when i find the time capsule, maybe i'll find my memory
May 17, 2012 5:03 AM   Subscribe

I buried a time capsule in our backyard 25 years ago. I'm not sure I remember where I buried it. Can you help me find it without tearing up the yard?

The time capsule was a cookie tin - your ordinary, run of the mill, round cookie or biscuit tin.

I buried it in one of two areas (image here), as indicated by the red ovals. At the time I remember thinking "I'll bury it by the trees! I'll remember it that way!" Only I don't remember which trees, and think I changed my mind halfway, to the other set of trees.

The smaller area (further back in the photo) is maybe a 3x4 foot area - mostly mulch and grass.

The larger area (closer up) is about 5x10' feet - significantly larger, and now covered by rocks and pebbles.

I'd thought about renting a metal detector, but would the metals in the rocks throw it off? Is there any other way to pick up the materials of what a cookie tin is composed of?
posted by raztaj to Home & Garden (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
You gotta change the permissions on that photo cause it's private.
posted by pwally at 5:06 AM on May 17, 2012

Metal detector?
posted by parmanparman at 5:06 AM on May 17, 2012

Thanks Pawally, should be fixed.

parmanparman - yes, I've thought about a metal detector, but would the rocks throw it off?
posted by raztaj at 5:09 AM on May 17, 2012

I wouldn't think the rocks would throw it off much - they're tuned for that sort of thing. If anything, you might find it sensitive enough to find things like old pop-top tabs and the like, though you can discriminate against things like that as well. Good luck!
posted by jquinby at 5:22 AM on May 17, 2012

The rocks shouldn't affect the metal detector. But, if you're concerned that they might, you can always just move the rock off the path temporarily while you do your scan.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:23 AM on May 17, 2012

If you don't have a metal detector then the next best thing might be using a metal rod or pin for a probe. Obviously if you are in an area with too many tree roots then it will be a pain but so will randomly digging. Chaining pins work great for probing unless you buried it super deep..
posted by JJ86 at 5:35 AM on May 17, 2012 [1 favorite]

I agree with JJ86, depending on how deep it is you can poke around with a solid metal poker like a piece of rebar or something. It is likely you will hear a little different ring if you stab above the box. Listen carefully though, it would be easy to poke right through a rusty tin.

The rocks should not throw off a metal detector.
posted by JayNolan at 6:04 AM on May 17, 2012

Thanks for the replies, and the re-assurance about the rocks not being an issue. A chaining pin might work - though they might be a little short. After years of adding mulch, and now rocks, it's probably about 1.5' underground. I might try poking around, but will probably go for a metal detector. To add on - if anyone knows where I can rent one in the VA/DC area, recommendations would be most appreciated! Thanks again!
posted by raztaj at 6:16 AM on May 17, 2012

Looks like a tool rental place is your best bet - see if there are one of these in your area.
posted by jquinby at 6:47 AM on May 17, 2012

A metal detector will work. The most basic one would probably even work. Rocks will not be a problem.
posted by Big_B at 10:24 AM on May 17, 2012

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