned three related books. I also founded and was the first president of the Federation of Metal Detector and Archaeological Clubs, Inc..

The recent article concerning Mathew Zembo’s portrayal of the metal detecting community as “pot hunters” is presumptuous to the say the least. I can assure you that more archaeological sites have been discovered “because” of the metal detecting hobbyist, than those in the academic community who think they have the right to every inch of ground in the country because of their degree, or supposed higher education.

Of course every inch of ground may well hold historical treasures, but will they ever be found or will they simply decay and be lost forever? I encourage you to read the following, and then decide the merits of our pastime, and our right to enjoy it without being unfairly labeled as pot robbers.

Thank you for listening to our side,

Dick Stout/



Viking Hoard

Gold Coin Found in UK



Found three more videos that I enjoyed and thought I would pass them along.....I will add to videos link as well



Got an email holiday greeting from Archie and Rosalie Ray with a photo from the good ole days, and thought I would post it here.... also reposting the photo of Archie, circa late 70's, early 80's with a few of his finds. Back then you had to have a photo like that taken. We all did. For those who may not remember, Archie was the Legislative Chairman and Rosalie was the Treasurer when the FMDAC started. We enjoyed a lot of great times together. Thanks guys...



Don't usually make new year resolutions because I think they are dumb. This year however I am changing my mind, pledging to myself to lose the 30 pounds I have put on, and in the process help with the back pain, and the sore feet. If I accomplish that I feel certain I will be doing more detecting. Carrying around 6 five pound bags of potatoes doesn't exactly give you a lot of get up and go. Wish me luck (I will pay big bucks for a pasta diet).



December 23, 2011


Not a lot of info to share this time around...a busy time of the year for sure! I sincerely hope you all take the time to sit down, enjoy the holiday with family and friends. It's obviously too late to tell you not to spend money you don't have, or to tell you there's more to this holiday than gift giving.

About five years ago our family decided to stop with the over-the-top, expensive, hectic, crazy ritual of trying to surprise and please someone with a gift. The only exception? A few gifts for the three grandchildren. We have never regretted that decision, and I cannot tell you how much more we all enjoy the Christmas holidays.....

Obviously if your forte is shopping, fighting crowds, running up charge card bills, then carry on. On the other hand if you like the idea of simply spending a relaxing day with family and friends, eating a nice meal, sharing stories and conversing......?

(There's always next year!)


Thanks to my brother Phil for sharing the following. Brings back memories and tears to my eyes.....
Christmas in Brooklyn



Thanks to Jessie Thompson for the following item.....
Mayan Ruins in Georgia?

Thanks as well to Regton, Ltd. for the following two stories...
A Winter's Tale
History of Georgia Home In Question



Jim Meany from the Massachusetts Treasure Hunting Association clued me into the following site, and thought I would pass it along. Found two old cards from Bellewood Park, old amusement park in New Jersey that provided me quite a few old finds back in the early 80's. Check out . Thanks Jim.


Going right now to meet John in the bar, and we will both have a glass or two for you.... Merry Christmas and Happy Hunting!


December 20, 2011


I Knew It Was Coming...

Having just posted the the two Howland cover shots I knew he would be quick to respond, and respond he did. Love getting him pissed.... You would have to be there to understand.

The Garrett AT Gold.... Will it Work in the UK?

John also talks about the Garrett AT Gold, and it's ability to work in the heavily mineralized soils of the UK. From what he says I think he's looking forward to spring in his neck of the woods....

More Bashing of the Opponent

And would any update from John be legtimate to read without his anti-archaeological rants? Well, another one awaits...



I've mentioned the Task Force for Metal Detecting Rights a lot here, and I want to set the record straight. I am not an officer, nor policy maker. I am an advisor only. They asked if I would consider this position and I agreed because so far I like what these folks are doing, and I like their approach to the various issues at hand. They are not afraid to confront the issues, and they do it by confronting those who created the problems.

