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Volume 10 Issue 4 - JUL-AUG 2014

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Published by Colin Savage, 2020-07-03 12:04:59


Volume 10 Issue 4 - JUL-AUG 2014

American Digger ®

Vol. 10 The Magazine for Diggers and Collectors Issue 4




MEMORIES July-August 2014
$6.95 USA

July-August, 2014 American Digger® 1

American Digger®

Volume 10 For Diggers and Collectors July-August
Issue 4 2014
In This Issue:

The roots of the U.S.A. are not always found in designated historic areas. Page 32
More often than not, they are hidden beneath farmlands, slated to be
forgotten or eventually destroyed. At least, until the relic hunters arrive. Page 39
By Bob Painter Page 44

As the Diggin’ In Virginia organized relic hunts celebrate their 10th Page 53
anniversary, a participant gives his take on the latest event.
By Randy Schuh Page 58

When road work was planned at an Arkansas National Battlefield Park,
relic hunters teamed up with the National Park Service to conduct a
very revealing metal detecting survey of what happened there.
By Stephen Burgess

Sometimes big things come in small packages. Although the mastodon
skull this author found was small, it definitely wasn’t insignificant.
By Glenn Harbour

It was first a resort and then, in 1847, became the first home for the
Kentucky Military Institute. It is now a private school, and what better
way to explore its history than with a metal detector?
By Peggy Gould

No one knows the true story of who used these extremely rare belt
plates, but this author and longtime relic hunter has some ideas.
By William Spedale

For many in our hobby, digging up an antique automobile part might
not seem especially fun or significant. For one detectorist, however,
doing so led to fond memories of his family.
By Hank Drews

2 American Digger® Vol. 10, Issue 4

American D-Mail………4 American Digger®

Q&A....……….….……....8 Founded in 2004 by those that love the hobby

Stumpt.............................10 Publisher
Butch Holcombe
Just Dug……………......12
Marketing Director
Reviews...........................62 Anita Holcombe

Current Events...............64 Photographer/Consultant
Charles S. Harris
Senior Editor
Trading Post…………...69 Bob Roach

What’s The Point?.........70 Copy Editors
Wylene Holcombe
The Hole Truth………...72 John Velke
Bill Baab
Cover Photo
Editorial Assistants
Shown on this issue’s cover is an early Teresa Harris
1900s Coca-Cola bottle, a George Eric Garland
Washington inaugural button, a gold
1725 Portuguese one escudo, a Civil Editorial Intern
War soldier’s identification badge, a Amy Anderson
mid-1800s “L” belt plate, a Victorian-
era gold stick pin, a Confederate Webmaster
engineer’s button, a Revolutionary War Pat Smith
button of the 71st Regiment of Foot, an
Archaic period stone point, and a 1921 Consultants
Morgan silver dollar. Behind these is a
photograph of a six-pounder cannonball Dennis Cox, Howard Crouch, William Leigh III,
seconds after it was pulled from the red Jack Masters, Jack Melton, Mike O’Donnell, Jim
soil of northern Virginia. It’s all in this Roberson, Mike Singer, Bob Spratley, Don Troiani.

issue of American Digger® magazine! Our Mission:
“To promote the responsible excavation
Photos by Danny Brown, Ron Callaghan, Butch
Holcombe, Ran Hundley, Jeff Lubbert, Josh Silva, and collecting of all artifacts.”

Julia Vaughn, and John White. American Digger® (ISSN# 1551-5737)

published bi-monthly by Greybird Publishers, LLC
PO Box 126, Acworth, GA 30101.
(770) 362-8671.

Periodical postage paid at Acworth, GA
and at additional mailing offices.
Send address changes to:
American Digger® ,
P O Box 126, Acworth, GA 30101

We respect our readers’ privacy, and never sell,
rent, or publicize subscribers’ names or addresses.

Yearly print subscriptions
USA, $35.95

Canada, $55.95; Europe $75.95
Digital subscriptions: $19.95

Mail subscription payment to:
American Digger® Magazine

PO Box 126
Acworth, GA 30101

Or pay online at:
Phone orders also welcome using most major
credit cards: (770) 362-8671
No part of this magazine may be reproduced in any
way without the written consent of the publisher.
American Digger® has no affiliation with any hobby
groups, entertainment venues, or websites other than
our own. While we strive for accuracy, American
Digger® cannot be held liable for inadvertent
misrepresentation. Reader submissions are
encouraged, and you may write or visit our website for
guidelines. Emailed submissions should be sent to
[email protected] We reserve the right
to reprint photos and text as needed. Unless otherwise
requested, all correspondence to American Digger® is
subject to publication. We strongly oppose illegal
recovery and wanton destruction of artifacts. Please
dig responsibly. Our hobby depends on it!

© 2014

July-August, 2014 American Digger® 3

American D-Mail

Digging Through Our Mail Box…

Got a comment or question? Write or email us!
[email protected]

Sherds of Blue and Green Beepin ’ Steve Meinzer
I just read the interesting article entitled “Sherds of Blue and
Green” by Mike Wheless in the March-April 2014 edition of
your magazine. Could someone recommend a good illus-
trated book on old earthenware/stoneware/pottery/etc. that
would help me identify sherds I find while detecting? Your
help would be appreciated. As a new detectorist and sub-
scriber to American Digger®, I am enjoying reading the mag-
azine and learning a lot from the articles and other features.
Jon Gould
Birmingham, Alabama

Michael Wheless, the article’s author, has spent many years “I used to do a lot of beach hunting in my day but
afield doing his own research, and has a booklet available with two knee replacements, a hip replacement, a
on identifying and dating sherds from the 1700s and 1800s hearing aid,and a pace maker, I couldn’t tell if I
(contact him at [email protected] for ordering
information). We also forwarded your question to Bob had a good target or if it was just me.”
Spratley and Bill Dancy, both of whom are well-versed in
early pottery found in the U.S.A. Bob says, “Jon did not properties, and what methods they use. Bill’s article has
expand on the types of pottery he is finding or the time period. been a BIG help for me and, I’m sure, many others. Thanks,
For my own interests, I have the book, Pottery from Spanish Bill! Now I don’t have to rely on my wife telling me “where
Shipwrecks 1500-1800, by Mitchell W. Marken (published to go.”
in 1994). I also recommend Pottery and Porcelain (two Doug “Modern Miner” Snyder
volumes), by Warren Cox (1946). It has thousands of photos Hendersonville, NC
and marks that are needed to properly identify pottery.
Ivor Noel Hume has written many chapters on colonial We have received nothing but positive feedback on Bill
pottery and at least two of his books are devoted to that Dancy’s article, and even had a member of the American
subject: Pottery and Porcelain in Colonial Williamsburg’s
Archaeological Collections (originally published in 1969) Prospecting & Detecting Maps
and Early English Delftware from London and Virginia
(1997). Pottery is a vast subject and no one book will fill the WWW.
grade. I currently have over one thousand reference books
on subjects that relate to my type of detecting. There are no GOLDMAPS
shortcuts to information.” .COM

Bill agrees, saying, “There seems to be no single Eastern States & Calif. (321) 783-4595
comprehensive reference book to help identify and date
pottery shards from all periods. I’ve learned a lot over the
years through various books (many by Hume), by visiting
museums, and the internet. [The best] knowledge comes
from years of experience and many different sources.”-AD

Know Where To Go
I wanted to thank Bill Dancy for his outstanding article,
“Know Where To Go,” in the recent (Vol. 10 Issue 3)
American Digger®. I’ve always been curious as to how
some detectorists are so successful in locating these old

4 American Digger® Vol. 10, Issue 4

Digger® editorial staff comment that it was one of their detecting alive and free to all and hopefully, many years
favorite “how to” articles of all time. Bill, who is among from now, our grandchildren will be able to enjoy dig-
our most prolific writers, replies, “That’s exactly why I ging in the dirt as much as we do.
write these articles — to pass on a little knowledge to help Paul & Gail Forsay
others, especially those that are just getting started.”-AD Rochester, New York

Where to Go? Butch thanks you for the compliment, and was proud
It seems to me that this hobby is like deer hunting. You to not only to serve as the banquet’s speaker, but also
would give your spouse away before you told anyone about to conduct a freelance writing seminar (where, he now
your spot to dig. I live in southeast Pennsylvania, love the constantly reminds us, he even got to meet the mayor of
Civil War, and have been to Gettysburg many times. I joined Knoxville, also a metal detectorist). And yes, he assures
a detecting club but everyone has their own clique. It would you and all the others attending: those strange and silly
be nice if your magazine had more info to help others find things he spoke about happen to all metal detectorists and
some sites they could dig. collectors, even if they won’t admit it. Need further proof?
Bill Combs Read the next letter!-AD
Oxford, PA
What a Bargain!
It is true that many diggers are protective of their sites, I have learned to give new employees a more careful ori-
but most have legitimate fears about revealing their hot entation in my clothing store in Lafayette, Tennessee. I
spots to anyone beyond their closest digging buddies. have the Civil War relics that I have recovered over the
These fears include claim jumping by those who don’t years in display cabinets in my store. I also have two large
have permission and harassment by the misguided who jars of Civil War bullets (labeled by caliber, “.69” and
are loath to allow artifact recovery by hobbyists. Even “.58”) on display.
so, there are plenty of diggers who will share their sites
with others. In such cases, it is only proper that fellow In December, I returned from a relic hunting trip and
hobbyists respect such hosts by not revealing or returning my employee was bursting with pride. She told me that
to the site uninvited, and reciprocating the favor once you she had sold some of my bullets. I asked “What bullets?”
find a site of your own. She said, “I sold five of the .69 cent bullets and four of the
.58 cent bullets in the jars.” I told her that I didn’t sell bul-
As to how to find a site of your own, we direct you to an lets and they were .69 caliber and .58 caliber bullets and
article in Volume 10, Issue 3, “Know Where To Go,” by Bill the numbers stood for caliber, not price. I told her what the
Dancy (see last letter). In it, Bill shares some information bullets sold for in relic shops and she offered to pay the
far beyond most “how to research” articles.-AD difference.

