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DR INTRO 31/8/06 16:43 Page 1
n over 30 years of involvement in the metal If you do not already have land, then start at
detecting hobby, I have become successful in home and work out from there. Remember also,
making interesting and valuable finds on a regu- that if you live near the coast or a tidal river you
lar basis. I put this down to three factors: should be able to find sites where you may not need
frequent metal detecting forays, local history research, permission to metal detect or where you can buy a
and dowsing. permit. And - before you say you are not interested
in loose change - I know beach and river sites that
The amount of time you spend detecting is largely yield coins and artefacts going back to the Iron Age
up to you, and I can do little other than to say that if and earlier.
lack of search permission prevents you sallying forth,
then local history research will greatly improve your The big question is: what do you research? There
chances of obtaining permissions. Dowsing is covered are many types of site that can be researched, but I
in my earlier publication - The Successful Treasure like to restrict my choice to sites potentially having a
Hunter’s Essential Dowsing Manual and I will con- long history – the longer the better. This is not as dif-
centrate here on research to find those dream sites. ficult to achieve as it might sound; before the
Industrial Revolution early sites tended to be used or
While I would never turn down the opportunity of reused for centuries. It is therefore fairly easy to find
searching any land - as nobody knows what might sites containing losses from many periods, perhaps
have been lost or buried anywhere in the past - if a spanning 2000 years or more.
detectorist habitually searches sites where nothing
much ever happened, then usually his finds bag will Other considerations include the fact that large
contain nothing much. Site research not only results numbers of people, or wealthy persons or traders,
in more and better quality finds, but also often pro- should have frequented the site. And if you can find a
vides reasons as to why we find things where we site that had all three groups – crowds, the wealthy
do….adding interest and a sense of history to our and traders – then providing you can search it with a
fascinating hobby. metal detector you will have a veritable goldmine.The
type of sites that satisfy my criteria are churches, fairs,
Before I start delving into the actual research, it manor houses, markets, mills, trackways, and other
would be prudent to think about where to research in gathering places. The list is not exhaustive and once
terms of locations. It’s all very well finding an interest- you start your research, potentially productive sites
ing site that is a two-hour drive away, but do you want will become obvious.
to waste so much valuable detecting time when you
could find a site nearer home that is just as good? Also, I have basically split the research into two sections
as a generalisation, it is easier to gain permission in – maps and local histories. Maps are pretty essential
places where you are already known. If you already as whatever research you may do, you will need to
have permission to search some land then I would sug- look at a map to place that research into context on
gest that the place to start your research is the parish or the ground.You could actually do your research using
parishes containing that land. Not only might you find just maps but you would be missing out a lot on the
interesting sites on the land itself, but also you will find background details that only local histories will pro-
others nearby and generally “your” landowner will vide, and this could make an enormous difference to
know other landowners for miles around, helping you the success of your research as well as the success of
gain permission for the other sites. your site search.
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