Detecting at ocean beaches is the dream of most detectorist. Plenty of gold and silver to be found, incredible views, great weather, and beautiful bikini clad women swinging detectors...Okay the last one isn't very common, but the number female detectorists is growing every year...on to the point.

To choose the best detector you have to answer a few questions. First, where will you be detecting? Second, do you want a detector that's a specialist or a generalist? Last, of course, how much can you spend.

Each answer will open many other questions, but they will set you in the right direction.

Now, you're here because you want a beach detector, so the next question is saltwater, freshwater, or both...and just how wet do you plan to get - wading, snorkeling, diving?

Saltwater is highly mineralized and can overwhelm the ground balancing ability of VLF (very low Frequency) detectors and resulting in lost sensitivity and target depth. Pulse induction (PI) detectors ignore the mineralization and excel in saltwater settings and have the great target detection depths. The typical down side of PI detectors is the lack of discrimination, meaning more pull tabs in trashy areas.

If you're planning on going into the water at all get a unit that is fully submersible. Having a waterproof coil on a detector that can't get wet is just asking for trouble.

Let's assume you want a beach specific detector that can get wet and will work best in saltwater conditions. Do you expect there to be a lot of trash? Do you care? Do you think the targets you want will be 12" down or 20" down. These answers will help you to choose between a PI or VLF detector.

Just to complicate things a bit, the Minelab Excaliber II is a VLF machine which uses BBS (Broad Band Spectrum) technology to allow it to ignore saltwater mineralization while still giving you full discrimination abilities but, the max target depth is not as great as a PI machine. This is just a starting point and you can see there's lots of work to be done.

Now you have a little direction, research the machines that will work for your needs and then go have some damn fun!

Detector Fresh Water
Salt Water Price


CTX 3030 100' 100' $2,499
Excalibur II 200'
200' $1,499
X-Terra 705 Wade Wade $899
Beach Hunter 300 25' 25' $999
DFX Wade Wade $1,199
MXT & MXT Pro Wade Wade $899
Surf Dual Field - PI 100' 100' $899
CZ 21 250' 250' $1,125
Gold Bug Pro Wade Wade $649
1280 X 250' 250' $699
Sand Shark - PI 200' 200' $636
Tiger Shark 200'
200' $660
AT  Pro 10'
10' $595
Infinium LS - PI 200' 200' $1,062
Sea Hunter Mark II - PI 200' 200' $640
Optimal performance Good
Sub-optimal, loss of  sensitivity Issues
Not proper operation, loss of discrimination Stop
Nicknamed the “Big Fat Greek Expedition,” archaeologists this week have embarked on a new mission to explore an ancient wreckage where one of the most complicated scientific antiques in existence was discovered over 100 years ago in the Aegean Sea.

The Antikythera mechanism, which was found inside a Roman shipwreck near the Greek island of Antikythera, is an ancient computer thought to be at least 2,000 years old. It’s believed that this complex clock-like device was used by ancient Greeks to calculate the movement of the stars and planets. The mechanism was composed of at least 30 different bronze gears and the whole thing was housed in a wooden frame that was decorated with at least 2,000 characters.

The history of this device is shrouded in mystery. It is unclear how this intricate device ended up in the hands of Romans, but some believe the ill-fated ship was transferring a woman of importance to be married in Rome. The mechanism, among other impressive riches on board, may have been a wedding gift from her family. Thanks to carbon dating, we know that this booty-laden ship sank around 60 B.C.

A reconstruction of the
Antikythera Machine 
Eager to find out more about this enigmatic antique, researchers are returning to the wreckage with the aid of a sophisticated diving suit that is taking them deeper than they've ever been before. The $1.3 million exosuit will allow the team to dive to depths of 150 meters (492 feet) and carefully explore the ship for several hours. But before they send divers down, the team will first use a robot to map the wreck and the seafloor around it. This will hopefully also confirm the presence of a second ship that researchers suspect lies nearby.

