Thursday, March 31, 2011

3/31/11 Report - Olive Jar Info & Links

Photo This Morning.

This morning it looked like a few crates were loaded from the platform boat to the smaller boat and at least two people boarded the platform from the small boat.

Those crates moved to the barge the other day looked heavy.

A few days ago I showed a picture of an olive jar that was recently brought up from the Atocha. That reminded me of the guy that found what he thinks might be ceramic olive jar stoppers. I've not been able to find any evidence that there were ceramic olive jar stoppers, and asked if anyone else knew of them. Kevin B. wrote in and gave some very good links to information on shipwreck ceramics.

One link Kevin provided was to a book that could be previewed in part through google books. The book is Pottery from Spanish Shipwrecks, 1500-1800, by Mitchell W. Marken.

Here is the link.

It seems that the olive jars that they have studied had cork stoppers, some of which have been found in place, and others found inside the jar, either whole or broken. When the jars sunk, the water pressure pushed the corks into the jars.

You can find some of this same information along with some nice illustrations by using the following link.

Talking of olive jars, one excerpt reads, The general shape of the mouth, a sloping “V”, indicates manufacture specifically for insertion of a cork. The 12 rims with corks still in place and neck/rim sherds support this hypothesis.

And here is a link to more information on olive jars from an Odyssey Marine web site.

One more excerpt. Olive jars typically carried a diversity of goods, much more varied than the name implies. Remnants of hazelnuts, olive pits and almonds were discovered in some of the vessels, and a chalky red stain on the interior of a few of the ceramic shards also suggests the jars may have contained a red ochre pigment or cochineal, a traditional red dye of pre-Hispanic Mexico. Next to gold and silver, cochineal became the most desired commodity imported from Middle America, and Spain established a monopoly in its trade. It is also likely the olive jars stored water and wine—a necessity for long sea voyages.

The cork seals imploded into the jars during the nearly 1,500-foot descent to the seabed...

There were also ceramic jars or containers other than those that are most correctly referred to as olive jars.

Anyhow, I think that provides some good information on olive jars. You can find a lot more if you want to browse the book.

Thanks Kevin!

In case you didn't know, you can sometimes find olive jar or other shipwreck ceramic sherds in the shell piles along the Treasure Coast.

Silver prices are doing well. Silver is now above $37.50 per ounce. Not bad.

Kovels Komments says, Silver has new status and name designers are using it with precious stones to create innovative designs. Silver jewelry is a better color than gold when worn with the neon colors being shown for spring. Pre-owned jewelry is considered chic now, so look for vintage silver jewelry to be higher-priced. Or could the sudden interest in new silver jewelry be the result of the high price of gold?

If you have been keeping some of those silver jewelry finds, it might be a good time to convert them to cash. I've seen some listings promoting oxidized silver. Cool!

If you dig (in more ways than one) old bottles, maybe you've found one with a glass stopper stuck in it. I have. One Kovels Komments reader said, My leaded glass decanter sat in my china cabinet for years. The glass stopper was stuck. I sprayed it with Liquid Wrench, waited a few days, no luck. Sprayed it again, waited a few more days, it opened!!

Good tip. I'll have to try it.

Something happened to the early votes that were already counted on the blog's survey. I know there were about nine that got somehow deleted today. Things don't seem to be acting quite right today.

I can't get the spell-checker to work either. Oh well. Who needs it?

Forecast and Conditions.

The wind is out of the southwest and the seas are calm. Most beaches on the Treasure Coast are building. There were, however, a few small cuts. The photo below shows one that I found this morning that was about a foot high at the most.

Photo of Small Cut This Morning.

The hole in front of the cut yielded only a deeply buried zinc penny.

It seemed that the water was more salty than normal. That happens sometimes. It can cause more false signals than normal in the wet sand areas when sweeping across previous water lines.

One way to diminish that is to sweep your coil north to south parallel to the water line instead of across the water line.

Conditions really haven't changed much for a while and the prediction is for continued calm seas. That means that beach conditions will not be changing significanty for the next few days.

I guess that is it for today.

Happy hunting,

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

3/30/11 Report - Silver Finger Bar

Silver Finger Bar with Markings.

This finger bar sold for $213 on eBay yesterday (Item no. 200590613134). It is 106 grams and was dug on the West Coast of Florida. I thought the story with the item description and the markings on the bar were interesting even if it did come from the other coast.

You might want to take a look.

Today I added a new poll to the blog asking what is the biggest silver real you have found on the beach. I hope you will take a minute to answer the question.

I was once again looking through Laura Stolia's book, The Marigalera of the 1715 Fleet. Very informative! I hope she soon gets some more chapters published as small books.

One day I talked about some factors that can be used to evaluate a beach. There are quite a few factors to take into account. If you have enough experience you can pretty much tell whether a beach will be good from just looking at it. But it also helps to do a little sampling. By sampling I mean running a loose pattern in different areas just to see what kinds of things are there. If the sample looks promising then tighten up your scan pattern and spend more time in the area.

Visual inspection isn't perfect, and neither is sampling, but both will help you to get a better idea about where to spend your time.

The more you get to know a particular beach, the better off you will be. And when I say know, I mean know in depth. To really know a beach, you should know where it is in comparison to where it was a year, two years or even ten years ago. The long term changes can sometimes be nearly as important as shorter term changes.

