Discussion Ethics of "digging"

Joined
Sep 17, 2011
Location
mo
Probably should note family lore has my great great great gran pappy losing a $20 gold piece during the war, he got around alot, so no matter where one finds one, it may be his, I'll provide an address if anyone wishes to return it :bounce::D
 
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Tom Hughes

First Sergeant
Joined
May 27, 2019
Location
Mississippi
I have a question I want to pose to the group on this particular thread:
What happens to old grave yards when encountered by Dept. of Transportation personnel while constructing roads and bridges. Are they removed and relocated or are just built over?
Just curious if anyone knows or has encountered an instance like this.
 

John Winn

Major
Joined
Mar 13, 2014
Location
State of Jefferson
I have a question I want to pose to the group on this particular thread:
What happens to old grave yards when encountered by Dept. of Transportation personnel while constructing roads and bridges. Are they removed and relocated or are just built over?
Just curious if anyone knows or has encountered an instance like this.

In Oregon construction would be stopped, an attempt would be made to locate all burials, and the remains would be removed to an operational cemetery. I can't say for sure about elsewhere but I'd make an educated guess it's pretty much what would happen. I do know of one cemetery in Virginia that was on private property that got sold and subdivided and in that case all the bodies that could be located were moved to a public cemetery (I had some relatives buried there).
 
Joined
Sep 17, 2011
Location
mo
I have a question I want to pose to the group on this particular thread:
What happens to old grave yards when encountered by Dept. of Transportation personnel while constructing roads and bridges. Are they removed and relocated or are just built over?
Just curious if anyone knows or has encountered an instance like this.
I would think old graveyards would have been discovered by surveyors well before actual construction gets there. In such a case the graveyard is supposed to be moved, but theres apparently been instances where only the headstones were moved.

Now if the construction crew hit human remains, think archaelogical survey is done to discover date, if native americian site, ect.
But a motivated construction crew could discount most anything other then skulls as simply animal bones and keep going.
 

Billw12280

Sergeant
Joined
Mar 4, 2017
I have a question I want to pose to the group on this particular thread:
What happens to old grave yards when encountered by Dept. of Transportation personnel while constructing roads and bridges. Are they removed and relocated or are just built over?
Just curious if anyone knows or has encountered an instance like this.
Interesting question. This actually arose in Central Ohio when they planned on building a parking garage at a site that was originally a parking lot.

 

Package4

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Jul 28, 2015
I’m relatively new to CWT and I’d be surprised if this topic hasn’t been covered before. Please forgive me for bringing this up again if that’s the case. Also, MAJOR caveat here: I am not trying to criticize anyone but just looking for some perspective. I promise.

A little personal background: I am a historical architect, currently employed by the National Park Service. I take a keen interest in affiliated professions such as history, archaeology, ethnography and anthropology. I have worked closely with archaeologists, both prior to joining the Park Service and during my tenure with the NPS. I believe that from the viewpoint of a professional archaeologist, battlefield detecting and digging would likely be considered a form of looting, not unlike digging pots from ancient ancestral Puebloan sites in the Southwest. I know that such is not allowed on Federal land, and I assume that responsible ACW collectors will only do so on private land with the owner's permission. However, my own philosophy is that doing so still robs current and future historians and the like of valuable data critical to a proper understanding of important events. For example, I learned several years ago about battlefield investigations at the site of the famed charge of the Light Brigade at the Battle of Balaclava; I believe it was a Discovery Channel or similar TV program. I recall that archaeologists were able to retrieve just a small number (maybe four or five) Russian canister fragments from a certain location that gave an important insight into how much impact the Russian artillery had on the charging British forces at a key point on the battlefield. Had these few fragments found there way into private collections beforehand, that critical understanding would have been lost.