A Wonderful Time “Absolutely not,” I told her. “The story alone is
We had a wonderful time meeting American Digger® pub- worth that.”
lisher Butch Holcombe at the Federation of Metal Detector Doug Holder
and Archaeological Clubs’ Fall Convention in Knoxville, Lafayette, Tennessee
Tennessee. He is a great storyteller, and we were happy to
know that some of those silly things don’t just happen to
us. We enjoy reading American Digger®. Please keep up
the good work! Thanks for helping keep the hobby of metal

July-August, 2014 American Digger® 5

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6 American Digger® Vol. 10, Issue 4

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July-August, 2014 American Digger®


Q&A With

? Charles Harris

This piece was found by one flat surface running along the inside bands are different from one region to
of our readers, Gail Forsay, of the curve, a nice brownish-green another. These colors are caused by
near Adairsville, Kentucky. color, and very obvious rings on impurities such as iron and ancient
Although she wasn’t certain about the exposed end. I was excited and life matter that was involved when
what it was, I was convinced that it thrilled! the chert was formed.”
was part of a fossilized mammoth or
mastodon tusk. However, you have I then called a geologist friend of Jim pretty well covered the sub-
since expressed your belief that it is mine, John Avery, and told him about ject matter and there’s not a whole
something else. Can you explain? it. He made a special trip up to our lot that I can add except for a few
Butch Holcombe home to inspect it. Unfortunately, facts that I afterward found out from
after doing so, he told me it was John. He notes that most of these
Ah, a question from our very own nothing more than a rock nodule. Not nodules were formed on the ocean
publisher! This was being consid- believing such a find could be “just a floor millions of years ago. My nod-
ered for “Just Dug” when I rec- rock,” I sought a second opinion from ule was found in the Sequatchie
ognized it and asked Butch to let Wayne Williams, a relic hunter and Valley in Tennessee. Geologically,
me use it in my column instead. geology instructor at the University this is in the Mississippian era of
No doubt others have misidentified of Tennessee at Chattanooga. His 360-325 million years ago and that
these odd phenomena and I saw answer was basically the same: a is when the Sequatchie layers were
a good opportunity to share what chert nodule. formed at the bottom of what was
I have learned. In 2001, I made a then the ocean. As a side note, the
similar find that I swore was also a Recently, I sent photos of my upper layers of the Sequatchie Val-
piece of a mammoth’s or mastodon’s nodule to Jim Robertson, our Na- ley are of the Pennsylvanian era
tusk. It was about three inches in tive American specialist who writes abundant in coal.
diameter and six inches long, and the column, “What’s the Point?” Jim
was slightly curved and tapered like replied, “I, too, have had such nod- These nodules were formed by
a tusk would be. It had an incised ules play games with my imagination. an air pocket or bubble that was cre-
They are formed in all sorts of unusu- ated in the sediment. If you take a
8 American Digger® Vol. 10, Issue 4 al shapes and sizes and can be found stick and stir a muddy stream bot-
in creeks and streams across the tom, you will see air bubbles re-
world. They have been misidentified leased from the mud, and this is no
countless times as fossilized mam- different. After millions of years the
moth and mastodon tusks, dinosaur sediment solidified, leaving these air
bones or eggs, and petrified wood. pockets. Over time, moisture and
Chert is a sedimentary rock which oc- liquids seep into the hollow. As it
curs either in layers, or in nodules like retreats, residue is left behind.
the one that you found. The colors and
Imagine a spoon of liquid left
Shown above is Charlie’s “tusk,” on the counter. In a day or so, the
actually a stone nodule, that liquid has evaporated and a ring
he recovered in 2001. Note the has been left in the spoon. The same
similarities between it and the thing happens in the nodule cavity,
one recovered by Gail Forsay, except that it has been happening
for about 300 million years. Even-
shown at the upper left. tually, the cavity is completely filled
and we have the rock nodule that
we just found. Then our imagina-
tion goes into overdrive and we now
have mammoth tusks, dinosaur eggs,
or whatever our mind decides.

This was found at a central on the leather gear, but yours went Since the crest is the state seal of Photo courtesy of Caren Brosi, Fishburne Military School
Kentucky house site (ca. on the bridle above the horse’s nose. Virginia, and I had a strong suspi-
1820-1860s) which saw both This is an interesting item, but not cion that the last two letters “MS”
Confederate and Union activity. definitively Yankee or Confeder- stood for Military School, I focused
The material is brass and it weighs ate, nor even necessarily from that my search on Virginia military
around five ounces. Can you help me era. Like many civilian items, they schools. The most likely candidate
determine what it is? just happen to show up in Civil War was Fishburne Military School in
Scott Clark campsites by happenstance. That is Waynesboro, Virginia, but I could
what makes trying to identify such not confirm this from any published
This is known as “horse brass,” items a challenge sometimes; the history that I could find. But after
which has a long history, especial- power of suggestion can lead us sending your photograph to the
ly in England. These began show- down the wrong trail on many oc- school, we were assisted by archi-
ing up in the mid 19th century after casions. It only makes sense to think vist Caren Brosi and historian Jo-
the Great Exhibition (World’s Fair) “Civil War” when an item is found seph B. Yount III. We then had our
was held in Hyde Park, London, in at a known Civil War site, but eras answer. Yount says:
1851. They remained popular until often overlap at many locations. If I
their use declined later in that cen- hadn’t recently seen a similar item, I “The hat brass is indeed con-
tury. There are several types of these might have gone down that trail with nected with Fishburne Military
decorations designed to be attached this piece. It is not the exact same School and would date from the
item, but is close enough to draw early 1900s and pre-1913, when
some valid conclusions. a later motto was adopted that is
still in use. I have attached a copy
Look at the star device in the of a crest in a little better condi-
middle of the farm horse’s forehead in tion.” (See photo above).
this photograph from the early 1900s
(bottom left). People liked to decorate As to the school’s history, it
their animals back then like people originally opened as co-ed Waynes-
nowadays accessorize their automo- boro High School in 1879, and be-
biles. But more commonly, “brasses” came a male-only institute in 1881.
were used for show on parade horses After a series of name changes, in
and mules, often in liberal quantity. 1886 it became the Fishburne Mil-
The slight bend just below the loop itary School, making it one of the
at the top helps the brass to lay flat oldest military schools still operat-
on the horse’s muzzle instead of pop- ing in the United States.
ping upwards into the air.

Photo courtesy of Charles Harris Bobby Caskey dug this brass
item in North Carolina. We
are not sure what it is or what
the “FMS” stands for. Do you know?
Alicia Roberts

July-August, 2014 American Digger® 9

STUMPT!We don’t know what they are. Charlie doesn’t
know what they are. Do you know what they are?
Send your guesses, facts, theories,
ideas, and related correspondence to:
Stumpt, c/o American Digger®,
PO Box 126, Acworth, GA, 30101
or email [email protected]

Dan Patterson dug this piece at Jefferey Blackburn dug this but-
a plantation site that was occu- ton at an old plantation site in
pied by Confederate troops. The central South Carolina that saw
thin brass 24 mm piece shows an U.S. and British soldiers during
eagle on a plain field. Although the Revolutionary War. While
it appears to be a flattened but- the one-piece pewter construc-
ton face, we can not be certain tion looks to be from that era, we
at this point. We hope a reader have hit a dead end in determin-
can tell exactly what this is, and ing any more about it. We now
ask our readers for their input.
if it is a button, what kind.

Yet another of these brass stud hooks has
surfaced, the latest (far right photo) found in
a Federal cavalry camp by Earl Keys. He says,
“Because of the belt rivet and hook combination
on standard sword belt rigs, I assume this is
a modified version of a sword hanger.” It is
identical to the one found by Ron Rigney (far
left) and similar to Bill Blackman’s find (center). All were found at Civil War sites, and it looks like
the original theory of sword hanger variants is correct, according to both Charlie Harris and Mike
O’Donnell. Mike says, “The curved hook portion looks exactly like the standard Federal hanger issued
with enlisted sword belts. Instead of being attached to the belt with the usual brass wire loop, it has a
double-headed ‘button’ which passed through and clasped the waist belt. Every sword belt had long
leather straps to suspend the sword while on horseback, and a second hook on the belt to secure the
sword in a higher position while serving on foot. At that time, the top ring of the scabbard fit into this
hook. My guess is that this was a rare U.S. contractor’s variant. There is a possibility it was affixed to an
officer’s sword belt as they were supposed to be purchased privately, which would allow this type of non-
regulation carrying.” With both Mike O’Donnell and Charlie Harris claiming these are sword hangers,
we concur, but would like to see a photo of one of these still on the leather before calling it SOLVED.

10 American Digger® Vol. 10, Issue 4

Who Reads American
Digger® Magazine?

Those who push themselves to excel, both in
life and in the field. Those who know there is
a time to be tough and a time to heal. Those
who pursue their passions to the limit, yet still

want more. Those that have a heart attack
while out metal detecting, yet still dream of

the day they can do it again. They read
American Digger® magazine...shouldn’t you?

Jimmy Dillon American Digger®
For Diggers and Collectors
(and best wishes for a speedy recovery!)

PO Box 126

Acworth, GA 30101

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July-August, 2014 American Digger® 11

Just Dug

Here’s what our readers are finding...

Tony Cirillo dug this artifact at a Glen Heath was relic hunting near Johnny Vannoy and Jim Rowland
site in central Virginia in Febru- the Civil War battle of Wysefork, rescued these Civil War relics
ary 2014. The 17mm one-piece North Carolina when he found over a three-month period at
French light infantry button was this silver engraved identification a construction site in Fairfax
adapted for all French Line Infan- tag. The tag’s owner, James Van County, Virginia. Johnny dug the
try regimental use in 1792. Ac- Vaulkenburg, served with the 1st top tray of relics and Jim recovered
cording to Revolutionary War Michigan Light Artillery. As can the bottom tray. The detectorists
specialist and American Digger® be deduced from the engraving, he found the items in late 2013 and
consultant Don Troiani, these but- was also a Freemason. He survived early 2014, using a White’s Blue
tons were in use until about 1803. the war and became a farmer. and Gray and a White’s 6000.
Glen dug the artifact in late 2013.
Courtesy Sgt. Riker’s Civil War Shop Photos by Jim Rowland
Photo by Butch Holcombe

Ted Anthony was relic hunting Opal Gay was searching a site Blake and Dan Patterson made
a site in central Virginia in early in central Virginia when she these 19th century finds while relic
2014 and found these items. Shown recovered these two coins. The hunting at a plantation site near
are two general service “I” infan- larger is an 1809 half cent, her Vicksburg,  Mississippi. Blake re-
try buttons, a New York state seal first. Also recovered by her was covered the solid cast letter “R”
button, three half reales, a one re- a holed half reale. Unfortunately, and 1830 Cap Bust Liberty dime,
ale, an 1858 half dime, two unfired the date on the 1700s silver coin while Dan dug the US belt buckle
Spencer cartridges, and a 1928 is indecipherable. She made the and custom-made coin silver spur.
Virginia chauffeur’s license. In the finds in March 2014, while using
center is a US waist belt plate with Photos by Dan Patterson
all stud hooks intact. Ted made the a Teknetics Delta 4000.

finds with a Fisher F75 detector. Photos by Patrick Edwards

Courtesy Sgt. Rikers Civil War Shop

12 American Digger®® Vol. 10, Issue 4

Ran Hundley’s name appears John White was relic hunting at In March 2014, David Carson
often in “Just Dug,” usually in an old house site in the woods in dug what he thought was a
conjunction with photographing northern Mecklenburg County, common coat-size flat button
his customers’ finds at his shop in North Carolina and recovered in Fredericksburg, Virginia.
Ashland, Virginia. Thus, it’s good this nice Confederate relic. The After cleaning it, he discovered
to see him take time to find his own Old-English style “E” Confeder- that it had “UNITED STATES/
relics. He was detecting in central ate Engineer button has a back- INFANTRY” embossed around
Virginia in March 2014, when he mark of “W. DOWLER/ SUPE- a circular center with emanating
dug this cavalry artifact from the RIOR QUALITY.” John made rays. Listed in Albert’s button
Civil War. Known as a carbine the find on March 10, 2014, while book as GI 44, these scarce one-
sling buckle, these were used to using a Minelab E-trac metal de- piece buttons are believed to have
adjust a wide leather strap which been manufactured around 1812
tector. Photos by John White
secured the trooper’s carbine. for U.S. Infantry officers.

Courtesy Sgt. Riker’s Civil War Shop Courtesy Sgt. Riker’s Civil War Shop

Matt Gladden was digging at an Jeff Chamberlain was hunting a Jeff Lubbert, co-host of the
old farm house site near Mechan- Confederate camp in eastern Vir- weekly “American Digger® Relic
icsville, Virginia and found this ginia when he found this Federal Roundup” show, eyeballed this
assortment of artifacts in Febru- US waist belt plate. It was found early to middle Archaic period
ary and March 2014. Shown are with the small iron buckle inter- stone point in March 2014 at
a Civil War-era South Carolina locked into the belt hook as shown. a site in Colorado. This style,
state seal button (backmarked It is unknown as to whether this known as an Augustin, is be-
“SCHUHYER. H&G. / N.Y.”), an was a intentional modification by lieved to be between 5,000 and
1819 large cent, and a WWII-era a Confederate soldier or merely 7,000 years old. Photo by Jeff Lubbert
Air Corps silver ring. The stone an act of whimsy. It is not unusual
axe was found while Matt was to find Union artifacts in Confed-
digging a piece of iron from the erate sites, as poorly equipped
ground. He made the finds with a Southerners made use of Federal

Fisher F4. Photo by Matt Gladden issued items when possible.

