The art of treasure hunting is both real and alive today and has always been of great intrigue to me! I wrote about it in my book The Opaque Stones for goodness sake. In doing the research for the book, I read quite a bit about it online and in books to get the facts straight. Treasure hunters search for treasure underwater and on land for buried treasure generally. A great deal of hunting today occurs underwater though for lost artifacts, including gold and other jewels. This is done via scuba diving and robots, as well as other very sophisticated technical equipment. Its like video game stuff there! Underwater antiquities range from gold coin, some of which has numismatic value, to silver, rubies, pearls, and other jewels, as well as other precious artifacts that might have survived with historical value such as an antique mirror. Sunken ships aren’t merely the stuff of movies and books either. The ocean floor is literally littered with shipwrecks. A little wiki fact I pulled states that the UN estimates roughly 3 million shipwrecks are scattered on the sea floor. How many of those contain buried treasures from forgotten times? Many of the fleets containing treasure are Spanish galleons such as the one Mel Fisher found. Mel, one of the most famous modern offshore treasure hunters, found the Nuestra Senora de Atocha off the coast of Key West where the heavily armed ship was destroyed in a hurricane. The Atocha finds are valued at around a staggering, whopping, and measly pathetic 450 million dollars.
Everything from bad weather like Key Largo hurricanes, rival ships or Johnny Deppish pirates, even on deck fires could bring a ship down, just to name a few. Many times, treasure survives better underwater when it is buried in sand where crustacean, oxygenation and wave action doesn’t deteriorate it as quickly, although, the sand itself can deteriorate the ship and artifacts. In many cases, wood doesn’t do as well underwater, so many ship artificats will just be buried under the sand. Maybe you get lucky and find a bell from the ship or a brass plate with the ship’s name on it.
A tagline of my book is “every hunt starts with a good story” and I think there is a lot of truth to that for all treasure hunting. Nothing is more true for on land hunting where buried treasure is sought. As with underwater hunting, the equip goes far beyond metal detectors, involving very technical devices. This treasure was often buried by outlaws or hidden in place of banks, and it was never retrieved. There are abandoned mine shafts too. But that’s a danger all its on. You’re not just dogging sharks there like the underwater guys, you’re in danger of the mine collapsing, not to mention dangerous vapors to dodge. Besides, what’s in a mine that hasn’t been taken? As long as lost treasure exsits, the art of treasure hunting will continue!