Treasure Island

Members of the Discoverin’ Rhode Island Treasures club share some of their metal-detecting finds.


Clockwise, from left.

What: 1940s toy plane
Where: Vacant lot, Cumberland.
“I cleaned it up, sanded it and painted it.”
— Damon Giusti

What: Bronze frog
Where: Low tide, Oakland Beach.
“You find a lot of stuff in the water. Also campgrounds and under nice shady trees.”
— John  Markrush

What: 1913 church pendant
Where: Vacant lot, Cumberland, not far from the toy plane.
— Damon Giusti

What: 1942 half dollar
Where: Wooded trail, Scituate.
— John  Markrush

What: 1930s toy soldier
Where: Pine grove behind a church, Smithfield.
“This is in its  original condition — it held  up pretty good.”
— Damon Giusti

Warwick resident John Markrush has been a member of the Discoverin’ Rhode Island Treasures club for the past thirteen years. He talked with us more about his strategies and the thrill of the hunt:

•    “We do a lot of research to find out where people gathered in the past—old campgrounds, circus or carnival grounds, picnic groves, vacant lots where there may have been a house. You have to think of places where people might have gathered. You look for a nice tree where someone might have sat down and read a book, old paths where people might have dropped things, places in the woods where people buried stashes back in the 1800s.”

•    “After storms is a good time to search the beach — the water gets churned up and stuff that was buried deep will become visible. You can find stuff just by walking on the beach after a good storm or northeastern.”

•    “I like the woods because you don’t find as much trash. A lot of the real old stuff is deep. You have to have a little more patience, go a little slower.”

•    “You can’t get discouraged if you’re not finding anything. You have to stay with it. A lot of people lose interest or quit because they’re not finding anything. It takes work — the more you do it, the better you get at it. You learn every time you go out.”

•    “Everyone has their own reason for why they do it. Maybe sometimes you find something that’s valuable, but it’s not about money…. (Metal-detecting) puts you into your own little world. It’s the thrill of the hunt, the excitement of not knowing what you’re going to find — an Indian head penny or maybe an old colonial button… A lot of the stuff I find just has sentimental value.”

You can find more information on the DIRT club at


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