George Wyant

Ed: This was from 2015:

Kudos to National Geographic,  Pike County Tourism, Convention and Visitors Bureau and Pikeville City Staff for again inviting George Wyant and Tim Saylor (“Diggers”) to metal detect for artifacts on that legendary property in Hardy, Kentucky.  Dr. Kim McBride, of University of Kentucky Department of Anthropology lead the professional cooperation in her role with UK’s  Kentucky Archaeological Survey (KAS) with Diggers esteemed new staff archaeologist Mark Henshaw.

At first, it might seem like an unlikely partnership – amateurs and professionals ‒ but the thing that bonds us is how we love digging in the ground and coming up with priceless connections to our past.  Discovering hold-in-your-hand proof, confirming fireside tales of generations: that’s exciting for professionals and amateurs alike. I also love to work with descendant communities; so Hatfields and McCoys together, preserving their history, was very special.” – Kim McBride of UK

NatGeo Diggers

This show was discussed at length when I was at the Society for Historical Archaeology conference in Seattle last year, where the Archaeologists present all had ideas for how to take the show in a direction that put metal detecting in an improved role in building a historical timeline along with professionals.   It’s great to see that many of those suggestions have been put into place for the new season…

SHA president Charles Ewen of East Carolina University outlined some of the changes we’re seeing this season on Diggers in his post “Diggers Done Right“:

  • There is an on-screen archaeologist, Marc Henshaw, in all episodes, and he talks to the hosts about research strategy, provenience, and significance of the finds.
  • The dollar value of the artifacts that are found is no longer shown. Instead, there are pop-ups that explain the show has permission to metal detect on private land, that the artifacts are property of the landowner or a museum, and that locations can be designated as historical sites.
  • The show has also sought out professional archaeologists to partner with for episodes.

Be sure to catch the program at 10:30 p.m. Eastern, Monday, Aug. 10, on the National Geographic Channel. For a preview of the Diggers upcoming Hatfield-McCoy episode, visit – if the episode is published online, I’ll edit this post with a link.

University of Kentucky recently published this list of posts about the Hatfield-McCoy legend for more reading:

Hatfield-McCoy Resources

Ron McCoy, the great-great-great-grandson of the patriarch Randolph McCoy, recently published a book about his family. For more information, visit