Decided to add this page to my site because I think it could help many of you when facing local or state restrictions. It's a collection of letters, articles and personal entries that tell the world what our pastime is about, and just who we really are. Please feel free to use any of the following for your efforts.
An article about a friend from New Jersey, Dan Knight. Dan went the extra mile to locate the owner of this ring, and I thank him for this. Love the story.
The following is a letter the Midwest Historical Research Society, in Chicago, sent to the Cook County Forest Preserve District in an effort to get a detecting ban lifted. I share it here because it is a great example of how to compose a letter and how to offer a compromise....
Ron Guinazzo (a.k.a. Chicago Ron) shared the following on Facebook yesterday...."Got a call on Wednesday night from a depressed Jennifer, she had lost her diamond promise ring on North ave beach. I assured her that we would have a good chance of finding it when I met her yesterday afternoon. Only took about 15 minutes. she burst into tears and hugged me! That's what its all about! 14k white gold ring with 1pt diamonds, 1.5grams."
Suspect you already know that Ron is a Chicago fireman, and how he manages to hold down a job, spend so much time detecting is beyond me. I am envious as hell. Ron many thanks for all you do to promote the pastime, and for the good work you do for the city of Chicago every day. I appreciate you my friend (still going to cut those wires next time I see you).
Heard from Butch Holcombe publisher of American Digger magazine about a mention he got in a West coast write-up. Nice read, nice plug for the pastime and Butch as well. Click here to read about Peggy Higgins, and the input Butch had in the article. Thanks to both of you for showing the rest of the world who we really are.
Good ole Chicago Ron made us proud once again with another ring return.... Thanks for sharing this Ron, and for continuing to be the great ambassador for the the pastime. Do read the following and then watch the video......
Ron Guinazzo, a.k.a. Chicago Ron posted another terrific video, and I wanted to share it here. Ron lives, eats and sleeps treasure hunting, and is one terrific ambassador for all of us. Thanks for all you do Ron.....
Jeff Lubbert commented "A little ring set I found for a wonderful couple yesterday. It was a bit chilly, 17 degrees, but luckily the search lasted only about 30 minutes. The couple had purchased a metal detector and also rented a metal detector to try to find the ring. Unfortunatly without the experience on using a metal detector they had no luck in several hours of searching. They found me and I recovered it in about a half hour."
Be sure to check out this groups website at The Ring Finders.com
As I always do each morning I checked to see if John Winter had posted anything new on his blog. Just as I was ready to click on the link I got a call from him via Skype, telling me about his "one second after midnight" post. He was calling to make sure I watched the video shown there in it's entirety. He thought it would be a great video to share with everyone on this side of the pond, in that it was a good example of how the detectorist and the archaeologist can work together in harmony.
After watching the "Avar Graves" I very much agree, and have added it to the "Who We Are" link. Please take the time to watch the following video, and save it somewhere on your hard drive. It's well done, and an example of what mutual respect can do for two opposing sides....
Received the following information from Danny Brown, editor of the Pelican Pouch, newsletter of the Pelican Relic and Recovery Association. Nice story, nice ending, and another feather in the cap for all of us. Thanks Danny and Robert!
I know everyone loves to hear about a good metal detecting find, but it's even better when you can find something for someone else that is especially near and dear to them...
Yesterday, a Mr. Adams called to ask if I could help find his wife's white gold 2 carat diamond wedding ring that had been lost about a month ago. His young grandchild somehow got his wife's jewelry bag, took it outside, and managed to scatter jewelry all over the large country yard while playing. The couple didn't even know it had happened until the next day when the Mrs. Adams accidentally found a watch and other jewelry in several areas of the yard. Luckily, the couple's steady searching over the next few weeks allowed them to find everything - that is, everything except her 2 carat diamond engagement ring. It had been in the bag with her matching white gold wedding band, which was found during their search. The husband, who is a deputy sheriff, then happened to see one of our club's newsletters and contacted me.
I asked club member Robert DeBate to help, and we went this morning to search for the ring. Mr. Adams had marked areas in the yard where the other jewelry had been found, and had even gridded the area with string. Unfortunately, one large area had been used as a burn pile area both before and after the ring had been lost. It was mostly bare dirt and contained a good deal of metallic trash.
