Under the Root-ball

 Metal Detecting a Root-Ball in SE Pennsylvania 

This was my first time out since last fall and what a beautiful day. When a large 100 year old pine tree fell during a recent storm, I had to check it out. With my 6" coil I was able to get underneath the root ball. I never do any metal detecting or digging over the graves and was happy to see that the uprooted tree had not grown above the grave. After checking out the root-ball I worked the cemetery perimeter and found a few interesting relics including a 100 year old quarter.



Under the Floorboards

Metal Detecting a 1700s Stone Cabin Along the Delaware River in SE Pennsylvania 

Metal detecting can lead to some truly exciting discoveries, but sometimes, the joy of the experience is simply in the exploration itself. That was certainly the case on a recent visit to a 1700s stone cabin along the Delaware River in SE Pennsylvania.  Unfortunately, I didn't come across any spectacular finds during my visit. However, I did have a great time exploring and imagining what life was like for the people who lived in the cabin so many years ago. The homeowner managed to find a spoon, dart, and a decorative clothing piece, but otherwise, we came up empty-handed. Despite the lack of significant finds, the experience was still incredibly rewarding. 

Brass Leather or Cloth Decoration - Early 1900s

Vintage Wood Dart - Early 1900s

Why was a Spanish Coin found in a Pennsylvania Farm Field?

 I published a blog post on this in 2021 but thought it worth revisiting. Why would I find a Spanish coin minted in 1781 buried in a Pennsylvania farm field 240 years later? I'm guessing that an early American settler, maybe a revolutionary war soldier dropped it in the late 1700s. I offer some historical context at the end of the video.

Cemetery GPR Project

Church Cemetery Scan with Ground Penetrating Radar

Stover to Church Original Deed
Old cemeteries are very interesting. As a Church Trustee I have recently been helping to manage a  cemetery that was established in the mid 1800s. It was originally a small family cemetery for the Stover's, a large family know locally for their Grist Mills that supplied much of the grain for the early settlers in Bucks County. Ralph Stover was one of the founding Trustees of the Point Pleasant Baptist Church and he sold the cemetery to the Church around 1854. Since that time there have been over 790 burials.

Point Pleasant Cemetery 

Back in the 1800's you could buy a burial plot for $10 and after it was used, the family had a responsibility to care for the plot. Family's took the time or paid the church to keep their family plots looking nice. By the early 1900's as many families died off, moved away or choose to no longer care for the plots, cemeteries often became overgrown. As a result, many state & local governments required cemetery plot sales to include a one-time fee for perpetual care/maintenance. Eventually, cemetery care/maintenance was taken over by the church. Early Cemetery records show a charge of $10 for perpetual care beginning around the 1920s. Today, funding for maintenance is a challenge, funded mostly by plot sales and church volunteers.

Early graves were dug by hand. As you can imagine, digging 5-6ft deep grave in this very rocky terrain was a challenge. Many times the grave digger had to move the hole to one side or the other to avoid a large rock. As a result the position of burials are often not where expected. The position of burials in relation to the stone markers is inconsistent and over time some markers have fallen over or shifted. 

So, that said, a decision was made to identify available plots. A Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) instrument was rented to scan the plots currently identified as available for sale. This, to be certain that it they truly are vacant and available for a burial before digging.

Smoke-house Lock

Smoke-house Lock

I found this smoke-house lock near an old road in Eastern Pennsylvania. It was manufactured between 1834 to 1868 by Davenport Mallory & Company, in New Haven, CT, the largest U.S. manufacturer of locks at the time. The main use for the locks was to secure smoke houses and tobacco drying houses.

Example of lock in good condition

Connecticut Copper (Mutton Head) Cent

I made a quick visit to this old cemetery in Southeastern Pennsylvania and found this Connecticut Copper Cent under a rock along the road. I never metal detect in the Cemetery, near the graves, it's bad karma and besides the metal is too deep 😊.  I can't recognize the date of the coin but they were minted between 1785 and 1788. This  predates the cemetery by 70 years so it must have been dropped by someone traveling along the road that, at the time, was just a dirt path along a creek. Definitely going back for more!

