Saturday, July 31, 2010

8/1 Report - Inscriptions on 1715 Fleet Gold Rings

1715 Fleet Gold Coin Found by Crew of Gold Hound in June of 2010.

The photo is from a June 19, 2010 TCPalm article found on the following web site.

Here is a web site by an archaeologist discussing the history of the 1715 Fleet and a few items found. Most interesting is the discussion of two rings and a bracelet that all bear the same inscription.

Here are the inscriptions.

1989 gold ring: Z+DIA+BIZ+S+ZB+Z+HGA+BFS++
1996 gold ring: Z+DIA+BIZ+SAB+Z+HG+F+BF
Bracelet - beach find: Z DIA BIZ SAB ZHG BFRS

I don't have any idea at this point, but it would be a good project if you want to do the research and decode it.

Here is the link to the article. Unfortunately it seems the illustrations are no longer attached.

Information and time are two of your most valuable and probably most under-appreciated assets.

Information is worth what you make of it and is something that keeps on giving.

Your time, like it or not, is finite on this earth. What you you do with it determines its value. Every moment is either used well or wasted. You never have a second chance to use the same moment again.

Many years ago after having visited the Treasure Coast a few times without finding any treasure coins, I saw an ad in a treasure magazine for a map of the 1715 Fleet treasure beaches. Since I didn't find any treasure coins on my first trips to the Treasure Coast, I wondered if I was really on the right beaches.

I sent my money for the map and read it carefully when I received it. The map consisted of two photocopied pages and pointed out five of the "best" treasure beach sites.

There wasn't a great amount of new information for me on the map, but it was still just what I needed. Someone who had been successful and knew what he was talking about (Roy Volker), said these were good sites. Now I knew I wasn't way off when I made a trip to detect those places.

I had accumulated a large amount of information from a variety of books and sources on my own, by I preferred having the map. It gave the important information in a concise easy to carry form, and I didn't have to page through books filled with useless information to find the locations that I wanted.

Was the information on the map information that I couldn't have found for myself if I had done a bunch of research? No, of course not. But it saved me a bunch of time and quickly gave me confidence when I visited those beaches.

I don't remember how many trips it took before I actually found my first cob, but I know I made several trips before finally finding my first. And the funny thing is, when I found it, I wasn't sure what it was until I got it home and carefully examined it. In fact, my wife was ready to throw away that worn thin black disc before I told her to keep it. I remember the exact spot and how it happened still today.

But one point that I want to emphasize is the value of information. I paid something for that information and it was valuable even though there wasn't a lot of it and even though I might have been able to go to the library to research it by myself. I saved hours and hours of time and got confidence that I probably would not have achieved on my own. And that information was cheap - certainly not enough to compensate the originator for his time and experience.

I could have easily spent tons of hours on research without the same results. You might say that library information is free, but the hours I would have spent would have been a much greater cost than than what I paid for the map. And who knows how the chain of events leading up to today might have changed.

All of the information you get from this blog is free. And the time I spend on it is very valuable - if only to me.

In my opinion, every mature adult should figure what an hour of their time is worth to them and what they would sell it for.

Time is precious, and good information in the right format can help you make the most of your time.

I still appreciate that little map produced by Roy Volker in 1984. I'm sure he didn't make a fortune from it. He chose to share the inestimable value of his experience with others. I appreciate the value of that.

Forecast and Conditions. The wind is from the west and and the seas are calm and will remain calm through the coming week. Low tide is around 6:30.

There are two tropical disturbances. One to the south southeast will probably not develop, and if it does, will probably not affect us.

The other is in the middle of the Atlantic and has a 40% chance of developing.

Happy hunting,

7/31 Report - Nails as Clues & 18th Century Brigantine

Photo of Square Nails Recently Found on Treasure Coast Beach by Ian A.

The ship discovered at the World Trade Center site appears to be a two-masted Brigantine from the 18th Century that as used as land fill. Nonetheless it seems the ship has added some information since more iron nails were found on it than expected.

Here is the link.

As you might suspect it is difficult enough to identify dug items but even more so from photographs. You lose a lot of information in a photo. You don't get a 3-D view, and don't get the sense of density, texture, etc. You also don't know much about the context, which often provides a variety of useful clues.

If you drop a dime on a ceramic tile, you can tell the difference between a silver dime and a clad dime by sound. The silver dime has more of a tinkling sound.

Try it out and see if you can tell the difference.

Some readers think that yesterday's mystery item is a piece of rebar. That could be. There are a number of spots along the Treasure Coast where WWII structures stood along the beach and some are now very close to the water line.

In my 4/22 post, I posted an illustration showing different types of nails that were used over that last few centuries. Today I have more good web sites that show how to evaluate the age of nails and therefore also the items they were used on. The links were provided by Ian A. as was the photo above of the recently dug nails that came from Treasure Coast beaches.

Here are three web sites that will help you learn to identify the different ages of different types of nails. All three webs sites provide some nice illustrations such as the one to the right which came from the University of Vermont site (third link).

If you read through all three of these web sites I think you'll learn how to use any nails you find to evaluate a detecting site.

Whenever you find an older object on a beach, even if it is only a nail, you should check that area very thoroughly for any additional items. When an older item is found, that is a good sign that beach conditions at that spot are good, and the chances are good that other things might be accumulating there.

Forecast and Conditions. The seas are very calm this weekend with a low tide around six. No change in Treasure Coast beach conditions. There are a few low-tide areas that are still producing coins.

The tropical wave down by Puerto Rico still has only a 10% chance of becoming a cyclone. It seems to be heading west, into the Mexico or the Gulf.

The wave over by Africa is still too far away to predict much.

Happy hunting,

Friday, July 30, 2010

7/30/2010 Report - Bolts and Emeralds

Mystery Artifact Found on Treasure Coast Beach by Fred B.

Close-up View of Same Item.

If you have any ideas on this it artifact, let me know.

It reminds me of an ornamental cast-iron railing, but thinner. The impressions do not seem uniform, but that might be the result of corrosion.

Things are going very well down south as the salvage season is in full swing. Recently the crew of the salvage ship Magruder recovered 41 emeralds 35 miles from Key West, bringing the total to about 7 pounds.

An airlift is used to suction the ocean floor in what has become known as Emerald City. The emeralds originally came from the Muzo mine in Columbian are considered among the best emeralds in the world. Records indicate that there should be another 60 pounds of emeralds yet to be found.

A partially crushed copper bowl was also found in is now in the conservation lab at the Mel Fisher Museum in Key West.

The Magruder and Dare have both found silver reales, ceramic shards, iron spikes and ballast stones, in the debris trail of the Atocha.

The Fishers are working with Aqua Survey, who has technology that will penetrate deeper in the ocean bottom than ever before. They are concentrating on a one-mile strip between the Atocha main pile and the site where 9 bronze cannons were found.

Here are some more items found by Fred.

Many people conclude that all bolts are very modern. That is not necessarily the case. Bolts have been made and used as early as the 16th Century. Of course, early bolts were hand made instead of machine manufactured.

I don't know enough about this to say how old these might be. If you have any ideas, again, let me know. We'd like to try to figure it out.

Here is one nice web site that discusses early bolts and provides nice pictures of early bolts.

Hopefully I'll learn more about this as I do more research and study some of the photos.

Here is one nice web site on shipwreck diving that among other things shows how bolts were used in wood hull construction.

If you visit this site, you might want to look at other sections such as the artifact section.

I've seen another great web site that showed a variety of very early threaded bolts. Unfortunately I can't find it now, but if you are interested in the question of how old threaded bolts might be, the following web site might help.

I've got a lot more to talk about but will wind it up for today and pick up with the topic some other day.

Forecast and Conditions.The seas are very calm and there is a bunch of summer sand piled up. The seas will be very calm this weekend, particularly Sunday. Beach hunting conditions remain poor even though I've received reports of some old items being found. Mostly they are spikes and things like that.

