Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Silver Test

I had a small pasture field available, which I had searched in the past and made very few finds. The field had just been mown so searching conditions were as good as they could be and I decided to use the field as a test site for natural finds. I was now using a Detech EDS metal detector, fitted with 12 inch SEF coil, which I had not used on this field before. I baited the rod (see Trust the Greeks, especially when they bear gifts) with silver and used the rod in one hand and my detector in the other, the principle being that the rod guides the detector to the finds. Bear in mind that the brass (copper-zinc alloy), which the rod is made from, forms the largest sample or bait by far, so the rod will naturally find copper alloys and should also find silver because of the added silver bait. There may also be chance finds that you just happen to walk over.

The photo shows the finds made after a four hour search (plus there were three lead objects that I couldn’t fit into the photo). The top row of seven objects all have some silver content (the two George V sixpences are 50% silver) and it is likely that the old lead objects contain traces of silver as an impurity. The rest of the coins and artefacts in the photo are copper-alloy. There was also some junk in the form of iron and aluminium although this was minimal.

Next time, I’ll perform a field test using gold bait…

Friday, March 28, 2014

Trust the Greeks, especially when they bear gifts

Continuing on from my previous post, Dowsing for Treasure, this is one of the L-rods Takis sent me, although I have digitally shortened it in the above photo. Actual dimensions are: length 52cm (21in), height 15cm (6in) and return 8cm (3in). The diameter of the rod is 2mm (1/8in) and the sleeve handle 6mm (3/8in) outside diameter; 4mm (1/4in) internal. The only metal (alloy) used in construction is brass. The sample or bait container is a 2ml plastic test tube with screw cap. In the original version above the tube sat in a short length of foam tubing attached to the back of a self adhesive hook plate (the hook had been removed and the plastic plate threaded on to the rod). However, in the damp British climate, the adhesive bond kept failing so the sample tube now sits horizontally on the rod secured with two rubber O rings or grommets.


The rod can be used either way up. I prefer to use it with the long arm below the hand as shown above, while Takis prefers the rod the other way up, with the long arm above the hand.


The sample or bait tube contains either a pure (or as pure as you can obtain) sample of the metal or substance you seek, or an exact mixture imitating the content of the target you seek. For instance as I am interested in looking for Iron Age gold coins, Takis said I should grind a gold stater coin up to fit in the tube. I refused to do that and the alloy mix in ancient coins varies anyway, so I stick to pure metal samples.


In use, having a swivel handle, I expected the rod to be very sensitive and fly around all over the place but I was pleasantly surprised at how stable it was. It is even very stable in windy conditions, which is probably a result of the thin rod used in construction.


Next time, I’ll perform a field test…

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Dowsing for Treasure

While, for obvious reasons, there is much secrecy in treasure hunting, now and again you come across someone who willingly shares their knowledge, expertise and even their equipment! Takis, from Greece, is just such a person (and not the only one I might add) and his generosity has instigated a step change in my dowsing and treasure pursuits. “I have seventy dowsing books and this is the best one”. He said, pointing me to Dowsing for Treasure (1984) by Russ Simmons.


Again with Takis’ help, I got hold of a copy of the book, read, re-read and inwardly digested the contents. The greatest insight for me was the principle of using bait, a sample or witness to aid what you want to find. Now, I had not paid much attention to this up until now, I guess because my dowsing mentor was Jim Longton, who was such a good dowser that he just used a basically plain rod, having no real need for accessories. I had discussed the possibility of adding a sample chamber to an L-rod in my book, The Successful Treasure Hunter’s Essential Dowsing Manual, but had not actually used one in my own dowsing, simply because it was clear to me that just using a dowsing rod in one hand and metal detector in the other achieved much better results than using a metal detector alone, so if it ain’t broke, why fix it? Well you live and learn!


“I will make you dowsing rods like I use.” Insisted Takis. I didn’t argue as dowsing instruments are always a bit special when received as an unsolicited gift. And soon two dowsing rods arrived in the mail…

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Metal Detecting With The Garrett Ace 250 by Crawfords MD

The design of modern metal detectors aims to eliminate many of the hassles and disappointments associated with the hobby. These include the noisiness of a machine going off when it scans over top of any piece of metal, no matter how worthless, and an overly sensitive product. Old machines used to get excited about beer bottle tops, but the new ones can determine what type of metal they are looking at.

