Knowing the size and quantity of gold they recovered will aid you greatly when you go to
prospect an area.
If you discover most of the gold that was recovered in the area was very fine. You will know to
bring equipment capable of keeping fine gold. And you will know ahead of time, that all you're
probably going to find.
On the other hand, if most the gold they recovered was very course, you know you can process
the gravel lot quicker. You don't have to worry about losing the fine gold, and you know that not
every pan will have a gold in it.
There is a very large Goldfield, about 3 miles from my house. They've recovered thousands of
ounces of gold. But most all of it was flower gold, 40 to 100 mesh. They were able to recover the
fine gold because the dredge had the ability to screen it several times and they used mercury
plates to recover it. Knowing this, it would be a waste of time for me to go down there with a sluice
# 5 Was the area reworked
During a great depression of the thirties there was a renewed interest in the gold fields by a lot of
people. Work was hard to come by and there was no " welfare state" then. Mining was attractive
because the startup costs were very low and it was free to camp. A lot of people got their start at
mining during this time, my grandfather was one of them.
Trying to determine if an area was reworked in the thirties is hard to do. As you move forward in
time, the mining records get harder to find. In the 1800s you had, mining districts, government
agencies, tax collectors, and geologists, all keeping records. In the thirties there are very few
record , in fact most gold found was kept quiet because they did not want the government to know
you got a better price selling it on the black market. Most all mining came to a halt at the
beginning of world war two.
In the early sixties recreational mining started to take hold, with the portable suction dredge
becoming more available, there was a renewed interest in the gold fields. That renewed interest is
still going strong today.
I have found that the easiest way to check an area to see if it was worked in the thirties, is to
locate any suitable camping areas, that are above the high water mark. Check these areas for
trash. The old camp from the gold rush have very little trash. Camps from the thirties will have a
large amount of old to cans. You can tell an 1800's can from a 1930 can with no problem. The
older cans are soldered together. The can will rust away but the solder won't.
Another method, is to check with the county recorder to see what years the area was claimed.
The only problem with this method, is it doesn't really tell you if it was worked. Other than that, you
have local news papers. As time moves forward written records are hard to come by.
I have found that researching the history, is almost as much fun as the prospecting itself. Try it
I think you'll enjoy it. It really doesn't matter if you just getting started or a seasoned miner. The
more research you do, the better you will get.
I've found that winter is the best time to do your research. A great way to spend a cold and
rainy day is in researching the area's you'd like to prospect next summer.
The best part is, the result of the research will show up in your gold pan.