Robert put a small coil on his Fisher 1266 and dived into the trashy area. I decided to give my very old and trusty Golden Sabre with notch discrimination a try. I took the matching wedding band and notched it within the accept mode. That would allow me to hear ONLY the ring. I began at the edge of the search area and worked the grid pattern toward the burn area. Reaching that area in about 10 minutes, I got a loud signal just about in the middle of the burn area. I looked at the ash-covered ground, but didn't see anything at first. Then waving the detector over the spot, I came to barely make out the outline of a black circle in the ashes. It was the ring, completely blackened from a fire, but otherwise in perfect shape.
Needless to say, Mrs. Adams was thrilled, as were Robert and I. She said her first order of business was a visit to the jeweler to get the ring cleaned and polished back to its original look. She and her husband will attend the club's next meeting to show off the ring, and issue an official thank you to the club and our hobby. The ring will be a feature in our February newsletter.
Below I have attached some photos. The first photo is of the blackened ring. The large stone on the top is 1-1/3 carat. with shoulder and side diamonds on both sides that bring the total weight to 2 carats. The second photo is Mrs. Adams holding the ring, and the third photo is of me, a very happy and satisfied hunter, holding the ring.
I can only hope that you enjoyed your day as much as Mr. and Mrs. Adams, Robert, and I did....
Danny Brown, Pelican Relic and Recovery Association, Baton Rouge, LA.
The following is a letter sent to the Alabama and Kentucky legislators, and was written by Bob Sickler, January 30, 2012
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.
Thanks once again to Scott Clark, a.k.a "Pocketspill", for sharing the following. Scott is a detectorist living in the Lexington, Kentucky area, and is very active there fighting the parks issue in Louisville. He's also a member of the Central Kentucky Research and Recovery Team (also in Lexington). Please note this article was written in 2007, but it's contents are an indication of how well the truce between the archaeologist and the detectorist is working in the UK.
Scott also has a terrific blog/website, and I recommend you check it out and add it to your "favorites" Lots of good info. Just click here.
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...
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 pupose...to 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.
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. To read click here
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.
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!!
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
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.
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,
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.
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.
Thanks to Jack Lowry for passing along this article from the Carthage, Missouri newspaper. It's just one victory, but one that we should give ourselves a pat on the back for. Our emails and letters made a difference, and that alone should give us impetus going into whatever the next skirmish might be (see the following NYC alert). I want to also praise the mayor and city council for their ability to see through the false accusations, and for seeing us as we really are. If only other cities were governed by like people.....
Carthage Mayor Mike Harris said “exaggerated and erroneous information” led the council to give preliminary approval to an ordinance controlling metal detecting in city parks.
At Harris’ request, the Carthage City Council tabled indefinitely final consideration of the ordinance that would have required anyone wanting to use a metal detector in a city park to sign a request sheet and turn any artifact that was older than 100 years over to the city.
The vote to table was unanimous.
“The passage of time made me kind of sit back and look at it less emotionally,” Harris said after Tuesday’s meeting. “Then we received many well-written letters from metal detectorists, if that is a word, and also there were historians who feel that they serve a vital role in uncovering artifacts, perhaps more vital than archeologists, who only do that for fees. Most of what we read really made sense and shed a different light on the subject.”
The bill was drawn up as a result of publicity given by the Springfield News-Leader in early July to a rural Carthage couple who found several Civil War-era bullets, including a bullet embedded in a piece of bone, while using a metal detector in a city park.
A Springfield archeologist wrote a letter to the newspaper chastising it for publicizing the find and chastising Carthage for not controlling metal detector use on city-owned property.
The couple showed their finds to Jasper County Records Center Director Steve Weldon, who said later that some of the statements in the newspaper article, such as one saying the couple dig a 5-foot-by-5-foot hole to uncover the artifacts, were not accurate.
“The article in the Springfield paper had gross mis-statements, an example of one was that the people that found that artifact uncovered a 25-square-foot area,” Harris said. “That’s ridiculous.”
