By no means am I an expert on all things treasure hunting but I would like to share some of my thoughts with those who would care to listen. I have worked on more than a few outlaw treasure sites and it has been my experience that without a map it is very hard, if not impossible, to locate the burial spot.
Maps can come in many forms including those carved on rocks or rock bluffs, the ones etched into metal and those drawn on cloth or leather just to name a few. The outlaws for some reason seemed to like to make things as difficult as possible when trying to locate their treasure. The sites I have worked on have been laid out so that you had to have the map and the clues in the field to find the treasure. You couldn’t find the treasure with just the map or just the clues in the field. The layout was designed to give you part of the information from the map and the rest from the clues in the field.
For this to work, the map may give you a symbol that tells you where to go and what you will find at that spot and then the clue that you find at that spot will give you the next direction to go. You would then have to refer back to the map to see what you will find at the next location and/or even the terrain you would traverse while following the line given by the clue in the field. This scenario can play out in many ways with the map giving you a direction and the clue giving you a distance or you may have a compass heading as a clue or marked on the map and the other will have the distance or the terrain you will cross marked on it. The possibilities are endless. Needless to say, without both the map and the clues in the field it is very difficult to follow the trail. The outlaw sites I have seen or worked can’t be worked with just the clues in the field, it takes the map also. A lot of the clues you find in the field won’t mean anything on their own, you have to have a map to look at them in context to get any information from them.
Maps that are carved on a stone or bluff, in my opinion, can be easier to work than the maps made on something that can be carried around. To start with, you know the map is carved in the area where the treasure is so you don’t have to try to figure out what area the map goes to. Generally speaking, a treasure associated with a carved map is usually very close to where the map is carved. The person who carved the map may take you round and round, covering several hundred feet or even several hundred yards but you usually end up within site of the carving when you find the cache location. You can figure that a lot the symbols on a carved map will be topographical in nature, either showing you a picture of the terrain you will see as you follow the directions given or a “picture” of what you will find at the end of that part of the trail.
Maps that are drawn or etched onto something that can be carried around seem to work differently in that they will still make you run around in circles but the distances can be much farther than when working with a map carved on a stone or bluff.