Thursday, March 22, 2018

3/22/18 Report - Treasure Beaches Around The Treasure Coast. Two Old Shipwrecks Found. Roman Settlement and Dice.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Wabasso Tuesday Afternoon.
Photo by Joe D.
Joe D. went by some of the treasure beaches yesterday and sent these photos.  You can see a lot of renourishment sand and generally sandy conditions.  Here is what he said.

... I saw that they put down sand at Wabasso and Turtle Trail! And Seagrape was closed because they were still working on beach! I stopped by one other beach; Rio Mar, and detected for a short while at low tide! I could see either a reef, or a wreck that was exposed between waves! 

Turtle Trail Tuesday.
Photo by Joe D.

Turtle Trail Tuesday.

Rio Mar Tuesday
Photo by Joe D.

Reef At Rio Mar Tuesday.
Photo by Joe D.
Thanks for the report Joe!


Two additional centuries-old ships have been unearthed in Old Town Alexandria, not far from where an 18th-century vessel was unearthed a few years ago.

The discovery was made at a construction site where Robinson Terminal South was located, according to a news release Monday from the City of Alexandria. Early indications are that the two ships are from the same era as the ship that was found at the Hotel Indigo site in 2015.

Archaeologists believe that that 50-foot ship was built sometime after 1741 and ended up being used as landfill in the late 1700s...

Here is that link for more.


Archaeologists have uncovered a Roman settlement that likely housed the family members of soldiers serving at a nearby Roman fort. The settlement, located in the modern-day German town of Gernsheim, holds countless artifacts, including an ancient dice and a game piece that the inhabitants likely used to entertain themselves.

Dice design has changed very little since Roman times. Researchers found a gaming piece and die during excavations of the Roman settlement.

Here is that link.

One reason I found this article is that I found two dice today along the Indian River.  Dice aren't so interesting, but I thought it was interesting how I found one die in the morning at low tide when I took a little walk, and then in the evening when the tide was low, I took a little walk in the other direction and found another one.

I can't recall finding die before, so when I found the second a couple hundred yards away from where I found the first, I thought that was very unusual.  One was bigger than the other and I'm not sure what the first is made of yet.

I've often said, "Birds of a feather flock together."  Moving water separates and sorts things.  When conditions are right, certain types of objects will be left on or near the surface.  If I ever found dice along the river before, it wouldn't have been so surprising to me, but they were such rare finds for me that finding two in one day seemed pretty remarkable.  It is not totally coincidence.


Beach conditions haven't changed much.

Happy hunting,

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

3/21/18 Report - Railroad Metal Detector Finds. Stash of Gold and Silver Coins. Ringless Engagement Rings. Psychics Find Stuff.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Finds and photo by Dan B.

Here is the message Dan B. sent with this picture of his finds.

Another visit to a hunted out area. One of my favorite RR spots near the river. The dune has a pretty steep slope from the RR tracks out and down towards the west. It must get wind blown and with some rain it seems to reveal some new goodies every year or so depending on weather. Always a nice surprise to come back and find just a bit more. I found many RR era targets. These were the best for the day.
You can go back to the same location time after time and continue to find things, especially when the surface is eroded a bit.

Cool finds.  Thanks Dan.


Now people are having diamonds embedded in their finger and not bothering with a metal band.

Here is that link.


A stash of gold coins found last week is the latest piece of evidence that a shipwreck 40-plus miles off the North Carolina coast is that of the steamship Pulaski, which took half its wealthy passengers to the bottom of the Atlantic in 1838.
Divers found 14 gold coins and 24 silver coins in a spot “no bigger than a cigar box.” All predate the ship’s sinking and include one British coin that experts say could be worth $100,000. Other gold coins in the collection are valued in the $10,000 to $12,000 range, officials said...
This article is from January, but I don't remember posting it before.
Here is the link.


