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Hunting my 5 acres?

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  • Hunting my 5 acres?

    Trying to decide if it's worth hunting my property in the sierra foothills of california. It's a mostly flat 5 acres with ponderosa, sequoia, black oak, and cedar. Lots of trees and a pond from the gold rush days(at least) that is fed by an irrigation ditch. I found what I guessed was a mono by the shape and type of rock(granite) in a seemingly random area. 2 acres is completely smothered in at least 2 feet of mulch from several trees that were taken out by the damn beetles a few years ago so that's pretty much out. The reason i'm apprehensive about spending my time searching the other half is because it's pretty much all clay with the exception of maybe 1 acre that has a fair amount of top soil. It seems nearly impossible to search the clay though, that stuff is like concrete.

  • #2
    If you don't find anything on the surface after looking all 5 acres not much use to look further. Should be pottery and flakes on surface if there was any occupation there.
    Last edited by willjo; 05-19-2019, 09:30 PM.

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    • JesseJames
      JesseJames commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks, my thoughts too. It'll be interesting to see what's in the pond when I drain it eventually.

  • #3
    If pond is from gold rush days you might be better off metal dectecting.

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    • #4
      Dig a couple test holes to see if it’s your property it couldn’t hurt

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      • JesseJames
        JesseJames commented
        Editing a comment
        I should, I've also been going through the top soil excavated for the house site and always keep an eye out. There is ALOT in a huge pile that I use for the raised beds and I need to sift it anyway for that purpose.

    • #5
      Look for the gold !

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      • JesseJames
        JesseJames commented
        Editing a comment
        I need to invest in a decent detector.You never know!

    • #6
      Don’t laugh but I have the entire set up for panning and am going to the creek next week . But truly without the detector I won’t know . 1-2 years ago they had a special on all the retired people that were heading to the hills in Cal to look for gold again from the epic rains . Our local news gal made the trip and found some in her first two pans . One man found 30k
      its up there you need to think about it . Mr pockets lol
      if they were finding it before and you have the set up I would be so motivated . Just goggle a few things and get that fire lit under you . Darn it it’s your own property and gold mine by golly .

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      • JesseJames
        JesseJames commented
        Editing a comment
        The land is my fathers retirement dream. He sold his business that he poured his heart and countless 18 hour days into to fund it. The house was finished just this past fall!
        I agree with you, i've always been curious about what's in the ground since I was little. I actually bought a semi-decent detector and really enjoyed learning how to use it to find what I was looking for. It's the only tool you can buy and be guaranteed to pay for itself in what is found if you put in the time. If all else fails, you can always go to the local park and slowly(or some times, rapidly) acquire quarters to justify the expense.
        I didn't spend any time looking for gold, because I had to sell it due to improper planning.
        I've had that thought about gold on the property and although the pond is from the 1800's, It's hard to say what its' intended purpose was. It is fed by an irrigation ditch that was originally built by the chinese for gold mines and run everywhere in the area. They aren't actual creeks, so not sure if panning would yield in the traditional sense, but there may very well be gold in there anyway.
        I think the pond was either originally part of a homestead to supply water for animals and crops, or it was used to process ore. If it was used to process ore, I have to say there are very few(if any) signs of any gold mining that I can see. Very few rocks on the property, and it is mostly all clay with practically no top soil in most places. Makes me wonder if it was hydro mined or just scraped away. How could there not be any top soil WITH the presence of centuries' old trees?! I have a feeling it is going to turn up its' secrets eventually, it is in very close proximity to what was largest producing gold mine in california. There is history here, and finding the mono sticking out of the clay was awesome.

    • #7
      Hey Jesse,

      You ought to search that land.

      But maybe wait till vegetation has died a bit to give yourself more of a chance.

      Take a small rake to clear ground in spots where things might collect.

      Examine the topography and focus on likely spots like gullies, plateaus and water courses.

      Obviously if you have a running creek check it out thoroughly.

      Have you done any research on local NA history? Was there a known presence in that area?

      Anyhow, even if you fail to find anything, you will get to know your 5 acres intimately.

      Good luck!

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      • JesseJames
        JesseJames commented
        Editing a comment
        Thanks, those are some good tips! I wish the water source was natural, but it is not. That doesn't necessarily mean there wasn't once upon a time, especially considering the extremely high water table.
        There were definitely native americans throughout the area, but not sure on the specific regions. I plan on sifting a bunch more soil and looking closely at the types of rocks.

      • tomf
        tomf commented
        Editing a comment
        I'm not sure if sifting is worth it.

        Maybe if you had some belief there was a reason to...

        Better you do a decent surface search, and only if that turns up any significant hints (like debitage), get your spade out.


        If your land isn't naturally hospitable to people, the chances are people didn't live there, but they may well have hunted or gathered.

        Remember deer and sugar pine nuts were both staples.

        Not especially qualified to say, but in my opinion, there isn't an inch of this country without potential to find NA artifacts.

    • #8
      Jesse, all my land is deep southern red clay and I find lots but my land has been worked .Right after a deep plow and a rain is when I find the most. If the land were not worked i don't think I would find anything . I do have a creek on the land but I don't find as much at the creek .

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      • JesseJames
        JesseJames commented
        Editing a comment
        Thanks, that's what I need to hear. I automatically ruled it out for no good reason, other than I just assumed the clay is the bottom layer and nothing could ever penetrate that heavy mass. Definitely getting some motivation from these replies.

    • #9
      Agree with Josie -plowed fields are the way to go! Also, remember the first rule of archaeology - "Water is heavy, and you need it every day." Look close to whatever water source is on the property.

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      • JesseJames
        JesseJames commented
        Editing a comment
        Thank you, I'm definitely going there soon to do some explorin'

    • #10
      California was pretty densely populated so there should be something there. The problem is with mining areas that ancient surface could be buried under materials dumped on site, mixed up with other materials, or might have been sent down river...

      But top soil sounds good, and clay sounds bad. Seems like you've got it narrowed down to where it might bet.

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      • JesseJames
        JesseJames commented
        Editing a comment
        Thanks, I'll bet you're right. I have a feeling most of the top soil was washed away during the historic period for unknown reasons
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