Michigan Cavalry Camp By Don Westbrook



  I have dedicated allot of time to researching Civil War period maps. The best maps you can obtain are those that have been hand drawn by the soldiers or officers that served in the Civil War. Every so often you get lucky and come across the maps by doing an online search and digging deep into the results. Although my favorite and arguably the best way to come across these hand drawn treasure maps is to discover them hidden in a soldier’s journal. Once I acquire a map I upload it to google earth and began the overlay process. Utilizing main roads and nearby water sources as reference points, by doing so I am able to triangulate an area of interest to begin my search. This is where I typically start when locating new spots.

  Once I had permission to search the area I set out with the XP Deus in hand. I adjusted my settings to my general search mode. I like to start out with my general search mode and make adjustments as I gain a better understanding of the current ground conditions. As I worked my way up the side of a gentle hill within the first five minutes I heard a very faint but clean repeatable signal. Roughly ten inches below the surface was a dropped Spencer Carbine bullet. Instantly I was amped and knew that I was on the correct path to the camp I had been searching for. Dropped Civil War bullets are an excellent sign, along with melted bullets or (camp lead) as we relic hunters like to call it. These items are typically your first find when searching for a camp.


  Continuing my search along the hillside I came to a nice level area that was easily accessible from the nearby period road bed. That’s when it happened, the awesome sound of iron in the ground. Listening for iron pockets is one trick that relics hunters will use, concentrated areas of iron signify previous civilization. Understanding the ground conditions have changed from relatively clean to heavily iron infested. Making adjustments to my settings was crucial to squeezing the most performance out of the XP Deus. I dropped my TX power down to 2, Reactivity was raised to 4, and Sensitivity adjusted to 85, I confirmed that my ground balance was accurate. This camp was loaded with Spencer, Merrill, and Smith carbine bullets. I even recovered a pistol bullet that still had a piece of the paper cartridge attached to it! Along with a few other goodies that I recovered at a later date, but that’s being saved for another story. There were so many targets in the ground, this lead me to believe the camp had not been discovered by past relic hunters. Thanks to the versatility of the XP Deus I was able to capitalize on the changing ground conditions and the results were truly impressive.

Westbrook’s XP Deus General Search Settings

Disc: 5.0

3 Tones, breakpoint 30

Tone 1: 100hz, Tone 2: 100hz, Tone 3: 775hz

Sensitivity: 90

TX Power: 3

Frequency: 7.8khz

Iron Vol: 3

Reactivity: 2.5

Silencer: -1

Audio Response: 4

Overload: 1

Notch: 00-00

Ground Balance: manual



Horsin’ Around for Colonial Relics By Grant Hansen

   I’m blessed to share so many of my metal detecting experiences with the person I consider to be my best friend. We both caught the detecting fever and decided to pursue the hobby at the same exact time – unbeknownst to each other. While that will make a great story for another day, I’ll now tell you about one of our most recent adventures.

   James, my aforementioned best friend, told me he had gained permission at a horse farm. It was a few acres of pasture that dated back to at least the 18th century. While we didn’t know much of its history beyond its age and the fact that it was in an old area of New Jersey, “18th century” is enough for us to get excited. We both planned a vacation day and anxiously waited for it to arrive so that we could see what this farm might be holding.

   It just so happened New Jersey and the rest of the east coast was experiencing torrential rain for what seemed like weeks. Since we are all-weather detectorists, we prepared for the worst and made sure we had all our rain gear. The property owner warned us that most of the property was flooded, but that the perimeters were accessible. We were game.

   The day of, it only rained for periods, and not too heavily. But the ground was saturated. We quickly realized that we weren’t mucking around and sliding around in just mud – this was a horse farm after all. We did our best to stick to the high spots, knowing that about 80% of the property would have to wait for another day. Conditions were tolerable since the XP Deus is so light; therefore, caked-on mud (and other stuff) didn’t really weigh me down.

Grant covered in mud and, well, it was a horse farm.

   Finds came slowly. The first area we focused on didn’t yield much more than modern garbage, until I found an Indian Head penny, and shortly after a gold-plated hair clip. Since it was mostly quiet we worked our way to another field. There we started to find flat buttons, so we started to get excited. The problem was we just couldn’t access most areas… it was so muddy and manure ridden that we’d risk losing our boots.

King George II half penny with 5 Indian Head pennies.

Vintage gold-plated hair clip.


