Artifact & Relic Recovery

Old Crozet Tunnel

"A land without ruins is a land without memories --
a land without memories is a land without history."
~ Rev. Abram Joseph Ryan

Relic *Hunters Richard Williams & Doug Hill near
Brandy Station

Relic:  Something that has survived the passage of time, especially an object or custom whose original culture has disappeared, but also an object cherished for historical or memorial value.  A trace of some past or outmoded practice, custom, or belief.  A survivor or remnant left after decay, disintegration, or disappearance.

  • Treasure in America - "We use history to find lost treasures. We have successfully discovered treasure sites all over North, Central, and South America. Treasures in America’s team is currently working on hundreds of sites with a significant amount of evidence to help the team continue to reach a discovery."
  • Lose Something? - Ringfinders can help. And if we find it, it will usually only cost you what you think it's worth. Click here if you're in Virginia and need help. Click here for someone in your area who can help.
  •  North South Trader's Civil War - North South Trader’s Civil War is a bimonthly magazine for collectors, researchers, relic hunters, and historians of the War Between the States. Each heavily illustrated issue contains a host of articles about a wide variety of artifacts from uniforms and weaponry to belt plates and buttons. We also offer regular features on events in the field, reproduction and fake alerts, artifact identification, and recently excavated finds. Our format is lively, informative, and readable.
  • Metal Detecting & Relic Recovery Code of Ethics - I take metal detecting and relic recovery seriously and practice the hobby responsibly and I subscribe to the Code of Ethics promoted by the Federation of Metal Detector and Archeological Clubs, Inc.
  • Archaeological Partnership Program - ". . . intended for avocational metal detectorists who are serious about working with professional archaeologists to help preserve threatened archaeological sites. The long-term goal is to create APP-trained avocational detectorists around the country who would be willing to work with professional archaeologists in pursuit of the shared goal of documenting history before it is lost." 
  • Confederate Saddles & Horse Equipment - "Historical research on all 19th century saddlery, leather and other miscellaneous services." An excellent resource with lots of other links to additional resources on related topics. (By author and historian, Ken R. Knopp.)
  • Hallowed Ground Restorations - Relic Recovery and Restoration by Roland Frodigh, "The overarching purpose of this blog is to share through digital media, the finding, identifying, and restoring of lost history."
  • American Digger Magazine - American Digger was founded in 2004 by those who love the hobby. Our magazine is published bi-monthly in the USA. Our premier issue was dated January-February 2005. Our Mission: To promote the responsible excavation and collecting of all artifacts related to America.We strongly oppose illegal recovery and wanton destruction of artifacts. Please dig responsibly. Our hobby depends on it!
  • Western Eastern Treasures Magazine - World's Leading How-To Magazine For Metal Detectorists Since 1966!
  • Detecting.US - . . . finding ways that detecting hobbyists can cooperate with professional archaeologists in historic preservation.
  • Old Virginia Diggers - My Youtube channel - follow Old Virginia Diggers as we research, recover, and record the lost history of Old Virginia and the American South. 
  • Civil War Outpost - A great resource for those interested in Civil War artifact recovery and collecting.
  • Shiloh Civil War Relics - this is the website owned by Rafael Eledge, who often appears on PBS's Antique Roadshow as their Civil War appraiser. Rafael is also a dedicated relic hunter/metal detectorist. Shiloh Relics is one of the world’s largest Civil War marketplaces on the web.
  • Relic Hunter Magazine - an exclusively online metal detecting e-zine. Free! Great articles in a very readable format. 
  • Relic Roundup - "Relic Roundup" is a weekly internet, call-in, radio show dedicated to the preservation of the physical artifacts of our nation's past. Featuring Craig Anderson of Our History Project and co-host Butch Holcombe (publisher of American Digger Magazine). The show is broadcast live every Monday night at 9 pm eastern. Live chat room available simultaneously. 
  • Nugget Noggin' - Watch the enthusiasm of a 16 year old young man as he hunts relics in North Carolina with his father and grandfather. Michael is one of the most prolific metal detecting videographers on the internet. I love watching his productions!
  • We Dig Dixie - More videos of live relic hunts and digs throughout the South.  
  • - The name of the website says it all. Excellent reference source. 
  • Touch the Past - "Using 21st century technology to locate, recover, and preserve relics from the past.
  • The Civil War Uncovered - Great video series. Civil War sites on private property are explored with the most modern metal detectors by a dedicated group or relic hunters rescuing America's past before it dissolves into rust and dust. ALL items found are returned to the landowners.
  • Treasure Hunting Life - "We love history and the small discoveries that make us wonder about the people that lived in the areas we are exploring. We enjoy the camaraderie of like minded folks and never pass up an opportunity to get someone excited about the history we have found."
  • International Explorations, Inc. - Exploration, Education, and Entertainment!
  • Artifact Detecting TeamFrom their mission statement: "The Artifact Detecting Team's main goal is to work together with local Historical Societies and other not for profit Organizations across the United States to help raise funds for the preservation and restoration of America's historically significant properties - in particular those properties built during the era of pre-Revolutionary America. In doing so we hope to build a new and lasting partnership with progressive not for profit Organizations across the US." (I am a member and endorse their goals.)
  • Archeological Society of Virginia - The Archeological Society of Virginia (ASV) was founded in 1940. It is one of the oldest state societies in the country. 
  • The Archeological Technician Certification Program - The Archeological Technician Certification Program is designed to give individuals the opportunity to obtain recognition for formal, extended training in the techniques and goals of archaeology without having to participate in an academic degree program.  
  • The Archeology Channel - Exploring the human cultural heritage through streaming media.  
  • Friends and Descendents of Johnson’s Island, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation of this National Historic Landmark site. 
  • Detecting Saxapahaw - Excellent informative blog about relic hunter Tony Stevenson and his efforts to preserve history in Saxapahaw, NC.Tony is serious about the hobby and is a good example for the detectorist community. 
  • Britain's Secret Treasures - a British documentary shown on ITV hosted by Michael Buerk and Bettany Hughes. The program features fifty archaeological discoveries that have been made in England, Wales and Scotland by members of the public. [Many of them metal detectorists] (Wikipedia) Very worthwhile and beats 95% of the trash on American television on any given night. Quite fascinating.
  • Treasure Island: The Untold Story - Where is Treasure Island? That question has been asked ever since Robert Louis Stevenson published his Treasure Island book in 1883. The answer to that question has now been discovered by Outer Banks NC author, John Amrhein, Jr. . . . after nine years of investigation by an international team of researchers, Treasure Island: The Untold Story takes us back to Treasure Island just as Stevenson did in 1883. Only this time, it’s not doubloons and pieces of eight that are uncovered but rather an incredible tale that up until now has remained buried in the dust of time.   
  • - "The premier website for treasure enthusiasists world-wide."
  • Exonumia - "Tokens and Medals, badges and ribbons including World Fair items and Political Americana, celluloid buttons cello advertising buttons, fraternal, Franklin Mint ® and other Modern Mint items such as medals, bars and plates. Countermarked coins and counterstamped coins featuring the Brunk Collection, plus chopmarks. Civil War Tokens and Hard Times Tokens plus Civil War Dog Tags, military Indian trader and post trader, some Military orders and decorations, and military reunion items such as G.A.R.: the Grand Army of the Republic, Union of Confederate Veterans, Woman's Relief Corps and Sons of Union Veterans." A great resource for the relic hunter and amateur archeologist, as well as collectors.
  •  Gone Hunting For History - Personal web page of an experienced relic hunter from Oklahoma. Evan works for Big Boys Hobbies and he gave me a fantastic deal on my 2nd Garrett AT Pro.
  • The Horse Soldier - The Horse Soldier is a family owned and operated antique store located in Gettysburg, PA. We specialize in Military Antiques with items dating from the American Revolution to World War II. Our strongest emphasis is on the American Civil War. 
  • Shadow Diver John Chatterton - John Chatterton is one of the world’s most accomplished and well known wreck divers. He was one of the co-hosts for 57 episodes of the History Channel’s Deep Sea Detectives television series, and worked as a consultant to 20th Century Fox, Paramount Pictures, and CBS. Prior to his career in television, John spent twenty years working as a commercial diver in and around New York City, and on September 11, 2001, was actually working on a project in the water underneath the World Financial Center, across the street from the Tower #1.
  • Interactive Dig Johnson's Island: Unlocking a Civil War Prison - Here's a fascinating video tour of an archeological dig at Johnson's Island in Ohio. This was the location of a Confederate POW camp, hospital, and cemetery. The project is led by archeologist Dave Bush.    