I have a number of specific related questions:

1. When does collecting of this kind stop being an acceptable hobby and become something else? Would it be OK, for instance, to dig at Thermopylae? Masada? Hastings? Verdun? Normandy? Fallujah? If collecting from any of these places isn't OK (and I don't know that it isn't), why is it OK to dig at ACW sites?
2. Is this simply a question of property ownership, i.e. it's OK on private land?
3. If in the US it is a question of property ownership, should we consider something more like the laws in the UK where artifact hunters must cooperate with archaeologists?
4. Do ACW collectors have any informal "rules" (for want of a better word) about sharing finds with government agencies, universities, museums, etc.?

I genuinely would like to know how members of this forum feel about this particular hobby and if there have been concerns raised in the past. Again, I am NOT being judgmental. If I were on private land with permission and happened to come across a Minié ball, belt buckle or anything else of interest, I, too, would likely pick it up and go home happy with such a find. I have had just such opportunities elsewhere, on public land. Once I pocketed a nicely made projectile point while backpacking on remote BLM land, but I look back now on that incident with some regret. More recently, I found a very interesting 19th century rifle shell casing on the grounds of an old frontier US Army fort. I would like to have kept it, but I put it back and hid it in the bushes where I found it. I'm not perfect, but learning.

Anyway, what do y'all think?
Please take this in the way intended and not a slight. The American Civil War community knows more about tactics, projectiles, accouterments and weaponry due to diggers, than all of the archeologists combined, IMHO. I realize that this is a result of underfunding, but if you look at the contributions of Syd Kerksis, Albaugh, Crouch, the O'Donnells, Mullinax, Sylvia, Tice, Campbell, Johnson, the Leighs, Harry Ridgeway and others who have published their findings, we are much better off, again IMHO. Pick up any copy of North South Trader's Civil War and you will find a community of individuals educating about finds, how they were used, where they were made and who used them.

The books written by the afore mentioned have educated us far beyond what Civil War archeologist have done to present and have done so on private land. Even the veterans returned to the battlefield for souvenirs and were some of the earliest collectors.

Pretend we were to have left all in the ground waiting for the "professional" archeologist, our understanding, of that conflict, would be half what it is today, again IMHO.

I do not consider myself a "digger", though I have with permission of the private land owner "gone a hunting", usually before a site is getting ready to be built upon/paved over.

I collect cloth, but have learned an incredible amount from reading their reference material and from being lucky enough to speak to many of them in person.

I do not condone the hunting of artifacts on NPS land and would love to see more projects like the Manassas surgeon's pit and the Little Big Horn project, where one of our own CWT forum members participated @Ralph Heinz, please take a bow.

I fear that if we wait for archeologists, the only things left will be brass and lead, again, understand the funding issue.
 
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Waterloo50

Major
Forum Host
Silver Patron
Joined
Jul 7, 2015
Location
England
My point in mentioning the depth of stratification here in the US was that in terms of damages picking over the surface here as opposed to Europe is more detrimental and we ought to consider that when comparing our situation with theirs.
Most metal detectors only detect to a depth of about 18 inches and digging to that depth would not be deep enough to cause any real damage to British ancient archaeological sites, however I have heard that a lot of the civil war sites and artefacts in the USA can be found just a few inches below the surface so they are far more at risk from detectors and farming than an English civil war site would be. Our stratigraphy can contain thousands of years of human occupation and as a result our most precious sites are buried deep and are well protected.
 

Tom Hughes

First Sergeant
Joined
May 27, 2019
Location
Mississippi
Please take this in the way intended and not a slight. The American Civil War community knows more about tactics, projectiles, accouterments and weaponry due to diggers, than all of the archeologists combined, IMHO. I realize that this is a result of underfunding, but if you look at the contributions of Syd Kerksis, Albaugh, Crouch, the O'Donnells, Mullinax, Sylvia, Tice, Campbell, Johnson, the Leighs, Harry Ridgeway and others who have published their findings, we are much better off, again IMHO. Pick up any copy of North South Trader's Civil War and you will find a community of individuals educating about finds, how they were used, where they were made and who used them.

