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Metal Detecting Hobby Talk
   January 2023        Metal Detecting Hobby Talk News Brief                                             Volume 12 Number 155
Metal Detecting Hobby Talk Support The Hobby
I would like to point out to the News Brief readers that there are a number of organizations taking on the challenge against various types of legislation dealing with metal detecting and gold prospecting. MDHTALK's recommendation is to visit their website and give strong consideration to joining the fight. In some cases your support may be to send emails and / or write a letter to specific legislators or to provide funds to help with the fight. Here are the organizations and a link to their website.
Go to the Join The Fight MDHTALK Webpage to read more about each of these organizations


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What is a News Brief?
The news brief provides a brief look into any news event. The intent of the news brief is to provide you, the reader, with news clips on what was taking place in the hobby last month. To read the whole story select the Article Link or go to There are more news stories placed on the MDHTALK website for December the news stories listed in the MDHTALK News Brief are just a portion of all the hobby related news reported the past month.  The news Brief is now available in Adobe PDF format, there is a link at the top of this webpage. The news brief is no longer emailed; it is only available on the MDHTALK website and can be downloaded.

The Website's featured article for this month is: Banned Metal Detecting:
By Lee Wiese,  Download this Article  
  • I was told in a gruff kind of way by a parks and recreation worker to leave the park, that all parks in city were being banned to metal detecting. The park employee said someone in the past had created holes in the park ground while metal detecting and the city had banned future use of metal detectors.

  • I was told last year by a park worker that I could not metal detect in their part. But I had called the park director before I went and he told me it was ok. I told the park employee that if he didn't believe me call the park director. He then said ok.

  • I was told that metal detectors may be used on DNR land or waters only for locating specific lost personal items. A special permit is required.

  • I was camping at my favorite state park for a few days. I went metal detecting and pulled up a lot of clad, on the 2nd day I was just filling a hole when one of the rangers came up. He asked me what I found, I showed him, he took a pause and asked if I had the park managers permission to metal detect. I know the rules, I read everything about metal detecting state parks. I have been metal detecting this park every summer for years. I said I did not and he took another pause and said that he would consider giving me permission to metal detect there but only at the beach. The next day I looked in the park store and there was a sign posted on the door that read "Metal Detecting is Prohibited in this State Park and Legal Action Will Be Taken."

  • I was detecting for about a half hour when a police officer walked up and exchanged pleasantries. I said I was just detecting for a few coins. The officer said, "I know I've been watching you for a while, and I like what I saw. You made two trips to the trash can and I can't tell where you have been digging. Just wanted to say thanks, and keep doing what you are doing. The problem is that someone from the Parks and Recreation Program may run you off. They don't even allow tent pegs in the ground." About a half hour later the Parks and Recreation guy shows up and I was tossed out of the park.

  • People will call the police on you just for having a detector. You have not broken any laws or dug any unsightly holes. You are just enjoying the hobby. The cops come over and usually say you need to leave or just move along. Sometimes the police are open to metal detecting and after a few questions leave you alone. However, if a park ranger comes to check out the complaint be prepared to leave immediately or get a ticket
These comments are because almost every state, county, city, and town have rules / regulations that create comments like those above and these rules / regulations put restrictions on metal detecting which result in banning.

Metal Detecting Early Years

A very early Federal act AAA-American Antiquities Act of 1906 is a very broad Federal law that addressed historical sites. However, it had little to no impact on metal detecting before the ARPA act in 1979.

In the early years, 1950s - 1980s, there were few detectorists in the hobby and no local or state laws against metal detecting. The hobby was pretty much a user’s choice of where and how to practice metal detecting on most public lands.

How Did Change in Law and Attitude Come About?

The change in attitude towards metal detecting started to take place with the passing of the Federal ARPA-Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979. This act set the stage for the establishment of federal, state and local agencies to identify and define archaeological sites as protected and making these sites off limits to many people related activities including the hobby of metal detecting.

The Federal NHPA-National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 as amended in 2000 was passed before the ARPA-Archaeological Resources Protection Act. The 1966 Act set in motion the requirements to identify structures and surrounding grounds that could be or are of historical significances and should be protected for future generations of Americans.