A good number of treasure hunters follow their intuition and a good number believe in some type of psychic ability or leaning. I once did a poll on that.

Here is an article about our intelligence agencies used psychics.

...Angela Ford was with Project Star Gate for nine years. She calls herself a medium; the Defense Department preferred "remote viewer." "I was good at finding people," she said. "I was good at locating things."
Moriarty asked, "In a sense, were you hired as a psychic spy?"
"I guess, yes!" she laughed.
Her assignment?  To look for missing hostages and fugitives without ever leaving a building at Fort Meade in Maryland...
Here is that link for more about that.


A cool front came through and we have a west wind and small surf - only one foot or less.   The surf will remain small for at least a few days.  The tides are decent.

Happy hunting,

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

3/20/18 Report - One Nice Find and How To Test It. Shot Gauge From Port Royal. Screw and Wingnut.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Cameo Find by Sharon P.
Photo by Sharon P.
Is it treasure?  That is what Sharon P. asked about this cameo that came out of a cut dune on Hutchinson Island.

I can't tell much for certain by the photo alone.   You can only see so much in a photo, and many of the tests that I would apply are not visual.  Weight and texture are important, for example, as are details that you can only see with good magnification.  I'll offer a few comments anyhow.

The most common material used for quality cameos is shell,  A cameo is carved to expose various colored layers.  Agate and coral are also used, but not nearly as frequently.

There are a few tests that might prove helpful.  Shell, and also agate and glass, will be cooler to the touch than plastic, which is used for inexpensive costume jewelry.  Shell, in addition to be cool to the touch, will also be heavier than plastic.

One good test for plastic is a flame heated pin stuck in some inconspicuous place.  Plastic of course will be marked by the hot pin.

A quality cameo will also be set in a precious metal, and perhaps be signed by the artist.  This setting doesn't look like silver.  It looks costume.

With magnification you might be able to see signs the gouges made by carving.

The big tip off to me is the nose.  The type of figure shown in cameos changed over the centuries.  The ski jump nose is typical of contemporary cameos - no earlier than the mid-1800s.  Older cameos typically show a straighter nose and not a large volume of flowing hair.  This one definitely looks more modern to me.

This could be vintage, but I very much doubt that that it is antique.  And it does not appear to me to be an expensive hand carved cameo.  From the photo I can't tell if the cameo is shell or what.

I can't tell how nice the figure is in person, but I'd consider putting it in a nice new frame if it is in good condition.

I didn't say yet if it is treasure.  Treasure is what you treasure.  I'd say it could be, and if it was up to me, I'd treasure it.

Below are some examples of quality new artist-signed Italian hand-carved shell cameos.  Notice the ski jump noses, high relief and color separation.  They will be set in silver.

Many of the best are sent to Japan where they go for higher prices.


Illustration of Shotgauge Recovered From 17th Century Port Royal.
Source: Masters Thesis. See below.

I thought this illustration could be instructive.  I found it in a 1993 Master's Thesis entitled, An Analysis of the Port Royal Shipwreck and Its Role in the Maritime History of Seventeenth-Century Port Royal, Jamaica by Sheila Clifford.

Here is the link.

The item is a shotgauge.  There are a number of lengths of metal, each of which had on the end a hole to measure the size of lead shot. The thing that I think might be most instructive is the connector: a screw with wing nut.

There was a time when I considered all screws to be modern. That isn't the case though, as you see from this example.  Wing nuts evidently go back hundreds of years.  That is the first time I learned that.

Old screws were hand made and you can often tell by looking at them.

I just thought that was an interesting artifact, and if you are like me, you might have learned something from it.


Another school shooting!  As someone who grew up with a gun rack holding two shot guns, a navy carbine, and another military rifle referred to as the deer rifle right outside his bedroom door just like the other kids in the neighborhood, we never shot anything but targets and game.  It was a different culture.

