In Britain, Guys With Metal Detectors Find Respect Along With History

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PENARTH, Wales -- Derek Eveleigh walked carefully, searching for buried treasure.

"It's such a thrill when I find something -- and I often do," Eveleigh said as he listened to the steady beeps of his metal detector. Not far away from this Welsh seaside town, he recently found 6,000 copper coins dating to the Roman Empire.

"It turned out they were 1,700 years old! Many emperors ago," said Eveleigh, 79, one of thousands of British "metal detectorists" who search for history as a hobby.

While archaeologists in many countries, including the United States, disparage amateurs like Eveleigh, Britain embraces them. Last year alone, 4,300 metal detectorists reported tens of thousands of finds: Bronze Age axes, Roman brooches and hairpins, medieval candlesticks and swords, and thousands of other relics.

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