Pinpoint Probes

Garrett Pro-Pointer

An extremely useful metal detecting accessory is an electronic pinpoint probe; a hand-held miniature metal detector, identifying all metal by audio and vibrating. This gadget helps identify the exact position of the find in and out of the ground so you can not only avoid damaging your find but speed up find extraction considerably. Probes have other uses too. You can check the surface for shallow finds before you dig, which is especially useful when searching sensitive areas like lawns or when searching for a recent loss – you usually only need to check the shallow signals. Probes with a limited range, perhaps no more than an inch on a coin-sized object, have been around for a long time but a few years back Garrett brought out the Pro-Pointer which has a greater range and a larger price tag but is so much better at pinpointing than the old style probes. I bought a Garrett Pro-pointer when they were first available in the UK and have had 10 years of reliable service out of it but recently it started sounding-off (falsing) for no apparent reason, even with a new battery, which made me think it had come to the end of its working life.  I had a look around to see what was available and it seems almost every metal detector manufacturer now makes these probes in many colors. But the cost of some of them is bordering on the ridiculous – you could easily buy a good, brand new, entry level metal detector for the price! There are quite a few tests on YouTube and one thing that struck me was that the Chinese had got in on the act and they have a probe available at less than twenty pounds or twenty-five dollars, which includes holster, lanyard and shipping! The model in question is called a GP-Pointer and it tested quite well on YouTube so I thought I would give it a try. It is almost identical to the Garrett in appearance. Switching on takes about 3 seconds; whereas Garrett is instant. The GP is not quite as sensitive, nor as loud, nor vibrates so strongly as the Garrett. I didn’t find any of this to be a problem even when wearing headphones but I do have good hearing and did not need to wear thick gloves at the time. It may be difficult to use in a noisy environment and by anyone with poor hearing but for its price, I found it a great tool for the money.


As a footnote, I did a Google search for ‘repair Garrett Pro-pointer’ and found some YouTube videos which show you how to fix the fairly common falsing problem. I have taken the advice and had a go at repairing mine. So far so good, it still works but I have yet to field test it.

Categories: Editorial, Metal Detecting, Metal Detecting Finds, Treasure Hunting

Diamond Orbs

In The Successful Treasure Hunter’s Secret Manual, I looked at thermal and electrical conductivity as a possible explanation as to why some metals produce stronger auras than others. What I discovered through experimentation is that different metals produce different auras and fortunately precious metals produce the strongest auras. In other words a smaller amount of gold or silver will produce an aura than is the case with base metals. This stuff is so cutting edge that I’m afraid I don’t know all the answers. I do recall that when I was doing a lot of beach treasure hunting in the summer evenings, when the crowds had left, that coins coming out of the sand were always quite hot to the touch. The mechanism is presumably emission of infrared radiation selectively absorbed by metals from the sun although it could just as likely be metallic interference with the earth’s magnetic field. It doesn’t matter too much, as it is results in finds that we’re after, not a degree in physics. A useful way of comparing metals seems to be thermal and electrical conductivity, I must stress these may not be the only factors or even the correct factors that determine aura strength but they do tie in quite nicely with my observations.

Silver has a thermal conductivity of 420 Watts per metre-Kelvin and an electrical conductivity of 62,000,000 Siemens per metre. Pure copper has a thermal conductivity of 370 W/mk and an electrical conductivity of 59,500,000 S/m. Gold has a thermal conductivity of 315 W/mk and an electrical conductivity of 45,000,000 S/m. Pure copper has conductivities in between gold and silver, however copper is normally found alloyed with zinc or tin forming brass or bronze respectively, which have much lower conductivities, typically a thermal conductivity of 125 W/mk and an electrical conductivity of 15,000,000 S/m. Soil, sand and water have thermal and electrical conductivities around 1 W/mk / S/m or less. Diamond, interestingly has the highest thermal conductivity of any known substance at 1000 W/mk but such an extremely low electrical conductivity it can be considered to be an insulator. Unfortunately I couldn’t afford a large heap of diamonds to test whether they produced auras but I said it might be something worth looking out for. I was sent the photo from a reliable source who claims it is a diamond aura. I must say it is a very unusual aura photo and I haven’t seen anything quite like it before. I would like to see a photo of the diamonds though, which might be available in due course.

