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Introduction to Metal Detecting for Archeologists

May 8 - May 9, 2015

Santa Fe, NM

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Person using a metal detector.

Person using a metal detector.

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Metal detectors applications and use has become generally accepted in historical archeology, but it is clear that many professional and student archeologists have not received training in metal detector capabilities or use.

Field archeologists will gain an understanding of the capabilities and value of metal detector use on metal bearing sites.

CRM firm managers, state, and federal archeologists who are contracting representatives or prepare contract requirements, and archeologists who review reports will acquire knowledge that will assist them in determining if the use of a metal detector on a project is appropriate, help them evaluate if the proper metal detecting technology is or was used, and aid them determining if the metal detecting techniques employed were appropriate for the project goals.

The course is designed as a two day event, with day one being an introduction to metal detectors and metal detecting capabilities and day two as a field practicum where attendees will use various detectors in a real archaeological situation.

No experience or knowleedge is necessary. This is a real hands-on introductory course.


Metal detectors applications and use has become generally accepted in historical archeology, but it is clear that many professional and student archeologists have not received training in metal detector capabilities or use. This introductory course is designed to provide the attendee with:

  • An understanding of how a metal detector works,
  • Gain a familiarity with the various devices available, their strengths and weaknesses, and their cost points,
  • Obtain some practical experience using a variety of today’s metal detectors in a field situation, and
  • Take away a resource book and product literature for future reference.
Bugle insignia found while metal detecting.

Bugle insignia found while metal detecting.


  •  Chris Adams, Archeologist, Gila National Forest, U.S. Forest Service, Truth or Consequences, New Mexico,
  • Charles Haecker, Archeologist, Heritage Partnership Program, National Park Service, Santa Fe, New Mexico, and
  • Douglas Scott, Visiting Research Scientist, Colorado Mesa University, Grand Junction, Colorado.

Location: Classroom portion will be held in the large conference room at the Santa Fe office of the National Park Service, 1100 Old Santa Fe Trail, Santa Fe, New Mexico 87505.

Field exercises will be conducted at Camp Lewis, a March 1862 Union campsite related to the Battle of Glorieta Pass, in Pecos National Historical Park.


Day One: Classroom and Test Garden

8:00-8:20        Welcome/Course Introduction/Outline

8:20-9:00        Overview of Archaeological Metal Detecting

9:00-9:30        How a Metal Detector Works

9:30-10:15      Metal Detector types, VLF and PI

10:15-10:30    Break                                                                                              

10:30-11:15    How to Use a Metal Detector

11:15-12:00    Metal Detecting Search Patterns

12:00-1:00      Lunch

1:00-1:30        Selecting the Appropriate Device

1:30-2:15        Collecting Data, Methods and Goals

2:15-2:45        Some Case Examples

2:45-3:15        Break

3:15-4:30        Test Garden Practice 

4:30-4:45        Field Logistics for Second Day


Camp Lewis

Camp Lewis will be the site for the field exercises.

Day 2:  Field Practicum

8:00-11:30      Field exercise

11:30-12:30   Lunch

12:30-3:30    Field Exercise

3:30-4:00     Course Evaluation and Certificates of Completion



Lodging: The historic Hotel St. Francis, 210 Don Gaspar Ave, in old town Santa Fe, is offering single occupancy rooms for $94.00 per night w/ an $8.00 overnight parking fee. Call 1-800-529-5700 and ask for the group rate for the National Park Service group event. Reservation cut-off is 7 April 2015. Please call early to secure your room.

In addition, the selection of motels/hotels in Santa Fe; right column denotes approximate one-person room rate, fall/winter season 2014. As is evident, Cerrillos Rd. Is Santa Fe’s main drag for lodging, with corresponding competitive room rates (Best Western Plus Inn being a glaring exception). Prices go up real fast once one gets into the historic district. FYI, the higher the street address # on Cerrillos Rd. the closer to I-25, which is the route to Pecos NHS, about 30-minute drive from Santa Fe.

It might also be useful to contact the Santa Fe Convention and Visitors Bureau 1-800-777-2489

Econo Lodge


3470 Cerrillos Rd.


Motel 6-Santa Fe Plaza


  646 Cerrillos Rd.


Quality Inn


3011 Cerrillos Rd.


Inn at Santa Fe


8376 Cerrillos Rd.


King’s Rest Court


1452 Cerrillos Rd.


El Rey Inn


1862 Cerrillos Rd.


Silver Saddle Motel


2810 Cerrillos Rd.


America’s Best Value Inn


2405 Cerrillos Rd.


Motel 6-Santa Fe


3470 Cerrillos Rd.


Thunderbird Inn


1821 Cerrillos Rd.


Days Inn-Santa Fe


2900 Cerrillos Rd.


Comfort Suites


3348 Cerrillos Rd.


Cottonwood Court Motel


1742 Cerrillos Rd.


Santa Fe Sage Inn


  725 Cerrillos Rd.


Luxx Plaza Hotel


105 E. Marcy St.


Santa Fe Suites


3007 S. Saint Francis Dr.


Best Western Plus Inn


3650 Cerrillos Rd.


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Since workshops and conferences fill quickly, please sign up as early as possible. If you need to withdraw from an event, you must inform us in writing via email Tad_Britt@nps.gov or fax (318) 356-9119. Cancellations more than 30 days prior to an event will be fully refunded less a $30 administrative fee. No refunds will be available for cancellations within 30 days of the event, but funds may be credited towards a future NCPTT event. In the unlikely event that NCPTT must cancel an event, you may choose a full refund of the registration fee or a credit for a future NCPTT event.

The National Center for Preservation Technology and Training, National Park Service, Friends of NCPTT, and Connor Consulting

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May 8, 2015
May 9, 2015
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Tad Britt


Santa Fe Office of the National Park Service
1100 Old Santa Fe Trail, Santa Fe, NM 87505 United States
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National Center for Preservation Technology and Training
645 University Parkway
Natchitoches, LA 71457

Email: ncptt[at]nps.gov
Phone: (318) 356-7444
Fax: (318) 356-9119