They say that there are more coins lost than are in circulation today. I have found several thousand coins while searching with a metal detector over the last few years, so I believe it is true. If you would
like to try finding treasure by metal detecting, it can be done. Here are some tips on how to find treasure with a metal detector.

Metal detecting for treasure Image Flickr portableantiquities

What kind of treasure do you seek?
Decide what you want to find. Some metal detecting hobbyists like to find gold and jewelry, others like to dig coins, and some are only interested in historic items like war relics. You must hunt where the items you want were lost. If you want coins or jewelry, then parks, playgrounds, schools and beaches are likely locations. Relics and old coins require more research as they are likely at older locations or sites where actions such as military engagements took place.

Learn your detector
Learn your detector's operations and master them. Read the operator's manual, and look up your detector on Other hunters may have posted videos of actual recoveries that can help you understand the detector better.

Conduct air and ground tests

Lay the detector on a wood bench and pass sample targets like coins or rings in front of the coil to hear the signals it gives and the distance it will detect different items. You should also plant a test garden of targets like coins at different depths to hear the responses in actual field conditions. Experiment with the detector's sensitivity and discrimination controls while conducting air and ground tests.

Time to hunt!
When you begin actual treasure hunting, go slowly and keep the metal detector's coil parallel to the ground as you go. Set your sensitivity and discrimination controls to detect the targets you are
looking for, while still allowing reasonable depth penetration. Listen closely for tone changes in the detector, which indicate potential treasure targets beneath the coil. You are looking for repeatable sound signals and visual signals if your detector has a visual display. In the beginning, you may want to dig questionable signals until you get better at understanding what the detector is telling you.


Recover your treasures as neatly as possible, especially if you are hunting in a schoolyard, park, or private lawn. Someone walking through your hunt area later on should not be able to see any evidence of your presence. In a lawn area, that means dig a flap of soil so you can fold it back while leaving some grass roots attached. Reach into the hole and recover the target, then brush the loose dirt back into the hole and replace the flap. Step on it to seal the hole, and brush any loose dirt particles away. This takes a little practice, but try to make neat recoveries.

- You are an ambassador for the hobby of metal detecting wherever you hunt. Dispose of any trash you find, and adhere to the Treasure Hunter's Code of Ethics.
- Your local library or historic association may be able to provide resources such as old newspapers that show where people lived or congregated in days gone by.
- Pay attention to any pinpointing and recovery videos you find. These skills can be more of a challenge to master.

Good luck and happy treasure hunting.