   We stuck it out, finding a few more buttons. Toward the end of the day I got a great high signal on my Deus and dug optimistically. It was deep! When I finally retrieved the target, I was delighted to see a round copper disc. “Colonial!” I shouted. James came running over to share in my excitement. It wouldn’t be until later that I would ID it as a King George II half penny. Shortly after that, James found his colonial coin snagging a beautiful 1772 half real. Our two good finds got us very excited and we couldn’t wait to plan a return trip on a dryer day.

Buttons from day one.

   That dryer day came about two weeks later. Some parts of the field were still muddy, but most had opened up to us. We started on the field where James found his half real and quickly found more flat and ball buttons, Indian Head pennies and horse tack (mostly modern). The horses were very curious and friendly, following us around as we detected. At times, it was a little intimidating. One horse actually grabbed my Deus as if he wanted to find treasure of his own. Luckily I wrestled it back with little effort.

   Not too long into the day’s hunt, I got a solid high tone. I dug it up to find a thick, quarter sized, copper looking coin. I couldn’t tell what it was. James suggested it was a 2-cent coin, but I dismissed the idea thinking the tone would have sounded lower. But he was right – after cleaning I saw that it was a semi-key date 1870 2-cent coin.

1870 2-cent coin.

   Because it’s often difficult to properly ID something in the field, I never throw anything out unless it’s obvious garbage. I found what I thought was a beat up, mangled piece of odd-shaped metal. I couldn’t remove any of the hard-packed dirt from it, so I threw it in my tumbler with the clad I found. (Note to reader: I don’t suggest you put unknown finds into your tumbler as you’ll risk ruining something valuable.) In this case, the tumbler worked great and I was shocked to see that I had found a thimble. I got lucky with that one!

Thimble revealed by the tumbler.

   We wandered onto the adjacent field and started exploring. After about an hour, James found a colonial copper. I then found two flat buttons in the same area. It seemed like a little hot spot so I gridded it carefully. I then got a banging high tone, and once again, dug optimistically. My eyes lit up when I saw a large copper coin – a large American copper coin! I called James over and pointed to what I knew was a large cent. For some reason, I haven’t found many large cents. In fact, I have found more half reals, so this made me very happy. It turned out to be the oldest large cent I’ve found so far – 1816.

1816 Coronet Head large cent.

   By day’s end we were exhausted. It was a long, hot day of digging and swinging, starting in the early morning. We both had great finds, and that is a key ingredient of a good day. You want to share not only your own good fortune, but in the good fortune of your buds. We both share the struggle, the excitement, the effort, the passion … so we should both be rewarded equally. It’s magic when that happens!

Group photo from day two.

Hunting Lee’s Retreat with the XP Deus By Don Westbrook

   Ask any Civil War relic hunter to name their top two states to recover relics in, and I promise you Virginia will be one of those top two. A while back I had the opportunity to meetup with a Virginia local that claimed he lived right off of General Lee’s retreat route. This route stretches from Petersburg to the Appomattox Court House, which is where Lee surrendered to Grant on April, 9th 1865. He also told me that he was interested in learning how to metal detect. Before heading over to the Virginia I called him up to give him some history on the area. I hopped on google earth and located his house to see exactly where he was located. He truly lived right on one of the main retreat routes! I dug around and managed to locate some old period maps to overlay on google earth. After I finished playing around with my map overlays and doing my research I dropped pins on every piece of property that I believed would hold relics. I told him since he was the local it would be much easier for him to get the permission. I don’t know how many of you have tried gaining permission in Virginia, but let me tell you it isn’t easy, especially when you’re from out of state.

    Luckily he was able to secure permission to nearly every site I had flagged on google earth. I arrived at my hotel late Friday night and decided to drive by his house and do some scouting from the truck. Instantly I noticed sections of the old period road beds paralleling the current road. I also noticed the Civil War trails signs everywhere, this was truly exciting! The next morning we linked up and discussed a battle plan. The plan was to leap frog along the retreat route hitting as much property in the limited amount of time we had. I explained to him that we needed to walk a pattern over each field. It would limit the time on a piece of property that isn’t producing. The first location was a nice gentle rolling hill that was located close to a water source. With the XP in hand I did a quick ground balance and checked my general search settings I use. I always start out with my general search program and make adjustments that best suit the location I’m detecting. We recovered a couple bullets here and there. The only problem was that there wasn’t a very high concentration of relics. So I walked over to him and said that we can come back to this site but we need to go to the next spot. We were on a time hack, lunch time was rapidly approaching, and I had a good feeling there was something better out there.