Not too Sensitive

The Garrett Ace 250 is a relatively quiet machine in the field. It alerts the user when metal is found but without too much feedback, if any, so you can set it to high sensitivity. Its default setting is fairly high already. The major caveat is that you set your metal detecting device correctly before going out.

When you find something, your machine will let out a sound according to the item. Low tones indicate low-value metal (iron, nickel), but higher tones are indicative of higher-value metal (silver, gold). If you remember the electronic game "Simon Says," the tones given off by this machine will put you in mind of that old battery operated game.

This means you can read your machine or just listen to it. If you get a crick in your neck after a few hours of metal detecting just listen and stop watching.

Setting your Machine

What this means is pressing buttons (bright yellow on a decent-sized console here) to indicate which metals to be alerted to and which to omit. Use the "discriminate" button to determine if you want the detector to overlook iron, nickels, pennies, etc., or pick up all metals. Set it to a silver-only setting or customize the setting to find exactly what you want. It is advisable to play around with the buttons a little to get the feel for how much you can do with the Ace and how easy it is to press the wrong button.

Screen Size and Setup

The LCD screen is a good size, if a little dark. Be aware that light will affect your ability to read it and you might want to shade the screen which has space to clearly show what metals you are looking for, the sensitivity setting, battery power, and other features. It shows depth from 2" to 8"+ in 2" increments.

The Package

A Garrett Ace 250 comes with an instructional DVD, 6.5x9" coil, batteries, and headphones plus a pouch for storing treasures. Those are nice extras, though you can probably get a lot out of a Youtube video where instructions are concerned. Once you watch the DVD and use the machine just once, this could be easy and fun to use, but there are a lot of buttons to get accustomed to.


As a hobby machine, you had better hope to land on a metal-rich bit of beach because this is not cheap but just bear in mind, the Garret Ace 250 works best on dry sand. By shopping around online you can find the best available price, so do not settle for your usual online shopping site. You could be surprised where the best deals are to be found on new metal detecting machines.


Crawfords MD has been supplying metal detectors to the community for over 15 years. The business was started by Craig Allison who prides himself on respecting customer needs and providing a high quality of service. If you’re in the market for a range of metal detecting equipment, please visit our site:

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Gold Auras

Many people say gold does not give off an aura and they’re absolutely right – if the gold is not influenced by an electromagnetic field.

I was sent this photograph of a lady’s gold neck chain she was wearing, taken with a Canon DSLR camera fitted with an infrared filter. Had the chain been placed on a table and photographed in the same way, it would have produced a pretty uninteresting more or less blank picture. But because the gold is being excited by the electromagnetic field produced by the wearer it is emitting infrared radiation that is being picked up by the camera. This is exactly what happens when gold is buried and excited by the Earth’s electromagnetic field, which is a lot stronger.

A graduate scientist explained this process fairly simply to me. Gold, as all substances, is made up of atoms. Atoms consist of a dense positively charged nucleus surrounded by negatively charged electrons, all being held together by electromagnetic force. Under the influence of an electromagnetic field the electrons are excited into an orbit further from the nucleus and then spontaneously return to their normal orbit releasing energy in the form of infrared radiation.

Monday, February 04, 2013

Film for Polaroid Cameras

As many of you will know, with the rapid advancements in digital cameras, Polaroid ran into difficulties and the Dutch factory was sold to the management. The factory, under the name of The Impossible Project, is again producing SX-70 film to a different formula and slightly faster speed. The first of the new film was called PX-70 Color Shade but that has now changed to PX-70 Color Protection. I bought a box of 8 PX-70 Color Shade and tried it on my test site, which only contains a very small amount of gold (1/4 oz) and silver (2 oz). Happily the film has produced an aura, which you can see to the left of centre. This seems to show that it is the SX-70 Single Lens Reflex camera that produces the auras, rather than the film. So if you are buying an SX-70 camera for aura photography, make sure you get the SLR type which views through the lens. The non-SLR or box type has a separate viewfinder. For film and refurbished cameras, start here:

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Gold Coin Find

I was very pleased to receive this aura photograph with the following message: Hello David, I found 13 gold coins at 185cm depth. Thank you so much.

The photo, which led to the find was taken with a Canon DSLR camera with standard lens and infrared filter. The coins, I learned were pre-Roman, weighing 8.4-8.5 grams each so that is equivalent to 110 grams (3.85 ounces Avoirdupois or 3.5 ounces Troy) of gold. This is particularly interesting as it shows the camera is capable of picking up a relatively small amount of gold at 6 feet depth or more.

The finder sold the coins for $20,000!