For starting metal detectorists (and seasoned searchers as well) it might seem very difficult to find good spots to go metal detecting. I dare to say that every piece of grass or ground you see around you contains at least some metal, be it trash or treasure. In different areas you can expect different finds and research is an important aspect of this hobby. If you do your homework and find out a great deal of an area’s history, chances are higher that you will find something significant. However, one might get lucky by just stepping onto a field and turning on their detector. Research can be done in different ways. You can read books/articles about the area, look at old maps, talk with locals (especially the elders), go through the city’s archives, etc. The most important thing is that you have permission to search in your target area and just go out there! Make sure to respect nature and properly fill in every hole you dig. In this article I will give you some ideas on locations where you could search and which finds to expect.
1. Fields/Pastures: This is probably the most diverse of all the locations. You can find anything from ancient artifacts to modern money (depending on your local area ofcourse). This is due to the fact that most fields are highered with city waste, which already happened in the middle ages. Make sure to ask permission to the landowner before you enter the field unless there are no signs that tell you not to enter this field (i.e. gate, fence, stop sign), nor a farm nearby. If this is the case you can enter the field and do your thing and if the landowner comes and tells you he doesn’t want it, simply accept it, apologize and leave.
2. Forests: Forests are often protected areas as they are used by the military and are full of wildlife. However, in some forests metal detecting is allowed if you ask permission first. In forests you typically find ammunition and military related artifacts. Yet, there is always the possibility that you find an ancient settlement or pathway (again, depending on your area). Modern items are also around as people love going into nature for hikes and picnics.
3. Beaches: The beach is where metal detectorists go to make money. You will find coins, jewellery, sunglasses, phones and lots and lots of trash. If you are lucky, the sea could leave some older treasure for you to find as well. Typically, this occurs after a heavy storm. Not every metal detector is suited for wet beach sand so keep this in mind.
4. Playgrounds: Here you will find a lot of trash and modern coins. If you are lucky you might find silver or gold jewellery as well. A great thing about playgrounds is that they refill infinitely. Every day there will be kids playing there and chances are pretty high at least a few of them lose something.
5. Lawns: Same thing as with playgrounds. Kids will play football here and likely someone has lost a few bits over time.
6. Parking lots: Many things could drop out of a car while opening the doors. Also, most parking lots have a machine where drivers have to pay. Coins will be lost on the way to this machine.
7. Fishing spots: You will find a lot of trash and fishing gear here, but modern coins and jewellery is an option as well.
8. Building sites: You won’t get the chance often to enter a building site, but make sure to seize the opportunity if it occurs. There is a big chance artifacts were buried deep below the ground, which are now accessible.
9. Festival locations: Lots and lots of bottle caps, but lots and lots of modern coins as well. If you get lucky, one of the party people lost their phone or their precious jewellery.
10. Parks: Especially pre-WW2 parks are interesting. There could be anything from modern coins to ancient relics. You never know. In post-WW2 parks the most exciting finds will include modern coins and jewellery.
11. Swimming areas: Did you know your fingers become slightly smaller when they get cold? Well, most people don’t and that is how gold and silver rings end up on the bottom. Other finds could be modern money, trash and if you are really lucky, expensive watches.
12. Gardens: It will be hard to get permission here, as people don’t necessarily like it when their clean cut lawn is full of holes. If you do get permission, make sure to ask the owner where they hang up their laundry. Guaranteed you will find some modern coins and possibly jewellery there.