Courtesy Sgt. Riker’s Civil War Shop

July-August, 2014 American Digger®® 13

Larry Reynolds was relic hunting Duane Caldwell was detecting Ron Callaghan spent from Febru-
a Union camp in Kentucky when Lee’s retreat route near Peters- ary 22 to March 15, 2014 detect-
he heard a deep target on his burg, Virginia when he found ing in Colchester, England and
detector. After digging down 14 these relics in late March 2014. recovered these gold finds. Shown
inches, he discovered two Civil After digging the Louisiana state are an 1880s signet ring, a 1725
War-era spurs stacked one on seal “pelican” button (which has Portuguese one escudo, a 1500s
top of the other. The spurs are a SCOVILL MFG. Co/ WATER- Tudor gold ring with 25 hand-cut
not a matched set, but both BURY” backmark), Duane heard diamonds, and two interlocked
include portions of the leather another signal a few inches away. solid gold rings (ca. 1500 B.C.)
straps and the iron fastening That target was .40 caliber LeMat Under U.K. law, he can’t bring the
buckles. The top photo shows revolver bullet. Duane credits his artifacts back into the U.S. until a
the spurs only seconds after sister-in-law, Deborah, for discov- permit is issued, which can take
being removed from the hole. ering this small but previously over six months. The interlocking
Larry made the finds on March unknown Confederate camp. and woman’s rings were declared
14, 2014, while using a Teknetics Duane uses a Teknetics T2 LTD. “treasure,” meaning that the Brit-
ish Museum may acquire them for
T2 SE. Photos by Larry Reynolds Photos by Duane Caldwell a price. The landowner and finder
then split the proceeds. The sys-
tem works to all’s advantage, and
gives the landowners an incentive
to allow detecting. Ron made the
finds with a Minelab CTX 3030.

Photo by Ron Callaghan

James Martin recovered these relics Matt Howell was searching a site
“somewhere in the Utah territory.” in central Virginia and recovered
At top are the remains of a 1830s- these 19th-century artifacts on
1840s militia kepi. Although most March 15, 2014. The Civil War
of the cloth and leather has long era belt plate is a “SNY” State of
ago rotted away, the metal pieces New York, and was dug in a bed of
remained together in the ground. old nails. Below it is an 1880 In-
Below it is a mid-to-late 19th cen- dian Head cent. Matt was using a
tury match safe. Matches of the era Minelab E-trac. Photo by Matt Howell
could unexpectedly ignite, and were
often carried in these metal contain-
ers to protect the user. James made
the finds in early 2014, while using
a Teknetics G2. Photos by James Martin

14 American Digger® Vol. 10, Issue 4

Bryan Jordan was metal detecting Nelson Curtis found these items Quinton Bolin was hunting the
a site in the South Carolina in March 2014 in central Virginia. South Carolina “midlands” and
Lowcountry that has paid off in Although the house site where he found what may have been a
the past, and a trip there in April made the finds dates to 1652, most Confederate artillery camp. The
2014 was no different. This pair of the items are Civil War era, lost block “A” artillery button is one-
of one-piece buttons were found or discarded when Federal Gen- piece pewter (white metal) with a
by him on the same day. The 1st eral George McClellan’s troops wire shank. It is similar to pew-
Regiment of Artillery button is were in the area in May 1862. ter “I” infantry buttons made
14 mm in size, dates to the War Shown are a “U.S. FRANKFORD during the Civil War in small
of 1812, and has no backmark. ARSENAL” marked spur, a car- Southern shops for Confederate
The other item is a sportsman tridge box finial, a New York but- government contracts. The eagle
button. This civilian item dates ton with cloth remaining on the “A” button is Federal issue, but
to the early 1800s and depicts an shank, a Union rifleman eagle “R” is believed to have seen Confed-
embossed fox along with the word button, and a sword hanger. Also erate use as it was found nearby.
“TALLIO.” Bryan made the finds shown is a civilian “flower” button The backmark on the eagle “A”
while using a Fisher F75. and an unknown coin or token. Quinton made the finds in April

Photo by Bryan Jordan Courtesy Sgt. Riker’s Civil War Shop 2014 with a Fisher F75.

Photo by Quinton Bolin

Denny Cable was relic hunting in Brian Winkler had only been de- In early 2014, Jason Spink found
central Virginia and dug these Con- tecting three weeks when he re- this waist belt plate at a house site
federate buttons. Shown are a coat covered this, his first button, in near Petersburg, Virginia. The US
size C.S.A. (“Confederate States March 2014. The scarce relic is a buckle is lead filled embossed sheet
of America”), and cuff or kepi size 1789 George Washington inau- brass and has arrowhead style
South Carolina and Virginia but- gural button, which Brian dug in fastening hooks. Although some of
tons. Although all are intact with southern Maryland. This is one of his buddies found Civil War-era
wire shanks, the backmarks are il- several styles of one-piece buttons artillery shells at the site, Jason
legible due to ground action. Denny made to commemorate George is very pleased with this find. He
Washington’s becoming the first
made the finds in spring, 2014. President of the United States. uses a Minelab CTX 3030.

Courtesy Sgt. Riker’s Civil War Shop Courtesy Sgt. Riker’s Civil War Shop Courtesy Sgt. Riker’s Civil War Shop

July-August, 2014 American Digger® 15

Josh Fitchett was hunting a central Virginia site and made these finds in
spring 2014. In addition to assorted coins, he also dug the Hampton Military
Academy button shown at center. This school existed from 1852-1861, after
which the cadets and staff joined the Confederate Army. The button has
a “SCOVILL MFG. CO.” backmark. Leaving the site, he eyeballed the
straight sided Coke bottle, circa early 1900s. Courtesy Sgt. Riker’s Civil War Shop

Chris Johnson was detecting near In early 2014, Don Westbrook
Richmond, Virginia in March stumbled upon a hidden picnic
2014, when he recovered this grove located near Lake Winneba-
Southern militia accoutrement go, Wisconsin and, to his surprise,
plate of the Richmond Grays. The the first signal was a Mercury dime
Richmond Grays were formed in — as were his second and third
1844 as Company A, 1st Regiment targets. After three days of hunt-
of Virginia Volunteers, and was ing at the site, he had found the
attached to the 12th Virginia In- coins shown here, along with nu-
merous others not pictured. Don
fantry during the Civil War. also bottle hunts, and recovered
the glass from a single pit in north-
Courtesy Sgt. Riker’s Civil War Shop ern Wisconsin, also in early 2014.

Don uses a Minelab CTX 3030.

Photos by Don Westbrook

Zach “Yellowwolf” Smith was
searching an Archaic site near
Paragon, Indiana when he eye-
balled this Native American
stone artifact. It is 1.3 inches long
and is believed to be 5,000-7,000
years old. Zach made the find in

April 2014. Photo by Zach Smith

Dennis Tyree was relic hunting a Civil Bobby Nuckols recovered this
War site in central Virginia and recov- ring while detecting in central
ered these Federal military artifacts. Virginia. The ring is 18K gold
Shown are a damaged cavalry spur, and is inscribed, “W.L.B. to
Union cross belt eagle plate, a carved A.L.B. Nov. 6, ‘78.” Bobby made
bullet possibly meant to be a chess the find in March 2014, while
piece, and an unknown brass item. He using a Minelab Explorer SE Pro.

made the finds in spring 2014. Courtesy Sgt. Riker’s Civil War Shop

Courtesy Sgt. Riker’s Civil War Shop

1166 AAmmeerricicaannDDigigggeerr®® VVool.l.1100,,IIsssuuee44

Eddie Maniates dug what he first In March 2014, Stacey Ryan Ben Harlow was hunting a site
thought was a common 1860s was detecting in Columbia, in central Virginia and dug this
Federal general service button Tennessee and dug this piece of grouping. After finding numerous
while searching a site in western U.S. Postal history. The P.O.D. .44 Colt revolver bullets, flat
Texas in early 2014. It was only (Post Office Department) button buttons, and Burnside carbine
after cleaning that he noticed it dates to the early 1900s, and is casings and bullets, he recovered
has a double struck backmark. backmarked “AM. BUTTON the Confederate old English “C”
“HORSTMANN BROS & CO/ CO/ NEWARK.” This company button shown in the center. Ben
PHILA” has been restamped began making uniform buttons
over “*SCOVILL MFG CO*/ in 1900, but ceased production made the finds in March 2014.
WATERBURY,” the unintended after a fire destroyed the factory
result of a button order made by in 1917. Stacey made the find Courtesy Sgt. Riker’s Civil War Shop
Scovill for Horstmann. Eddie uses
with a White’s Spectrum XLT.
a Teknetics G2 metal detector.
Photos by Stacey Ryan
Photos by Eddie Maniates

Patrick Edwards was detecting In March 2014, Ernest Amos In early April 2014, Robert
along an old river road in central was detecting a site in central Devilbiss was searching an old
Virginia and made these finds in Virginia and dug this token. It house site in Carroll County,
March 2014. The circa 1834-1851 commemorates Col. James Fisk, Jr. Maryland, and recovered the
Federal ordnance button has a who allowed his train cars to deliver Federal Civil War-era cavalry
backmark of “U.S. ORDNANCE supplies to those left destitute by spur shown in the top photo. He
CORPS.” The face and back the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. also eyeballed the Otter Creek
have separated, but were found Although this token portrays Fisk point nearby, which is believed
within three feet of each other. as a hero, he was part of a plot to to be 5,000-6,000 years old. The
Then, making a good day even corner the gold market in 1869, spur was found four inches deep
better, Patrick dug the clipped
silver Spanish eight reale also resulting in the Panic of ‘69. with a White’s DFX detector.
shown in the photo. He made
both finds while using a Garrett Courtesy Sgt. Riker’s Civil War Shop Photos by Robert Devilbiss

AT Pro. Photos by Patrick Edwards

July-August, 2014 American Digger® 17

Billy Tolley was relic hunting Chris Watson and Bill Stiles were searching one of General DeKalb’s mid-
a Confederate site in Hanover 1780 camps in North Carolina when they recovered these Revolutionary
County, Virginia in early 2014 War artifacts in January 2014. The 18-pounder spherical shell, found by
and recovered this coat-size but- Chris, is his first shell in 25 years of relic hunting. Chris says that as he
ton. It is a Mississippi “I” Infan- was “winding down from my happy dance, (I believe I was just finishing
try used by the troops of that up the turbo-mooning part), Bill swooped in under my radar and dug
state during the Civil War. Al- a nice entwined USA button about 10 feet from my open hole. I gotta’
though the backmark is “HYDE remember to shorten my dance routines in the future to prevent such
& GOODRICH/ N.O.,” these shameless bottom-feeding opportunities.” The cannonball was dug with
were actually made by the firm of a Teknetics T2 and the USA button with a Fisher F75. Photos by Chris Watson
Scovill for Hyde & Goodrich, and
so marked, for an 1860 contract.

