Saturday, July 31, 2010

More Treasure Hunters in the news

I'd like to thank my buddy Homer for sending this to me. He did so without knowing that I had a personal interest in Cocos Island. This story is another from the internet.

Treasure hunter hopeful of making find of the century

Numerous expeditions have failed to uncover the legendary lost treasure of Lima, but a Melton explorer is hopeful he will make the find of the century.

Mike Thomas Munroe is putting the finishing touches to an expedition to Cocos Island, 350 miles off the coast of Costa Rica in South Amercia, to unearth the wealth of gold, silver and jewellery buried there.

After more than a decade of research he's quietly confident his quest will be a success and now he has won the support of another amateur treasure hunter, Shaun Whitehead from Grimston.

Shaun has agreed to sponsor the £2,500 cost of the trip and his company Scoutek, which supplies technology such as robots and probes for explorations, will be providing the equipment for the search.

The two men got to know each other after Shaun bought some of Mike's paintings from his stall on Melton's Saturday street market.

Mike said: "I'm very excited about the prospect. It's the chance of a lifetime and I'm pretty confident we will find something.

"The treasure was valued at £100m in 1930 and if it is found it will be split three ways between the Costa Rican government, the Peruvian government as the treasure was stolen, and the salvor."

The treasure was shipped out of Lima, Peru, on the Mary Dear during the last days of Spanish control in 1823. The original inventory listed 113 gold religious statues, 200 chests of jewels, 250 swords with jewelled hilts, 150 chalices and hundreds of gold and silver bars.

The ship was bound for the relative safety of Mexico under the command of Captain William Thompson, but he turned pirate and sailed to Cocos Island to stash the haul.

Mike plans to charter a boat from Costa Rica and spend four days on the island to search 10 sites having studied sand and soil conditions as well as battered maps and documents.

And thanks to new technology the search will be an eco-friendly one.

Mike said: "We will be using a special metal detecting mat, like a nylon mesh, which gives a three-dimensional scan of the ground, probe bars and something called a snake camera. It means we can see what is beneath the surface without having to dig it all up."

The 55-year-old will keep a journal of the trip, scheduled for November, and film what they're doing. He has also pledged to create six big pieces of work for Cocos Island National Park.

Shaun said: "As a kid I loved exploring and treasure hunting and this reminded me what fun it is. If I can help someone have a shot at their dream that's great, too.

"I've been toying with the idea of joining Mike and the more I think about it the more likely it is I will go, too."
My personal observations:
I don't know about you but Mike Munrow (on the right) looks a little like a rum drinking pirate himself!
I also wouldn't trust the Costa Rican government on getting my share either, just my jaded opinion you understand!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

A different kind of lost treasure

I found this on the web and thought it was interesting enough that I would share. I like treasure hunting and photography so it was especially interesting to me. I think I need to go to more garage sales!

(July 27) -- A California man who bought a collection of glass negatives at a garage sale says they have been authenticated as lost works of Ansel Adams, but the famed photographer's grandson isn't so sure.

"I think it's irresponsible to claim that they're Ansel's," Matthew Adams told AOL News. "We think it's a very significant claim and we think it's not accurate."

After six months of study, experts concluded the 65 negatives were early works by Ansel Adams -- and worth at least $200 million, according to an attorney for Rick Norsigian, a Fresno man who bought them at a garage sale for $45.

The black-and-white images of Yosemite National Park's dramatic landscape recall some of Ansel Adams' most famous works. But Matthew Adams says they were probably not made by his grandfather, who died in 1984.

He said he has seen the handwriting on the negatives -- which were a key factor in authenticating the work -- and is sure that the writing is not that of Virginia Adams, the wife of the famed artist.

"The handwriting that they are claiming is Virginia's, to me, is not," the younger Adams said.

Matthew Adams, president of the Ansel Adams Gallery in Yosemite, says the writing on the negatives is filled with misspellings of famous sites in the national park that his grandmother, who grew up in Yosemite, would have known how to spell.

On one of the negatives, for example, "Bridalveil Fall," a well-known waterfall in the park, is spelled "Bridalvail Fall." Adams says it's a mistake his grandmother never would have made.

