One of the most effective ways to find great metal detecting locations is to do some research. And, one of the best tools for researching spots that may have old relics (as opposed to newer lost items) is an old map. It’s a great way to find spots that may not have been searched previously and that have items that you don’t typically find when you just go to a location because you know there has been a lot of traffic through it.

The best hunting sites are the ones that have not had many detectorists searching or have not been searched at all. Research is needed to find those sites and to get the results you were probably hoping for from the time you first picked up your metal detector.

Researching by using old maps is a good way to find those kinds of sites. One of the best strategies is to compare an old map for a specific area to a new map for the same area. This may uncover old homesteads, parks, and gathering places that have long since been gone, where you can hunt.

Using Old Paper Maps

If you can get your hands on old paper maps of your city, do it! They are a great resource for uncovering sites that no one remembers. Even if you obtain a map from as recently as the 1950s, you are going to see a huge difference in the landscape compared to what it is now. There will be far more areas that are undeveloped, roads that are no longer there, and homesteads that are gone. These are sites that are perfect for searching.

When you compare the old map to a current map, you may find that some of the old areas of interest are now parks, schools, or other public places that can easily be searched. If so, you may find some historic and valuable items. You may also find that old homesteads have been torn down or built upon, but with permission from owners, you may still be able to hunt in those sites.

You can often find old city maps at public libraries, on eBay, or you can obtain topographical maps from the U.S Geological Survey.  Kellyco also has several GPS site locator books that include key locations for sites such as abandoned mines, old ghost towns and more!

Using Online Resources

Another way to conduct your research is online. There are many maps online that offer aerial views that are very current, and offer a lot of detail. Even if you are familiar with the area that you are going to be searching, aerial or satellite maps can be useful because you may be able to see different trails, entrances, or other places of interest, that you didn’t know about. You can also use online maps to compare to old paper maps, or you can use a website like Historic Aerials to compare old and new right on your computer. This website is great for detectorists doing research – you are able to view the same geographical area at different periods in history. It allows you to “slide” one map over the other so that you know exactly how locations line up, and exactly where to hunt.

Final Thoughts

The key to finding old relics is research, and learning how to find long forgotten places can get you closer to finding the treasure you are looking for. One thing to remember – just because a building or home is gone, the land where it stood belongs to someone and you must get permission to detect it. Check out some of Kellyco's treasure maps for sale.