.First of all, I want to say that because of where I live, I hunt primarily for older coins and jewelry is only an occasional byproduct.
are many ways in which I find older sites to detect.
First and foremost is my mouth! I talk about and promote my hobby with almost everyone I come in contact with. From my friends, my barber, the guy next to me in the restaurant, at weddings, etc. (you get the idea) - especially anyone who comes up to me when I'm actually detecting! I talk about my finds, where I found them and the types of sites I am most interested in. In the course of the conversation, I ask if they remember any sites like these. I talk about how I retrieve my targets and the kind of metal detector I use. If you do this one thing, you will have enough sites to last a lifetime..Second is “sidewalk construction” in particular and any construction in general. Sidewalk construction has so much potential, It's major drawback is timing. Optimally, you must get there when the sidewalk has been removed but the fill hasn't been added. But always hunt it regardless of how much work has been done. Then find and search any dirt that has been removed and dumped somewhere else's.
True Story ---- I was driving home from work with my “office” clothes on and in the middle of my village, they were replacing some sidewalk on Main street. I jumped out of my car, grabbed my detector, and detected in front of the only building that the sidewalk wasn't filled in already. I proceeded to find an 1853 Seated Liberty dime, a 1854 Seated Liberty Quarter, 2 “merc” dimes and some wheat pennies. When I got home, my wife took one look at my clothes and said what the “H” happened to you. When I showed her my “muddy $.70, she definitely was not impressed but you couldn't get the smile off my face for a week.
Yes, I have maps from the 1800’s for the surrounding counties and villages. First I look for and mark the old schools, churches, railroad stations, parks etc. to actually go locate and verify. Sometimes they still exist which is great and sometimes they are now a vacant field which is BETTER. I then look at road names - i.e. - Church Street, Railroad Ave., Stone Falls Rd, Academy St. Grove St. - well you get the idea, for additional leads.
Finally, I go to all the Libraries and Historical Societies in the area ( good to do in winter here) and first I talk to the librarian and everyone I meet there about my hobby and the kind of sites I am looking for. Put emphasis on the Photo Albums - “ a pic is worth a thous-----” then area history books and last newspaper articles if cut out. Unless I am looking for something in particular, I never research old newspapers. Too much work for the results in my opinion..
Never believe that there are no places left to hunt because what I have described here will last you a life time and I didn't even touch on hunting beaches, relics, in the water, gold fields etc.
I hope with this information, I have been able to provide some “food for thought”.