Courtesy Sgt. Riker’s Civil War Shop

Craig Nesmith was relic hunting In April 2014, Roy Baker was Steve Evans was searching an
in late March 2014 at a construc- detecting near a Civil War battle 18th century site in southwestern
tion site near the battle of Gilgal site in Cobb County, Georgia and Pennsylvania when he recovered
Church, Georgia when he found unearthed this Federal artillery these two early coins (both sides
this Confederate button. Cast projectile. The 20 pounder Parrott are shown in the photos above).
from a copper-brass alloy, these chilled-nose bolt was recovered The 1661 hammered silver coin
one-piece Infantry “I” buttons only a few inches deep beside a is a Hungarian King Leopold (3
were made in small shops and creek. Designed for destroying Krajczar). Based on the history
arsenals throughout the South, fortifications, these non-explosive of the site, Steve suspects that it
especially later in the war. Craig solid shots were made with a nose was used as Indian trade silver
made the find while using a of hardened iron, giving it more and worn as a pendant. The cut
penetrating power. Roy made the piece is from a 1708 two reale.
White’s MXT detector. find while using a Minelab GPX These coins were found on April
4000 and a Garrett Pro-Pointer.
Photos by Craig Nesmith 12, 2014 with a Fisher F75
Photo by Anita Holcombe
18 American Digger® Vol. 10, Issue 4 Photos by Steve Evans

Quindy Robertson had a good John Deville was detecting a site Rion Landrum recovered this US
day in March 2014. He recov- located near Alexandria, Louisiana belt plate while relic hunting a
ered these Civil War relics while when he recovered this silver coin. site in central Virginia. The brass
detecting at a U.S. picket post The 1839 O Seated Liberty half skin lead-filled buckle has stud
in middle Tennessee. A video of dime was minted in New Orleans. hooks, and was issued during
these finds can be seen on You- John dug the coin in March 2014, the first half of the Civil War.
tube, or by scanning the QR Although he has found several
code below. Quindy while using a Minelab CTX 3030. eagle cross belt “breastplates,”
was using a Fisher this is his first US belt buckle.
F75 metal detector. Photos by John Deville
Courtesy Sgt. Riker’s Civil War Shop
Photo by Quindy Robertson

Kevin Merritt received permission Brian Jones recovered this array Todd Stillings was detecting a
to hunt on a 200-acre farm in cen- of finds while metal detecting at house site near Atchison, Kansas
tral Virginia farm and made these an old house site in King George in March 2014 and dug this Union
finds. The Virginia button was County, Virginia. Most notable regulation Pattern 1839 US car-
likely hit while the field was being is the 1935 silver Peace dollar tridge box plate. It is his first accou-
plowed. Also found were several and a 1929 Virginia dog tag. He trement plate. Todd found the Civil
civilian flat buttons, a Confederate made the recoveries, which span War relic with a White’s MXT Pro.
Infantry “I” button, and a stone
blade. Kevin uses a White’s MXT. two centuries, in early 2014. Photos by Seth Stillings

Courtesy Sgt. Riker’s Civil War Shop Courtesy Sgt. Riker’s Civil War Shop

Jimmy Dillon was metal detecting in Seaford,
Virginia in late February 2014 and, after hours of
searching and only finding a couple of round balls
and a flat button, decided to walk along the water’s
edge. There he spotted the milk bottle on the left
lying in the water. He walked over to it and picked it
up when he saw the other bottle. The one on the left
is from 1955 and the other from 1949. A week later,
while hunting a field just west of Suffolk, he found
his first Confederate button, a Virginia state seal.

Jimmy uses a White’s MXT. Photos by Jimmy Dillon

July-August, 2014 American Digger® 19

In March 2014, Tommy Hennis was Mike Slaughter was searching a In April 2014, Pat and Jeannie
relic hunting in central Virginia site near Petersburg, Virginia in Romano were detecting a school
and found this 1773 Virginia half early 2014, when he recovered yard in Davie County, North
penny. These were authorized by these Civil War relics. In the top Carolina and, in addition to
England to be minted for Virginia. photo are two Federal artillery several dollars in modern clad
Also found (but not pictured here) projectiles he dug there. The shell coins, dug these pieces of silver.
was a four-inch tall heart cut from is a 20 lb. Parrott and the other is Jeannie found the 1918 Mercury
sheet copper, which may have been a 24 lb. cannonball. The US cav- dime with her White’s IDX, while
alry bit boss was found by him in husband Pat recovered the 1923
a homemade martingale. Prince George County, Virginia. Peace dollar with a White’s MXT.

Courtesy Sgt. Riker’s Civil War Shop Courtesy Sgt. Riker’s Civil War Shop Photo by Pat Romano

Mike McKillop was searching Carter Pennington found this rare Briar and Sailor Tansill, 8-year-
a site north of Sacramento, Revolutionary War button near old daughters of Pete Tansill, eye-
California when he recovered Fishkill, New York. The one-piece balled these arrowheads in eastern
this 1830s-era Spanish dirk. pewter New York militia button is Virginia in March 2014. The points
Before California was acquired from the first two years of the war are between 7,000-10,000 years
by the United States in 1848, and predates the standard “USA” old. Meanwhile, Dad Pete metal
it was first Spanish, and later buttons that were introduced in detected the items shown below the
Mexican,  territory.  Mike 1778. It was mixed in with nails and points, including two cut reales, a
made the find in April 2014, was eight inches deep. The video Confederate “I” button, an early
while using a Bounty Hunter can be seen on Youtube, or by scan- 1900s rosette, and a 1950s cap gun.
ning the QR code below. Carter
Tracker 4 metal detector. made the find in April 2014, using Courtesy Sgt. Riker’s Civil War Shop
a Teknetics T2 detec-
Photo by Mike McKillop tor with a 9.5 inch af-
termarket search coil.
20 American Digger® Vol. 10, Issue 4
Photo by Carter Pennington

Michael Souza found these coins in Mike Lichtenstein was hunting Patrick Collins was detecting in
southeastern Massachusetts. The a 1740s house site near Salem, central Virginia and found this
three Seated Liberty dimes were Virginia in late March 2014 and post-Civil War belt plate. Known
dug together and date 1876, 1889, found this beautiful artifact. as a Hagner 1872 Pattern waist belt
and 1890. The dig can be seen on The thimble is solid gold and plate, these were originally part
Youtube, or by scanning the QR likely dates to the late 18th of an equipment support system.
code below. Michael century. Mike notes that it Although the system was soon
made the finds with a registered between a “67-69” on rejected for field use, these plates
continued to be issued until 1902.
Garrett AT Pro. his Garrett AT Pro detector.
Courtesy Sgt. Riker’s Civil War Shop
Photo by Michael Souza Photo by Mike Lichtenstein

Travis Throckmorton made this odd Donnie Vaughn was detecting the
recovery in central Virginia in February site of a recently demolished house
2014. The Civil War-era socket bayonet near Nashville, Tennessee and
is imbedded in a section of tree which found this coin. The 1921 Morgan
has grown around it. He also rescued silver dollar is in very good dug
the Revolutionary War intertwined USA condition. Donnie made the find
button. These one-piece pewter buttons are in April 2014. Photos by Julia Vaughn
very fragile; most are dug in a deteriorated

condition. Courtesy Sgt. Riker’s Civil War Shop

In March 2014, Scot McLauchlin dug this G.M.I.
cuff button near Knightsville, South Carolina.
This was one of several styles used by the Georgia
Military Institute until it was burned by Federal
forces in 1864. Then, in April, he was hunting near
Charleston, South Carolina and found this one-piece
pewter “USA “ button. These were used extensively
by the American Continental Army during the
Revolutionary War. Scot made the finds while using

a Fisher F5 detector. Photos by Scot McLauchlin

July-August, 2014 American Digger® 21

Ralph Magee excavated these artifacts in March 2014 at a location in Gary Thompson was relic hunt-
central Virginia. The Naval artillery watercap fuse (shown in two views ing a site in central Virginia
here) is marked “ORD/ 1862” and was designed to prevent water from when he recovered this 1820s
disabling the fuse, resulting in a failure of the projectile (usually a large military artifact. The one-piece
caliber cannonball). The button is from the South Carolina Palmetto copper Marine button has an in-
Guards and is listed in Record of American Uniform and Historical Buttons decipherable back mark, but is
by Alphaeus Albert as SC 17. This group participated in numerous actions believed to have been made by
throughout the war, and was present at both the bombardment of Fort the Robinson company. Marine
Sumter and Lee’s surrender at Appomattox. Courtesy Sgt. Riker’s Civil War Shop artifacts of this era are scarce, as
only 852 enlisted men and 43 of-
ficers were listed on the U.S. Ma-

rine Corps roster in the 1820s.

Courtesy Sgt. Riker’s Civil War Shop

Rebecca Evans was searching a In April 2014, Tony LoSchiavo Matt Jennings dug this mid-1800s
field in Delaware County, Ohio was hunting a colonial site in relic while hunting a site near
and hoping to find some Indian Maryland and found this rare Spotsylvania, Virginia. The cuff
artifacts before the farmer tilled variant of a George Washington size button is marked “CADET/
the field. As her friends and she first inaugural button. Listed V.M.I” and was used by students
began to head off in different as W15 in Albert’s Record of of the Virginia Military Institute.
directions to try their luck, they American Uniform and Historical It is backmarked “ROBINSONS/
were stopped in their tracks Buttons, the book notes that, as EXTRA” and retains much of its
when Rebecca spotted this in- of 1976, less than 10 of this style original gilt finish. Matt found
tact slate gorget after only a few were known to exist. Although the Civil War era button in Jan-
steps. Although the exact uses of that number has since increased, uary 2014, while using a White’s
gorgets seem to vary, most were they are still considered very rare.
made approximately 1,500 to TDI detector.
4,500 years ago. This specimen Courtesy Sgt. Riker’s Civil War Shop
Photos by John Velke
was found on April 12, 2014.

Photo by Rebecca Evans

22 American Digger® Vol. 10, Issue 4

Bob Spratley had a good March 2014 on the eastern Florida coast. The three items at left were dug from a trash pit,
and include a mid-1700s English mallet rum bottle and two 1600s Spanish clay pots. On a different trip that month,
he found the small brass caravaca cross, which was made in three parts: front, back and retaining loop. Beside it is a
combination ear wax removal and nail cleaning tool. The coins are Spanish Maravedis. All of the last three items date
to the mid-1500s, and were left by the early French and Spanish explorers of the time. Bob uses a Minelab Explorer.

Photos by Bob Spratley

Jeff Dawes has been busy this year Tom Hughes was relic hunting in
rescuing Civil War history, includ- Clinton, Mississippi at a site that was
ing finding this identification tag being cleared for retail development
worn by Charles Burgess, a pri- and rescued a variety of artifacts
vate in the 24th New York Cavalry. before they were destroyed or lost
These tags could be purchased and forever. Among the finds was this
custom stamped from sutlers or store card token, which is embossed
by mail order, and reassured the “BENJAMIN F. FOTTERALL,
soldier that, if killed, his remains VICKSBURG” on one side, and
would be identified. This one is “SILK, FANCY, AND STAPLE
/ CO. B 24TH NYV CAV / TO reverse. Sporting a patriotic theme
MY MOTHER / BROOKFIELD popular in the mid 1800s, it shows an eagle holding a shield from its
N.Y.” Burgess enlisted at Utica, mouth and the rising sun. The 1850 census lists Benjamin F. Fotterall as
New York on December 22, 1863 at being a 26 year old male who was originally from New York. By the time
age 18 and was discharged July 21, the Civil War broke out, there is no further record of him or his business.
1865. He was wounded at the battle It is unknown if he went back up north just before the war or perhaps
of the Wilderness on May 9, 1864. died before it started. Tom made the find on May 24, 2014.

Courtesy Sgt. Riker’s Civil War Shop Photo by Tom Hughes

Keith Henley was hunting a site in
central Virginia and recovered this
early 1800s military relic. The one-
piece button is from the U.S. Light
Artillery, 1st Regiment, and has a
blank back. The Light Artillery was
formed in 1808, although most of its
field duty was performed as infantry.
Keith made the find in April 2014,

while using a Garrett AT Pro.

