Pieces of History

by Mike Harvey

Beep beep. Another signal coming through the headphones. As I rest the Tesoro Cibola against a tree and get my shovel ready, I wonder what can be waiting for me in the hole I am about to dig. I cut a plug and in the first shovelful, I see a three-ring bullet shining white against the dark Virginia soil. My mind wonders. Who touched it last? What was this doing on the side of a hill? When was this piece lost and why did I get the signal and not someone else? One other question is also on my mind, "Are there more of these in this area?" I walk a few more steps and get an odd reading that stirs my curiosity. I repeat the above process, but this time in my shovelful, I get a square head nail. I recheck the hole and get a clear signal that surprises me due to the fact that the original signal was so broken. I dig deeper into the hole and pop out an 1814 2 Reale at seven inches. What a find! My mind again starts to wonder-who, what, when and why? More bullets, square head nails, and miscellaneous brass items make their way into my pouch this day but tomorrow is another day and the best is yet to come.

Waking up early the next morning, we (David Keith, Terry Burnett, Dean Gaylor, and I) load up in the SUV and head off to the Civil War site we had hunted yesterday. Visions of more bullets, buttons, and projectiles flash through my mind like a kaleidoscope. We begin the day by hunting through a stand of small pines in hopes of running across a campsite. We find some shrapnel but do not locate the elusive camp. We load back up and drive to the fort site in hopes of digging a Confederate button. As I work my way over to a small hill that produced many buttons in the past, my mind begins to visualize what this place may have looked like back in the 1800s. Beep, beep. I am brought back to the hereand-now by a new signal. I dig down about seven inches and check the dirt I have just taken out of the hole. No signal. I check the hole and the target is still there. I dig down another seven inches, check the dirt, and find I have a piece of cannonball. I think to myself how cool it is to be out here and finding history.

I reach the hill and stand for a minute trying to decide where to start my hunt. I begin working on the opposite side of where most of the buttons have been found. I see a log on the ground that has not been moved in a long time due to its decomposed state. I decide to use my shovel to roll sections of the log out of my way so that I can search under it. After moving a section of the log about four feet long, I run my coil over the ground and get a faint broken signal. I dig down and at about eleven inches, I pull out a 1797 8 Reale with Chinese chop marks all over it, front and back. Who, what, when and why? My mind is racing trying to comprehend the piece of history I am holding.

A couple of guys come up and ask to see the coin. Others ask if they can take a picture. Me….I'm just sitting on the ground enjoying the feeling of digging such a nice piece of history.

After all the handshakes and pictures, everyone starts hunting my side of the hill in earnest. I recheck the hole and find the reason for the broken signal-two square head nails. I end up moving the rest of the log but find no other targets.

What a weekend. I end up digging 38 bullets, 1 button, 2 pieces of shrapnel, horseshoes, square head nails, spikes, camp lead, an 1814 2 Reale, and the 1797 8 Reale. I also make new friends.

During all the above hunting I used the Tesoro Cibola. What a great detector. Thank you Tesoro for making such a good machine.


* - Reprinted with permission from Tesoro, "Metal Detector Information" - 22nd Edition