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The Crew

It is quite unusual to find a individual working alone on research and recovery. It is much more enjoyable and profitable when several individuals work together. Make a plan if you want to be successful. There have been times when I went detecting alone, but on any significant hunts I always had a buddy or two or three.

Below is a plan I put together in 2002 for a group of us that I called The Crew. We all met together, agreed on a plan, contributed, participated and had an enjoyable and successful time working together. Each of us had unique skills that contributed to our success. I use this as an example, you proceed as you see fit. I only suggest to have a detailed roadmap to success. Try to think of everything, add it to your list and then some.

"First off, finding relics or valuables should be fun, and we should do it for the challenge it presents. Not for financial gains, for there may or may not be any profit other than aesthetic value. I have seen guys stab each other in the back for prestige and gain in relic hunting. It is not worth it and I am pretty sure, that each of us have much more honorable motives than that.

Why 4 - 6 of us? I think that gives us enough manpower to accomplish what we want to do. No more, no less. Ten might just be too many and two or three too few. There is a lot of ground across Florida to detect along with water to navigate and sites to dive.

This is a team effort… not a dictatorship. So lets work together as a team. Let’s have our relationship together founded and grounded upon honesty, loyalty and trust. Nothing less than that is acceptable.

If anyone disagrees, say so now. I know we don’t all know each other yet. Even I have only spent a little time with each of you myself. From what I can see it appears we all want the same thing. To enjoy this metal detecting hobby that we take very seriously. So have a little patience and give while we begin to work together. I assure you it will be worth it. It is not easy to find several individuals in proximity, with the some of the same goals, time, resources and abilities for a team like this. Our value working together is immeasurable.

No one but us and our families should know where we are going and what we are doing. The sites we research together are confidential unless we agree otherwise. Premium detecting sites are too hard to come by to give them away.

Ok, I am just trying to come up with a plan here… Any ideas please jump in and help. We are definitely not a recognized organization of any kind other than “we four” recognizing our little group for the purpose stated in the cover page.

I think this cover information can be a good lead along with a portfolio that we can all help in putting together, which will give us some credibility if needed when contacting landowners for access and search permission. Each of us should put together our credentials and write up what is pertinent for an individual portfolio that we can incorporate into a group portfolio.

Each of us have many areas that will contribute to the success of our endeavor. Let’s pull together with an extra effort to put all the research resources into some semblance of order. Then we can choose the top 10 – 20 locations that we can begin work on.

There are several areas of research we should be aware of.

Fossils & Early Indians – finds can include valuable fossils, shark teeth, indian points or arrowheads, beads and more.

European Discovery, Exploration & Occupation – Spanish, English, French,

Pirate… finds can include anything that was carried by these early travelers and explorers. Relics, gold and silver coins. These may have been lost directly by them. But many times, the Indians stole or traded for these items and these relics can be found by way of the Indians losing or burying them.

Seminole Indian War Period – Finds include items from the soldiers, forts, battles and campsites.

Civil War Period in Florida – Finds same as above

Pioneers & Early Settlers – homesteads, trading posts, ghost towns and the like.
Coin, jewelry and relics from the recent past… 1870s to the present – Finds can include silver coins, other collectible coins, jewelry, bottles and other valuables.

Caches of larger hidden valuables which can include modern paper money.

Here is what I am doing to start.

Using a US Fort Site reference I am marking every location in Florida into the Florida Atlas & Gazetteer in pencil for easy reference. You can buy this map atlas in any local bookstore. This atlas is a 1:150,000 topo map of the state in a 12 x 14 book which can easily be carried. I am also marking any other sites into what will be my personal treasure atlas.

I just started reading Finding Civil War Campsites in Rural Areas. It is superb and details exactly what we need to be versed in to find those untouched relic sites. Get a copy if you can.

I have Reilly’s Treasure Gold getting me a small book detailing the latitude and longitude of all the Forts in Florida. These are from old military records and may not be exact, but it will be extremely helpful in quick location of a fort site. Rusty mentioned that he would get a GPS if needed.

I have a small Florida history library of my own. I am missing some strategic books on the Seminole Indian Wars, Civil War in Florida, Spanish occupation, pirates, lost loot, and more. Anything you can get a hold of, especially real life accounts do so. The local historical societies have many of these available. Plus there are many on ebay. I don’t have the finances to invest in many of these right now. But books like this can give blow by blow descriptions of the forts or camps, daily life, locations, dates and more.

Let’s all work on a must read book list that will give us leads to premium sites. Again, the local historical societies have many of these books available. In fact many areas in Florida have their own historical books for their town or county.
If any are not familiar with coins, bottles, military relics, Indian artifacts, then get some books at the library and learn a little about the items we will be finding. Early in my detecting I was not familiar with Seminole Indian War relics. So when metal detecting Pine Island area where there was a lot of Seminole War activity by the soldiers, I found, deep, deep under a very old oak tree root, a rusty bone handle folding knife. I threw it away thinking it was modern, when in fact it was military from the Seminole War Period. The moral of the story is to know your relics!!!

I am going to make some trips to the local historical societies to make some friends and learn what I can and what resources they may have available.

I am trying to document as many varied sites across the state as I can so we have plenty to choose from. We can even glean information from the internet forums… guys talking and mentioning the areas they live or locations they hunt when they post pictures of their finds. It helps show us areas that are still producing relics.

Basically, if we do our homework, we can have several good producing sites in our back pockets to work from at any given time.

Also, it would be great if we could all get together once or twice a month for an evening to put some of our research and ideas together. Maybe a first and third Tues or Wed of every month? Input anyone. Since I am in the middle between everyone, maybe my place would be a good location to start. Let me know.

I know everyone is busy right now, but let’s get together as a group to get started."

Research

There are no set rules to follow, but rather guidelines that will help, in my opinion.

First utilize any and every resource at your disposal. Written materials, online, historical societies, in person contact, knocking on doors, travel and scouting locations.

Work together with others, they have skills and contacts you may not have on your own.

Have a plan, lay it out, agree together and everyone follow through to do their part.

Persistence, keep at it and don't quit. On one search we traveled to an area over several weekends, knocking on doors to get permission to access properties, ziz-zag'd through the wood and fields with our detectors for several miles during that time. Eventually we found what we were looking for.

I only worked together with others that I fully trusted, we watched each others backs and would never turn on one another.

Be willing to talk to the locals as they usually know more about their area than any outsider. Be willing to knock on doors to get permission to search and be willing to be turned away. I found that most of the time we were invited and allowed to search.

Treat the owners property better than if it were your own and have an agreement as to any finds that might be made before you search.

Lastly, leave no stone unturned and be willing to turn it over twice to check again.

© Grahique Du Jour (papertique)