"There's no way that an intelligent, articulate woman of 33 years old who had lived there her whole life would misspell that," he said.

Adams finds it unlikely that his grandfather, who was meticulous about his work, would have lost track of the negatives. And he said the series isn't labeled using the negative-numbering system his grandfather devised to catalog his work.

But others disagree.

"It's as real as any Ansel Adams negatives out there today," art dealer David W. Streets, who is featuring the prints in his Beverly Hills gallery, told AOL News today. "Without a shadow of a doubt, it's him."

Streets said the negatives are particularly important because they help show the evolution of Adams as an artist. "It truly is a missing link of Ansel Adams and history and his career," he told CNN.

Norsigian, the painter who bought the negatives at a garage sale in 2000, has spent years trying to prove that they are the work of Ansel Adams. Norsigian could not be reached for comment today, but his lawyer, Arnold Peter, said they were confident the negatives are authentic.

"Our position is really based on scientific evidence," Peter told AOL News today. He said Matthew Adams' claim that it's not his grandmother's writing is wrong.

"We have two board-qualified experts who state unequivocally that this is Virginia's handwriting," Peter said.

One of those experts, Michael Nattenberg of Fresno, who has been authenticating handwriting for more than 20 years, said he was sure the handwriting was Virginia Adams'.

"My determination was that the writing was the handwriting of Mrs. Adams," Nattenberg told AOL News today.

Nattenberg, who was hired by Norsigian to authenticate the writing, said the younger Adams may be interpreting the negatives as he'd like to see them. "My experience has been that denial is not a river in Egypt," he said.

Streets says the Adams family has been asked repeatedly over the last 10 years to take part in the authentication process but has declined. The family of the renowned photographer, he said in a phone interview today, has shown "little to no interest" in the negatives.

"I'm very sad that the family has chosen not to participate," Streets said. "The whole point is to show the lost work of Adams," he said.

But the photographer's grandson is unconvinced. He called the $200 million price tag that has been attached to the images "ludicrous."

"How they arrive at $200 million for ... negatives that might have been made by Ansel Adams is beyond me," he said in a statement.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Oklahoma Treasures and Treasure Tales

Consider this a sales pitch. If you don’t already have a copy of this book then you should invest in one, especially if you live in the State of Oklahoma. We are always getting e-mails from our readers about different things but lately we have gotten a few that have asked questions about Oklahoma treasures and in answering these folks we have found out they have never heard of this book. I thought everyone had heard of this book but apparently that’s not the case.

Oklahoma Treasures and Treasure Tales by Steve Wilson has got to be “THE” book for any treasure hunter that is interested in Spanish or Outlaw treasures or one who lives in Oklahoma. You can’t hunt for lost treasures in Oklahoma without this book. OK, you can, but you shouldn’t!

Steve is very careful not to give away all of his secrets but he does supply the reader with a ton of information that would take you years to find on your own, if you could even find it now. The book doesn’t have every treasure story of Oklahoma in it and it couldn’t but the stories that are in it are pretty informative and give you a good place to start if you are interested in searching for that particular treasure. I can tell you that there have been many times that I have started writing an article about a lost treasure in Oklahoma for this blog only to find that Steve already had the story in his book. The stories in Steve’s book are well researched and he has done a fine job of writing so that he keeps you interested and teaches you at the same time.

Even if you aren’t wanting to find one of the treasures that Steve has written about in the book there are plenty of photos of old outlaw maps, carvings, Spanish and Indian artifacts and historical pieces that you will be interested in.

I have over the years owned seven different copies of this book. Three of those I still have and the others were given to friends who didn’t have a copy. The book comes in two forms. The first edition books were hard copies and are more expensive and sometimes hard to find now. The first one I ever owned was a hard copy and I looked at it so much that it started falling apart. I still have that first copy along with another first edition that I don’t touch at all.

If you aren’t worried about having a first edition then you can buy the soft cover book for about $20-$25 and not have to worry about keeping it in pristine condition. I highly recommend this because you will go back to this book many, many times if you are at all interested in Oklahoma treasures or just treasure hunting in general.

As a side note, it looks like Steve Wilson is going to be at the get together again this year on September 18th at the Jesse James musem in Cement, OK so if you have a copy of his book you might bring it with you. He has been happy to autograph them in the past.