Courtesy Sgt. Riker’s Civil War Shop

July-August, 2014 American Digger® 23

On March 20, 2014, Heath Jones Josh Silva found this assortment of Matt Lockard was relic hunt-
was hunting a plantation site buttons in Virginia within a three ing a Civil War site in Stafford
near Heflin, Alabama and found week period in late 2013 and early County, Virginia and recovered
this coin. The silver 1853 Seated 2014. The buttons shown are three this Confederate accoutrement
Liberty dime was recovered at a Virginia state seals, an Alabama plate. Known as a medium-size
depth of about six inches where Volunteer Corps, and a Louisiana wishbone buckle, these were
an old church once stood on the state seal. All are Civil War era sand cast of brass during the
property. It was Heath’s first coin with the exception of the silvered war. File marks can be seen on
with his new Minelab CTX 3030. 71st Regiment of Foot Revolu- the back side of the movable
tionary War-era button. The 71st tongue, typical of the quick and
Photos by Heath Jones Regiment of Foot was considered economical finishing techniques
by many at the time to be the most of the Southern foundries that
Scott Whitesell was searching a elite unit in the British Army and made them. Although a veteran
wooded site in the South Caro- was disbanded soon after that con- digger, it was Matt’s first Con-
lina Lowcountry when he recov- flict ended. Josh uses a Teknetics federate buckle. He made the
ered this reminder of America’s find in April 2014, while using a
less palatable past. The slave hire T2 detector. Photos by Josh Silva Fisher 1270. Photo by Matt Lockard
badge is stamped “CHARLES-
TON / 1838 / PORTER / 172.” Kenny Self was metal detecting John Doyle recovered this brass
These copper tags were issued by a site in central Virginia in April Confederate saddle shield in
Charleston, where a slaveholder 2014, when he found this piece of early 2014 at a location in central
could pay an annual fee and re- late 19th or early 20th century Virginia. Aside from their decora-
ceive a badge for each slave. The jewelry. Although unmarked, the tive value, these served a utilitar-
slave could then be hired out to ring is 14 carat gold, with inlays ian purpose by framing a strap
other concerns, provided the slave mortise on the saddle. While the
only perform the occupation he of silver and a gold alloy. U.S. McClellan version is often
was licensed for. Scott made the found, owing to the large num-
find in April 2014 with a Fisher Courtesy Sgt. Riker’s Civil War Shop ber of those saddles used during
CZ21 detector. Photo by Scott Whitesell the Civil War, the Southern-made
“CS” marked shields are scarce.
24 American Digger® Vol. 10, Issue 4
Courtesy Sgt. Riker’s Civil War Shop

Sonny Sprouse was hunting a Dan Blair was searching a site Joey Morgan was excavating
Civil War site in central Virginia along the old Oregon Trail in a Civil War era trash pit in a
and made this find. The buckle is Utah when he received an iron Federal camp in Stafford County,
a solid cast “gutter back” Confed- overload signal on his detec- Virginia and found this unusual
erate issued frame buckle. These tor. It turned out to be this .36 item. Approximately 2⅜-inches
serviceable and relatively easy- caliber Remington Model 1858 tall, it appears to have been hand
to-make buckles were manufac- Navy revolver. Dan made the fashioned of wet clay and then
tured in the South under govern- find in March 2014, while using a fired. A second piece found in the
ment contracts. Sonny found the White’s MXT. Photo by James Martin hole, which is a random shape,
has “R. L.” lightly scratched into
Civil War relic in early 2014. it, leading to speculation that both
were done by the same person.
Courtesy Sgt. Riker’s Civil War Shop
Joey found the item in spring 2014.
David Birgerson was hunting the
South Carolina midlands when Courtesy Sgt. Riker’s Civil War Shop
he found his first Confederate
button. It was made by the Scovill James Fox was detecting a Port In April 2014, John Albright was
Manufacturing Company for the Gibson, Mississippi plantation site hunting in eastern Virginia and
King’s Mountain Military School and found this coin. The 1848 silver dug this relic from the American
of Yorkville, South Carolina from half dime has an “O” mint mark, Revolutionary War. The small
the late 1850s up until shortly indicating it was made at the New copper item is an engraved neck
before the Civil War. Most of Orleans mint. This branch mint of stock clasp from the British 76th
the school’s cadets entered the the United States operated from Regiment of Foot. Although the
Confederate ranks, including the 1838 to 1861 and, later, from 1879 top line is unreadable, the bottom
school’s founders, Micah Jenkins to 1909. James made the find in line is engraved “76th REG.” This
and Asbury Coward. David found April 2014 with a White’s Prizm 4. regiment, also known as McDon-
ald’s Highlanders, was captured at
the button on April 6, 2014. Photos by Dan Patterson the Siege of Yorktown in October
1781. Courtesy Sgt. Riker’s Civil War Shop
Photo by Quinton Bolin Tim Beaver was metal detecting
a site in central Virginia when he
recovered this beautiful piece of
late 1800s jewelry. The 2½ inch
stick pin is 14K gold with a fully

faceted 1¼ carat garnet.

Courtesy Sgt. Riker’s Civil War Shop

July-August, 2014 American Digger® 25



The roots of the U.S.A. are not always found in
designated historic areas. More often than not, they
are hidden beneath nondescript forests and farmlands,
slated to be forgotten or eventually destroyed by plows
and bulldozers. At least, until the relic hunters arrive.

By Bob Painter

Metal detecting often produces the most inter- artifacts were abundant from the early days, before and
esting of rewards. A case in point was the shortly after the American Revolution. Finds of knives,
previously unknown site that provided five spoons, forks, broken pottery, cut Spanish reale coins
relic hunters some rare and unusual artifacts. (pieces of eight), buttons, horse bits, and other late 1700s

The site also gave them something else: a special glimpse relics made the site an exciting one to detect. Our arsenal

into the beginnings of a new nation, the United States of of detectors included four different Minelab units (three

America. How often does a person get to stand in the GPXs and a CTX 3030), a couple of Teknetics T2s,

middle of a 1700s site holding a symbol of King and a Fisher F75.

George III in one hand and a Continental sol- Bobby, Chris, and Tim were the first to de-

dier’s coat button in the other? tect the site and found mostly older flat and

In May 2012, Tim Baxter, Chris Hart, flower buttons and colonial style buckles. A

Dennis Tyree, Bobby Painter, and I were few Civil War artillery-related relics were

invited to metal detect at a Virginia housing also unearthed. The three relic hunters also

development construction site. Since the found a couple of cut Spanish reale coins. Af-

site was near Fredericksburg – the scene of ter they reported in to me via phone several

a great deal of military activity during the times (aren’t cell phones wonderful?), I made

Civil War – our thoughts at the time were sure to be free that evening. I just had to get

that we might find some relics from that Upon close inspection, a look at the day’s finds because of my passion

conflict. Although we did find a very few this “flower button” for cut coins. After examining the relics, I told

Civil War items, we were surprised to find turned out to be a my friends that they had found a really good

on that property evidence of a late 1700s rare 1790s patriotic colonial site of some kind. Chris handed me

village or tavern site. In a small area, rattlesnake button. an object that at first appeared to be a silver-

2266 AAmmeerriiccaann DDiiggggeerr®® VVooll.. 1100,, IIssssuuee 44

Utilitarian relics (above) found at the site helped to confirm colonial
presence. On the title page, two hunters finish out the day at the location.

plated flower button but with a closer look, the flower turned top soil and making the initial road cuts), all five of us

out to be a rattlesnake. Now, that was one rare 1790 patri- vigorously detected on that day and the next. More cut

otic button and it was just a hint at other good finds to come. reale coins, two dozen plus buttons, a large open-frame

Along with the many 1780-1790s period flat buttons, Bob- waist buckle, numerous cuff links both silver and brass,

by had also dug a large 3-inch by 5-inch brass shoe buckle. broken iron pot pieces, a rare copper pipe bowl, two

Among the assortment of colonial relics Tim had found was different style horse bridle bits, and other artifacts were

an early large cent of saved by our effort.

some kind, now com- The three relics

pletely worn smooth. of the most interest

Of course, I was ready recovered on those

to join them on the two trips were a

next visit to the site Continental  Army

and an invitation was intertwined “USA”

passed along to Den- pewter coat button

nis as well. found by Chris, a

The “next visit,” silver Tudor Rose

as it turned out, was A Continental Army intertwined cuff link found

the very next day. “USA” pewter coat button, a silver by Dennis, and

Since the earthmov- Tudor Rose cuff link, and an ultra-rare an ultra-rare King

ing crew was ac- King George III brass cuff link, the first reported George III brass

tively grooming the cufflink with a bust of “The King” found in the U.S.A. cufflink found by

site (removing the Bobby. To date, this

JJuullyy--AAuugguusstt,, 22001144 AAmmeerriiccaann DDiiggggeerr®® 2277

Although at first glance the construction site development revealed the
looked featureless (above), a closer look outline of a foundation for
revealed long-gone structures. Shown at a small building and chim-
right are the outline of a building or home ney foundations for at least
foundation and traces of a brick chimney. five additional structures.
Below center is an overhead view of the Fortunately, I had the use of
Minelab’s CTX 3030 metal
location with notes made by the relic hunters. detector, and by using its
GPS “Find Point” capability,
is the first known cuff link I captured the exact locations
found in the United States of four of the colonial build-
with the inscribed bust of ing chimneys, as well as
“The King.” More utilitar- the center of several button
ian items were found, the concentrations. Then, using
most interesting of which the Minelab’s “XChange2”
were a very large field hoe, computer program, I trans-
charred cow and other ani- ferred the GPS data from the
mal bones, a boar tusk or CTX 3030 detector to my
tooth, clay pipe stems, and PC. As you can see on the
numerous small pieces of Google map (left), the loca-
broken brass items such tions of the chimneys and
as knee buckles and tacks. button concentrations are
Very few, if any, furniture now permanently identified.
parts were recovered. The
absence of these indicates
that if this was a homesite,
the owner had not been

I was later informed that
a colonial period map indi-
cated only a crossroads at
this location, with no refer-
ence to a tavern or village.
Yet, observations made at
the site during the several
weeks of the construction

2288 AAmmeerriiccaann DDiiggggeerr®® VVooll.. 1100,, IIssssuuee 44

A wide assortment of 1700s-1800s artifacts were
found on this construction site, and, thanks to the
efforts of the relic hunters, saved from destruction.

Estimating the date of the site was easy because tunate enough to locate and document the site on the
of the abundance of “rose-headed” square nails 200th anniversary of that war, before it was obliterated
and 1700s pottery shards scattered throughout by the housing development.
the area. No artifact found within the area
could be dated later than the very early 1800s. Taking We all feel good about our efforts at this site. In
into account that we had found ten cut reale coins and the short time before the site’s complete destruction, we
parts of at least eight different colonial cuff links, the created an informal record with our finds, wrote this ar-
most plausible theory (as to the site’s function) is that it ticle, and took many photographs. These actions have at
was a tavern. I would like to think the buildings were least served to document this small, previously unknown
destroyed during the War of 1812, and that we were for- colonial site. As is our practice, the five of us gladly
put together a display with a nice selection of finds from
the site and presented it to the landowner as a token of
our appreciation. We are always very thankful to those
generous landowners who allow us the frequent oppor-
tunities to enjoy our wonderful hobby.

Cut silver coins found at the site harken back About the Author
to a time when such a practice was common. Bob Painter (aka “Relic Bob” on the internet) of
Orange County, Virginia, has been relic hunting for
over 35 years, ever since 1972 when he put together a
Heath-Kit detector kit and took it to Chancellorsville.
Now retired, he relic hunts as much as possible. His
articles have appeared in numerous publications,

including American Digger®.

