The Rocker Box Blog Archive

Make the Best Use of Winter – Part 2


My 2-cents


In Part 1, I chose to talk about getting “in shape” for treasure hunting, because getting in shape takes the longest to do. Winter is a great time to do this, as many types of exercise can be done inside. But, that’s not the only thing that can be done to get ready for treasure hunting season. The rest can be summed up in three words: Research, planning, and preparation. In the next few articles, I’m going to “wax eloquently” on these subjects, and how they can make your treasure hunting more fun and more fruitful. So, let’s get started and have some fun getting ready to have some fun.


Research. I remember a time that when I heard that word, I cringed and had visions of hours and hours of boring reading. For an academic, that may be true. But, we’re not academics. We’re Treasure Hunters, and Treasure Hunters use research to collect information, confirm or deny ‘facts,” and identify probable locations. We also use research to develop timelines, deduce probable actions based on known facts and conditions, and develop our own courses of action.


In my book, “Cache! Stories of Buried Treasures and hidden Wealth” I devote a chapter on this subject. I won’t get as detailed here, but I will go over some of the basics of research from the standpoint of someone who wants to find “treasure.”


First, what is your treasure? Is it buried stagecoach robbery loot? Is it old bottles found in the town dumps of ghost towns? Is it placer gold? Is it coins, rings, and other objects lost by people in large gathering areas? Is it semi-precious gems? You need to define exactly what it is you want to find. Why? Because throwing a metal detector in the trunk and driving until you see “a good spot” will find you little more than memories of swinging your detector. Here’s an example:


“My Treasure Quest is to find old coins using my metal detector within a day’s drive of my house.” OK…you’re aHow to Research for Treasure Hunting and Metal Detecting metal detectorist, and you enjoy searching for old coins. Now, you can drive down to your local park (which was possibly developed as part of a city park program two years ago), or you can do a little research into the history of your community. You take a trip down to the local historical society or regional museum and ask a few questions, like, “We’re there any fairgrounds, race tracks, parks, swimming holes, or other gathering places from early in the town’s history that are no longer there today?” “Do you have any maps or other documents that showed where these were?” “Do you have any old newspaper stories or books that have stories of local celebrations or other gatherings?” can I make copies of these that I can take with me?”


One this is for sure. Nothing stays the same if there are people involved. A town with a population of several hundred had their gathering places. That town grew to many thousand, and they still had gathering places…just not in the same places. But, there will be documents (maps, articles, books, pictures) that show these and talk about them. I bet you can find some in your area, too. And, you are much more likely to find old coins and old ‘whatever” in an area the town used to have an annual 4th of July celebration, than looking for old coins in a park established two or three years ago.


OK…what about a cache of a pot of gold buried by a train robber? The train robbery occurred, everyone knowsTreasure Hunting for Fun and Profit that. The train robbers were hunted down and captured the next day, everyone knows that. The money was never recovered, everyone knows that. Start by asking questions like, “Where did the robbery occur?” “Where were the robbers captured?” “What’s the distance between the two?” “What routes ‘could’ they have taken (and rank them from most probable to least probable…and why)?” “How large (size and weight) was the loot?” (It makes a difference on how long it would take to bury it) Are their photographs available of the area as it was then as compared to as it is now? Maps – maps – maps! Books – magazine – newspapers – court testimonies – written law enforcement reports – other historical records.


As you have probably deduced, research is not just sitting in a library reading. There’s ground work to be done. People to talk to. Records to gather. Pieces of puzzles to put together. And all this needs to be done before you set foot in the woods actually looking…IF…you’re serious about finding it. But, if you’re just wanting to go out and have a good time in the woods “looking” for the Lost Dutchman Mine, then by all means go a have a good time, cause that’s what it’s all about.


Now for a little practical advice. Always have a camera with you. You can take pictures of anything (unless  photographs are forbidden), including maps, documents, and photos. You can also take pictures of how an area looks today as opposed to how it looked a hundred-year-old photograph. If you have a good-enough cell phone, it may have a good camera buiolt in. Me...I like to have a separate camera with me. The cell phone is  backup. Keep a voice recorder with you. Verbal notes made by you, or recording the words of an “old-timer” can be played back later for documentation and scrutiny. Once again, I have a separate voice recorder with the cell phone as backup. Always have a notebook and pencils with you. (Pens don't work well in rainy environments, but waterproof paper and pencils do).


Take notes, sketch, record, photograph. Build your file. Study the evidence. Confirm facts. Refute fiction.


Hopefully, the above will show you that research is more than reading. Research can be hard work and take months or even years. Winter is a great time to do research, as prime treasure hunting season needs to be spent ground reconnaisance or hunting for the "spot." Use the down time of winter to get ready.


Full Disclosure: The supplies, equipment, tips, techniques, and procedures I recommend are based on my evaluation and experience. I link items I recommend to companies I have an affiliate agreement with (or to The Rocker Box Catalog) from which I receive a small percentage of sales if sales are made during your visit to their website. The recommendations are mine, and mine alone. I use any proceeds to pay for The Rocker Box website, and to generate future articles and activities. I thank you in advance for your patronage and support to further the great recreations, hobbies, and vocations of treasure hunting, gold prospecting, metal detecting, ghost town hunting, and rock hounding.

30-Second Bio: I am a retired soldier of the US Army Special Forces (aka Green Berets),The Author: Mark Prewitt serving for over 25 years. My specialties were communications, medicine, operations and intelligence, with extensive cross training in weapons and demolitions. I was a paratrooper, jumpmaster, combat diver, combat dive supervisor, combat dive medic, sniper, and pathfinder. I’ve been deployed countless times to locations on four continents, and have participated in operations in open water, riverine, jungle, mountain, desert, arctic, and urban environments…but I’ve been a “treasure Hunter” since I was eight. The End.