    We jumped into the truck and headed to the next location, which was only a couple minutes down the road. This was a perfect location for soldiers to rest and water their horses. Again we walked our pattern and pulled a few relics out. More bullets and a couple J-hooks that fell off of soldiers ruck sacks, along with a thin gold ring. After we finished our pattern over the field I mentioned that we should keep moving. The fact that we were finding relics was good, but we were not locating pockets of relics that signal a camp. The relics we were recovering were to spread out, suggesting they were dropped during travel. Due to the amount of troop movement that was on this route back in 1865 we should be locating condensed pockets of relics. Not to mention this is Virginia, where relic dreams come true, haha! Once again we were on the move to another location marked on the map. This specific location looked to be the best yet. It was the perfect location for troops to rest. It was a natural bottle neck due to the fact they had to cross a small bridge. With the XP in hand, we began the search. He decided to check the high hill and I went low. Knowing how many miles these troops had to cover. I had a hunch that the last thing those troops wanted to do was climb a big hill just to sit down for a short rest. After roughly ten minutes I began to recover more bullets. But there was something different about this site. All of the relics were in a small area roughly the size of a football field. This is exactly what I was looking for! The site was located right off of the period road bed, there was a water source nearby and the terrain was friendly.

     The dirt was a nice damp sandy soil mixture, really easy to dig in. There wasn’t much trash and nearly every hole dug produced what we were looking for. The damp conditions helped magnify the target responses. Most of the relics were roughly 11-13” deep in the ground and they were plentiful. My 9” coil was picking up the deep bullets fairly well. Obviously when you are digging small targets down to and past a foot in the ground, your target signals weaken. Having years of experience with this machine I knew what to listen for. Most people assume that the small 9” coil doesn’t have depth but under the right conditions it will detect deep. Knowing that the targets were deep I dropped my reactivity down from 3 to 2, frequency down to 4khz, TX Power 3, and ramped up the sensitivity to the max. Bullet after bullet and j-hook after j-hook came out of the ground. We also found percussion caps, pistol balls and grommets. We were digging fast since we were running out of daylight. After a couple hours passed it was time for a much deserved break. My friend asked to see how many relics I had recovered so far, so I dumped my pouch out on the tailgate of the truck. So far I had recovered over fifty bullets, a small army of j-hooks with some other odds and ends. I asked to see how many he had recovered; he replied with not that many. Mind you he wasn’t swinging an XP that day, and he was new to the hobby. That being said he still recovered a very respectable amount of relics for being new to the hobby.

    After a short water break we were back at it. By now the sun was starting to set and there were still allot of targets left to be uncovered. Minie balls and Williams cleaner bullets were coming out of the ground like prairie dogs at Yellowstone. For those of you that don’t hunt for civil war relics… A Minie ball is a type of muzzle loading bullet that has 3 distinctive rings and a conical base. These are commonly found in a .58 caliber. A Williams cleaner bullet is also is a .58 caliber. It was designed to be fired through the barrel to clean it. It removes excess black powder build up and lead residue in the barrel. This day had proved to be the best Civil War bullet day I have ever had! Once it was all said and done I managed to recover over 70 bullets, 13 j-hooks, 7 buttons, a gold ring, and a mixture of percussion caps and hardware. After I returned home my new friend contacted me a few days later and said after witnessing what the XP can do, he was going to purchase one as soon as possible. I told him, “I was going to come back and setup my tent in his back yard, lol.” Ever since then he has been relic hunting with his new XP Deus, utilizing the knowledge I shared with him. He has proven to be a very good relic hunter. I am glad I was able to help him along the way. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again… Dreams come true when you’re relic hunting in Virginia. Especially when you’re armed with the XP Deus!



Working the iron patch with the XP Deus By Don Westbrook



  I decided it was time to go on another Virginia relic hunting adventure. Whenever I travel out of state to metal detect I always try to link up with friends on location. On this Saturday morning I linked up with my buddy Jeff, near Quantico, VA. He mentioned that he was aware of a nice piece of high ground overlooking a nearby water source. On this high ground he was able to recover multiple relics over the years, but lately nothing has come out of the ground. Apparently the site was littered with iron and has been detected very hard over the years. It was deemed “hammered out.” Hammered out being a common relic hunter’s term when a site has been completely blanketed and all metal targets have been removed. I asked him If he had searched this site with an XP Deus, his answer was no. Knowing this I was very excited to get up there and start searching with my XP. Shortly after the machine was balanced and the hunt began I noticed how highly mineralized the soil was, thanks to the mineralization meter on the Deus remote. I also noticed how much iron was in the ground, an insane amount of iron. There was so much iron that you couldn’t take one step without hearing it through the headphones. So I dialed back my sensitivity and ramped up my reactivity to start working that heavy iron patch.  

