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->''"I've got something to help you understand\\
Something waiting there, beneath the sand\\
My metal detector is with me all of the time\\
I'm the inspector over the mine"''
-->-- '''Music/TheyMightBeGiants''', "Metal Detector"

In fiction, it's common to see people on beaches looking around for stuff using metal detectors.

This often carries the stereotype (in Britain at least) of someone who searches the countryside hoping to find buried treasure. This is not as silly as it sounds, since hauls of artifacts made of precious metals are occasionally found in Britain, which is what leads to this kind of behaviour in the first place. It's technically legal (and landowners have a good incentive, since they're entitled to a share of whatever's found on their land) and there are even specific laws for finding buried treasure [[note]]it belongs to the crown, but the finder and landowner will be paid a fee from whatever museum that ends up taking it[[/note]], however for obvious reasons it greatly annoys actual historians and archaeologists, who'd rather see the sites properly excavated rather than plundered.

Frequently they'll also find unexploded bombs or artillery shells left over from one of the World Wars, [[StuffBlowingUp sometimes to their regret.]]

This trope is not limited to beaches. See also MetalDetectorPuzzle when this occurs in VideoGames. Occasionally seen in {{Beach Episode}}s.

Note, that in Canada, the long running TV series, ''Series/{{Beachcombers}}'' had the starring character, Nick, in an entirely different version of this activity. Namely, it was professional lumber salvaging using boats to haul lost logs into the water for towing to timber companies looking to recover their lost materials.



[[folder: Comic Books ]]

* Beachcombing regularly serves as a GetRichQuickScheme in the ComicBook/DisneyDucksComicUniverse.


[[folder: Fan Fic ]]

* Calvin does this in ''Fanfic/CalvinAndHobbesTheSeries'' [[ItMakesSenseInContext in order to find an easter egg hidden within a treasure chest.]]
--> [[JustifiedTrope Yeah, I know the egg's made of plastic, but it's also in a treasure chest, which should have some metal on it.]]


[[folder: Film ]]

* Parodied in ''Film/{{Spaceballs}}'', where Dark Helmet has his men ''literally'' comb a desert planet with giant combs. The scene is the current page image for VisualPun.
-->'''Col. Sandurz:''' Are we being too literal?\\
'''Dark Helmet:''' No you fool, we're following orders -- we were told to comb the desert, so we're combing it! [[note]] But "We ain't found shit!"[[/note]]
* In ''Film/RevengeOfTheNerds Part II: Nerds in Paradise'' Poindexter spent his time on the beach using one of these. I think he even found [[ChekhovsGun something that turned out to be plot-relevant]].
** He found a buried metal detector at one point.
* ''Film/LocalHero'': Ben, the local beach comber, becomes a huge plot point.
* ''Film/PacificRim'' had an old man and his grandson looking for treasure on a snowy beach. All they find is a toy robot, and a real robot: [[TheHero Gipsy]] [[HumongousMecha Danger]].
* How a young Louis is introduced in ''Film/KangarooJack''.


[[folder: Live Action TV ]]

* In one episode of ''Series/TheAdventuresOfPeteAndPete,'' Dad explains that he met Mom when he was beach-combing and his detector went off at the metal plate in her head. In the same episode he tells this story, he's still combing the beach looking for something else really good..... and finds an [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cutlass_Supreme Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme!]] He and his family [[MST3KMantra dig it out of the sand and drive home in it]].
* ''Series/{{Heartbeat}}'': Claude Greengrass finds some Roman coins in a garden of a BigFancyHouse he'd been hired to look after. He spends a fortune on a dredger in an effort to find the rest of them, only to discover them just as the owner arrive home to claim the lot.
* ''Series/MidsomerMurders'': In "Saints and Sinners", an archeological dig is searching for the bones of a local saint is threatened by a group of detectorists camped in the next field looking to raid the site for the trove the saint was supposedly buried with.
* ''Series/DoctorWho'': In "[[Recap/DoctorWhoS21E4ResurrectionOfTheDaleks Resurrection of the Daleks]]", a local who is metal detecting on the mudflats is murdered by Lytton's fake policemen.


[[folder: Video Games ]]

* The fourth case of the first ''VisualNovel/PhoenixWrightAceAttorney'' game has Phoenix use ([[TrouserSpace and carry around]]) a metal detector lent to him by Detective Gumshoe. First he uses it to find a clue, at the end of the trial [[spoiler:he uses it to prove that Von Karma has a bullet in his shoulder from when he murdered Edgeworth's father]].
* In the [[LandDownunder Australia]] stage of ''[[VideoGame/TonyHawkProSkater Tony Hawk's Underground 2]]'', there is a guy at the beach with a metal detector. From what he tells you when you talk to him, he's having no luck with his beachcombing. So, it's up to you to help him, by picking up cans from trashcans and giving them to him.
* ''VideoGame/GrimFandango'''s protagonist Manny Calavera references this trope if you examine a handheld metal detector:
-->'''Manny:''' Next beach I see, I'm finding me a watch.
* ''VideoGame/SaintsRow2'' has a few beachcombers. Because of the random generation of civilians, they attempt to beachcomb on the wooden pier containing a few stores.
* ''VideoGame/JazzPunk'' has its own MetalDetectorPuzzle which doesn't really motivate the plot in any way. But then again, [[WidgetSeries neither does anything else in that game...]]


[[folder: Web Comics ]]

* ''Webcomic/AmazingSuperPowers'' has a [[http://www.amazingsuperpowers.com/2012/02/beachcomber/ beachcomber]] who found some "good advice" ([[CrossesTheLineTwice see also]] the hidden panel).


[[folder: Western Animation ]]

* In the ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}'' episode "When Aliens Attack", Hermes is seen [[http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Hermes_beachcombing_4702.jpg combing the beach with a metal detector]]. It turns out that he was using it to play hide and seek with Bender though.
* On ''WesternAnimation/KingOfTheHill'', Peggy and Bobby engage in some beachcombing when vacationing on the shore, and coming in conflict with local beachcombers who don't appreciate tourists horning in on their turf.
* In ''WesternAnimation/ThePowerpuffGirls2016'' episode "Man Up 2: Still Man-ing", Buttercup spends much of the time searching for a rare bottle cap for her collection.


[[folder: Real Life ]]

* A recent example is [[http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/10546960 this guy]], who found the single largest stash of Roman coins in Britain.
** There have been several instances of Roman artefacts being buried on British soil, from the time that the Romans had attempted to invade. Another example is the [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hoxne_Hoard Hoxne Hoard]], found by a retired gardener in the Suffolk village of Hoxne. This served as inspiration for the song [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FV-kiCEYKtU Eric the Gardener]] by Music/TheDivineComedy.
* Similarly, a woman was [[http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/shropshire/8547430.stm prosecuted]] under the Treasure Act (which deals with finding and compensating artifacts with historical value) after failing to turn in a rare coin (1 of only 4 discovered to date). [[http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/10556848 She was let off]] after it was revealed she had received it before the act came into law.