Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Detecting Saxapahaw: 200 Year Old Tombac Button

Hey ya'll!  Since finding an old building site with James on October 8th and detecting it with the Raleigh boys on October 15th, I just had to go back to see what else was beneath the earth!  So I went out there today to see what I could find, and came up with some neat relics to share with you.  The best of the bunch actually came from a mini-hunt when I tried to search the area yesterday evening, but the cows decided they wanted the spot and sent me packing. 

The best find is a large flat button, slightly bigger than a half dollar.  It's made of a material called "tombac", a brass alloy made with a large amount of copper and 5-20% zinc.  The result is a highly durable button which resists corrosion.  The back has a raised cone shaped base where a copper or iron shank would have been soldered on.  Tombac buttons were used for both military and civilian purposes, and were mass produced in the late 1700's.  To think, a 200+ year old button just a few inches down in a cattle field near Saxapahaw!  I love this hobby!  I know both the Morrows and the McIvers lived quite close to this field in the late 1700's, and could account for its origins.

In addition to the pictures, I also created a video of today's search.  I did something a little bit different, so I hope you like it!  Let me know what you think in the comments section below!  Thanks for looking, and God Bless!


  1. Sweet video! I liked that you put the camera on the ground when you were digging your flaps. It's a neat perspective and the sun on the blades of grass showed what a nice day it was. What is that flower shaped thing with the holes??! I think that's my favorite.

  2. Good job on that video. I stopped making videos really soon after I began metal detecting because they were just so boring. Maybe I'll try something like this next time I hunt.
    The first thing I thought of when i saw the unidentified metal flower-looking object was a sink drain cover.
    Cool stuff.

  3. Thanks ya'll! So I got 2 votes for liking the artistic style here at the blog, and two votes for the more narrative style of my first videos on the friendly forum. So maybe I'll keep making some of each. My personal preference is for something a little different than just "here I am, diggin a target" LOL

    I don't know what the flower thing is, but I sure wish I did! If you look close at the picture, you can see a small post on the right side of the item, and what I think is half a hinge on the left side. The face not showing is flat all the way across, and I would image is the "front" or "top" depending on how it was oriented on whatever it broke off of. Anyways, it's neat, and beats another shotgun shell!