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Searching tips

Article about: Hey guys Thought I'd share my thoughts on identifying and searching areas of interest. 1. Research Research Research The most important part of any time spent metal detecting for relics. Do

  1. #1

    Default Searching tips

    Hey guys

    Thought I'd share my thoughts on identifying and searching areas of interest.

    1. Research Research Research

    The most important part of any time spent metal detecting for relics. Do your RESEARCH first. Don't just turn up to an area armed with a shovel and a vague knowledge of the location. Research pays BIG dividends. If you're searching old 'static' sites such as airfields then, as a minimum, get on the internet and identify the precise location. You may be surprised to find war ministry plans of old bases ! Or even old Bye-laws that PRECISELY identify an area boundary !

    Familiarise yourself with what outfit(s) were there and when so you know what kind of finds to expect.

    Then get yourself on Google Earth and find if there are any visible 'remains'.

    Take the Google Earth picture and anotate with distances from any obvious access points to specific areas you want to search. Also make sure you put a compass on the print out AND you take one with you ! You can then pace out distances and hit locations bang on.

    If you're searching old battlefields, spend time trawling through books on the subject. Many eye witness accounts give you vital information that narrow down your search area. For instance, I found a reference in an obscure book about the Ardennes offensive from a GI, stating, 'We took 2 days to clear the Germans from the woods between *village x* and *village Y*'. I found the location on Google Earth, turn up and I get SHED loads of finds.

    2. Access

    Check access to the site and who the landowner is. Gain permission before going on site. Very few locations are 'public' so you will invariably need permission. Make sure you explain what kind of stuff you are looking for. A friend of mine was given a 2 foot square piece of B-17 with a Boeing mark on it by the farmer AND allowed access to the site !!

    3. Modern ?

    Many sites have a modern day use that will impede your relic hunting. If the site is close to a built up area or a main road, the edge of the site will be chock full of modern crap that will drive you nuts. Local kids can also be a nuisance to the relic hunter as they use woods and copses as mobile pubs, kindly leaving their cans behind.

    Try and avoid the modern trash if you can. Work from the furthest point on the site towards the modern 'area'.

    If the site you're looking at has a modern use such as warehousing or civil airfield, move on. It's too much hassle sometimes to gain access and I will guarentee the site will be crammed full of modern crap that will impede your search. Find a site that has become a farm or such like.

    4. 60 years of change

    Bear in mind anywhere you are searching could well have changed considerably over the past 60-70 years. Don't be put off by thick woods.....chances are the wood wasn't there 60 years ago and the area could have been used by the unit(s) on the site.

    5. Think like a soldier/airman !

    When you get to the site and identify your search area, don't just stick close to buildings. Try and think where you would sit and have a fag or a game of cards. Refer to point 4 and look to see where these areas could be. Remember, they could be up to 50 metres (or more) away from the buildings !

    6. Don't give up

    You may not find any relics straight away. You may be deluged with modern crap. If you dig up modern stuff, move it to an area you know you're not going to search. For instance, if there is a thick bush in the location, chuck your modern crap into the middle of it so you don't find it again on your next visit. If you are environmentally conscious, take a bag with you and dispose of the modern crap in a bin. If you've done your research right you may have to get the modern crap out the ground before you find the relics.

    7. Cover the bases !

    Two tips in one here. Firstly, when you have dug a hole and found a piece of metal, never EVER walk away without re-detecting the hole. Secondly, search right up against trees ! Remember they may not have been there 60 years ago and many finds are made right up against a tree.

    As an example of both, in one of my posts I show the 69 German WW2 coins I found against a tree. I firstly got 3 out the hole, re-detected it, got 2 more, moved a little, got 2 more....and so on.....all the way around the base of the tree. I was there for an hour BUT the main thing to note is that this was against a BIG tree.....and I re-detected the hole.