There are two tropical waves in the Atantic, both with 10% probabilities of becoming cyclones in the next 48 hours. One is down by Puerto Rico and the other, over by Africa.

That is all for now.

I hope you can add some insight into Fred B's finds.

Happy hunting,

Thursday, July 29, 2010

7/29 Report - Test Items for Detecting

Recent Treasure Coast Beach Find.

Even when conditions are poor for finding shipwreck artifacts on the beach, there is still a good chance of finding some modern coins and jewelry. This is one such find.

Photo submitted by Ian A.

A lot of emeralds are being found down south. I'll have more on that some other time.

And here is a slide-show of the shipwreck found at the World Trade Center site.

You might remember one day that I suggested making some test cobs out of an old silver dime. That is what Ian did, and here are his test cobs. We shared some laughs about that.

Test Cobs Made from an old Silver Dime.

You might remember one day that I suggested making some test cobs out of an old silver dime. That is what Ian did, and here are his test cobs. We shared some laughs about that.

It is always good to fine tune your detector for the types of items that you want to find. If you don't have a silver cob for that purpose, something like these test pieces of similar composition will do the job.

I recommend using test items that are on the small side. If you can find the small objects, the large ones will generally take care of themselves.

By fine tuning your detector before beginning to detect you can hunt more effectively and avoid time consuming errors, like starting out with the wrong settings.

I remember one time when I didn't take time to test my detector before beginning and after a while realized that something was right. I then found that my discrimination was way to high, had to adjust it and start over again. You can avoid that and other common errors by testing your detector before you begin.

If you have a good test object, you can optimize your settings and also test to find the optimal sweep speed. Sweeping either too fast or slow can cause poor results.

A $45 garage sale purchase turns out to be worth 200 million dollars.

Here is the link to that story.

Forecast and Conditions.

The seas are smooth and expected to remain smooth for at least a week. Not a bad time to dive for lobster. You might remember the gold coin payroll found by lobster divers years ago off of the old Fort Pierce inlet.

Treasure beach conditions are poor and there is nothing stirring in the tropics.

Happy hunting,

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

7/27 Report - Silver Bar From Shipwreck?

26 Gram Florida Shipwreck Silver Bar.

This item is listed on eBay and said to come from the shores of East Florida. It seems it was found with a number of other similar bars.

I haven't seen anything like that from the Treasure Coast, although that doesn't mean it isn't from the Treasure Coast. The style of the 3 on top of the bar does not look Spanish to me. I would guess this came from an English ship, but I could easily be wrong.

What do you think?

In my January 26 post, I showed a 10 gram silver ingot or assay sample that was found on one of our beaches. It is my impression that that ingot came from an English ship. But again, I don't know.

That find remains a mystery to me, and I would still like to receive any opinions anyone might offer about that.

I've pretty much decided the mystery object in my 11/15 post with what appears to be an eagle breast and wing showing on the front is a wax seal. It came from a 1715 Fleet beach.

There is a Treasure Coast treasure beach detecting map now listed on ebay with three days to go and no bids. You can use Buy Now and get it quick. The item number is 110563876306.

I ran across a nice web site that I think many of you will enjoy reading. It describes one man's explorations around Vera Cruz. He is not a detectorist, but shows some spikes and things that he found while exploring the beach area.

Here is the link.

A 1794 silver dollar will be auctioned by Bowers and Merena on by August 7 is expected to bring a million dollars.

Here is the link.

A 1794 silver dollar estimated at over $1 million will be put on the block Aug. 7 by Bowers and Merena at the firm’s Boston Rarities Auction.

Here is the link.

I always remind people to check out the coins they find. A coin doesn't have to be 300 years old or even gold to be valuable.

Forecast and Coditions. We have a full moon and some nice low tides to go along with the west wind and very smooth seas. That makes for easy water hunting and low tide hunting, but it won't help beach conditions at all.

It looks like the seas will remain calm all week, and there is nothing brewing in the tropics. Water visibility should be good.

Treasure beach conditions remain poor.

People are finding some nice modern jewelry.

Happy hunting,

Monday, July 26, 2010

7/26/2010 Report - Shipwreck Spikes & Conditions

Spike Found by Fred B.

Fred sent me a number of photo of shipwreck spikes which he found on Florida Treasure Coast beaches. These are just a couple of that group that I am showing. Some were broken off and pointed on both ends. Some were bent.

I thought the marks on this first spike were interesting.

He cleaned all of his spikes with vinegar and a brass wire brush. All of the spikes were found in one area.

Yesterday I showed a photo of a cannon filled with coins that was recovered. If an iron cannon was buried under the beach it could stay there a long time before anyone ever dug it up. Other large iron or even bronze or brass objects are often missed by detectorists.

I left one on the beach myself recently. It was just too deep and I figured I could return at a later time to get it. I did return with better equipment for the job of digging it up and it was still there a day later. I thought it would be. And it was right in front of a very heavily detected area right by the beach access from the parking lot.

I also dug up a large item that had been uncovered by the waves months ago and which I uncovered once or twice in the past but was unable to remove. Like I said, it had been there for months. I knew what it was because I had seen it an uncovered before and knew that it wasn't anything important.

But my point is, that many detectorists pass over large items, and especially iron items, because they are looking for coins or other things that their detector identifies.

Iron objects and unidentified objects are often left behind. What if you heard your detector give a signal that you thought was iron, or a signal that seemed to be junk. It could actually be a nice spike, some other type of artifact, or even a container or cannon filled with coins.

In the past I did tests showing how one of the most popular detectors used on the Treasure Coast would miss cobs when there was a piece of iron laying over the cob or even very close to the cob.

My point is, that kind of thing can happen if you use a detector that discriminates out iron. You can miss a lot of good stuff - even possibly stuff like a cannon filled with jewels.

If there is one thing most people disagree with me about, it is my recommendation to not use discrimination. Yet, if you do use discrimination, you might not dig much junk, but you'll also never know what you passed up. Take your choice.

Very soon I expect to receive some nice new photos of some of the Gold Hound's new finds. I'm eager to see those myself.

A few days ago I was talking about sites in and around rivers and streams. Then I ran across a story about a 1000 year old city found where a bridge was being constructed. The story is full of things to marvel at - most notably the runaway paranoid thought processes and the insanely wild speculation of the archaeologists. Yet it is interesting enough to provide some good clues.

Here is the link.

And here is an article describing how some artifacts were found in a sewer construction project. Also worth a read.

Forecast and Conditions.

Here is what the beach looks like today. This is the same beach that Saturday morning had three to five foot cuts running most of it's length. Now the front has filled and the cuts are gone.

Cuts can come and disappear in a matter of hours.

My beach conditions rating is now 1 (poor) again.

The wind on the Treasure Coast is now from the southeast an the seas are nice and calm. That means the treasure boats will be able to get back to work and beach conditions will return to poor.

I hope everybody had a little fun this weekend with the cutting that occurred, but it looks like we will just be cleaning up whatever didn't get picked up already. Sometimes there are things that are missed during rough weather that hangs around for a number of days. I'd be looking at the low tide areas during the smooth seas.

There is nothing brewing in the tropics now.

Happy hunting,

Sunday, July 25, 2010

7/25/2010 Report - Gold Hound Sniffs Out Treasure & Other Stuff

Photo of Cannon Containing Treasure.

Photo from (link provided below).

The crew of the Gold Hound continues to make unbelievable finds on the Treasure Coast south of Wabasso. Not too long ago I passed along a story emailed to me by one of this blog's readers who got to board the salvage vessel and view some of the finds. Here is a link to a TCPalm story telling about the find of a cannon containing gold and silver coins. They've been doing very well this season.

Really cool, huh?

It seems like the Excalibur has become the detector of choice on the Treasure Coast. I saw four of them being used at the same time yesterday at one beach. Treasure Coast beach hunters used to use primarily Garrett detectors in the 1980s.

