Many metal detectorist retrieve a coin by cutting a plug, something like the ones they cut on a golf course green for the hole and flag. They cut a nice neat circle, lift out the plug, then they dig their hole, retrieve the object from the hole and push the plug back in the hole and stomp on it. My experience, especially with drier soil, the roots and eventually the grass in the plug will die and you’ll have yellow plugs all over the property.
The better way is to cut a “C” shaped flap (shaped like a small toilet seat), then use the uncut (back) part as a hinge. Make your “C” cut big enough so that the sod flap will be easy to fold back without having it breaking loose from the surrounding soil. (like raising the toilet seat!)
Now, maybe the target is deeper in the ground. You will need something (non-metallic) to put your dirt into. I like to use a plastic lid from a one gallon ice cream pail. Some treasure hunters use a frisbee or cloth. I prefer the lid because when you put the dirt back into the hole the lid will fold and make it easier to spread the dirt evenly in the hole.
After the target is found, spread all the dirt evenly back into the hole and hinge the sod back into place. (like putting the toilet seat down!) Step down on the sod a few times to level it. This pushes the roots back into the dirt. Now, if you’ve done it right, walk a few paces and look back. I’ll bet you won’t see the spot where you did the retrieval and there won’t be loose dirt in the grass where the plug is. That’s the point…..leave it like you found it !!!
When you detect a target and it’s only an inch or so below the surface, use a brass or fiberglass probe to make a slit in the ground and insert the probe under it and pop it out of the ground. I did it this way during my first few years of metal detecting and occasionally still do it this way for targets as deep as 3 to 4 inches deep.
What was it? Is it a piece of junk ? Take it with you and throw all the junk in the nearest garbage can or take it home and dispose of it.
The biggest threat to our hobby may be ignorance, archeologist and the environmentalist.
Remember, your an ambassador for your hobby. When you are out there hunting and retrieving coins/jewelery your representing all treasure hunters. You may not see anyone around but believe me, people are watching you!
We should project an image that we know exactly what we are doing and care about the areas we are hunting. If you ask a home or property owner for permission to detect their property and they say no, respect their answer, thank them, and move on to the next site.
If you see another detectorist and notice they’re not doing it the proper way, ask them if they would mind a few pointers and help pass on your knowledge of the hobby.
OK, have fun detecting and COVER YOUR HOLES……….Bill B.