  The first few targets were a mixture of shotgun shells and small bits of camp lead. Even though I was recovering items I was not after, this was still a good sign. The fact that targets were coming out of the ground when the site was supposed to be hammered was exciting. The XP was hearing targets in the ground that other machines have missed in the past. Then I started pulling out a musket ball here and there. This was a great sign; it confirmed that my settings adjustments were working well. After about 45 minutes of searching, it happened! Down roughly 8” under the surface and completely surrounded with iron was a nice little flat button. I could spot the shank of the button protruding out at the bottom of the hole. Along with the button were a mixture of small iron particles and multiple square nails. The XP Deus was able to pick out that 8” deep flat button buried amongst all of that iron! Once I removed the button from the earth and gave it a gentle brush, I noticed a cannon. I had recovered an early 1800’s “Roughly 1815”one piece Federal Artillery coat button! The only reason why I was able to recover this awesome button was due to the fact that I was able to adjust the machines processor speed by bumping up the reactivity. Where other machines struggle in the heavy iron patches, the XP Deus excels.

News from Team XP Romania

Here is a short article we would like to share with our XP brothers over in the USA
It was just another weekend in the mountains, like many others before. We decided to go for a ”light hike”, in other terms…Detecting with our XP Deus!

In our metal detecting group we very often refer to a term known as “The10cm rule”, meaning that sometimes you only need to be 10cm outside your path to find something incredible and change the outcome of a quiet day; and so it was to be on that Sunday morning.

The area has a rich WW1 background, being the theatre for very heavy clashes between Romanian and Austro-Hungarian Armies.

There, we’ve found an infantry bugle, most probably Romanian (being very similar to the Austro-Hungarian one). This was not the first we found, but it always gives a warm feeling when finding one, and thinking that the last time it sang in the middle of a battle. After reaching the mountain top, we found ourselves in a large plateau, directly exposed to the sun. It was a place we had previously scanned, so we decided to search just outside of the perimeter, we put our Deus’s on the Fast program, combined with a fast walk, our plan was to quickly locate some new hot spots.

At some point, one of our members found a small medicine metallic canister, German made and pierced by a very tiny splinter.
Not far from it, we recovered 2 Prussian decorative crests for the Pickelhaube helmet , both damaged and left behind. We concluded that spot must have been a garbage pit, filled with damaged and un useful equipment.

From the same 10x10m area, a German belt buckle came out, an unmarked wine bottle, and the remains of a third pickelhaube helmet. Once again, the Fast program was very helpful in order to skip the iron and locate the good stuff around it. We used a moderate discrimination, also considering that during militaria prospecting, most of the time your targets wouldn’t be very small, you’ll ”hear” them anyway, so the discrimination would more likely clear the in between iron noise, generated by smaller iron parts.

Very near me, a friend caught a very high and stable signal; I could hear it through his Ws4 headphones, it was a silver pocket watch, lying for 100 years near the edge of the road, where a line of defensive trenches were originally located. We managed to open it, everything was in good shape, marks and mechanisms were still visible.

Once again, for us it was essential to have light and fast equipment; we’re talking about an average session we would carry up to 4l of water for your own need, and sometimes. Even that’s not enough, because the effort is considerable, especially when the digging at high altitudes and in open spaces, directly under the sun.

Some of the discoveries were donated to the local museum of history, in order to be included in a future exhibition dedicated to the WW1 Centenar.

As always, the Deus did the job! Thanks XP! Nihil Sine DEUS!

Romanian Military Archaeology & Pro Detectie Association

My Mini Field of Dreams By Grant Hansen

  I was never a huge fan of metal detecting on fields. I like home sites where there’s a lot of noise, a lot of digging, and the comfort of knowing I scoured every inch of the property to leave nothing behind. Fields, by contrast, are vast; sometimes overwhelming, especially if you don’t have the opportunity to keep going back to try new areas. Fields can also be quiet, unlike home sites which often produce a good signal every twelve to twenty-four inches. Home sites can mean back-breaking work from all the shoveling, but I absolutely love it.                                                                         

  The other reason I preferred home sites was because I hadn’t been on a field that produced a lot of good finds. Of course, I hadn’t put in the historic research that has resulted in others having “fields of dreams” chock full of old coins and relics, but I thought, “Geez, I’ve detected enough fields that I should at some point get on one that produces more than one or two good finds!”

  Flashback to about two years ago. Two friends of mine and I were detecting on an 18th-century church property that the owners were converting into what would be their new home. While on paper it had a lot of promise, we found nothing but modern junk. Adding to our disappointment was their neighbor telling us that over the years he had seen numerous people detecting the once abandoned property.