2ndDIG Short 4-25-23

Look at what I found while metal detecting with Toby "The Metal Sniffing Terrier"

Old Union Chapel in Eastern Pennsylvania

Old Union Chapel

After 35 years of driving past this old Chapel, the new owners have allowed me to do some metal detecting. This Video includes two site visits from late 2022. I'll be going back in 2023, watch for a future video.

The Union Chapel was built in 1888 by the Philadelphia Conference of the Methodist Church. It was a function of their missionary outreach when this part of the county was pretty much just farmland and a 2 day wagon ride to Philadelphia. It was one of two similar chapels in the area they built. The other was demolished a few years ago as it had deteriorated. The Methodist church owned it until 1953 when it was purchased by a local Community Association. They owned it until 2022 when it was transferred to local Historical Society.

The Sheep Hole Trilogy - Final Episode

So here's the thing: a couple of years ago, when I heard about this old swimming hole, I asks myself; do you think that some of them sheep hole swimmers dropped stuff down there? My answer?  absolutely! coins, jewelry - sure!   Ha..., maybe so, but would any of it still be there?  On this, my 3rd visit, I would like to report that if there is any treasure to be found it's likely at the bottom or dispersed throughout the river stone downstream. My metal detector is (theoretically) submersible to 3ft, but I'm not going to take the plunge. So, my friends, this is the last of the Sheep Hole Trilogy. No treasure except for the adventure, and I can't complain about that.  Thanks for joining me!

Episode-1:  http://www.2nddig.com/2022/08/sheep-hole-adventure.html

Episode-2:  http://www.2nddig.com/2023/01/return-to-sheep-hole.html

Return to the Sheep Hole

My first visit to the Sheep Hole, back in August, was in the rain and although it was fun, I really didn't have much of an opportunity to do any serious detecting 1st Sheep Hole visit.

On this visit I brought my son-in-law Jeff and my grandson Emerson. A beautiful November day, we had a great time and found a couple of items of interest. Note: I did go back the next day with a focus on some serious detecting; watch for my next blog post.

Ring Pulls (pull tabs)


In 1959, an American man called Ermal Fraze devised the can-opening method that would come to dominate the canned beverage market: the pull-tab. This invention had a huge impact on the popularity of cans as containers for beverages as it brought a new level of convenience to the consumer. The ring-pull eliminated the need for a separate opener tool by attaching an aluminium pull-ring lever with a rivet to a pre-scored wedge-shaped tab section of the can top. The ring was riveted to the centre of the top, which created an elongated opening large enough that one hole simultaneously served to let the beverage flow out while air flowed in.

However, it was felt at the time that the pull-tab, while solving one problem – created another. People would frequently discard the pull-tabs on the ground as litter, or drop them into the can and risk choking on them.  Coors addressed this issue with the invention of the push-tab – the push-tab was a raised circular scored area used in place of the pull-tab. It needed no ring to pull up. Push tabs never gained a wide popularity as there was a concern they created a safety hazard – the consumer’s finger on pushing the tab into the can was immediately exposed to the sharp edges of the opening.

The ring-pull design we have on our beverage cans today was introduced in 1989 for soft drinks, and 1990 for beer cans.

Taylor's Thimble

Found this Taylor's Thimble on an old farm property. It's not uncommon to find these thimbles since many Early American families made their own clothing. The name thimble comes from 1600's England and was originally called a Thumb Bell. Early thimbles were hand made of much thicker material, usually silver, copper or brass. This particular thimble is brass and was made on a machine probably during the late 1800s.

Scrap Yard Cash-in Brings Big Bucks

 57lb of iron & steel, dug up over 6 months. Cashed in at the scrap yard; $5 US. I figure that's about 5¢/hour 😁

Splitting wedge, barn door hinge, hoe, ax head, etc. 
Do you recognize anything else?