Cast members of the new TV show “Rebel Gold” from the Discovery Channel sporting their metal detectors.
A recent surge in TV series’ featuring the real-life hobby of treasure hunting is creating intrigue about this pastime. The fact that there are literally millions of dollars in gold coins, treasure caches and artifacts buried in U.S. soil in enough to pique anyone’s interest. Discovery Channel premiered a new series in September called “Rebel Gold.” The show followed an experienced group of treasure hunters who joined forces to retrace Jefferson Davis’ trail—searching for clues that would lead them to the legendary lost Confederate gold. An estimated $20 million in gold and silver disappeared at the end of the Civil War while Jefferson Davis and Confederate troops fled from Richmond, Virginia.
Diggers TV show co-hosts KG & Ringy metal detecting. Click photo & see Garrett metal detector models, just like they use on the show.
National Geographic Channel brings their own brand of excitement with “Diggers,” which has already aired four seasons of reality metal detecting. The “Diggers” TV duo—Tim Saylor and George Wyant—are Montana natives and extreme detectorists. Viewers get to follow these two detectorists throughout the countryside while they hunt for artifacts from infamous outlaws (such as Bonnie & Clyde), war battles, Wild West gunfights and historical American events. These are ethically conscious hobbyists who request permission to hunt on private property and donate historically relevant relics to towns and museums. What’s really interesting about both of these TV series is that the shows’ treasure hunters do this as a hobby…they all have other jobs and careers. There’s no misguided beliefs that you can quit your job and become a treasure hunter. Nevertheless, a treasure hunter can get lucky and unearth a treasure cache worth millions. We’ve seen it in the headlines!
Why are Relic Hunters Passionate about this Hobby?
When people talk about relics, they are referring to “traces of the past.” Battlefield relics are one popular category, with relic hunters searching for artifacts from the Revolutionary War and Civil War. Many Civil War battles and skirmishes took places in the southern United States, so these are common search sites. You’ll notice these well-known battlegrounds being scoured by the “Diggers” and the “Rebel Gold” team. But war relics aren’t the only relics to be found. Old coins, tokens, jewelry and medallions are highly sought after, as well as antique toys and bottles. “Diggers’” Tim Saylor says, “We usually look for old coins because that’s our favorite thing to find, but it’s always the other weird items that come out of the ground—guns, rings, unique jewelry, tools, and so on—that are the most interesting and surprising.” And sometimes, a relic hunter will find “The Big One!” Just a few years back in England, a metal-detecting buff was exploring a field near his home when he unearthed a lead container filled with silver coins and jewelry. The coins dated back to Viking rulers of the region, more than 1,000 years ago!
Equipment to Get Started Relic Hunting with a Metal Detector
It’s important to use the right type of metal detector if you’re searching specifically for relics. This is because most relics are made of iron, steel or brass. Also, a lot of valuable relics are found in highly mineralized soil. If you were using a detector for coins, it would discriminate most of these metals out. Relic-hunting metal detectors are designed to use lower frequencies that respond well to iron, steel and brass; and they’re deep-seeking. Many relic metal detectors feature ground mineral displays, ground cancellation and target identification. Here are a few high-quality detectors suggested for relic hunting:
Entry Level Relic Metal Detectors:
Mid Level Relic Metal Detectors:
Top Relic Metal Detectors:
What are the Best Metal Detectors for Finding Relics?
What are the Best Digging Trowels and Shovels for Metal Detecting?