As I've mentioned, if a beach has a six foot cut, conditions would be very different if it was in a ten year accretion cycle instead of a ten year sand loss cycle. If a beach that was loosing a lot of sand over the years cuts, it will probably be much more productive. If the beach has been building over the years, a six foot cut is only cutting into relatively recent sand. That beach will not be nearly as productive.

I received this email a day or two ago from Victoria Smith from Ohio and obtained permission to post it. I only edited out a few questions that the writer asked me at the end of the email.

Here it is.

I wanted to share my story because it touches on your hometown coast. Mine is a love story grown through many years and a couple generations of treasure hunters. As a young girl my father encouraged my sense of adventure, and passed down his love of a good hunt. It was rare we could get a day to go detecting on an old farm or the city park, but those precious hours were some of the best memories of my childhood. I grew up and found myself separated by many states and many years when Dad moved to Florida in the 80’s and I raised my own family in Ohio, sharing the fun of detecting with the kids. But never did we lose the thrill or yearning for detecting together. Dad and I would trade stories, ideas and plan the ultimate challenge to one day go to the “Treasure Coast” and do a real hunt. Now mind you even with the research and reading we have done over the years, we are both realists and know its not laying on the beach in the sun. But still the idea has beckoned to us over the many years and has haunted our dreams like an undone promise….. And so we planned.

About six years ago I was struggling through the remains of a blustery Ohio winter with thoughts of sunshine and sand between my toes helping me pass the last days before travel. As the week drew to a close and I counted the hours until Dad and I could escape and hit some elusive spots to detect, a phone call came in the night. My much beloved Aunt who was here in Ohio had passed away. Suddenly everyone with whom I was to stay and enjoy the lovely warm weather with, would now be in Ohio in a matter of days. This visit and these days for treasure hunting were not to be this time around…. And so we planned.

Getting away to visit Florida is not always easy or economically feasible, but I had hopes and really wanted to find the time for Dad and I to hunt together. But as I contemplated a getaway, life threw it right out there, but not so much in a good way. Three years ago Dad had emergency heart surgery and a quick trip down left only a week of bedside waiting and only talks of the best beaches we would someday walk together. My prayers were only for his health. Not to be beaten, he made his way back and up and out in a matter of months and soon wrote he had constructed his own scoop to try out in the sands on my next visit….. And so we planned.

Last year on the week I planned to arrive I found my Grandmother was spending her last days in a comma, in Florida. I assured Dad I would certainly come even if we would not be able to travel across to the east coast, as that was too far from her. As we spent the precious hours that were hers, we sat sharing and remembering her wonderful life and took a few hours away each morning to walk the neighborhood beach. The ocean helped set aside our grief for a little while. At the end of my stay I quietly boarded a plan for Ohio knowing one of my greatest treasures had silently left my life. As I hugged Dad at the airport I promised that no matter what, next year, I would be back and we would really walk the treasure coast and hunt together…. And so we planned….

And with a much happier note and fingers crossed against fate, I can tell you that over Memorial Day very soon we are planning to make our dream finally come true and head your way. My Dad is a serious sort and has read about the wrecks, knows about leased areas and not detecting in water. He has spent his years in Florida reading up on the coast and tips for searching the sands. I have made reservations for us to stay in Sebastian and hunt the beaches in that area. I sent him to find your pages with maps so he can plan. With only two days we want to make the most of our time. I don’t get the chance to come down often and Dad is in his late 70’s. But for a woman who grew up making her sandbox a pirate boat and detecting the farm land around the backyard, two days on the treasure coast might as well be two in heaven.

Thanks for sharing Vickie!

While many of the readers of this blog are local, there are many from around the country and some from overseas. I decided to post this story for several reasons. One is that it speaks of more than one type of treasure. I started to sum up some of the important lessons you can get from this story, but I decided to let the story stand to speak for itself.

Maybe I will add one thing - "treasure hunting" is a great activity for parents and children to share.

Best wishes to you and your father Vickie. And the same to all of the individuals and families that pursue treasure in their own way.

Forecast and Conditions.

On the Treasure Coast conditions remain poor for finding shipwreck cobs. Not only have the beaches been building lately, but there has been a lot of building every since the 2004 hurricanes, both natural and unnatural. Of course, where the beach is not wide, it wouldn't take too much to change conditions there - especially if the water hits the back dunes.

Although, conditions for finding cobs are not bad, there is however still the possibility of finding some artifacts. I've seen evidence of artifacts on some of the beach fronts lately.

The water is going to be calm for the remaining week and into the weekend. That makes for easy water hunting (where allowed) and it also makes the low tide areas easily accessible.

Non-metallic items such as pot shards or fossils are also relatively easy to find when the shells get piled up on the beach.

And I should mention that there are a lot of tourists now, so some of the better tourist beaches should provide some fun.

Just a hunch, but I have a feeling we're going to get some good beach conditions before long.

Happy hunting,

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

3/29/11 Report - Ollive Jar & More Atocha Coins Found

Intact Olive Jar Just Found on Trail of the Atocha.

The Magruder is doing well on the trail of the Atocha since they moved to a new virgin area. They found the gold chain that I showed a few days ago, and then just the other day I received an email from the Fisher organization showing this olive jar that was recently found. The olive jar is complete and unbroken and had a few seeds inside. Most olive jars aren't in that good condition when found. It is 15 inches high.

They also just found 19 more silver coins.

Quite a while ago, one person said they thought they found olive jar stoppers and asked if anyone had seen such a thing. I didn't get any answers on that. If anyone knows of such a thing or can point to mention of olive jar stoppers, let me know.

