evolution of a detectorist
The Evolution of a Detectorist
We get introduced to treasure hunting with a number of motives, some see someone on the beach that has found nice jewelry and run down to the closest shop to grab a detector with gold flashing in their eyes and a grin on their face. Others hear of people walking into the mountains with a detector and coming back with a pocketful of gold. I think the very old motive of greed fires their imagination and gets them started. Some are out to make their fortune by discovering shipwrecks, or locating lost treasure troves. Many are introduced to metal detecting by others and the thought of even small adventures delight them. Almost none at all treasure hunt with the same reasons that they started with. Something happens along the way that changes the way that they look at treasure hunting for good.
After a person gets a detector in his or her hands for a while and takes that trip to the site they want to hunt, they discover two things. First they have to overcome the shyness that tells them that they look very goofy with large earphones, digger in hand and eyes glued to the ground. This is much harder for some than others especially when the three year old walks up to them and asks them what they are doing, or insists on holding a conversation while they have to take the earphones off each time they are asked something. Second they are lucky enough to have a quiet time on a good day when the bell rings now and then and they notice that this is an extremely pleasant experience. Best of all are people who by their nature are happy with even the small discoveries
After the treasure hunter has successfully mastered the goofy feelings and has developed a technique to fend off the kids they begin to work on developing better ways to hunt. By learning their detector better they can fine tune it for the conditions that they encounter and notice that the finds are beginning to grow.
Now the second stage of evolution has started where the detectorist discovers that they cannot escape the labor intensive job of researching old sites or treasures. This can best be accomplished during a prolonged rainy period or a snowy winter. The weekend has arrived and the pressure has built up because what they really want to do is just go out and treasure hunt and it is impossible. The second best thing to do under these circumstances is drive to the county seat town and find their oldest library. These contain a treasure of information in themselves, from very old maps to historic books on the small towns around the area. If this is not enough then drive to all of the small towns in driving range and look in the historic section of the library. Sometimes the most amazing things can be discovered here with the location of century old homesites to railroad depots and fairgrounds. The practice of research can be very fruitful and a pleasant pastime in itself. But then you notice… you have changed! You now have a fascination for life as it was lived and lifestyles a century ago or more. You could even wish for a time machine to walk back in time and just to see the things that are gone and never to be found again. My fascination has led me to enjoy reading about the Houston to Galveston Interurban electric train that ran in 1911 at an astounding top speed of 80 MPH! The cows must have stampeded when they heard the whistle and what a high in 1911 when everyone down here just hitched up the horse to the wagon to drag through the muddy prairie to town every now and then. The power stations were still around when I was a little kid but the track was taken up (probably for scrap) and the right-of-way was sold to the electric company.
Then you discover that whatever reason that got you started in metal detecting has grown into a delightful lifestyle. You join clubs and enjoy the companionship and ideas of other treasure hunters plus the fun of metal detecting events now and then. In the mature stage you realize that your detector is good for something besides pennies at the park but all kinds of treasure hunting, old battlegrounds, ghost towns, beautiful beaches, underwater hunting, gold prospecting but most of all to keep alive that spark in your eyes and adventure in your soul where tomorrow just might be “the day”. The benefits of detecting have enlarged out lives and friends we have found along the way are best treasures of all. I was working on becoming the worlds number one couch potato and the treadmill that I bought was money better spent on a detector since I walk about ten to fifteen miles swinging that coil every week and don’t complain about time wasted on exercise. The only downside I have discovered is a two week period in the spring when all of the trees put on pollen that I will try to avoid next year by going to the beach.