Does your local pub have a garden? You know a place where families sit on the seats provided in fine weather to drink and eat crisps. Well they probably also run about and lose things, which is where you come in.
Pub gardens are full of coins, junk and mineralisation, so you will need a detector which can cope with such conditions. Good results will be obtained with almost any machine, but meter discrimination machines that give a signal on everything will give you a terrible ear bashing. If you have enough patience to remove all the junk first, perhaps in a smallish marked out area, then by all means use a deep seeker to recover the older finds. Old pubs were often surrounded by more land than they are now and our ancestors used these areas in much the same way as they are today. Many coins, buckles and other artefacts have been recovered from these sites and many more remain to be found IF your machine can cope with the mineralisation and you can get through the junk. Motion detectors are fantastic on these sites and even the cheapest will outperform almost any discriminator here. The cheaper machines made by C-Scope and Whites work well on such sites, and pick up the shallow finds. Saxon and Viking machines also work just as well. On more up-market machines you will have to reduce sensitivity dramatically.
All this is useless of course unless you have a pub to go to, which means chatting up the landlord or landlady for permission. You will not get it at the height of summer, so wait until the autumn and then approach when the pub garden is quiet and deserted. Approach him/her when the bar is quiet and you will be more likely to gain permission. An offer to deposit modern currency in the charity bottle on the bar will be well received. If you get permission and it is an old pub, try to extend your search to the landlordís private lawn or vegetable patch because these areas may have well seen much activity in the past. Some of your finds, suitably mounted, would look good hung up in the bar. Having got your permission, you must take special care to be tidy and to leave no trace of your searches. Most items will be found just below the surface, but if you do have to dig deeper, place all the soil on to a plastic sheet so it can be tipped neatly back into the hole. If you find any rings or jewellery, hand these to the landlord because the loss may have been reported to him. If this does happen, you can use the story as motivation to gain permission on other pub gardens. If lost rings etc are not claimed you will have to come to an agreement with the landlord. He may insist they are handed to the police who will give them back to you if they are not claimed. Be scrupulously fair to your landlord as with any landowner, the slightest suspicion of cheating and you could be kicked off forever! Remember other patrons may be landowners themselves and your landlord may well turn out to be a centre of influence for many other private sites.
Bottle collectors should look out for signs of old pub dumps. These may well contain collectables, and on a very old pub site, may contain those free-blown onions, seals and mallets you're looking for. Research at your local museum or library to find the older pubs, and donít forget old maps. If you find a good pub, you will find good stuff!