Harold Lowenfels
Carter Pennington
Avery Marder
Harry Barron
Park Cleanup, from left/right, Tom Ratel, Avery and Elaine Marder, and Billy Logue

Please take time to visit the Task Force website and sign up for alerts and updates. You can do this by clicking on the TaskForce logo.....


Just discovered a website that took me back a few years, and if you have been detecting any length of time be sure to check out . Lot's of old detector catalogs, photos, and even some suggestions on how to make modifications....



Thanks to Melissa Wise at White's Electronics for sharing the following news update . Good PR for the industry, and Jimmy, you continue to amaze me....!



Hoping to be back here for another update before Christmas, but if not Fay and I want to wish you all the best this Holiday Season....


December 16, 2011


Back a couple of months ago I shared a video Joe Cook created when he was president of the FMDAC. It was presented at the banquet that year, and had those attending rolling on the floor with laughter. If you didn't see it, you do so now by clicking here. In any case as I was scanning through some of Joe's slides I came across a few that were used in this presentation and thought you might enjoy them.....

Joe, Bruce Hazelman and Mike Race were frequent detecting pals, and often when they would be searching a large area they would use hand signals to share their finds. Here's Mike using just a few of them. Needless to say there were a few others not fit for print.
Really Deep Target
Just wait till you see this one...
Liberty Seated Coin
Indian Head Penny
Capped Bust Coin
"If I have to fill one more of your holes"....


Joe Cook and Bruce Hazelman go back a long ways, and no truer detecting pals will you find anywhere.....
On their way to church
Wearing their colors proudly....
"Slow a good reading!"
"I'm telling you Joe, it's a deep one!"
"You sure Irene said
it was okay to go detecting?"
"Where did you say you were going?"

John Winter, long time contributor to the Searcher magazine in the UK, emailed me the following and I had to share it. It's the big Bubba, a.k.a. John Howland, on the cover of a very early Searcher magazine. I had forgotten about this cover shot, but I was present, and I want to set the record straight. The photo on the left is what the public saw. The one on the right was the one that I remember....

John Howland cover shot
John Howland cover shot, as I remember it

"Mr. Pub at his finest!!"


Thanks to John Winter, and The Searcher magazine for taking the time to dig this out of the archives. I would urge all of you to take a minute and visit John's site and blog at . I always find something there to pique my interest, and make it a point to check in every day. Great writer with a lot of treasure hunting knowledge.....



Still haven't heard back from Scott, but when I do I will update here. In the meantime found a couple more of his videos....


COME ON 2012

Still looking for work, but feeling better physically thanks to two very good surgeons. 2011 has been one of those years I will remember, and I am ready to get it over with. Looking forward to finding a lot of things in the new year, and not just treasure. Hoping your finds will be good ones two. If it's too cold to hunt where you are, bone up on your local history, and line up a few new sites for the coming spring. Lastly read your owner's manual might surprised at what you "thought" you knew....


December 14, 2011


You may have heard me mention the name Gerald Costello a few times here on Standards. Gerald, along with John Howland of Malamute Saloon fame, were instrumental getting the National Council for Metal Detecting in the UK up and going back in the early 80's, and were very strong supporters of my efforts here in the US with regards to the FMDAC. Gerald was the General Secretary, and John was the Chairman of the Special Purpose Committee (a.k.a. the hit man).

They corresponded and even came to our Atlantic City convention, presenting seminars. It was also during one of their trips that we formally announced the formation of the World Council for Metal Detecting. While John stayed in touch over the years, Gerald did not, and despite the efforts of many, he seemingly disappeared. No one was able to offer an address, phone number or email.

Gerald Costello, Dick Stout
and Nigel Ingram, of Regton, Ltd.
Gerald, John Howland and I,
Empire State Building, 1985

Just yesterday I decided to contact John Winter, as in John Winter to see if he perhaps had heard of him or knew of his whereabouts. He did not, but promised to ask around. Not long after I received news via the NCMD that Gerald has passed away last year, without many of his closest friends being aware.

