Treasures dug up at Dockery
by Rory Doyle
Feb 08, 2013 | 3920 views | 0 0 comments | 27 27 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Adjust your TV dials to the National Geographic Channel at 9 p.m. Feb. 19 and witness some Delta history being dug up.

Metal-detecting buffs Tim “Ringy” Saylor and George "KG" Wyant of the show "Diggers" came to the area in mid-January to explore the historical grounds of Dockery Farms Plantation outside of Cleveland.

A segment of the upcoming episode will feature their discoveries.

The purpose of the show is to highlight historical locations throughout the U.S. and exhibit the countless artifacts that can be discovered just 6-8 inches below the surface.

"It was unbelievable having a nationally syndicated show come to the Delta and Dockery," said Dockery Farms Foundation Executive Director Bill Lester, who also maintains the grounds. "It was a big treat to work with them."

Lester has lived next to the plantation for 30 years and has been with the foundation for 12 years and was happy to make a guest appearance on the show.

"I had no idea that so many pieces of historical value could be found here," said Lester. "They were able to find a great deal with their high quality metal detectors."

A number of valuable items were discovered, including a Ford Model T hubcap, a rare Whippet car gas tank cover and a tiny award sculpture.

"One of the coolest things they found was a 50 cent piece that would have been used as plantation script," added Lester. "The coins were used at the Dockery commissary and were even accepted in Ruleville and Cleveland. It probably holds some value today."

The unique currency was typically undated but Lester said they were used in the 19th Century and existed until around 1915.

Besides using the metal detectors, the crew used small knives to carefully remove the objects from the soil during their three-day search.

The ground looked unscathed after the pursuit thanks to their intricate surface digging.

Everything that was found was documented, photographed and then donated to a collection maintained by the foundation.

The show's associate producer, Cory Adcock-Camp, was thrilled to bring the series to a distinctive rural scene.

"Dockery is a unique location because not only is it the birthplace of the Blues, but it was also home to thousands of workers going about their daily lives," said Adcock-Camp. "This combination made it an ideal location for the Diggers to visit, due to the allure of finding something that belonged to a Blues legend, and the assurance of finding all kinds of other artifacts to shed light on the lives of their audience and the people who worked and lived on the banks of the Sunflower."

Saylor added that he enjoyed seeing a new part of the country and learning about Dockery's deep musical roots.

"KG and I have never been to that area before," said Saylor. "It was especially awesome for me because I have played guitar for years — badly — and I really enjoyed getting to see some incredible blues musicians." 

According to the "Diggers" website, Saylor and Wyant refer to themselves as treasure hunters in a tongue-in-cheek way.

Most of their discoveries are limited in value, but it's the thrill of the process that keeps them going.

For more information on the "Diggers," visit www.channel.nationalgeographic.com/channel/diggers/ or tune in to the show every Tuesday at 9 p.m.