Categories: Orbs, Treasure Auras, Treasure Hunting

Round Pounds

The new 12-sided £1 coin became legal tender on 28 March 2017. The round £1 coin lost its legal tender status at midnight on 15 October 2017. There are still 169 million out there, which have not been returned to the mint. I am sure we will be finding them with our metal detectors for many years to come, but from what I have heard and read a lot of detectorists think they are now worthless. NOT TRUE!

Until further notice most UK High Street Banks will exchange round pounds for account holders at full face value. Some will exchange them over the counter; others will want them deposited into accounts. The Post Office has arrangements with most UK High Street Banks, as well as its own bank, and will also accept round pounds for deposit into a bank account.

There are currency exchange companies who will exchange withdrawn coins. One is currently paying 85% face for round pound coins and 75% face for withdrawn British decimal and pre-decimal coins.  Bear in mind that pre-decimal copper (bronze) and brass coins are worth more than their face value in scrap. One old penny, weighing 9.45 grams, is now worth about 3p. In contrast the nickel-brass round pound weighs 8.75 gram and would be worth slightly less than 3p as scrap. Nevertheless that is an option if the coin is mutilated and not acceptable elsewhere.

Further details of profitably disposing of withdrawn and foreign coin finds will be found in Treasure Hunting for Profit.

Categories: Editorial, Metal Detecting, Metal Detecting Finds, Treasure Hunting

Piggyback cameras

Paul, from Australia, told me (and sent photos) of how he had mounted an Olympus D-360L camera onto the Canon 350d and can now take accurately pointed photos using the Olympus camera’s view finder. This idea is working very well, also the Olympus is very useful being able to take a normal photo of the target area at the same time as the photo being taken by the Canon. You can actually see the area clearly that you were looking at which is rarely the case with the Cannon infrared image. Ideally you would hope to get the small orb auras, without a filter, on the Olympus to confirm the auras on the Canon although there is a small snag here in that the Canon seems to work best in the early afternoon while the Olympus seems to prefer low light conditions at dawn or dusk, like the Polaroid. Nevertheless it is a good idea worth pursuing and having a normal image in tandem with the IR image is useful, although that could be achieved with any compact, with a viewfinder, similarly mounted. Bear in mind that the lens on the Olympus is offset so the Olympus needs to be skewed slightly to capture the same view as the Canon. Stand mounting the set-up would be preferable.

Phot-R 1/4″-20 Aluminium Dual Nuts Tripod Mount Screw to Flash Digital Camera Hot Shoe Adapter
This is the adapter I used in the set up, they come with one or two nuts; although I prefer the two nut version as it holds everything more securely. The Canon’s pop-up flash is deactivated by fitting the mount, in case anyone was wondering.

Categories: Gold, Orbs, Treasure Auras, Treasure Hunting, X-Factor

Treasure Hunting for Profit: With and Without a Metal Detector


If your dreams of finding treasure result in next to nothing, then this book is for you. David Villanueva draws on his 40 plus years experience to show you how and where to find, and profit from, many types of lost or hidden valuables in Britain, all year round. Treasure hunting is one of the few hobbies that can actually cost you nothing to take part but potentially bring you a fortune. Terry Herbert, the finder of the Staffordshire Saxon hoard received over 1.5 million pounds for basically a few hours enjoyable work with an old metal detector he bought for pocket change. But money is not the only reward; this fascinating pursuit breathes life into history and archaeology and offers healthy exercise to boot.

This book shows you how and where in Britain you can profitably:

  • Use a metal detector
  • Beachcomb for lost valuables
  • Find Gold, Minerals, Gemstones & Meteorites
  • Search for Fossils
  • Hunt for treasure in innumerable places

If you dream of finding buried treasure, improving your finds rate or exploring new avenues for fun and profit… You can get the E-book and printed book from the SHOP at (Also available on Amazon, ebay, Smashwords and other online and offline retailers).

Please note: Most of the locations and contacts given in the book are based in the UK so if you live outside of the UK and are not planning a treasure hunting trip to Britain, then you will need to do some local research to get the best out of the book. Nevertheless I hope you all enjoy it and I always appreciate feedback– good bad or indifferent – it helps me be a better writer.

