I’m sure most of you were like me when you were growing up, always dreaming of that great adventure and doing the things most people, won’t, can’t or don’t believe in. Treasure hunting was and still is one of those things. We have all seen the pirate movies, arghhhh! and thought of the day when we would make the find of a lifetime. I don’t know about the rest of you but I still have that dream.
It used to be that treasure hunters had that mysterious, swashbuckling and an almost romantic image. There was nothing wrong with treasure hunting. The people who didn’t believe in it still thought you were nuts but they didn’t mind somebody swinging a metal detector, hiking through the countryside and digging a few holes.
These days a lot of that has changed thanks to the unscrupulous few that refused to care for the land or honor their word to a land owner. We as a group have almost been vilified by the different government agencies, mostly out of greed on their own part, but also due in part to how treasure hunters have not looked after the land. Add to that the archies out there that continuously call us grave robbers or thieves and you paint a picture that most people won’t like.
Keep in mind I’m not saying all archies are bad but I have my own way of thinking and I’m sure 90% of the archies and all of the government agencies wouldn’t care for it. It is my opinion that if a person is willing to spend their own time and money on a project they should be able to make a recovery and keep what they find. It’s called finders keepers. If the archies or museums think whatever is recovered is important to society then they can cough up the cash like anybody else and buy the find. It’s that simple. Keeping sites off limits to treasure hunters because maybe, one day, an archie might get around to looking at it is ridiculous at best.
With that said, we, as treasure hunters do have some responsibility to look after history and not go tearing it to pieces with a back hoe or shovel when possible. Mistakes happen, even to archies, but for the most part as treasure hunters we should take care in our digging and documenting in the event what we find may actually be historical in the sense that it deserves to be in a museum.
This is why I always stress to take your time when digging and photograph everything a lot when working a site. Digging slow may also help you in recovering another necessary clue so it is a good thing anyway. Having contracts with land owners and keeping to those contracts will help you and other treasure hunters in the future. We are not a group of Indiana Jones, although there are a couple of people that wear the hat on occasion, we are treasure hunters and if we have a good reputation then we stand a better chance at getting access to other areas where we may want to search.
I for one don’t go looking for anything an archie would be interested in anyway. I am a treasure hunter in the true sense of the word, looking for buried treasure left behind by somebody else. I think I speak for most, if not all of our readers when I say we are not digging up dinosaurs or rummaging through Indian burial grounds, I am looking for cold, hard, treasure. The shiny kind, or not so shiny if it has actually been in the ground for a while!
I don’t believe in disturbing Indian burial grounds and I would happily turn in anybody that I knew was involved in that activity. I do look for Spanish treasure and this might give me the opportunity to find some Spanish armor one day (with any luck at all) and as I said before, I would consider this finders keepers.
There are a lot of fine lines in treasure hunting, ones that the reputable treasure hunters never cross intentionally. We all have our own set of rules we live and hunt by. What I might do someone else wouldn’t and vice versa. This doesn’t make it right or wrong, just different. Now that doesn’t mean that because you don’t see anything wrong with digging into an Indian burial ground that there’s nothing wrong with it. Fine lines people, fine lines. You all should know what I’m talking about and be able to draw your own distinctions.
I hope that our readers will adhere to a code of ethics when hunting. Greed and the need to get that treasure at all costs are not things that go well with our hobby.