The Hidden Truth about Treasure Hunting

By the Webmaster

June 23, 2013 11:05 am

As the world economy is continuing its downward spiral individuals have decided to become adventurous in hopes of finding the valuables that rest beneath their feet. It is a daunting investment but can be really rewarding if you have the information that accurately links a person to the right place to recover such artifacts. Areas people have regularly captured these ancient relics are around archaeological sites and historic landmarks. Search parties seem to have more favorable results when they conduct their expeditions at or near historical battle sites as soldiers pocketing gold, silver, and other lost items died in the line of fire. Sunken ships harbor such items of antiquity valued for marking a piece of mankind’s ancient past and being isolated in the middle of ocean makes them a common source.

The tales of outlaws of the wild west and pirates raiding ships sailing on the middle of the ocean or a moving train stealing tons of money and other valuables from their victims and escaping is a common legend amongst treasure hunters.  Some lost treasures in the United States were buried by armed bandits lurking around the quarters of wealthy land owners others were from the spoils from many wars America faced during its acquisition of many territories surrounding the thirteen colonies. There are many legends that name the places where these hidden fortunes are cached and many prospects have used every method of detection to reclaim the prize, nothing was salvaged.

These remote locations where one is wandering with their metal detector has worked for many, but to some people, it is much easier to ransack ancient burial grounds and monolithic structures. The German War Graves Commission is facing problems with people digging up graves of dead Nazi soldiers because of the increasing value of memorabilia from World War 2. The trade is centered around Russia, where hundreds of thousands of Nazi soldiers died during their retreat from the Red Army. Dog tags, parts from tanks were stripped from graves in Demyansk, Russia and Kurland, Lativa and sold at the War and Peace military fair at Hop Farm in Kent, England. The trading of Nazi souvenirs is not illegal in the United Kingdom so these treasure hunters already knew the perfect place to make a quick profit.

“Bodies Dug from Graves to Fuel Trade in Nazi Souvenirs.” The Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group Limited, 20 Aug. 2012. Web. 22 June 2013.

Looters in Bulgaria have stripped the remnants of an Ancient Roman settlement called Ratiaria in their city of Archar. The evidence of ancient Hellenistic, Roman, and Byzantine urban centers is what attracts looters. The remains of Thracians, a powerful warrior kingdom that Alexander the Great and the Roman Empire conquered are known for tombs and burial mounds which contain gold and silver work. In early October 2012, some 5,000 Roman items were handed over to the National History Museum in Sofia. The lack of economic opportunities is what’s behind the widespread of looting and smugglers sell these relics to people who smuggle them on the foreign markets. Roman items from Ratiaria can be found in auction houses and antiquity collections around the world.

Three men in Archar found a golden coin and sold it to smugglers for 1,500 euro, that equals the amount of four monthly average salaries in Bulgaria; months later, the same coin was sold in Germany at a price much higher. These organized crime groups have bribed police officers, prosecutors, and local officials in exchange for allowing their illegal activities to go unmolested. 50% percent of the 2,700 inhabitants of Archar are unemployed and the local mafia organized looting groups with metal detectors, bulldozers, tractors, and decommissioned army vehicles to excavate the Archaeological site. Tourism and the money it could bring would add to the local economy but the crisis Bulgaria faces being the poorest country in the European Union impacted Riataria’s potential.

“Treasure Hunters Strip Bulgaria of Its Ancient Treasures, Destroying a Cultural Legacy.” Fox News. FOX News Network, LLC, 1 Nov. 2012. Web. 22 June 2013.

People are more likely to find treasure in their own cities and backyards than some area that has never experienced human settlement in years. A man in New York City makes up to $300 dollars daily panning for gold and rare gemstones whenever he wanders on the sidewalks of the jewelry district of New York City, in 47th Manhattan. He is able to prospect debris of gold and diamonds from broken concrete and dirt in the cracks of sidewalks.  The particles of precious metals are separated from the dirt. The industry workers who work in these diamond and metal shops have gold dust which drops onto the ground and blows and gets suck into cracks of the pavement.

Roberts, Fiona. “A Real Life Gold Digger: Meet the ‘urban Prospector’ Who Scours the Streets of New York for Discarded Gemstones.” The Daily Mail. Associated Newspapers Ltd, 21 June 2011. Web. 22 June 2013.

Penn & Teller Find New York City Gold Rush : Discovery Channel

A man in Wisconsin was digging in a friend’s water well to pan for gold and stumbled upon a Assumed to be an oddly shaped transparent rock to be a piece of glass before taking it to Greaton’s Designing Jewelers in New Richmond, WI. The Shop’s owner, Karen Greaton, thought the mineral was moissanite, or silicon carbide until she did a series of tests and consulted a mineralogists, it turns out the stone was actually a 1.22 karat diamond.

Roberts, Christine. “Wisconsin Man Finds 1.22 Carat Diamond While Panning for Gold.” New York Daily News., 15 Oct. 2012. Web. 22 June 2013.

Excavating the earth only to be find nothing sounds tiresome. Archaeologists are the seasoned professional  hunters of ancient artifacts have the expertise of determining ancient items and their locations. They study and examine these old settlements and objects to learn about prehistoric people and their cultures. They are trained professionals and to regular adventurers,  a shovel and metal detector will not be enough; hunting for treasure obviously requires scientific.

In 2004 Grave robbers, paved the way for researchers to discover the burial site of a male warrior wearing gold jewelry, iron chain mail, and numerous weapons. The area of the graveyard is found near the town of Mezmay, high in the mountains of the Caucasus in Russia. The 36-inch sword sets between his legs and the tip of the sword  points toward his pelvis, and researchers found “a round gold plaque with a polychrome inlay” near the tip. The short 19-inch-long iron sword had a gold plate, with inlayed agate, that was meant to adorn its sheath.  According to researchers, Greek Culture was prominent in West Asia 2,200 years ago.  The necropolis itself appears to have been in use between the third century BC and the beginning of the second century AD. Dozens of other artifacts were made out of gold, the gold fibula-brooch has a rock crystal piercing at its center. Looters have ravaged the necropolis before, but this warrior’s grave remained undisturbed until February 2013.

Jarus, Owen “Treasure-filled warrior’s grave found in Russia.” Fox News. FOX News Network, LLC, 21 Feb. 2013. Web. 22 June 2013.

All of these stories have one thing in common as long as there is a continuing rate of human activity in a certain habitable area for long periods of time, someone will leave behind an item that can be worth lots of money in the future. These areas are usually close to rivers that can provide enough drinking water to support expanding populations of life. Cities and towns are always near these bodies of water so for treasure hunters, all of riches are in or near cities; this is why it is common for looters to raid burial sites. The gentleman in Manhattan, New York City made the connection between the sidewalks of jewelry stores and the employees who walk out of them. Earning $300 everyday sifting through cracks in the pavements to find nuggets of gold dust and crumb sized diamonds is an example of a skill treasure hunter.



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