Beachcombers clean up: Armed with high-tech metal
detectors, they capitalize on high gold prices
With high-tech detectors, high gold prices, there's money to be found down at the
By Emily Zeugner
The Associated Press
Last summer Roy Evans, history buff, outdoorsman and amateur treasure hunter, set
off in search of buried riches.
Five hours a day, he scoured the fine, white sands of Georgia's Tybee Island, and
within a week he'd struck gold: 23 separate pieces including two crosses, 12 rings, a
handful of medallions and brooches and one chain necklace - a bounty worth several
"It was amazing, what I found that week," said Evans, of Greer, S.C. "It might have
been a new record for me."
But the loot wasn't buried by pirates. The jewelry was lost by distracted and forgetful
sunbathers, tucked into a shoe or under a corner of a beach blanket before a swim
only to be misplaced in the confusion at the end of the day. To cash in, Evans
needed only luck, a little patience and his trusty MineLab metal detector.
This summer, amateur treasure hunters predict the beaches will be filled with people
just like Evans. Lured by the skyrocketing price of gold and the thrill of serendipity,
new would-be treasure diggers are joining the ranks of experienced beach metal
detectionists, as they call themselves, in what might be a modern-day gold rush.
'Pays for itself'
Gone are the days when most of the beep-beep-beeps meant digging a big pit only
to pull out a penny or crushed soda pop can, said Stu Copperwheat, president of the
Electronic Archaeological Recovery Treasure Hunters club of central New York state.
Metal detection technology has improved considerably over the past decade, and
today's machines are sensitive enough to tell the difference between gold and
platinum, nickel and quarter, necklace and kabob skewer.
The detectors run from $800 to several thousand dollars, but unlike other specialized
hobby equipment, metal detectors almost always pa