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My experiment and target ids


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A couple years ago when I first started MDing I watched every youtube video I could. I was looking for the ones that taught you how to detect. The one's where hunting was also shown I kept track of the tids(vids) of the targets being recovered, mostly where the rings that were dug landed. I converted many tids, on paper, so I could figure out where they fell on the T2 scale and dug those numbers religiously. This was a good starting point in my MDing endevours, but I always was wondering what I might be missing as hunting by the numbers gave me many reasons to not dig other numbers. What could those "off" numbers be hiding?

I then saw a video by Tony where he showed the tids of many rings on the Nox 800. This video showed that a silver or gold ring hits every number on the nox's positive scale. Well then, it stands to reason that any scale, of any detector, would also hit a silver or gold ring at any number above iron. So I started an experiment.

I took a small part (60'x60') of a park close to where I live and dug every signal, every tid number that rang up, attempting to clear everything from this area. I ran the T2 in all metal, for the most part.

The park was built around 1800 in a town that was only five years old at the time. The soil has a pretty good reading 79-84 on the ground balance of the T2. There was a flood in 1935 where this park was three feet underwater for about ten days. The park was close to an old school, church and fair grounds. Heavily used back in the day. I grided the small area four ways, twice, digging every signal. Many of the old timers stopped to see what I was finding. These guys assured me that they had dug the park clean back in the 70s and 80s. I am sure they took a lot of silver and old coins from the 8 inch to surface layer, but dug clean it was not.

This 8 inch to surface layer is important. It holds a lot of stuff, mostly modern and a lot of trash. Some finds however, were fairly old. The older stuff from this layer were almost always masked with something else. A buffalo nickle and a piece of can, indianhead penny with a pencil top, etc. There were also a few modern coin spills with four or five coins whose tid was somewhere in the "not sure if I should dig that" catagory. And there was gold, a 48 produced an old ladies ring, same sound as those tops off a gatorade bottle (they suck)....a 68 produced a nice gold broach, same sound as a pulltab with a beaver tail (they suck)....a 52-53 produced a 10K cufflink, same sound as a piece of canslaw (that sucks). I also pulled some rosies and mercury dimes, buffalo nickles, wheaties and ihps that rang where they should, but some coins, I'm guessing they were on egde, rang up with numbers no where near where the numbers should be for those targets. All from the 8inch to the surface layer. Many with different and "off" tids.

As that layer became clean of targets, the layer below it opened up. I did not expect this.

This 'new' layer wasn't heard before, for the most part, I'm guessing, because of the stuff above it. This layer, which I am now working on and ended the year with is the 8 to 15 inch layer. You can almost see the years go by inch by inch as you dig deeper. Now instead of the silver finds being rosies or mercs, they are barbers and seated. Instead of the pennies being wheaties and 1900 or newer ihps, they go backwards to the 1860s. Instead of nickles being buffalos and jeffersons, they are Vs and Shields. Even the junk is cool from this time period. We'll call that "relics". In this layer there is also the reminants of an old fire, tons of square nails and charcoaled wood pieces. Once I hit the layer of nails I switched the T2 to 4 tones and am still able to pick good targets from the rubble, but the square nails sound off like a good target sometimes.

This is where I left off with the onset of winter. I plan on digging this next layer clean also, until I get to the point where this park started, the year 1800.

I am sure I pulled a 5 gallon bucket of trash by doing this, but the good targets and education has more than made it worth it. I learned that following the tids religiously isn't very important. Up until I got into those nails, any tid could have been hiding something I wanted to dig and you can't pass up a nail that reads the same number as a silver dime or other old coin. I very seldom look at the tids anymore, where ever I'm hunting. This has sped up my hunting; get a repeatable hit, pinpoint the location and dig. Not get a hit, check the tid, cross check it, decide if I really want to dig it, pin point it and dig. That really cuts down the time Mding on each target, which inturn allows for more targets to be dug. I've also come to rely more on the tones when detecting. Now I can't hear the sound of silver, like I've seen described on some youtube shows, (no one can, even those who say they do dig junk when they hear that sound) but I know if it's a good signal coming from the 8 to 15 inch layer of this part of this park, there is a chance it's going to be silver. Close enough of a chance to give it a dig.

So maybe you have a similar place you hunt, an old place with a lot of history, a place where you think there is nothing below the 8 inch mark because everything you dig is above that mark, it could be that those targets are masked, covered by everything above or along side them. Clearing the trash may very well produce those desired targets hiding below. And because that TID number isn't the perfect number of a good target, doesn't mean it's not a good target. Walking away from what you believed to be a gatorade top, could very well mean you didn't dig a gold ring that you had your coil over.

