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Metal detecting leads to interesting finds

Posted: October 23, 2012 - 11:49am

Ken Kyte’s metal-detecting hobby can sometimes be a little much for his wife. When he found a 47-pound cannon ball from 1862 on a beach in North Carolina, she left the house while it was deactivated.

Kyte showed the cannon ball, which now weighs 44 pounds, to members of the Sgt. Berry Benson Camp Sons of Confederate Veterans at its monthly meeting Thursday. He said it’s his second-best find, the first being a brass Confederate belt buckle at a Colonial site in Aiken County.

Kyte said metal detecting is a hobby he has enjoyed since 1999.

The oldest item he has found is a 1755 King George coin in Aiken County, he said.

“That was 250 years old,” he said. “It is the oldest thing I have found that I am aware of.”

Kyte said he considers metal detecting a hobby, not a means of getting rich, although there are some people who are retired or unemployed who do it to make money.

“Most of the things I find have no value,” he said.

Skimming beaches can lead to jewelry finds that have some monetary value, though he said if a ring has inscriptions the honorable thing to do is to try to find its owner.

“For me, it’s fun, exercise and you never know what you are going to find,” Kyte said.

One of the best locations, to the surprise of the group, to metal detect is in old outhouses, he said.

“If you find a 150-year-old outhouse, you have struck gold,” he said.

For anyone interested in beginning to metal detect, Kyte said it’s important to do research to make sure the right device is purchased. Metal detectors can be waterproof, or even designed to search for specific metals.

The key is to remember to be respectful while metal detecting. Permission is needed to search private property, holes need to be refilled and items of historical value should be considered for donation to the local historical society.

The Sons of Confederate Veterans meets at the Acacia Masonic Lodge on Brookside Avenue at 7 p.m. monthly on the third Thursday and guests are welcome.

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