The platform boat down by the power plant was moving a lot of large crates to a barge that was brought out by a tug boat this morning. There were probably a half dozen large crate that were moved to the barge this morning.

The survey is over now and what I found out is that a lot of the readers of this blog are very experienced, yet there are also a good number of new detectorists. 35% of the respondents have been detecting 10 years or more. And 33% of the respondents have been detecting from 2 to 5 years. But there are also a good number of new detectorists - 22%. For some reason there were only 8% of the respondents in the 5 to 10 year group. But in any case, there are a lot of very experienced detectorists here and also a lot of new detectorists.

Forecast and Conditions.

A Few of Today's Miscellaneous Junk Metal Finds.

The beaches were building today but still firm in places. The new sand was covering some of the old shell piles, and there were still some shell piles exposed.

Yesterday I talked about how rain can expose things, and this morning I went out to see what might have been exposed by yesterday's rain. I found a number of Ice Age fossil pieces that were uncovered, but no really nice ones.

Someone also wrote in and said they thought they found some petrified wood. That is definitely possible. It does happen.

I detected around the shell piles today and found a number of miscellaneous pieces of metal like the pieces of copper sheeting and iron shown in the photo above. It can be worth junking around in places like that because you can run across something interesting.

The curved piece of iron is thick and heavy and is rounded off like a worn piece of sea glass, but of course that isn't what it is. I can't quite figure it out.

The wind is out of the east and the sea is calm and will remain calm for a few days. I wouldn't mind some more heavy rain. I like eye-balling anyhow, and the rain helps.

You might want to muck around and in front of the shell piles while current conditions remain.

I don't expect much change for the next few days.

Happy hunting,

PS. If you are around north central Florida and like chicken, visit the following.

It is run by a friend of this blog.

Monday, March 28, 2011

3/28/11 Report - Finally Some Rain. It's Not All Bad

Cover of Coin Folder for Lincoln Pennies.

One thing that you might like to do is to get some of these coin folders. They are available for different denominations and different periods. Some of the folders have unlabeled slots and others, like the one I am showing below, is labeled with slots for each year and mint.

When you have folders like this, it will encourage you to go through your common coin finds to look for good examples of the dates with each mint mark. It will also help you to find any error coins in your finds.

When you find an example that is in better condition than the one you already have in your folder, replace the previous example with the new one in better condition.

When you pretty much fill up a folder and have enough coins in good condition, you can start a second folder with your grade 2 coins.

I think these coin folders can add some extra enjoyment and value to your detecting hobby. It is also a good way to get young people involved.

The labeled folders will help if you want to assemble a complete collection. The unlabeled folders are good for storing miscellaneous finds.

Inside of Coin Folder Showing Labeled Slots.

Sorry this photo is not oriented properly, but I didn't want to take the extra time to fix it this morning.

We finally got some much needed rain. I didn't go out this morning. The rain wouldn't have stopped me, but there was also a good bit of lightening.

Rain can actually help you out. In some areas it can create enough erosion to uncover things.

In places where you aren't allowed to detect, you can do sometimes eye-ball some interesting things after a good rain.

The rain can also create enough erosion of the cliffs at the back dunes that some old items will fall out.

It can also moisten the dry sand areas enough to give you a little more detecting depth. Of course it can also help if you want to do some inland hunting.

And it can also sometimes uncover things on the beach that you might not be able to detect very well, such as very thin gold chains.

Be careful of the lightening though. You can usually hear lightning in your ear phones even when it is still a long way off.

And if you don't have a submersible or water-proof detector, make sure you take something to protect your detector in case of rain.

Yesterday was my mother's birthday. I took her on a little road trip and had the opportunity to scout out a secluded beach for future hunting.

I just ran across a web site of an old auction showing some nice 1715 Fleet items. The 1715 section is only one small part of the entire auction. You might want to look at the other sections as well.

Here is the link to the 1715 Fleet items.

I'm not into this kind of thing and haven't tried it, but I thought maybe some of you would be interested. It's a free online pirate game. Give it a try if you want and let me know how it is.

The blog survey on number of years of detecting experience is almost done and is showing that a lot of this blog's readers are very experienced.

I'll have more on this when the survey is complete.

Forecast and Conditions.

There is a little wind from the northeast this morning. Nothing significant though. And unfortunately the tides are back to normal.

Worse yet, the the seas will remain calm for the next few days.

I have seen occasions when a local thunder storm would create enough wave action to create productive localized cuts in heavily used tourist areas. I doubt if that is the case with what we are having now though.

Besides the rain, that can help as I mentioned above, another positive thing for detecting is the low water levels along many of our local waterways that might expose some old things.

Beach conditions remain poor for finding cobs. Take advantage of whatever is going on. And take whatever the sea is offering at any particular time.

Happy hunting,

Saturday, March 26, 2011

3/26/11 Report - Atocha Gold Chain Worth $250,000 Found

Gold Chain Found on Trail of Atocha.

The Magruder recently found this neat religious chain on the trail of the Atocha where silver coins were also recently found. This news and photo was received by email from the Fisher organization.

Notice the links. The links are different than many of the treasure chains. On this one the links are more like the bar and loop links shown on the bracelet shown in my 2/19/11 post.

The cross is a bit different too. Notice the enameling on the cross.

The cross is valued at around $250,000.

I was talking about hunting the dips in the shallow water the other day, but there are also times when a sand bar is productive. The most obvious is when the sand bar has been used by many bathers, especially when the bar has been there for some time in the same relative position and has been heavily populated for some time.

