Yes, Virginia, huge hidden treasures do exist

zen2zany 2If you have ever written a book in which archeologists head off in search of the “greatest treasure ever” you have got to be delighted when your internet browser announces that “more than 60 pounds of gold were recovered from an infamous 157-year-old shipwreck off the coast of South Carolina last month, and the deep-sea exploration company that retrieved it announced today that there is plenty more down there.”

Stories are more fun when their basic premise is plausible. Just knowing that, for example, “The 280-foot wooden-hulled steamship…was carrying as much as 21 tons of gold” and that “the ship now sits 160 miles off the coast of Charleston, S.C.” makes me want to go hunting for treasure myself.

Not that I particularly want to find it. My life is filled with plenty of treasures already, and for that matter it is also filled with ample bottles of nice wine, good books I’ve yet to read, and more seashells than I can admire. That’s what happens when you’ve been on this earth for awhile. You find many of the things you love and more.

But like the happy child on the beach in the Zen2Zany poster above, it’s fun to look.


Treasure hunting for treasure

changeYes, people do still hunt for treasure, and they do occasionally strike it rich. Last week-end a family in Florida found seven gold chains, three gold coins, and a gold ring  valued together at about $300,000, just 150 yards offshore.

One of the interesting things about modern treasure hunting is that is has an odd way of linking the past to the present. Modern technology is almost invariably the key to new discoveries, and this latest find used jets of air to dig holes fifteen feet into the sea floor.

However, it takes accurate historical information to put the seeker in the right spot to begin with.  Last week’s booty was thought to come from the wreckage of Spanish ships sunk in a hurricane in 1715. Digging artifacts out of the sea floor after three hundred years of burial is certainly a unique way to touch the past.

Maya 1The fictitious treasure hunters in z2 acknowledge early in their quest that they may end up with no rights what-so-ever to what they find. Situations vary greatly, and are affected not only by local and national laws but also the age and historical significance of the find. For more information on when and how you might be able to keep part of a treasure you find, check out the blog Treasure Trove Dreams here.

In the case of the recently lucky Schmidt family in Florida, they will be splitting their proceeds with Queens Jewels, the company that owns salvaging rights in the area, and donating twenty percent of their find to the state of Florida. Only they know whether when they are making or losing money off of their treasure hunting ventures overall. It seems reasonable to guess that either way they are having a lot of fun doing this, and that they are remain hopeful that an even bigger find is right around the corner.

That’s the great thing about hunting for any kind of a treasure. There is always hope.

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