Metal Detecting Massachusetts

For most detectorists, treasure can mean many things. The spots we hunt are all different, however, our final motive is to recover lost items, coins, and treasure! It doesn’t matter what machine you use or the location you are at in the world, there is always something that gets us excited in the field of metal detecting. For some people, it’s going to public parks and collecting as much modern change as possible and cashing in to pay for your machine or get a new one. Others it may be hitting the beach and finding everyone’s lost jewelry. For me, it’s all about saving history! The only downfall is winter time detecting. Although there is plenty of woods with cellar holes, fields and yards are frozen solid this time of year. 

I am fortunate enough living in Massachusetts, to have old land all around me. Being about 30 minutes from Plymouth and coastal waters, this is a great area where early colonial settlers came into port from other countries and made this area their new home. If you are out there detecting and looking for the ‘old’ stuff, this is the state to do it in. Of course, the entire New England area is full of colonial artifacts. New Hampshire, Maine, Vermont, Rhode Island, and Connecticut are all incredibly old states. New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey all have colonial history and what has always amazed me is how things travel with people. It’s never out of the question that colonial finds can be recovered in states that were established in the mid to late 1800’s as well. There is always a surprise in every hole!

As far as coins go, I would say the Massachusetts colonial silver tree coin is at the top of every detectorist’s bucket list around New England. There are 3 major designs. The Willow, Oak, and Pine Tree. The Willow tree is the most rare among the bunch, while the Pine Tree, although very elusive, is the most commonly recovered of the three. These coins are shillings and were only minted for about 6 months! It would be a dream come true to save one of these coins from the soil.

Example of 1652 Pine Tree Coin / Shilling

Photo Credit – National Museum of American History > Collections > Pine Tree Shilling, United States 1652

My oldest coin find is a 1722 Rosa Americana 2 Pence, also a rare coin to find. The Rosa Americana was made for American settlers, however, they did not like the coin. It was much larger than the current coins and was often not accepted by vendors. They thought it was fake!

Metal Detecting Find – 1722 Rosa American 2 Pence

There sure is something special about finding an old coin, something with a date on it, and is a huge part of our history that has changed many designs over the years. Finding a meaningful relic is even more special to me. There’s nothing like recovering a colonial shoe buckle that someone relied on daily. A skeleton key to someone’s house or a button from their favorite outfit! These are the relics and part of saving history that I enjoy the most. To recover buttons and cufflinks from a revolutionary war soldier’s uniform is pure excitement. Buttons are my favorite find, and one that is at the top of the list would be a George Washington inaugural campaign button. Nothing says history like something from our nation’s very first president! 

Various Metal Detecting Find From Massachusetts

Metal Detecting Massachusetts Finds

While the older, the better in my eyes, there is plenty of 1800s and 1900s history to be saved here as well. Detecting in Massachusetts can truly surprise you with every hole and location you dig at. I highly recommend doing as much research as possible to aid in finding a great location. Look at old maps, compare them to new ones, check our lidar maps for anomalies and what may look like old cellar holes. Go to the local library or research areas for active spots where people would congregate for events, get together, and fairs. Research is an important tool no matter where you live. My house was built in 1953, and I have found tons of 1800’s coins and relics in my own yard.

Various Metal Detecting Find From My Yard

Finds Metal Detecting Massachusetts

I was also able to do research through maps and find who lived on my property and found houses and barns between my property and my neighbors that are no longer standing. The gentleman’s name is Enoch Robinson and he was the foreman for the City of Taunton iron works in the mid to late 1800s. He passed away in 1897. I found a complete pocket watch from 1883 in my front yard, and I sure like to think it was his. The history is right below our feet!

If you are ever around the Southeastern Massachusetts area, feel free to reach out to me, and I would be happy to take anyone out to one of my many permissions. Do some metal detecting and saving history! Wherever you live and detect, I wish you all the best of luck in searching for what it is you are looking for the most. Keep swinging, have fun, and wicked happy hunting!

Chris DeSousa
AKA-Wicked Digger

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