The Following article was originally published by the author – Mike Haer on his blog, which appears on the All Metal Mode Podcast website. The All Metal Mode Podcast is a series of Metal detecting podcasts direct from the USA. Mike has kindly given his position to the Archaeology and Metal Detecting Magazine for the republication of his work.
One evening, while doing some research and map overlays I came across two old home sites that were located in a fairly new park. The first site was located in a soccer field just as you came in the park and I quickly found it from all the iron chirps I was getting. I don’t recall now what I pulled out of there the first time but I believe it was a few flat buttons. I wanted to explore the other site that was at the back of the park. Along the back edge was a set of woods and I was getting a few signals here and there along the edge so I started in. It wasn’t long before I found what was left of an old foundation. Unfortunately you couldn’t get to close to it with a detector, people had been dumping in the woods and into the old foundation for a long time and there was metal scattered about everywhere.
I didn’t stay long, feeling a little uneasy about the place and feeling defeated I headed home with not much to show for it. I don’t know what it was about this site but it honestly creeped me out a little bit, I felt like I was being watched but no one was around.
Although I felt defeated for the day I was bound and determined to not give up on these sites, something told me they were old and worth the extra effort. If I couldn’t hunt on top of the site I could surely hunt out around it where it was clean ground that hasn’t been dumped on. I decided to take a friend with me and give it another try.
I wasn’t defeated a second time, Although not a lot was being found we did manage a few decent buttons that day concentrating on the woods behind the site leading to the creek. We also hunted right on top of the site, going slowly and trying to pull out any relics we might be able to sneak out of the iron and trash infested areas.
I was close to the creek when I got a good hit in the soggy ground and I was happy to find another flat button. No sooner than I got up I got another signal, I kneeled back down in the wet ground and dug my hole and pulled out my pin pointer, it was in the mud I just pulled out of the hole. I grabbed a handful of mud that I knew it would be in and as I felt around my fingers found it. Right then one of the strangest things to ever happen to me took place. It felt like I was shocked, It quickly jolted me back and in my mind I seen a kid running up a small hill towards his dad and some other men who were going off to war. This all happened in a split second. The men were not dressed in military clothing so I don’t know how I knew they were going off to war but the picture was clear to me, I seen the men, their clothing, rifles and the young boy.
At this point I had not even seen what was in my hand, I had no idea what I was holding. Shaking and a little shocked I took out some water and started cleaning it off. I believe it is a homemade button from the later 1700’s to the early 1800’s in the shape of a cannon. I posted it on some different forums and got some different interpretations of what they believed it was but overall the consensus was a crude, handmade button with overflow. So what I believed to be the cannon itself they were saying they believed it was overflow.
I sent detailed pictured to two different button experts and both said they believed that it was indeed a cannon and casted that way on purpose. They both also said probably late 1700’s while one of them said it could be as old as mid 1700’s. I was glad to get their response back and at least for me it confirmed what I had believed.
I can still see that picture in my head. I only wish it would have lasted longer and I would have got more of the story like where that hill is and what war were the men going off to fight? After hearing back from the button experts and getting a rough date I thought it pretty much ruled out Ohio. Although the county I was in pre-dated Ohio becoming a state in 1803 I could only assume early settlers brought it with them when they moved west.
To that point I had never been north on that road the park was on until several months later. As I drove along watching the sunset to my left a field with a hill made me stop in my tracks. I pulled over and looked off into the field, I was no more than a mile from the park. I can’t be certain that it is the hill that flashed in my head when I first picked up that relic but it has really made me wonder even more than ever if maybe it all happened right there, in Ohio.
I never hunted that site again alone. It always made me feel uneasy being back there but I also felt connected to it. The two sites produced a lot of good finds including a capped bust quarter, silver thimble, several buttons, a few early large cents and recently a good friend of mine found an 1830 half dime there.
Since finding the button and having that experience I have asked many people if they have had any similar experiences. I have been surprised at how many people have but so many are afraid to share their story in fear of being laughed at.
If anything similar has ever happened to you the Archaeology and Metal Detecting magazine and Mike would love to hear about it! Drop your tale into the comments section below.