Sunday, September 25, 2016

9/25/16 Report - Historic Sites of Florida. The Wreck of the El Nuevo Constante. 80% Chance of New Cyclone Forming.

Spanish Well Marker At Anclote River Park
Source: TripAdvisor

Want to find something besides modern coins and jewelry?  If so, you'll improve your chances by doing some research.  But where to start?  Here is an idea.

Start with something easy.  Many historic places are clearly marked.  In fact there is a county by county list of historic markers for the entire state of Florida.  They might not always be one hundred percent accurate, but they'll give you a place to start.

You might not be able to metal detect those locations, but they tell you where things happened, and when you find where something historic happened, the surrounding area will also generally provide some good detecting.  Historic events don't happen in isolation.  People had to get to and from those locations.

Here is a good web site that provides a list of Florida's historic markers.  If you just go through the lists I'll bet you'll find at least a few that you didn't know about before.


The wreck of El Nuevo Constante lies off the coast of Cameron Parish, Louisiana, in the Gulf of Mexico. The site is only a mile from the coast, in less than 20 feet of water. Nearby are lakes and bayous with the name “Constance,” the English form of Constante. These place names confirmed the name of the ship. In the first week of September 1766, a hurricane blew the Spanish ship aground. It was in a group of ships that was sailing from Veracruz, Mexico, to Cadiz, Spain.

El Nuevo Constante was a merchant ship that carried a load of products from Mexico. All of the people on the ship made it safely to land, but the cargo had to be rescued. The Spanish government in Louisiana began immediate salvage of the ship. This work to save and move cargo lasted for two months, but the effort was unable to recover everything from the wreck...

The above paragraphs are from an very good article.

The wreck was discovered by a shrimper who snagged copper ingots of copper in his nets.  After a little exploration, they then contacted the state.

I think you'll enjoy reading this article. There are maps, lists of weapons and cargo carried by the ship and pictures of artifacts.


Karl and Lisa are out of the scene but we have one disturbance in the Atlantic that you can see above.
That one has an 80 percent chance of becoming a cyclone in the next 48 hours, but is at this point expected to stay pretty far south.  See below.

The surf today (Sun.) is supposed to be around three or four feet.  It is expected to be smaller the next couple of days.

Happy hunting,

Saturday, September 24, 2016

9/24/16 Report - Very Neat 4-Reale. Scale Weight or Assay Sample. Thirty Gold Bars Hidden On Beach.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Interesting 4-Reale
Find and photo by Darrel Strickland

This is an old find by Darrell Strickland.  Darrell said, I sold the shaped 4 reale to Hugh Mitchell many tears, ago. Really hated selling a lot of my finds, but needed the money back then.

Thanks for sharing Darrell.


This is one of those artifacts I've lived with for a while and still go back and forth on its identity.  Sometimes I'm pretty confident it is a scale weight.  There are other times that
 I think it is an assay sample.  Right now I'm about 80% on the side of scale weight.

Find and Photo by Author.
It is about the same shape as a silver ingot that I showed in my 12/7/12 post.  What reminded me of it, though, is the scale weight I posted the other day shown below.

Scale Weight Found At The Luna Settlement Shown a Couple of Days Ago In This Blog
Photo credit: University of West Florida
Two features that I noticed are the "X" which is stamped very much like the "1" on the other item, and the circular marking in the center.  If you look closely you can see what appears to be a wreathe in the center of the silver item.

While the markings for both items are similar in some ways, the shape is different.  The silver item is not shaped well for stacking, which I would think would be desirable for scale weights.

I also never saw another scale weight made of silver. Some say they just used what they had.

I don't think the silver item is Spanish either, and I don't know why it is stamped with a "1" when the weight is 10 grams.

Well, I still don't have a firm conclusion, and I might be living with that mystery as long as I live.


Here is a story from 2014 that I missed at that time.

A gold-rush has started at a beach in Kent where a German artist buried £10,000 worth of bullion as part of an arts festival.

Michael Sailstorfer has hidden 30 24-carat gold bars on Folkestone's Outer Harbour beach.
More than 150 people started digging for gold when low tide exposed the beach. Organisers say prospectors can keep any bars they find.

The Folkestone Digs project is part of the town's triennial arts festival...

Here is the link.


Karl and Lisa are still hanging around.  There is a new disturbance over by Africa.  Maybe it will come this way.

Happy hunting,

Friday, September 23, 2016

9/23/16 Report - French Shipwreck Off Cape Canaveral. Drones. Living With An Artifact. And More.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

French Shipwreck Off Cape Canaveral.
Source: Daily Mail link below.

Not long ago I mentioned the Ribault survivor camp near Cape Canaveral.  A 16th century French shipwreck was found near there.

Here is a bit of the WESH news report.