As you might know, I'm not really a fan of any one brand of detector. My best detectors have not been the name brands, but I'm satisfied that most of the detectors made by the major manufacturer's will do the job.

Photo Showing Thin Sliver of a Penny.

I heard from some people that were making test cobs from silver dimes according to my recent instructions. Ian A. said it is not a very good time to be a beat up silver dime.

The funny thing is on Friday one of the things I found was the thin piece of penny shown in the photo. I don't know what you call it. I want to say it is a piece of 1/100.

Anyhow I was wondering if it was someone's test object or what. It looks like it has been in the water for some time from the green patina. I always intended to do some experiments to find out how long it takes for coins exposed to salt water to turn color and obtain the common types of patina, but I've never done it. I can only assume that it is not a real recent drop.

I have some nice photos of spikes that were found on a Treasure Coast beach to show you, but I'll keep that for a later date.

Here is a neat folding knife that was dug up on one of the beaches by Fred B. Any information about the age or anything else would be appreciated. The handle, which you can see some of, seems to be mother of pearl.

Send in any ideas you might have about the knife.

Forecast and Conditions. The winds are out of the southeast and the seas are decreasing. Today the seas will be about three feet. That is back to about what it was before Bonnie went by.

That means that conditions will probably not improve any, and in fact, will probably start to get a little worse as the Friday night cuts get stale. I'll maintain my level 2 treasure beach conditions rating, probably through Sunday. As the seas decrease, it will be an opportunity to detect the low tide areas that you couldn't get to for the past couple of days.

There are no more storms in the tropics yet.

Happy hunting,

Saturday, July 24, 2010

7/24/2010 Update - Conditions Rating Upgrade for Treasure Coast Beaches

I just have a quick post today. I don't have time to do much more, but I wanted to get the conditions upgrade posted early today.

The Nieves site had a three to five foot cut running for at least a hundred yards this morning. It looked like the winds must have been from the NE for a while last night.

I looked at one other beach this morning and it also had additional cutting last night, but far less.

The surf web sites say that the seas will go back to around three feet for the next few days. That means we will probably have no additional cutting to speak of and this upgrade to level two conditions might be short lived.

I would suggest checking some of the out of the way places today trying to find some of the newer cuts that haven't been worked well yet.

There were a lot of detectorists out already this morning.

Even though the cut at the Nieves site was deep and long, it was not all that promising. The sand at the base was mushy and the cut was only into sand that built up in the past few months.

I suspect that you will be able to find new cuts all over the Treasure Coast today, even if they aren't as deep as the one the Nieves site.

I also got word that Jupiter got some northeast winds, so if you are down that way, you might want to check it out.

That is all for now. I might get a more complete post in later today or tomorrow.

Happy Hunting.

Friday, July 23, 2010

7/23 Report - Front Beach Lightly Churned This Morning

Photo of Wabasso Beach This Morning.

I wanted to see what was going on as the seas increased. The most promising place that I found, not only today but in recent weeks, is Wabasso.

There was a coin hole that was easy to find but not too easy to work. It was low on the beach in some pretty rough water.

If you don't know, an oval shaped area containing a dense collection of coins, is what I call a coin hole. This one seemed to be getting replenished as I worked it. It mostly held quarters, except at the north edge, where there were a lot of pennies.

Higher on the beach you could see a cut and a few pealing layers of sand.

All of the coins were modern, but I still enjoyed working it.

I saw about three other detectorists there this morning. There were a lot of guys out today. I saw at least one person detecting at every beach that I visited.

Unfortunately my photo does not show the cut. I should have taken a photo of the hole, but once I get into working a hole, I don't take time out for anything else.

Photo of Turtle Trail This Morning.

Here is the beach by Turtle Trail. There were some very small scalloped cuts, but nothing promising at all.

If I were to rate the overall condition of the Treasure Coast beaches based upon what I saw this morning, I would have to stick with my 1 (poor) rating.

My rating system does not provide an estimate of finding modern coins or jewelry. It describes the conditions for finding treasure coins.

If I were to rate the beaches for finding modern items, the rating would be higher than a 1.

There was some movement of sand along the beach fronts. Some beaches more than others. It usually depends heavily upon the angle that the waves hit the beach.

In the case of Wabasso, the sand that was eroding was dredged sand that was recently dumped there. Dredged or dumped sand generally erodes first. For one thing, it is in an unnatural location and protrudes out into the waves and currents without the protection on the north and south that would be present on a natural beach. And secondly, it is usually of a different composition.

On another topic, here is a link to an article showing Mayan artifacts found in a tomb. How about those teeth?

Forecast and Conditions The front beach is being churned. As a result you might find some new coin lines or coin holes in the wet sand areas.

I as surprised by how many detectorits were out this morning. I guess everybody was getting tired of waiting for good conditions and went out at the first sign of some activity.

If the surf web sites are right, the waves will peak at about five feet this evening and then drop back to around three feet tomorrow.

I don't think that is going to improve the chances of finding cobs very much. Any movement, especially on the front beach improves the chances a little, but in this case it is very little.

If you haven't been reading my blog very long, I need to tell you that my five point rating scale goes from 1 to 5. I start with a 1 instead of a zero, because there is always some chance, no matter how low the probabilities.

As you probably know by now, Bonnie is going to stay south of us. We'll not get the good long northeast winds that we need.

Happy hunting,

Thursday, July 22, 2010

7/22 Report - Detecting Cobs

Common Small Silver Cob Found on Treasure Coast Beach.

The photo shows a worn half reale like you might find on a Treasure Coast beach. You can get an idea of its size by comparing it to the coin holder.

You don't need a super metal detector to find cobs. People who haven't found their first treasure coin tend to wonder if their detector is capable of finding treasure coins. If they've found regular coins and everything else but treasure coins, sometimes they think their detector just won't find cobs, and sometimes they think they need a better detector to find cobs. The more likely reason that they haven't found a cob yet, is either, they just haven't been in the right place at the right time, or they use too much discrimination.

I've found cobs with at least five or six different detectors. And I've eye-balled cobs. A couple of those detectors are what I would call super-detectors, but the others are quite common, and one is about twenty-five years old, so it was obviously not one of the latest and greatest, yet I still use it at times, and it does a fine job. It is especially good for locating small pieces of precious metals.

If you are in the right spot at the right time, nearly any of the detectors made by any of the major manufacturers will find cobs.

Here is a test that I often tell people to use. Get an old silver dime and cut it in quarters. Put one piece on the ground and if your detector can detect that piece of silver it will probably detect most any cob that you might come across.

If you are worrying about depth, don't. Most cobs that are found on the beach (I would say 90%.) are found in the top three inches of sand, and many of them are laying within the top inch of sand or even in plain sight.

You might have heard about how people used to walk along after a storm and visually find pieces of eight and skip them into the ocean. I've eye-balled a few myself.

When conditions are right, the cobs that are left on the beach after a storm are generally near the surface.

I would advise doing the test described above. If you have a small half reale, use that, otherwise use a cut dime.

If you are dead set on finding gold and don't care about silver cobs, use a small gold test object. (Warning: finding a gold escudo on the beach is much harder and infrequent than finding a silver reale, although it does happen.)

Also, check your sweep speed. Put the test object on the ground, and move your coil over it. Adjust your discrimination until you are clearly detecting the test object. My preference is to use absolutely no discrimination. When cobs are on the beach, you generally don't need discrimination and you won't want to miss any other objects.

After adjusting your settings to get the best response to the test object, change your sweep speed. Move the coil faster and slower over the object until you find the speed that gives the clearest response. Do that until you know exactly how fast to move your coil, and use that speed in the field when you hunt.

People sometimes sweep way too fast or slow to get the best response. After discrimination, sweep speed can be one of the biggest problems.

Here is an article that I thought was just plain fun. It's about the weird stuff that can be found on the bottom of the Hudson River. One thing mentioned is 1600 silver bars.

Here is the link.

Has anybody ever found any of the treasure supposedly lost by Montezuma?