Following are two major Federal acts were passed after ARPA:
Each of these acts are more specific in their protection of certain human remains, lands and sites.

The adoption of these five acts at the Federal Government level put in place the ability for states and local governments to follow suit and either adopt these acts in whole as their state law or to write their own regulations and laws to complement the Federal Acts.

Examples of direct regulations against metal detecting may be worded similar to the following:

  • Metal Detectors: No person shall use a metal detector or similar device on parklands, except as provided in a written permit granted by the General Manager of the District.

  • It shall be unlawful to use a metal detector or similar device in any District Facility or Parkland without a permit.

  • Use of a metal detector in our parks is strictly prohibited.

Examples of indirect regulations that can be applied to make metal detecting illegal may be worded similar to the following:
  • Prohibited Activities Defacing or Destruction of Property: No person shall injure, deface, cut out, displace, remove, fill in, raise, destroy, excavate, tamper, or create any disturbance to property contained within the Park whether it be natural or manmade.

  • No artifact or any other organic or inorganic material may be removed from any historical area of the park.

  • No artifact or any other organic or inorganic material may be removed from any area of the park, via metal detecting or any other form of excavation.

  • It is our goal to provide as many positive recreational opportunities for park visitors as possible, and the use of metal detectors, or "treasure hunting," in the park system is not illegal. City code does not prohibit it however, it is our obligation to protect the park's resources and to ensure that damage to the park by visitors is minimized, and it is illegal to dig in any park area with any tool. Violators are subject to citation.
    With this concept in mind, park visitors with metal detectors are welcome in the parks so long as they do not do any digging. Park staff have been directed to politely ask treasure hunters to leave all digging tools outside of the park and to inform them that sifting through the top few inches of sand or fir bark in play areas is acceptable so long as they do not use any tools or inconvenience playground users. The City is, in fact, grateful for any assistance treasure hunters might render with regard to the removal of any trash or debris they might find during their hunt.

  • Treasure hunters observed digging in the park or otherwise damaging park resources will be informed that they are breaking the law. If they continue to break the law, park staff will contact Public Safety.

Today’s Metal Detecting Situation:

Today, the result of these five Federal acts is that more and more local cities, towns, schools and counties are closing their public land to metal detecting. The type of regulation that is being put in place against metal detecting can be either directly related or indirectly related to the metal detecting hobby.

Since the adoption of the ARPA-Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979 archaeologist have been hired at almost all levels of government to identify archaeological sites and to get regulations and laws passed to protect archaeological sites. During the past 20 years this has taken place at a rapid rate in the U.S. Archaeologist have also contributed to a negative attitude toward detectorist that has permeated all levels of government and the public at large.

Keep in mind that metal detecting hobbyist do not have a voice in Federal or State governments. There is not a strong metal detecting association in the U.S. that can represent metal detectorists. However, there have been cases of hobby support by local metal detecting clubs in some communities. This is rare but it does happen.

Another contributing factor is that many detectorists do not practice good target recovery methods on public grounds. This has caused many cities, towns and counties to create laws or regulations that impact metal detecting on non-related archaeology sites. (parks and beaches in general)

Never bring shovels, spades or any digging tool that should only be used in a garden to recover a coin target in a park.
Tools of the trade to recover a coin target are: 10 inch- ¼ inch shaft screw driver, 6-to-8-inch knife, a drop cloth and an electronic pin pointer.
Also carry a bag or apron where you can place trash that is recovered while metal detecting.

What Can Be Done?

Manufacturers, distributors and dealers must step-up and provide hands on training for every new detector sold before it is taken into possession much like when you purchase a fire arm. In most states to purchase a fire arm you must first go to a class on safe and proper operation. Strong manufacture involvement is a requirement not just a pamphlet but hands on how to practice the hobby correctly and safely. Individuals who metal detect must take ownership for their behavior and practice Responsible Metal Detecting while out detecting.