JJuullyy--AAuugguusstt,, 22001144 AAmmeerriiccaann DDiiggggeerr®® 2299

30 American Digger® Vol. 10, Issue 4

July-August, 2014 American Digger® 31

XXVDIIIV A DIGGER Photo by Butch Holcombe


by Randy Schuh

As I look across the fields of this Mike Cox dug these buttons detectorists dotted the landscape.
huge farm, my mind goes with a Minelab GPX 4800. This was the 10th Anniversary of
back in time to the Battle of Clockwise from top left are
Brandy Station, the largest cavalry action a Virginia, a North Carolina the Diggin’ in Virginia (DIV) organized
of the Civil War. Nearly 8,000 Union “Sunburst,” a Federal ord- relic hunts (which are held several times
and 10,000 Confederate horsemen, plus a year) and I was happy to be part of it.
thousands of infantry from both sides, nance, and a Connecticut. The day started out by getting all 250 +
participated. A person can now only participants together for a group photo.
imagine what it must have been like back Photos by Mike Cox Then we were off to recover what relics
then. I gaze across the big open field and we could find.
wonder what someone who stood in my
place 151 years earlier saw. With a New In the morning, there was a thin
York camp below me and Confederates layer of snow on the ground but, by
once posted at the top of the hill I stand afternoon, it had warmed up so much
upon, it is hard to imagine the sights each that I took my jacket off. With the thaw,
side witnessed. But for three days this the surface became muddy, but relics
past March, during DIV XXVII, only were being found. I first began hunting
in an area we had nicknamed “Button
Hill.” I had spent two full days there on a

32 American Digger® Vol. 10, Issue 4 Left: Denny Morrison (Minelab
GPX 5000) holds a nice Federal
“A” artillery button (shown in
the inset photo, along with his
first eagle breastplate). Right:
John Cornelisse and his first
US plate. John has hunted in
England a few times, but this
was his first Civil War relic
hunt. At the top of this page,
the author and his White’s TDI

work a field at DIV XXVII.

Photos by Jeff Lubbert

Photo by Jason Hinton This silver 6th Brian Wheatley, Photo by Brian Wheatley
Corps badge using a Minelab
was found by GPX 4800 with
Jason Hinton a 12x15 DD coil,
with a Minelab recovered this
GPX 5000. The
badge belonged commercially
to John Kenealy, made stamped
who enlisted in brass 6th Corps
Company D,
33rd New York badge near
Infantry, in 1862. He was later reassigned to the 49th “Button Hill.”
NY, which wintered at the hunt site in 1863. Kenealy, Much of its red
20 years old, was wounded on June 5, 1864 at the enamel remains, which designates it as being
battle of Cold Harbor and died the following day. from the 1st Division. Brian notes that it was six
inches deep in the middle of a very trashy area,
with lots of square nails and broken iron signals.

Photo by Beau Oumette
Photo by Bruce Barbour
Photo by Greg Hornsby
Photo by Barry Cook Jr.

This Vermont state seal Bruce Barbour dug his Greg Hornsby found Barry Cook, Jr. dug
coat button was found first — and second — these Confederate this rare Palmetto
by Beau Oumette while Virginia buttons with a buttons while using a Guard button with a
using a Garrett ATX. Minelab GPX 4800. Minelab GP 3000. Minelab GPX 5000.

Photo by Steve Moore previous hunt last year and thought that B utton Hill continued to pro- he was walking quickly across the Photo by Randy Schuh
more relics might remain. They did, for duce good relics. My hunt- field to hunt another site on the prop-
in a matter of minutes I had recovered a ing partners Bob Hancock erty and got a screaming signal that
couple of general service eagle buttons. (“Hornbush”) and E.J. Chene (“Ca- turned out to be a great looking spur.
jun Coin Hunter”) went to hunt a
One morning’s finds made by field that had crops growing in it E. J. Chene holds a US box
Steve Moore of Garrett Metal during the previous DIV event, but plate he found on the first day
Detectors. Garrett’s waterproof it was now open to hunt. It did not of the hunt with a White’s TDI.
ATX proved to be a welcome take long for E.J. to unearth a US
addition in the wet weather. box plate. Nearby, Denny Morrison
(“Ringfinder”) dug several bullets
and an eagle breastplate. And Kim
Cox (“Streak”) showed me a crossed
cannons artillery hat insignia that he
had just recovered. You just have to
love this site, as every field has relics
and you never know what your next
signal will be.

I met one gentleman who found a
nice Virginia button just below where
I was hunting. Later that afternoon,

July-August, 2014 American Digger® 33

Shown are just a fraction of the finds made during the
three-day event. Clockwise from top left: assorted finds
by Curt Hollifield with a Garrett ATX; Jimmy Judy’s
finds, made while using a Minelab GPX 4800, included
a US plate and the remains of a sword; Steve Moore’s
finds made while using a Garrett ATX; US plate, sword
drag, and bottles dug by Michelle (White’s TDI) and
Roland Hankey (GPX 5000); Rocky Lockley’s “CS”
tongue, found with a Minelab GPX 5000; Kim Joca’s
(Minelab GPX 4800) pair of shoulder scales; assorted
finds on display before the Sunday BBQ lunch; partici-

pants look over some of the finds. Photos by Butch Holcombe

E veryone has an equal opportunity hole. In the sidewall I saw an inkwell ring bullet. That was it; that was the
to dig relics at this event, whether and knew I was onto something. only relic there. Digging either a trash
it be surface hunting for a box Unfortunately, it was broken. I kept pit or hut site is always a gamble.
plate or button, or looking for pits to dig digging and widening the hole. About
in a quest for bottles and deep relics. I two and a half feet down, I ran my With no other signals in the hole,
have always wanted to dig a hut site or Garrett Pro-pointer along the bottom now came the task of filling it back in.
trash pit and, when I heard a deep signal and side walls. Near the bottom, under I quickly realized that pit digging is
with my White’s TDI, I got excited. I a rock, I got a signal in the sidewall, better with at least two people, as the
grabbed a bigger shovel and started the which turned out to be a pulled three- exertion of digging one by myself had
worn me out.

Photo by3T4oddAHmarerrinicgtaonn Digger® Vol. 10, Issue 4 Two Civil War artifacts Photo by Erik Wagner
see the light of day for the
first time in 150 years. At
left is a Richmond spur
found by Todd Harrington
(Minelab GPX 5000). The
photo on the right shows
the snake portion of an im-
ported buckle dug by Erik
Wagner with a GPX 4800.

The best way to find Civil War glass is
by digging out the old trash pits and
hut sites. Clockwise from top left: Marc
Sciance’s trash pit finds included an
embossed “FOR PIKE’S PEAK” whisky
flask and a log cabin bitters bottle; a clay
ink recovered by Doug Harris; medicine
bottle and umbrella ink found by Jason
Hinton; fruit jarlid embossed “LUDLOW
PATENT / JUNE 28, 1859” dug by John
Velke; and an embossed “PAT. / JAN /
1861” bottle stopper designed by Samuel

Whitney and found by Sean Watson.

Photos by Butch Holcombe

Photos by Mike Cox On the last day of the hunt, a have now evolved into hundreds of peo-
Photo by Butch Holcombe barbecue dinner is tradi- ple hunting on sites that are hundreds to
tionally provided for the thousands of acres.
participants, and relics are placed on the
tables for everyone to see. This is one of Many have compared DIV events to
my favorite times of the hunts. It is so a family reunion and it really does feel
amazing to see what others have found. that way. On the first day at registration,
“Diggin’ in Virginia” was begun by John many people meet and visit and catch up
and Rose Kendrick 10 years ago with just on events that have passed since they last
a few people and a small site. The events saw each other. Those new to the hunts
quickly realize that almost everyone here

This love token, recovered by Photos by Kim Joca
Mike Cox with a Minelab GPX
4800, is made from an 1853 This “bell” carved from a bullet George Joca proudly holds the
Seated Liberty silver quarter. was found by Marc Sciance US belt plate that he’d just dug
Found in what is believed to with a Minelab GPX 5000.
be a camp of the 2nd North in the snow on the first day
Carolina Infantry, it may while using a White’s TDI.
have belonged to Pvt. Francis
Jordan, who was the only
person in the regiment with
the initials “FJ” present for
duty when it was lost. Jordan
enlisted in May 1861 in Jones
County, North Carolina and
was killed in October 1863, at

Bristoe Station, Virginia.

July-August, 2014 American Digger® 35

American Digger® magazine was well represented at
the hunt, as shown by these photos. Clockwise from top
left: Jeff Lubbert (cohost of American Digger®’s Relic
Roundup show), publisher Butch Holcombe, and copy
editor John Velke tackle a pit; editorial staff members
Eric Garland and John Velke working a second hut site;
relics found by Garland and Velke in the second pit; but-
ton with uniform remains found by Eric Garland (Gar-
rett Infinium); finds by Jeff Lubbert (Garrett ATX);
surface finds by Butch Holcombe (Garrett ATX and
Minelab 4800 with 11” Coiltek AI coil); “News-n-Views”
columnist Mark Schuessler’s (White’s TDI) finds; and

freelance author Randy Schuh’s (White’s TDI) relics.

Photos by Butch Holcombe, Randy Schuh, and Sean Watson

A few Minelab GPX users is friendly and helpful. These newcomers beat a major snow storm moving in, but
opted for the Coiltek anti- will leave with memories that they’ll still offered me a ride to the site.
interference search coils to cherish forever.
block out nearby detectors and This is what it is about. Sure, we find
other interference. These also A bake sale is held before the hunts, relics, but meeting new friends and see-
proved tough in the adverse with the money going to local charities. I ing old ones is priceless. The spring DIV
conditions, as shown by this get the homemade pecan pie every time hunts are now over and hundreds of us
and it is delicious. I love attending these are anxiously waiting for the fall hunt.
photo taken on the first day. events as I find relics, eat good food, vis- Many thanks to all who make it possible!
it other hunters, and make new friends.
36 American Digger® Vol. 10, Issue 4 About the Author
One such friend is Bill Butski from Randy Schuh has been metal de-
Niagara Falls, New York, whom I met tecting since 1979. Living in east
for the first time last year. He was having Tennessee, he hunts many Civil
a hard time getting his detector to find War sites, always with permission.
relics. We buried a bullet and button and With over 20 Confederate ances-
let him adjust his machine to hear them. tors, Randy is a also a member of
He then walked to the bottom of the hill the Sons of Confederate Veterans.
and found one of the best dug Confeder-
ate Artillery “A” buttons that I have ever
seen. This year, I needed a ride to the site
on the third day. Bill and his wife were
preparing to go home early so they could

This spring featured back-to-back Diggin’ In Virginia hunts. Just before DIV XXVII, there
was DIV XXVI. To say weather conditions were a challenge is an understatement.

Day One Day Three

Photo by Donnie Bailey Photo by Donnie Bailey

Photo by Jeff Lubbert Photo by Mike Cox PhotoPbhyotRo bicykRiHckoHrosresleyly Photo by Butch Holcombe
Photo by Jeff Lubbert
Photo by Shown here are some assorted finds from the Photo by B.J. Lucero
Ambrose three-day DIV XXVI hunt. Clockwise from above
Wetzelberger left: Bormann fused 6-pound cannonball dug by
Todd Harrington (Minelab GPX 5000); Virginia
Photo by Mike Cox button found by Mike Cox (Minelab GPX 4800);
Royal Provincials Revolutionary War button dug
by Rick Horsely (Garrett ATX); Mississippi “I”
button found by Jason Thomas (Minelab GPX
4800); non-regulation spur dug by Ken Weitlauf;
Confederate sling buckle found by B. J. Lucero;
Sean Watson (White’s TDI) is shown recovering
two spurs from one hole; trash pit finds by Jason
Hinton and Rocky Lockley (both use Minelab GPX
5000s); assorted finds by Mike Cox (GPX 4800);
and silver colonial cufflinks dug by Ambrose

Wetzelberger (Minelab GPX 5000).

