Sean Haymes-Maree, known for international artifact recoveries, is based in Florida and detects around the world, both beach and relic detecting. He owns both the Minelab Equinox 800 and the CTX 3030. You can find him on Instagram using the handle “Hunting4History” where he shares some of his finds. Sean uses the Equinox 800 mainly for relic hunting and the CTX 3030 for the beach. He has been gracious to let us interview him and pick his brain for advanced tips for relic hunting using the Minelab Equinox 800. See our questions and his answers below.
How did you get into Relic Hunting?
I first started getting into relic hunting when I was detecting old mining camps in Northern California. While metal detecting for gold, I would recover artifacts from the 1848 Gold Rush. Each item I recovered helped me gain insight into how they worked and lived in the goldfields which in turn helped me recover more gold in the area. Eventually, I moved to Florida and became fascinated with Spanish, British, and American history. My research led me to beaches where I started recovering items that predated the American Civil War. Needless-to-say, the rest is history.
What have been some of your favorite relic finds?
Some of my most memorable finds are a Spanish silver ring with a South American opal dating back to the 1500s, as well as a Spanish gold escudo from 1781. Also, I would have to say the Spanish piece of eight from 1770 wasn’t bad either. My favorite European finds are a King James 1st Gold quarter-laurel dating back to 1603-1625 and a King Henry VI Silver Groat 1422-1427.
Sample of some of Sean Haymes-Maree Metal Detecting Finds
Which coils do you prefer for your Minelab Equinox for relic hunting?
Minelab 11 inch coil when prospecting new sites has great depth for its size and good target separation. When there are areas thick with brush and iron, I switch to the Coiltek 10X5 coil or the Minelab 6 inch coil. Both coils have good depth for their size and outstanding target separation. In areas that have been cleared out, where you want ground coverage and depth, I use the Coiltek 15 inch round coil or the Minelab 15-inch elliptical coil.
What are your favorite settings for relic hunting with the Minelab Equinox 800?
My feelings are that settings are site-specific. But one of my go-to settings would be Search Mode Park 1 in multi-frequency. All metal listening for grunts of iron. Sensitivity 24, Ground Balance 0, Volume adjust 25 to hear faint targets at depth. Threshold Level 4, Threshold Pitch 2, 5 Tones, Recovery Speed 4 for a good balance with depth and target separation. Iron Bias 2.
If you are looking for older coins 6 to 15 inches down, what setting should you tweak on the Equinox?
Minelab 15 inch Elliptical Coil or the Coiltek 15 Inch Round Coil for depth. Park 1 seems to be the deepest mode for me depending on the site. Recovery Speed set to 2 for increased depth with a swing speed count of 3.
For Civil War button hunting, do you prefer, Field 1, Field 2, or Park 2 and why?
When detecting for colonial buttons, I first go over the area in Park 1, which is weighted in the lower frequencies range for depth. I then go back over the area in Field 2, which has higher frequencies geared toward lower conductive targets like pewter buttons on edge.
For very mineralized soil relic hunting with Equinox 800, what do you feel are the best setting?
In highly mineralized soil, Gold 1 or Field 1 is my preferred setting. Sensitivity set to 20 or higher while maintaining a stable threshold. Frequency Multi, Auto ground balance, recovery speed set to 3 to increase depth due to the lower sensitivity. Iron bias 2 is set to 4, All Metal Mode. Again, this is site-specific.
Equinox 800 FE versus F2 Iron Bias for relic hunting, which do you prefer and why?
I usually detect using Iron Bias F2 and All Metal Mode in Multi-Frequency. Iron Bias 2 seems to be better at distinguishing non-ferrous from ferrous targets. Iron masking has always been a challenge for detectors so I am always willing to dig a little iron to get at the good targets.
Some detectorists remove their coil cover because they feel it helps them find deeper targets. Is this something you do and/or what are your thoughts on this?
My style of detecting is always keeping the coil on the ground for increased depth. So taking the coil cover off is not an option for me. My thoughts are the further the coil is off the ground, the less depth the detector is able to achieve. I go through at least two coil covers each year.
Besides all the valuable advice you shared above, do you have any other tips you want to share with our readers?
One of the best tips I can give would be to experiment using different size coils on sites that are believed to be worked out. Use small coils in sites that have heavy iron for target separation. Use larger coils to gain that extra few inches of depth. Both strategies could lead to that once in a lifetime find.
The second tip would be to build a test garden in your backyard and experiment with different settings on your detector before you go out in the field. This instills confidence in your equipment and tailors your detectors settings to the unique area you live in, soil, iron, etc.
I would like to thank Sean Haymes-Maree for his detailed answers on relic hunting with a Minelab Equinox 800.
Joanna Jana Laznicka, a Czech-Canadian residing in Southern California, is passionate about all things associated with metal detecting. She mainly detects on the West Coast, from Southern California to Northern British Columbia. As the founder of Focus Speed, her goal is to bring quality content to metal detectorists.