Gold Panning and Prospecting in Georgia
Gold was first discovered in Lumpkin County in 1818 (#1 gold producing county to this day). Most of Georgia's gold deposits were subsequently discovered in an area called the Dahlonega Gold Belt extending across the northern portion of the state from Alabama to South Carolina. This belt includes 33 counties, with the richest finds centered around Dahlonega. The California Gold Rush caught the dreams of these early prospectors, but within a mere 7 years, most were back in Georgia to reclaim their old successful diggings.
A placer deposit is a concentration of a natural material that has accumulated in unconsolidated sediments of a stream bed, beach, or residual deposit. Gold derived by weathering or other process from lode deposits is likely to accumulate in placer deposits because of its weight and resistance to corrosion. In addition, its characteristically sun-yellow color makes it easily and quickly recognizable even in very small quantities.
The gold pan or miner's pan is a shallow sheet-iron vessel with sloping sides and flat bottom used to wash gold-bearing gravel or other material containing heavy minerals. The process of washing material in a pan, referred to as "panning," is the simplest, most commonly used, and least expensive method for a prospector to separate gold from the silt, sand, and gravel of the stream deposits. It is a tedious, back-breaking job and only with practice does one become proficient in the operation. Thankfully, technology finally caught up with our gold fever and brought us metal detectors!
You can always ask for permission to hunt on any private property, but there are also several places you can pan and metal detect in public access areas. The following lands offering some great potential are controlled by the Chattahoochee National Forest Service. Contact the local Local Forest Ranger for more information including maps, regulations, and mineral rights.
Batesville: Forests both West and East of the city
Blairsville: Butternut Creek and it's runoffs NE of Blairsville; all steams, gravel beds, and washes south of Gumlog
Lumpkin County: Gravel beds and runoffs of Dicks Creek (NW of Turner's Corner)
RELICS, COINS, & JEWELRY
Georgia has a rich history of early settlements and battlefields - the perfect combination for an energetic relic hunter! Did you know that confederate Georgia buttons and belt plates command astronomical prices by collectors? See the bottom of this page for links to online maps of engagement areas during the Civil War. Otherwise, here's a few other ideas to get you started:
Schools and College Campuses
Parks / Playgrounds / Picnic Areas
Foundations, Wells, and Cellar Holes of Old Churches or Houses
Downtown Construction Sites
Swimming Holes, Beaches, and Natural Springs
Camp Grounds, Boy Scout Camps, WPA Camps, and Mining Camps
Rodeo Arenas, Riding Stables, and Race Tracks
Old Fair and Carnival Locations
Old Town Dumpsites
As in other areas of the US, there are several tales of lost treasure in Georgia concerning caches buried for safety. In many of these stories, people either died or forgot where they buried the stash. Contributing factors include:
1. Fear of Sherman's "foraging" troops during the March to the Sea
2. Distrust of banks during the Great Depression.
Near LaGrange, a wealthy plantation owner named Lipscomb accumulated $100,000 in silver and gold coins and buried the treasure in two places near his house just before the Civil War.
At Milledgeville, Baldwin County, a treasure of remarkable proportions is said to be hidden under a house
In Savannah, the pirate treasure of John Flint may be concealed in or near a house he once occupied on Broad Street.
These excerpts are a sampling from American Coin Treasures and Hoards
Info courtesy of www.treasurefish.com