And as long as I’m peddling books, if you are interested in Spanish treasure you should check out Steve’s other book on the Spider Rock treasures in Texas. This will amaze and scare you all at the same time. By saying scare you I am referring to the massive amount of work the Spanish went to in hiding the clues to their treasures. It shows what a daunting task it can be to find a buried treasure.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Looking through old newspapers.

I'm often asked how to find treasure sites. The answer is research, research, research! One of the best tools you can find on the Internet is This site will bring you hours of joy as you comb through thousands of newspaper pages. You can also do it the hard way and head to the local library and sort through boxes of microfiche film in hopes that you will come across that treasure lead that will fill your pockets full of gold coins.

In this case I'll save you the trouble and give those living in Iowa a place to start searching. It seems that when Henry Iwers passed away he left behind a small fortune that he hid around his farm. Mr. Iwers passed away May 30, 1936 of double pneumonia. Henry was the last of three bachelor brothers who amassed a small fortune.

A search of the property yielded an iron box with $88,000 in securities. A second box with $12,000 in gold and silver certificates, bonds, uncashed dividend checks were found in a shed. There was also $3500 found in the house. All the bills were of the old type and new bills had been issued five years earlier. This would be a clue that much more could have been hidden around the farm. Just think of the gold coins that may have been buried! This guy didn't believe in banks.

Henry was buried in the Durant Iowa Cemetery. A search at the Cedar County Court House should reveal the location Iwers homestead along with the name of the current land owners. All of this good information came from an Oklahoma Newspaper. Now get out there and find yourself a treasure site to hunt.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Treasure Hunters in the News

Unfortunately, these treasure hunters aren't in the news because of something they found, this appears to be all very bad news. I would like to thank my buddy Rockman for sharing these articles.

I would also like to say that this is why I continually stress to our readers about being prepared when you are treasure hunting.

PHOENIX -- Searchers braved brutal heat Thursday, looking for three Utah men who hiked into the Superstition Mountains in search of the legendary Lost Dutchman Gold Mine.

With temperatures climbing toward 120 degrees, Maricopa County Sheriff's Sgt. Jesse Spurgin said the men, missing for about a week, could still be alive.

"There are some pockets in the mountains where there are areas that collect water," Spurgin said. "We don't know exactly what they have with them."

Searchers were pulling out all stops in their efforts to find the men in the rugged mountain range east of Phoenix, Spurgin said.

"We are using helicopters for air search. We have a dog team on the ground. We have folks on foot, as well as we have some folks who are on horseback, and I believe even mules."

The men were identified as Curtis Merworth, 48, Ardean Charles, 67, and Malcom Meeks, 51, all from Utah. Their vehicle was found at a trailhead in the Superstitions. Their family last heard from them on July 6.

Family members planned to come to the Valley Thursday.

The Lost Dutchman mine has enticed many people into the Superstitions -- several of whom never returned -- in the past century.

Spurgin said authorities "don't believe the men actually had the proper equipment for being outdoors for long, extended periods of time, and we're also under the understanding that they didn't have cell phones with them."

But, he said, "The search continues and we are hopeful."
APACHE JUNCTION, Ariz. -- A massive search and rescue effort is underway for some treasure-hunters who are lost in the mountains.

Three men from Utah were searching for the fabled Lost Dutchman Gold Mine in the Superstition Mountains but they are now missing.

For one of those hunters, this is déjavú.

The guys left Utah last Tuesday and were supposed to spend just a couple days there but then disappeared.

As for the man who was leading the group, this is not the first time this has happened.

Kurtis Merworth, 48, and two friends braved the blazing summer sun to search for gold in the Superstitions last year but got lost and had to be rescued.

Now, one year later, it has happened again.

Crews started searching in the air and on the ground on Sunday for Merworth and two different friends, who returned to search for the Lost Dutchman's gold mine.

Jim Hatt, a treasure hunter, says, “I believe he thought…he probably thought he was onto something."

The Lost Dutchman legend lured Jim Hatt there 20 years ago. He and many others continue to treasure-hunt in the Superstitions, even on the hottest days.