  Luckily for us, the property owners got us permission to detect a very small field that was owned by a friend. By small, I mean one acre, tops. We knew nothing of the property, its history, or what to expect – but anything is worth investigating. So, we packed up our gear and drove a few blocks to our new spot.

  Right off the bat I found a flat button, as did my friend. This was a great sign! We each wandered off in different directions, finding more 18th– and 19th-century relics. I got a beautiful high tone on my XP Deus and started to dig. After not much effort I saw a nice round copper coin. Yes! I was on the board with a King George II half penny. I focused on a small area and my Deus was singing to me. I found another King George II half penny that someone had flattened the edges to form a octagon. Perhaps it was meant to be a toy; not far from it I found a hand-made lead whizzer.

Dandy button.

King George II half penny.

King George II half penny, shaped into an octagon.


Whizzer toy.


  My next find was something that had me buzzing with happiness for a long time. We all have our metal detecting bucket lists. My list is pretty long, and I’m not sure a bucket would fit everything I want to someday dig up. And on our bucket lists, many of us have a rank order. A top ten, or top five, etc. Number one on my list wasn’t the most valuable, the rarest, or the most sought after by others.

  My XP Deus was screaming at me to dig a solid high tone, and of course, I listened. Out of the hole came another colonial-era copper coin. But as I gently cleaned it and revealed the tell-tale shield on the reverse, I celebrated with a little dance. A New Jersey copper! I did it! I found the number-one item on my bucket list.

New Jersey copper.

  A New Jersey copper had eluded me for a long time. Friends have dug them and I have seen others online showcasing their awesome early US coinage. But for me, I found so many other types of copper coins in circulation at the time except the one I sought most.

  My friends, having found some great things of their own, decided to call it a day. I was about to do the same and had driven off, but something called me back to the field. I parked my car and started swinging. Immediately I found a beautiful 1742 half real. I was shocked, and so happy I came back!

1742 half real. I love the scalloped edge!

  As you can imagine, I couldn’t stop thinking about this field. As soon as we got the opportunity, we returned to see what else we could find. The little small field continued to produce! In addition to more flat buttons, a blow-hole button, and another King George II half penny, I found a copper coin that I couldn’t immediately identify. With the help of some Facebook groups, I was able to ID it as a 17th-century Scottish Bawbee half penny. This was my first (and to date only) 17th-century coin found on US soil. I also found a nice buckle from the same era.

Mid-18th-century German states Cologne ¼ Stüber.

  I hope to return to this field again soon. Although I’m confident we searched it well, I’m sure it’s holding more treasures. Although we could find nothing on the property’s history, we suspect there was a starter home or similar dwelling prior to more widespread settlement. It’s good to revisit sites after a while; you come with a new perspective and a new level of patience. This can often lead to good things. If I do return, I’ll let you know!

Group finds. (The Native American point and infantry button were found at nearby properties.)


Treasure Island By Grant Hansen


   Once a year, I trek across the pond to Treasure Island (or as most people call it, England). It’s a long journey comprised of a red-eye flight, a long bus or cab ride, and then miles of walking up and down ancient fields hoping to find medieval, Roman or Saxon artifacts. So far in my detecting career, I’ve found two of the three on the aforementioned list. Will I find something Saxon this year to complete my wish list? Time will tell.

Grant detecting among hundreds of acres of ancient land.

Traveling with the XP Deus is easy. Because it’s so compact and light I have room to cram in other, heavy necessities like a variety of clothing, digging tools and camera equipment. I can easily pack both my stock 11-inch coil and my HF 9-inch coil, without having to worry about weight or space. Because the HF coil offers a different range of frequencies than the stock coil, it’s like I’m able to pack two metal detectors – without having to pack two metal detectors.

In 2016, two friends and I traveled to William Shakespeare’s birthplace, Stratford-upon-Avon. Southern Seekers had organized a weekend rally along Fosse Way – an historic Roman road that runs north and south across England. Rather than camp out at the rally, we stayed at a nearby bed and breakfast, originally built in the 16th century. On the B&B’s property was the foundation of a Norman-era castle! What was even more unbelievable was that the owners gave us permission to detect the property the day before the rally. While the area surrounding the castle foundation was off limits, we still had plenty of lawn to keep us busy. I didn’t find anything of note, but my friend James found a lovely 16th-century dolphin-motif French jetton. So, as you can imagine, we were really excited for the weekend.

It can be rather daunting when you have hundreds of acres to detect over a short timeframe. Where do you start? Where’s the best spot? Finding your way can be a little frantic until the other detectorists slowly disperses out of sight, and the fields have plenty of swinging room. On the first field I detected I was quick to find some buttons and lead, but nothing extraordinary.

