More than metal detecting

The East Coast Research and Discovery Association (ECRDA) is the Northeast’s largest treasure-hunting club. Founded in 1983, the ECRDA promotes the hobby of treasure hunting to all, and especially to children — the next generation of treasure hunters. Club members agree to abide by a Code of Ethics which governs our hobby.

While most of our members enjoy taking their their machines to find coins, relics, and lost items, the ECRDA isn’t just about metal detecting. Many of us are students of history — we count several accredited archaeologists in our ranks — and our interests reflect that. You’re just as likely to find us probing for an old privy, excavating a long-forgotten bottle dump, or exploring an old cellar hole.

One perk of ECRDA membership is the privilege to participate in invitation-only hunts on private and/or historic properties. Many property owners have invited us to retrieve whatever we could find from small yards, large fields, historic farm properties, and more. As an ECRDA member, such exclusive opportunities will be open to you, too!

Property Owners: 

If you think your property might yield some interesting finds — not only coins, but historic relics, or perhaps even Revolutionary War or Civil War artifacts — get in touch with us. We’ll be happy to help! (Written references upon request.)

Quiet Valley Living Historical Farm, Stroudsburg PA

Quiet Valley logo

Quiet Valley Living Historical Farm is a living history continuing-use family farm dating back to the 1770s. The farmhouse and grounds (72 acres) have been substantially unaltered since the 1890s. The club has been invited on several occasions, and have retrieved numerous historic artifacts and old coins. It’s now operated as a 19th-century living history farm.

Stickley Museum at Craftsman Farms, Parsippany NJ

Craftsman Farms is the former home of noted early 20th-century designer Gustav Stickley. Today, the Stickley Museum at Craftsman Farms displays artifacts from Stickley’s time and offers interpretative and educational programs. The club was invited to detect a portion of the 30-acre property, resulting in the discovery of various farm-era artifacts.

Mandeville Inn, Pequannock Twp NJ

The Mandeville Inn, Pompton Plains NJ
The Mandeville Inn, Pompton Plains NJ

The Mandeville Inn (also known as the Mandeville Hotel) started out as a 1700s farmhouse on the well-traveled Newark-Pompton Turnpike. It was converted to an inn, which thrived until the Depression forced it to close. The club, with the support and help from the Pequannock Twp Historical Society, excavated a kitchen “midden” (trash trench) in the summer and fall of 2021. Over 400 intact liquor and medicine bottles were retrieved, as well as glassware, plates, signs from the hotel’s bar, and even roadside signs to direct travelers to the place.

Here’s a brief video of an on-site display we held one day. Over a hundred middle-school kids came to see it, which was very gratifying. Who says kids have no interest in history? We plan to resume our dig this year.

Garretson Forge and Farm, Fairlawn NJ

Listed on the National and New Jersey State Historic Registry, this property is one of the oldest historic sites in Bergen County. The club participated in a day-long outing of the yard, as well as an excavation of the dirt cellar floor. Members found a wealth of historic artifacts and relics which were catalogued and will be displayed at the farm museum. Notable finds included a 1762 Spanish reale coin and an extremely rare 18th-Century British “GR” (Georgius Rex, or King George) belt plate.

Want to see our members in action? Click here for a brief film clip about our activities that day.

King George breast plate

Slabtown Creek Road estate, Hardwick NJ

Our newest invitation, from a private landowner, is a small settlement on a 130-acre property that has remained largely undisturbed since Colonial times. The area, along a Colonial road, includes several buildings (including a shepherd’s cabin), the remains of a blacksmith shop, and a root cellar. There’s no telling what else remains to be revealed. Initial visits have already recovered various coins and artifacts. The club’s exploration of the wooded, hilly site has barely begun, but we may have revealed a native American site as well.

More properties to come!

On the calendar for future outings are…

The 18th-Century Martin Berry House, Pompton Plains NJ

This home, built in several phases beginning in 1720, was once a farmhouse overlooking hundreds of acres. The barns and other outhouses are long gone, swallowed up by development and a major highway. The club has detected the property and recovered some fascinating artifacts, but there is still more land to probe. We’d love to find at least one privy, and we suspect there is a “midden” dump nearby.

Railroad Station, Pompton Plains NJ

This railroad station, in Pompton Plains NJ, was once a stopping point for the Delaware, Lackawanna, South & Western line. Untold numbers of people rode the railroad to and from this place. This 1960s photo shows the station and the freight shed behind it. The club will be probing the area for the privy which would have been just north of the station.

What are you waiting for?

Access to sites and events like this are reserved for ECRDA members. You’re invited to join our meetings, and consider joining our club!