Local metal detectorist searches Village Hall

Cool finds include old coins, spoons, and a lipstick tube


After interviewing Bellport-based metal detectorist and local historian Mike Pisano last year, he said his hobby is all about the hunt and finding the story behind each and every item he uncovers.

Recently, Pisano, 58, a retired private chef, took to Bellport Village Hall with the enthusiastic approval from mayor Maureen Veitch.

“I was excited to see what pieces of Bellport history he might unearth,” said Veitch. “Mike’s discoveries included some spoons, coins, a brooch, and a lipstick cap. Exciting day in Village Hall!”

After searching the property on March 13 for about three and a half hours and finding plenty of buried trash, Pisano uncovered many, items including three brass spoons dated back to the mid-1800s, 1920s and 1879s; two wheat pennies from 1941 and 1946; a piece of white milk glass likely from a cosmetics jar; a “sweet Orr” button, probably form the 1920s or ‘30s; a ladies brass brooch made in France; a lipstick tube from the 1920s or ‘30s; a piece of glazed pottery, maybe from the early 1900s; and 48 cents in modern coinage.

The idea to search Village Hall, he said, came from a mutual friend who saw construction happening at the site and told the mayor about Pisano and his projects.
“She’s very enthusiastic about history, so she invited me down,” said Pisano of the mayor.

Pisano started metal detecting for fun as a teen and had forgotten about the hobby until later in his life. About 15 years ago, when he got back into it, he decided to buy a much better detector.  Since then, Pisano has been sifting through, literally, hundreds of South Shore properties, including Bayport, Sayville, Brookhaven, and especially Bellport.

He mainly stays to privately owned lands that he has done extensive research on, or wooded areas which had long forgotten settlements. He visits homes—mostly of people he doesn’t know—simply knocks on the door, explains his hobby, and requests access to their yard. Everything he finds belongs to the owner, but if they don’t want it, he happily takes it home to restore.

While searching, he has a method; it’s not just mindless metal detecting, but more so something he calls “gridding,” which entails placing a flag and using his machine to carefully sift the property, listening to the different noises that pieces make and making note of where the detector chimes. To properly comb a property, he said, could take months, though he usually spends a few days at private homes he has been invited to.

He does all his ventures for free, and would never accept any money. Rather, he said, it’s all about researching the small hometown history of the found items and restoring them to their former beauty.

If you’re interested in having your yard metal detected by Pisano, contact him via email at juno1114@yahoo.com. He will set up a time and date to come, and anything he finds is yours to keep. He also wants the public to know before you put in a pool or fill to your yard to have him come because once ground is broken, history is lost forever. To see some of his public finds, visit the Brookhaven Free Library, where he has a display.


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