A four-pound gold bar found at a construction site in Mexico City in 1981 is claimed to be part of the Montezuma hoard, which was lost in 1520 and never recovered.

From Kovels Komments: "Never use metal polishes to clean ormolu or gilded metal parts. Polish will remove the top layer of color, the gold. Use ammonia instead."

Forecast and Conditions. The tropical wave to our southeast does not look like it will develop much. More importantly, it looks like it will stay down south. That means it probably won't bring us any northeast winds to speak of.

It looks like the seas will increase to about five feet on Friday. That probably won't be enough to change the currently poor conditions significantly.

And just in time for hurricane season, one of the Florida Shipweck Metal Detector Treasure Maps is now listed on eBay.

Happy hunting,

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

7/21 Report - Reading a Beach & Sand Layers

Photo of Beach Showing High Tide Marks for the Last Two High Tides.

I haven't talk much lately about how to read a beach. I do intend to write an entire chapter on the subject but have only begun that.

In the above photo you can see where the last high tide removed a few inches of sand. And above that, you can see where the previous high tide had previously removed a few inches. The result is a couple of steps on the beach front. (The steps appear as light lines in the photo.)

I found a coin line that ran parallel to the last tide mark. The coins were all less than one foot above the bottom tide line and less than one foot below the bottom tide line. That is a pretty tight line - only two feet wide.

I haven't talked much about coin lines lately. If you are relatively new to this blog, you might want to do a keyword search of the blog using the phrase "coin line."

I often mention the different layers of sand. Here is a photo of a hole on the same beach showing a couple inches of light grey sand on top of a deeper layer of brown shell fragments. The grey sand contained modern coins, while the brown shell layer contained corroded older objects.

It will help you if you can identify the different layers of sand on a beach and where they came from.

In another story, while checking the bottom of the Delaware River for shipping hazards, a cheval-de-frise was discovered. If you don't already know, a cheval-de-frise is a log with a metal point placed stickig up from the bottom of waterways to damage enemy ships. They remind me very much of the large concrete obstacles placed along the Treasure Coast for WW II landing craft exercises even though the WW II obstacles were shaped more like jacks.

Anyhow, here is the link to the story about the discovery of the cheval-de-frise.

As I've been saying, there is a lot of stuff under the water of our rivers and streams.

You might remember the 400 year old shipwreck that surfaced on a North Carolina beach in April. I mentioned it a couple of times in this blog. Now it has been moved to the Hatteras Museum where it can be viewed.

Forecast and Conditions. Detecting conditions on the Treasure Coast are still poor. The projected increase for the seas on Friday seems to be moderating.

The tropical disturbance is moving slowly westward. There is at least a 60% chance that it will develop into a cyclone in the next 48 hours. If I were to guess, this is going to stay south of us, and as a result, not do much to our beaches. Of course, I could be wrong. There are some models that show it going north of us. That might do our beaches some good.

Only time will tell.

Happy hurting,

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

7/20 Report - Exploring Rivers and Streams & Treasure Coast Conditions

I heard that a couple of guys were arrested for breaking into cars at Walton Rocks. Evidently robberies had also occurred at other South Hutchinson Island beach accesses and some in the Vero area.

I mentioned recently that the Treasure Coast area is not a bad area for crime, but as this shows, things do happen.

When is underwater archaeology not underwater archaeology? When it is not underwater.

I know that all sounds like nonsense, but not all sites that were once underwater are still underwater.

In this blog not too long ago I mentioned how the term underwater archaeology usually refers to ocean or marine archaeology. I just read a scientific paper that said the same thing.

That's too bad considering the fact that many rivers and streams have barely been explored. In Florida, our navigable waterways are state property and so are any old objects found in those waterways. Yet, in my opinion, old waterways are some of the most fruitful ground for underwater archaeology.

Of course there are some sites, such as some of the springs, streams and rivers in North Florida, where the ancient stream beds have been well studied, but for the most part the rivers and streams present unique challenges which the treasure salvors generally haven't solved for the archaeological community. As the paper that I just finished reading mentions, rivers often have strong currents and low visibility to deal with. Most people aren't ready to deal with that on top of everything else. I'd like to give some hints on how to conduct a systematic search in streams like that, but don't have the time to do it now.

But getting back to my riddle,"When is underwater archaeology not underwater archaeology," there are times when what was underwater is not longer underwater. Water levels change and the paths of streams naturally change over time. On top of the work of natural forces, man often changes the flow of water and water levels.

In the paper that I read (link provided below), they present a topographic map that shows a river that was rerouted by man, but you can also see places where the river had been rerouted by nature.

It doesn't really matter how the stream got rerouted, the fact is that the old riverbed is now either under a quiet little pool or under dry earth.

Did you catch the significance of that? You can dig down and excavate a stream bed where there is nothing but dry land now.

You might have seen photos of the shipwreck in the excavation for the World Trade Center, or perhaps the shipwrecks found under the city of San Francisco, or any of a variety of other places.

Maybe you've read where a man found a Spanish galleon using Google Earth in a dry river bed in Texas. He hasn't been allowed access to the area by the owner of the land. Interesting case. I'll have to look up the link again. I posted it once.

Here is the link to the scientific article that I was talking about. There are a lot of good hints in it.

I'll have to wind up that topic for now and continue it some other time.

Yesterday I mentioned that you can get waterproof cases to put your wallet and things in to keep them dry while detecting. Mitch K. wrote in and said that the local Wal-Mart has cases like that in the hunting/fishing department. Two sizes are available.

Forecast and Conditions. I got out and checked a few spots this morning. One swimming beach had a good many coins in the dry sand - more than I would have expected.

Another spot looked interesting this morning. The front of the middle beach had been dragged down to the front beach, and some of the front beach had been dragged out into the water. There were a lot of older target found there. I was getting into some older sand that hadn't been disturbed for quite a while.

So even though conditions are still poor overall, there are some interesting spots to explore.

I also found a few small cuts. They weren't productive, as is often the case with cuts produced by southeast winds, but it is a start.

There is now a tropical wave near Peurto Rico which has a %40 chance of becoming a cyclone. There is some chance that it will affect our Treasure Coast beaches.

According to the surf web sites, the seas will remain at about 4 feet until Friday when there will be an increase up to about 6 feet Friday night. That could make the weekend a little interesting.

If you check out the beaches now to find any spots where anything positive is happening, then you will know where to check first this weekend after the seas increase.

Six feet is normally minimal for improving conditions. It will also depend upon the direction of the wind and waves.

This, along with the tropical wave, is worth watching.

Happy hunting,

Monday, July 19, 2010

7/19 Report - Dug Iron Items & Treasure Hunting Tips

Four Pieces of Iron Junk Found on a Treasure Coast Beach.

You might wonder why I'm showing junk. Well, sometimes junk isn't just junk. Sometimes junk can lead you to treasure.

A piece of junk can supply information that is more valuable than any single piece of treasure. But in order for junk to be valuable, you have to get the information out of it.

One reason I highly recommend browsing a wide variety of types of artifacts is so you will be able to recognize them when you see them.

I was once detecting a small island in the West Indies and found a small twisted piece of iron. A few inches away I found a small rectangular piece of stone. If I found those items today, I would immediately recognize them, but this was years ago and when I found those items I didn't recognize them and as a result probably was less successful that day than I could have been if I realized what they were.

Maybe you've guessed already. The piece of iron was a corroded piece of a musket, (the piece that would hold the flint) and the stone was the flint.

There is no doubt that I would recognize those items today if I dug them up today, but that was the first time I ever dug up items like that. If I had recognized them at the time, I would have known to spend more time at that site, and who knows what else I would have found.

I still regret the fact that I wasn't smart enough to even keep that flint, which brings me to another point. Keep finds that you don't recognize until you have time to research them. Keeping an item for a while will seldom be a problem, but you might regret throwing something away, especially when you learn what it is.