The last time I was in contact with Gerald was in 1989, while serving as Director of Marketing for Garrett Electronics. At the time we were looking for a new distributor in the UK, and I called Gerald to see if he had any suggestions. Not only did he have suggestions, he put together a week long trip for us, set up appointments with those that might be considered, and took care of our lodging as well. All we had to do was hop on a plane. A great gesture from a great friend....

John Young, receiving notice that
we had terrific beer here in the US as well

Yesterday I also heard from John Castle, treasure hunter and author from the UK, that John Young and John Harris, who produced the Longleat Rally many years ago, had also passed away. Granted the three passings were not that recent, but to me it was a very sad day. I will always be indebted to all three for the many, many favors and kind things they did for me and the pastime in general. RIP, cheers and good hunting....



Joe Cook, past president of the FMDAC and very good friend, recently send me a box of slides from the good ole days, and I have been busy scanning them. I hope to have a few of them up on the site soon.... In any case one slide was from an early FMDAC convention, and it was a photo of Gary Storm, treasure hunter and owner of Hudson River Metal Detectors, the late Jim Lewellen, president of Fisher Labs, and Scott Mitchen, renowed underwater treasure hunter. While I have been in touch with Gary some I had not given Scott a thought since that convention. Scott blew everyone away that year with his underwater seminar. People were in the water in the early 80's but nothing like today, and Scott was one of the pioneers.

Gary, Jim and Scott

Scott Mitchen today (photo courtesy Corbis Images/Lane Kennedy, photographer)

Decided to do a search on the web to see if I might be able to find anything on Scott. Wasn't difficult at all....Scott is still doing his water thing, and wanted to share a couple videos..... Sent out a all points bulletin, and hope to hear back from him soon....



I always like to share interesting or fun videos here, and decided to add a video link. Nothing exciting, but a place to double up the videos I post here in case you want to view them later on. Most all of them come from YouTube....thank you YouTube!! They have pretty much anything and everything available anymore, and I could spend hours searching. The video link is at the top of the page, and when I post new videos here I will also post them there as well.


December 11, 2011


About a week ago I sent an email to a lot of my detecting friends, referring them to the John Winter/UK Detector Finds Database article (December 4th, Latest News link). I did so because I thought the article was one of the best I've ever seen with regards to our plight worldwide. I asked all the addressees to forward it on to their detecting friends as well...

Suddenly yesterday I received the article from three different people, minus the John Winter and UK credit. Not only that but it was copied and pasted from my site, and forwarded on as though it came from the sender, whose name and organization was listed at the bottom.

I am happy that people liked John's article enough to forward it on.... All one had to do was forward my original email. I am not happy however that someone thought they needed to take the time to copy it from my site (exactly as it was laid out) and forward it on without giving credit. Not the first time this has happened either....

If I sound irritated, I am. If you visit my site you will note that I "always" give credit to everyone who sends something along, and when possible I link to their website. Just common courtesy. Please if you wish to share anything from my website go ahead. Just ask first and be sure to give credit where credit is due, and that pertains to the author or sender of the material as well. I hope that is not asking too much....


December 9, 2011


Just found out that Bob shares a lot of his knowledge on a great forum, and wanted to share it here. It's the Metal Detecting Forum , and you will find a lot of very good tips, ideas and recommendations from a lot of familiar names. Do check it out. It's now on listed under my favorites...



Just viewed Ron Guinazzo's latest video on Facebook, and it made me want to cry. I am seriously considering trashing all my detectors. Ron you need to stop with all this......



Thanks to Nigel Ingram at Regton, Ltd. , for putting up this oldie but goodie. We do indeed come from all walks of life....



Was reading John Winter's latest update, and thought you all might enjoy it. I learn something new every day... check out Footing the Bill . . . the story of an unusual find! Be sure as well to visit John's site and sign up for email updates.


Thanks to Melissa Wise from White's Electronics for sharing the following video....