Harris said he’s convinced that hobbyists are generally an honorable bunch and will work with the city if anything of historic value is found. “If you go to the Civil War Museum and to the courthouse civil war museum, you will see that numerous artifacts there have been donated by citizens that, I’m sure, found them and felt obligated to share that with the public,” Harris said. “I think by and large, that would happen with most people.”
On June 15th and 16th the Texas Council of Treasure Clubs once again traveled to the Texas Lions Camp for Disabled Children to demonstrate not only their detecting pastime, but their love and caring for all those who attend the camp. Keith Wills started this program sixteen years ago, and it's an event that not only the campers look forward to but the members of the Council do as well.
Thank you Keith Wills and all the members of the TCTC for giving your time to do this. Helping Keith this year:
Blaine Nelson, Don Crawford, Don Bowker, Amancio Canto, Joslyn Ronan, Danny McHatton, Lloyd Smith, Alan Euquist, Daniel Mireles, Susie Mireles, Scott Hegel, Larry Vickers, and Tom & Peg Rifleman. Thanks also to Garrett Metal Detectors who donated 12 Ace metal detectors to the camp a couple of years ago.
Each year the Council collects foreign coins, toy cars and pieces of inexpensive jewelry from clubs all over the country, and uses them as targets in this event. If you would like to help out and donate similiar items please send them to:
Robbie Morin, my good friend from Houston, sent along a recent video about the Lost My Stuff Group , and just perhaps the folks in Carthage should watch it. A great example of what we are about, and why we shouldn't be treated like second class citizens. Please watch THIS and pass along....I love this group.
Local newspapers, as well as TV stations are starting to pay a little more attention to us, and I think it's because of the efforts of people like Ron Guinazzo (see above) and Keith Wills (Texas Council of Treasure Clubs). The return of valuables to their owners, the assistance given to local law enforcement agencies, and the giving of our time to teach the handicapped, go a long way toward promoting what it is we do, and we must continue to share these stories whenever possible....
Here's another recent newspaper article from the West Coast.... Thank you Gil Rivera.
Once again thanks to Nigel Ingram at Regton, Ltd. for bringing this story to my attention. Just another good story about those who go beeping... Read more here .
John McCann once again sent along another great story, and one that needs to see more publicity. To the Dayton Diggers Club, thank you very, very much.... Please read the story here, and be sure to view the video .
Received an email from Amy Maruso today sharing a very neat story, and one that exemplifies our family. No matter what people think of us, or what they imagine, we are just people who love what we do, and who will help anyone in need of our skills. Please be sure to check out this story.
A big thank you to my good friend John McCann for sending along this news video. A great story, and something that happens all the time, but hardly ever gets a mention. Thanks John for making me aware of it, and thanks also to Brad Bieler, the detectorist featured, and to Channel 8 News here in Dallas for running the story.
Received another email from Robbie Morin, a TH'ing friend in Houston, about his interest in Camp Logan, a WW1 training camp in that area. He and six other detectorists hunted the camp back in 2007, and while they didn't find much, he decided to learn more about the site. Of importance of course was what the camp looked like back then....
Robbie begin collecting old postcards of Camp Logan, and now has over one hundred in his collection. He also put together three slide shows on Camp Logan, and you can view them on Youtube, under "DimemanRobbie". He's also shared quite a few detecting videos there as well. Highly recommend you spend some time viewing them.
As a result of Robbie's research he was asked to loan some of his collection to the Buffalo Soldier National Museum, and they have been on display now for two months. Add into that newspaper interviews and mentions on local TV, and you will see that there is a lot more to metal detecting than meets the eye. I can tell you from personal experience that getting interested in local history is not only logical, it's easy and very addictive.
Received word from Robbie Morin (a.k.a. Dimeman Robbie) that a video is now available to go along with the Camp Logan effort (See "Latest News", September 11th). Robbie and the Texas Relic Recovery Team do a lot for the pastime, and hope you will check out their efforts on YouTube...(click "Dimeman Robbie" and/or "TxCoindigger" in the search area). You guys are appreciated!