Photo by Dave Copper Photo by Jeff Lubbert July-August, 2014 American Digger® 37

Photo by Jeff Lubbert

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38 American Digger® Vol. 10, Issue 4

to Pea

By Stephen Burgess

Early in 2013, I received a call from Sandy
Dolle concerning metal detectorists who
might be interested in assisting the Na-
tional Park Service with a metal detector survey
at the Pea Ridge National Battlefield Park lo-
cated in Arkansas. Having taken part in a simi-
lar survey in 2001 through 2003, I was elated at
being able to participate again, and got right to
work locating other participants. By April 22nd,
the first day of the survey, there were seven of us
detector operators (or amateur archaeologists, as
we like to think of ourselves) plus Sandy. Some
could only participate for just that day, or a day
or two, but a few, including me, intended to go
the whole week. That Monday morning, the Na-
tional Park Service archaeologist in charge of the
survey, Steven De Vore, met with all of us, along
with several other Park Service associates in the
park’s conference room.

Mr. De Vore explained how the state highway
that cut through the edge of the park was going to
change its route and finally be completely outside of
the park. He also explained how the approximately
seven-mile-long park tour road was also going to
change. Then he showed us the maps of the four
different proposals for the park road changes, and
finally discussed how we needed to metal detect
all of the proposed new routes, if possible, by the
end of the week. After explaining what he expected
of us, he introduced retired National Park Service
archaeologist Doug Scott. Mr. Scott, who is prob-
ably best known for his survey of the Little Big-
horn Battlefield, had also been in charge of the Pea

July-August, 2014 American Digger®® 39

Fresh from the dirt, a 3.67 caliber Hotchkiss bolt found by Doug Scott is the Pea Ridge National Battlefield Park,
shown above, while elsewhere on this page is a Bormann fuse recovered by and members of his local crew which in-
Gordon McCain, Jr. Artillery-related finds were abundant at the site, as cluded Kevin Eads, Troy Banzhaf, Betha-
diggers like Sandy Dolle (shown on the title page seconds after she dug a 12- ny Henry, Matt Fry, and Virginia Dyer. Fi-
nally, participating on behalf of the State
pounder Bormann fused cannonball) can attest. of Arkansas was Dr. Carlson Drexler of
_________________ the Arkansas Archaeological Survey.

Ridge survey we did from 2001 to 2003. or relic, and did not give a rebel yell upon Our first assignment was to scan a
Although retired, Doug wanted to help discovery, our digging bud had the right field of a few acres, directly in front of the
with the most recent dig at Pea Ridge. to take the item away from us. visitor center, and between that building
and the existing highway. It lay quite a
After all the introductions and expla- Continuing on, I asked, “If I dig a distance from most of the serious fighting
nations, Mr. De Vore wanted to know if pelican (Louisiana) button by the tavern, of the battle, and we didn’t expect to find
any of us had any questions. As most of and give a rebel yell, will you let me keep much. We had to do the survey, though,
those present were old friends, I could it?” Mr. De Vore looked a little wide-eyed as in the future the small field could pos-
not resist being a smart aleck. but, with a smile, finally said most em- sibly become a parking lot. As expected,
phatically, “NOooo!” After my facetious it produced very few relics: a couple of
I spoke up and explained to him how test of his authority, we were ready to go. dropped musket balls and a fired bullet
most of us detectorists, if hunting camp- The metal detector operators ready to as- or two. That was about it. There was a
sites on private property, would act upon sist the park service were Tom Bowen, modern silver St. Christopher medal
finding a bona fide Confederate artifact. Jr., Stephen Burgess, Sandy Dolle, Doug found, but otherwise it was just the usual
I explained how if we were hunting with Dorothy, Jack Ferguson, father and son pull tabs, Lincoln Memorial cents, and
a partner and found a Confederate button team Matt and Nick Longwith, Gordon modern trash. After lunch, Mr. De Vore
McCain Jr., and Jim Trammell. Doug moved the group up three-quarters of a
40 American Digger®® Vol. 10, Issue 4 Scott also operated a metal detector, as mile north towards the Elkhorn Tavern
did several of the park service personnel and into the woods.
at various times.
Now we located more artifacts! Only
The National Park Service crew that about a quarter mile south of the tavern,
marked every single find with GPS, and we detected an area that saw some seri-
assisted in many other ways included ar- ous fighting. It was within yards of where
chaeological technician Laura Bender, Union Lt. Colonel Francis J. Herron, of
archaeologists Amanda Davey and Al- the 9th Iowa Infantry, was wounded and
bert LeBeau, and interns Sean Rapier and captured in an area that saw heavy action
Chris Rowe. Also helping at every oppor- on both days of the battle. As soon as we
tunity was John Scott, superintendent of stepped out of our vehicles, nearly every-
one started digging fired bullets and ar-
tillery shell fragments. Although usually
the one cleaning up the pull tabs and shot-
gun shells, I personally dug a couple of
12-pounder fragments and fired .69 cali-
ber Miniés. Then, as we all moved up the
slight incline through the brush towards
the tavern, I managed to become so fo-
cused on detecting artifacts that I never
noticed when I walked directly through
the middle of a deer bed. Because the
Pea Ridge National Battlefield Park is
4,200 acres in size, and wildlife within
its confines is totally protected, it is full
of deer, especially when the hunting sea-
son approaches. They seem to know they
are safe in there, and you will often drive
past a field with several dozen, within a
few yards of your vehicle, just gazing at
you like an old friend. Well, shortly after
walking through that deer bed, I began

Mainspring vice recovered by Matt Long. These everyone excited. That morning, I covered
tools were used to clamp and hold the mainspring myself in some industrial grade pesticide
of a Civil War era musket. This was necessary to of questionable legality, so I knew I
disassemble or repair the weapon’s lock assembly. would be reasonably protected. This day,
we moved into the woods again, just a bit
___________ further west of the Elkhorn Tavern. Once
again, we were soon all locating good
to feel creepy crawlies, and after pulling Franz Sigel to position all his artillery targets. These included shell fragments,
up one pant leg, discovered I had small for a bombardment. Sigel placed the fired bullets, case shot balls, and musket
seed ticks, by the hundreds, racing to majority of the Army of the Southwest’s balls. As we worked along a strip of
see who could bite my best parts first! I artillery so that it was in position to shell woods just below part of the current
ran, I rubbed, I clawed, I cursed myself the area around Elkhorn Tavern and the tour road, Nick Longwith moved into a
for forgetting the bug spray, and finally ridge to the west. According to contem- small spot with multiple targets. There,
got deeper in the woods so that I could porary reports, citizens in Fayetteville, he uncovered multiple case shot balls and
pull down my pants. Just as I was telling Arkansas, almost 35 miles south, heard shell fragments.
myself my best parts might not be there the guns. For two hours on the second
anymore, I heard the other volunteers day of the battle, Sigel shelled the Con- Finally, after Nick seemed to have
hollering something. It sounded like “A federate and Missouri State Guard posi- located all the targets in his immedi-
shell! A shell!” tions until Earl Van Dorn, the Confeder- ate area, we headed west, back towards
ate commander, decided to retire to the our start point from that morning. As we
It turns out, that while I was off to southeast. moved to the right and up the slope, there
the side inspecting my bug ridden car- were more targets. I recovered several
cass, Sandy Dolle had moved just up the Sandy was excited about her shell, shell fragments, and noticed other folks
hill from our last stop. Near a large tree, but so was everybody else. We all be- digging fragments, fired bullets, and
she dug a completely intact 12-pounder gan detecting with renewed enthusiasm, even a few horseshoes. Doug Scott and
Bormann fused shell! Of course, every- and I nearly forgot how eaten up I was Kevin Eads stopped just down the hill
one had to stop and go inspect Sandy’s from the waist down. The remainder of and it became obvious they were digging
intact cannonball. the day produced more shell fragments, a large hole. A few more minutes and
fired bullets, and iron Confederate case their excitement peaked, and those of us
The shell’s location was a perfectly shot balls. closest had to go see the reason. What
logical one. On March 8th, 1862, Union a good reason it was, too! Doug had
General Samuel Curtis directed General Day two of the search began with detected a completely intact 3.67-inch
Hotchkiss bolt (solid shot), with nose,
sabot, and base cup still intact. It was in
such good condition that we knew, once
it was cleaned and preserved, that it was
going to be a beauty.

After lunch, the whole group moved
to the east side of Elkhorn Tavern where
we were to detect both a potential tour
road area, and along the old Huntsville
road. In what remained of the afternoon,

Scarce two-ring Mississippi bullet
found by author Stephen Burgess.

JJuullyy--AAuugguusstt,, 22001144 AAmmeerriiccaann DDiiggggeerr®® 4411

Hotchkiss base cup recovered by but not the iron Confederate examples. Above is a canister ball that had just
Gordon McCain, Jr. in the woods After lunch, we moved again to the been recovered by Stephen Burgess.
Below, a deformed 6-pound canister
southeast of Elkhorn tavern. woods southeast of the tavern, and north
__________ of Ruddick’s field. There were a lot of base plate found by Jim Trammell.
artifact signals remaining. In a small
we found a few fired bullets and miscel- spot not eight feet in diameter, under the future, and assist in finding the best
laneous lead. some fallen limbs, Gordon McCain, Jr. new route for the tour road. Everyone
detected the base cup to a 3.67 Hotch- involved, including the National Park
On day three, we traveled roughly kiss shell, a nearly perfect Bormann Service folks, State of Arkansas, and
east down the old track of the Huntsville fuse, and a large shell fragment. Every- citizen metal detector operators, had
Road, detecting the roadbed itself and one detected and recovered artifacts. shown themselves to be enthusiastic
several yards on either side of it, until I found the world’s most mashed Bor- and genuinely interested in the history
we came to the west edge of the historic mann fuse, and an early pattern Missis- of the battle, making for a fun and suc-
Clemons field. Here, we turned south sippi Rifle bullet, as well as an unusual cessful four days.
in the direction of one of the proposed three-ring Minié with super-thick cavity
tour routes. Again, we detected fired walls. About the Author
bullets, mostly conical .69 caliber three- Stephen Burgess has been digging
ring Miniés. Matt Longwith uncovered On day four, we finished up in the and collecting Civil War relics for
a beautifully preserved mainspring vice woods, and began in the north edge of over 30 years, mostly in Arkansas
for muskets, which seemed like an odd Ruddick’s field. Right off the bat, we and Missouri. Through the week,
thing to find on a battlefield, but who detected the nearly golf ball size iron he grinds corn at a water-powered
knows what occurred in the lines during canister balls, several different types of gristmill, established in 1838, and
the actual hours of the battle. A little fur- shell fragments, and fired bullets. Mov-
ther south, I recovered half of a broken ing across the field and into the woods runs an online relic business,
base plate to a round of 6-pound can- on the south side, Jim Trammel dug a
ister, and again, numerous small iron really neat and complete base plate to
Confederate case shot balls. a 6-pound canister round. When it was
cleaned a bit the impression of the balls
I presume everyone knows what in the plate became visible. Tom Bow-
I’m talking about when I mention the en, Jr. detected a very unusual musket
Confederate case shot balls, but just in ball, one that appeared to be covered
case anyone is unfamiliar with them, I’ll with sprue marks – not the just the sin-
explain. Due to the shortage of lead in gle sprue mark you often see, but over a
the South, Confederate case shot artil- dozen of them evenly spaced around the
lery shells were often filled with small ball. Everyone recovered artifacts, and
caliber iron balls instead of the .69 lead after nearly four full days of searching
balls usually found in Union case shot and digging, some of us were lagging a
projectiles. The Union case shot balls little in our stride.
can easily be mistaken for a musket ball,
On Friday, which was slated to be
42 American Digger® Vol. 10, Issue 4 the fifth and last day of the survey, we
waited several hours for thunderstorms
and dangerous lightning to abate, but it
was not to be. Looking at the weather
radar, there was one storm front after
another, and just before noon we were
declared done for the day.

