Detecting history

Scott Fisher stands next to an assortment of items he has found using his metal detector.
(The Daily Review Photo by Zachary Fitzgerald)


Scott Fisher hunts throughout Morgan City, but the game he searches for is buried underground, some of it having been there 150 years.
Fisher, 49, of Morgan City, finds all kinds of items from toy cars to diamond rings to Civil War artifacts using his metal detector. He showed off the many different types of coins and Civil War artifacts he has found while living in Morgan City over the past six years.
Fisher, who is originally from Colorado, has been detecting more than 20 years. He goes on hunts across the city always searching for new finds at schools, churches, parks and wherever else he gets permission to go.
Fisher uses a $180 metal detector he bought four years ago and used multiple detectors in Colorado, he said. Metal detectors can easily cost $1,000 or more, Fisher said.
Fisher finds a lot of his Civil War memorabilia at schools and churches. “It’s quite interesting. You get a big history lesson,” he said.
Fisher said he learned a lot about the Civil War history in the area from retired St. Mary Parish teacher Roger Busbice. Fisher uses maps from that time period showing where forts were located and where battles took place in order to plan where he hunts for those artifacts.
Fisher has also found and returned two class rings to two different people within the past year.
He returned one Morgan City High School ring and a Berwick High School ring. He located the owner of the Berwick ring in Mobile, Ala. Fisher found the ring at Immanuel Baptist Church in Morgan City.
The woman Fisher returned the Morgan City ring lost the ring several days after she got it in 1982, he said. “That’s the most fun part, just reuniting a lost item with somebody,” Fisher said. During his time metal detecting, he has recovered and returned 37 class rings, Fisher said.
He found a 14-carat diamond ring at Morgan City High School but has not been able to find the owner. Fisher recently sold a lot of the silver and gold rings he has found, he said. In 2013, Fisher turned in nearly $1,000 in unusable coins to the Federal Reserve.
Fisher knows of at least four other metal detector enthusiasts in the Morgan City area. Fisher has uncovered musket balls, grapeshot, a trumpet mouthpiece, hitching spikes for horses, canteen caps, a belt buckle and a knock-off Rolex watch worth about $150.
Copper wheat pennies are some of Fisher’s favorite types of coins to collect besides silver coins, he said.
Fisher can detect items up to two feet underground, but most things he finds are less than a foot under the surface, he said. “Normally a cannon ball is down a good nine to 15 inches,” Fisher said.
Most of the items Fisher finds are junk, he said. “You got to dig through the garbage to get the good stuff.”
He has uncovered coin caches, which are coins or paper money someone stuffed in a jar and buried in the ground because that person did not trust banks in the 1920s or 30s, he said.
He normally hunts about twice a week and is able to get permission to search people’s yards. Fisher always fills the holes he digs to find items and tries to make the area look like he was never there, he said.
Fisher goes by a code of ethics when he hunts for items. If something can be returned to the owner, he returns it. If an item is historical to the place he found it, then the landowner gets that item, he said.
Fisher has to get permission now to hunt at Lake End Park because another metal detector was digging holes and not filling them in, he said. A couple years ago, Fisher found $35 in quarters on a two-hour hunt.
Fisher said, “If it’s metal and people drop it, I’ll find it.” He has applied for the chance to appear in an upcoming reality show on metal detectors, he said.

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Phone: 985-384-8370
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