Metal Detecting in Alabama Introduction
I found my first buried treasure when I was eight years old. It was in the surf at Dauphin Island, Alabama and although I could not see it with my eyes, my feet followed the outline of a rectangular object while my mind showed me a treasure chest full of gold and jewels.
I called for my father to help and the poor man came running down the beach as fast as he could. Out of breath from running to my rescue, he did help me recover the treasure – a barnacle encrusted concrete block.
Over the years I have recovered a few items by chance but they are insignificant when compared to the treasure finds I have found myself or been witness to. On two separate occassions, employed with state and federal government agencies, I was present for the recovery of millions of dollars in gold and artifacts.
Now retired, I pretty much do what I like, but most days I am searching for something – doing research on anything Alabama. I enjoy the spaces between the places and, to me, the quest is more enjoyable than the discovery. Alabama is a remarkable state. We really do have it all. If you are in to metal detecting, prospecting or relic hunting, our state flag shows you where to look – X marks the spot.
Over the years I have been asked thousands of times about the best place to metal detect or treasure hunt. My answer has always been the same and it has always been poorly received. The answer to that question is “the past.” It is remarkable that so many people think they can go to any location and just start finding treasures to dig up. Yes, it does happen but probably only once in a lifetime. I’m not trying to be hard or mean. My intent is really to help. Unless you are content with waving a metal detector across the surface of the earth just for exercise, you will not gain much from the hobby without some research. The more you research, the more likely you are to find.
I have met with and assisted, to a small degree, professional treasure hunters that have invested years and thousands upon thousands of dollars in research. They spent weeks and months in library archives the world over. I was there when the rewards saw their first light of day in hundreds of years. Research really is the key to finding the good stuff.
Advancing age and aggravating health issues keep me pretty close to home; physically at least. However, I still travel by internet and research Alabama places as much as ten hours a day. I have been doing this for the last eight years or so. The information you will find in Explore Alabama: Metal Detecting in Alabama, is the ongoing result of those hours.
Finally, I promise you nothing except possibly some thought-provoking reading and interesting facts from history. Everything in these posts comes from publicly available information – some of easy to find and some from historical documents that required a lot of work. You certainly will not find a treasure map with a big X on it. What you will find is information about locations, treasure stories and legends that I feel are worth further investigation. The places mentioned are those that I would investigate further if I was looking to score big. In most cases, I do not say why. Use your imagination and do some research. And, by all means, know the laws and never trespass. Always ask for permission. Stay away from protected historical sites.
Pay attention to mention of stagecoach routes, railroad lines, early taverns and inns and such. Let your curiosity take you to further research that may help you connect the dots. And, let Elton John remind you, you might be trying to find gold in a silver mine. Don’t overlook what may be right beneath your feet.
Terry W. Platt