Discover the Truth: Gold Prospecting and Dump Hunting with Metal Detectors
Maybe Carlotta Brandenburg is a lucky charm for fellow treasure hunters who seem to find one particular kind of relic when she’s around.
On this episode of Discover the Truth, a Garrett Metal Detectors podcast, host Shelby Skrhak sits down with the Arizona detectorist to discuss the treasures she’s found and what others, including her husband, have a knack for finding.
Brandenburg began metal detecting about 20 years ago when she was gold panning in the rivers near her California home. In her gold panning club, a small number of prospectors used metal detectors to find small deposits of gold. One particular detectorist was scanning the grassy lawn at a convention center meetup when he found something remarkable.
“People who brought their metal detectors were finding pennies here or a coin there, and he pops up a diamond ring about six inches down,” Brandenburg said. “That was it, and I thought ‘Oh, I have to do this.'”
Brandenburg is married to Tim “The Ringmaster” Saylor, co-host of National Geographic’s Diggers. His nickname comes from his knack for finding rings, especially his grand prize – a 22k, solid gold mourning ring dated 1744 with an amethyst stone.
Of course, Brandenburg and fellow metal detectorists know that not every hunt ends up with treasure.
“It can be frustrating when everyone’s seemingly popping stuff out of the ground and you feel like you can’t find anything,” she said. “I know I didn’t find much to start off, but it’s more about just getting out in the outdoors trying to find something.”
In addition to gold prospecting, Brandenburg goes dump hunting, where she detects and sifts through historic trash dump sites for old relics and coins.
“It’s like being an archaeologist,” she said. “You’re going through these layers of the dump and see these colors of glass that help you date the area.”
On one trip, a young lady came to the dump with a bucket to find marbles.
“She didn’t have any digging tools but was just moving the dirt around with her hands when, sure enough, she found a diamond ring,” Brandenburg said.
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