Hatt says, “You'd be surprised at how many people do. People looking for gold do it covertly so they like to go out when no one else is around. In the heat of the summer."

What concerns families of the missing men is that they were not prepared to spend even one night in the wilderness. They were supposed to stay at a hotel but their SUV was found at a trailhead and searchers believe the men have been lost now for several days.

Deputy Jeff Sprong, with the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, says, “I do know. The area is vast and hard to get to know."

Hatt explains, “If you're in an area you haven’t been in, you can easily lose your way."

The search and rescue crews are carefully plotting their courses over the rough terrain and are hoping to bring the missing treasure-hunter and his friends back to safety.

Lost Dutchman State Park, which is named for the mine, is about 40 miles east of Phoenix.

APACHE JUNCTION, Ariz. — Authorities have suspended the search for three Utah men reported missing while looking for the legendary Lost Dutchman Gold Mine in the rugged Arizona wilderness.

Maricopa County sheriff's officials said Monday that crews covered almost 100 square miles in seven days of searching for the three hikers from Salt Lake City.

Family members say 67-year-old Curtis Meriworth, 62-year-old Ardean Charles and 51-year-old Malcolm Meeks planned on hiking into Superstition Mountains and exploring the area. Their vehicle was found July 11 parked at a trailhead.

Four helicopters and a plane with thermal imaging equipment also searched the mountains about 40 miles east of Phoenix.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Using the Links Part 2

How many of you have heard of a treasure hunter finding a sign that tells them to go a certain degree line on their compass and off they go out a hundred yards and find a piece of buried metal or other object? When this happens my Bunk-O-Meter goes off and I have to start asking questions and you should too!

Magnetic declination is the angle between magnetic and true north. This angle changes over time and what was 33 degrees on a compass a hunred and fifty years ago won't be 33 degrees today. This is why I have to question the how a treasure hunter can use a sign that gives them a certain degree line to follow and low and behold they come across another clue. The correct degree line to follow in todays time will be several degrees different than what was originally put down and you will need to calculate the new line to follow.

This is where the links on our blog can come in handy. There are a few things that you will need to get the correct degree line. The gps coordinates of the site you are working and a good idea of when your treasure site was layed out are the two most important. Research is the key on getting an idea of when the treasure cache was hidden. On a site we were recently working we found a couple of objects that helped us date it to the 1890's. By having the correct decade to figure magnetic declination we can be sure to have accurate degree lines to follow. As a test to see how important it is to have an accurate line to follow try picking out an objects a hundred yards off and walk at an angle 4 degrees different on the compass from your oblect and see how far you are away from it once you reach the end of your hundred yard walk.

Now for the part where the links on the blog help out.
By using this website you should be able to work those degree lines correctly and hopefully become treasure finders instead of treasure hunters. Good Luck and Good Hunting!

Alabama Ghost Town

If you find yourself in Dallas County, Alabama and you have a few hours to kill, you might want to take your detector to the location of what once was a thriving town with a lot of prosperous residents.

The town of Cahaba, Alabama was established in 1750 near the junction of the Cahaba and Alabama rivers about 14 miles southwest of Selma, Alabama. This turned out to be a not so great idea.

Over the years many wealthy individuals became residents of the town however the town itself seemed to be destined for obscurity due to bad luck. Before Cahaba was established the site was an old Indian village that the Indians abandoned and apparently for a good reason.

Being at the junction of two rivers the town had a tendency to get flooded. After flooding almost completely destroyed the town in 1828 it was rebuilt and reached it’s peak population of about 5000 people in 1850. During the civil war the Confederates used Cahaba as a prison and military outpost and the town continued to thrive as much as it could during the war.

In 1865 the town was once again destroyed by a third major flood and that was the end of Cahaba. The town, or what was left of it, was abandoned by the last few residents in 1866 leaving behind anything that may have been buried during (or before) the flood.

There are rumors that because of the wealthy residents of the town that there are several treasures that were buried, especially around the time of the civil war, but were not recovered because of the flood. Just because of the flooding, there should be plenty of relics to locate on this site and I would bet there should be some nice coins to be found that might have been in the homes and businesses when the flood(s) hit.