2000 Year Old Roman Treasure

Huge Hoard of Bronze Age Finds Found

Excellent National Geographic Shows

More from National Geographic


John Howland has been slow in sending over his recipes, but finally yesterday out of the blue came his Christmas Cake Recipe. Be sure to check it out here . It's quite different, and quite like John....



Mitch King is Vice president of the Treasure Coast Archaeological Society in Sebastian, Florida, and each year his Christmas display makes the rounds on the web. Enjoy....!



December 7, 2011

John Howland (a.k.a. Bubba, Waylon) shared his take on target recovery in his latest contribution to the Malamute Saloon . and we finally get an explanation of his various aliases. I can vouch for the fact that John often lives in another world outside the Mayfly Pub . I think deep down he longs to be a Texan, a cowboy, a prospector, fitted out with burro, pick and shovel. I also think he would fit right in that world, except that he wouldn't be able to afford his single malts, and therein lies his dilemma....

To read John's latest rant click here ........


In my November 21st entry here I posted Carter Pennington's Task Force video on proper target recovery, and hope you all watched it. For some reason it brought Bob Sickler's classic illustration to mind, and thought I would share it again. Bob did this many, many years ago for Fisher Labs, and it somehow wound up in a hundred more places.

Bob Sickler is a long time friend, and anyone who's been involved in the pastime will know the name. Bob was the premier field tester for Western & Eastern Treasures back in the 80's and 90's, and his take on the model in question was always forthright, honest and at times, got Bob into trouble with various manufacturers. Bob simply told it like it was. Likewise Bob's book "The Detectorist" is without a doubt the best all around book on the market today. If you are interested in knowing more be sure to check out Bob's website . Bob is an extremely busy graphic designer, but still gets out in the field, and always "rubs it in" with his finds. Thanks Bob for all you've given over the years to better the treasure hunting pastime.

Bob Sickler's The Detectorist


Roman Ring Given to Museum


December 4, 2011


Found this article on John Winter's site, as in John Winter . I urge you to read it, and then read it again. As detectorists, treasure hunters, whatever you care to call yourself, we must stop bowing to those who think they have the upper hand, and start speaking up for who we really are. We are not second class citizens merely because we own a metal detector. We are not negligent in our efforts, nor are we grave diggers or pot robbers as our antagonists paint us. We are citizens of the good ole USA, and we should be accorded the same rights as anyone else. It's time once again for us to speak out, and tell our side of the story.

This article is reproduced with permission of the UK Detector Finds Database

Please keep checking the Task Force for Metal Detecting Rights website, especially later in the month when we need to make inroads in Louisville, Kentucky.

Metal Detecting – The Hobby and its Detractors

Metal detecting is a truly fascinating hobby, which is enjoyed by people of all ages and from many different backgrounds. It is not only a stimulating recreational pursuit, however, it is also a source of valuable information, which is adding very considerably to our knowledge of the past. In fact, the hobby’s contribution has a particular significance. It provides information about lost and discarded items, which otherwise would never be known. Importantly, it rescues these items from hostile environments that threaten their rapid destruction.

Not so, argue the hobby’s detractors. Metal detecting is depleting the archaeological pool and resulting in the loss of contextual information. Detectorists are reluctant to record their finds, and the hobby’s contribution to knowledge is minimal. Interest in the hobby is driven primarily by financial gain.

So, what is the reality of the situation? Let us consider the issues raised, starting with the ‘archaeological pool’ and its ‘depletion’.

In the context of metal detecting, the ‘archaeological pool’ is the body of small man-made items in the ground, which have been lost, discarded or buried. Some of them have the potential to add to our knowledge of the past, but while they remain undiscovered they contribute nothing. It is only when they are recovered, whether by metal detectorists, archaeologists or members of the general public, that they provide any information at all. However, the great majority of items in this pool will only ever be discovered as a result of metal detectorists pursuing their hobby. Furthermore, while they remain in the ground they are exposed to a very severe risk of destruction. The emotive phrase, ‘depleting the archaeological pool’, is therefore entirely misleading, because it implies a net loss to our knowledge, as opposed to a net gain. Far from taking anything away, detectorists are adding to our knowledge by discovering and recording material that otherwise would have been lost forever. In fact, the reality of the situation is far better expressed, if the negative and propagandist, ‘depleting the archaeological pool’, is replaced with the more meaningful, ‘rescuing our material heritage’.