We didn't hear rap music glorifying violence.  We didn't have blood splattering video games.  To stop violence the culture has to change.  It took years but smoking was discouraged and has really diminished.  The culture war on smoking was pretty effective.  Now it is time for a culture war on crime and violence.  The movie industry can't continue to preach against guns and continue to make the kind of movies they do.  If guns were banned from the big screen, they'd actually have to write stories.  There is no bigger hypocrisy.  Want to ban guns?  Make inspiring uplifting movies and stop relying on all the gratuitous violence.


Expect a small surf but decent size tide today.

Happy hunting,

Monday, March 19, 2018

3/19/18 Report - Treasure Hunters Cookout One Month Away. FBI Hunts Civil War Gold Cache.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Everybody always has a good time at the cookout.  Make you plans now.

I saw this little fellow yesterday.  The gopher tortoise digs some pretty big holes and spreads the sand out.  This little fellow has already dug a hole.

Gopher Tortoise Hatching.
Not much bigger than a silver dollar.

According to newspaper resports, it seems like the FBI has taking up treasure hunting and is looking for Civil War gold in Pennsylvania.  Here is a bit of one article.

As a 155-year-old legend goes, a Union Army wagon train left Wheeling, W.Va., before the Battle of Gettysburg, carrying two tons of gold, but never completed its 400-mile mission...

The wagon train traveled northeast and was last spotted in St. Marys, Pa. Searchers found the wagons and the bodies of dead soldiers — and the gold was gone.

On Friday, dozens of FBI agents, Pennsylvania state officials and members of a treasure-hunting group were buzzing around the state forest at Dents Run, about 27 miles by road southeast of St. Marys and 135 miles northeast of Pittsburgh. It’s the site where the treasure-hunting group, Finders Keepers, says as much as $55 million in lost Union gold could be buried...


And here is an excerpt from another article on the same story.

Dozens of FBI agents, along with Pennsylvania state officials and members of a treasure-hunting group, trekked this week to a remote site where local lore has it that a Civil War gold shipment was lost or hidden during the 1863 Battle of Gettysburg.

The treasure-hunting group Finders Keepers has long insisted it found the gold buried in a state forest at Dents Run, about 135 miles (217 kilometers) northeast of Pittsburgh, but said the state wouldn't allow it to dig...


Thanks to Jorge Y. and Gaylen C. for those links.


Tomorrow will be hot day.  The surf will be flat though.  We are having a decent tide change.

Sounds like a OK time to do some water hunting.

Happy hunting,

Saturday, March 17, 2018

3/18/18 Report - Tips for Estimating the Date of Jewelry. SB804 and HB631. Five Days of Detecting Back In The Day.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Source: link below.

I often get emails asking if finds might be old, and we try to identify and date finds all the time.  When it comes to jewelry, it is very difficult to provide an age for many items.  Many jewelry designs and functional features have been used or centuries.  Nonetheless, there are some things you can look for that might help you narrow down the age of an item.

I found one very helpful web site on vintage and antique jewelry that presents some very useful information.  One illustration from that web site can be seen above.  You can see different clasp types from three different periods.

Here is the link for more of that web site.

There are other good web sites on the subject.  The following list came from a good web site on necklace clasps.

There is more on that web site.  The above is just a small sample.

Here is that link.

I"m sure you can find other good web sites that can help you date jewelry finds.


In a previous post I referred to an article about Florida SB 804, which, according to the article, would allow beach-front property owners to restrict public access to the beach in front of their property.


After originally posting that article, I was told by a trusted source that the bill wouldn't do what the article claimed.  Then I received more emails about the danger of the bill.  Not wanting to become either a community organizer or legal analyst, and not being able to decisively unravel or provide a definitive conclusion to the matter, I'll provide just a few comments today and then get back to the normal business of this blog.

