Tracey contacted me about a time capsule that she and her father had buried back in 1997. Inside were various “treasures” from various members of her family, including photos and letters from loved ones now deceased. Tracey knew the approximate location and had attempted to find it a year ago, but, without a metal detector, she was just guessing as to the exact spot and came up empty. The container was supposed to be a small steel box, maybe a foot squared or so. She was uncertain as to the contents other than the photos and letters. One of the interesting parts of this is that it was buried in a remote area of a public park! No telling if it was still there or not. Parks get relandscaped from time to time or maintenance crews might accidentally dig it up or bury it further, so, this was anyone’s guess.
We hiked to the spot which turned out to be just above a drainage ditch. The ground was on a slope, very rocky, and covered in leaves, branches, and other debris from the eucalyptus trees and various trash from park goers over the years. There wasn’t any obvious sign of where it might have been buried, so, I began my search systematically from one end of the search area to the other. Not a big area, maybe 10 X 20 feet, but, LOTS of target sounds, both ferrous and non. I started with the ferrous since it was supposed to be a steel box. After a couple of promising sounds that turned out to be chucks of pipe, I couldn’t find any large targets with my E-trac/ NEL 15″ Attack coil combo. I started in on the smaller ferrous targets. Just junk iron. Next was non-ferrous with similar results at first. I finally got a low conductive signal next to a tree. It was reading 12-09 on the E-trac. That normally is a wad of foil or similar. It didn’t seem like a large target, but being next to the tree it was hard to tell for sure. I started digging…..down a foot and still there…….got out the hand digger…..poked down a bit more and hit something that sounded hollow. Hmmm, could be, or maybe just a pie tin. Kept clearing the dirt and roots away until I could find the edges of the object and got the top cleared off. Yup, looks like a metal box to me! I carefully worked my digger and my fingers around the edges of the box until I could just reach under it. Ooops, nothing left of the side of the box. My fingers just went into a cavity. Not a good sign, as this indicated to me that the box had gotten flooded and rusted out. I finally worked it out of the ground and my suspicions were correct. Even though the box had been wrapped in plastic, the bottom was almost completely gone along with most of the sides. Since the lid was in pretty good shape, I flipped the box up side down on the ground so we could carefully pick through the contents without them spilling all over the place. Most items were water damaged, but, some may clean up. The photos and letters were wrapped separately in more plastic, but, they were waterlogged as well. The photos didn’t look to good, but, the letters might clean up. Tracey has a bit of work to do in that area! With careful rinsing and drying, they might survive. Even with the damage, Tracey was very happy to find the time capsule and recover the contents. I was happy to be a part of it and thank you for the reward.