Tools For Modern Research

By Thomas M. Purzycki
From page 64 of the April, 2000 issue of Lost Treasure
Copyright © April, 2000 Lost Treasure, Inc. all rights reserved

Modern Detectors:

The modern metal detectorist has a lot of advantages over his predecessors. He now has a vast array of detectors to choose from and each of them, no matter what brand, is much more powerful than the detectors of old.

GPS Systems:

Another modern tool for the detectorist is the GPS system, a satellite-based radionavigation system developed and operated by the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD). GPS permits land, sea, and airborne users to determine their three-dimensional position, velocity, and time 24 hours a day, in all weather, anywhere in the world with a precision and accuracy far better than other radionavigation systems available today or in the foreseeable future.

Using the GPS system allows the modern detectorist to more easily find a location; as long as you have the correct latitude and longitude the GPS system will guide you to within a few feet of the location. One disadvantage to detectorists of the future is that there may no longer be any lost mines or treasures to find if they were buried during modern times. No longer will someone come across a lost mine in the desert or mountains and not be able to find it again. Using GPS, he can always return to the exact location. To find out more about GPS systems go to http://www.navcen.uscg.mil/faq/GPSfaq1.htm#What

Internet Research:

This is probably the most powerful tool for today's metal detectorist. No longer do you have to spend hours and hours at your local library; you can do a major part of your research on the Internet. To do this you will need to make use of Search Engines, which enable you to type in a key word and search the entire Internet, newsgroups and MSGs for any reference to what you are looking for.

Some of the Major search engines to use are: Altavista - http://www.altavista.com, Mamma.com - http://www.mamma.com/, and Excite - http://www.excite.com

Here is one site that lists other search engines -http://www.websitepages.com/contents2.htm.

To find even more, use one of the above search engines and do a search on the words "search engines" and this will give you a host of other engines you can use.

You've found a few search engines, now what? Search engines are fairly simple to use, but there are a few tricks to them. Let's say you want to do a search on treasure hunting in Alabama. This search would result in a listing of all sites that have to do with either the words treasure, hunting, or Alabama. To narrow your search to only what you were specifically looking for, put your search terms in quotation marks, i.e. Treasure Hunting in AL. This will return only a listing that contains all the words.

To give you some examples of search terms to look for, and some of the results you will obtain, I will list some here. Mind you it would be impossible to list all the results of a search, as sometimes this can result in 1,000's of websites. I did a search on "Amusement Parks" and came up with a site that has a good list of amusement parks that no longer exist; you can view them at http://www.defunctparks.com

A search on "Ghost Towns resulted in (only a few have been listed):

Hamilton County Nevada settlements - http://www.netins. net/showcase/marjned/settle.html
Ghost Towns of Utah http://burgoyne.com/pages/channing/ghosttowns/index.html
Ghost Towns of Washita OK http://www.rootsweb.com/~okwashit/ghosttowns.htm

When I did the search on Ghost Towns I came up with 5,729 websites that had information on ghost towns, using the Altavista search engine. A search on CIVIL WAR MAPS returned over 700 pages, some of the better ones were: South Carolina Civil War Maps - http://www.sciway.net/hist/maps/mapscw.html
US Civil War Map collection - http://oak.cats.ohiou. edu/~johnsoj5/civilwar/maps.html
Civil War Maps and Charts by State http://anchor.ncd.noaa.gov/cwstates.htm

A search on "Old Maps" came up with 1,376 websites. Some of the better ones were: Old Maps of the North East - http://members.aol.com/oldmapsne/index.html
Gleasons Old Maps - http://members.aol.com/oldmap setc

Next I looked for Fire Insurance Maps, some good sites to check out on this are http://library.nevada.edu/micro/sanborn.html, and http://www.library.cornell.edu/okuref/maps/sanborn.htm

The above sites deal with the Sanborn Fire Map collection. If you can obtain some of these you are well on the way to finding some good sites to hunt.

The above links are only a very small portion of the research you can do on the Internet, a caveat to my earlier statement about the Internet taking the place of many hours spent at your library. The Internet is a great resource and what you can find can greatly reduce your time spent at the library. There will be cases where some library research will still be needed to supplement what you find on the Internet.

In the next few months we will cover other links you might want to check out; by going to some of these links you will wind up with even more places to search. Bottom line is the person who takes the time to do research is the one who you will probably read about in some future treasure story.

Till next month, good hunting and may your next find be gold.

Editor's Note: Some of the websites mentioned in this article may have changed since it was originally published.