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Great write up Scott. No place is hunted out. People that even suggest such nonsense should be laughed and pointed at. Would I give up on a spot eventually? Sure. However, it would not surprise me at all if a guy behind me went and found some goods I missed. Even I find the goods I missed going back with different coils and detectors.

Sounds very similar to the park I hunt on video so much. However, the only time it is possible to get to that 8+ inch layer is directly after a hard rain since it is so dry here (barely 7 inches total all of last year). I have found 12 inch head-stamps from the 1880's there, but it is super rare to be able to dig that deep. Somebody suggested a 12V cordless drill with a long bit on it. That or a pick axe would be the only way.

That can be a blessing in disguise though. As even Barbers have been found at 2-3 inches here. There is just nowhere for the coin to go. Greg Vittoria (Out West Metal Detecting channel) who is there for most of the live streams...he lives down near Los Angeles in a very dry spot. They have found large cents and reales just about laying on the surface. I think his 8-15 layer is more like 3-8. Tons of 1800's (and 1700's) coins at 1-2-3 inches...multiple sites too. It is bonkers to see.

I honestly don't know if the "fun-factor" is there for me at 10-15 inches...maybe somewhere else in the country. After digging that deep in my dirt - I am likely out of breath, and it had damned well better be silver - or I am getting grumpy. 😀

That being said, the point of the story/lesson is not lost on me. Unmasking is for sure the most difficult task for a detector the handle. So difficult that almost all of them can be fooled with a paper clip (or even an office staple) directly above a 4 inch dime. There is for sure a hidden layer at almost all turn of the century parks that are still in use today. You just have to be able to hear it, only way to do that is to unmask it by force. Good stuff Scott!


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I still enjoy hunting rings most of all and that's why this all started. Then the old coins began showing themselves and pulling a coin from the mid 1800s is pretty cool. Then there is the times when the T2 sounds off with a tid of 90 and the pinpoint function say it's 12 inches down, so you dig it with all the expectations of pulling a silver quarter only to find an old shiny square nail. Kinda takes the fun out of it. Then the next hole gives up that silver or a couple old coins in the same hole, so it sort of balances out. Still I'd rather dig a silver or gold ring. I get much more pleasure with a four ring day than I do with a day filled with old coins.

This experiment however has shown me many things I didn't know or couldn't find in print or on the 'tube. I'm also guessing that the 8-15 inches depth of the stuff in this park has to do with the flood pushing things down quicker. There are parks in towns close by that weren't effected by the flood and the old coins of the same time period are much shallower. You did one of the 101 videos on masking that got me wondering. This has proved that video, and more, in my mind, changing a lot of how I detect.

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  • 1 month later...
A fascinating read Scott. Brilliant write up. Great to gain an understanding of park hunting, correctly approached and executed. Can you imagine what U.K parks must have to offer? They have NEVER been detected properly. The sheer volume of coinage, jewellery, etc, amongst the trash must be enormous. It must be great to get through the upper 'crust' of level one, and begin to pull up those old IHP's, 'V' nickels and 'Shields'. Somewhere amongst that layer, or just under must lurk some really classic silver finds, antique jewellery and, dare I mention it, gold coins, and gold jewellery!
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I could only imagine the layers in an UK park .. It seems that the deeper one goes at this park the fewer coins there are .. I put that down to the fact that there just wasn't that many there to begin with, dropped at the time frame of the layer .. most people just didn't have a pocketful of coins back in 1800 .. but the ones that are found usually are good ones.

The one thing with parks here is the amount of trash you need to go through to get to this point .. in most places one simply, and sanely, just couldn't spend all that time digging garbage from 50 years of park usage to get past it .. a sifter would be a better, more useful tool, than a metal detector .. When I started this, I wasn't even considering there was another layer .. I was trying to see if I could dig a site clean and at the beginning the deep targets were at 8 inches .. I figured that there would be some coins and jewelry masked by the junk that had gone undug by those before me .. I was quite surprised at the number of targets that showed up after the upper layer was getting cleaned and the depth I was now working at .. I had found deep stuff before this .. but this was new, somehow.

I hit a small two field baseball park yesterday and found the TIDs didn't always correspond to the actual target .. I dug 16 nickels with TIDs anywhere from a 53 to a 70 .. a nickel is usually a 58 on the T2 .. I am putting that down to mineralization .. but not quite sure on what else it could be .. still they were solid and repeatable hits, so I dug them .. watching the TID readout gets real old, to me, real fast .. all in all it is a machines 'best guess' and still it gives one a better reason not to dig something than a reason to dig something.

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