Relic hunting is a profession for some and a hobby for others. A local man here in the East hit the jackpot while searching a Civil War battlefield in Lenoir County.
Local historian Matt Jones remembers the day he decided he wanted to collect Civil War era memorabilia. He was in his grandmother's house one day when he discovered Civil War era money in the walls, and from that day he was hooked. Jones began researching everything he could about that time.
Since then, he has found over 15 thousand artifacts in ten states. His latest find is the largest Lenoir County has seen in over 20 years.
While out searching local farmland, that hundreds of years ago was the Wyse Fort Battlefield, Jones found over a dozen buckles that belonged to Union Soldiers during the Civil War.
He says, "I know relic hunters that have been doing this for 30 plus years and have never come across a belt buckle." It's a significant find.
Jones donated the buckles to the Kinston Visitor Center which specializes in Civil War artifacts.
The center has been opened since 2007 and sits on another civil war battlefield in Lenoir County. The Director of the Visitor Center Lucy Marston says they are attracting visitors to our state in record numbers. 90% of the artifacts in the Visitor Center is loaned and 10% is donated.
As a 9 year veteran of relic hunting, Jones admits success in this field is about 60% luck and 40% skill. He also wants to make sure people know this isn't something you can just go out and do. The majority of artifacts found in Lenoir County are on private land. It is extremely important to ask the landowners permission when searching for artifacts on their land.