    8. Take in your surroundings

    When on an old base where the buildings have been knocked down, look for the foundations. You can spot these on Google Earth if you zoom right in. If you can't see them on Google Earth, look closely at the ground when you reach the site. Very few things in nature make straight lines on the ground.

    The same goes for old battlefields. 9 times out of 10 the soldiers would have dug fox holes or even trenches. Even after 60 years you will still be able to make them out in many areas. They may have almost completely filled in with earth BUT, normally you can see the impression on the ground. If you find a foxhole/trench. Stand in it and look 360 degrees around the hole.....you will more likely than not suddenly notice a whole row of almost invisible remains of fox holes !



    I hope this helps you and.......good relic hunting !!

    Steve T

  2. #2

    Default Re: Searching tips

    Quote by Steve T View Post
    Hey guys

    Thought I'd share my thoughts on identifying and searching areas of interest.

    1. Research Research Research

    The most important part of any time spent metal detecting for relics. Do your RESEARCH first. Don't just turn up to an area armed with a shovel and a vague knowledge of the location. Research pays BIG dividends. If you're searching old 'static' sites such as airfields then, as a minimum, get on the internet and identify the precise location. You may be surprised to find war ministry plans of old bases ! Or even old Bye-laws that PRECISELY identify an area boundary !

    Familiarise yourself with what outfit(s) were there and when so you know what kind of finds to expect.

    Then get yourself on Google Earth and find if there are any visible 'remains'.

    Take the Google Earth picture and anotate with distances from any obvious access points to specific areas you want to search. Also make sure you put a compass on the print out AND you take one with you ! You can then pace out distances and hit locations bang on.

    If you're searching old battlefields, spend time trawling through books on the subject. Many eye witness accounts give you vital information that narrow down your search area. For instance, I found a reference in an obscure book about the Ardennes offensive from a GI, stating, 'We took 2 days to clear the Germans from the woods between *village x* and *village Y*'. I found the location on Google Earth, turn up and I get SHED loads of finds.

    2. Access

    Check access to the site and who the landowner is. Gain permission before going on site. Very few locations are 'public' so you will invariably need permission. Make sure you explain what kind of stuff you are looking for. A friend of mine was given a 2 foot square piece of B-17 with a Boeing mark on it by the farmer AND allowed access to the site !!

    3. Modern ?

    Many sites have a modern day use that will impede your relic hunting. If the site is close to a built up area or a main road, the edge of the site will be chock full of modern crap that will drive you nuts. Local kids can also be a nuisance to the relic hunter as they use woods and copses as mobile pubs, kindly leaving their cans behind.

    Try and avoid the modern trash if you can. Work from the furthest point on the site towards the modern 'area'.

    If the site you're looking at has a modern use such as warehousing or civil airfield, move on. It's too much hassle sometimes to gain access and I will guarentee the site will be crammed full of modern crap that will impede your search. Find a site that has become a farm or such like.

    4. 60 years of change

    Bear in mind anywhere you are searching could well have changed considerably over the past 60-70 years. Don't be put off by thick woods.....chances are the wood wasn't there 60 years ago and the area could have been used by the unit(s) on the site.

    5. Think like a soldier/airman !

    When you get to the site and identify your search area, don't just stick close to buildings. Try and think where you would sit and have a fag or a game of cards. Refer to point 4 and look to see where these areas could be. Remember, they could be up to 50 metres (or more) away from the buildings !

    6. Don't give up

    You may not find any relics straight away. You may be deluged with modern crap. If you dig up modern stuff, move it to an area you know you're not going to search. For instance, if there is a thick bush in the location, chuck your modern crap into the middle of it so you don't find it again on your next visit. If you are environmentally conscious, take a bag with you and dispose of the modern crap in a bin. If you've done your research right you may have to get the modern crap out the ground before you find the relics.

    7. Cover the bases !

    Two tips in one here. Firstly, when you have dug a hole and found a piece of metal, never EVER walk away without re-detecting the hole. Secondly, search right up against trees ! Remember they may not have been there 60 years ago and many finds are made right up against a tree.