Responsible Metal Detecting is to:
  • Know and Follow the Law.
  • Gain Permission.
  • Apply the Metal Detecting Code of Ethics.
  • Join a Metal Detecting Club and National Metal Detecting Association.
  • Understand the Potential Cultural Value of Your Find.
  • Volunteer Your Services to the Hobby.
Here are links to a self-certification metal detecting class:
These small steps will not do away or improve the current metal detecting environment in the U.S. but may slow the change that is currently taking place which is to eliminate the use of metal detectors on public property.

Hobby Related News

General U.S. and World Wide Hobby News
  • Here Are 2022’s 12 Most Mind-Blowing Archaeological Discoveries, From Ancient Lice Combs to the World’s Oldest Mummies. Article Link
  • Remember to Check the Reject Bins. Article Link
  • Local 'Treasure Hunter' finds 19th-century Tibetan bell, wins award. Article Link
  • A buried find with real class. Article Link
  • 15 Antique Hunters Who Hit The Jackpot With These Incredible Finds. Article Link
  • Finding artifacts in depths of Mill Pond. Article Link
  • Smith's Station: Unearthing a Texas stage stop when East finally met the West. Article Link
  • Welch: What is the curse of Oak Island? Article Link
  • Sportsman’s report: Santa Rosa Gold Diggers, Gold Prospecting and Metal Detecting Club. Article Link
  • Newsmaker: Marshfield man pushes lost item recovery 'to the limit' with metal detecting. Article Link
  • Sarasota man drops engagement ring in Gulf of Mexico during botched proposal captured in viral video. Article Link
  • Newsmaker: Marshfield man pushes lost item recovery 'to the limit' with metal detecting. Article Link
  • Mount Morgan businesses lament delay in establishing gold fossicking areas. Article Link
  • The Town Crier: Lost gold! (part 2). Article Link
U.K. News
  • A man found a King Henry III gold penny worth $875,000 within 15 minutes of picking up a metal detector. Article Link
  • Ancient Anglo-Saxon coins worth up to £20k discovered in Ongar field by detectorist after years of searching. Article Link
  • 'Exquisite' 278-year-old mourning ring discovered in 2019 linked to the wealthy Shropshire family. Article Link
  • Detectorists Christmas special 2022: release date, cast, plot, and everything we know. Article Link
  • People told us what a consolation it was’ – Toby Jones on the return of Detectorists. Article Link
  • Early medieval female burial site is ‘most significant ever discovered’ in UK. Article Link
  • Thieves steal hoard of Roman treasure worth thousands from museum after metal detectorists were forced to hand it over by law 'for safekeeping'. Article Link
  • Delight as Medieval brooch found in field is declared treasure at inquest. Article Link
  • Detectorists Christmas special 2022: Release date rumours, cast and news. Article Link
  • Medieval ring found in Ashford area confirmed as treasure at inquest. Article Link
  • Two men summoned to Court for illegal metal detecting. Article Link
  • After 4-year old uses metal detector, he makes the discovery of a lifetime. Article Link
  • Man used a metal detector to find medieval treasure worth $47K. Article Link
  • 'Biggest ever' hoard of buried treasure in Scotland unearthed after 700 years. Article Link
Other News Sources
  • American Digger Relic Roundup. For diggers and collectors of history. An hour long program every Monday Night at 9:00 PM eastern standard time. Join your hosts Butch Holcombe, Jeff Lubbert and Heath Jones as they explore the past. Learn more about Metal Detecting, Treasure hunting in all it's forms, and the preservation of history. Decemeber Pod Cast Link
  • Coin World - Numismatic and Coin Collecting January News
  • Garrett Searcher September Searcher
  • Gold Prospectors Assn of America (GPAA) - News on legal issues for the gold prospecting community December News
  • Mel Fisher Salvage Update
  • Prospecting and Mining Journal (IMCJ) December News
  • 1715 Fleet Society January Newsletter
Jewelry Returns
  • Man finds $40K ring at a Florida beach, returns to owner. Article Link
  • Chicago treasure hunter finds, returns lost ring with ‘unique name’ to owner 30 years late. Article Link
W.W.W. Meteorite News
  • A Tiny Meteorite Could Be Behind an Uncontrolled Leak on Soyuz Capsule. Article Link
  • Brock Geology Club hunts for meteorite samples. Article Link
  • Two minerals, never-before-seen on Earth, found in one of planet's largest known meteorites. Article Link
  • Man Keeps Rock For Years, Hoping It's Gold. It Turns Out to Be Far More. Article Link
  • Synchrotron scientist in team that makes historic meteorite find. Article Link
  • 'Meteorite that hit U.K. driveway contains extraterrestrial water. Article Link
  • Bright fireball may have dropped meteorites in Niagara region. Article Link
North America Archaeology News
  • This Prehistoric Circle In Miami Is The Only One Of Its Kind In The Eastern U.S. Article Link
  • The US' 2,000-year-old mystery mounds. Article Link
  • Mysterious Object Emerges on a Florida Beach, Setting Off Speculation. Article Link
  • NWA EDITORIAL | Artifacts found on land near the national battlefield in Pea Ridge can help reveal Arkansas, American history. Article Link
  • With Netflix’s Ancient Apocalypse, Graham Hancock has declared war on archaeologists. Article Link
Jailed men who stole Viking treasure hoard given warning if they don't repay £600,000 each.
Two men who stole a Viking treasure hoard worth in excess of £3.2m have been ordered to repay over £600,000 each.

