A recent encounter detecting only reinforced my belief you should leave no conglomerate behind, I never do. Several weeks ago, detecting with a friend at one of the 1715 beach sites with my Minelab CTX-3030 metal detector, I dug a strong target which turned out to be a conglomerate about the size of a softball and I had no idea what was there. After it bounced around in the back of my SUV for a few weeks, I finally decided to dissolve the conglomerate to see the iron object within.



First Conglomerate 

I added tap water, then some muriatic acid to a container (a plastic coffee container), stirred the mix lightly and place the conglomerate in the mix. Checking it frequently and watching it bubble, as you could no longer see the conglomerate, I decided to remove it from the container.  I set it on the grass beside the container and to my amazement, I could see a round black object, protruding from the conglomerate.

Now this really got my attention, my first thought, “a small cannon ball”. After a few hours of soaking and checking, conglomerate was dissolved and the cannon ball revealed.

Second Conglomerate

Having so much success with this conglomerate, I decided to check out an older, much larger and heavier find, found in the same area as the cannon ball.

This was another amazing find, as you can see 3 layers of lead sheathing folded over just like it had been ripped from the bottom of the ship as it crashed across the reef. It had a rusty area; the head of a spike was slightly visible and now I began to wonder what else could be in that conglomerate a gold or silver coin? After showing this piece to a local treasure hunter, he advised me not to dissolve this one, he said it looks so good as it is now and all I will do is end up with a sheet of lead and a spike. Now I’m in quandary, what should I do? Well after sleeping on it, I emailed these pictures to Treasureguide, The Treasure Beaches Report Direct From Florida’s Treasure Coast, this site is always so helpful. I asked if he knew anyone that could X-ray the conglomerate? He put the word out for me on his blog and the next day I got an email with a contact name and number of Jorge a guy that would X-ray this for me.

I contacted Jorge the next day and decided to drive down to West Palm to give him the conglomerate for X-ray. Jorge has graduated X-ray school and his professor had agreed to help with the project as it was going to be difficult to X-ray with lead sheathing in it. Well that afternoon, I got a text from Jorge, the good news was; they were able to X-ray the object, the bad news; there was just the lead sheathing and one spike.

You can clearly see the spike at the left side of the X-ray and the bright white of the lead. I can now rest knowing I have a really neat find, intact in a conglomerate.

I realize these conglomerates are very heavy, especially if you have to tote them any distance down the beach to your car. But you never know what a day will bring or what you will find, especially in a conglomerate. So, no matter how heavy or hard it is to carry, Leave No Conglomerate Behind!

But if you do, leave it for me to find!

The picture below is the lead sheathing conglomerate and a few the other finds from the same area, the same day!


Written by Fred Banke