So how much is there still to find?
Although sometimes it's a question of how much is worthy of taking home? Finding the British 303 cartridge was how I got started, however now they get passed over and thrown into ditches or left in holes, if we wanted to we could dig hundreds very easily in a day. Do we? No of course not, there are much better things to use our energy for and to find. We could go to an old armourers dump near W***don (if you want the location message me) and dig broken and rusty gun parts, which I admit was interesting and exciting once upon a time, but since then I think 99% of my my finds from there have gone in the bin. The only things of interest from there I kept is a Besa trigger mechanism, bit of burnt wood from a SMLE stock with the oil bottle still inside, German WW1 'butcher' bayonet, a PIAT flip up sight and trigger.
Sadly everything that got buried there is beyond the point of really worth saving, of course there are people who still dig the RAOC dump at W****don and take home the occasional interesting piece but 99% is just rust that is held together with rust. Mr 'me me me' [the expert in 'the' identification of WW2 relics] still loves the place dearly and of course will shit kittens when he reads this, but as he has been deleting my posts from various groups on F/B and telling admins that I am not to be trusted, I though this would at least give him a proper reason to hate me, but back on topic.
So finding relics isn't hard, finding relics worth saving requires a little more skill in finding the sites, finding the relics is usually down to dumb luck or waving a detector. If its using a detector then its down to the quality of the detector. People get attached to their own machine and refuse to accept that a better machine would find better quality items. This is usually due to jealousy over others machines, stupidity or they don't have enough funds to purchase a better machine and are simply convincing themselves. A typical example of this is anyone who uses or have ever used that piece of crap Bounty Hunter machine, I was convinced to buy it as an upgrade from my Garrett Ace. Well Mr Me Me Me was wrong yet again, what a piece of shite that was. Yes its finds metal, is it good, no. How long did I use it for... about as long as it was worth, probably less than 10 times. I still own it, its got a broken stem and no I am not going to fix it. It can remain as reminded to not believe what others tell you when they clearly have no real information to give but like to give the impression that they know what they are talking about. Buy the best detector you can afford and don't listen to idiots when they tell you that a cheaper one will do. If you have a low budget, there are still good machines to get, just stay away from Bounty Hunters... pure junk.
Now the easiest way to find relics is to detect, you'll soon get used to having a good idea on what the item is before you dig it. Although I still prefer the 'dumb luck' version and has been far more productive for me... I wonder why! Get in a dump site and simply start digging, slowly and methodically. Sometimes as much as 8 feet down, using own a small pointed spade and a pinpointer for assistance, members of ERH have recovered some amazing items. All the items below are in my collection, but a few of them I didn't personally find. Here are a few examples...
Found by Kim Blok
Found by Kim Blok
Lots of these have only been found in the past few years, is it easy... not really! you can have days where you find very little worth keeping. I'm sure I have mentioned this before, but we always say that as long as you can add one or two items into a display cabinet then it was worth while. I do mean good items, not .303's or broken up bits of rusty crap. Things like the items above for example.
As I have been interested in military history ever since my Granddad and uncle told me of their exploits during WW2 I have been studying, collecting and then relic hunting although only in the last ten years has it taken off seriously. So what sort of collection can you get in just under ten years. Before I realised that militaria was available to buy let alone dig up, I started buying and reading everything I could find on WW1 and WW2, delving and devouring information from some odd aspects of both World Wars. So my own library grew first and has resulted in us having a library at home. Luckily we have room!
All munitions shown are all safe and legal... blah blah blah
Then the buying and relic hunting starts... with relic hunting you'll often find multiples of the same item, you don't need them all unless your the relic hunting god himself in which case its 'normal' to fill entire display cases with SMLE front ends and broken parts of shells. I guess you have to fill those cases with something... oh and lets not forget those neat little rows of .303s that make amazing display items. So the best thing to do with multiple items is to give them away to other collectors/relic hunters, for sure they will trade give you items you don't have in return. Or to sell them off, it still never fails to amazing me what people will buy and how much they'll pay for things, then use that money to buy more interesting items and items that you can't dig up.. of course you need to find, recover and sell a lot of relics before you start buying MM medal groups for example! Of course most relics I find will never be offered up for sale, the one offs or the items that relate to an individual. Although the ones that relate to an individual usually get given back to the veterans or families they belong too.
So what does my collection look like now after all these years? Here's a few photos, its hard to photograph everything as its getting quite hard to display it all and some display cabinets look more like old fashion junk shops with items piled up all higgle-de-piggle-de (what a great phrase to type!) and when I have the motivation I will continue to sort them properly.
Let me say it again, everything in the photos if inert, drill, training and is legal to own. The police have already been through my items and have deemed everything safe.
So as you can see in 10 years relic hunting and collecting your collection can get quite large, needless to say that I haven't photograph everything, in fact several cabinets didn't even get a look in and I missed off some really interesting other items. Name WW1 tunnellers cap, remains of a wooden German grave marker that was replaced to an unknown soldier and also several flags, one of which was flown at Camp Shelby US.
Hope this gives you an idea of how a fast a collection can grow, although ten years seems a long time, most of the first couple of years finds probably ended up being discarded later on. At first most relic hunters take everything home! You then fill boxes and boxes up and much later on do you realise that most of it is just crap and out it goes with the rubbish. Although we relic hunting is nothing new and it has gotten more popular over the last 5 years, there is still a huge amount of relics to be found in the UK, let alone all around Europe and beyond. I know that if I wanted to go and dig a handful of dog-tags or some WW1 insignia, that with almost 100% guarantee of success I could go out right now and find some. On top of that you can pretty much pick any country at will and there will be relics to find, you just need to get out there and look for them! So don't feel this hobby might not be for you just because your not in the UK or Europe, we have members all over the place including Australia and even those the other side of the world find some amazing things!
Good luck and happy hunting.