Since archaeologists have previously only been able to operate at a depth of 60 meters, the team is confident that their month-long expedition will yield many other artifacts. So far, 36 marble statues, several bronze statues, gold jewelry and human remains have been recovered from the wreck. “There are dozens of items left, this was a ship bearing immense riches from Asia Minor,” Dimitris Kourkoumelis, an archeologist on the team, told AFP. But to the researchers, the real treasure is the missing pieces of the mechanism.

While the researchers have no idea what they may happen upon in the wreckage, any extra information that can help explain the device’s extraordinary first century B.C. origins would be exciting to say the least.

[Via AFP and Yahoo Tech]
What could this group drop??
Abandoned Areas:
In the west there is a huge network of abandoned highways. My favorite in Utah is highway 6, where I've unearthed many coins and tax tokens from the 1930's on up. My other favorite in the west are abandoned mining sites. From small towns to early exploratory digs there are thousands to explore.

Winter Sledding Spots:
This one most think of, but keep it high on your list because it's a renewable resource. Most targets are at the top and the bottom of the hill.

Ski Lifts:
Another western states specialty. Just be aware of the regulations for detecting on Forest Service Lands, which is where most ski resorts reside. These areas are gold and silver ring factories...and in the last 5 years smart phones are popping up like weeds out there. With the huge variety of people that use the lifts you never know what you may find! 

Old Railroad Rail Lines:
Look to resources like GenDisasters for an incredible wealth of information on historic train wrecks, bank robberies, lost stage coaches, downed airplanes, all the way back into the early 1800's. The country is crisscrossed with old and abandoned railroad railroad line. Many abandoned rail beds have been converted to "Rails-to-Trail" hiking, horseback riding, and bicycling trails and are easy to find. Others are overgrown but can be spotted by their constant-grade profile. Old maps in your state library will show the location of many old railroad lines. Once located, and permission to prospect is granted, begin your search in the areas around the old station buildings. These are the most productive area as coins were handled there. But under no circumstance should you approach active railroad lines because of the obvious danger from trains and the sensitivity of railroad police to intruders.

Rivers and Waterways:
Many towns, villages and cities throughout North America boast significant historical value. Do not overlook the shoreline along rivers and waterways adjacent to those communities. Since water routes were the major means of travel over past centuries, there is much to find along the banks. I have found everything from old money to firearms, native trinkets, metal money boxes (sometimes with contents intact), fobs, watches and even nagivational instruments. Don't forget to search out into the water a ways. This is where it is important to own a waterproof detector. The past is waiting to be discovered right in your own community.

City Drains:
Most cities have storm drains that eventually dump into rivers or streams. Where the concrete ends and the dirt or gravel begins can be a productive sit.

Outdoor Movies:
It is becoming very popular in local communities to have free outdoor movies at parks or schools. Find out when the movies play, then go enjoy them, and then the day after hit it with the detector.

Airport Public Viewing Areas:
I have found all kinds of coins at these locations. People sit on the grass and kids are playing as they wait for the planes to land or take off, it's very similar to areas where people watch fireworks.

Please add your favorites here, I promise not to claim jump you...
Gold is a valuable precious metal. It has been used throughout history as money and for jewelery production. Today it has many more applications, including uses in medicine, electronics, and even food and drink. Gold is therefore highly sought after, and a demand for it is always present. Although many mines exist for the extraction of gold from the ground, as these run dry we need to find new areas which can supply gold. Exploration for these sites is a very costly activity and proves difficult at times. Intriguingly, ants and termites may be the answer to this problem. 
An earlier study found that mounds produced by the termite T. tumuli can successfully be used to detect gold concealed below because this mineral was also present in the nest itself. Not all termites build mounds on the surface of the earth, however; some form large nests underground. These termites are particularly abundant in areas of Australia where gold can be found. This led researchers to start investigating whether these subterranean mounds could also be used to indicate the presence of gold. In a study published in the Journal of Geochemical Exploration, two researchers collected soil samples from 3 different types of nest; mound-forming termites, subterranean termites, and an ant species. They did this along a transect in an area known to contain particular minerals, such as gold, allowing the scientists to see how or whether the content of the nests represents what lies beneath. They also used sampling points where the mineral content of the ground was unknown for comparative measures. 
The study found that ants brought the largest concentration of gold to their nests; up to 24.4 parts per billion of gold was found in the nest material, in comparison to 7.4 and 8.4 of the mound forming termite and subterranean termite, respectively. They also found that the insects could vertically move the indicators gold, copper and zinc from at least 1.4m deep. 
This was the first study to investigate the usefulness of subterranean nests in geochemical exploration. It demonstrates that the insects investigated could be an extremely useful tool in the identification of areas containing valuable minerals, with the potential to reduce exploration costs and time. 

