Nfld. & Labrador

Rare finds buried no more, but still treasured, says N.L. metal-detecting enthusiast

"Digging them up is just a thrill ... I like saving history as much as anybody else."

Norman Marsh says he is doing his part to preserve a bit of history

Norman Marsh shows off one of his most cherished finds. (Tyler Dunne/CBC)

The steady beep-beep of his machine is what keeps Norman Marsh of Random Island company most times on his treasure-unearthing excursions, and that suits him just fine.

"I love finding, digging up history and preserving it and showing it off basically," he says.

Finding long-lost items is a thrill, of course, but Marsh said it's the unknown that keeps drawing him back, too. 

"Fields like this, you just never know what you're going to find on it," he said, while standing in a grassy area.

Marsh adopted the hobby following in his uncle's footsteps. 

Norman Marsh says some of the coins he has found date back to 1912. (Tyler Dunne/CBC)

He said it isn't all intrigue and anticipation — sometimes the conditions can be downright difficult.

"Of course in the summer you got to deal with flies," he said, as those very insects buzzed around his head. "And the heat, it can be exhausting, right? "

But it's all worth it  when the search turns up something good.

Marsh has a collection of silver and nickel items he has found, including five-cent pieces.

He remembers his first big find fondly.

"Just the same as winning the lottery, I was so excited finding this thing ...  I couldn't believe it ," he said, holding a Newfoundland silver coin. 

Norman Marsh loves digging for history. (Tyler Dunne/CBC)

And like every collector, Marsh has his favourites, including a Newfoundland Regiment hat badge with a caribou.

"That's one of the best things I ever found ... it's a very special item to be found," he said, showing it off. 

Marsh said finding copper items is always exciting because they won't be lost to the elements forever. 

"They will wear down in Newfoundland soil," he said, noting its high acidity.

He will keep searching, in the hopes of unearthing more pieces of the past. 

"Digging them up is just a thrill ... I like saving history as much as anybody else."

With files from Tyler Dunne and Central Morning