...Just a couple of miles from Jetty Park, a popular swimming beach, divers found canons made of bronze and iron; anchors, crusted with marine growth; and the Fleur de Lis, along with a French coat of arms archaeologists call priceless. And maritime wreckage is around 400 years old.

Finders, working for the company Global Marine Exploration, said they’ve discovered the remains of what appear to be three French ships. The origin of the ships will be difficult to verify, they said.

The ships could be from the French colonial period on the Florida coast, around the year 1560, Global Marine Exploration archaeologist Jim Sinclair said. The ships may have sunk in a hurricane, he said...

And here is the link, which also provides a video showing, among other things, part of the wreck under water.


Ancient Roman ruins that lie hidden below the surface at the Apennine Mountains of Italy have largely escaped discovery because the rugged terrain makes them difficult to spot by foot and dangerous to find by airplane.

Now, using small airborne drones archaeologists have found that an ancient settlement in the Apennines was much more dense and organized than previously thought, a new study reveals. The study offered evidence that drones could help uncover more unknown sites in mountains worldwide...

Here is that link.

Sam's Club was selling what appeared to me to be decent drones not long ago for around four hundred dollars.   I don't remember the exact price.


You might be interested in the book Turquois Mosaic Art in Ancient Mexiko by Marshall Saville.  Mexico with a K is actually how it is spelled in the listing.

You can preview it online by clicking here.


Darrell Strickland said the following about the dagger that I posted not long ago.

I knew the owner and that was a long time ago. It did resell past few years. The owner, Jack Williams, is deceased, and not sure if Dana (son) is the one that relisted it.


A buried train trestle was uncovered by a construction crew.

Click here for the video.


When you live with an artifact for a while, it seems to change with you.  It amazes me how after many years an old object can take on new meaning.

Sometimes you run across more information or see pictures or something that relates to the object. Other times it just seems like you just get a new feeling about what it might be or where it came from.  That can happen over a period of many years.  That amazes me sometimes.  I guess it is just everything coming together to lead you to a new idea or perception.

I have mystery items that I haven't positively identified after a period of years and years, but as time goes by I generally tend to get a feeling about what the item most likely is.  I still wait hoping to see something that proves to my satisfaction one way or another, and sometimes that happens, but more often than not, it is a matter of some level of confidence rather than proof.  Nonetheless, the process is fascinating to me.


Karl is a tropical storm once again.  It still doesn't seem to be headed this way though.  Neither is Lisa.

We'll be having a two to four foot surf for a few days.

Happy hunting,

Thursday, September 22, 2016

9/22/16 Report - Pigeon Island. How To Metal Detect a Steep Hillside. Spys In The American Revolution.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Photo by Dale Lutchman
Source: Pinterest
Obstacles are often opportunities in disguise.  That is particularly true when it comes to metal detecting.

Pigeon Island was detected many years ago when it was overgrown and in disrepair. (See photo of old building above.). It is now a national park, has a restaurant and is a tourist spot, and of course, should not be detected.

Pigeon Island.
Source: pinterest
Photo by Sally R.
You can't see it well in this photo but the peak on the left has a cannon emplacement.  Another canon emplacement was located at the base of the taller peak, now hidden by the trees.

The building shown in the first photo is located by the trees in the flat area under the tallest peak.

The peak was used by the British to observe the French fleet at Martinique.

Here is a little of the history of Pigeon Island.

Pigeon Island was first occupied by the Amerindians, mainly Caribs. The island was later occupied by pirates whose leader was a Norman Captain called Francois Le Clerc. He had a wooden leg and was known to the French as Jambe de Bois. The French who owned the island in 1778 declared war on the British, who retaliated by attacking them in Saint Lucia and capturing the island. The British then built a Naval Base at Gros-Islet Bay, heavily fortifying Pigeon Island. From there they were able to monitor the French fleet in Martinique which resulted in the defeat of the French at the Battle of the Saints in 1782. Pigeon Island was therefore a key factor in the Battles between the British and the French. In 1909 a whaling station was established at Pigeon Island.

Sorry, I can't find the link to that anymore.

Steep cliffs such as some of those on Pigeon Island can be difficult to detect.  Notice the steep cliff on the right side of the tallest peak leading down to the water.  Some of it is very steep and virtually impossible, but some of it could be detected using the technique I'll now describe.

If you are on a steep hillside, use a shortened rod as shown below.  You might choose a dive rod.  I have used a short length (just over a foot) of furring as a short rod or handle.  All you need is a bit of a handle for the coil.

You can hold onto a tree with one hand while detecting with the other.  You can also use a rope around the tree.

Another advantage of using a small length of wood instead of your standard detector rod is that it can be easily stowed in a backpack with your control box and coil.

Any hillside like that can hide nice finds.  It won't be easy though, at least until you get the technique down.

