Although I consider myself more of a relic hunter, spending most of my time metal detecting in fields and woods I still metal detect houses from time to time. When I started detecting the first two years I mostly detected old houses and homesteads.
This article is pretty specific to metal detecting older houses, I am talking about houses that were built before modern electric and plumbing.
After you have metal detecting enough houses you really start to pick up on patterns that carries over from one house to the next. One thing that started to help me a lot with my detecting skills and old houses was understanding the differences between how we live now and how they lived back then. Although it is wise to take those patterns you’ve learned over time and apply them to each new house site you must also not allow yourself to fall into those patterns that keep you from missing good targets at house sites that don’t fit the pattern.
For example, I usually find at old houses in the country the front yard seemed to be the popular place to hang out while in the city the popular place is usually the back yard. It took me a long time to have a theory but I believe people in the city were looking for less human contact while they were home than those in the country who felt more isolated. I don’t know if this is the case but this is the only conclusion, I’ve really been able to come up with and I’ve lived both in the city and in the country.
We tend to spend a lot more time indoors than they did back then but we all would spend more time outside if we did not have air conditioning! Which leads me to big shade trees and one place I’ve often found many old coins.
Without electric and indoor plumbing most of the washing was done outside and clothes were thrown on a clothesline. Yet another prime spot to find coins and valuables like rings. Just like in modern times they would forget to empty their pockets and many times the coins fell out of the pockets while hanging.
Pathways are another great place to check. Paths leading to outhouses, barns, garages, out buildings are all great places to check. I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve found coins right up against concrete or stone pathways!
Probably one of my continuously successful places to find old coins is along the driveway and even in the driveway. I’ve dug through gravel a handful of times to be rewarded with a nice silver coin. I always walk both sides of the driveway especially where they would have parked horse and buggies and early cars.
Speaking of horses. They needed a place to tie off horses for guests. These have almost always produced a good find or two for me. I always look forward to finding those and you will almost always find some horse tack in that vicinity as well.
While you’re checking the pathway to the mailbox make sure you check all around the mailbox. It was common practice for people to leave change on the mailbox to pay for postage.
If you can you should always metal detect all of the yard but if you can’t for some reason or it’s a rather large yard and you want to concentrate on the best spots I’ve found over the years these are the areas I continuously make good finds.