Topic ID #16607 - posted 2/24/2012 3:10 PM

New TV show encourages treasure hunting in battlefields and historic sites

Jennifer Palmer

Spike TV Announces New Unscripted show ‘American Digger’
Written by Alex Tucker   // February 15, 2012   //
New York, NY, February 15, 2012 – Spike TV ventures around the country in search of historical treasure buried in the backyards of unsuspecting citizens in the new unscripted original series, “American Digger.” Premiering Tuesday, March 20 at 10:00 PM, ET/PT, “American Digger” follows the American Savage team, led by former professional wrestler-turned-modern- day relic hunter Ric Savage as they scour target-rich areas, such as battlefields and historic sites, in hopes of striking it rich by unearthing and selling rare pieces of American history.

In the US, there are millions of historical relics buried in backyards just waiting to be discovered and turned into profit. “American Digger” hopes to claim a piece of that pie as the series travels to a different city each week, including Detroit, MI, Brooklyn, NY, Chicago, IL and Jamestown, VA searching for high-value artifacts and relics, some of which have been untouched for centuries. After pinpointing historical locations such as Civil War and Revolutionary War battlefields, Savage’s first task is to convince reluctant homeowners to let his team dig up their property using state-of-the-art metal detectors and heavy-duty excavation equipment. The team will then sell any artifacts found for a substantial profit by consulting experts and scouring the antique and collectible markets, but not before negotiating a deal to divide the revenue with the property owners.

More here.

Here is a petition against this show on

Post ID#19366 - replied 2/25/2012 10:57 AM


And crap like this sells. Not really shocking saddly.  Doesn anyone else feel like America has become (or is) a sick Culture?

Post ID#19367 - replied 2/25/2012 12:13 PM

Jennifer Palmer

For those on Facebook there is a group of folks opposed to this new show:

Post ID#19369 - replied 2/25/2012 5:55 PM


Wonder how much "substantial profit" he could turn without the TV deal? I would think most of these sites have been picked over pretty thoroughly.    

Jennifer, your link returned this: Server Error in '/AFW' Application.

Post ID#19370 - replied 2/25/2012 7:51 PM


Sign the petition and write to spike TV to tell them why this show is promoting illegal, unethical, looting of our cultural heritage.

Post ID#19372 - replied 2/25/2012 11:22 PM

Katie Jacobson

Here is the link to the Facebook page I created.  Feel free to "like" it and post comments regarding this topic.  Spike TV contact information is available in the "info" section. 

Post ID#19373 - replied 2/26/2012 2:38 AM

Jennifer Palmer

StarRider, thanks, I fixed the link.

There's an outcry amongst my archaeologist friends on Facebook. Of course it would be better if the general public and greater numbers got behind this. If enough people raise hell, it can make a difference. An example of this is Glenn Beck's show and how he systematically lost many of his advertisers.

Post ID#19375 - replied 2/26/2012 4:41 PM


Petition signed, and forwarded to friends to sign. I just shot a message off to the shovelbums list - apparently Mr. Savage's business isn't quite up yet. His website is basically a placeholder, with a message that it'll become active in March 2012. Wanna bet that coincides with the airing of the show?

I guess there'll always be pot hunters, and now there will be more. If we're lucky, there's going to be a great sequel to the show - "American ArchaeoRangers" (or something equally silly) Law enforcement agents that identify, pursue, and prosecute artifact looters"

Hey, I can hope, can't I?

Post ID#19377 - replied 2/27/2012 7:37 AM


Cable show host pleased with relics found in St. Augustine, scoffs at critics
But a St. Augustine archaeologist calls the methods 'almost sacrilege.'

Posted: February 27, 2012 - 12:15am  |  Updated: February 27, 2012 - 6:31am

By Jennifer Edwards

The host of a new Spike TV show said he is happy about the finds his crew made while digging in St. Augustine in early February, including finding what he said is Spanish gold and Civil War relics.

Former pro wrestler and “American Digger” TV show host Ric Savage said his crew of relic hunters uncovered “a plethora of artifacts that spanned a pretty decent time range … some related to the Spanish settlements back in the 1500s to 1600s” while filming the show on private property.

