You may laugh or scoff when you see an old man on the beach using his metal detector, but there have been some pretty incredible finds over the years.
The first recorded use of the metal detector was in 1881, when Alexander Graham Bell tried to find a bullet lodged in President James A. Garfield's chest. It became a little more prevalent in the 1920's before being fairly widely used during World War II.
The modern metal detector was first widely distributed in the 1960's and was originally used by the military to find land mines (it's still used this way today). Now it's used in airports around the world for security purposes and anyone can purchase one to look for lost relics.
Here are some of the best finds in history:
In 1977, a California man found a 4.9 kg gold nugget with 132 pieces of gold inside of it. It was later known as The Mojave Nugget and is the largest piece of gold ever found.
In 1980, an English man was searching in an Irish bog and found a gigantic gold chalice studded with amber along with its accompanying tray and strainer, the Ottawa Citizen reported.
In 1989, an Australian man found a 12-inch long gold nugget shaped like a boot. They named it Boot Of Cortez after the famous Spanish explorer. It sold in an auction in 2008 for over $1.5 million, the Post Chronicle said.
In 2007, a father and son metal detecting team in England found an ancient Viking treasure trove of silver and gold worth over 750,000 pounds, the Daily Mail reports.
In 2007, a 78-year-old English man found a Roman coin used in 155 BC from the time where England was a Roman territory. It was truly the find of a lifetime, the local South Devon paper reported.
In 2008, an English man found an Anglo-Saxon 18 carat gold cross that experts say dates back to the 7th century, the UK Daily Telegraph reports.
In 2009, an English man found an ancient Anglo-Saxon collection of 1,500 pieces of gold and silver, CNN reports. Over 11 pounds of gold and 5.5 pounds of silver were found.
In 2009, a Scottish man went into a field and found a set of gold Iron Age necklaces worth over $2 million, UPI reports. The necklaces were amazingly in perfect condition
This past June, a Swiss gardner was tending to a lawn when he found 10 gold bars worth a total of $126,000, Huffington Post reported. He gets to keep the bar if it isn't claimed within five years.
Also this past June, a 52-year-old historian was walking through St. Helens when he unearthed a bronze age axe head that dates back to 1800 BC, according to the Liverpool Echo.
Just last week, a 13-year-old New Mexico boy found a two-pound meteor in the ground that had been buried for 10,000 years, the LA Times says.
How does a metal detector work? In short, a transmitter current attached to a wire inside the metal detector, and the coil of that wire creates a magnetic field around the detector. This magnetic field will cause an electric current to go through the wire if it passes over anything metallic, which produces a current into the coil. That current is processed and that beeping noise you hear automatically sounds.
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