Sand bars, though, often are in the process of moving - sometimes more quickly than others. Sandbars that run parallel to the beach will sometimes be in the process of moving towards the shore. When a sandbar has had a lot of traffic in the past and is moving, the best side to hunt will generally be the back of the bar - the side that is losing sand. The sand will uncover older items on the back of the bar as the bar moves.

One of the keys is to find hot spots rather than detecting all areas the same. Check out different beaches, and check out the dips, and when nothing appears promising keep checking and sampling areas until you find an area that is worth working more slowly and thoroughly. Don't spend your time hunting any and every area as if it were a hot spot. Don't be afraid to miss an item here or there. The most finds will be made the most quickly in the best areas. And there will generally be areas that are better than others whether it is on land or in the water.

Take advantage of what the water is doing for you when it is moving sand and sifting and gathering materials. Learn to read beaches and also learn to read the shallow water areas. Don't be afraid to move on when an area doesn't look promising. Test or sample an area when you are unsure, and then decide.

One thing I often say is, "Follow the sand, but don't catch it." That means when the sand moves, look where the sand has moved from. You'll often find that things have been uncovered by the moving sand and you can find accumulated older targets, whether it is days, months, years or decades of material being uncovered.

X-ray techniques can be used on artifacts to reveal much that is hidden to the eye.
Here is an article about new X-ray techniques being used to study artifacts.

Yesterday there were a lot of shells on the beaches. A lot of loose sand and shells have been washing up onto the front of many of the Treasure Coast beaches. That is not unusual when the wind is coming from the west or south.

The shell pile shown in this photo is a little unusual. It ran right down to the water line where it dropped off steeply. It sloped steeply into the water where there was a dip that held a lot of larger shells. You could see how the water was sorting those materials. The smaller lighter pieces of shell were being washed up onto the beach while the larger pieces were left behind uncovered in the dip.

That is the kind of thing you want to watch for, but in this case it was all relatively light material that was involved. If the seas had been much stronger and more material had been moved, even heavier (and more valuable) materials could have been left behind in the dip.

Present conditions on the Treasure Coast beaches just aren't good at all for finding cobs, coins or rings. You can find some lighter materials such as pottery or even metal relics such as iron, or things that have a large surface area, such as copper sheeting, which might be of some interest.

The wind today is from the northwest and the seas are running at only one to two feet. That means a continuation of recent conditions on the Treasure Coast - very sandy.

The west winds and calm seas do make for easy water hunting.

It looks like current conditions will remain the same for at least a few days.

Happy hunting,

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

3/25 Report - Pedro Menendez & Emerald Ring

Emerald & Gold From a Treasure Beach.

Yesterday was one of those days. I didn't know what I wanted to talk about and it seemed that everything I tried to do didn't work. The camera memory was full, then the battery needed recharged, and on and on. Finally I gave up and decided that I'd just wait until another day for my next post. Usually I just sit down, know what I want to talk about and do it. Well yesterday it wasn't working.

I did run across some good research materials about Pedro Menendez and his activities along what the Treasure Coast area. The article is by Eugene Lyons and was published in the Tequesta under the title of The Florida Mutineers, 1566-1567.

Here is some of what I learned.

In 1565 Pedro Menendez took the French fort at Cape Canaveral "and then marched southward along the beaches to Ays." Captain Juan Velez, who with two hundred men and fifty French Prisoners waited a month at Ays for supplies to arrive. A mutiny occurred and a hundred men left and walked south along the beach until they reached an inlet that was too wide to swim. Eugene Lyons conjectured that this inlet might be the St Lucie River.

Later Velez discovered another port further south and moved the whole garrison there. There they built a fort which they called Santa Lucia, where they were continually attacked by the Jeaga Indians. Some sources put this site near the Jupiter Inlet and others at the St. Lucie inlet.

Here is the link if you want to read the entire article for yourself.

Or for a concise timeline with some different opinions on some details, see the following.

The most productive beach and water hunting depends heavily on the movement of sand. That is especially true when you are looking for older items or accumulations of items. When you are hunting what I call recent drops, the movement of sand doesn't matter much.

The dry sand or back-beach area does not change often, but it does change when there are unusually high waves or tides. The front beach or wet sand area changes often, but not as much as the area that is continually underwater and constantly affected by waves, tides and currents.

If you want to increase your finds, learn to hunt out the hot spots where the water has sifted, sorted and gathered items according to density and other physical characteristics.

When you find a hot spot, settle down, detect slow and get every last item.

Many hot spots will be in the water, but not all. I've found 15 rings in a four hour period in a wet sand area. The key is to locate the hot spots.

While it is easier to hunt the dry sand area, and there are times to do that, you can often be more productive by taking advantage of what the moving water will do for you - either underwater or in the wet sand after the tide has receded. The more water action you have in an area, the better the chances are of finding a real hot spot.

The wet sand areas work pretty much the same as the underwater areas except the water action is generally more consistent and therefore effective.

If you focus on finding hot spots, you'll want a detector that will work well no matter where the hot spot is found. Since the back beach, front beach and underwater areas all require something a little different from a detector, you might want to have a good general purpose detector that will function in all of those areas fairly well.

Some detectors that work fine in the dry sand do not work so well in the wet sand. And of course some are not made to be submerged. Dry sand is, of course, the easiest to work in some ways, but usually does not offer the advantage of items being sifted and sorted, and therefore junk is often intermingled with more valuable targets.

