Discovering Hidden Treasures at St. Norbert Abbey

DE PERE, Wis (WBAY) It's a project to uncover hidden treasures on the expansive grounds of St. Norbert Abbey in De Pere.

And a number of the historical artifacts already discovered.

After 30 years of metal detecting, Mike Counter enjoys his hobby more than ever.

"Especially today, you can go on Google and you can find everything that you found in the dirt without having to go to somebody to verify, and you can find out the year, the value and the history of it, how old it is and little background about it and I love that part of the hobby," says Counter.

As Director of Media Relations at St. Norbert College, Counter had an idea, to seek exclusive permission to metal detect the pristine grounds of St. Norbert Abbey, the oldest Abbey in the country established in 1925.

"I thought it was very creative, that they would search for whatever gems might be in the grounds," says Abbot Dane Radecki.

With the blessing from Abbot Radecki, Counter hit the grounds this spring.

And it didn't take long to find treasures underground.

Today, Counter showed off some of what he's uncovered so far, including dozens of old coins, watches, charms, and a military challenge coin, to name just a few.

"I found five rings, a couple older rings, I found a rosary ring, so a lot of great items, I found a little military toy cannon which is from the late 50's that was in just mint condition, so good stuff," says Counter.

"Who knows who might have walked this land and have left something behind," adds Abbot Radecki.

This fall when the crops are off, Counter will target the fields around the Abbey.

"Back in the day this used to be in the 1930's a polo grounds area, and of course Minahan Stadium was there as well ,so it's almost 100 acres, it's a big area," says Counter.

Once he's done detecting, Counter will turn over his collection to Father Jim Neilson at St. Norbert College who will create an art display out of the treasures, just in time for the Abbey to showcase it as part of a celebration marking the 900th anniversary of the Norbertine Order.