March 18, 2014 | by Justine Alford -

A Florida treasure-hunting family struck it rich over the weekend when they discovered an estimated $300,000 worth of gold coins and chains off the coast of Fort Pierce.
"This is like the end of a dream" Rick Schmitt who found the sunken treasure with his family and fellow diver Dale Zeak told the 
The Schmitt family shows off a few of their recently found Spanish gold coins (Video Below).

BOOTY SALVAGE INC VIA FACEBOOK Schmitt and wife Lisa along with their grown children Hillary and Eric uncovered the treasure 150 yards offshore which includes 64 feet of thin gold chains, five gold coins and a gold ring.
"What's really neat about them is they are a family, they spend family time together out there and the most amazing part about them is they always believed this day would come," Brent Brisben whose company 1715 Fleet - Queens Jewels LLC owns the rights to the wreckage told Reuters.
The treasure found by the Schmitts comes from the wreckage of a convoy of 11 ships that were destroyed in a hurricane off the coast of Florida in 1715 while en route from Havana to Spain. The 1977 film "The Deep" and the 2008 "Fool's Gold" film were based off of the 1715 wreckage. 

According to the ships' manifests, $400 million worth of treasure was on board and so far only $175 million has been found, Brisben said. Brisben's company bought the rights to the wreck site from legendary treasure hunter Mel Fisher in 2010. He allows others to search for gold under subcontracting agreements. The Schmitts have been searching for treasure for years and before discovering the gold, a 2002 haul included a $25,000 silver platter.

This is also not the first find for Brisben who found 51 gold coins in July worth around $250,000. In accordance with U.S. and Florida law, the treasure will be taken into custody by the U.S. District Court in South Florida. The state of Florida will then be allowed to possess up to 20 percent of the find to put on display in a state-run museum. The remainder of the gold will be split evenly between Brisben's company and the Schmitt family.

A quick video of one lucky treasure hunter now covered on gold he found in the ocean shallows off the coast of Florida.  I think I might just pass out ad drown if I came across this while diving.

This is the biggest clue released by Forrest Fenn to date! The past three clues related to specific locations to avoid like graveyards and structures. This clue wipes out TWO STATES!
Forrest Fenn's Treasure Clue 13:
"The Treasure is NOT in Utah or Idaho."
Well hell...I live in Utah and I had many more places to hunt. In a live interview on the Today show he would not exclude any other states, but my sense is that it's in New Mexico. He's stated several times now that people have been within 500 feet of the treasure.

Forrest said originally his purpose was to get people out into the woods exploring and adventuring. That his interest was not in the treasure being found but the adventures gained in the hunt. Unfortunately, this clue likely will end the hunt for hundreds...maybe thousands who can't afford the time or expense of traveling out of state to look for the treasure.

Forrest may simply want to see his treasure found before he dies. Or this may be about promoting his current home state of New Mexico. Most of the printing proceeds from this book go to supporting businesses in his home town.

What ever the reasoning, I'm out...well except when I'm in Montana. Forrest spent a lot of time there and had a great love for the Yellowstone area...probably no there though.