Categories: Gold, Metal Detecting, Metal Detecting Finds, Treasure Hunting

Finding Personal Losses

Photo by Thomas Quine (Lady’s Rolex) [CC BY 2.0  (], via Wikimedia Commons

The Swale Search and Recovery Metal Detecting Club I chair, offers a free search and recovery service for personal items, tractor parts, buried drain covers and the like. The most unlikely item I have been asked to find was a cricket pitch! I did suggest at the time it was a big green area with wickets but the groundsman explained they had spent a large amount of money having the pitch excavated, refilled with special bedding and laid with Cumberland turf. As grass only comes in one colour, the groundsman had marked each corner with a large bolt driven vertically into the ground, with the head visible at ground level to distinguish the pitch from the surrounding grass. Of course, with the passage of time the bolts had sunk and were no longer visible. The groundsman had a good idea where one corner of the pitch was and I located the marker bolt within a few minutes searching; after that it was very easy to measure to the next corner, locate the bolt and so on.

But I digress. A few weeks ago I had a call from a young lady who had lost her gold Rolex watch; a 21st birthday present from her mother. She was convinced that she had lost it at a barbeque she attended the previous evening, so I met her there to make a search. The grassed areas were short and the gravel areas had no real depth to them so it didn’t look as if it could have been buried and was nowhere to be seen on the surface. I spent an hour detecting and looking around in every nook and cranny, in bushes and under features all to no avail. I asked her when and where she was when she realised the watch was missing and was told it was back at her home after the barbecue. I suggested she had a good look round at home. Start at the point where it was discovered missing and try and retrace steps from there back to the point when you were sure you had the watch. Where were you and what were you doing immediately before you found the watch missing? And before that? And before that? The lady later found her watch at home by the dishwasher!

I had a similar experience with my partner, Helen, a few weeks earlier. We were shopping and had just left B&Q, a hardware store, when Helen announced that she had lost one of her gold earrings. (Why do women wear expensive jewelry when they go shopping?) I must have lost it getting out of the car, she said. We went back to the car and it wasn’t there. “It must be at home then.” She said. If it turned out not to be at home, we would have lost all opportunity to find it so I said: “Let’s go back into B&Q.”

“No, no, it’ll be at home and we’ve got to get the groceries.” “OK, you start on the groceries and I’ll go and look in B&Q.” I said. I had only just walked through the door of B&Q and I could see gold glinting at me on the floor in front of me, fortunately it hadn’t been stood on or run over by a cart, so Helen got her earring back. As I said before, start where you realise the item is missing and work back from there.

Categories: Editorial, Metal Detecting | Tags:

Airplane Hunting

Bristol Beaufighter firing rockets

As Chairman of The Swale Search and Recovery (metal detecting) Club I was approached recently by an up-and-coming air museum to help look for wreckage of a WWII Bristol Beaufighter that had crashed on a local muddy foreshore during a training exercise. It was believed, or hoped, that there was a substantial amount of wreckage remaining although little had been seen above ground for some considerable time.

For the initial search I organised a party of half a dozen metal detectorists to search the area, at low tide, around where the plane was thought to have crashed, which the museum assistant marked with a clump of stakes. While plenty of spent ammunition was found, not one single piece related to the plane emerged, although the tide had not been as low as we would have liked.

For the second search, at a predicted lower tide, I took my aura camera and long lens instead of a metal detector and let the others carry on metal detecting while I stood at the marker stakes and proceeded to photograph the exposed foreshore piece by piece in a one hundred and eighty degree arc around the stakes. On dry land I could have linked the camera to a laptop and analysed the photos on the spot, but out on a tidal foreshore, it would not be a good idea so I just used the camera and would analyse the photos at home later. Although there were a few permanent seamarks to help frame the photos, it was mainly guesswork where I was pointing the camera as featureless foreshore and open sea all looks the same. With the benefit of hindsight I could have used a compass and obtained a bearing for each photo. An assistant to use the compass to line me up for the photo and to note the readings would be a great help. Again the detectorists found only spent ammunition and nothing that could be specifically related to the plane.

I downloaded the photos at home and enhanced them with Arcsoft Photostudio. I was pleased to see that there were areas showing an orange aura (top photo) as well as areas showing no aura (bottom photo). I assumed I had taken photos fairly evenly around the arc and nominally assigned compass points to the aura photos. That gave me one search area approx North to Nor’-Nor’-East and another due South.