Sometimes you'll run across a picture or something that will help you identify an item, or maybe you'll just put things together in your head and you'll figure out what the item is. That happened to me recently. I had a strange piece of a fossil, and one day when I wasn't thinking about it or anything, I just suddenly realized that it was a small mammal skull.

I couldn't identify any of the four pieces of iron shown in today's photo when I first dug them up. After bringing them home and doing a little light cleaning, I have figured out two of them.

The one on the top left, I think is a hinge. I haven't yet found any features on it that tell me anymore than that. I need to do some more research on that one.

The item under it, you might be able to see, is a folding knife. It became obvious after a litte light cleaning. Often a hose with a nozzle is enough to help clean off the surface concretion.

The knife is certainly nothing special. It is a very common type of knife. I probably have dug about a dozen similar ones. I know the knife isn't real old, so that is something important that I now know, and it will help me evaluate the site that it came from.

The other two items still need some cleaning and research.

To summarize my main points. (1) Become familiar with as many different types and ages of items as you can. (2) Even junk can provide information that will help lead you to treasure. And (3) don't throw items away until you are sure what they are.

On another subject, did you ever take a long walk with your detector and get caught in a rain storm? And did your wallet, money, and everything in the wallet get soaked? That has happened to me.

Your cell phone or other electronic devices could get soaked too if they aren't protected.

Or maybe you wanted to do some water hunting, but didn't want to leave your wallet in the car. But what do you do?

Here is one solution - special waterproof cases of various sizes.

I am not associated with the site in any way, but just thought it was a useful tip to pass along.

Here are some facts sent in by Jim M. He got them out of Florida’s Golden Galleons, by Burgess and Clausen.


The Admiranta Ship, the Santo Cristo de San Roman

The Capitana Ship, the Nuestra Senora De la Regla

Both carried a combined total of 1,222824 Pesos of Royal Treasure. In addition, the San Roman carried 2,076,004 pesos in silver for private interests. The Regla carried 8,076 small chests and sacks of silver coins plus 62 chests of gifts, etc..

The Urca de Lima - Carried 252,171 pesos of privately registered silver.

The Nuestra Senora de las Nieves - Carried 44,000 pesos in coined silver and bullion.

Forecast and Conditions. The tropics are heating up. There are now two disturbances, each with a 20% chance of developing into a cyclone. The first is south of Cuba and probably will not affect the East Coast, and the other is southeast of Florida.

It looks like the seas will be around four feet for the coming week. I don't expect conditions to change significantly in that time period.

I have some prettier pictures to show you in the future.

My writing isn't very good today, but I think you can make out what I am saying. Sometimes it comes more easily than others. My purpose is to put the information out there, so I won't worry much about making it fancy.

Happy hunting,

Saturday, July 17, 2010

7/17 Report - St. Augustine Shipwreck & Expensive Tiffany Ring Found by Scuba Diver

Photo of Cauldron Found on Shipwreck Near St. Augustine.

You'll find the link to that story below.

An 18th century shipwreck was found in the excavation at the site of the Twin Tower at the World Trade Center in New York. The news article has some really good photos. If you haven't already seen the article, here is the link.

You can find shipwrecks and artifacts in the strangest places.

Closer to home, a cauldron from a shipwreck off of St. Augustine has been recovered from what is reputed to be a virgin shipwreck that had been buried completely under sand.

Here is a link for video and text on that.

On another story, a scuba diver that heard about the loss of a $7000 engagement ring in a lake spent three days looking for it. He found it, returned it, and was rewarded $750.

Here is the link to that story.

I need to clear up one thing. Yesterday I advised caution and mentioned that there are some beach areas where crime frequently occurs. I should have mentioned that the high crime beach areas that I was thinking about are not on the Treasure Coast. The Treasure Coast beaches, as far as I know, are pretty safe. I've never had any problem there. I am sure that things do happen occasionally in the beach accesses from time to time, but relatively speaking, the Treasure Coast beaches are pretty safe.

The really bad areas that I am familiar with and was thinking about when I wrote yesterday, are down around Miami. So I wanted to clear that up and still remind you to play it safe even though the Treasure Coast beaches are much better than some further south.

Forecast and Conditions. IF the surf web sites are correct, the seas will increase to 4 or 4.5 feet on Monday. That is a little improvement but probably not enough to improve conditions much.

If you've been reading this blog very long, you know that I believe that one of the most important factors in determining beach conditions is the direction of the wind. North/northeast winds seem to cause the most erosion and result in the most productive cuts. Other winds can cause erosion at times, but the erosion is generally less, and even when the erosion is pretty significant, in most cases the cuts will not contain as many cobs as cuts caused by northeast winds.

I've talked a bit about my theory on that but won't get into it now.

Happy hunting,

Friday, July 16, 2010

7/16 Report - Treasure Hunter Murdered & Cannons for Sale

Photo of Bronze Rail Cannon for Sale on Ebay.

More about that below.

You've probably heard me say that you should keep anything remotely valuable in a bank safe deposit box. That is what I do. And you might remember me telling about Dave who had a jar full of cobs stolen from his car trunk.

Take good care of your finds, but also be cautious when detecting. Some areas are more dangerous than others. There are some areas where you could almost bet that your car would be broken into if you left it unattended while detecting for any length of time. People used to advise only driving a broken down piece of junk to that type of area and not leaving anything in it, except maybe a pet rattle snake.

If you hunt in a dangerous place, especially at night, it might not be a bad idea to have a partner. But even that might not help in some situations.

By the way, a good long-handle stainless steel scoop can have more than one use. In a pinch it can be used to create human melon balls.

What prompted all of that is an article on the murder and robbery of a treasure hunter that might have had $200,000 worth of gold and artifacts on board their boat. His son and wife were also seriously injured in the robbery.

Among other things, Bo Kjaer-Olsen was known to have found the wreck of de Gouden Buys when he was diving for abalone and lobster in 1972. He recovered two bronze cannons and a few hundred gold coins and some engraved silverware which helped him positively identify the sunken ship.

The de Gouden Buys carried seventeen chests of gold coins, sixty-four bars of gold, and numerous bars of silver.

Here is the link if you'd like to read more about his finds and murder.

Thanks to Stephen Small for submitting this link.

On another topic, a small salvage vessel was blowing holes about two hundred yards out from John Brooks park yesterday. They were out closer to the gold fields than most of the recent efforts around there which were often focused closer to shore.

I noticed an interesting bronze rail cannon for sale on ebay recently (Shown in photo above.). I wanted to see if I could learn anything about where it came from and did some research. I didn't find anything on that specific cannon, but did find a site that sold a lot of cannons and learned that many cannons like the one on ebay came from Asia.

In the process I also found a site listing a bunch of cannons, including Spanish cannons, for sale.

It's good to browse things like that to increase your familiarity with artifacts, design features, and construction techniques and materials.

When you study objects like that you often learn something that has more general applicability.

Here is the llink to the site listing the cannons.

A few days ago I mentioned the high price of reference books and mentioned a couple of specific books. I received some emails mentioning buying used books, which is a good idea. Sometimes you can find them on sites like ebay,, and

The price of used and old history books is very low, while the price of used treasure and shipwreck books is generally somewhat higher, but still lower than the price of new books.

Forecast and Conditions. The wind is from the southeast and the seas are about three feet and not expected to change much of the next several days.

The tide was nice and low early this morning and even though conditions were not good, I was finding some older targets on the beach front where some rocks had been exposed.

Conditions will probably remain poor until we get some kind of storm.

Be safe,

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

7/14 Report - Cobs and Treasure Coins & Investing

Silver Gaming Token Found on Beach.

Before I get into my main topic today, I just decided to show this beach metal detector find.

Sometimes you find things that don't seem to make sense. This token was found in the wet sand area, and in the plastic holder, which evidently didn't leak at all. I don't know why anyone would be carrying this around on a beach in Florida, but evidently they did.

Now to the main topic.