The dirt was hard-packed clay – once you got down a few inches it was thick and heavy, making deep targets challenging to retrieve. After putting in a few good efforts and coming up with just small lead fragments, I couldn’t help but feel frustrated. I swung my coil for a while without a solid signal, and then my Deus gave me a high-pitched, deep, repeatable target. I wasn’t sure if it would be something good or just more garbage, and there was only one way to find out. I began to dig, and dig, and dig. The clay was getting more and more difficult the deeper I got, and I was close to giving up. I told myself, “One more spade’s worth and if it’s not there, then I’m filling the hole back in.” After I dug out some more clay, my pin pointer sounded off in the side wall, but then went silent as I went deeper. This was great! I knew I didn’t have to keep digging deeper, and that the target was close in hand.

I carefully dug into the side wall and removed a chunk of clay. Finally! I got it out of the ground. I couldn’t believe my eyes when it revealed itself. Could it be? A hammered coin! And it was bigger than the hammered pennies I usually see. It was a 15th-century King Henry VII silver hammered groat! I was thrilled! I had just found a large, hammered, 500-plus year old silver coin! I honestly believe that many detectors would have missed the signal, or at least, many detectorists would have ignored it because it was so deep.

King Henry VII silver hammered groat from the 15th century.

The fields continued to produce. I found three Roman coins, which I’m told are from the second- to third-century AD. Two small ones are very corroded; the large one (pictured below) gave a screaming high tone, even though it was very deep. I was half expecting a large piece of metallic garbage since it sounded too good to be true – but it wasn’t!

Large Roman coin.

I also found a beautiful medieval strap end that still has some its golden gilt. I’m told this strap end was most likely used as a book fastener, and would have been owned by someone of wealth and education. Imagine, over 500 years ago someone lost this – perhaps even the entire book which has since deteriorated completely.


Medieval strap end.

In 2017 I found myself in a different area of England with the Medway History Finders in Kent. I met up with a couple old friends, and made some very good new ones – which is the real treasure of our hobby. I love sharing stories of my US finds, and hearing their amazing tales of treasure hunting in England.

The Medway rally produced some great finds for me. I found two 17th-century King Charles I silver hammered pennies, two medieval lead tokens, a very heavy grape shot, and a medieval spindle whorl (among many other cool finds). And I even witnessed two friends each find their own Bronze Age hoards!




King Charles I silver hammered penny.



King Charles I silver hammered penny.

Medieval lead token.

Medieval lead token with “FH” initials.

Lead spindle whorl.

Huge grapeshot, pictured next to a musket ball for scale.




September 2018 will have me traveling to the UK History Hunters weekender in South Devon. It’s an area steeped in history, and I can’t wait to swing my coil over the ancient dirt. I’m looking forward to some good luck, meeting up with old friends, and meeting new ones. Watch for me to broadcast some live digs and updates from the field!


My First Best Find with the XP Deus By Grant Hansen


  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!

Deus X35 coil – The real deal

How deep will the XP Deus go _ here is a true test

XP metal detectors have just released their new range of search coils called the X35 to compliment the XP Deus, in total you now have the choice of 5 coils ranging in size and frequencies to suit a wide range of hunting requirements.

Many have asked why bring out the new X35 coil when the HF coils have only recently been released.
The HF coils had originally been designed for more specialist applications…Such as finding small targets in highly mineralised soil, fortunately for us they are deadly on a far wider range of search scenarios all over the world based on your excellent feedback and success stories.

XP have a wide range of search coils available to suit every search requirment.
The X35 coils are really just another stage in the ongoing Deus development, these coils have been designed to take over from the original black coils, just like before they are more of an “All Rounder”.

The X35 13 x11” coil really impressed us on our test bed.
We dug 2 channels in the face of the bank at depths we considered to be bordering on “Achievable”.
Using 4Khz in boost mode the Deus managed to get a 30mm copper coin at around 14” underneath un-disturbed soil, even with the coil raised above the ground another 2-3” it still gave a repeatable signal despite some EMI from a nearby train track, when we tried the original 13 x 11” coil the coin could be located but the signal was noticeably weaker.

How deep will the XP Deus go _ here is a true test

As many of you know I am not a massive fan of static tests, but the “channel” method used is far more conclusive than simply digging a hole and throwing a coin into the bottom, just like we see so many times on video reviews.
14″ on a coin and 17″ on a large spoon, perhaps you don’t think that is impressive, trust me it is, considering the ground was quite mineralised and as you can see it was very hard packed.

