It is not what we usually seek, makes us proud and happy most of the time, but what we find! The same is true for me. I always think of finding some rare coin or jewelry, but all the time I get surprised by things concealed in the ground. This story began during a month long expedition to the Mongolian border, where we searched for the 17th century artifacts and medieval Chinese coins. I had my reliable and precise X-TERRA 705 with me.[split]
My partner was searching on one side of the small hill, where an old house, presumably 19th century one once used to be. And I chose the “wrong” side. Soon he started digging out coin after coin, old Chinese cast coins with square holes in them. He was happy and started teasing me, while I was completely concentrated on some strange and complicated signal. It sounded like both iron, cast iron and bronze. So, as we often say, shovel is the best discrimination mask you have! My signal turned out to be a piece of old cast iron cooking pot, two forged nails and a Russian naval officer belt buckle, mid 19th century.
To tell you the truth, I was shocked! My research as an amateur historian is connected with the Russian navy and merchant fleet activity in the Far East before 1905, and here, 3 thousands kilometers from the sea I uncovered a small piece of Naval history. All my partners gathered around, we started guessing how it got there, and decided that it was a house of retired Naval officer, who brought a string of Chinese coins (from the other side of the house) from one of his voyages as a souvenir.
After initial excitement was gone and all the coins, as my friend thought, were also dug out, I was left alone on that hill. Something stopped me from leaving. I was hoping to find some other piece of that historical puzzle, to get another piece… So I walked to the spot where Andrey found 14 coins in a string. A faint signal came from my X-TERRA 705, like a coin rather deep or some encircled metal object… Hmm, another coin with a hole?! Why not! I got on my knees and took out some soil. The signal was so faint, barely distinguishable. After a minute or two of digging I started taking ground out of the hole with my hands and grabbed something that was not metal at all! It was a stone figurine of the dog, lying relaxed, looking at its master. It was so well carved and beautiful, words cannot express all the joy, adrenaline and satisfaction I felt that moment! It was an oriental figurine, probably bought by a naval officer in Japan or China in the first part of the 19th century. But what gave the metal signal?! Underneath the figurine was another nail, bent to form a circle. Call it whatever you want, I call it Fate.
Now all finds from that house are on display in the Museum of the Maritime State University, in Vladivostok, where I teach cadets in the free from metal detecting time…