The topic of cobs and treasure coins is a broad subject that is difficult to master. To me it seems so broad as to be impossible to master.

Most books seem to only scratch the surface, but I recently found one book that seems to offer a lot. It is Sewall Menzel's book, Cobs, Pieces of Eight and Treasure Coins: The Early Spanish-American Mints and their Coinages 1536-1773. It provides a lot of detail about the early Spanish mints at Mexico, Santo Domingo, Peru, Potosi, Panama, Santa Fe de Nuevo Reino (Bogota), Cartagena, Cuzco, Guatemala and Cuba and the coins produced at those mints. This book of 496 pages has two thousand photos and many diagrams of coins, which are identified by mint, king, denomination, mint assayer and type. It was pubished by the American Numismatic Society in 2004.

The lowest price I have found anywhere on this 2004 book is $125. I think that is more than most people would pay for a book that they don't really have to have.

Books cost so much these days that I almost always check them out at a library before buying. Sometimes I manage to get some nice books at a thrift store for one or two dollars, but you can't guarantee that you'll ever find what you want.

If you'd like to take a look, Menzel's book is available in the reference section of the Fort Pierce library. The call number is RF 737.49809.

I found an article that talks about purchasing treasure coins. The article takes a skeptical view of investing in cobs and treasure coins. The author is evidently a fan of collecting more traditional numismatics.

If you are interested in treasure coins, you'll probably disagree with some of what the article says. Nonetheless, it won't hurt to be familiar with the arguments presented even if you reject them. I believe some of the author's arguments are valid even though my overall conclusion is not exactly the same.

One thing that I think you should consider when thinking about investing in treasure coins is that over time more finds will be made and many previously rare coins will become more common.

On the other hand, and contrary to the author's general gist, I think the value of many treasure coins have held up extremely well over the years, particularly coins like those found and documented by the Fisher organization on famous wrecks such at the Atocha, which seem to me to bring a premium.

Here is a link to that article.

I had a chance to test out my repaired Excal II and it seems that Minelab did a fine job. Now all they need to do is improve the turn-around time.

Forecast and Conditions.

It looks like the increase in seas that I was expecting for today is now predicted for Friday. If the surf web sites are correct it looks like Friday and through the weekend seas will be around four to five feet. That is some improvement, but probably not enough to do anything other than churn up the front beach a little.

There is still nothing in the tropics that is likely to develop in the next few days.

Happy hunting,

Day 86 of the Gulf Oil Spill.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

7/13 Report - Treasure Coast Salvors & Gold Nugget Beach Find

Photo of Gold Nugget Found on Beach in May.

Photo submitted by Serge Lejois.

More about that another day.

I received a report of a gold nugget beach find on the Treasure Coast a couple of months ago.

The finds off of Indian River Shores continues. More gold coins and artifacts.

Here is another article about the that.

Yesterday I mentioned the experience of Luis Ortiz with the crew of the Gold Hound. I got permission to post his email. Here is part of it.

I've been an avid reader of your blog for about 3 months now. I find the info you submit most interesting and useful. I am just getting into MDing and make trips out to the treasure coast whenever life permits. I haven't done any detecting out on the beach but love to go out to the treasure coast and inspect the areas. My wife and I spent this past weekend out on the beach and on Saturday I got to experience the salvage vessel, Gold Hound, 10-15 yards off the beach working. We showed up to the same spot this morning and they were roughly 5 yards out. I sat on the beach and watched them like some sort of stalker. They blew a hole 5 yards from the beach some 10 feet deep. I witnessed them discover a 3 foot cannon and about 20 gold coins before we left. To my surprise they let me board their boat and let me check out the cannon and gold coins they had found (4 coins at the time)...

The experience was grand and though I was not searching for treasure myself I was just as excited for the crew of that boat. Can't wait for that location's beach to erode and give up its buried treasure.

Thanks for sharing Luis.

Luis mentions that the salvors were working only a few yards out.

I've been telling you about the dip in front of the beach. That is a common beach feature when the seas are relatively calm. Object tend to collect in front of the beach, but the turmoil and loose materials that accumulate on the front beach leaves the heavier items underneath.

If you were detecting that area, most precious metals would be under a few feet of sand, depending upon how long they were being churned.

When you see large pieces of shell filling the dip, you'll seldom be able to detect good targets. Sometimes you can, for example when they just got moved to the dip from either the beach or sand bar, but not usually.

If you detect a the dip of a swimming beach, you can often find watches in shell filled dips. They don't sink like a silver or gold coins. Zinc pennies will also be found not too deep in the dips.

I don't know if you've ever noticed, but detectors do not detect as deep in shells as in more densely packed sand.

If you are not in a lease area, you can actually move a lot of the top materials that you find in the dip. One thing that works is directing the wash of a dive scooter into the dip, of if you have a lot of energy, fanning. If you work during an outgoing tide and there is a current, fan along with the current.

If you are getting anywhere, you might see a change in the type of material filling the dip and sometimes even a change in color. If you really know the beach you are detecting, you might be able to identify where the material came from.

Sometimes there is just too much loose material to move.

Forecast and Conditions.

There is nothing going on in the tropics that might develop.

We have unusually high tides but little wave action. If the surf web sites are right, the seas will be increasing to about four feet by Friday and then slowly slacking off. Four foot seas won't do much to help out the poor conditions, but it will stir things up a little on the beach front.

Beach hunting isn't easy when you have summer conditions, but that is what we have. Sooner or later we're bound to have a little storm or something.

It's a good time to do some research or try some new things out. Maybe experiment with your detector a little or scout our some new areas.

I'll have more on some beach finds, probably in a day or two.

Happy hunting,

Monday, July 12, 2010

7/12 Report - Gold Hound & Encrusted Object

Encrusted Metallic Object from a Treasure Coast Wreck Beach.

It looks like it might be a religious medallion.

I got a nice email from a new detectorist about the captain and crew of the Gold Hound. The detectorist was just sitting and watching the crew work. The crew invited the detectorist, and his wife, I think, to go onboard where they were shown a small cannon and four gold coins that were found.

The detectorist was impressed by the kindness of the crew and totally enjoyed the experience. I wanted to mention that because some of the salvors are great guys and will share their joy of discovery.

I've mentioned Art McKee before. He was one of the early treasure seekers and was known for his willingness to share. Many are the stories of people who received private tours through his museum.

Treasure hunters need all the good PR they can get and sometimes they earn it.

Talking about the Gold Hound, they have a great web site that gives detailed scatter plots of some of the famous treasure shipwrecks on the Treasure Coast. The scatter plots are very detailed and interesting. I'm sure you'll benefit from taking a look.

Go to the homepage using the link below, and then scroll down to the map, and click on the individual shipwrecks to see the scatter plots.

A foundation of an old lighthouse was recently found on the shores of Lake Erie. It had been covered for years before recently being revealed.

Things get covered on a beach - sometimes to be uncovered after tens or hundreds of years. To me, that is what makes beach hunting so interesting. One day the door will be open and the next day closed.

I've mentioned a couple of times before how I worked one beach for two straight days and there were good targets in every square foot, and the second evening while I was working the area, I looked up at the clouds and saw a front coming through. When I returned the next day, there was not a target to be found. They had all disappeared over night.

That is how it goes sometimes. Sometimes the door is open for only for a few hours.

Make hay when the sun shines. Actually it's more likely to be windy and cloudy, but you get the point.

Gold traded under $12,000 an ounce for three straight sessions last week and the scrap gold buyers at the Indian River Mall were busy Sunday.

Silver fell back too, now trading under $18. Nineteen dollars an ounce may be a break-through point to watch.

Many are saying that silver is a very good investment at these prices. I think that is probably right, but who knows?

Forecast and Opinions. It still looks like the seas will be increasing to about 2 or 3 feet by Wednesday or Thursday. That isn't much. The tides going to be higher than normal too. Too bad there won't be higher waves.

