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Metal Detecting Finds

July 12, 2020

It is hard to believe how many objects can be found in the ground until you start metal detecting on your own. Below are the main groups of metal detector treasure finds that you may encounter during your search.


These are the most frequent finds. Depending on the area of your search, you can find the first coins of the Arab East (VI-X centuries), Byzantine and Tatar coins. From the middle of the XII century almost to the end of the XIV century, coins disappeared from the markets. Silver was traded in the form of bullion as money.

Crosses, Coils “] Icons

Crosses were an obligatory attribute of every Christian. Crosses differed in their types and purpose. The most common crosses are calves. Crosses-encolpions are much less common. These are folding double-winged chest crosses with a movable projection designed for storing relics or other shrines. Such crosses were worn over the clothes of the nobility.

It is known that the peasants have long worn serpentine brass icons with the cross on the chest, which was attributed to the “wonderful power to soothe the suffering” when imposing them on sore spots.

Occasionally you can find metal icons that, like encolpions, were worn over clothing. They can be one-sided, two-sided, and two-and three-leaved (folding). Travelers of the 17th century in Europe noted that all warriors without exception certainly had a beautiful image on their chest in the form of a triple folding leaf, with which they never part. Wherever they stop, they put it in a visible place and worship it. Often there are also pagan amulets.

Buckles, Buttons, Fasteners “] Belt Parts

The metal detector finds in this category are numerous, since they were widely used from the Bronze Age to the present. They were usually made of bronze, copper, iron, less often silver and gold. A variety of styles—from very simple to very sophisticated with enamel and intricate ornamentation. A variety of belt buckles and lining served merely for decoration, while others played the practical role of hooking or clasping.

While rare, expensive and great metal detector finds are Scandinavian brooches (clasps), often very decorative. Finno-Ugric, fibulae in some places are quite common. Buttons from military uniforms of the XVIII-XIX centuries are of great interest to collectors.

Weapons, Tools “] Household Items

Arrowheads are often the most frequent find in the weapons category, and the variety is incredible. Less commonly found are spearheads, axes, swords, and daggers. Knives, chairs, locks, and keys are other regular finds in the metal detecting world. The best preserved ancient articles are of bronze (axes, knives, daggers, arrowheads, etc.).

Unfortunately, iron products are often strongly corroded, especially if they are found in fields that were once richly fertilized. Sometimes individual specimens which have burned look like new and do not require any restoration. In addition, there are large fishing hooks, spoons, jewelry and tools to be found.


Jewelry is mostly associated with women, and even in ancient times, women were the primary bearers of great jewels.

Rings, brooches, pendants, bracelets, , earrings, and beads can be found dated from the Bronze Age to the present. They are primarily made of copper, bronze, or silver and are often gilded, decorated with stones, glass, enamel or granulation. There is a wide variety of styles, shapes, and crafting techniques.

Gold is a common find that can be much more worthwhile than the ancient coins and jewelry. Often gold objects are found when you are searching for metal detector finds on the beach.

Occasionally there are pendants and amulets in the form of miniature hatchets, spoons, knives, keys, various birds and animals as well as a variety of very common jewelry-bells. They were used as decorative parts of costumes and sometimes served as buttons.

Horse Harness Elements

These consist mainly of different sized buckles for tightening and adjusting the harness straps, as well as the bit, stirrups and decorative plates on the horse harness. As a rule, they were made of bronze, but sometimes of silver with blackening. Bits, stirrups, and horseshoes were forged from iron.

Badges “] Awards

In some places, tokens were viewed as an unofficial means of payment, as a means of advertising and political propaganda.

Occasionally, historical signs, symbols and cignets are encountered. These include various kinds of badges or pendants worn on clothes during the time when the wearer peroformed official duties. As a rule, an official sign bore an explanatory note such as the name of the position, for example, Senior Janitor or Fireman Warden. Badges are another group of best metal detecting finds. Of great interest are military badges as well as military and sports awards.

Native metals

Native metals include metals that occur in nature. While metals such as  aluminum, lead, copper, arsenic, bismuth, nickel, iron, tungsten, mercury are common, gold, silver, platinum, copper, and iron are most interesting to the treasure hunter.

Many centuries ago, people searched for precious metals, and with the advent of metal detectors, this activity is experiencing a resurgence.

The number of new surface deposits and alluvial deposits is small, but spent areas of gold are available, and it is quite affordable for artisanal mining. Each mine, as a rule, contains lost and unrecorded gold, the content of which can reach up to 70% of the total amount of gold in the field.


Sometimes you may encounter a meteorite—a stone fallen from the sky. Meteorites are iron, iron-stone, and stone. The metal detector responds to the first two types.

In appearance, it is difficult for a non-specialist to determine whether it is a meteorite or not, but these objects are among the best metal detector finds.


In addition, you can find wrist and pocket watches (sometimes gold), glasses, cigarette cases, lighters, locks, keys, thimbles, pillboxes and snuff, penknives, wrenches and screwdrivers, children’s toys, bullets, sleeves, whistles, bells, lead seals, tweezers, weights, fishing weights and hooks, irons, spoons, knives, forks, etc.