passionate detectorist

A short history of a passionate detectorist

Maryland-based IT professional Chad has channeled his deep passion for history into detecting, by researching locations and finds so that he can better share their stories with others. Here, Chad tells us how he got into detecting, what he gets out of it, and his top tips to start swinging.

What inspired you to start detecting?

Several years ago I got hooked on a TV show called ‘Diggers’. I would watch them go to cool places throughout the world and find some amazing things, and I would always say to myself, “I should do that!” About four years ago, I bought my first detector for the creek behind my house. It didn’t take long for me to get hooked.

I then started watching YouTube videos of other detectorists, with Charles Harley quickly becoming a favorite and inspiring me to start my own YouTube channel, Digging History ’76, in the hopes that I can help inspire others too. I was very fortunate recently to get to meet Charlie at a metal detecting event.

When did you first use your Coiltek coil?

I bought my first Coiltek coil – the 10×5” NOX – about a year ago. I had been watching reviews on them for a while, and was excited when I finally was able to get my hands on one. It has been my go-to coil ever since. It really is as simple as connecting it up and starting swinging. The weight is perfect for long days out detecting.

How has detecting benefitted your lifestyle?

It’s something I always want to get out and do, so it keeps me very active. I also find it to be very relaxing. When I’m detecting with the noise canceling headphones on, it’s just me and my detector. 

The best benefit though is the new friends I have made who I might not have otherwise met. Getting out together, having fun, and celebrating each other’s finds is really one of the greatest parts of it all. I find myself getting just as excited when they find something cool as when I do.

What advice would you give someone to get started?

Do your research and find the detector that best suits what you are interested in doing. Join a local detecting club if there is one. This will give you a chance to learn from others who have been in the hobby for a while. Get to know your detector and what it’s telling you. Set out some coins, buttons, pull tabs, empty soda cans etc. in your yard and practice.

When you do get out, don’t get discouraged. You will always dig more trash than treasure – but the treasure will make it all worth it. 

And always fill in your holes and take the trash with you. 

Most importantly, have fun! 

What have been your best finds so far?

My most historical find was two early Revenue Marine Service buttons. They were made in the early 1820s and were the first known style made for the service. What makes them so significant is that they were found at the homesite of a gentleman who was known as the ‘Hero of Baltimore’ during the War of 1812. A few years later he was appointed to Captain in the Revenue Marine Service and served until he retired in 1865.

My favorite find has to be the Knights Templar Masonic sword hilt. It was made by swordsmith James Lukar in New York in the 1860s. The sword was made for high-ranking officials within the Masons.