X Marks the spot
Treasure hunting for historic buried treasure as opposed to other forms of metal detecting requires all of the resources that you might find. Often the trail leads to disappointing discoveries that the place where it should be is now covered by a parking lot but we should not be discouraged but persevere if we are the one who finally unearths the treasure. We must place ourselves in the situation of the person that is hiding the treasure and consider the difficulties that they must face to recover the treasure themselves. Often the treasures that we read about were pack trains of silver or bars of gold or the chests of pirate loot.
Clue one: They were heavy and when one buries a treasure they seldom want an audience.
Clue two: Transporting the treasure when it is recovered must be done by single person or very few individuals.
Clue three: The treasure must be located to be recovered even after storms and floods and markers should be permanent.
Clue four: The person burying the treasure or planning to recover it must come and go without being seen.
Our ace in the hole: Everyday there is a wealth of new technologies available and if we have done our research lets hope that we are not sleeping when the tool becomes available to find these treasures. Already there have been many shipwrecks discovered using these new technologies and tomorrow may truly be the day!
However until then lets proceed to use our brain a little to pinpoint these locations. Many treasures have been buried by pirates or ships endangered by storms. To spot a likely place to plant the gold you would probably locate an inlet or river that you could approach by ship without being seen. Having done that you would look for a high hill near the waters edge where storm would not uncover it but not so far inland as to present a problem carrying the heavy load. If you went in rowboat loaded with smaller chests you could transport considerable treasure up to a few hundred feet inland. You would not make it that easy for others to find however so you would likely use landmarks where you could take a compass reading and note for future reference. Then you would move away from one of the landmarks in the direction of the other a measured distance and bury the boxes. Often metal rods were used instead of landmarks or just placed on top of the chest.
The modern world had cluttered our best treasure grounds with hotels, marinas, and resorts but not all of them. If we consider the areas that are still available to us and draw on our research of past activities in these areas we notice that it is relatively simple to locate the optimum places to hide and recover treasure. From here we can work from existing landmarks to formulate probable location for a search.
I recall a story of a large treasure that was recovered very near to me at the inlet of a bayou some time ago. A ship was seen by local residents to stay around the far shore at mouth of the bayou during the day and at night it would move to the other side. After a few days the ship disappeared and the people went to see what they were doing. They had dug a trench up from the waters edge to a spot where the dug a deep hole. There was an imprint in the clay of a large chest with handles that had been removed and a large clay jar which had been broken. The top of the jar was wax and imprinted on it was the image of many coins.
This is just one of several stories of recovered treasures that have been found within 35 miles of my home so you can see my interest in the subject.
Whether the treasures were buried inland or at the waters edge they had to be able to relocate them and the landscape is forever changing so they must look for good markers indeed if they are to succeed. Once we locate an general area where we assume that there is likely to be treasure we must locate landmarks. If there are large stone markers, mountains, or visible markers the task is much easier but if the land is a jungle of overgrowth it becomes more difficult. Therefore it is important to obtain a topographical map of the area and look for hills which may be used for markers. Also consider that trees that appear to be hundreds of years old may have been used as landmarks so center your search there. Turn over flat rocks to look for markings and observe trees for marks. Using a cache detector you should work the area from a grid to insure that all of the area is covered. Even a regular metal detector with a large coil may be enough to locate a cache. One new tool is the Global Positioning System or GPS which may be extremely useful to pinpoint a location buried in the forest or locating a longitude/latitude. We should understand that we have to use what tools we have in an efficient manner if we are to recover these treasures and we must be realistic to use what evidence may be left to us and not be dismayed that the X doesn’t really mark the spot.
UPDATED! Well sometimes it does like the other day when I got my new water detector and I couldn’t get to the beach quick enough. The hurricane had flooded the beaches and there was only a little spot that I could try it on the beach. The surf was pounding waves of dirty brown water too dangerous to attempt detecting in the surf so I walked down the stairway to the beach and started swinging the coil. About 15 or 20 steps I received a good signal and I looked down to see that I was carrying a dry sand beach scoop so I marked the spot with a big X and walked back to get the big digger. Returning to the spot I dug several inches to see a glimmer of SILVER! I grabbed at it greedily and it wouldn’t come because it was connected to a silver necklace chain. It had been there for over a decade I think because it was incrusted black. There was a nice blue tourquise stone in a crusifix and I remembered detecting over that same spot about a dozen times without a squeek out of my detector. Thinking about this I decided that I must revise this article because sometimes X marks the spot!.