Everybody knows about the pirate, or privateer, Henry Morgan. Well archaeologists have found a cannon thought to be from his ship.

Here is the link to more of that story.

Good article.

Did you know that Moammar Qadaffi has 143 tons of gold stored away in Libya? Whooeee!

The price of metals has been doing well lately too. Some are saying that metals prices will continue to rise.

Forecast and Conditions.

Conditions are not good for finding cobs on the Treasure Coast. Beach conditions haven't changed much for weeks, or months actually. And the sand just continues to build.

The wind is out of the west today and the seas are very calm. There are a lot of shell piles out there. Good time to be in the water (where allowed).

Happy hunting,

3/23/11 Report - Maps and More Maps

Fort Capron Map.

I have some things to catch up on today. I've had so much to write about that sometimes I forget some things or they simply get delayed.

As you probably know, I did a series of posts on Fort Capron and the Fort Capron treasure. The upcoming Sedwick Coins auction will include coins from that treasure.

In the recent past I posted maps showing Fort Capron. One of the maps was a map from 1855. Brad C. submitted the above map. As you can see, he marked the spot where Fort Capron is often shown on maps and also where he puts the actual location.

Thanks Brad!

I posted about the Fort Capron treasure partly to encourage you think about sources of treasure on the Treasure Coast in addition to our well-known 1715 Fleet.

I also hope the Tequesta article that I posted broadened your perspective on other treasures in Florida.

I also recently posted some resources for finding maps that might be helpful. Scott B. sent in some more that I'll list here along with some of his notes.

* Perry-CastaƱeda Library Map Collection (free) -

* (you must pay for these) -

* USGS will research their hardcopy map library and make a black-and-white copy for you (must pay) -

* The USGS store (free and pay) - you can zoom to your area of interest and place a point, then click on the point and it will list what they have available. See the following example of Wabasso Beach. They have a 1970 map of the area you can download and view in Adobe Reader -

* The National map - not so much historical maps, but current imagery and you can overlay the topo maps and view both - lots of good information; take a look near South Beach Park (?) using the geo coordinates 27.64117 and -80.35051 - note the underwater sandbar stretching from the beach out into the water, could be useful to know. -

* And your local library probably has copies of the old USGS maps in their research section. You usually can't check them out, but you can make copies.

Don't say you never get anything free. That is some useful information.

Thanks Scott!

And here is an article on how some of the tree islands in the Everglades may have formed. It could be that they were formed on Precolumbian trash dumps.

You can sometimes find old sites by looking at differences in the current vegetation. Google earth and other viewers can be useful in identifying sites like that.

And a 10.000 year-old spear was recovered from a deep spring in Florida. Although I don't always agree with the dating techniques, this is a good article that you might want to read.

It's foggy this morning. It reminded me of the time I was doing some shallow water hunting and I couldn't see but a few feet around me in any direction. Standing out there in a flat quiet ocean with just white all around was a sight to behold. Some of the most amazing and beautiful sights that I can remember seeing, I saw while shallow water hunting.

Forecast and Conditions

The wind is out of the west and the sea is calm. It looks like we'll have calm seas for at least a few days. That makes for easy water and low tide hunting.

You might want to check out some of those low tide zones this week. The tides are still pretty good.

That is about all I have time for today.

Happy hunting,

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

3/22/11 Report - Water Hunting & Conditions Along the Treasure Coast

Small Cut Found at High Water Mark Yesterday Morning at Jensen Beach.

I enjoy the emails that I receive from the readers of this blog. The emails help me to know what you are thinking about and that helps me know what to talk about on any given day.

Yesterday I mentioned Jon M. who went water hunting and found his first ring. He also mentioned in his email that he noticed the water moving differently at one spot and investigate that spot. That was a good move.

It is good to investigate and dips or places where small heavy objects might be trapped and then exposed when the currents move the sand. In fact, one of the first things I would do is check out any dips close to shore. You don't have to spend all day checking out those dips. You can take a quick sample and then move on to the next dip if the first one doesn't look promising.

Many times, dips close to the shore will be filled with loose materials including a lot of larger pieces of shell. Those types of dips will not generally be what you are looking for. They will often contain aluminum and other light things near the surface, while the better objects are considerable deeper. One exception is watches. Watches will often be found in those types of dips along with sun glasses and other similar larger but lighter objects.

If a dip is long enough, it might change from one area of the dip to another. In other words, part of the dip might be filled with loose materials while the loose materials might have been washed out of another part of the same dip. In that case, generally, the washed area will be the best area for coins and gold.

Often quarters and heavy coins will indicate that you are near the best area while pennies will be found on the outlying or border area. Often you'll be able to trace through a sequence of pennies, dimes, nickles and quarters that will lead you to the center of a hole, or sweet spot.

Something else that someone mentioned today is that water hunting is a more private experience than beach hunting on a busy beach. That can be true.

If you want to be more "private" when you water hunt, snorkel. That can also make it easier to hunt deeper water. Deeper water won't always be better, but there are times when it is. Sometimes the best holes are in shallow water and sometimes in deeper water.

Another advantage of snorkeling is that you can see the bottom. That will help you to better assess bottom conditions and allow you to occasionally eyeball targets.

It's funny how little swimmers actually see about what is going on around them. I remember one day at a densely packed swimming area when a six to seven foot fish or something swam right through the crowd and nobody saw it. I couldn't believe it. There would have been some screaming going on if they would have seen it.

