Lenoir County Relic Hunter Hits The Jackpot

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.


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  • by Sara Location: Eastern NC on Nov 10, 2011 at 07:18 PM
    I too know the truth about this so called honest man. There are several people that paid this honest man money for a hunt at Bentonville that never took place and thier money was never returned. That was over a year ago, now you tell me how honest that is. It's nice to have people that get hunts together, but I feel Matt Jones is a really horrible person for taking advantage of others who like to hunt for civil war relics also. It looks to me like he would come clean and pay these honest fellow hunters their hard earned money back, since he is such a good man (only to some). If you can't follow thru with something, you don't need to start it, but you do need to pay the guys back that you owe money to for the Civil War Hunt that never took place in Bentonville. I just hope people do not put their faith in you for another hunt, but then again, YOUR an HONEST MAN!!!!!!!!!!
  • by Someone that knows the truth Location: Eastern NC on Oct 29, 2011 at 02:29 PM
    Here is a link to Mr. Jones website. http://www.wedigdixieforums.com/t1588-relics Looks to me like he is selling relics. Ask some of the people who paid for The hunt in Bentonville how honest he is.
  • by Annis Location: Richlands, N.C. on Oct 18, 2011 at 06:27 AM
    Matt is our grandson & his love for history & relics began as a child. We were renovating an old home on the farm that predated the Civil War. The space beneath was very close quarters, & he literally inched his way beneath the house & placed between the flooring & a block found, folded neatly, over $600 in confederate bills, all from a different state, one a $5.00 paycheck for a month's wages as a confederate soldier. These bills are now framed & on the wall of Matts home. Matt, we are so proud that you have continued your search for relics from our past, each, I'm sure, telling a story of it's own.
  • by Tim Stroud Location: Kinston on Oct 18, 2011 at 05:36 AM
    This is for the haters posting here. I too have hunted with Matt and look forward to hunting with him this winter. He is a good guy and does the work needed to make such finds as this. He is very respectful of the landowners property, and when we hunt a piece of land it is always left in better shape than before we hunt it. Great Job Matt!!! Wish I could have went with you on that trip, if nothing more than to hear the yell you let out when the plates started comming out of the ground. Check out Matt's website at www.wedigdixie.com to see the history he and others around the world are pulling from the ground.
  • by mary stancil Location: petersburg va on Oct 17, 2011 at 06:03 PM
    My name is mary stancil I live in petersburg VA and have had the same problem with these relic hunters in the past years. The last time I allowed anyone on my land before my father died was in 1991, two years ago I was approached by a young man that asked if he could look on my property I kindly told him no and he then asked if I minded if we could talk about the history of my property. We talked for 3 hours and taught me things I did not know about my own land. When we were done talking he said nothing else about searching but said thank you for your time. 2 weeks went by and I recieved a thank you note in the mail for the time I took to talk with this gentleman. He left his email and phone number in the card, I called this man and told him next time he was here to stop by again. About 3 months went by and he shower up again. I had a change of heart and let him search my land since then he has given me more artifacts than I thought were here off my land each one neatly arranged in a case, he is the only honest hunter that I have ever met and he is doing it the way it should be done. His name is Matt Jones of we dig Dixie. Thank you for everything your doing matt
  • by Awesome Finds on Oct 17, 2011 at 06:03 PM
    Awesome finds Matt. I have found a bunch of buttons and other items, but never any buckles. Nice finds and very nice of you to donate them for all to see. People like you give this hobby a great name.
  • by Duke Thompson Location: Greenville, NC on Oct 17, 2011 at 06:01 PM
    This comment has been deleted.
    • reply
      by Jack on Oct 17, 2011 at 08:03 PM in reply to Duke Thompson
      Hmmm that's funny I hunt with this "treasure pirate" and I was with him the day he found them. I had to give him a nitrogen pill bc he was in shock. Its sad how some people are jeleous over other people.
    • reply
      by lame on Oct 18, 2011 at 02:41 AM in reply to Duke Thompson
      That's funny b/c I know Duke and he talks about everyone b/c he finds nothing. remeber 40% skill but I guess u don't have it
  • by loving every moment on Oct 17, 2011 at 05:52 PM
    I also own a large tract of land on this battlefield and had the privalage of meeting mr. Jones last year. He has always stopped and asked me each time could he search on my property before he goes for that entire year, he also shows me everything he finds and explains the significance behind what he finds. He is as honest as they come there are only a handful of people I allow on my property and mr. Jones is one of them. His passion and desire for saving this heritage and history is like none other. In reply to "land owner" I hope you can meet him one day to see that not all "hunters" are out for a buck
  • by Property owner 2 on Oct 17, 2011 at 04:36 PM
    Matt Jones is a wonderful young man. I have let Matt use my feilds for a few years and he will do something that most "hunters" will not do. When Matt finds something he comes to me and shows me and then ask me if I would like to keep it. When I tell him no I can always go to the vister center in a few days and see it there. He has never sold anything off of my land and I know he never will. Thank you Matt for saving our history and being so respectful of my land.
  • by Guy Location: Jacksonville NC on Oct 17, 2011 at 01:23 PM
    "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" It plainly says he gets permission in the article and warns that is important to get permission
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