Good boots are also helpful in keeping your feet dug in and steady.

I should mention that recovery can also be tricky.  After pinpointing, you'll want to be able to attach your coil to your belt and use the free hand to dig.  Be careful to not let items roll down the hill.


The summer 2016 issue of the SAR magazine has an article written by Liam O'Connor about spying in the American revolution.

One American spy that we all know is Nathan Hale who uttered the famous line, "I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country," before he was hanged.

The Culper Ring was an American military spy organization operating in New York City during the British occupation.

Spys were referred to by coded numbers.  Robert Townsend, a very productive spy for the Americans, was 723, for example.

Robert Townsend uncovered a British plot to flood the American economy with counterfeit dollars and warned the Americans of Benedict Arnold.

Code names, ciphers, dead drops and invisible ink were all used by the Americans during the revolution.


The storm situation remanins unchanged.  Karl is a tropical depression, and Lisa is still a tropical storm.  I don't believe either will affect our beaches.

The surf will be picking up a little.

Happy hunting,

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

9/21/16 Report - Survivor Camps. Ribault. An 1813 Wreck Camp. Studying Survivor Camps.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Different beaches are different.  There are narrow beaches with a high cliff at the back, and there are wider beaches with only low dunes at the back.

The area from Turtle Trail to Wabasso has a narrow beach with a good cliff behind.  When the water gets high enough to erode the back dunes on a beach like that, coins and things will slide down the eroded cliff onto the beach.

John Brooks beach is another kind of beach.  It is wide, flat and has no cliff face on the back dunes.  When the water gets high enough to get to the dunes on a beach like this, which doesn't happen too often, the water generally just flows back and around the dunes and then down into the low spots.  By the time it gets to the dunes there isn't much water left.  As a result, beaches like John Brooks seldom have things washed out of the dunes and onto the beach.  It really takes a lot for erosion to reach back to the dunes.

Beaches like John Brooks seldom produce large denomination cobs.  More often you get small cobs, mostly 1/2 reales, 1 reales or 2 reales.  Beach shape is not the only factor though.

There were survivor camps in the dunes near the wrecks.  A survivor camp is not the same as a salvage camp, although they will often be found in the same locations and on top of each other. Salvage camps obviously come after survivor camps.

Salvage camps and survivor camps can sometimes be distinguished from each other by the types of artifacts, and when both occur at the same location, they might be distinguished by the distribution pattern.

Here is a paragraph from from an interesting NOAA article about the discovery and excavation of one survivor camp in the Cape Canaveral area.

During the winter of 1970-1971, a group of Central Florida relic hunters discovered an archaeological site on the western or inland shore of the outer barrier island in what is now Canaveral National Seashore. Over the next several months, the group explored the site and the surrounding area, locating two more related sites, all within 1.3 kilometers of each other.

Ship's spikes, jewelry and numerous 16th century Spanish and French coins were found by detectorists.

Douglas Armstrong, a member of the group that originally found the site, determined that the site might well be a survivor camp from the Ribault fleet.

(I've mentioned Douglas before in this blog. He also authored the book The Winter Beach Salvage Camp.)

You'll undoubtedly want to take a look at this NOAA web site.  Here is the link.

They provide a map and pictures of artifacts and coins as well as more detail.


Here are a couple paragraphs from another article that looks at a survivor camp.

...The archaeological team--which includes members from Russia, the U.S. and Canada--believes articles they found over the past two years represent the everyday tools used by 26 shipwrecked members of the Neva's crew. Those crew members survived for almost a month in the winter of 1813 by foraging and gathering materials that washed ashore from the wreck.

In July, researchers discovered at the campsite a series of hearths with early 19th century artifacts such as gun flints, musket balls, pieces of modified sheet copper, iron and copper spikes, a Russian axe, and a fishhook fashioned from copper. Well-preserved food middens--or refuse heaps--will allow reconstruction of the foraging strategies the sailors used to survive....

And here is that link.


Here is an abstract of an article that suggests a systematic approach to the study of shipwreck survivor camps.

Shipwreck survivor camps are a neglected terrestrial component of maritime archaeology, usually being investigated purely as an adjunct to work on the associated wreck site. Most studies have considered these sites as individual and unique, molded by the particulars of the historic events that created them. However, by considering the history, anthropology, and archaeology of a series of Australasian survivor incidents and sites, this paper highlights common elements and themes, which allow examination of these sites within a comparative framework. These include the development of authority structures, social organization, salvage and subsistence strategies, material culture, short- and long-term rescue strategies, and the possible infl uences of crisis-related stress upon the decisions made by individuals and groups. Survivor camp studies are linked into the wider concerns of maritime archaeology and anthropology by placing them within the context of wreck formation models.

Here is the link to entire article.

