25 January 2023
DAVIE COUNTY, N.C. (WGHP) — A lot of kids like digging around in the mud. The ones who still do it as adults are truly dedicated.
That’s Chris Boardwine and Travis Allen.
“I can remember being 8 years old, and my parents asking me what I wanted to do for my birthday party, and it was always Antietam or Gettysburg,” Boardwine said.
They are the leaders of a group they call The Davie County Diggers. It’s a bunch of history buffs that use modern-day equipment to hone in on where artifacts of the past may be hiding.
“To me, it’s about the experience,” Boardwine said. “It’s about that connection to the ancestors and folks who made America…knowing that you’re holding those pieces of history in your hand. It’s just a special feeling.”
Their metal detectors have different tones they emit when searching for artifacts, but they have a general knowledge of where to start and where to concentrate their efforts.
“If we’re hunting an old field or old farm or even in the woods, we’re looking for patches of iron that indicate there was a home, there was a barn, there was something here, so once we find that iron patch, that’s when we’ll slow down,” Boardwine said.
But most of what they find, they simply throw away.
“You get into just a lot of aluminum sardine cans and just trash,” Allen said.
He has found plenty of truly remarkable items.
“In Salisbury, I found a 1726 Woods Hibernia. It was a colonial copper that the British used to pay their redcoats with,” Allen said.
But Boardwine never tires of the hunt no matter how much worthless stuff he has to come across to find the gems.
“For one good relic, we’re probably digging 99 holes of trash. And that’s just a part of it, and that’s just something you have to get used to when you come into the hobby,” he said. “But I don’t think my passion for metal detecting and history will ever fade. I think I’ll be doing it as long as my body holds up.”
See the moments they found truly valuable items in this edition of The Buckley Report.