Now that the holiday season is upon us, colder weather is starting to blow into much of the country. For many, this means going into detecting hibernation as we wait for spring temps to thaw the earth. For me, it simply means layering on as many clothes as I can move in, while hoping the ground isn’t too frozen to chisel through. I’ve had days where only the first inch of frozen crust reveals warm-butter-like dirt below it. I’ve also had days where, despite my best efforts, my spade won’t make a dent.
A few years ago, my friend James and I spent a cold January day at a farm field in New Jersey, braving the low temps and occasional gusts of winds. While the ground was only frost covered, it was still diggable – even muddy at times. It was so cold that my XP Deus coil was soon encrusted by a thin layer of ice – and it still worked great!
With frost on the ground and winds in our backs, we spent a full day detecting, looking for colonial and 19th-century coins and artefacts. Navigating through the corn stalk stubble, I started out slow and dug up a lot of modern trash. But things started to heat up when I unearthed a 1765 half real. It’s such a thrill to find old Spanish silver, and I was hoping that this was a sign of more things to come.
I went on to find some 19th century flat buttons, a thimble, musket balls and shot, and then found a 2-piece button that I hadn’t seen before. After cleaning it up and doing a quick Google search, I learned that I had found a mid-19th century musician’s lyre button. I love the design and it’s in very good shape.
Oftentimes I find a whatzit. I’m not sure if this copper piece is a pin or served another function. Do you know? If so, please comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Before James and I sought refuge in the heat from my car, I managed to find another silver coin – a somewhat modern 1940 mercury dime.
Cold days and rough weather can be daunting, especially if you get skunked. But when you find good stuff, no matter how cold it is, you itch to get back out there!
COLD WEATHER PREP TIPS
- Layer up! On my legs I wear thermals and fleece-lined pants; on my upper body I wear a long-sleeve thermal, t-shirt, long-sleeve shirt, sweat shirt, and winter coat. I can always take layers off if I’m too warm.
- Wear a winter hat! Keep your noggin warm and sharp.
- Wear mittens! Mittens are superior at keeping your hands and fingers warm. I wear surgical gloves under my mittens to keep my hands clean as I have to take the mittens off to retrieve targets.
- Get a good pair of winter boots! While they may not be cheap, there’s nothing worse than being out in the cold and feeling like your toes are going to fall off.
- Use heat-warmer insoles. These are thin foot warmers with adhesive that you stick to the bottoms of your socks. You barely notice them and they keep your feet toasty. Or should I say toe-sty.
- Wear a turtle neck or other scarf-like garment to keep your neck warm. I often pull it over my mouth for extra warmth.