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Clay County man finds artifacts from 1800s, 1900s in his yard with metal detector

by: Danielle Avitable, Action News Jax Updated:

An old gun, keys and shackles were all found in a Clay County man’s yard.

After William Clayton retired a year ago, his wife bought him and his grandson a metal detector to use as a hobby.

"I was excited about it, but I didn't realize what we would actually find," Clayton said.

He tried it out in his front yard and the buzzing from the metal detector hasn't stopped.


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"I said 'Oh my gosh, I’ve got tools. I’ve got old stoves, silverware, pure silver,'" Clayton said.

Clayton said he recently got a local archeologist from Flagler College to come look at his findings, most of which date back to the 1800s and 1900s.

"She says it's a rare find. That's her quote,” Clayton said.

He said the archeologist thinks his property was either a campsite or dumpsite.

“Because they've never seen so much stuff come off one area," Clayton said.

The area is one to which Northerners came to trade goods for turpentine to make gunpowder. 


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"The people who actually had their hands on this stuff and lived back in the day, these are the people who lived and died and made us what we are today," Clayton said. 

The oldest item he found was an arrowhead that the archeologist told him dates back to around 7000 B.C.

With items such as keys, household irons and wheels, Clayton has found a history museum right under his feet.

"Another man’s trash is another man’s treasure. This is the way I look at it," Clayton said.