NEW YORK – 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 p.m., 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 U.S., 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, Brooklyn, Chicago and Jamestown, 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.
Throughout the series, items with great historical and cultural significance will be found, including a late 17th century British Carronade naval cannon, a 5 million year old Megalodon shark’s tooth and a 19th-century Kentucky long rifle.
American Savage, based in Mechanicsville, Va., is the top artifact recovery company in the country, digging as much as half a million dollars worth of historical artifacts out of US soil each year. The team is comprised of recovery expert Rue Shumate, battlefield historian Bob Buttafuso, Savage’s wife, Rita, who manages the business and their 25-year-old son Giuseppe, who provides tech support and is the “muscle” of the operation.
Born and raised in western North Carolina, Savage is a former professional wrestler turned artifact recovery expert, hunting relics from America’s past with the help of his all-star team, American Savage. Following his retirement from professional wrestling in 1997, Savage returned to his other passion, the Civil War era, by getting his start in relic hunting. His first major find, a hunk of shrapnel he found at the site of the Battle of Cold Harbor, Va., prompted him to form American Savage and continue his pursuit of history and riches. Since its inception, American Savage has recovered a wide range of valuable items, including hundreds of Civil War bullets, dozens of Civil War artillery shell fragments, multiple Native American arrow and axe heads, a set of prehistoric shark teeth and a Civil War era beer bottle.
“American Digger” is a 13 half-hour episode series created and produced by Gurney Productions (“Auction Hunters”), owned by Scott and Deirdre Gurney. Spike TV’s Internet address is www.spike.com.
Additional resources for Civil War buffs:
- Warman’s Civil War Collectibles by Russell E. Lewis
- Life in Civil War America by Michael O. Varhola
- 101 Things You Didn’t Know About the Civil War by Thomas R. Turner, Ph.D.