Just one more thing before I get off this topic. If you are just beginning water hunting, spend some time in shallow water getting your technique down before you move into deeper water or rough water. Also, if you are not a good swimmer and not real comfortable in the water, be very careful, and don't get caught in a rip tide. If you don't know what you are doing you can wander into one before you know it.

It is possible to detect in very rough water, but it will probably take a while to learn to do that.

I put a new survery on the main page. If you all vote, you'll learn more about who reads this blog.

Conditions and Forecast.

I saw some small cuts yesterday morning, as shown by the photo. They were only about one foot. But yesterday the wind changed and today is coming from the south. I wouldn't expect to see anymore erosion now. I didn't see many of the beaches, but I didn't see anything that would lead me to believe that anything significant happened on the Treasure Coast.

The surf web sites are predicting swells of only about one foot for the next few days. That means pretty calm water if you want to do some water hunting. Remember, stay out of the leased areas.

The tides are still getting pretty low at low tide. So you can take advantage of that.

Happy hunting,

Monday, March 21, 2011

3/21/11 Report - Warning & Lease Information

Low Tide Yesterday Afternoon.

Yesterday the afternoon tide was much lower than normal, as predicted. The Super Moon was still exerting its affect. This morning, none of those coral structures that you see in the photo were visible at all.

There were a lot of people on the beach yesterday. For the Treasure Coast the crowds would be considered large, but compared to beaches in some other areas of the state, it really wasn't many people at all.

But not only were there a lot of beach-goers, there were also a lot of people detecting. It seemed that for every ten sun bathers there was at least one detectorist. It was a nice weekend so you couldn't blame anyone that wanted to be out.

I stopped to see what was going on at one location and saw four detectorists in the water. Trouble is, it was in a leased area.

What's Wrong With This Picture?

I know I was talking about water hunting yesterday, but if you detect in the water in areas that are leased by a salvage company you could get yourself into some trouble.

When I talk about water hunting I often, but not always, remind that you are not allowed to detect in the water in the leased areas. I know it is not always easy to know if a particular area is leased, but I've posted coordinates of wrecks and maps of many of the leased areas in this blog.

My 9/21/2010 post shows maps of some of the leased areas.

And my 8/18/20120 post gives the center point of many of the wreck leases and information concerning how large the lease areas are.

Here is that information again.

Cabin Wreck North 27.49.8 West 80.25.55
Anchor Wreck North 27.48.2 West 80.24.70
Corrigans North 27.46.2 West 80.22.67
Rio Mar North 27.38.3 West 80.20.90
Sandy Point North 27.35.8 West 80.19.65
Nieves North 27.25.3 West 80.16.50
Power Plant North 27.21.2 West 80.13.65

The leased areas include the area defined by a radius of 3000 yards out from the center point. That means an area of around 3.2 miles across (diameter).

I just don't want you getting yourself into trouble. And if you didn't already know, if you find anything historic in those leased areas or in any state waters, it belongs to the state of Florida.

There are plenty of stories of people who have found things and attempted to conceal the location or otherwise misled the authorities and some of those cases did not end well.

I hate to be a downer, but be warned. As they say, "Ignorance of the law is no excuse."

Jon M. wrote in saying that he was inspired to take a shot at some of the spring break treasure that I've been talking about. He was glad he did because he found his first ring.

First finds are fun. I'm always glad to mention them.

Congratulations Jon!

One thing Jon did that is worth noting is that he emailed the life guards and asked them what beaches they'd recommend.

Too often people don't talk to the life guards enough. If you get to know them, they'll give you some good tips, sometimes telling where things that were lost. Don't be a pest though.

One guy I know would often give a silver ring or something to a life guard that often gave him good leads.

One of this blog's readers purchased the eBay Potosi half reale from the Cabin Wreck that I mentioned not long ago.

The survey that I posted on this blog about your oldest coin find has concluded. Of those responding to the survey, the oldest coin find for 34% was a 20th Century coin, while 40% of the respondents had found an 18th Century or older coin. So a lot of the readers of this blog have had some success with older coins. I would guess there is a relatively good mix of new and experienced detectorists on here.

I'll leave the results of that survey on the main page of this blog until I start a new survey, which probably won't be long.

I also plan to add the Tequesta article on pirates and treasure lore to my treasure link list.

The wind blew almost all night on the Treasure Coast. The tides should continue to be more extreme than normal for a few days. Seas are up to a about 5.5 feet today after being calm yesterday.

This morning there were only small cuts on a few beaches at the high water mark, and the sea weed was starting to pile up. That means that the cutting is probably over at those spots.

There were a lot of beach goers this weekend, but also a lot of detectorists. It seemed like the easy spots were pretty cleanthis morning.

Remember, stay out of the water in the leased areas. If you water hunt, do it where it is permissible.

Happy hunting,

Sunday, March 20, 2011

3/20/11 Report - Selecting a Beach & Nugget Find

Huge Nugget Sold for $460,000.

This nugget was found by a man in his own back yard. Wouldn't that be fun? He also found two other smaller nuggets. One of the smaller ones sold for $7000, and the other for $17000 if I remember correctly.

Now that would be some fun homework. Imagine being able to find nuggets like that in your back yard. I'd probably be out there digging all the time. There would be a hole half way to China.

I think I'd finding natural untouched undisturbed gold nuggets would be more fun than anything - maybe because that is one thing I've never really done yet.