(edited by webmaster: read full article here on link

Post ID#19378 - replied 2/27/2012 9:27 AM


The SAAs response:

Post ID#19380 - replied 2/27/2012 2:27 PM


All of the horrible-ness of this show aside.  

I bet it does really well on much the line of success of "American Pickers".  

Post ID#19381 - replied 2/27/2012 2:36 PM


I think the SAA makes a great suggestion, hire a professional as a consultant.


Post ID#19385 - replied 2/29/2012 1:10 AM

Jennifer Palmer

Received this e-mail from the AIA:

Dear AIA members,

The AIA has learned of two new TV shows that promote treasure hunting to find archaeological objects. National Geographic's "Diggers" airs tonight and Spike TV's "American Diggers" will air next month. Both shows feature metal detectorists and at least one ("American Diggers") emphasizes the commercial value of the found objects. The AIA believes that these shows promote the looting and destruction of archaeological sites.

The AIA has joined several other groups including the SAA, SHA, and RPA in voicing concern about these programs and the negative messages they send about cultural heritage and its recovery. Links to copies of the SAA and SHA letters can be found at the bottom of this letter.

We would like to ask you, our members and archaeology enthusiasts, to send letters and/or e-mails to the companies involved asking them to alter the message of the shows and to provide disclaimers during the airing of the show that makes it clear that what the shows are promoting is unethical and in some instances may even be illegal. We hope that they will engage in a meaningful dialogue with archaeologists about the illicit practices they promote.


Elizabeth Bartman

Voice your Concern

Spike TV
Scott Gurney and Deirdre Gurney
Gurney Productions, Inc.
8929 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Suite 510
Los Angeles, California 90045

Kevin Kay
President, Spike TV
1633 Broadway
New York, New York 10019

Send comments or questions regarding National Geographic Channel television programming:

There are also Facebook Pages where you can comment.
One is a "People against American Diggers" Facebook Page:!/pages/People-against-Spike-TVs-American-Digger/193110227460512

If you would like to add comments to the Spike website, please visit the comments section at the bottom of the following page:

The Spike TV announcement is available at:

See Letters Submitted by the SAA and SHA

SAA Letters:
http ://

SHA Letters:


Post ID#19406 - replied 3/1/2012 4:17 PM

Jennifer Palmer


Post ID#19413 - replied 3/3/2012 8:44 PM


For those of you lucky archaeologists who will attend the SAAs in Memphis next month, the National Geographic Society will have a booth in the Exhibitor Hall.  Make haste and tell the Nat Geo rep face to face of your concerns.  They may not be involved in the programming but it is a direct line to the Society,  Speak out!!

Post ID#19497 - replied 4/2/2012 7:57 PM


If you are going to the SAAs in Memphis, be sure to attend the Opening Session and Presidential Forum titled Archaeology and the Media: A Symbiotic Relationship. The session will be held in Ballroom A at the Memphis Cook Convention Center on Wednesday, April 18 from 6:30pm–8:30pm.

"Co-sponsored by the SAA and the National Geographic Society, this panel session will highlight areas of common interest and concern to both archaeologists and journalists. The panel will consist of representatives of national media that regularly feature archaeology, as well as archaeologists who have had extensive media experience. "


Post ID#19526 - replied 4/11/2012 8:15 PM



For those of you who will no doubt be pleased to know.  While on a project less than a mile from the site of where a yet to air episode of American Digger was filmed, and informant confirmed with my crew that the Spike TV produced show is in fact 100% fake.  The artifacts planted, the situations staged, and the money exchanged is pretend. 

Although it still promotes looter behavior to the masses, I got a great deal of satisfaction hearing straight from the source that it was all a farse.

Post ID#19530 - replied 4/16/2012 9:08 AM



I witnessed my first episode of American Diggers this past weekend in my motel while at the MT Archeological Society meeting in Helena.  I have to say it is some of the worst TV I have ever seen!  Slapstick comes to mind, unethhical, rigged.  It is hosted by a professional wresteler and it is about as phony as professional wresteling.  Nuff Said!


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