Good hunting treasure hounds!
This target ID table is for a Minelab X-Terra 705 in coin and treasure mode with the stock 9-inch elliptical coil running at 7.5 kHz. ID's for the items I haven't found are from other diggers or the Minelab website.  The most important thing to remember about accurately identifying targets when you're looking for coins and jewelry is the stability of the signal. If the numbers are jumpy or different when you change the direction of your swing, chances are it's trash. Unstable signals are usually caused by irregular surfaces like foil or a bent pull tab. Another clue is the size of the target response, is it small and concise or spread out? Use the pinpointing mode to nail this down.

Efficiently identifying trash and being confident in your ID only comes from lots of practice and digging lots of trash. I like to call exactly what I expect to find to myself before I dig it. When I'm wrong I put the item back under the plug and determine if there was something I missed.  This type of high volume digging works best in a park setting where you know you will come across a lot of trash. When you head out to an old mining town or abandoned rail stop you'll want to go back to digging every thing until you can figure out if there specific types of trash you want to avoid (tin can lids). But all that park practice will payoff by letting you dial into those valuable targets much more quickly.

X-Terra 705 Target ID's for US coins and Jewelry

TargetID #TargetID #
Silver $146
Large Cent44
Barber Half44Zinc Cent28 - 32
Walking Half44Indian Head 1 C24 - 32
Franklin Half44Gold 22 K28
Clad Half Dollar44Bottle Cap22 - 28
Presidential $1 44Gold 18 K24 - 26
Sacagawea $144$5 Gold Coin26
Clad Quarter42Silver III Cent24
Silver Quarter40,42$2.50 Gold24
Two Cent42Flying Eagle Cent20, 22
Seated Quarter40, 4210 K Class Ring14, 16
Rosey Dime38, 40Pull Tab12 -18
Clad Dime3840% Silv Nickle12 - 16
$20 Gold 38Titanium Ring10 - 14
Mercury Dime36,38Clad Nickle12
Seated Dime36, 38Shield Nickle12
Barber Dime36, 38Buffalo Nickle12
Wheat Cent34, 36, 3814 K Lrg Ring12
Sterling Ring34, 36V Nickle10 - 12
Sterling Pendant34, 36, 3814 K tiny Ring10
$10 Gold34Stainless Ring6 - 8

In Bourbon County Kentucky, Scott Clark is helping to change the treasure hunter label so many metal detectorists are tagged with. In a very nice article, Tom Eblen writes about how metal detecting in Kentucky is gaining legitimacy.

Kentucky Metal Detecting
Ed and Kay Thomas watched Scott Clark dig for a piece of metal his detector had indicated was several inches below ground at the base of an old bur oak near their circa 1810 farmhouse in Bourbon County. Photo by Tom Eblen |

Read more here:

Forrest Fenn's Blaze?

On the Today Show Forrest Fenn revealed the 12th clue in the search for Fenn's treasure. It's a similar clue to the last one, in that it is an exclusion of where to look. Whether you believe it's in New Mexico, Utah, or Montana set some time aside and go on an adventure. Take fishing rods, tents, or gear for whatever you love to do outdoors. Just don't plan on doing any major excavations.

Prior to releasing clue #12, the Today Show interviewed Park Service rangers who reminded everyone that anything found in National Parks belongs to "the people" and that digging on these lands is illegal. Just ask the man who was digging under Desconso.

So here it is...Clue # 12 in the search for Fenn's Treasure:

"It's not in a cemetery"

Take that to mean old or new. Do not dig in old Indian burial grounds, the local cemetery, or even in burials at old homesteads. This is meant to be an adventure of fun a way to get people out, not a way to end up in a cell.

Only bookstore in the world that has printing rights to Fenn's biography, "The Thrill of The Chase", is at the Collected Works Bookstore. They just had another 15,000 copies printed and the price is  still $35.  Forrest Fenn gets none of the publishing money, in fact he pays for the printing. It's all to support his favorite bookstore and promote getting outside.
The bling is where you find it, but doesn't hurt to look in places where people are active.  If you've played soccer then you know it really is a contact sport plenty of sweating, falling, pushing and holding. Just add in adults who wear jewelry and you've got a mini treasure trove.