The XP test bed showing the 2 targets used
Perhaps if your soil is less mineralised with less contamination you will get an even better result, for me this was a confidence booster as I know this land very well and can confirm it’s hard going.
Just as a foot note we tried some other machines on this test bed and the Deus gave the cleanest signal, one machine in particular gave no signal, which surprised us based on the media attention it has been getting.
How would I sum up the x35 coils
If you are buying them expecting the boost mode to take you to depths beyond belief, then you will be wrong.
I noticed stability is better allowing you to hear quieter targets apart from that many will find it is very much like using the older type coils.
Very soon all Deus will be sold with the X35 as standard.
In a word the X35 coils are EVOLUTION rather than REVOLUTION.

Here is the video review of the X35 coil
Thanks to Stuart for doing a great job on the filming and editing.

Dancing With The Deus!

   Written by Tony Mantia.

  I had been a Minelab guy for quite awhile, first E-Trac and then with CTX. While I have had great success with these machines I am not averse to trying out other machines as well. My belief is that most of the major manufacturers can and do make quality products. I had been following my friend Todd Yerks and how he was having great success with his Deus I was quite intrigued on how it may help me find more in my field permissions. After some conversation with him and watching many of Gary Blackwell’s videos I came to believe I wanted to try it, but wanted to have a bit of hands on experience with one before making the plunge. My major concern would be could I learn the tones and what they were telling me. My first experience with a Deus was with a borrowed machine, my friend Tom Johnson let me borrow his detector to try out, I had heard great things about the Deus from my friend Todd (CtTodd), Yerks and with his tips and Tom’s machine I quickly learned the great properties of this wonderful detector. I took it out to a field that had given us many nice finds but like all fields after awhile the finds slow down. I turned it on and was amazed at how light it was and how easy to swing. I encountered my first target it gave a solid tone….but something seemed a bit off as when my coil came off the target I could hear an iron buzz…now was this a good target next to iron, I did not know but my experience told me it was most likely some rusted iron so I dug it and was glad to know I was correct. Now it may sound strange to be happy to dig some iron but I was pleased that I felt I could understand this machine. Next target was a definite high tone and not iron but I sensed that it was not a coin, perhaps a button but did not sound quite “round” a little crackling edge to it made me think a deformed head stamp. Diane was close by so I asked her to check it with her E-Trac and she got a 12-25 – 12-26 signal which could be a button, a Fatty Indian, or a piece of Harmonica reed…I asked her what she thought she replied “I don’t think it is coin or button but I would dig it” which I of course planning on anyway. It turned out to be a Head Stamp. A bit later I got a very nice solid 93-95 TID and a sweet tone…and I thought…Large Cent! I dug the target and using my pinpointer I quickly found it…indeed a Large Cent. A crusty 1845, time was short so we left. What I learned was that without doubt I could understand the Deus, and I knew more was to come!


    After finding a Large Cent with a borrowed Deus I decided it was time to get my own, it was not until February 2017 that I was able to purchase it. My goal to test it out was to go to fields where we had pounded hard with our other machines and or fields that were typically difficult to hunt. The first field was one that has given us many things and that the signals were getting very scarce. I found a few bits of things including a CW Jay hook missing the button. The next field we went to is one that has given us nice things but one in which you had to work for every signal as the soil is demanding, there I got a super toasted 1863 Fatty Indian. I was now feeling I made a good decision.

The next spot I decided to go dancing with the Deus is one of my favorite fields, we have found so many great items there and I was hoping to find more. I decided I would go back over a portion of the field that was very iron infested, granted we had found things in this section but it was not a fruitful as other portions have been. I was swinging and I heard a small blip of a high tone surrounded by iron, turning 90 degrees I was able to replicate the signal. I decided to dig this target since most everything we have found in this field has been old. I just had a feeling that this would be something good. I dug my plug and swung over it again and the target was still in the hole taking some more dirt out I was now at 4+ inch depth. It took me awhile since the target seemed small…and small it was a small silver disk. I called Doug and Diane over to see it and as of yet I did not know what it was…I said “I don’t know what it is but it sure looks like Silver” Doug replied, “I know what it is…it’s awesome!” When I got it out I knew it was Half Dime size but what kind of Half Dime. Apply some water the sticky clay slowly came off and then I said “It’s a Capped Bust Half Dime!” and indeed it was an 1832! I now knew for sure that this machine is a killer in the iron! 


Just a few minutes later I got a nice signal in this same area and out popped a Large Cent!