The books written by the afore mentioned have educated us far beyond what Civil War archeologist have done to present and have done so on private land. Even the veterans returned to the battlefield for souvenirs and were some of the earliest collectors.

Pretend we were to have left all in the ground waiting for the "professional" archeologist, our understanding, of that conflict, would be half what it is today, again IMHO.

I do not consider myself a "digger", though I have with permission of the private land owner "gone a hunting", usually before a site is getting ready to be built upon/paved over.

I collect cloth, but have learned an incredible amount from reading their reference material and from being lucky enough to speak to many of them in person.

I do not condone the hunting of artifacts on NPS land and would love to see more projects like the Manassas surgeon's pit and the Little Big Horn project, where one of our own CWT forum members participated @Ralph Heinz, please take a bow.

I fear that if we wait for archeologists, the only things left will be brass and lead, again understand the funding issue.
Well said.
And who can forget the "grandfather" of civil war artillery shells, Mr. Tom Dickey.
You are correct, it has been the hobbyist that has contributed a huge wealth of information on the civil war. We owe them much.
 

James N.

Colonel
Forum Host
Annual Winner
Featured Book Reviewer
Asst. Regtl. Quartermaster Antietam 2021
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East Texas
Image (35).jpg

This is an interesting thread. As has been posted by other folks who are amateurs, the context of relics are important to many hunters. I’m not a big detectorist like @Tom Hughes or some of the other folks here, but when I get an opportunity to contribute I’m more than happy to do so.

I had one such opportunity at the battlefield of Raymond some 6 or 7 years ago. Being a member of Friends of Raymond and having a metal detector, I got my brother (who also has a machine) and historian Parker Hills together soon after the Friends of Raymond purchased prime property on the battlefield.

The intent was to get out there and see what artifacts might still remain after other relic hunters had been going out there for years - often illegally.

Parker was interested in reconstructing the snake-rail fence that was mentioned quite a bit by Yankees in diaries or in other accounts.

Thanks to a correspondent for Harper’s Weekly who was at the battle on May 12, 1863, we had an idea of where the fence was located:

View attachment 323572

The above sketch made near the time of the action by Theodore Davis depicts General Logan (on horseback) rallying troops at the fence during a critical moment during the fight.

Our small group hunted the area over many weekends. We documented each item found, noting its GPS location and the bagged each separately. In time, we were able to learn a lot about the battle- types of munition used, precise location of units etc.

After each dig, the artifacts were pinned on Google Map by Parker Hills. Since the veterans of that fight are now gone, this is the closest one might get to understanding the story from an actual source.

When one views the map, it is a strange feeling, at least to those of us who spent hours recovering these items.

In no small way, these relics left a shadow of sorts of the actual fight that took place in a simple field in 1863.

It’s eerie.

I wish I had the final Google Map of all the relics we found but I don’t. What I do have is a map noting the items recovered after about 4 or 5 weekends we were out there:

View attachment 323577

As stated above, this is the only map I have of the items found early on in the dig. We conducted many more hunts. The yellow pins indicate dropped bullets and the red pins fired.

Nevertheless the top picture is a shot of our early investigation of the location where the 3rd Tennessee advance across 14-Mile Creek. You can tell it’s early on as fewer items are noted.

The bottom picture is the field where we began, and it represents the clash between the 7th Texas and several Union regiments (something in which @AUG might me interested).

Below is a closer look at the field where the 7th
Texas and Logan’s troops clashed.

It is in this field where we knew the fence was located.

View attachment 323579

If one takes close notice of the yellow pins with the 126, 133, 140,130 and so on, you are seeing the beginnings of that old fence line the veterans wrote about in their accounts. Again, this a picture in the beginning. There were more found.

How do we know this is where the fence was located? Well nothing is certain, but we know Union troops rallied at the fence after being driven back from the creek. It was from that area where they stood firm and returned fire after Logan rode up to encourage them.

