Rookie Corner

by Andy Nunez

Happy New Year! While I am writing this, a monstrous cold front is descending on the area, which will shut down all but the most die-hard detectorists. One of the questions I see a lot of rookies ask on Facebook is, where do you find places to go? My answer always is, research, research, research. Winter weather is always a good time to do that sort of research. I noticed that a number of Seekers got nice reference books on coins and relics for Christmas. They're great tools for when you find something, but my interest perked up when one member got a book on early architecture of Dorchester County. I already have the three Paul Touart books on the lower Shore counties, so this would be a great addition to my library. I'll be after a copy of that after the New Year.

A lot of people aren't interested in reading a lot of thick books, but I will tell you that sometimes the smallest clue will give you a lead on a good spot to detect. There have been a lot of books written over the years, old and new, that can help you find a new spot to hit. One great resource if you hate to read is talking to an older individual. These days, I am drawing closer to those older individuals, so their memories and mine are pretty similar, but you can still find folks in the late 80s and 90s that remember old houses that once stood in fields, or going to camp meetings, church picnics and carnivals.

The research departments of local libraries can sometimes yield older books and atlases that show vanished places of interest. Marty and I were happily surprised to find that the Dorchester Historical Society has a copy of the 1865 Martenet Atlas of Maryland, which gave the location of mills, schools, churches and other items now long gone. Being 12 years older than the Lake and Griffith 1877 Atlas of the Eastern Shore, there might be an item in the older atlas that had vanished by 1877.

A popular item when I was going to high school was The Old Home Prize essay. It was a chance for seniors in high school to write an essay on some aspect of Somerset County. The winning manuscripts used to reside in the Princess Anne Library.

When I was researching Beverly of Worcester and its strange ironwork around the back entrance, I was happy to find the history of the Dennis family who built Beverly and learned all kinds of interesting items, including the fact that there was a second mansion on the property that burned. Details like that can be useful when looking for a place to hit.

So, use your tools, books, the internet, folks in senior centers or even nursing homes. You never know what interesting tidbits of history might come to light and lead you to some of that shiny stuff. Well, that's it for now. If I don't see you at the meeting, maybe I'll see you in the field (if it's not snowing).

Back to Main Page