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Low lake levels leave plenty of ground for metal detectors to cover

Dry shoreline, once under water, could reveal lost treasures — or lost cellphones and fishing lures — as the drought continues.
by Robert Medley Published: January 20, 2013

He has found coins that date back to the early 1900s. He recently found pennies from the 1950s.

“Someone throws coins off a boat, and then 60 years later someone comes along and digs it up,” he said.

Nowlin found a box containing rare old American and foreign coins. It could be loot from a burglary that was tossed from the dam back when the water reached the rocks, he said.

Digging history

Plenty of lead fishing weights can be found, said Pierce, 62, of Oklahoma City, who is a member of the Twin Territories Treasure Hunter Club.

“You can sure find pounds and pounds of fishing weights and soda cans,” he said.

Pierce said anything found that can be traced back to an owner is returned.

Dobbs, 62, said he once found a $50,000 ring and returned it to the owner.

A member of the Central Oklahoma Metal Detectors Club, Dobbs said dry lakebeds are great for exploring and finding lost metal, but the drought has a drawback. The ground is a lot harder to dig in now.

When he first started treasure hunting he used an old bayonet to dig up metal items that are about 6 inches under the ground. But the bayonet scratched a valuable $5 gold coin. Now he digs carefully with a trowel.

He recently he found lost rings at a lake near Shawnee. And he's found antique fishing lures that have not rusted away.

“I like to get out and study history,” Dobbs said. “A lot of this is history to me, to see what you can find.”

by Robert Medley
Breaking News Reporter
Robert Medley has been a reporter for The Oklahoman since 1989, covering various news beats in the Oklahoma City metro area and in the Norman news bureau. He has been part of the breaking news team since 2008. A 1987 University of Oklahoma...
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