Sammy Burton has been metal detecting for over 30 years and in that time has amassed a collection of more than a thousand items, ranging from tools and jewelry to coins and bullets. With the help of electrolysis, he cleans and preserves the items on display in his Gloucester home.
Many of Burton’s larger items are made of iron and date from the 18th century, often imported from England to the growing colonies. Newer items in his collection, like clothing irons, Minie balls, axe heads, and other tools, hail from the 19th century.
“Most of it is from the surrounding counties like Gloucester, King and Queen, New Kent, James City, and Lancaster,” Burton said, “but I hunt Gloucester more than all of them.”
When out in the field, Burton’s metal detectors will give him a general area of a metallic hit, but it’s up to the interpretation of the man operating the machine to estimate what kind of items are beneath all those layers of dirt.
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