The fighting was intense. Soldiers fumbled nervously through their cartridge boxes in order to load rounds and return fire into the Texans. All the while, the fence was being splintered by Confederate lead (as represented by any red pin in the area).

This confusion undoubtedly caused many Yankees at that fence to drop perfectly good ammunition on the ground while hastily trying to retrieve the ammunition from their cartridge boxes. Those yellow pins, we think, represents that panic along the fence. The dropped bullets, all of them .58 caliber, were arrayed along a straight line, much like the one depicted in the Davis sketch above.

Combined with the sketch and primary accounts, the artifacts we recovered enabled us to reasonably locate the actual fence line.

A couple years later, due to Parker Hill’s unwavering determination, money was raised to recreate the fence based on all the information, of which the recovered relics helped tremendously.

View attachment 323586

Above picture is of the reconstructed fence based on artifacts recovered, with cannon placement based on Davis sketch.

View attachment 323587

Above picture: Marker placed. View from fence toward 7th Texas position (red marker in far distance).

So, it is very satisfying to Bring the Davis sketch alive again. To me, this is what responsible relic hunting means. Here is a comparison:

View attachment 323572

View attachment 323586

It is hoped that in time the Vicksburg National Military Park will purchase the battlefield. At present, all the artifacts recovered are located in a safe place in a small museum in Raymond.
I'd like to mention that Parker Hills was the author of the text for this very excellent spiral-bound guidebook for the entire Vicksburg Campaign that was given out at the 2013 Annual SCV meeting in Vicksburg that year, plus co-author along with Ed Bearss of Receding Tide about both Gettysburg and Vicksburg.
 

alan polk

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Jun 11, 2012
View attachment 324337

I'd like to mention that Parker Hills was the author of the text for this very excellent spiral-bound guidebook for the entire Vicksburg Campaign that was given out at the 2013 Annual SCV meeting in Vicksburg that year, plus co-author along with Ed Bearss of Receding Tide about both Gettysburg and Vicksburg.
Indeed! The driving tour guide you posted is an incredible source. It is so packed with useful and insightful information that it is hard to believe it is free! Parker co-authored that guide book with the late Warren Grabau, and it is essential in understanding the campaign!
 

alan polk

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Jun 11, 2012
This is an interesting thread. As has been posted by other folks who are amateurs, the context of relics are important to many hunters. I’m not a big detectorist like @Tom Hughes or some of the other folks here, but when I get an opportunity to contribute I’m more than happy to do so.

I had one such opportunity at the battlefield of Raymond some 6 or 7 years ago. Being a member of Friends of Raymond and having a metal detector, I got my brother (who also has a machine) and historian Parker Hills together soon after the Friends of Raymond purchased prime property on the battlefield.

The intent was to get out there and see what artifacts might still remain after other relic hunters had been going out there for years - often illegally.

Parker was interested in reconstructing the snake-rail fence that was mentioned quite a bit by Yankees in diaries or in other accounts.

Thanks to a correspondent for Harper’s Weekly who was at the battle on May 12, 1863, we had an idea of where the fence was located:

View attachment 323572

The above sketch made near the time of the action by Theodore Davis depicts General Logan (on horseback) rallying troops at the fence during a critical moment during the fight.

Our small group hunted the area over many weekends. We documented each item found, noting its GPS location and the bagged each separately. In time, we were able to learn a lot about the battle- types of munition used, precise location of units etc.

After each dig, the artifacts were pinned on Google Map by Parker Hills. Since the veterans of that fight are now gone, this is the closest one might get to understanding the story from an actual source.

When one views the map, it is a strange feeling, at least to those of us who spent hours recovering these items.

In no small way, these relics left a shadow of sorts of the actual fight that took place in a simple field in 1863.

It’s eerie.

I wish I had the final Google Map of all the relics we found but I don’t. What I do have is a map noting the items recovered after about 4 or 5 weekends we were out there:

View attachment 323577

As stated above, this is the only map I have of the items found early on in the dig. We conducted many more hunts. The yellow pins indicate dropped bullets and the red pins fired.