In the course of four days, we had
detected, recovered, and pinpointed on
GPS units almost 1,000 Civil War arti-
facts, along with the usual wire, nails,
horseshoes, pull tabs, shotgun shells,
and other miscellaneous junk. Some
items were recovered in unexpected
areas, and in some areas where we ex-
pected to find items, there just weren’t
any. Perhaps the final results of our sur-
vey will help to interpret the battle in



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Sometimes big
things come in
small packages.

By Glenn Harbour

October 2008:
Big Brook

Marlboro, New Jersey

I had to hurry. It was almost
twilight. The purpose of my end-of-the
day run was realized. I’d fished up a
beautiful argylite, archaic-aged spear
point, but now it was time to move.
You don’t want to be hiking the ravine
with no light. Double-timing past the
gravel bars and through the shallows,
I started to walk right past a very large
vertebra stuck in the mud. I came to
an immediate halt. Wow — that was
the biggest cow vert I’d ever seen! I
stepped back to have a closer look ...

T March 27, 2013: That fateful day in the early spring of 2013 found me
he “cow vert” from ‘08 turned out to be a mast- retracing my steps in Hop Brook in Holmdel, Monmouth
odon vertebra and process bone from a large spec- County, New Jersey. Two weeks earlier, I’d made some ex-
imen. And it was a beauty! During the Ice Age, cellent finds on the same run. These included a plesiosaur
middle New Jersey was what I’ve come to refer tail vertebra, an Archaic-age spear point and two big sharks’
to as “Paleo Central.” The reasons are mostly geographic. teeth. But on March 27, I was finding only other hunters’
footprints and little else. Also, I was playing hooky from
The last of four major ice sheets was retreating north work, so after about an hour, I turned around to head out.
about 12,000 years ago, settling on what is now Manhat-
tan Island. Central Jersey became tundra, providing veg- Just after executing my about-face, I noticed a jumble of
etation on which animals could browse. The megafauna bones to my left at the bottom of the embankment. It looked
(large mammals) followed, and Paleo Indians followed the like another pile of butcher bone (which litter the creeks
megafauna. Today, Pleistocene (Ice Age) fossils and Native from our many historic farms in Monmouth County) but,
American artifacts are often found here, and in the past 50 due to the high occurrence of Ice Age materials in the area,
years some of these discoveries have been significant. I felt I had to investigate. I immediately identified the bone
pile as pieces of some type of skull, but there was a lot of
I received quite a bit of press and recognition after my breakage and more mud than skull. I carefully lifted as much
2008 find. I had officially entered the pantheon of important as possible and carried it to the water’s edge for washing.
local contributors. However, the Pleistocene era in central
New Jersey was not done with me yet. Not by a long shot.

44 American Digger® Vol. 10, Issue 4

I looked around as if the
entire world were watching.
My mind began to race.
Who should I tell? Should
I start making phone calls
now? What would I do
with it? Would the skull, as
fragile as it was, survive

and could I preserve it?

The general shape of the skull was that of an elephant and Above: Hop Brook,located in Monmouth
the teeth (which were slowly coming into view after several County, New Jersey, was the site of the
washes) also looked like some type of pachyderm. But the juvenile mastodon skull find. On the
whole skull was very small. title page, the skull is shown along with
an 1801 sketch by Rembrandt Peale,
I continued to clean. About where the maxilla (upper
jaw) was located, there was a long bone protrusion with “Working Sketch of the Mastodon.”
something loose inside. I carefully turned it upside down _________________
and gently shook it. Out fell a straight, short section of tusk.
(over the phone) he had incorrectly speculated that, because
Yes, it was a mastodon skull and, obviously, a baby at of the small size and the inclusion of a tusk, I had found a
that. I had truly stumbled upon a magnificent find. I looked boar. My conversations with him were but the calm before
around as if the entire world were watching. My mind be- the storm.
gan to race. Who should I tell? Should I start making phone
calls now? What would I do with it? Would the skull, as By week’s end, the phone calls started to come;
fragile as it was, survive and could I preserve it? first in a trickle, then a flood. Most of the com-
ments concerning my find included some varia-
What happened next was nothing less than what New tion on “What I had to do,” “What I was obli-
Englanders refer to as a “Nantucket sleigh ride.” If nothing gated to do,” “What the responsible thing to do was,” and
else, I was about to learn a lesson and learn it well. When more moral guidance concerning my find. Everywhere I
you find something noteworthy (such as my 2008 mastodon went, advice poured in, whether solicited or not. Other ad-
find), there are congratulations and best wishes all around. vice ranged from “Don’t donate it, the museum guys will
When, however, you discover something truly fantastic, steal it” to “Only take top dollar for it.” In short order, I was
everyone who considers themselves more informed on the less happy than confused.
subject wants to own it, take credit for it, or severely criti-
cize the finder. They say every find is an education. Well, I I had to decide the fate of this incredible find and the
was about to get schooled. longer I waited, the more the pressure mounted. Then, by
chance, a date and event on my calendar helped to guide
And this piece was fantastic. As far as the museum peo-
ple could ascertain, my find was one of the earliest, most July-August, 2014 American Digger® 45
complete mastodon skulls recorded. But the skull (broken
largely along suture lines) was also very fragile, and this,
along with several other reasons, was why I was leaning
toward donation to a museum. I am a competent field resto-
rationist, but the “Mastobaby” (as I began to call it) needed
much more care. Of course, this meant an official donation,
so I would be swimming in uncharted waters. Also, the pub-
lic and future generations would benefit from meeting Mas-
tobaby. I’m a hunter and collector, but I felt this particu-
lar find this should be shared with anyone interested, and
I didn’t have a venue for that. My baby would have to go.

A local New Jersey paleontologist confirmed that my
find was, in fact, an infant mastodon, although previously

The only thing left to do
was sign the loan papers
for the museum. A basic
four-point plan was
developed including:
complete restoration of
the skull (with a possible
cast for my collection),
radiocarbon dating,
completion of a scientific
write-up, and a permanent
display at the State Museum
with credit given to me for
finding the skull.


One of the many fossil recovery A technical article by academics was planned by the mu-
sites that the author has explored seum and, supposedly, I would be the coauthor. They worried
in Monmouth County, New Jersey. that any information that preceded their paper might confuse the
facts. Also, with a find of this magnitude, reputations could be at
_________________ stake. I had to come up with a compromise, and fast; Dino Day
was less than a month away.
my hand. On the 21st of April I attended an annual event
in Marlboro (where I had displayed my other mastodon After conferring with the reporter from the Asbury Park
bone in‘08) called “Dino Day.” I was in charge of the Pa- Press, an agreement was reached: no pseudo scientific facts, no
leolithic displays, which included my Paleo points and Ice “X” marks the spot, no opinions. We would do it “Dragnet” style:
Age fossils. Dave Parris (curator at the New Jersey State “Just the facts.” If the reporter would pen a very general, topical
Museum in Trenton) attends every year, mainly to repre- piece, the paleontologists would be appeased and I’d have my
sent the museum. Dave is an old acquaintance and mentor vital provenance. Everyone would be happy. Hopefully.
and, most importantly, someone I could trust. A viable plan
was coming into focus. The article that was published a week later exceeded
my expectations. The only glitch was a video that accom-
I would loan the skull to the state museum, giving it panied the piece online that was erroneously titled: “Dino
to Dave on Dino Day. But first, there was the all-impor- Skull Discovered.” I received several “I told you so” calls
tant task of procuring provenance. This is the history of the and had to arrange for an official correction. But provenance
find, not the artifact. For the sake of posterity, I needed to was achieved; in fact, one of the local weeklies picked up the
inform the local paper of record (in this case the Asbury article and it made the front page.
Park Press) of the facts concerning how and when the skull
was located. This was especially important, considering the
gravity of this particular find. I was not going to let someone
else get the credit. There was, however, one other problem:
The scientific community was strongly advising against a
local write-up.

46 American Digger® Vol. 10, Issue 4

itself turned out to be more of a reception for the Masto-
baby skull than a fossil exhibit. This was due to the tim-
ing of the release of the second article the day before the
show. It made for the best turnout in the show’s history.
The attendees included not only reporters and a local ca-
ble channel crew, but New Jersey Lieutenant Governor
Kim Guadagno (who is from Monmouth County), a rep-
resentative from the Smithsonian’s Museum of Natural
History, and many more VIPs. I’ve never shaken so many
hands; so many, in fact, that I awoke the next morning
with a nasty cold.

But, of course, it was well worth every cough and
sniffle and I was hugely grateful to all involved.

Fall, 2013
It has been months since Dino Day and events con-
cerning Mastobaby continue to develop. Dave, from the
museum, arranged for a restoration expert to begin the
conservation process and a grant was awarded to the mu-
seum for radiocarbon dating. This is the key to determin-
ing when these Ice Age giants were wandering through
what are now our back yards. The age of Mastobaby was
confirmed at 12,470 (+/- 60) years), and it is now on dis-
play at the New Jersey State Museum, located at 205 West
State Street in Trenton, New Jersey.

Mastobaby now rests safely at the About The Author
New Jersey State Museum over 12,000 Glenn Harbour has been digging and studying
items of the past for most of his life on both
years after her death. the west and the east U.S. coasts. He considers
_________________ himself to be a amateur scientist and treats his
finds with a professional viewpoint, including
The only thing left to do was sign the loan papers sharing the information via published articles.
for the museum. The museum and I worked out
a four-point plan which included complete res-
toration of the skull (with a possible cast for my
collection), radiocarbon dating, completion of a scientific
write-up, and a permanent display of the skull at the State
Museum with credit given to me for finding it. Of course,
before the last step, I’d have to give the fossil to the mu-
seum outright.

Dino Day came and went without a hitch. The show

July-August, 2014 American Digger® 47

School Days

By Peggy Gould

Nestled in the heart of Bluegrass Country stands Stewart waters were similar to the waters of Cheltenham Springs in England,
Home School, a private residential school for special needs which were believed to have cured various diseases.
children and adults. Recently, Stewart Home School cel-
The property was then sold to Dr. Joseph G. Roberts, who, in

ebrated Founder’s Day, marking 120 years of special care for special 1839, announced that he could accommodate from eighty to one

people. Stewart Home School was founded in 1893 by Dr. John hundred guests during the summer. By 1840, he had enlarged the

Quincy Adams Stewart, and the school has stayed in the Stewart facilities to accommodate two to three hundred guests.

family ever since. Currently run by members of the fourth and fifth The second reason the school might be of interest to diggers and

generation of Stewarts, there are plenty of sixth and seventh gen- collectors is because the resort closed by the mid-1800s and in 1847

eration descendants to take the reins became the first home for the Ken-

when the time comes. tucky Military Institute – the oldest

Perhaps by now you are won- private military preparatory school

dering why the above information in the United States. Founded in

is in a magazine mainly devoted 1845 by General Robert T. P. Allen,

to metal detecting and collecting. and chartered in 1847 by the Com-

There are several reasons which will monwealth of Kentucky, KMI re-

become apparent in this article. mained at the old Scandlan Springs

First, the buildings that house property until 1888, housing, edu-

Stewart Home School began their cating, and training many hundreds

lives in the 1820s as Scandlan of young men.

Springs – a resort hotel and spa And the third reason this

known for its healing waters. As the is in a publication like America

story goes, Edmund Scandlan and Digger®? I, Peggy Gould, am the

his wife, Anna, came from Virginia head of the Academic Program at

to settle down in the Farmdale, Above is the main building of the Stewart Stewart Home School, and also a
Kentucky area. After living there for Home School. This was the original building detectorist! This is the story of the
a while, Mr. Scandlan discovered of the Scanlan Springs Resort, and later, history that I uncovered, and the
that the water from one of the KMI. At the top of page is a watercolor of the satisfaction my husband Ralph and
springs had an odd taste and smell. I received by returning the artifacts
Kentucky Military Institute, ca. 1845-1888.
It was later discovered that these we’d found to the Stewart family.

48 American Digger® Vol. 10, Issue 4

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