There are several large public soccer fields within 5 miles of my home and I try to metal detect at one of them every Monday or Tuesday after the weekend games.

Here are a few keys to successfully finding jewelry at soccer fields:

- Find fields where adult leagues play
- Focus detecting on high contact areas
- Use a discrimination pattern that eliminates ferrous items
- Dig all the pull tab signals (gold rings)
- Dig all the copper penny / dime signals (silver rings or pendants)
- If you have time detect spectator areas and gear/clothes pile areas
- Be patient, I find jewelry at a rate of 1 per every 300 targets
- Games are on Saturdays and Sundays, so detect on Mondays or Tuesdays 

Soccer games are usually a very social activity and expect there to be a lot of trash on the side lines. Fortunately the field of play has less trash in most locations.  The areal map below shows where I have found jewelry with a detector in the last year; these locations coincide with high contact areas.

Soccer field jewelry locations

In general stay patient and learn how your detector identifies gold rings, silver rings, pendants, and bracelets. I used this X-Terra 705 VDI table for general reference. Look for relatively stable signals with sharp returns versus garbled target signals. When you pinpoint you should get a small localized signal.

Here's a sample of the Jewelry I found in the last 6 months or so metal detecting at soccer fields.
Have fun and happy hunting.

Fenn's Treasure
So far only Forrest Fenn can make that claim. New clues were released in March and treasure madness has continued. A New Mexico man was arrested in March for digging under desconso...Keep it legal folks.  There are a few areas here in my neck of the woods that I will commit a week to later this summer.

If you're unfamiliar, Forrest Fenn was dying of cancer and decided to create a great treasure adventure for all who dared to dream.  He buried the treasure (pictured) worth millions and then laid out clues in a book he wrote.  He also put the clues into the form of a poem. Below the poem I will include links to several websites dedicated to the treasures location.

Fenn's Poem

As I have gone alone in there

And with my treasures bold,
I can keep my secret where,
And hint of riches new and old.

Begin it where warm waters halt

And take it in the canyon down,
Not far, but too far to walk.
Put in below the home of Brown.

From there it's no place for the meek,

The end is ever drawing nigh;
There'll be no paddle up your creek,
Just heavy loads and water high.

If you've been wise and found the blaze,

Look quickly down, your quest to cease,
But tarry scant with marvel gaze,
Just take the chest and go in peace.

So why is it that I must go

And leave my trove for all to seek?
The answer I already know,
I've done it tired, and now I'm weak.

So hear me all and listen good,

Your effort will be worth the cold.
If you are brave and in the wood
I give you title to the gold.

Fenn's Treasure Links

Old Santa Fe Trading - The Thrill - The most recently released clues (2015)
Mountain Walk Blog - Richard Saunier interprates the clues
Fenn's Treasure on Facebook
Thrill of the Chase Blog - Probably the most obsessed and thorough hunter out there.
Forrest reveals the 10th clue -  Today show interview
Forrest reveals the 11th clue - Today show again
Forrest gives Clue # 12 - Keeping it legal and having common sense
Forest Fenn Clue # 13 - Thousands of square miles excluded from the search

Photograph by Robert Clark.  All artifacts owned by: Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery; Potteries Museum and Art Gallery, Stoke-on-Trent
Cathy Newman
Published March 6, 2013

In September 2009, David Booth, a park ranger in Stirling, Scotland, packed up his brand-new metal detector ("I practiced at home picking up nails and bits"), drove to a field, walked seven yards (six meters) from his parked car, and scored big. His first sweep with a metal detector yielded a spectacular find: four gold torques, or neck bands, from the first century B.C.—the most important hoard of Iron Age gold found in Scotland to date.

Several days later, Stuart Campbell of the National Museum of Scotland, the man in charge of "treasure trove" finds, as they are known in the United Kingdom, arrived at his Edinburgh office, opened his email to find a message with the subject "gold jewelry" and thought, "Oh, no, not another Victorian watch chain." Then he saw the images.

