This article is about numbers and dates as they are found on carvings and even on the “carry around” type maps, mainly those made by outlaws. Numbers can be a very simple thing and then they can be very complicated, mostly because we make them complicated but complicated nonetheless.
Generally speaking, if you find a date on a map made by an outlaw, especially a carved map, there is a 90% chance the date is not a date. The date is a single number or series of numbers disguised to look like a date. Numbers can be used for many things including giving a distance, a compass heading, an amount, as in how much money is hidden at a location, or sometimes even a depth. Knowing what the number or numbers are to be used for sometimes requires working the map to the point where the numbers show up in the map. This would seem logical but sometimes numbers are used in conjunction with other symbols and have to all be used together to understand the complete meaning. Sometimes the numbers are in a line of code or symbols and have to be worked in order.
The easiest way for a number to be camouflaged is for the number not to be a number at all. It is simple to understand that the number 1 can be a straight line that is meant to show a line, giving you a direction to go or telling you to "take or follow a line". Just about any number may not be a number at all but instead an instruction on what to do or what you may find. An 8 can be depicting two holes instead of the number 8. A 6 or 9 can be telling you to travel around a hill or knoll, etc. A lot of how you use a number will depend on how it’s made and what other symbols are before and after it. Keep in mind this article is mainly about the use of numbers by outlaws.
Dates can be tricky to use, mainly because they can be written so many different ways such as just a year like 1889 or a month, date and year like 8, 30, 25 or a combination of both or something completely different. If you have a year such as 1889 you may need to break it up into two or more numbers such as 18 and 89 or 188 and 9 or it may need to be looked at in reverse giving you 9881 or 98 and 81, etc. Again, it’s back to where in the map the numbers are and what precedes them and comes after them and EXACTLY how they are written or carved. One of the weirdest yet simplest things I have run across is using a set of numbers as a compass heading but the heading was verified so you knew that’s what it was. In that instance, the numbers 8, 30, 25 were used to look like a date just as I typed them. If you add these three numbers together you get a total of 63. If you reverse these numbers you would get 52, 03, 8 which, if added together also gives you a total of 63. In this case the 63 was a compass heading to be used from a specific point in the map.
Because of how numbers may be on a map there can be several variations in how to work them. Are the numbers separated by commas, are any of them placed so they look like there should be commas but there aren’t any? Is there a larger space between one number or series of numbers than the others? Are any of the numbers smaller or larger than the others? If it is a carved map, are any of the numbers carved deeper than the others? The things to look at when interpreting numbers can be numerous and as with most symbols, it can take awhile to get the right interpretation. If you haven't figured it out by now, treasure hunting takes a lot of patience!
When working with numbers you might also keep in mind the system of numerology, breaking a number down to the smallest single digit number. In the date 1889 you would add 1 + 8 + 8 + 9 for a total of 26 and then you would add the 2 + 6 to get a total of 8. This would give you a single number to work with. You don’t see this very often in maps but it occasional pops up.
Something else to keep in mind when dealing with numbers is that they don’t have to be numbers to be numbers, they can be letters used as numbers. Always think in terms of Roman Numerals when you are working a site, especially a Spanish site but some outlaws were fond of the Roman Numeral system also.