And ‘rescuing’ is the operative word. Few people outside archaeology and the metal-detecting hobby have any appreciation of the rate at which our undiscovered material heritage is being destroyed. The vast majority of metallic objects that remain in the ground are condemned to certain destruction as a result of the intensive agricultural practices and land development that are associated with modern living.

Agrochemicals, for example, will completely destroy a base-metal object within a few years of being in the ground. Many ancient coins and artefacts will have survived in good condition in the soil for nearly two millennia, only to be completely destroyed in the last fifty years.

The two modern coins shown below are of bronze, and of a type that was struck between 1971 and 1981. The upper coin is in as-struck condition. The lower coin is a metal-detecting find made in the early 1990s. It was probably in the ground for less than twenty years, but is so severely damaged by chemical attack that it is not even possible to read the date.

Chemicals, however, are not the only threat faced by objects in the ground. The mechanisation of almost every aspect of agriculture makes long-term survival of any object within ploughsoil virtually impossible. Pre-historic stone implements and metallic objects are equally vulnerable. Even the smallest and lightest of items are cut to pieces, and any information they might have yielded is lost forever. The medieval silver coins shown below are all less than 20 mm diameter, but nothing escapes the high-speed blades of modern cultivators.

And it is not only in the fields that mechanisation is taking its toll. Rivers and other waterways are being dredged to increasingly greater depths in order to improve land drainage. The consequence of this is that many fords and archaeological structures are being destroyed because they present obstacles to flood water. Artefacts and coins are disturbed from these safe environments, and become damaged by gravels and rocks as they are carried downstream.

In the light of the conditions described above, it is instructive to consider a hypothetical situation. A member of the public is walking across a field and notices a Roman brooch protruding from the soil. Should he retrieve it or leave it in the ground? If he retrieves it, it can be photographed, measured, weighed, analysed, conserved and recorded. If he leaves it in the ground, its identity and details will never be known, and it will probably be destroyed in a short space of time when the field is ploughed and sprayed.

If you believe that the responsible course of action is to leave the brooch in the ground, join the hobby’s detractors, and you will find yourself amongst like-minded people. However, if you believe that it is better to retrieve the brooch, ask yourself this question. What makes this accidentally discovered brooch any different to all the other brooches, coins and artefacts that are discovered with the aid of a metal detector?

Before moving on to the next issue, ‘loss of contextual information’, it is appropriate to draw attention to an important point regarding the respective modi operandi of archaeology and metal detecting. Archaeologists usually focus their attention on sites of intensive past human activity, whereas hobbyists search vastly greater areas, the majority of which will have seen only limited activity. The contribution that each group makes to our knowledge of the past is consequently of a different, but complementary nature.

Context, from an archaeological perspective, relates to the depth and relative positions of buried objects in an undisturbed environment, and it provides valuable information about their age and use. The key phrase, however, is ‘in an undisturbed environment’. The vast majority of land searched by metal detectorists is cultivated agricultural land, and the objects recovered are from the ploughsoil. Their depth and precise position within the ground are very unlikely to have any significance, but nevertheless their general location plays an important part in contributing to our knowledge of the past. The distribution patterns of individually lost objects, for example, can shed light on aspects of our history that conventional archaeology is not able to illuminate. The ‘horizontal context’, as it has been described, can make a unique contribution.