Nevertheless the top picture is a shot of our early investigation of the location where the 3rd Tennessee advance across 14-Mile Creek. You can tell it’s early on as fewer items are noted.

The bottom picture is the field where we began, and it represents the clash between the 7th Texas and several Union regiments (something in which @AUG might me interested).

Below is a closer look at the field where the 7th
Texas and Logan’s troops clashed.

It is in this field where we knew the fence was located.

View attachment 323579

If one takes close notice of the yellow pins with the 126, 133, 140,130 and so on, you are seeing the beginnings of that old fence line the veterans wrote about in their accounts. Again, this a picture in the beginning. There were more found.

How do we know this is where the fence was located? Well nothing is certain, but we know Union troops rallied at the fence after being driven back from the creek. It was from that area where they stood firm and returned fire after Logan rode up to encourage them.

The fighting was intense. Soldiers fumbled nervously through their cartridge boxes in order to load rounds and return fire into the Texans. All the while, the fence was being splintered by Confederate lead (as represented by any red pin in the area).

This confusion undoubtedly caused many Yankees at that fence to drop perfectly good ammunition on the ground while hastily trying to retrieve the ammunition from their cartridge boxes. Those yellow pins, we think, represents that panic along the fence. The dropped bullets, all of them .58 caliber, were arrayed along a straight line, much like the one depicted in the Davis sketch above.

Combined with the sketch and primary accounts, the artifacts we recovered enabled us to reasonably locate the actual fence line.

A couple years later, due to Parker Hill’s unwavering determination, money was raised to recreate the fence based on all the information, of which the recovered relics helped tremendously.

View attachment 323586

Above picture is of the reconstructed fence based on artifacts recovered, with cannon placement based on Davis sketch.

View attachment 323587

Above picture: Marker placed. View from fence toward 7th Texas position (red marker in far distance).

So, it is very satisfying to Bring the Davis sketch alive again. To me, this is what responsible relic hunting means. Here is a comparison:

View attachment 323572

View attachment 323586

It is hoped that in time the Vicksburg National Military Park will purchase the battlefield. At present, all the artifacts recovered are located in a safe place in a small museum in Raymond.

Just wanted to add to my above post that Friends of Raymond has purchased a number of new markers to be placed on the battlefield soon.

The below markers discuss artifacts we recovered from our archaeological dig conducted on the battlefield back in 2013-14.

F0D445C5-4A95-4827-99ED-C620AA0C1EA2.jpeg


Above: The navy button was found on the last day of our dig, and, in fact, one of the last items recovered. It was found about 20 or 30 feet from the fence line from which Federal forces withstood the 7th Texas onslaught.

C1E0411D-D5E3-4DC4-9158-2FBBF5CAA2B9.jpeg


Above: The buckle was found close to the creek, about 30 feet from it and in front of the 3rd Tennessee position. The combat was very close in this area so that the dead and wounded from each side were nearly, if not completely, intermingled.

The mechanical pencil was found about 10 feet from the creek and within the lines of the Tennessee troops. What is not mentioned in the description of the pencil is that 3 buttons came out of the same hole. We believe it was from either an abandoned jacket or from an initial burial site.

These are just two of the dozens of new markers which will soon be placed. They nevertheless reveal the importance, in my mind, of retrieving artifacts before they are lost.
 

schandler

Cadet
Joined
Apr 13, 2020
I’m relatively new to CWT and I’d be surprised if this topic hasn’t been covered before. Please forgive me for bringing this up again if that’s the case. Also, MAJOR caveat here: I am not trying to criticize anyone but just looking for some perspective. I promise.

