I found a 1940’s hold home that became vacant due to new construction of a park area. Three weeks went by until I could find the perfect Saturday morning.for the hunt. The night before I imagined or dreamed of the silver lurking beneath the surface. I get up at dawn, have some coffee and then head out to search the site. Only to find they had leveled the home and moved in about 3 feet of dirt to landscape for the new park. Ugh! The day before I drove by and the house was still there and the soil untouched. So next time I spot a home that is the target of new construction, I will hunt it ASAP.
When you are driving around scouting for a new old home site, don’t forget mail boxes. Out in the country when small dirt roads branched off paved roads you would often set 5 – 10 mail boxes clustered on the side of the paved road. This is because the postman back in the 30’s, 40’s & 50’s used their own cars to deliver rural and would not go down the dirt roads which were muddy in the winter and spring and dry and dusty in the summer and fall. This is my guess on why they didn’t put mail boxes down the dirt roads. Well, no matter the reason, the fact is that they did and still do cluster mail boxes together on the main road for the smaller road where houses were built. Maybe it just saved the postman time. People in the country often did not have stamps and just left change in the mail box. Some of that changed got dropped. So when you see these cluster of rural mail boxes, you may consider pulling over and detecting around the mail boxes. It is a relative small area to search and almost always the mail box posts were made of wood. I have often found some nice silver in about 1 out of 20 rural mail boxes searched.
One of the best indicators of old home sites are big old oak trees with an open space. In the late 1800’s and early 1900’s people located home sites based on large oak trees. This is because there were nature’s natural air conditioners and heaters. In the summer the oak had leaves and shaded the home and front porch keeping it cool. In the Winter the oak trees lost their leaves and allowed the winter sun through to heat the home.
I have developed a second sight where when driving around I just notice big oak trees on empty lots. Nine times out of ten when I use historicaerials.com to go back in time on the old topo maps, I find that there was indeed an home at this location. You would be surprised that even in the suburban area of a major city like Atlanta you can find quite a few old home sites just by looking at the large trees on empty lots. This one in the picture was confirmed using historic aerials and also finding beds of daffodils and several peach trees which both items are planted and do not grow wild.
We often forget that when we go metal detecting whether in the woods or even in seemingly safe neighborhoods we are at the mercy of poisonous snakes, venomous spiders, wasps and yellow jackets and the ever present tick which can cause lime disease. And then there is poison ivy, sumac and ok to worry about.
I always spray on insect repellant that contains 25% deet around my boots, feet and ankle areas and any other areas of exposed skin. More than once I have forgotten to spary and found some ticks up in my groin area where they seem to particularly fond of. My dermatologists told me you must get a shot when you find a tick on your body to prevent lime disease. Good advice is don’t stick your hand anywhere you cannot clearly see. Don’t put them in holes (your dug holes are ok), under boards, in rock nooks. You may surprise a snake or spider and they may do more than surprise you. Using good gloves is a good practice. I once was digging a hole and felt a sharp bite and it was a spider in the ground. It got my finger but other than the brief pain, not harm was done. I was lucky that time. I always wear good gloves at all times when digging for finds. In the south we have to be especially careful of yellow jacket nests. They have a tendency for all of them attack a person or animal when you are near their nest. I have experienced this three times in my life (all when just wearing shorts and tee shirts) and found it to be very painful. Had to take some Benadryl capsules to lessen the pain. When you see more than one yellow jacket flying near you, be aware that you might be close to their nest. Avoid that area at all costs. Save that area to hunt in the dead of the winter. If you get bit by a snake and don’t recognize it as a poisonous snake, then look at the bleeding holes. Water moccasins, rattle snakes and copperheads have fangs and will leave two evenly spaced puncture marks. You need to seek treatment ASAP! Non-poisonous snakes leave small multiple puncture marks with their many teeth, not just two fang marks. Be aware of lakes, rivers and creeks, they are the favored by the snakes because of the fish and frog they eat as food. The non-poisonous snakes have a chemical in their mouths that make you bleed more. This is really nothing to worry about. In the south you don’t have to worry as much about these hazards during the late fall and winter. But come spring and summer you have to very much aware of these dangers when metal detecting. So be aware and be safe in your metal detecting hunts.
www.metaldetectingguides.com – Bottle dumps are often found when hunting old home sites. There is usually some metal in an old bottle dump. When you dig some metal and find bottles especially old embossed bottles put your detector aside and start carefully digging out these bottles. Old embossed and colored bottles that used stoppers can be worth a lot of money on eBay. Be sure to use your toughest gloves when digging these dumps.