can you find treasure with a metal detector

Can You Find Treasure with a Metal Detector? (Explained)

can you find treasure with a metal detector

Metal Detecting is usually associated with treasure hunting, some do even anticipate those being the same activity with slightly different intents …

While that’s probably true in some sorts, the most reliable statement is that metal detecting is a hobbyists activity that can well be turned into a real treasure hunting quest as far as you know what you are doing.

In this article, I breakdown whether you can really find treasures with your metal detector, and how you should approach that to increase your chances!

Are metal detectors capable of finding treasure?

There are many metal detectors on the market today that are capable of finding all sorts of treasures. These are usually coins, jewelry, gold items and even relics. All in all, mostly metallic items that detectors are well designed to pick up.

There are treasure caches hidden in many places throughout the world, even today, and having a metal detector can help you find these if you know where to look.

In fact, it is estimated that 92.7% of treasures have been uncovered by people using a metal detector today as compared to just 3.4% of treasures found from archaeological digs.

Example of treasures you can find with a metal detector …


Different types of treasures have been found with a metal detector. Some of these include:

  • Iron boxes filled with gold or jewels
  • Jars filled with silver coins
  • Tobacco tin filled with notes
  • Different types of containers filled with valuables
  • Even a big hole with jewelry and coins just buried hastily

What metal detector is recommended for treasure hunting?

equinox 800

The Minelab Equinox 800 (Check it Here at Amazon) is known to be one of the most advanced metal detectors on the market. It is easy to use though …

It has a unique feature of multi-IQ technology, which means that the device is able to create a coil field with all the available frequencies at the same time.

The five single frequencies of this device are 5, 10, 15, 20, and 40 kHz, and it also has the multi-frequency mode that can use all these frequencies together.

The high-quality discrimination of trash and ferrous metals combined with considerable depth of reach is also another unique feature of the machine.

The machine is fully waterproof and has an index of isolation at IP68. This allows you to submerge the detector up to 10 feet of water where treasures are more likely to be found.

The device has four search modes and two customizable search modes for each preset search mode.

The preset search modes are field mode, park mode, beach mode, and gold mode.

Where can you find treasure?

  • Parks: Scanning the parks in your neighborhood should be a high priority on your list. However, it is likely that you will need to obtain permission before you can start detecting and digging in any public park, so get the documents in place first. Parks are some of the best places for finding valuables because this is another place where people tend to gather in large numbers.
  • Old Churches: Detecting in an old churchyard can prove to be quite exciting as churches, and the linked burial grounds are usually some of the oldest buildings around in a town/city.
  • Old Homestead Sites: Detecting at old homestead sites may prove to be quite profitable. It is possible to find many goodies at these old homestead sites, so all the effort spent in searching for these sites often proves to be well worth your time.
  • Campgrounds: Campgrounds are known places where people gather and stay. However, there is also going to be a fair amount of trash to be sorted through before you find anything of value. You can also consider detecting at abandoned campgrounds.
  • Ghost Towns: Ghost towns are communities that used to thrive at one point in time but have long since been abandoned. Many people have found treasures buried at such places.
  • Beaches: Beaches are known for drawing crowds that gather for activities such as swimming, soaking up the rays, various water sports, and many others. Due to the presence of such large crowds at the beach, there is a high chance that you will find something with a metal detector. Beaches are also popularly known to hide washed up treasures.
  • Amusement Parks: Amusement parks are great places for metal detecting, especially if it is an abandoned amusement park. With the economy dwindling in recent years, there are many amusement parks that have shut shop and are perhaps one of the best places for metal detecting.
  • Fort Sites: Fort sites are an excellent place for metal detecting, and if you get lucky, you may just end up discovering a buried treasure or a historically valuable item.
  • Battlefields: Who does not want to use their metal detector at a battle site? However, many countries have strict laws that prohibit using detectors or any type of treasure hunting on battle sites. So before venturing out into any battlefields with a detector, always be aware of the laws of the place.
  • Waterfalls: If you have a metal detector that can be used underwater, then exploring waterfalls can prove to be a very exciting opportunity for you. Many detectorists have even found buried treasure under waterfalls, behind waterfalls, or near waterfalls.
  • Bridges and Fords: Bridges and fords make for fascinating detecting spots as they can yield some valuable finds. However, if you are looking for some older bridges and fords, then it might prove to be a bit tricky since many rivers and lakes have changed so dramatically in recent years, with many having dried up.

I have a list of 50 metal detecting places that you can check right here!

Examples of lost treasures in the US …

  • Saddle Ridge Hoard: Found in California, the Saddle Ridge Hoard contained a large cache of gold coins inside a metal can. While the first can was found by chance, afterward, with the use of a metal detector, the couple found several similar cans all over their property, each containing gold coins dating all the back to the 19th century. The exact value of the treasure cache remains unknown even now.
  • Mojave Nugget: This was the largest gold nugget to be discovered in California in 1977. This 4.4 kilogram (156-ounce) gold nugget was found in the Mojave Desert by metal detectorist Ty Paulsen with his metal detector. The nugget was sold in October 2014 for $400,000. It can be seen at the Natural History Museum in Los Angeles County today.
  • Santa Margarita Gold Chalice: Valued at $413,000, this incredible find was found by a diver with a metal detector off the Florida Keys in June 2008. The diver was metal detecting on the Santa Margarita shipwreck when he found this. Michael DeMar first thought that he had found a discarded beer can, but he discovered it was a gold chalice that was lost in the shipwreck. In August 2015, the chalice was sold at a New York auction.

Examples of lost treasures outside the US …

  1. Viking Treasure Hoard: A Viking treasure hoard was found by metal detectorist Kath Giles. It was her fourth such valuable find with a metal detector. She found it on the Isle of Man, located between England and Ireland. The hoard contained 87 Viking silver coins and other artifacts that dated all the way back to the 990s AD through to the 1030s.
  2. Stolen treasures worth thousands: A metal detectorist discovered stolen treasure worth thousands of pounds on his first-ever detecting trip in Worcestershire, England just last year. Charles Cartwright found Roman and Viking jewelry, along with many ancient Egyptian relics, medieval and Bronze Age pieces. The treasure was actually stolen during house burglary in 2017.
  3. Australian Gold Nugget: Valued at $66,900, a lucky detectorist found gold while searching in Western Australia. He came upon a giant 1.4 kilogram (3 lb) gold nugget in May 2019. Such a large gold nugget is rare to find, and the treasure was valued at AUD$100,000.

Final Thoughts …

The goal of this article was obviously to educate you about hunting for treasure with your metal detector. However, this is not my ONLY goal …

I also want you to get excited to go out and start your journey searching with your detector!

Of course, you shouldn’t expect finding a treasure right off the bat unless you’ve some CRAZY luck, but you should aim for that as you evolve through your journey and start finding the regular finds.

About the Author

Carissa Harmer

Carissa is the huge metal detecting enthusiast that loves collecting coins. She is also highly interested in other treasure hunting activities like magnet fishing and gold prospecting/panning.