Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of the Treasure Beaches Report.
|Recent Beach Ring Find.|
Neanderthal Children Frollicking During a Day at the Beach.
Some things never change.
I took a little trip to the beach and found the ring above. I've been dong most of my detecting on that wooded lot I keep talking about. It is a short walk from home and I can do it anytime I want. Very convenient.
There are some big differences between metal detecting the beach or an inland site. There are also many similarities. I thought it might be instructive to take a look at some of the big similarities and differences. I'll start with the differences.
One of the most important differences is that an inland site will remain pretty much the same from day to day, and a beach will be changed, sometimes dramatically from one day to the next. On an inland site, items mostly stay put. They can get moved by animals, or people, and they can get covered by leaves and things, but day to day, things don't get moved very much on an inland site - especially if no one else is hunting the site or there are no construction projects or anything. Items can remain about where they were lost for a long time.
That makes it easier to interpret a land site. There may be context. The position of items can tell you a lot.
The sledge hammer heads I found were lined up next next to each other. They were neatly arranged. They were just covered by earth. The same thing with the scythe blades. They were laying as if they were just stacked together. On the other hand, some items, such as many of the twisted wire barrel hoops and many of the railraod spikes were seemingly randomly scattered around the lot.
You might find stratification on an inland site, but in this case it hasn't been very noticable, but so far I have mostly been digging large and near-surface items. Some are about two feet deep, but items, such as the spikes have been found at varying depths. Stratification might become apparent at a later time. Many of the items I've been digging appear to come from the same time period too.
One thing that is similar for both types of sites, is the clustering. Clustering happens on the beach as a result of the moving water that moves items, but also because of patterns of human behavior. Clustering due to human activity can be very apparent on the higher dry sand part of the beach where the water doesn't move things around so much.
There are definite clusters on the inland site. The sledge hammer heads were found together as if they were just put there. So were the scyther blades. I just found an area that has a bunch of rusted nails. I've found few scattered nails on the site, which surprised me. There was a tightly packed area of bolts, spikes and rail anchors, although they were not as organized as the hammer heads and scythe blades. It was more like they were dumped than placed, although they could have been scattered later.
The fact that there is definite clustering on both types of sites means that similar search patterns can be effectively employed. On an inland site, trees and brush get in the way if you want to do a tight grid. Still, a loose search pattern can be useful to quickly identify larger target-rich areas, no matter which type of site you are hunting.
I never expected to find so many items on the lot I am detecting. Yesterday I found nearly a hundred more railroad spikes tightly packed in one small area. They were obviously dumped or placed there together. I sure didn't expect so many targets when I started on that lot.
Since systematic or meaningful clustering can be found on both types of sites, I recommend making a map, if only mental, of the place your are detecting, keeping track of what kind of items are being found together and trying to figure out how they got there. On the beach, the water has a lot to do with where you will find items - more so on the front beach. That is one big difference, but no matter whether the clusering is due to man or nature, it can be very helpful to notice associations and patterns.
Yesterday I posted a picture sent in by JamminJack who was wondering what one fellow was doing.
Dan B. said, Awfully hard to tell without motion, but the first thing to come to mind from his stance is that he may have been dowsing. Or maybe a telescoping shell scoop. I have seen those that beep if you pick up something metal in it.Joe D. said, I don't know what that guy is holding, but that look's like a detector lying on the beach behind him!