One of the most common questions any detectorist gets, whether from a fellow treasure hunter or a friend who shows interest in our hobby, is, “What’s your best find?” I always have a difficult time answering this question. Yes, I’ve found some great things that on their own can battle it out for the top spot, but for me, the journey behind the find is equally important.
When I first got the XP Deus a few years ago, I was determined to reach a level of expertise that would allow me to understand how to best maximize what it offered. I don’t dare say I aimed to master it because no matter how good you get at anything, there’s always opportunities to learn new things. During my “break in” period, I experimented quite a bit. I consumed as much knowledge as I could from Gary Blackwell’s XP Deus School videos, Andy Sabich’s book, articles, forums, conversations with experienced Deus users, and executed good ol’ trial and error.
I liken the XP Deus to a Digital SLR camera. Sure, you can put it on auto mode and capture great pictures. But if you want to be an advanced photographer, you learn how to adjust your settings like aperture, F-stop, shutter speed, etc., so that you’ll capture the best photo given the lighting conditions and speed of the subject.
All the hard work allowed me to create a custom program that suited me – and I use it as my base program whether on junk-ridden old home sites or quiet open fields. I find I get great depth, great responsiveness and minimal chatter. Here are my settings. Keep in mind that this is what I start out with; I adjust depending on ground conditions.
I put this program to the test on a colonial-era church property in my hometown. Built in 1793, this property had me frustrated since I hadn’t found anything older than early 20th century. I decided to give my new program a go and slowly gridded a 50ft x 20ft area that I’ve gone over at least 3 times already. About 20 minutes in, I got a faint, but solid, repeatable target. After peeling back the plug, my pin pointer picked up a signal at the bottom, which was about 7 inches down. After digging a little more and scooping out the dirt, I couldn’t believe my eyes. Silver! And not just any silver – Spanish silver! I had found my first half real, dated 1775. I immediately called my friend to share my elation.
While this may not be my absolute BEST find, it was my FIRST best find with the XP Deus. It was made extra gratifying because of my persistence to build a relationship with my detector. Because, ultimately, that’s what it is – a relationship. We have a conversation with a machine that tells us what it detects. It’s our job to listen, and to understand, and to help it communicate in the best possible way depending on environmental conditions. It’s symbiotic.
Since that first best find, I’ve found more best finds that I will share with you in future blog posts – and hopefully new best finds in the coming months and years. I’d love to hear about your best finds, so please share them with us!