A little personal background: I am a historical architect, currently employed by the National Park Service. I take a keen interest in affiliated professions such as history, archaeology, ethnography and anthropology. I have worked closely with archaeologists, both prior to joining the Park Service and during my tenure with the NPS. I believe that from the viewpoint of a professional archaeologist, battlefield detecting and digging would likely be considered a form of looting, not unlike digging pots from ancient ancestral Puebloan sites in the Southwest. I know that such is not allowed on Federal land, and I assume that responsible ACW collectors will only do so on private land with the owner's permission. However, my own philosophy is that doing so still robs current and future historians and the like of valuable data critical to a proper understanding of important events. For example, I learned several years ago about battlefield investigations at the site of the famed charge of the Light Brigade at the Battle of Balaclava; I believe it was a Discovery Channel or similar TV program. I recall that archaeologists were able to retrieve just a small number (maybe four or five) Russian canister fragments from a certain location that gave an important insight into how much impact the Russian artillery had on the charging British forces at a key point on the battlefield. Had these few fragments found there way into private collections beforehand, that critical understanding would have been lost.

I have a number of specific related questions:

1. When does collecting of this kind stop being an acceptable hobby and become something else? Would it be OK, for instance, to dig at Thermopylae? Masada? Hastings? Verdun? Normandy? Fallujah? If collecting from any of these places isn't OK (and I don't know that it isn't), why is it OK to dig at ACW sites?
2. Is this simply a question of property ownership, i.e. it's OK on private land?
3. If in the US it is a question of property ownership, should we consider something more like the laws in the UK where artifact hunters must cooperate with archaeologists?
4. Do ACW collectors have any informal "rules" (for want of a better word) about sharing finds with government agencies, universities, museums, etc.?

I genuinely would like to know how members of this forum feel about this particular hobby and if there have been concerns raised in the past. Again, I am NOT being judgmental. If I were on private land with permission and happened to come across a Minié ball, belt buckle or anything else of interest, I, too, would likely pick it up and go home happy with such a find. I have had just such opportunities elsewhere, on public land. Once I pocketed a nicely made projectile point while backpacking on remote BLM land, but I look back now on that incident with some regret. More recently, I found a very interesting 19th century rifle shell casing on the grounds of an old frontier US Army fort. I would like to have kept it, but I put it back and hid it in the bushes where I found it. I'm not perfect, but learning.

Anyway, what do y'all think?
While I am a "digger" and I'm sure a lot of people would disagree with me, I feel NOT digging these items is doing a much larger disservice to the ones that fought there. How on earth is it doing ANY good to leave these relics in the ground to simply rot away? By exposing these items to the light of day, whether in a private collection or in a museum, they are at least being seen, honored and cherished by someone. tens of thousands are lost every single day to development, getting paved over and lost or destroyed forever.
Even in an extreme case such as digging in a national park like Vicksburg. Does a museum really want 10,00 3 ringers in its collection? They would never be put on display they would simply be put in a warehouse somewhere away from view. They certainly dont' do anyone any good in the ground. Yes I get its hallowed ground, but Im not advocating digging for profiteering, but rather to be viewed in awe of even in a personal relic collection that will be taken care of forever. Id rather see a minnie ball on every bookshelf in america than in the dirt somewhere.

We cant all be archaeologists and get paid to do something as awesome as that, believe me I wish I could. I am an extremely devoted historian and have spent thousands of hours over the last 30 years pouring over documents such as diaries and the official records to uncover the hidden sites Ive found and everything Ive dug came with the landowners permission.

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IMG_7481.JPG


IMG_7482.JPG
 

redbob

Major
Regtl. Staff Shiloh 2020
Joined
Feb 18, 2013
Location
Hoover, Alabama
While I am a "digger" and I'm sure a lot of people would disagree with me, I feel NOT digging these items is doing a much larger disservice to the ones that fought there. How on earth is it doing ANY good to leave these relics in the ground to simply rot away? By exposing these items to the light of day, whether in a private collection or in a museum, they are at least being seen, honored and cherished by someone. tens of thousands are lost every single day to development, getting paved over and lost or destroyed forever.
Even in an extreme case such as digging in a national park like Vicksburg. Does a museum really want 10,00 3 ringers in its collection? They would never be put on display they would simply be put in a warehouse somewhere away from view. They certainly dont' do anyone any good in the ground. Yes I get its hallowed ground, but Im not advocating digging for profiteering, but rather to be viewed in awe of even in a personal relic collection that will be taken care of forever. Id rather see a minnie ball on every bookshelf in america than in the dirt somewhere.