The first image is of the western end of the original Crozet Tunnel in the Blue Ridge Mountains near my home. As a "rightly constructed boy" I hiked through it (illegally) several times with a couple of my buddies. The tunnel had been closed decades before after a new one was constructed not too far from the original. I got the idea to go through the tunnel from my father - who had also hiked through it as a boy. But we weren't the first to hike through the tunnel. Stonewall Jackson used the Crozet Tunnel to march his foot cavalry through to the total bewilderment and frustration of the yankees who were always looking for him during his legendary Valley campaign. Notice the layer of mist at the mouth of the tunnel. I've been there in August when it was 95 degrees with very high humidity. As you approach the tunnel from some distance away, you will begin to feel the rush of cold air flowing out of the mountain. The fog or mist is often present adding to the feeling of mystery, adventure, and history which envelopes the location. I recall hearing as a boy that a number of the Irish (and Chinese?) laborers who worked on the tunnel, died from yellow fever and are buried somewhere on the mountain under which the tunnel runs. There are currently plans in the making to open the tunnel as a bike trail and tourist attraction.

More links and articles coming soon.

"Relic hunting . . . is as manly as hunting or fishing . . . it's work!"
~ Legendary Civil War relic hunter, Bob

“We do not follow maps to buried treasure
and X never, ever marks the spot.”
~ Indiana Jones 

"There comes a time in every rightly constructed boy's life
when he has a raging desire to go somewhere
and dig for hidden treasure."
~ Mark Twain

Researching, recovering and recording the history of Old Virginia and the American South.

*All recoveries made by host have been made on private property with the landowner's express permission and the host strictly abides by the The Federation of Metal Detector & Archeological Clubs, Inc.'s Code of Ethics. The host has also volunteered his services to historical societies, museums and preservationist organizations, as well as individuals at no charge.