If you have been metal detecting for any length of time, you probably know the typical places where you're likely to make finds. Beaches, schools, parks, playgrounds, and ball fields follow the detectorists rule of thumb - hunt anywhere that people have congregated. In those places you may find things like lost jewelry, coins, and other commonly dropped items. However, there is a lot of other treasure to be found in some unusual areas that you may not have thought of searching. With a little bit of research and luck, you may find that your detecting finds exceed the norm.

Do Some Digging Before You Dig

You may have some treasure awaiting you right at your backdoor. Researching your hometown's history can provide you with ideal hunting spots. It's fairly easy to do this kind of research. Most public libraries have historical information about the city or town on file, but a trip to the library is only necessary if you have difficulty finding the information online - the internet is a valuable tool for detectorists. This research needn't be boring, like preparing to write a paper for school. It's helping you to narrow down the best sites for searching, otherwise you're swinging your detector aimlessly.

If you can find old maps and homestead markers, they may provide you with some interesting sites to hunt. Some of the things to pay attention to for potential searching grounds during your research are:

  • Abandoned homes
  • Civil War battlefields
  • Unsolved robberies
  • Discovery of gold, silver, or copper
  • Sites where fire, flood, or natural disasters struck
  • Local landmarks
  • Wagon train and emigrant routes
  • Abandoned churches and meeting places
  • Old city dump
  • Former or abandoned boarding houses, saloons, and hotels
  • Old outhouses

There are many places in modern cities that used to serve as other things. A little bit of research will tell you and you might just find a piece of your city's history.

Opportunists Make Good Detectorists

Sometimes opportunity presents itself when you least expect it. Pay attention when you hear about your town's history or lore. You may know, or hear about, your town's oldest areas that are now highly populated, seemingly undetectable. But there may still be opportunity there. Consider areas that haven't been developed, or if they have, it was long ago. Places like the strip of grass or dirt between sidewalks and the street are good places to look. They likely haven't been searched.

Also pay attention to new urban developments that are being started. When construction begins, the ground that is normally five or six feet down, is upturned and close to the surface. These are precious hunting spots! Detectorists have found interesting and valuable items at construction sites. Even when it's just a sidewalk or road being replaced, you may find treasure that has been covered up for a long time. (Remember to get permission to search these types of areas first)

The key to finding unusual spots that probably haven't been previously searched is to start paying attention to your town’s history. Whether you research it yourself or you hear or see opportunities, the treasure is out there - you just have to find it.