We cant all be archaeologists and get paid to do something as awesome as that, believe me I wish I could. I am an extremely devoted historian and have spent thousands of hours over the last 30 years pouring over documents such as diaries and the official records to uncover the hidden sites Ive found and everything Ive dug came with the landowners permission.

View attachment 354965

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An excellent collection and very well displayed.
 

schandler

Cadet
Joined
Apr 13, 2020
An excellent collection and very well displayed.
Thank you, Its actually kind of a mess right now. I need to straighten up things, and add things, I actually have more than this that isnt even displayed. But again thank you. My point was simply someone should cherish these things before they rust into dust. I am sure they will be passed down to my sons, of which I have five, and they will be displayed forever to inspire others and spark up historical conversations.
 

upton j.

Private
Joined
Feb 23, 2016
Location
pa.
While I am a "digger" and I'm sure a lot of people would disagree with me, I feel NOT digging these items is doing a much larger disservice to the ones that fought there. How on earth is it doing ANY good to leave these relics in the ground to simply rot away? By exposing these items to the light of day, whether in a private collection or in a museum, they are at least being seen, honored and cherished by someone. tens of thousands are lost every single day to development, getting paved over and lost or destroyed forever.
Even in an extreme case such as digging in a national park like Vicksburg. Does a museum really want 10,00 3 ringers in its collection? They would never be put on display they would simply be put in a warehouse somewhere away from view. They certainly dont' do anyone any good in the ground. Yes I get its hallowed ground, but Im not advocating digging for profiteering, but rather to be viewed in awe of even in a personal relic collection that will be taken care of forever. Id rather see a minnie ball on every bookshelf in america than in the dirt somewhere.

We cant all be archaeologists and get paid to do something as awesome as that, believe me I wish I could. I am an extremely devoted historian and have spent thousands of hours over the last 30 years pouring over documents such as diaries and the official records to uncover the hidden sites Ive found and everything Ive dug came with the landowners permission.

View attachment 354965

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View attachment 354967

View attachment 354968

View attachment 354969
Very Very Nice Thanks for posting.
 

Tom Hughes

First Sergeant
Joined
May 27, 2019
Location
Mississippi
Those are great questions @KHyatt
as long as the artifacts are found on private land with the owner's permission, it's perfectly legal and ethical to dig relics.
From a broad archaeological perspective, I see your point. But here's the reality:
The metal detecting and historical collecting hobbyists enjoy digging relics and sharing them with others. You can see that on this site as well as hundreds of other sites across the internet spectrum. The shared knowledge has led to numerous books and publications that has done much to increase our knowledge of the weapons, uniforms, and life of soldiers during that time period of the ACW.
There are a few rogue hunters out there (like any other hobby) but the vast majority have done more to increase our knowledge.
Personally, I work with some archaeologists and share my artifacts with them. They aren't interested at all in keeping my relics or want them in any way. They really have too much stuff anyway. They mainly photograph the items and then write out a site card to aid with the historical record. It makes for a great relationship.
Thanks for your service in the area of history. Together, we are all making a difference.
 

Waterloo50

Major
Forum Host
Silver Patron
Joined
Jul 7, 2015
Location
England
I hope that you relic hunters and history seekers get to see this show, its breath taking. These two guys have up until now held on to some of the most amazing relics ever known. They have everything from Celtic gold cups to WW2 German Gold bars, not to mention their incredible collection of Knights Templar artefacts.

 
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