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Photo of Jim Muchlinski Tom Nomeland’s metal detector locates objects buried 30 cm or less below the ground. The efficiency of object extraction is important to get the most samples in a limited time. It is often possible to determine the type of object detected based on the sound emitted by the detector.

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Tom Nomeland enjoys making discoveries and this enthusiasm motivates him to pursue his favorite hobby.

Nomeland enjoys detecting metals in area parks, public properties, church yards, and homes. He purchased his first metal detector in 2009 after retiring from his position as director of Universal Forest Products in Minneota.

He detects in his spare time, in addition to serving as a pastor at Bethel Fellowship Church in Minneota. His home is near the city’s Riverside Park, which he sometimes uses for training.

“I like to explore and discover things” Nomeland said. “I’m like that with both metal detecting and the scriptures. I like to see what I can find out.

He said there are many places that offer good prospects for metal detection. Busy event venues such as soccer games are good places to start for newbies, as they replenish every year as people leave coins and sometimes other metal objects behind.

Experienced hobbyists look for places that have a history of gatherings. Sometimes it is possible in the area to unearth an object over a century old.

“A place that dates back to the late 1800s is ideal,” Nomeland said. “You can find really interesting old coins, tokens and toys.”

It detects metal on public and private property. He said most private owners are willing to let him look for things. He sometimes receives invitations from homeowners curious about what might be buried under their soil.

Most of the objects found are less than six inches deep. Sophisticated detectors can identify objects at depths of up to about a foot.

Efficiency is the key to a successful scavenger hunt. By knowing their machines, hobbyists can often determine the size of an object based on the sound emitted when it is detected.

Once a potentially interesting find is identified, the key is to pinpoint the exact spot, dig the hole, and extract the object in about a minute.

“It is very important to be precise with the location. “ Nomeland said. “If someone is absent, there is a strong possibility of damaging the object. It’s okay with everyday items, but we are careful because we might find something old and rare.

With effective methods, a hobbyist can take about 15 samples in an hour and have a good chance of finding something unusual at least once.

Detector prices range from as low as $ 30 to over $ 10,000. Nomeland invested in what is considered a good $ 1,000 metal detector when it started, and that first detector paid for itself thanks to its discoveries.

He once found an 1880 Indian head penny that was buried about an inch deep in a garden.

He found an 1874 Danish coin in the Old Lutheran Church of Israel, a country church near Minneota.

He found tokens from several old Minneota businesses, such as a grocery store and pool hall, as well as tokens for a world exhibit in California and St. John’s Cathedral in New York City.

“It’s interesting to wonder about the stories behind certain objects” Nomeland said. “Somehow they all made it to rural Minnesota.”

Sometimes he helped someone locate a lost item. In one case, he detected a diamond pendant that was valued at several hundred dollars.

Even though he doesn’t find anything unusual during a metal detecting session, he finds it rewarding to go somewhere knowing there is always the possibility.

“I don’t go out as often as when I started, but I like to detect regularly, even for an hour or two” he said. “I still appreciate it.”

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