illustration of a privy probe

illustration of a privy probe

This has been a fun discussion with friends online and a few Archaeologist buddies over drinks.  It was fun answering so I thought I’d share that with my readers here, also.  This is just for fun!    What are your ideas?

Limits of Treasure Hunting Equipment for Finding Gold

  • ALL metal detectors overload in the presence of large quantities of iron.  If the buried treasure is very close to the large iron, the gold signal will be almost completely masked
  • The buried treasure would need to be 8-10″ minimum away from the large iron object before a typical metal detector would audibly separate them.
  • GPR (ground penetrating radar) displays on rough, blurry shapes that requires an interpretation by the operator and/or data expert.  You will need to know how “normal” objects appear underground and simulate those so there’s no suspicion when the data is reviewed.
  • Ground density differences and buried items are easy to find using long probes often used for privy digging.

Hiding Gold and Treasure at Your Home

Knowing those facts, let’s look at some things in a typical older home’s yard area that would help to hide your stash.


Broken concrete that appears to be maintenance and large unused iron pipe for masking.

Household Objects that Can be Good for Burying Treasure

  • cisterns (soil density varies already around these)
  • iron drain pipes (e.g. for guttering, sump pumps)
  • residential oil or propane tanks.
  • hand water pumps for wells.
  • chain link fences (note: bury where soil density might naturally vary.)
  • iron electrical conduit (burial container needs to be long and thin along the underside of the conduit.)
  • chicken wire or iron mesh in the ground under pet dog or chicken pens.
  • animal water troughs

Defeating Metal Detectors for finding your Gold Treasure:

The things that will defeat a metal detector searching for your gold treasure include:

  • Depth of the burial (but this also makes the stash hard tor remove.)
  • A large amount of IRON masking the signal, even if shallow.
  • Assumptions by the operator.
  • The effort required to carefully expose the doubtful object & put the object back in place afterward.
  • Searcher reburies the “found item” ignoring what might be buried underneath it.
  • Signs of burial that look like typical maintenance.

GPR of today does not provide high resolution images. By burying treasure so that it appears to be pipe, you can defeat that investigation.

Defeating Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR):

Some of the things that will defeat a GPR unit searching for your buried treasure include

  • Burial treasure-shaped like objects or form-fit to common objects familiar to GPR operators.
  • Assumptions and Ego (“that’s just a drain pipe – ignore it.”)
  • The effort to dig and expose a very doubtful object & put it back.
  • Searcher reburies the “found item” ignoring what might be buried underneath it.
  • Time constraints especially considering GPR machine availability and rental costs.
  • Signs of burial that look like typical maintenance.

Risks For Certain Treasure Hiding Spots

Some hiding spots have more risks than others of betraying your efforts hiding the treasure.

  • Items requiring maintenance from time to time could expose the hiding spot if disturbed.
  • Ground density or broken concrete where maintenance may not be normal.
  • GPR technology is improving fast and it’s getting easier to see differences in underground objects.
  • A hiding vessel or burial evidence that seems out of place.
  • Animal digging objects (ps: Dogs CAN smell paper money apparently)
  • Home improvement or renovations that will disturb the spot.

The Signs of Treasure Burial Can Undermine Your Hiding Spot!

Searchers for treasure are not stupid.

In addition to the metal masking, any marks you leave (such as lower soil density (fill) or patched concrete) need to appear as normal household maintenence.  For example, in the basement pictured an obsolete metal pipe near broken concrete just looks like someone had to work on the pipe in the past.

I hope this gave you some ideas.  I had fun writing it.  Do you have any other ideas?