Treasure Hunter

This is a very simple metal detecting outdoor activity that provides hours of fun for all the family. Ancientcraft has used this game at a number of archaeological themed events. There is little preparation required for this activity, depending on where you set it up and the source/quality of the tree bark.

Materials & Tools:

  • Basic metal detector
  • 3-4 sacks of (clean & fresh) tree bark chips
  • Coins or metal-coated chocolate sweet/candy coins
  • Cling film (optional)
  • Large tarpaulin (optional)
  • Yard broom (optional)


First decide where to set up this event - this is very important, as you will be spreading a thin layer of the bark over a 2m x 2m area.

Things to consider for site:

  • The bark will typically be temporarily sited and will need to be cleared up afterwards (hence the yard broom), so selecting a soft ground (like grass or sand) area is not ideal
  • Should you only have a soft ground area to use, then lay the large tarpaulin down first
  • The site should have no metal on the ground in the nearby area, as objects like metal ground inspection covers will affect the detector
  • You could use sand instead or bark, or even try this at the beach

Spread the bark over the selected area about 2m x 2m at a thickness of 2-5cm deep. If you decide to use the metal-coated chocolate sweet/candy coins (a favourite of the children) then consider wrapping each coin individually in cling film first, especially if the bark is old or not clean. Hide about 4-6 coins under the bark, at various locations so they cannot be seen and test the metal detector is correctly set to identify the metal coins.

Now you are ready for the first Treasure Hunter.


For young children, it is advisable to explain what they meant to do and even get them to detect a coin in plain view, so they can recognise the sound from the detector. Encourage them to move the detector "head" over the bark slowly and just skimming the surface, as this will give best results. Once the Treasure Hunter has located a coin, then they can simply dig it out with their hands.

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