Thanks to laws in England and Scotland that encourage artifact hunters to cooperate with archaeologists, Booth was paid the current market price for the cache, about $650,000, set by the queen's and lord treasurer's remembrancer (the British crown's representative in Scotland). He split the sum with the landowner.

In England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, the Treasure Act of 1996 defines gold or silver finds older than 300 years as treasure and claims them for the crown. Finds must be reported within 14 days. Scotland's laws are broader: Treasure does not have to be gold or silver and can be less than 300 years old, but in both jurisdictions, a significant find will be offered to museums to bid on.

The spectacular hoard of Anglo-Saxon gold, silver, and garnet objects discovered in 2009 by Terry Herbert, an unemployed metal-detector enthusiast, was acquired by the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery and the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery, Stoke on Trent. The assessed value of $5.3 million was split between Herbert and the owner of the Staffordshire field where it was found. (In December, about 90 more pieces of gold and silver were recovered from the same area.)

Britain's Amateur Treasure Hunters Strike Gold
Nearly 90 percent of archaeological artifacts in the U.K. are found by amateur treasure hunters with metal detectors. Michael Lewis, deputy head of portable antiquities and treasure at the British Museum in London, calls it "land fishing," adding that the law encourages treasure hunters to adopt best practices in metal detecting, such as recording the location of finds.

A related program, the Portable Antiquities Scheme, is a voluntary project, managed by the British Museum, to record archaeological objects—not necessarily treasure—found by members of the public. So far, the British Museum has documented 800,000 finds, everything from gold and silver artifacts to bits of pottery and iron. Taken in context and seen together, they give a picture of where and how people lived in the past.

The relationship between archaeologists and metal detector hunters is, for the most part, downright amiable. Each year, the British Museum reaches out to some 177 metal-detecting clubs and judges the year's "best" find.

U.S. Treasure Laws Lag
How do laws in the United States stack up? Fred Limp, president of the Society for American Archaeology, summed it up: "Basically, except for materials on federal land, state law applies and, with some exceptions, objects are the property of the land owner." There is no standard rule; it varies state to state.

Federal laws are strict. "A stone tool is property of the federal government in perpetuity," said Limp. "Its digging up is a violation of law and can be a felony." Depending on the state, the same object found on private land may or may not have protection.

In other words, "private landowners can dig up all the sites they want and sell on eBay," said Tom Green, director of the Arkansas Archeological Survey. A notable exception is burial sites. Nearly all states have laws forbidding the digging up of burial sites (where most of the best material is found—"like the good, fancy pots," explained Green).

What about exporting the British scheme to the United States?

"It wouldn't work here," said Chris Espenshade, a consulting archaeologist for Commonwealth Cultural Resources Group in Michigan. "It's contrary to our culture." It's the mindset of "It's my property and I'll do what I want" and an American individualism that expresses itself in "no trespassing" signs.
Furthermore, said Espenshade, "We don't have that kind of treasure in the United States. Most of the people out metal detecting aren't finding big money items. It's not a Celtic gold broach. It's a lead minie ball [an old bullet]."

Still, he admitted, the compensation afforded by the United Kingdom's laws mitigates the idea that a finder should give away a treasure and not get anything in return.

Limitations to the U.K. Treasure Act
The U.K. laws aren't perfect. Important finds have slipped through the cracks—notably a magnificent bronze Roman helmet found in Cumbria and auctioned off by Christie's in 2010 for $3.6 million to a private collector. (Because it was a single object and made of bronze, it didn't technically qualify as "treasure.")

But the laws seem to function well enough. Said Michael Lewis of the British Museum: "The Treasure Act works well because it ensures that important finds end up in museums for all to enjoy and that finders are rewarded. They are encouraged to do the right thing."

And Booth, the finder of the Iron Age hoard in Scotland? "It was nice to pay off the Ford Focus," he told a local newspaper. He's still hunting.