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Preserving History Through Metal Detecting
This weekend is Memorial Day & the unofficial start of summer. Did you know that the holiday started out as Decoration Day? Community members would take the day off to spend time decorating the headstones of fallen soldiers. It is a small way to remember service members who have given their all for their country. In a similar way, relic hunters can honor them by helping to preserve the history they find. Here are some ways you can do that if you plan to go out hunting relics this weekend.
Because troop movements need to be kept secret, there are many times when history has a general idea of where a camp was set up but not an exact spot. When you dig up a military relic recording where you found it can help fill in those gaps to paint a better picture of how a battle may have occurred. Finding several items in a small area can even help to mark a route and that spot could have been a resting spot along the way.
A great way to record location is to snap a picture with a smartphone. Many newer phones capture the geolocation of where the image was taken - usually stored as coordinates. This is the equivalent of righting on the back of a picture so you remember a significant detail of the event.
In the age of digital everything, it can slip our minds to contact people who can put the information we gather to best use. Many universities have an archeology department that could compile the information for further study. If that isn’t a good option, check to see if there is a local historical society. These organizations dedicate themselves to piecing together the history of the area and sharing it with everyone who is interested.
Take Care of the Find
Many times these old finds are delicate due to time and weather. Many factors go into how well the relic holds up, but two of the main ones are oxidation and pressure. I’ve seen many relics pulled up by the Hoover Boys that run the spectrum from near perfect to barely identifiable. In order to maintain the integrity, you will need to clean it very carefully. It’s so important that we have even dedicated a whole blog post on how to clean relics.
This memorial day weekend and beyond, we hope you take a moment to remember the fallen soldiers that have served the country. If you do decide to go out detecting, keep these tips in mind so you can help in preserving history. Every little bit we can piece together brings us one step closer to seeing the bigger picture.