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Thread: metal detecting Gost Towns

  1. #51
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    Artifacts themselves might have some value related to their desirability as a art piece or a piece of historical interest. What people don't understand is that once the piece is removed from the site or even just moved around in the site, it loses a great deal of the scientific information that it can reveal to a trained professional or historical scholar.

    Even tiny fragments of pottery, bone chips, or tool fragments at a archeological "dig" contain a lot of information. They tell the anthropologist when the site was used by whom and how the site was used. The strata where the artifact was found is like a calendar with dates that can be determined by the level at which the discovery is made. All of this information is carefully gathered when a site is excavated.

    It is not that a person shouldn't pick things up and remove them from a site, a person should not even move things around in a site. The museum artifact you see on display in the glass case is really just for public interest. The scientist has already taken notes, measurements, photo's, radioactive carbon dates, and that sort of thing about that artifact. That information all sits in a file folder somewhere back in the museum. For every artifact you see on display, there are thousands more partial artifacts, chips, and fragments stored away in the curators storage area somewhere that relate to that one artifact in the case.

    So, no, a private collector, is not the same as a museum curator. Most of the real scientific information and value was lost when the "pot hunter" picked up that cool-looking arrowhead and took it home to put on a shelf in his study. If a person values science, history and the knowledge of the past, DO NOT, disturb and remove any artifact or historical item from where you find it. Take a photo and contact your local museum curator. Someday, maybe you can take your kid to the museum and the artifact you discovered will be in a glass case and there will be a small plaque with all sorts of cool information that was learned about what you discovered---because you left it right where you found it.

    NJ
    "I got four things to live by: Don't say nothing that will hurt anybody. Don't give advice--nobody will take it anyway. Don't complain. Don't explain." Death Valley Scotty Walter Scott 1872-1954

  2. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tsarevna View Post
    Not meaning to be rude, but this ain't Israel and this ain't England.

    We don't have an ancient history (not one of metal use.) Our government doesn't want to work with metal detectorists because our weak laws protecting antiquities would probably mean they ended up in someone's garage or at ebay auction instead of in an museum.
    OK I have to jump in here.. I realize that ALOT of ghost towners look at metal detector hobbiests as grave robbers but the reality of how most museums operate needs to be addressed. They display the bling. The amazing, important, and valuable relics that attract the public to their museum. The seated Liberty half dollar someone found while metal detecting will most likely sit in a box in the basement of the museum collecting dust until they need to raise funds to buy something else for the "upstairs" display and at that time alot of the stuff in the basement will be sold to the PUBLIC to "make room for new artifacts" Sad maybe, but that's reality. I belong to this fine site as well as a couple "treasure hunting" sites and I always respect the historical aspect of both hobbies. Guys with metal detectors have found long forgotten colonial sites while poking around in the middle of cornfields, etc. These sites would have been lost forever if not for that guy. I don't detect historical sites, battlefields, or cemetaries and I'm tired of guys like me who pursue our hobby within the rules being labelled as thieves & grave robbers.

  3. #53
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    Interseting thread, THANKs to all that are helping to save the historic ghost towns and other history.

    I am a ghost town hunter, a metal detector person, and a volunteer survey person with BLM and Forest service. So I have experience much of what is discussed here. I get the metal detecting question all the time. Where can I go? Is it legal etc. Personally I never detect in a ghost town unless as part of an authorized research project. I confine my detecting to other areas. Preferably Alaska gold fields on private property.

    I know people that pick up stuff and I tell them to put it back, take a photo instead, I have buried (after, taking a Photo, itemizing, gps etc) things I would have loved to put in my back pack. These have always been on survey projects.

    The temptation is always great. The choice is always dependent on the individual and their views and ethics. Too bad all people do not respect what others sacrificed to create the world we live in and enjoy. From prehistoric man to the recent pioneers that opened the country for us.

    Today there is a disposable mentality that sees no value in anything that does not give instant gratification or hold no immediate monetary gain.

    I was recently at a location where an individual had ripped up floors looking for coins or artifacts that may have fallen through the cracks in the floor. The dumps had all been ransacked and cans broken bottles etc scattered around as well as holes dug everywhere. Done correctly, what was taken could have told a real story.