Since the beach is an area where items from the dunes and from the water mingle, it is good to know a little about those very different areas and the items that come from them.


Tropical depression Karl and tropical storm Lisa are still out there, but my guess is that neither will affect us.  Things could change though.

The surf is small today and expected to increase a couple of feet by the weekend.

Happy hunting,

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

9/20/16 Report - WW II Class Ring Returned. Important Luna Settlement Artifact. Two Tropical Storms.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Class Ring of WW II Medal of Honor Winner Returned
Source: Aggie News (See link below)

This is a great story.  It was told on Oliver North's War Stories TV program.  I found it online too.

The ring was lost by Tourney Leonard, a WW II Medal of Honor recipient who was killed at a battle in Germany, where his body lies in an unmarked grave.

The ring was found by a German soldier after the American dead were recovered.  His son-in-law, also a soldier, found the ring, did the research and returned the ring to the family many years after it was lost

Here is the link for the entire story.


Here are a couple of paragraphs from an article about excavations at the Luna site identified as the Luna settlement.

...“We have this large trash pit, which definitely indicates something about the number of people there, the amount of garbage they generated, the fact that they buried it, as opposed to just sort of leaving it around on the surface,” Worth said. “So, what we’re seeing is clear evidence of a two-year span of time, in which this particular corner of the site, which we think is the heart of the site, was the residence for a number of Spaniards of different social levels.’

For example, in one area containing a dense concentration of artifacts, they also found a balance scale weight, made out of a copper alloy, likely used in measuring pay for soldiers. Worth says there’s only one person in the expedition, the treasurer, who was in charge of that and, therefore, would have owned a set...

And below is one of the telling artifacts from the excavation.

Here is the link to that article.


We have two tropical storms now, Karl and Lisa.  Both are expected to head towards the northwest turning north before hitting the U. S.

Despite the nice big tides we are having I don't expect any significant improvement in beach detecting conditions real soon.

Happy hunting,

Monday, September 19, 2016

9/18/16 Report - The Spanish Conquest of the New World. Tactics. Black Conquistadors. Toledo Steel.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Julia, Karl, and a Newer Disturbance.
Julia is not moving fast, but is drifting a little north while weakening.

Karl is heading north, a little below Bermuda.

The disturbance over by Africa is strengthening and I expect to follow Karl, but we'll have to wait to see.

Nothing but one or two foot surf is predicted for the next several days for the Treasure Coast.


Lightning can travel many miles from its source.  One bolt was recorded as 199 miles long.

I read that 35 people were killed by lightning so far this year.

Here is an interesting article on record-breaking lightning.


A perspective largely unexamined in past works on the Spanish Conquest of Mexico has been the details of the tactical systems of the respective sides, and how these systems worked on the battlefield to produce the Spanish victory. This article examines the Conquest in terms of tactics, applying a military-historical perspective to ethnohistorical texts and data gleaned from modern works. It is shown that Spanish infantry tactics and horse cavalry were critical factors in the Spanish victory...

Here is the link to that interesting article.


Although race is a concept that I find indefensible, here is an article about a black conquistadors and other blacks in the early days of the Spanish New World.


A few days ago I posted a picture of a dagger made of Toledo steel that was said to be found on the Treasure Coast.  I found this article on Toledo steel interesting.  Here is the first paragraph.

Although Toledo is a well-known city, few know just how famous and important it used to be a couple of centuries ago. Today Toledo is famous for its art and Damascus gold decoration known as Damascene but before firearms were invented Toledo was the centre of the world for forging metals and more specifically sword making. The fame of the master sword smiths from Toledo lay in their unrivaled skill in tempering steel, a unique art form that no one was able to copy. Steel from Toledo has been considered the most prestigious in the world ever since the V century, mainly due to its characteristic flexibility and strength, which was later employed in fencing. For centuries Toledo lead the world in sword making and for centuries they managed to keep their “trade secrets” within the family. The master sword smiths jealously guarding their “Secret of Temper”, only passing it on to their children, who in turn guarded the secret and passed it on from generation to generation, making Toledo steel the most sought after steel for centuries. It was later discovered that the master sword smiths each had their own very characteristic formula. These formulas were the secrets of their trade and were never written down. Instead each master converted his “secret” into a series of songs or prayers, and the rhythm of the song or the speed of the prayer and its repetitions marked a specific time frame which enabled them to accurately measure how long the sword should be immersed in water to reach an optimum “temper”. The songs, verses and prayers which marked each stage of the process were either hummed or sung in silence so no one would be able to steal their secret. But at the same time they were easy to recite in exactly the same way every time they produced a sword, leaving no margin for error.

Here is the link to that web site.


You might have noticed that when football season begins I sometimes miss making a post, especially on a Sunday.  That happened this week.


Happy hunting,