Among the things I was was told is that SB804 was “tabled, but that a similar bill, HB631, was on the Governor's desk.  After looking at the text of HB631, and without being able to determine the legal meaning of many of the terms for myself, here is what I decided to do.  I contacted the Florida representative for my district and sent him an email asking for clarification on HB631 and told him I was strongly opposed to any legislation that would restrict public access to the beaches.  That seems to cover it for me regardless of what SB804 or HB631 says or doesn't say.  I expect his interpretation, if received, will be skewed according to his political leaning, so that will be of limited value, but I did express my feelings.   Now it is up to you.

This post will replace any previous comments I made on the subject and will most likely be my complete and final post on the bills.

Here is a link you can use to find your Florida government representatives.


I've talked about my old detecting records before.  I just noticed an interesting five day span in which I found five gold rings at four different locations.  I must have had some time off.

On 5/26/89 on Lower Matecume Key I found 14K band marked 1988.  Someone didn't have that one long.  I was using a modified Nautilus 571 at the time.  That was one of my all-time favorite detectors.

On 5/27 there was a 16 dwt 1970 U. M. class ring found at Crandon Park and a interlocking silver and gold rings.  You could usually find some gold there but it wasn't usually of high quality.

On 5/28 the find was thin gold ring with the initial J at Bill Baggs park.

On 5//29 it was a gold ring with small diamond found at Jupiter Inlet Park.

On 5/30 the find was a 1967 class ring (didn't record the school).  I find it strange that I made the hour long trip to Jupiter two days in a row.  The conditions there must have looked OK.

None of those days was big, but each one produced a little gold.  It looks like I was ranging farther than usual for some reason.  The only day of the five that I remember the finds is 5//27.  I remember exactly where those finds were made.  The life guard stopped me after less than an hour of detecting.  He said that detecting wasn't allowed in the park, so I put my detector back in the car and left.
However, the next day or so, I called the Dade County Parks Department, and they told me that they were going to lift the detecting ban at the park very shortly.  And they did. 

I also talked to them once about a beach club on Key Biscayne that was telling me I couldn't detect in front of the club.  The county told me that I had every right to use the beach back to the erosion control markers.  That sand is paid for by the tax-payers and the tax-payers should remember that.

Happy hunting,

Friday, March 16, 2018

3/16/18 Report - Your Chance To Go For Gold With Top Notch Treasure Salvage Team. Ancient Cache Found. Cleaning Common Coins.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Ancient Coin Discovered by Detectorist in Farm Field.
Source: link below.

If you ever wanted to work on a treasure salvage ship and get a chance to uncover hundreds of gold coins like Captain Jonah's guys did just a few years ago, this is your chance.  One of this blog's readers did it in the past, and now it could be your turn.

Here is what Captain Jonah said.

It's about that time a year 2018 Treasure season is here. We are looking for people who want to join the adventure and salvage on the 1715 wreck sites. I hear a lot of people always tell me they never know how to get involved on a boat diving for treasure ,here it is. We are looking for a couple good metal detectorist. Even if you're not dive certified we have a place on the boat for you. Our prime treasure hunting season starts June 1 and ends September 1. If you hunt 1715 Treasure and want to learn more about these wreck sites and how they broke up and the way they scattered their treasure this is also a good opportunity to join for the summer and learn more than you can read about. Thanks. (772)215-4366. Jonah


A rare hoard of 2,000 year-old gold coins was found in a farmer's field near Chiddingstone.

Ten solid gold coins dating back to the Iron Age have been discovered in a field near Chiddingstone.

The rare find was hauled from its 2,000 year-old resting place by a man with a metal detector and has been taken to the British Museum for safe keeping...

Here is the link for more about that.


One reader asked me to give instructions for putting dirty dug coins in spendable condition, so that is what I did.

The following procedure is NOT for more valued coins.  This procedure is not for old silver coins.  I've covered that elsewhere.  I'm only talking about common coins that you will spend.

The first thing is to sort your coins.  When sorting, look for several things.  First, make sure they are common coins and not possibly something more valuable.  It might be difficult to tell in their uncleaned state, but if anything looks like it could be something better, put it aside.

