A Guide to Metal Detecting

Written by Lew Amicone

What is Metal Detecting:

Metal detecting is a fun and educational hobby that has recently become quite popular, especially in the United States and England. A Metal detectorist typically use a piece of equipment known as a metal detector to help locate objects buried in the ground. Metal detectors use electromagnetic principles to pinpoint buried metal objects. They send a magnetic current through the earth and when the current hits a metal object, an electric current is generated, thus setting off the equipment’s sensors. While hobbyists make up the largest sector of metal detectorists, others also use it for other purposes such as criminal investigations, archeology, or military research. Coins are most commonly found through hobbyist sweeps of an area. Other items can include buttons, commercial tokens, military pins and badges, bullets, toys, and tools. In the United States, metal detectorists often report findings that date back to the 1700s and 1800s, and some even earlier. In various parts of Europe, skilled detectorists have also found objects that go back to Ancient Roman and Celtic times.

How To Get Started Metal Detecting:

Metal Detecting Gear, Supplies and Accessories:

Metal detecting, like most hobbies, is made easier when you have the right tools. Here are common tools and accessories metal detecorists use:

      • metal detector (with extra batteries!)
      • carry bags and backpacks for supplies and finds
      • digging tools
      • gold pans
      • headphones
      • pinpointers
      • scoops
      • search coils
      • weather appropriate apparel and sunblock

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Where to Metal Detect:

Sometimes taking the time to do some research on where to start detecting can have a big pay off! Checking out old maps and other historical records of your town and the lay of the land can give you great ideas of where to start hunting!

Your local library should have plenty of historical records, newspapers, photographs and maps to look through. Make sure to ask for local history books! Inquiring about your local historical societies may prove to be beneficial as well! Speaking to older members of your community could even be

The website Historic Aerials is one of the biggest databases for historical aerial photographs in the United States!

Here are some other good places online to view historical maps:

Old Maps

Metal Detecting Clubs and Organizations:

Metal Detecting Tips, Tools and Resources:

Metal Detecting Manufactures:

Metal Detecting Blogs, Forums and Miscellaneous Websites: