Talk:Metal detector

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Specific materials detected[edit]

Which types of materials can or cannot be detected by each type of detector? Aluminum, for example, is not magnetic, so would a gun made of aluminum pass through airport security undetected?

what type of tresure is realy rare to find in scotland — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:58, 1 April 2013 (UTC)
Easy answer there (nothing special about Scotland) - gold and silver coins or articles. Unless you are interested in items that are not valuable.-- (talk) 12:38, 19 March 2014 (UTC)

April 2006[edit]

Hello Gary, thank you very much for your edits on the history of the metal detector. I see that you removed the section on metal detectors and archaeology, I have re-instated this as it contains further information on the use of the device in archaeology and the legal situation which is valid and long-established information on the page. If you disagree with the text in question then we can discuss it here. adamsan 20:49, 4 April 2006 (UTC)

Hi Adam. I had moved it because it is not correct regarding the legal situation and seems to be very one sided. One of the main causes of driving the hobby underground is the inability of some within the detectorist world to come to terms with fellow detectorists who fail to record their finds for future generations

There are many detectorists who are recording their finds. The secret here is education and the FLO's from the PAS scheme are doing a good job. It does take time for the information to filter down and many detectorists are coming around. The UKDFD is a good example of responsible detecting and recording finds that would not otherwise have been recorded and also deserves to be recognized if you are bringing the PAS system into discussion regarding metal detecting It must also be said that some within the archeological community have caused a very large divide and knocked back the "Gospel Of Recording" which I support fully. Articles such as this one "metal detectors and archaeology" do not go about promoting good liaison.

In the United Kingdom metal detecting is generally permitted provided certain criteria are met and efforts are made to record finds through the Portable Antiquities Scheme. The scheme has critics however, including some archaeologists and some metal detectorists themselves. Metal detecting in England is permitted and it is a legal hobby. There are no criteria and the Portable Antiquities Scheme is a voluntary scheme. The above statement is misleading.

Countries with no restrictions or methods to deal with new finds in place are in danger of sites being regularly raided and their contents sold on without the information they provide ever being known. However, there are some responsible metal detectorists in unrestricted nations who contact archaeologists when they find artifacts, and who never dig. They try to benefit archaeology by finding artifacts for scientists.

Stating here that detectorists who dig are irresponsible is out of order. This is not true and is a very biased attitude which I disagree with. I state my case here regarding the law in the UK. Metal detecting is a legal hobby. You paint a picture that is not correct. The artifacts do not just belong to archeologists... they belong to all of us. You are painting your own picture here and trying to influence others in your writings. This site reference material is not an area for personal opinions.

Archaeologists use metal detectors to scan their spoil heaps and also to examine wide areas such as battlefield sites where surface scatters of metal objects may be all that survives. and many detectorist are helping in battlefield surveys.

I take it you are an archeologist.. Hence the way that this article is written. I can agree on many things as to how a metal detector used in the wrong hands can cause damage... but used in the correct hands in can also be another tool in the archeological arsenal. I would request that you write an un-biased and not tale sides. I know this may be hard... but maybe somebody else should write the article and not your self.

Please feel free to contact me Adam personally as it is not my wish to disrupt Wikipedia and I hope that you understand I would like the discussions to be fair. I am sure that if I started talking about how metal detectorists etc work with archeologist and publish videos and other information on here... would you allow it???

I look forward to hearing from you. Kind regards


P.s. Please feel free to delete this post and contact me via mail as we dont want whats happening on Britarch. Garybrun

Thank you Gary, please be assured I do not want to see a Britarch situation here either. Regarding your points:

When I wrote the sentance about metal detecting being generally permitted and certain conditions needing to be met in the UK , I was alluding to the need to ensure that one had the landowner's permission, and that one was not detecting on a SAM or a Countryside Stewardship Site without the right paperwork. I think this is a valid point and if you can help me find a more precise way of saying it, I think it should remain.

The bits about certain detectorists driving the hobby underground or the bit about helping scientists, or screens on handles were not additions of mine and I agree that it they are biased without having citations to support them and likely to inflame. I have no objection to those parts coming out.

Regarding the elements about Nighthawking, I hope you agree that this is of genuine concern to everyone involved in studying the past. I support your efforts to demonstrate the willingness of most UK hobbyists to detect responsibly but feel that the picture you describe of the hobby in Britain is not the way the hobby is practised in much of the rest of the world where it is often illegal or unregulated. We must be careful not to give an unbalanced picture of the international situation based only on our own experiences. I look forward to your reply. Best wishes adamsan 18:46, 5 April 2006 (UTC)

The artifacts do not just belong to archeologists... they belong to all of us. This is the esssentially the problem. In general, the archaeology - our history - does not reside within the artefact, but in the location within the stratigraphic matrix that it was found. If that is lost by just digging into the ground with no regard to the latest archaeological techniques then even though a coin has been found, part of our history has been lost.

Article needs work[edit]

This article is currently dominated by the application metal detectors in archeology. I have added a list of some of the main uses of metal detectors I know about in the intro, and it seems at least the best known ones like demining and airport security ought to have approximately equal weight. Can we start reorganising? Does the archology/'treasure hunting' aspect need its own article? Billlion 09:48, 23 May 2006 (UTC)

see also discussion at Talk:Magnetometer_screening Billlion 17:52, 23 May 2006 (UTC)

Is this NPOV?[edit]

This para was added by an anon editor. Is it NPOV? Anyone else know about this?

'While these advances push technology to its full potential, new genres of metal detector have made their appearance. BB (Beat Balance) and CCO (Coil Coupled Operation) were unveiled by the electronics press in 2004. Both were invented by electronics writer and designer Thomas Scarborough, and combine unprecedented simplicity with good sensitivity.'

Billlion 22:43, 10 June 2006 (UTC)

Ion Scanner[edit]

Could someone please make an entry about Ion Scanners, their reliability, what they are used for and so forth. I know they are used to detect herion and cocaine, but how reliable are they?

Please help, as of July 19, 2006 there is no wiki entry for Ion Scanner Thk

Adding a catagory that would cover correct usage Procedure of a metal detector[edit]

I am a dectorist and have had my whites 5900 for 2 years now. As I was browsing through your page I saw you had no section on usage. I have a article typed and am going to add it, if you feel it is unusable I suppose you can remove it but I think you will find that it is truth on this subject. Also I realize that it may not be in the right spot in relationship to the other articles, but I didn't want to change more things than nessasary. If you think it should be moved to a better spot on the page go ahead. THanks

                User:Brettid 00:48, 11 August 2006 (UTC)

Possible copyright violation?[edit]

Please go to this link:

The page is identical to the wikipedia article. Are them from the same author, it's a ripoff, ANSWERS.COM copied WIKIPEDIA or what? Thanks User: Uomo Grigio from Wikipedia Italia

As the article in clearly states it is from Wikipedia "This entry is from Wikipedia, the leading user-contributed encyclopedia". Billlion 09:10, 7 September 2006 (UTC)

Hobby new article?[edit]

Can i suggest we splinter off a new article metal detecting as a hobby and keep this about metal detectors. This would at least divert the debate and link spam from the main article? Billlion 06:50, 14 September 2006 (UTC)

See 'proposed split' below S a g a C i t y (talk) 19:31, 2 December 2010 (UTC)

Correct Usage Procedure[edit]

I moved this section which was at the end after references. Is it encylopedic to say how to tune a metal detector? Should it be in a general article on metal detectors, or one specifically on those used to find buried objects?Billlion 20:46, 12 October 2006 (UTC)

Before any user of a metal detector can confidently operate his machine, he needs to know several vital steps that apply for most metal detector uses. The first step is “tuning” in the detector to the ground. This means that the detector is adjusted so that it recognizes the ground as a medium for targets to be in. Most new digital units have a “self tuning” feature installed. For the ones that don’t you must manually tune them in. After this is achieved, the detector is ready to begin searching for a target. Placement of the loop above the ground is critical for desired performance. Hold the detector at arms length with the loop barely touching the ground. For most purposes a “motion” mode is used. This means the loop must be moving at all times for it to function correctly. With the detector now ready to go begin to sweep it back and forth along the ground. Each sweep should take close to a second from one side to the other. Additionally, each sweep should overlap the last forming a tight sweep pattern. Using this method will reduce the chance of passing over the target. While searching with a detector, a quick pace should be established.

--Brettid 00:22, 30 November 2006 (UTC)So your the one who deleated my ontribution! This article is about metal detectors, what else would you expect to read about. The whole idea is to teach others ,who frequently know nothing about the subject, more facts and knowledge. If you don't like the placement you could rearange it to a better spot, but Obviously it has to be on the same page or one linked to it!! BrettidBrettid 00:22, 30 November 2006 (UTC)

Ok so at least rewrite it in the style of an encylopedia article rather than a set of instructions. Also I have a feeling that the article should be split as there are many kinds of metal detectors and perhaps details of those that are portable and used for detecting buried objects could be in a special article. But what to call it? Billlion 21:18, 1 December 2006 (UTC)


I removed a bunch of links that had very little content and some were straight up commercial sites. Corpx 18:04, 19 January 2007 (UTC)

I think this link should be included as it contains a wealth of information for anybody interested in the technical side of metal detectors. Also mayn do it yourself projects can be found there: —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:48, 13 November 2009 (UTC)

Archaeology and ethics[edit]

There seems to be some disagreement above about British antiquities laws and their application. While the ethics of archaeological metal detection are certainly very important, perhaps a more general scope would be appropriate for an international readership. This issue is treated briefly in the article Archaeological geophysics:

"Irresponsible (and often illegal) use of metal detectors by artifact collectors or treasure hunters has resulted in extensive damage to the archaeological record, both by the unrecorded removal of artifacts and the destruction of their context by uncontrolled excavation. However when used responsibly and in a systematic manner, they can be a useful tool in archaeological research."

As far as it goes, this is hopefully uncontroversial in the context of sites that have archaeological value, but what about elsewhere? And how dos the detectorist know the difference? Of course, ethical issues are inherently questions of POV. Is it possible to summarize some generalities about antiquities laws internationally? Is there a consensus on ethics between responsible detectorists and archaeologists that is strong enough to be uncontroversial? Tapatio 04:47, 30 June 2007 (UTC)


Relating to the above section, I have created an article on 'Nighthawking', a British term for illegal metal detecting. If anyone can add anything, feel free. Man from the Ministry 21:47, 1 December 2007 (UTC)

Further Improvements- not written like a wikipedia article[edit]

"he metal detector was reduced to a size that even a child could use - and use them they did. Fabulous finds were made; prehistoric gold ornaments, chests of Roman coins, jewelled daggers, arrow heads- all types of metal artifacts were coming out of the ground. Suddenly, there was a huge demand for those early electronic magic wands which might make a man rich overnight."

reads more like a david dimbleby program than a wikipedia article

O keyes (talk) 09:41, 5 December 2007 (UTC)

I concur with the above. The article takes on the appearance of sly-editing by mentioning current competitive manufactures and their alleged success. The is my first time reading the article today (12/15/07) and it seemed like one big sales-pitch, with small bits of pertinent information included. Too many names mentioned, and one mini-biography (does it really matter if someone worked in Ireland before starting a new biz in the UK) Jim (talk) 18:12, 15 December 2007 (UTC)


Nearly all of this article is about military and hobby detectors, with only a paragraph on metal detectors used in security screening. This seems like undue weight to me--as walkthrough and wand detectors used by security personnel are likely to be the most commonly encountered detectors today, shouldn't this article include more information on them? That's what I came here wanting to see an article about, and was really disappointed by how little relevant info was in the article. I have very little doubt that many others come to this page wanting to learn how security detectors work (particularly the walkthrough variety). Heather (talk) 23:29, 3 December 2008 (UTC)

See 'proposed split' below. S a g a C i t y (talk) 20:19, 28 November 2010 (UTC)

Underwater Metal Detectors[edit]

This article contains no information about the history, innovations, or uses of underwater metal detectors. (talk) 21:55, 15 November 2009 (UTC)

Low-cost metal detector[edit]

The low cost metal detector made by Thomas Scarborough is not mentioned here; see Elektor's poor man metal detector (talk) 11:05, 5 February 2010 (UTC) That's because it don't work. Like all his stuff. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:46, 9 June 2011 (UTC)

Discrimination difficulty[edit]

One long time problem of discrimination circuitry in metal detectors is that US nickels give virtually the same response as most gold rings, especially when buried vertically. The old style removable soda can pull tabs with the large ring shape were also the bane of the coin shooters and ring hunters throughout the 1970's and into the 1980's for the same reason. Early discrimination circuit designs could reject those ring tabs but still couldn't tell the difference between nickles and gold rings. There's a large amount of reference material on this in metal detecting and treasure hunting magazines. Bizzybody (talk) 07:03, 11 August 2010 (UTC)

Proposed split[edit]

I think this is getting over-loaded and confused, so propose a 3-way split as follows:

  1. Metal detector -- to cover the equipment and its science and technology
  2. Metal detecting -- to cover the use in archaeology and as a hobby
  3. Metal detection -- to cover the use in industry, the military and security.

Any comments?? S a g a C i t y (talk) 20:17, 28 November 2010 (UTC)

A "split" gives ample opportunity for dubious editing, shameless promotion and sly advertising. Just my opinion, just keep it simple. Jim (talk) 22:21, 28 November 2010 (UTC)
I dont think that is the right way as the titles are too similar. Better to have specific articles on each use. The hobby aspect attracts the most spam so it would be good to have that contained in one article.Billlion (talk) 09:00, 5 December 2010 (UTC)
This proposal was a year ago. Anyone else have an opinion?Billlion (talk) 19:38, 23 December 2011 (UTC)

New section: Politics and conflicts in the metal detecting hobby[edit]

This new section is generally OK in its tone and intent, but I don't think it conveys a good understanding of the nature of archaeological preservation. It speaks of ignoring sites or failing to excavate them as "looting by neglect", but that is quite contrary to current archaeological thought. Unless a site is explicitly threatened (by development, erosion, etc.), it is generally best preserved by leaving it in the ground. Site discovery can further preservation because recorded sites can be better protected, but excavation is inherently destructive and is considered a necessary evil in archaeological research.

Regarding cooperation between hobby detector hobbyists and archaeologists, and better practices by hobbyists, that has been occurring, and I have seen many valuable collaborations. I think it has enriched the appreciation of detector hobbyists as well as serving research and preservation. Tapatio (talk) 05:04, 13 February 2013 (UTC)

You are suggesting sensible edits and I will alter it as best I can as an amateur. There is a debate worth having about this assertion, and I think it should be documented in Wikipedia somehow, though I'm not sure how or where. Expanding on your equipment, livestock, water erosion, fertilizer and other perils that artifacts face must be considered. The practical sensibilities of a handmade artifact are far less apparent when its rusted, stained remains are strewn over 50 feet by a modern plow. Context or preservation? Which shall be sacrificed? Where is the sweet spot? Do archaeologists believe that someday-maybe they will excavate every field, no matter how well documented, how difficult the resource situation, or how many higher-priority sites await their attention? What will the sweeping changes at university do to this process? How will field work change? Perhaps these are topics better suited to archaeological Wikis?

As far as cooperation, I'd like Wikipedia to reflect that we are striving to find middle ground that does not overly compromise the rigor of academic study but also acknowledges role of the amateur and the pleasure of the hobby. Some of my thinking and discussion among academically-inclined amateurs include: Would it not make sense to classify some of these historic fields as open for controlled detecting? Is the GIS map, logbook and photo scale the exclusive tools of the academic or could some simple training start a stream of medium-resolution, "crowd-sourced" data? Could the hobbyist productively (and likely digitally) backfill the historic record of historic sites in exchange for access? Surely there are many types of sites that should only employ detectorists under supervision and with careful site protocol and a bag full of flags (such as the one I am participating in at Montpelier) but there's something to be said for fresh air the open field and the meditation of detecting, pinpointing and discovering. I think many are ready to log these finds and in many cases surrender them for display on a digital archive with their name attached. With additional cooperation, this can be supplemented with a sense of purpose, a mission to help the historical record, and to receive a bit of credit for it - for one's skill, ones patriotism, and ones unselfishness. I will have to think about whether Wikipedia is a good place for some of these things and welcome replies. Pocketspill (talk) 15:55, 13 February 2013 (UTC)

Wikimedia Commons link[edit]

i'm pretty unfamiliar with using the Commons in my edits, but i do find it useful to have a readily accessible link to view images, maps, etc.. for an article that sometimes has few. but i'm not quite sure what i'm doing here. i don't fully understand the difference between the Commons' Gallery pages


and the Category pages,



as for Metal detector there is no Gallery page, (i.e. {{Commons|Metal detectors}}), just the {{Commons|Category:Metal detectors}}. page.

is it ok to use the Category when there isn't a Gallery? i'm going to add it anyway (WP:BB). but someone please correct/remove if not appropriate. ≈Sensorsweep (talk) 19:20, 27 October 2014 (UTC)

First mine detectors[edit]

Currently, this and other wikipedia articles claim that the Polish Mine Detector (I will call PMD for short) was the first effective man-carried mine/metal detector, but as I will show, that simply isn't true. The Germans had a number of mine detector types, their names consisting of a city and the year the production order was requested. The PMD was first used in the second battle of El Alamein, which took place in November 1942, but the Germans had mine detectors such as Tempelhof 41 or Berlin 40 as you can see here [1] that

This PDF here [2] has further information and pictures of a Wien 41 mine detector, first produced in 1941.

-- (talk) 05:04, 19 March 2015 (UTC)

possible source for politics[edit]

©Geni (talk) 15:45, 13 March 2017 (UTC)