Nothing in the tropics that is likely to develop either.

It's just sandy summer conditions that we have to deal with.

Happy Hunting,

Day 84 of the Gulf Oil Spill, and our government is really on top of it.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

7/11 Report - Treasure Companies & Stuff

I've previously discussed the Fishers selling the salvage rights to the 1715 Fleet, but I don't remember if I provided a link for additional details. I don't think so.

So here is the link.

Thanks to David M. for submitting the link.

I also got some emails asking about Kip Wagner and the Real Eight Company.

Here is a link to Kip Wagner's story.

And you can actually purchase a stock certificate to the Real Eight Company.

Here is that link.

The water is nice and flat which is good for the salvors. I understand they are finding things now.

I sent a Minelab detector in for warranty service. They received the detector on July 24. I just received it back on 7/10. I've heard complaints about their turn-around time and it isn't great, but it does appear that they did not skimp and did a good job on repairs. I do think they should improve on the amount of time it takes to get repairs done.

I always like to have a spare detector and would recommend that to anyone who is serious about detecting. You'd kick yourself in the pants if we finally had level 4 or 5 beach conditions and your detector as not working or out for repairs.

You could even use a second hand detector for a back-up, but as I've said, buying a second hand detector probably isn't the best idea for a beginning detectorist unless you have someone who will demonstrate it for you before you buy.

That 1715 Fleet buckle that I posted a couple of days ago got a bid of $150 so far. Not bad. I wonder if I should get a commission.

Forecast and Conditions.

The seas are very calm, which is good for diving and snorkeling but not so good for detecting the beaches. In fact beach conditions are poor.

I would check out the dips that can be found along many of the Treasure Coast beaches, and check the shell piles at low tide.

The tides are higher than normal now, but of course, they are coupled with calm seas.

There is nothing in the Atlantic that looks like it might develop.

The surf web sites are predicting a slight increase in seas around the middle of next week. It won't be much. But it's worth watching.

I posted this quickly and hope it is readable. I'll take a look and fix it later if I get a chance.

Happy hunting,

Friday, July 9, 2010

7/9 Report - 1715 Fleet Shoe Buckle from South of Fort Pierce

Brass Buckle from Nieves Shipwreck Site.

This buckle as found on a 1715 Fleet site near Douglass Beach and was recently listed on ebay. You might want to take a look.

Here is an interesting story. A man loaned the Ohio Historical Society an old carved stone tablet that he found as a boy. As he nears the end of his life, he wants the tablet to go to a museum in Parkersburg near where he lived. The Ohio Historical Society claims that the man donated the artifact to them and will not return it although they are unable to show any paperwork concerning the loan or gift.

If that is how museums and historical societies conduct business these days, and I assume that our Florida organizations are much better than that, then you better get a written statement concerning any conditions you want included when you loan or donate an item.

Too bad the Ohio Historical Society won't honor a donor's requests, especially when it is going to another museum.

I would say that one thing that creates bad feelings is when museums or societies want an artifact but when they get it do little with it other than store it in a dusty basement for years. Most people who appreciate artifacts would have little hesitation in loaning or donating items when they know those items are going to be studied or displayed.

Here is the link to the Ohio/W. Va. story.

By the way, that is a very nice artifact.

A man with a metal detector found a cache of 52,000 Roman coins in a container. It's exciting to find a small cache. Imagine finding thousands of coins.

Here is a link to that story.;_ylt=AtNP.ERuoipsU2IMRGpg62qs0NUE;_ylu=X3oDMTNydDBlbHE1BGFzc2V0A2FwLzIwMTAwNzA4L2V1X2JyaXRhaW5fcm9tYW5fY29pbnMEY2NvZGUDbW9zdHBvcHVsYXIEY3BvcwMxMARwb3MDNwRwdANob21lX2Nva2UEc2VjA3luX2hlYWRsaW5lX2xpc3QEc2xrA3VrdHJlYXN1cmVodQ--

The above link was submitted by Ed B.

And here is another link.

Forecast and Conditions.

The wind is from the northeast and the seas are very calm. Conditions remain poor with no relief in sight.

With the calm seas, you might consider some water hunting if you aren't in the wreck lease areas.

Happy Hunting,

Day 81 of the Oil Spill.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

7/8 Report - Fossil Hunting Permit & Florida West Coast Treasure Stories

I received some questions about fossils and fossil hunting after posting some photos of some beach finds. As a result I thought I would follow up on that topic.

If you are walking along a beach and just happen to notice a fossil, nothing is required. On the other hand, if you are involved in the systematic collection of fossils on land leased or owned by the State of Florida, which includes waterways such as the Peace River, you should apply for a permit by completing a Florida Fossil Permit Application and mailing it to the Florida Program of Vertebrate Paleontology, Florida Museum of Natural History, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida 323611-700.

The application must be accompanied by some acceptable form of identification and $5.00.

The permit is good for one year. Multiple user permits are available for group leaders.

As well as being inexpensive, a fossil permit does not require much other than reporting any unusual specimens or sites, and submission of a list of vertebrate fossils collected during the permit year along with information on where the fossils were collected.

The Program of Vertebrate Paleontology has sixty days to request donation of reported fossils of special interest. Most fossils would not be of interest to them, so they are released to the finder. I think that is quite reasonable. It gives them a chance to claim fossils that might actually contribute important new information, but otherwise collectors relatively free reign.

Of course you also have to respect private property.

I've found the State fossil people to be friendly and helpful.

I also received some questions about detecting on the West Coast of Florida. I don't have enough good information to provide answers to all of those questions, and it is outside the scope of this blog. Nonetheless, I will say that the West Coast of Florida has a lot of history and many good beaches for detecting. There are many stories of pirates and found treasures from the West Coast. I have done some detecting over there, but not a lot.

If you are a person that travels to detect, I can recommend the West Coast. When beach conditions are not good on the Treasure Coast, they often are on the West Coast.

On the Treasure Coast, we especially like Northeast winds. On much of the West Coast, the beaches will more often erode from Northwest winds. So if you like to travel, you might find yourself splitting time between the two coasts.

The Panhandle is also different and will benefit from the wind hitting from other directions. I have done a good bit of detecting in Pensacola since I often traveled there on business.

There are some good detecting spots up that way. Old shipwreck coins are sometimes found at Alligator Point for example.

If you pay attention to the wind, you can usually find a decent spot somewhere within an hours drive, if you are willing to make the trip.

I've said this a number of times, but there is always somewhere to hunt and something to find.

Back to the West Coast of Florida, you probably know the stories about pirates such as Gasparilla. Not all of those stories are true, yet a number of nice treasure caches have been found over there. It is certainly worth looking at.

Here is an article that will help you weed out some of the stories that are fictional.

Let me say again, even though some of the common stories are fictional, there have been a lot of good treasure finds over there and there are some very good places to detect over there.

Up north, the search is on for the HMS Diana, the first British warship lost to the Americans.

Here is the link to that story.

Forecast and Conditions. I'm in a hurry today and will keep this brief. Nothing much new anyhow.

Conditions remain poor and does not appear to be anything in the tropics that would chang that for at least the next few days.

It is a good time to take a trip of at explore a little.

Happy hunting,

Day 80 of the Oil Spill.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

7/7/10 Report - Shipwreck Buried Off St Augustine & Old Jewelry

A 17th Century Spanish brooch made of gold and pearls.

A Colonial era shipwreck called Storm was found buried off of St. Augustine not far from the wreck of the Industry. As I read about the exploration of this shipwreck, I was concerned by the techniques being used. One was described as "Archeology by Braille." They also mentioned dredging. Neither of those techniques would seem to be optimal for obtaining the maximum amount of information from this valuable archaeological site. What about griding and mapping?

I might use the "braille" method when trying to recover an item that keeps getting reburied by the waves in the low tide zone as I dig, but those are isolated items. They are talking about an entire buried shipwreck.