Then sort according to how much cleaning is needed.  Heavily corroded zinc pennies found in salt water might not be cleanable.  The zinc coating bubbles up and comes off.  Remove any that are hopeless.  If there is some possibility, go ahead and clean them.  It won't do any harm.  Most copper pennies will clean up.

I'll give you my favorite trick first. It is an alternative for coins that are discolored but not corroded or damaged.  The same thing can be done with coins that have been cleaned enough that they will work in a vending machine.  Take the discolored coins, put them in a vending machine slot and push the change or return button, Most of the time you'll get a nice new shiny coin in exchange for your old black or green coin.  One time I asked a one of the vending machine owners if he cared if I did that, and he said it didn't make any difference to him.  If you choose a bad vending machine you might lose a coin or two, so make sure that it is a good machine or someone that will reimburse you for any unreturned coins.

If you have a lot of coins, sort them into coins needing a quick cleaning, if you decide to go that route, and those that will need more cleaning.  If you put some that need a lot of cleaning with those that only need a little cleaning, you might want to stop the process to check how things are going and remove coins that are good enough before continuing.  It isn't a bad idea to check once in a while anyhow to see how things are going.  After a little cleaning, you'll sometimes find that there are some that are not what you thought they were.  If you see that there is a rare coin or a medallion, or something in the batch, you can remove those before you do additional damage.

Coins that will easily clean up (left)  and coins that are probably beyond cleaning (right).

I once found a 1715 Fleet medallion in with a load partially cleaned coins.  It needed some cleaning before I could tell what it was.

When I tell you these things, it is because I made the mistake myself and learned the hard way.

I use a rock tumbler.  I've been using the same one for probably over forty years and it still works.  I think I originally got it for tumbling rocks.

You don't need an expensive tumbler or a big one, although I recently saw that you can get a nice new big one at Harbor Freight for not too much.  You should be able to find a cheap used one.  Put the coins in the tumbler with some soap or cleaning solution along with stainless steel shot or some other abrasive.  I've used everything from BBs to gravel.  Gravel seems to work fine.  You might not even need another abrasive.  The coins will work by themselves if you have a good load.

Don't fill the tumbler too full.  Don't put in too many coins, too much abrasive or too much water.  There should be enough room so that it all sloshes around.  A drop or two of dish soap seems to work fine.  Too much soap will cause a lot of suds to fill up the container.  The tumbler should probably be less than a third full.

When you start and have no idea how long it will take, you can stop once in a while and check the progress.  You can change the water then if you want to.

If you have enough coins, I'd divide them by type of material.  If I had a lot of coins to do, I'd do copper pennies alone, but it isn't necessary.

Different people have their preferences, but it really isn't too complicated.


The surf is small and will be for a week or so.  That is a good chance to get out in the shallow water, if you do that sort of thing.

Happy hunting,

Thursday, March 15, 2018

3/15/18 Report - Super Clay Pipe References.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Last month I found a broken clay pipe - my first from the Treasure Coast.  Although I have no reason to believe that the one I found has anything to do with the treasure wrecks, I wanted to find out if clay pipes have ever been found in association with Spanish shipwrecks.  I did find one listed in the Mel Fisher artifact database that was found on the site of the Atocha.  Unfortunately no picture was included.

I found two great web sites on clay pipes that you might want to check.

Here is the first.  This is a good Georgia archaeology that has some good information on clay pipes.


Click here for that one.

Once you get to the Western Australian Museum site, enter clay pipes in the search box and you'll find an extensive Robert Marx report that is excellent.


Somebody asked me about cleaning common coins for useage.  I'll talk about that sometime soon.  I have one really sweet trick that I've used for decades.


On the Treasure Coast today we'll have north winds and swells, more moderate tides, but only two or three feet of surf.

Save your hobby,