Here is the link to the entire story.

It is interesting how one thing leads to another when you are researching history. Every clue leads to something else. Then you have more leads and find more clues. Even factual errors can lead to additional information and step-by-step you end up getting more and more information.

I like doing those posts where I open up a topic and continue to get more information and keep adding to the story a little day after day. I hope you like them as much as I do.

If you are interested in South Florida history and especially the Indian mounds of Florida you might want to check out this thread which I found in a forum about hiking in Florida. It talks about some Indian mounds that are more or less accessible for visitors. This isn't some gone-wild treasure hunter thing. In fact the Palm Beach County Historic Preservation Officer/Archaeologist is a contributor and leads some of the hikes.

Here is the link to that forum.

You might occasionally find old license plates, especially if you hunt along some of the local waterways. Did you know that there are people who collect old license plates, and some sell for good amounts. The license plate reading OUTOFTIME that was on the car used in the movie Back to the Future sold for over $10,000.

Kovels Komments says, Pennsylvania began issuing license plates in 1906. Early plates were enamel and were issued to the driver, not the vehicle. The first plates issued for a specific vehicle were made in 1910. A metal tag in the shape of a keystone was attached to each plate. The first plates for dealers were also made in 1910, but without the keystone... Collectors search for plates with low numbers or special number combinations, plates made of unusual materials, those that are smaller than usual or commemorate special events, plates that have unusual pictures or slogans, interesting vanity plates, and special plates that belonged to a famous person or were used in a movie or TV show... There is a club for collectors of license plates, Automobile License Plate Collectors Association, Inc., 118 Quaker Rd., Hampton, VA 23669-2024, website

Now I'll give some very basic tips that will help you find more gold if you want to hunt some of the tourist beaches during Spring Break. One of the first and most important things is beach selection.

Here are some factors that you should consider.

Fact 1. Some cultures and groups wear more gold than others. That is obvious, but take advantage of that knowledge and hunt beaches where the people who wear more gold gather.

Fact 2. Wealthier and flashier people tend to wear better jewelry than poorer and less ostentatious people. That is not always true because some wealthy people do not wear much good gold while there are some poorer groups that do wear good gold. If you watch a TV show about India for example, you will see some very poor people wearing a lot of high-karat gold.

Given the choice between hunting a beach with a lot of low-quality jewelry versus one with higher quality jewelry, I would often take the beach with the higher quality stuff even if the finds are less frequent. Some beaches have a lot of gold but some of those beaches will have predominantly lower-quality 10K or plated gold or silver rather than 14K or 18k gold, for example. And some cultures still use 20K gold.

Fact 3. Tourists tend to lose more gold than locals. First, tourists often do not want to leave their valuables in the car or hotel and so unlike locals are more likely to wear their good stuff to the beach. Second, tourists often are not aware of how easily gold can be lost in the sand or water.

Fact 4. Young active people usually lose more jewelry than more mature people. It is often the diving, hand-stands, cart-wheels and other youthful carelessness that leads to many of the loses.

Summary Conclusion. Not taking beach or water conditions or other factors into account, you will find more gold where young active wealthy careless people, tourists and people from gold wearing cultures gather, style and frolic. South Florida has beaches where all of those factors come together to create some great hunting.

I have created and use my own checklist of over twenty factors that can be used to select the most productive jewelry beaches. The above are only four of the main factors taken from the socio-economic factors section of my checklist.

Conditions and Forecast.

On the Treasure Coast the wind is now from the northeast and the seas are running only about two feet. WE had a big low tide yesterday afternoon and will have one this afternoon after a nice high tide. That should move some material around.

Six foot seas are predicted for tomorrow. That is a pleasant surprise. Between the Super Moon, the northeast winds and the increased swells, it might get a little more interesting.

Happy hunting,

Friday, March 18, 2011

3/18 Report - Pirates and Treasure Lore of Florida & Super Moon

Wood Carving Found on Treasure Coast Beach This Morning.

It's funny what you can find on a beach. Almost everything and anything. I found this wood carving this morning. Just a funny curiosity. It reminds me a bit of the voodoo and Santeria stuff that I used to find on the beaches of South Florida sometimes.

Some people were surprised when I mentioned cobs being found in the Miami area. I guess most people think of the Treasure Coast when it comes to shipwreck treasure, but don't forget that other areas of our state have a lot of treasure too.

I think most detectorists in the Miami area focus on the beaches where they can find a lot of gold. There are several good reasons for that, but there is a lot of history to the area and a lot of old treasure that has been found around there too.

If you ever visited Key Biscayne and the old lighthouse, just about a hundred yards away from the lighthouse you can still see signs of an old spring that was used as a supply of fresh water by some of the first explorers. I've heard it said that three barrels of treasure were once buried near that spring. And a chest was found not far away from there. Fresh water was also obtained from around the mouth of the river near downtown Miami.

Anyone who is familiar with pirate lore of that area knows about Black Caesar and Ceasar's Creek and some of the prominent treasure discoveries in that area.

There are many historic areas in South Florida and around the state where treasure has been found and can still be found. I think one of the problems with hunting old treasure down south is that much of the area is now either private property or protected by parks. But I think another reason that few people hunt old treasure down that way is that people think that all of the old stuff has been discovered. I also think that they follow everybody else, most of whom seem to be detecting the glitzy beaches. Again, nothing wrong with that, but don't forget about the shipwreck and buried treasure in an area with so much history.