If you are planning on looking at this site you might try going by the courthouse in Selma, Alabama first. At one time they had a scale model of Cahaba on display. This would give you the layout of the town and a good start on where to look. I wouldn't plan on going during the rainy season!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Treasure Found

Unless you have been in the field for the past week treasure hunting or on vacation where there are no TV's you may have already heard about this. Just in case you have been gone, here's a success story for you.

Thank you to our good buddy Homer for sending the link to me.

From the internet:  One of the largest ever finds of Roman coins in Britain has been made by a man using a metal detector.

The hoard of more than 52,000 which was valued at 3.3 million pounds ($5 million), includes hundreds of coins bearing the image of Marcus Aurelius Carausius, who seized power in Britain and northern France in the late third century and proclaimed himself emperor, was found buried in a field near Frome in Somerset.,

The coins were found in a huge jar just over a foot (30cm) below the surface by Dave Crisp, from Devizes in Wiltshire.

"I have made many finds over the years, but this is my first major coin hoard," he said.

After his metal detector gave a "funny signal", Mr Crisp says he dug down 14in before he found what had caused it.

"I put my hand in, pulled out a bit of clay and there was a little Radial, a little bronze Roman coin. Very, very small, about the size of my fingernail."

Mr Crisp reported the find to the authorities, allowing archaeologists to excavate the site.

Offering to gods

Since the discovery in late April, experts from the Portable Antiquities Scheme at the British Museum have been working through the find.

Dave Crisp explains how he discovered the coin hoard

The coins were all contained in a single clay pot. Although it only measured 18in (45cm) across, the coins were packed inside and would have weighed an estimated 160kg (350lb).

"I don't believe myself that this is a hoard of coins intended for recovery," says Sam Moorhead from the Portable Antiquities Scheme.

"I think what you could see is a community of people who are actually making offerings and they are each pouring in their own contribution to a communal ritual votive offering to the gods."

It is estimated the coins were worth about four years' pay for a legionary soldier.

"Because Mr Crisp resisted the temptation to dig up the coins, it has allowed archaeologists from Somerset County Council to carefully excavate the pot and its contents," said Anna Booth, local finds liaison officer.

Somerset County Council Heritage Service now hope the coroner will declare the find as treasure. That would allow the Museum of Somerset to acquire the coins at market value with the reward shared by Mr Crisp and the land owner.

Friday, July 9, 2010

New Oklahoma & Northern Texas Metal Detecting Forum

I just want to bring news of a new metal detecting forum for those who live in, or just interested in, Oklahoma and Northern Texas.  I have found this group to be especially friendly and it looks to be a great place for folks to gather and share information, stories, and ideas.

Good Luck and Happy Hunting!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Remember, you heard it here first.

I came across this review on the internet so I thought I would post it here. I hate to advertise for the History Channel but I have to admit, I do learn something everytime I watch this show.

Why We Watch: 'Pawn Stars'

When it comes to reality television, the History Channel rarely comes to mind. The channel typically focuses on the major events of World War II, the Kennedy Assassination and top Revolutionary War figures. But on Monday nights at 10PM ET, it's taken over by a reality juggernaut that offers the most entertainment and educational value of any show on television: 'Pawn Stars.'

If you're not watching Pawn Stars, you're missing out. The show profiles Rick Harrison; his father, The Old Man; and his son, Corey, as cameras follow them around their Gold And Silver Pawn Shop in Las Vegas. Some humor is thrown in with the help of Chumlee, Corey's best friend who helps manage the increasingly popular pawn shop.

The premise of the show is simple: people come in to potentially sell the Harrison men antiques, historical artifacts or some of the craziest products you've ever seen. Rick usually gives a history lesson, then haggles with the owner to get the best price he can for the products. The goal, as with any business, is to generate as big of a profit as possible.

But Pawn Stars isn't like any other History Channel show. Like 'American Pickers,' another great show on the channel, Pawn Stars delivers entertainment value that TV viewers simply won't find so easily elsewhere.