So, on what basis do the detractors make their claim that metal detecting results in a ‘loss of contextual information’? As already indicated, the vast majority of land searched by detectorists either is, or has previously been, under cultivation. This can therefore be eliminated as a potential area of ‘risk’. Similarly, all archaeological sites that have ‘Scheduled Monument’ status, and those that are otherwise protected by legislation, are out-of-bounds to the hobby, so they, too, can be eliminated. And excavated spoil from land development projects can hardly justify their concern.

The land that remains (predominantly undisturbed pasture) is a very small proportion of the total that is detected, and any unknown archaeological sites that exist on it will, by statistical probability, represent only a small fraction of the area. The actual risk of unwittingly disturbing items in an archaeological context is therefore extremely low. Notwithstanding this minimal risk, all responsible hobbyists detect in accordance with codes of practice that address this situation to ensure that the maximum amount of information is preserved. The reality is that archaeological sites accidentally discovered as a result of metal detecting are sites that would probably never otherwise have been discovered.

To realise their potential in providing information about our past, it is, of course, not only important to rescue objects from their hostile environment, but also to ensure that they are recorded and published. By doing so, details of the object are available for study, both in their own right, and in the context of related items and locations.

A coin, for example, may provide evidence of a hitherto unknown moneyer, like the silver penny of Stephen illustrated above. The collective recording of many coins, which individually might be insignificant, can establish where and under whose authority they were struck, their area of circulation, and even tribal boundaries. Analysis of findspots of Celtic and early Anglo-Saxon coins in England, for example, has significantly increased our understanding of these periods of our history.

The facilities available for recording finds made in the UK are probably the best in the world. The UK Detector Finds Database (UKDFD) offers detectorists a hobby-based self-recording scheme, and the government-sponsored Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS) provides recording via a network of Finds Liaison Officers. In addition, the Celtic Coin Index (CCI) and the Early Medieval Corpus (EMC) provide facilities for the recording of coins from these two periods. All these databases are online and freely accessible to the public, and the content of all of them owes a great deal to the metal-detecting hobby.

The publication of detecting finds on the Internet, however, is only one aspect of the hobby’s contribution to knowledge. Long before the Internet became available, detecting finds were being recorded and published by more conventional means, and these continue to play an important role. Authors from within the hobby have played a significant part in this process, and many others have acknowledged the contribution that metal detecting has made.

So, with hundreds of thousands of individual detector-find records in the public domain, and every indication that the rate of recording is increasing, how do the hobby’s detractors come to the conclusion that ‘detectorists are reluctant to record their finds’? The answer is that they don’t!

A conclusion is, by definition, “an opinion formed after considering the relevant facts or evidence”. The hobby’s detractors are not concerned with considering relevant facts or evidence; they are concerned only with achieving their objective of seeing the introduction of legislation to restrict the hobby. Accordingly, they fabricate ludicrous statistics to support their aims and mislead those, particularly legislators, who are not conversant with the facts. Nowhere is this more apparent than in their claims regarding the numbers of ‘recordable finds’ made by detectorists.

Everything that is dug is, of course, recordable, including all the shotgun cartridges, drink-can pull-tabs and irregular, nondescript fragments of metal that form the vast majority of ‘finds’ made by the detectorist. It is absurd to suggest that resources should be wasted recording material that will add nothing to our knowledge, and, as everyone involved with recording detectorists’ finds knows, there is a diverse range of material that falls into this category.

The ratio of junk to worthwhile finds made by detectorists varies considerably depending on the site, but it is by no means unusual for it to be of the order of one hundred to one. And even when a worthwhile find is made, it is frequently the case that recording would serve no useful purpose. Modern coins, for example, may well be regarded as good finds, but their recording is extremely unlikely to add anything to our historical or numismatic knowledge.

Collectively, detectorists do make large numbers of finds that are worth recording, and in a small number of cases, the finds are spectacular and valuable. The latter are often in the form of hoards, which by their very nature were hidden in remote uninhabited areas, and are unlikely to be discovered by traditional archaeological methods. Such valuable finds, however, are quite exceptional. Nothing highlights the ignorance of the hobby’s detractors more than their assertion that detectorists are motivated by financial gain. Experienced hobbyists treat such claims with the contempt that they deserve, and anyone entering the hobby with such an aim would very rapidly become disillusioned and leave.