 So I now knew that this machine is a real keeper! I continued to go to fields that we had hunted before trying to squeeze more out of. Now I was still learning the Deus but my confidence grew with each hunt. Another one of our good fields now gave up another good find, another Large Cent and that motivated me all the more to hit other of our permissions. And I stress these were all fields that we had not been finding much at recently. Here are some of the things I found.


     Nearing the end of field season I found a new site so I was curious how the Deus would do in this field, I was not to be disappointed as my first hunt was stellar.

What a great hunt! My first target was an Indian Head and the nice thing was I was confident that is what the target was going to be! Just a few minutes later another Indian Head signal and this time I barely looked at the TID as the sound was the same as before. Then the sound of a Big Copper rang in my ears and again I was thinking Large Cent….with every target I dug I was learning more and more what this detector can do! About 10 minutes later I got a sweet sounding target, peeping at the number I saw a 93 staring back at me…my first thought…Silver! And that is what it was a Barber Dime! Not far from that spot bam! I again got that high tone…and I knew it was another Silver…this time it was a Mercury Dime a 1916 alas not the D mint mark but still a welcome sight to see emerge from the ground! Not to neglect relics that the Deus finds for they are always welcome too.



Here are some of the relics I found and other “treasure” too!


A few days later we returned to this site and again I was amply rewarded.

This time it was just two old coins, one an 1880 Indian Head and amazingly another Capped Bust Half Dime! Gosh the Deus loves these little tiny Silver!


The Little Half Dime was a bit damaged but who could complain!


Field season was coming to a close as more of the fields were being planted I had one more opportunity to get out to a field and again the Deus did not fail me.

   An 1835 Large Cent with the variant of having the 1836 Bust!

         I was looking forward to the start of field season but fate intervened, a reaction to some prescription medicine cause me to end up in the Hospital for over two day and when I was finally discharged I was as weak as a kitten. So I got a late start on the fields I got out one time and did find on my first hunt a Gold Class Ring…normally don’t find gold rings in farm fields so I was very pleased of course! So I was very eager to see what I could do with the Deus when more of my permission fields were harvested. Again life had something else in store for me, our club put on a demo and display for the local park district and I had brought many of my frames with relics to show. The demo where we helped kids to learn about detecting and the ethics involved went very well and there was much interest in my displays and I answered many questions about what things were and how to find and get permission to detect. When the event was over I packed up my displays and made two trips to the car carrying the heavy bags of them. It was a short drive home and when I got there I could barely get out of the car and walk, somehow I aggravated the Sciatic nerve in my right leg. It was a painful six weeks of treatment and rehab before I could even walk for an hour. The weather was beautiful and it was killing to be stuck at home. At last I felt good enough to try to detect, I had secured a new permission that had three sites on it and fortunately one of the sites was very near the road so I could park and be right on site. I was very thankful for the lightness of the Deus as it was taking all my energy just to walk. We got to the field and under the watchful eye of my wife Diane we started detecting. I had been there about five minutes when I got a nice signal and was extremely pleased to dig a big Copper, it was very toasty and only later was I able to tell that it was a 1844 Bank of Montreal Half Penny Token! A few minutes later I got another signal and dug a 1904 Indian Head Cent. I had to quit then my leg was aching so bad but my spirit was feeling so good! I was looking forward to the next time I could get out again.



   Each time we went out I could stay a bit longer, so we hit the sites in this field since it didn’t require a lot of walking to get to the sites in it. I really would not have been able to detect as long as I did if I had one of my heavier machines so that was a blessing.

I was able to make some good finds in this field including relics, tokens and buttons etc. here are examples of some of the finds.


    As the crops were quickly being planted I was eager to get out one more time we went out and found one of our fields still available and I was hoping to end the season with one more good find. And I was not disappointed!

We had been at this field for about an hour and while Diane was doing well, with an Indian Head and a 1857 Flying Eagle I was just digging odd bits of brass and copper I heard a small high tone amongst the iron and narrowing my swing I was able to pinpoint the spot. I dug my plug and when I stuck the pinpointer in the hole I could hear just a small beeping, I could tell it was a small target and at first I was afraid it might just be a small piece of brass or copper. I pulled a small clod out and the pinpointer told me it was in this clod I popped it and I saw a Silver edge…a very small Silver edge another pop and I could tell this was a coin! I saw the III on it and I knew I had dug a long desired coin, a Trime! A Silver Three Cent Piece….a coin that had eluded me for all these years…so last hunt for this season…but a great motivator for this fall. Can’t wait to see what is to come!


So as you can tell I am getting along quite well “Dancing with my Deus!”

Written by Tony Mantia.