There is just so much to like about 'Pawn Stars'; here's you should start watching it:

1. It's more fun than history. Although some people can't get into history and all that surrounds it, 'Pawn Stars' is so much more than a history lesson. Yes, there are lessons taught each week, but they're done in a much different way. Unlike so many other History Channel shows, viewers aren't forced to watch reenactments or listen to an actor pretend to be someone from the past. 'Pawn Stars' has the real history in the shop, Rick talks about it a little and the haggling begins. It's more fun, and it sheds some light on what all this old stuff is really worth without getting bogged down in the historical significance of it.

2. The variety of stuff is incredible. If you're turned off by 'Pawn Stars' because you're concerned that it will be like 'Antiques Roadshow' and highlight old chairs, think again. The show has had folks try to sell everything from a medal worn around the time George Washington died to receipts signed by Andrew Jackson for his troops' guns. For those that aren't so keen on history, Rick tends to buy all kinds of goodies, like movie scripts, signed baseballs and even planes and boats. As Rick says time and again, if it's a profitable product, he'll buy it, no matter what it is. Perhaps that's why his shop sells everything from championship boxing belts to great pieces of art. No matter what you bring into the shop, Rick will consider buying it.

3. The banter makes the show. A key component in the success of 'Pawn Stars' revolves around the dynamic of the show's characters. The shop was founded by Rick and his father, the Old Man, more than 20 years ago. Since then, Rick's son Corey has been groomed to take over the business after his father and grandfather finally retire. Along the way, the show delves into the generational differences between the three Harrisons and does a fine job of making the Old Man a caricature of himself. He's old, crotchety and doesn't take guff from his family. Rick is a fun-loving, nice guy that laughs more than any other person on television. And Corey, the self-assured, all-knowing son of two pawn shop titans, typically learns a lesson or two about life in each episode. All the while, they're supported by the supposedly dim-witted Chumlee who provides some of the best one-liners of any show on TV.

'Pawn Stars' is so much more than a history show. Sure, there is a hefty heaping of history thrown in, but it's supported by some of the best comedy and entertainment on television. And if you're missing out because you don't typically surf to the History Channel, the time has come to click over.

Yes, 'Pawn Stars' really is that good.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Fort Mason, TX

Are looking for a little history and maybe place to do some metal detecting.

If you are in Texas, or headed that way, you might check out the location of old Fort Mason near the town of Mason, TX.

The fort was first established on July 6, 1851 by the United States Army. The fort was abandoned in 1854 and then reoccupied in 1856 and remained a military outpost until 1869.

The fort was known to the local Indian tribes as the home of a “powerful medicine man” that they did not want to mess with. Lieutenant Colonel Robert May convinced the Indian chiefs in the area that he had “magical powers”.

Upon establishing the fort Colonel May gathered the local Indian Chiefs to show them his “magical powers”. During the meeting the Colonel told the Chiefs he could bring the dead back to life and was willing to prove it on a dog one of the Chiefs had with him.

The Chief agreed to let his dog be a test subject so Colonel May took the dog to his tent and a few minutes later brought back what looked to be the lifeless body of the dog. Colonel May even snipped off pieces of the dog’s tail to give to each Chief before he returned to his tent with the dog.

A few minutes later Colonel May returned with the dog that was once again alive and running around. This mystified the Chiefs and they kept their distance from the Colonel and his men for the remainder of the time the Colonel was at the fort.

Unknown to the Indian Chiefs at the time was the invention of Chloroform. The Colonel had used the medicine to anesthetize the dog to make it look like it was dead. Subsequently, by counteracting the chloroform the Colonel was able to bring the dog back to life.

Once Colonel May and his Dragoons left the fort in 1854 the fort set empty for two years before Colonel Albert Sidney Johnson and six companies of men arrived to make it the headquarters for the newly organized 2nd Cavalry.

Colonel Johnson and his men found the fort dilapidated and in need of repairs so they lived in tents built on top of adobe walls until the fort could be repairs. As an interesting note, the adobe walls for the tents were built five feet high.

Robert E. Lee was even stationed at this fort for a time. The fort was abandoned for the second and final time on March 29, 1869. You can find the fort by traveling one mile south of present day Mason, TX. The state erected a marker on the site in 1936. Make sure you check the local laws about detecting in this area!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Happy 4th of July

We would like to wish our readers and their families a safe and happy Independence Day!