My friend Dave, whose wife has recently become a convert to detecting, ruefully admitted that she was finding more interesting artefacts than him. He contemplated whether he had become complacent and should be re-examining his detecting technique, especially as she was using what could only be described as a ‘cheap beginners’ machine’. Was his swinging action too fast? Was he ignoring what could be positive signals? Or what?
Beginner David Booth’s experience also amplifies the fact that it’s not the make of machine we are using and it’s not necessarily the type of land we have at our disposal, but it’s more likely to be our own fault that we don’t find anything. I hesitate – that’s a bold statement! David found treasure in 2009. What follows is an extract from my scribblings at the time.
David Booth, safari park game warden, finder of the Scottish torcs and current ‘face’ of Garrett detectors – he’s the guy in the adverts – tells me that he is still using an Ace 250. He finds it a great little machine, easy to use for a novice and, although he may upgrade in the future, is more than happy with his choice of detector. And so he should.
In the months following the discovery of the torcs David has found the usual buttons, spindle whorls, musket balls and modern coins. He talks fondly of the mediaeval dagger pommel and harness mount he unearthed, but the find that gave him a ‘feeling he will never forget’ is his first hammered coin – Scottish, of course! His appetite had been whetted by coins he had seen on detecting forums so when he came across his first, he instantly knew what it was and couldn’t wait for a full identification. David has gone on to find even more.
For those wondering what has happened to those wonderful torcs, I can tell you they were on temporary exhibition at the National Museum of Edinburgh for a while but are now being valued before being allocated (presumably) to a museum. Archaeologists were hoping to return to the find spot during the Spring to carry out further excavations.
I think there is a very simple reason for the success of my friend’s wife, David and other beginners – the fact that they don’t necessarily understand what discrimination is all about or are simply unimpressed by the concept! To put it simply, my friend’s wife chooses to dig more signals than him.
Although it is probably one of the greatest innovations of recent years, I think many detectorists over-use discrimination, including myself! We have become spoiled by the features available on ‘high-end’ detectors and choose not to dig what we think might be junk. Don’t misunderstand me, discrimination is a great tool, but I think that moderation of its use is the key to better targets. Remember – some signals require closer examination.
Mr Booth Says …
“I’ve been detecting for ten months now and think I’ve have been incredibly lucky to say the least! On my very first trip out I was fortunate to discover a hoard of Iron Age gold torcs. You may recollect seeing them on the front cover of the February Searcher magazine. Since then I’ve had several good finds including medieval hammered coins, including some good Scottish examples, and various medieval artefacts.
I upgraded detectors a few months ago from a Garrett Ace 250 to a Minelab E-Trac and although the learning curve has been very steep I think the change has made a positive difference in my find rate.”