By the way, an alternate to what they describe as the braille method when digging items that you can't uncover in the sand and water at low tide, is to take a large circumference bucket without a bottom and place it down in the sand to keep the hole from refilling as you dig. Of course, that will only work for smaller targets.

Here is the link to the article. I think you'll find it interesting.

Here is a nice article written by Augie Garcia of Sedwick Coins on the Star of Lima cobs.

Here is a web site that will help you learn to identify antique jewelry of different historic periods. You probably know how difficult it is to identify the age of found items. You can learn a lot about identify the age of items by studying collections.

And here is a webs site that shows a lot of Georgian Period jewelry. The Georgian period is between 1714 and 1837. That of course, is the period immediately after the wreck of the 1715 Fleet.

You might want to study the design characteristics and construction techniques of the period.

Forecast and Conditions. An east wind has the seas up around 3.5 to 4 feet, but decreasing for the next day or two and then remaining calm for a few days. Of course, that could change.

I suspect that any dips in front of the beach will deepen a little today and shells and light materials will be revealed at those spots during low tide.

There are no significant disturbances in the Atlantic now. Only one in the Gulf.

You'll really have to work for any old finds as conditions remain poor for at least a few days.

Happy hunting,

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

7/6 Report - Gorget Found on Jupiter Wreck

The big news circulating on the treasure coast this week is the find of an Indian gorget on the Jupiter wreck site. I was already entering that news into today's post when I got an email with some great links from Tom Gidus, who is working on the salvage crew there.

The gorget might provide new information concerning early Indian trade routes. It is dated back from two to ten thousand years. Although I am not as confident as some on the accuracy of the dating techniques, we can safely say it is real old.

The funny thing is that the Mel Fisher group out of Key West found a gorget not too long ago. They speculated that an Indian might have lost it while salvaging the wreck. Who knows?

Here is the link to that.

And back to the Jupiter news.

Tom says,

"Our crew just found a rare Indian artifact on the shipwreck site but the two events are not is 350 years old, the other 3000 years old!

A sideline to this story was that Dom's wife just found a native American artifact while on her walk through the same general area.

It pays to keep your eyes open for anything unusual when walking the beaches or known historical places."

Here are the links to the Jupiter gorget story that Tom sent me.

Just the other day I mentioned that artifacts get intermingled with wrecks, and it is often really difficult to say if a given artifact has anything to do with a specific wreck. In this case, as Tom says, it would seem that the gorget has nothing to do with the wreck. But who can say if an artifact that was handed down generation after generation didn't end up in the hands of explorers or in the hands other people associated with the wreck. Maybe it's not likely, but it's not impossible either.

People of any time period sometimes carry old things. I think it was just two days ago that I showed a 1928 coin that was found on a beach. By the condition of that coin, I think most people would find it hard to believe that the coin spent much time on the beach. But since people do sometimes carry around old things,I would say it is possible that it was old by the time it was lost.

Like I said the other day, it is often hard to know exactly how an item ended up where it is found.

When you are talking about old items in ocean environments, they tend to be sifted together and eventually reach a place where they stay, or at east pause, as they meet resistance or are completely trapped. That can mean old things of different ages, even different centuries, can end up together.

Since we're on the topic of thousands of years old items, I'll show something different than what I was going to show today. I was going to show jewelry, but decided to show things that are possibly tens of thousands of years old. The photo today shows some fossils that were found on a beach while metal detecting

One another topic, things don't have to be either old or gold to be valuable. Here is a 1969 penny that was found in a bank roll that is worth $40,000 to $100,000. Watch your pocket change and detector finds.

It pays to learn as much as you can and to be alert.

I was going to talk about Spanish Colonial jewelry today, but I'll do that some other time.

Forecast and Conditions.Conditions are not good, yet if you use your head you can find a few things. The seas were a little rougher today and will increase to about four feet tomorrow. Still what I would call poor conditions.

There was a long dip running along much of the beach today that might be worth checking out.

After tomorrow the seas are predicted to be calmer again and for the following few days.

Happy hunting,

I put this post together very quickly and I found I needed to go back and clean it up. It's still far from perfect, as you can easily see. But I did get it done.

Day 77 of the Oil Spill.

Monday, July 5, 2010

July 5, 2010 Report - Joy of Discovery & The Federalist

Jupiter Inlet.

I posted an image of the wrong inlet in my July 2nd post. I was talking about Jupiter, but that isn't the inlet that I posted. The image that I posted that day was actually the Lake Worth inlet.

I didn't post yesterday because I was eating hot dogs etc. and thought everyone else would be too. I was surprised by how many people visited this site on the 4th.

Here is the Jupiter inlet. You can see the same effect that was illustrated in the image of the Lake Worth inlet. The sand on the north side of the inlet and protrudes further to the east than the sand on the south side of the inlet where they constantly replace the sand and lose it almost as quickly.

Talking about the Jupiter Inlet, here is a bunch of great photos from the past showing steamboats, sailing boats, fishing, and all kinds of neat pictures.

One picture shows a bunch of young people with shovels reopening the inlet.

Have you seen anyone move anything more than a teacup full of dirt with a shovel in the last decade?

Well, here is the link.

And here is web site which describes an underwater survey of the river near Mount Vernon. That in my opinion is a smart move. A considerable amount of attention has been directed to ocean wrecks, but I think for archaeology, river sites probably hold more promise, especially those near active historical sites.

One thing they hope to find in the Potomac near Mount Vernon is is a miniature ship, The Federalist), that was presented to George Washington.

Here is the link.

I thought the discussion of the underwater archaeology of the Potomac provided a some good clues for anyone interested in finding old things no matter where you are located.

We all know that if it wasn't for the treasure salvage efforts that brought so much attention to shipwreck salvage, underwater archaeology would not be nearly what it is today. It probably would be virtually non-existent.

And here is what I feel is the most important thing I have to offer today even though you might not see it's immediate relevance. It is a video of Dr. Hawass, one of the superstars of archaeology, describing a life transforming moment. Although he works in Egypt, the moment he describes will be recognized and shared by anyone who loves to discover things. At it's core, it is really the act of self-discovery.

Self-discovery is what education is about. In discovering something exciting in their world, a person discovers another part of self.

Educators in all fields should be helping others to personally experience those life changing moments that inspire the love of discovery. But too many educators are not familiar with that the joy of discovery. As a result can't pass it on.

I've known for some time that there is a hidden motive in this blog for me. It is not that I am intentionally hiding my real motivation, but that I don't fully realize what it is. Perhaps the reason I haven't recognized it, is that it is still evolving. I can only sense it as it prods me and guides the me as I write.

I know that my hope for this blog has more to do with the type of moment that Dr. Hawass describes in that video. I sometimes think of writing about the need for transformation in our educational system, but don't think this blog is the best place to do it.

We do need parents and educators and leaders in this world that have deeply experienced the joy of discovery and cherish it. Parents, educators and other readers who are not intimately familiar with that experience can not bring the best out of others.

That is all I'll say about that for now.

You might want to browse around that web site and you'll find another video focusing on underwater archaeology of the Nile.

Forecast and Conditions.Conditions are poor on the Treasure Coast. It seems most of the beaches in St. Lucie County have been pretty well picked over. We've been having a little rain, so I trained my eyes for a little eye-balling and found some fossils, sea glass and a small piece of pottery. I only found one spot that had some older metallic objects. I had to leave some of it behind because it was trapped in large rocks.

The surf web sites are predicting two to three foot seas for the next several days. That won't help much. However, down by the Yucatan there is a disturbance that has a 40% chance of becoming a cyclone and out in the eastern West Indies is a wave that now has a 10% chance of developing into a cyclone. I suspect the first will go into the Gulf, and the second is too far away to speculate about. Maybe in a few days we'll know more about that one.

So here we are, stuck with what seems to be eternal poor conditions. Some day it will change and we'll get a better shot at some of old shipwreck items again.

Until then,
Happy hunting,

Day 76 of the Oil Spill.