Armed with this information I organised another search, although the detecting party had now reduced to three only. Two of us went searching to the North and one to the South. We did not know how far away the targets were but guessed they would be less than 200 yards (or metres) as that was the optimum range I had been able to pick up a large target in the past. It would be possible to walk in the direction of the auras with the camera, particularly if there were compass bearings, and to re-photograph them at say ten-yard or metre intervals, which could be measured by pacing or a surveyors tape. Of course this would require another at-home analysis session to determine at which point the aura image is lost and determine that the target would lie between there and the previous ten-yard point where the image was captured. A further session on the site would be required to make the final location and recovery. Nevertheless we had some results. The South searching detectorist recovered a part of the plane’s ammunition box, meanwhile the two of us searching northwards discovered a 60lb rocket each, part of the plane’s arsenal. I also recovered a small piece of aircraft battery. So by using aura photography, we had actually started finding what we were looking for as well as defining where to look on future searches.

Part of ammunition box

One of the rockets recovered in two parts (dummy warhead at bottom) and minus fins

A Beaufighter being armed with rockets

Categories: Metal Detecting, Metal Detecting Finds, Treasure Auras, Treasure Hunting, X-Factor

In Search of King John’s Treasure (Part 2)

The only field that produced a good aura was the same field that had given the curious orbs with the camera on the AV setting. While not the recommended setting, it does indicate that other camera settings work – perhaps as good or better. We had photographed the field from different points on adjacent sides of the field and obtained auras in the same place from both points and with both lenses, so there is definitely a substantial quantity of metal buried here, which may be silver from the colours obtained in the photographs. I should perhaps mention that this is not the field that Garry Brooker indicated but it is close by.

We now needed to contact the landowner to discuss the possibility of undertaking a survey to try and establish what is buried there and at what depth. It has now become quite easy to use the Land Registry online: to establish ownership and in this case it only took a few minutes. Writing a letter to the landowner took somewhat longer and as yet we have received no reply. Still no news is good news, they say! Meanwhile Aquila is seeking Yamashita’s gold in the Philippines so I am awaiting his return before chasing this project up…


Categories: Dowsing, Gold, Metal Detecting, Orbs, Treasure Auras, Treasure Hunting, X-Factor

Olympus Digital Cameras


We have found three early Olympus digital cameras that are capable of photographing auras. The earliest is the D-360L, which will produce tiny orb auras and does not even need a filter. My friend Kybob has made a video of this camera in action:

Note that there is a vehicle in background in some of the shots, which will produce auras in its own right, being a substantial chunk of metal. This is the second video in a two part series. Part 1 covers the Canon camera:

The other two cameras: D-490 Zoom and C-460 Zoom del Sol both need a filter. I am using 850nm, 90% pass filter material successfully in the Cokin Compact Camera holder: Amazon link:

I have just been informed that Cokin also make a magnetic filter for compact cameras: Amazon link:

However, when I used a round filter on the D-490, attached to the front of the lens with poster putty, I found I needed a 950nm filter.

The orb auras become larger as the megapixels increase, the C-460 ZdS at 4.0MP produces the largest orbs of the three.

I haven’t tested all the early Olympus cameras and many can be bought so cheaply now, they may be worth buying just to test. Ideally look for one of the above models, which we know work. If you want to try another model, get one which has a viewfinder or viewing port as it is impossible to use the backscreen with an IR filter in front of the lens. I can tell you that I have tried the C-460 and D-545, which did not produce auras on my test site.

Categories: Orbs, Treasure Auras, Treasure Hunting, X-Factor


Every detectorist dreams of finding a hoard and this new book will increase your chances of doing so.

The rich history of the British Isles has led to the burial of thousands of hoards for many different reasons – some as offerings, some as savings or in an emergency, intended to be recovered later. Although of course nobody knows exactly where hoards are buried, understanding why hoards came to be in the ground will help you to search in the right places.

Covering the Bronze Age to modern times, this fascinating book, by David Villanueva, also gives lots of advice on how to research possible hoard sites, from researching local maps and records to clues to look out for on Google Earth. Contents include:

  • Tools & Resources
  • The Bronze Age
  • The Iron Age
  • Roman Britain
  • Saxons & Vikings
  • Medieval Britain
  • Religious Houses
  • Battle Sites
  • Modern Times
  • Treasure Law

152 pages, A4, beautifully illustrated in colour. A must have book for all detectorists!

Available from Amazon:

Categories: Gold, Metal Detecting, Metal Detecting Finds, Treasure Hunting

Proudly powered by WordPress Theme: Adventure Journal by Contexture International.