George Powell, 41, and Layton Davies, 54, now have three months to pay back the money in full or they will have five years and four months added onto their current prison sentences.

The metal detectorists were jailed in November 2019 for stealing the "emblematic" Leominster Hoard of coins and priceless jewellery worth up to £12 million – much of which is still missing.

The items, many of which were Anglo Saxon but are typical of a Viking burial hoard, were dug up on Herefordshire farmland on June 2, 2015.

Scheming Powell and Davies were sentenced to 10 years and eight years six months respectively after being found guilty of theft, conspiracy to conceal criminal property, and conspiracy to convert criminal property. However, the sentence was later reduced to six years and five years following a successful appeal.

The Confiscation Order, under the Proceeds or Crime Act 2002, was made on Wednesday at Worcester Crown Court, after His Honour Judge Cartwright rejected the evidence presented by both men at the contested hearing, giving a number of reasons.

These mainly centred around conflicting evidence presented in both the 2019 criminal trial and the Confiscation Contested Hearing.

He also rejected Davies’s claims that he played a reduced role in the criminal enterprise claiming he didn’t stand to benefit equally with Powell.

The Judge disagreed and made a hidden assets order whereby he determined that they both still possess the coins and that the value of these coins is £600,000 each.

Superintendent Edd Williams, local policing commander for Herefordshire, said: “I’m delighted with today’s result, which brings closure to an investigation which we have been working on for seven years.

“The Confiscation Order, coupled with the sentences Powell and Davies received, send a strong and clear message that we take this sort of crime very seriously and will take action. It is a criminal offence to not declare finds of treasure to the local coroner’s office.

“I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank our partners, including Herefordshire County Council’s conservation and environment team and The British Museum, for their support in bringing this case to a successful conclusion.”

The convictions followed a lengthy investigation by West Mercia Police following several reports from the metal detecting community and the British Museum of an unreported large treasure find near Eye in Herefordshire in 2015.

It was discovered that the men had visited the site of the hoard, which included Anglo-Saxon coins, jewellery and silver ingots, during spring 2015.

They not only failed to disclose the extent of their discovery - a requirement under the Treasure Act 1996 - but also sold a large number of the items for significant personal financial gain.

The treasure, dating back 1,100 years, was described by experts as being of national importance both for Anglo-Saxon coinage and for the wider understanding of a key period in English history.

It is thought the trove was buried by someone within the Great Viking Army in either 878 or 879, which by then was being forced back east by an alliance of Saxon forces.

Dr Gareth Williams of the British Museum said: “It is not just the theft of the objects that is important in this case. It is the fact that the knowledge has effectively been stolen from everyone."

Event News
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Metal Detecting Hobby Talk