In summary, the portrayal of metal detecting by its detractors is one that few informed people, inside or outside the hobby, would recognise. Their propaganda is characterised by distortions and misuse of statistics to portray the hobby in a negative light. They blur the distinction between hobbyists and criminals that use metal detectors, just as they blur the distinction between archaeological sites and land that has no known archaeological significance. They do likewise with spurious statistics regarding numbers of finds made and recorded, deliberately choosing to ignore the fact that the vast majority of items recovered are of no archaeological or historical significance. However, the reality of the hobby’s contribution to knowledge is plain for everyone to see. It is evident in the display cases of our museums, the records on our databases, and the publications on our bookshelves.

This article is reproduced with permission of the UK Detector Finds Database


Had an email from John Howland this evening, and he is pissed, as in "Louisville angry" and as in too much Russian vodka. Not sure what he has coming, but he says he is finishing up his next Saloon update. Check back, and God help us....


December 3, 2011


I had no doubts that I would hear quickly from John Howland concerning the problems in Louisville, Kentucky. After all he was the guy who always carried the big stick, prior to the next NCMD rep doing the softening up. He takes no prisoners when it comes to this type of arbitrary discrimination, and that is indeed what it is. Sharing it here for your reading....

Looking at this Louisville problem, a couple of questions need to be asked by detectorists of the Parks officials, with the rider that their replies will be published! But before engaging with them there’s one salient point that should always be remembered, and it is this; they serve us – their paymasters. The tail does not wag the dog....

What the good burghers of Louisville need to be asked is:-

1. Why is it ‘policy’ that metal detectors should be banned?

2. Who made that ‘policy?’ and why?

3. Why were detectorists not involved in consultations about this ‘policy?

4. On whose consultation was this ‘policy’ formulated and why were the people most likely to be affected by it, not consulted?

It is not sufficient just nor is it even remotely democratic for a council department or its officials to make policy behind closed doors. Policies in a free and open society are made by people. Which people? The man-and-woman-in-the-street. Are we to believe that Louisville is not a democracy? This certainly looks the case based on the evidence presented so far.

It should also be pointed out to Louisville’s electorate and to its elected officials and unelected officers, that in freeing the civilised world from the kind of oppression and dictatorial regimes who make up policy on the hoof (like the Louisville council it appears) the US, along with the UK, lost and is currently losing her troops at alarming rate across the Free World. The US has never shirked or shrunk from facing up to aggression, yet, it allows that same oppression to flourish in its own back yard. Louisville is the typical example.

Imagine the outcry if Louisville’s parks department posted notices saying No Blacks, No Disabled, Whites Only, No Gays , or, these parks can only used by Republicans.

Metal detecting is an honourable and healthy outdoor activit,y and an ideal way for the more elderly to enjoy exercise, with the spin-off benefits that lost jewellery and personal items are regularly returned to their rightful owners. In short, the slogan is….I METAL DETECT AND I VOTE!

Please keep checking back for the the Taskforce's plan of action. The timing of this effort will be most important, given the reintroduction of the legislation in January. The Taskforce will provide names, addresses, phone numbers, and ideas on how to make your voice heard.

Task Force and recent protest agains NYC Parks Commission
Bill Logue and Allyson Cohen/Taskforce supporters

(photos courtesy of Allyson Cohen)


December 2, 2011


Just discovered that John Winter now has a website, and a damn good one. I have spent the better part of the morning skimming through it, and now must schedule time to dissect it more thoroughly. Do yourself a favor and add John Winter to your list of favorites. You won't be sorry, and before anyone becomes a smart ass, we are not brothers nor one-in-the-same. You just have to accept the fact that there are two very debonair guys out there involved in this pastime. I know, I know, I know, tough to handle. We both feel sorry for you all....

The UK's John Winter


Click here for the