    So THANKS to all that take pictures, leave no trash, dig no holes, disturb no property and still enjoy what they see.
    Visit Colorado Ghost Towns at http://www.rockymountainprofiles.com

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    "I led a quieter life before I got hearing aids." Mike

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  4. #54
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    Mike has it right. There is nothing wrong with a hobby like metal detecting, however---please be aware of the limitations. Just like there is nothing wrong with shooting as a hobby-- but with shooting, the limitations have been established many times over. If you like metal detecting ghost town sites or historical sites, take some classes, talk to some museum curators (they are very open to discuss things with the public), volunteer for some anthropology digs, because what you are doing and interested in is only normal and natural. You want to discover history out there in the wild. There are ways to do that which add immensely to scientific and historical understanding and you should endeavor to be one of those. And there are activities that are quite destructive to an advancement of knowledge. One of the foremost dinosaur experts in southern California is an amateur with no formal training or university or museum affiliation.

    NJ
    "I got four things to live by: Don't say nothing that will hurt anybody. Don't give advice--nobody will take it anyway. Don't complain. Don't explain." Death Valley Scotty Walter Scott 1872-1954

  5. #55

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mikejts View Post
    Interseting thread, THANKs to all that are helping to save the historic ghost towns and other history.

    I am a ghost town hunter, a metal detector person, and a volunteer survey person with BLM and Forest service. So I have experience much of what is discussed here. I get the metal detecting question all the time. Where can I go? Is it legal etc. Personally I never detect in a ghost town unless as part of an authorized research project. I confine my detecting to other areas. Preferably Alaska gold fields on private property.

    I know people that pick up stuff and I tell them to put it back, take a photo instead, I have buried (after, taking a Photo, itemizing, gps etc) things I would have loved to put in my back pack. These have always been on survey projects.

    The temptation is always great. The choice is always dependent on the individual and their views and ethics. Too bad all people do not respect what others sacrificed to create the world we live in and enjoy. From prehistoric man to the recent pioneers that opened the country for us.

    Today there is a disposable mentality that sees no value in anything that does not give instant gratification or hold no immediate monetary gain.

    I was recently at a location where an individual had ripped up floors looking for coins or artifacts that may have fallen through the cracks in the floor. The dumps had all been ransacked and cans broken bottles etc scattered around as well as holes dug everywhere. Done correctly, what was taken could have told a real story.

    So THANKS to all that take pictures, leave no trash, dig no holes, disturb no property and still enjoy what they see.
    I always had a satelite Navigator with me and forwarded later to local Park Officials Photo with coordinates where to find it.I couldnt take it anywhy not with me Home to Austria,and Historian often happy with such Info

  6. #56
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    Good advice James, and just be careful because many times they will confiscate your equipment if you aren't supposed to be metal detecting there.
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  7. #57
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    I'm probably 98% ghost towner, 2% metal detector. One time I went to the abandoned Popash school hoping to find some older coins that may have been lost in the grass. However when I got there the site was fenced off with a noticed large fine for trespassing. Not too long after that the school was demolished and paved over. To me, this is a case where the history those potential coins or other items had was lost. Probably still sitting there under the asphault (it is now a semi-truck parking area). Not saying that I would have found things worthy of the Smithsonian there, but at least someone (me) could have uncovered things linked to the history of the old school.

  8. #58
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    Name:  Popash.jpg
Views: 457
Size:  45.0 KB Popash School, Mainmanwalkin, and barbed wire fence
    Last edited by mainmanwalkin; 11-29-2012 at 10:41 AM.

  9. #59
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    Tsarevna is offline Rawk Crawlin GPS Totin Ghost Towning Expert
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    Don't be sad about the asphalt. Nothing under the soil has been lost.

    Archaeologists often *do* pave over historic sites to keep amateur diggers or looters out. To seal them until funds or new technology can help them explore an area.

    A good example is at Fort Vancouver, where asphalt squares lie on top of original fur-trade building sites inside the palisade area. University professors and their students dig, document, clean the artifacts, reconstruct broken things, test them, put them in their museum, fill the earth, then re-create the building. Then they move on to the next asphalt rectangle next door. It takes time, but happens eventually.

    It's my opinion that historical sites are not the place amateurs should be digging; not because they have bad intentions, they just don't have the skills to understand the significance of what they find, or the training to document it properly.

    There are places where it's legal, like the beach, or city parks, where it doesn't matter. That is where I think people should go enjoy their hobby.

  10. #60
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    If anyone is interested in eastern ghost towns please visit

    http://www.metal-detecting-ghost-towns-of-the-east.com

    Thanks
    Frank

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