    As an example of both, in one of my posts I show the 69 German WW2 coins I found against a tree. I firstly got 3 out the hole, re-detected it, got 2 more, moved a little, got 2 more....and so on.....all the way around the base of the tree. I was there for an hour BUT the main thing to note is that this was against a BIG tree.....and I re-detected the hole.

    8. Take in your surroundings

    When on an old base where the buildings have been knocked down, look for the foundations. You can spot these on Google Earth if you zoom right in. If you can't see them on Google Earth, look closely at the ground when you reach the site. Very few things in nature make straight lines on the ground.

    The same goes for old battlefields. 9 times out of 10 the soldiers would have dug fox holes or even trenches. Even after 60 years you will still be able to make them out in many areas. They may have almost completely filled in with earth BUT, normally you can see the impression on the ground. If you find a foxhole/trench. Stand in it and look 360 degrees around the hole.....you will more likely than not suddenly notice a whole row of almost invisible remains of fox holes !



    I hope this helps you and.......good relic hunting !!

    Steve T
    That is exactly why I do not dig things up myself!!(lol)

  3. #3

    Default Re: Searching tips



    That maybe true....but mine cost me nothing and each one gives me the buzz of having been found by ME.

    So there

  4. #4

    Default Re: Searching tips

    You are absolutely wright! I envie you, but have no time to do the research, however I live in a area where a lot is to be found.
    And I am aware that searching with the dectector at random is no alternative.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Searching tips

    Dear Steve,

    When seeking permission how do you establish who owns a particular piece of land ... ? I've identified several likely search areas ... but have not been able to search them because I've not been able to establish who owns them?

  6. #6

    Default Re: Searching tips

    Quote by gremlin View Post
    Dear Steve,

    When seeking permission how do you establish who owns a particular piece of land ... ? I've identified several likely search areas ... but have not been able to search them because I've not been able to establish who owns them?
    In wich country?
    For Belgium I might be able to help...

  7. #7

    Default Re: Searching tips

    Gremlin

    My sincere apologies mate.....I have somehow missed your question. I know it was some time ago now but here's my answer

    I always visit the site first (if in the UK) to check access and parking etc. During this recce visit, I will also identify the nearest farmer and pay them a visit. I always dress smart for the visit (and no....I don't mean DJ and bow tie.....I mean smart trousers and shirt. Just don't look like a bloody vagrant ! You get a much better response if you look 'harmless'), and speak in the poshest accent I can muster. NO SWEARING !

    I find this polite approach usually works and access is granted. If it isn't, walk away and find somewhere else. NO HAWKING !

    For locations further afield I use OS maps to identify an address and write to the person who looks like they own the land. Be warned though, this impersonal approach rarely gets you access........a good face to face chat works far better.

    Hope that helps

    Steve T

    PS For Europe I must admit I just turn up and hope for the best

  8. #8

    Default Re: Searching tips

    nice post steve very informative , i use google earth regularly too .. great for mapping out old areas and working out where to detect...on larger areas
    i regularly detect at some old wartime sites here in cornwall and have made quite a few finds in the craziest of places that you wouldnt even think an artifact or war relic would turn up ..
    liked youre articles that you posted on u tube and on here found them very interesting .. .. Darrel "the metal Detctor "

  9. #9

    Default Re: Searching tips

    helpfull info.
    U are lucky to have so many stuff in the UK, atleast where u live.
    I come from the netherlands and where i live there's not much to find only a few little things.
    I went to a library to look at old documents and found out that there is a planecrash side nearby. It isn't visited by searchers so far.
    This summer i will go to the ardennes (thnx for the help Steve )

    cheers,

  10. #10

    Default Re: Searching tips

    Well done Steve. Great insight. I am looking to try this out on my next trip to Europe. This will help.

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