The last few days I got so engrossed in some of the research resources that I've been browsing that this blog took a bit of a turn, but that is temporary. I just can't help but share some of this interesting material. I really enjoy reading the history and think that you will find it both interesting and helpful.

I ran across this article that was printed in 1946 in The Tequesta,the journal of the Historical Association of South Florida. It discusses a lot of different pirates and treasures and is not confined to South Florida but talks about many different parts of the state and includes the 1715 Fleet treasure and the ventures of Henry Jennings.

You might be surprised that in 1946 mention is made of one man using his prop wash to blow sand off a wreck, and the article also talks about one of the early radio frequency detectors brought into the state.

There is too much good stuff to tell you about, so I'll just give you the link.

Here it is.

That isn't what I was going to talk about today, but this article is so good that I just had to share it.

On that topic, I think I mentioned the other day a detectorists that I knew that found a chest full of coins in the Keys in the 1990s.

I hope you enjoy research material like the article today and the research resources like the links to maps that I posted yesterday. I generally post the things I like and I'm never quite sure if anybody else will like them.

Kovel's Komments says, Spider-Man's first appearance in Amazing Fantasy comic book No. 15 in 1962 led to the private sale of a near-mint copy of the comic book for a record $1.1 million. It was sold this month by a private seller to a private buyer.

It is sometimes funny what things bring in big bucks.

Forecast and Conditions.

Some people are talking about what they call the Super Moon that will be tomorrow. The moon will be closer tomorrow than it has been for eighteen years. That means Super Tides. The high tides will be higher than normal and the low tides will be lower than normal. Some beach and water hunters go a lot by the amount of discrepancy between the high and low tides, preferring to hunt when the difference is greatest. I take that into account, but don't put as much emphasis on it as some others.

This morning on the Treasure Coast you could see the higher water line form the last high tide. Some beaches were scalloped and I even saw some small cuts near the high tide mark at one location.

Tomorrow might be a good day to get out at low tide to search that area.

I also heard that a lot of sharks are headed north from Palm Beach County.

It seems to me that sharks are bothered by the electrical pulses emitted by detectors. I'm going by my personal observations and wonder if anybody else thinks there might be something to that. I know it didn't bother a barracuda that always followed me around at one location. After a while he would start to get on my nerves.

I didn't see Seagrape Trial today, but from what I saw there in the recent past, this new high tide might make it one of the better beaches to try.

The wind is now from the east, and on the Treasure Coast seas are running around two feet. It still looks like Monday might have increasing waves.

Happy Hunting,

Thursday, March 17, 2011

3/17/11 Report - 1855 Map of St. Lucia & Various Other Topics

Part of Historic Map of St. Lucia Showing Fort Capron and Fort Pierce.

I've been looking for an older topographic map of South Hutchinson Island in the hope of answering a question sent in by one of this blog's readers and found this interesting map from 1855 showing Fort Capron, which I've been talking about lately. That is an interesting story that provides a lot of hints.

If you want to see the entire map, here is the link.

I also discovered this utility that allows you to look at the entire coast, and more, taking an aerial view. It is quite amazing what all you can see - even features underwater near shore. You might find it as useful as I did.

It seems the internet really has a lot of resource tools these days. The problem now isn't so much finding out if something is on the internet, the problem is sifting through everything to find exactly what you want. There is just a lot of stuff out there.

Kenneth B. from Kentucky, and one of the Garrett users counted in my last survey, sent in the following links, which you might also find useful.

Those are some good research tools.

Sometimes I have too much to write about and can only post a fraction of what I have. That is the case today. I'll get to some of the other topics over the next few days.

Some people have been asking me about where certain things were found. That's natural. But remember, your not looking for what has already been found, you're looking for what has not yet been found.

I recently mentioned how there are some deep and hard to dig artifacts out on some of the front beaches now. Sometimes the hole keeps getting filled in by the waves. one thing you can do in a situation like that is what is shown in the photo below.

Use the sand from the hole to create a dam on the lower side to help keep the waves from getting into the hole. This particular hole is about a 1.5 feet deep and the same wide. The artifact was laying near the top of a layer of rock, which was under a little more than a foot of sand.

Empty Hole.

Did I mention Arkansas Bill yesterday? I don't remember. Anyhow he used to travel through Florida in the spring when Fort Lauderdale was the place to be, hitting all of the top Spring Break beaches. He lived out of his van during those trips and did quite well using an Aquanaut 1280 picking up a lot of modern gold. Anyhow on one of his trips down to the Keys he managed to find some nice Tumbaga bars. Although he didn't show them off much, is someone saw one of the bars, he would tell them that they were lead. People who didn't know any better believed him.

When working the Spring Break beaches, he mostly worked the dips right in front of the beach. I'll get into some of those techniques more some other day.

There wasn't room to walk between the beach blankets sometimes in those days.

It seems that most people aren't buying the 'cleaning the grates' story anymore. In fact some people are telling me that they know it isn't true. I won't say one way or the other. First, it doesn't really matter much to me what they are doing since it is in a leased area, and, second, everybody knows about the wrecks around there anyhow.

A Very Common Type of Ring Design That Has Been Used Through the Ages.

Snake designs have been used in jewelry almost as long as time. Some designs, like this one have been use for centuries. You can most easily identify the era of some of these age-old designs from the type of manufacture and any markings that might be found. If you hunt very long you might find several of these snake rings.

This particular one is fairly large and heavy. The eyes are diamonds.

I haven't even started some of the topics I had in mind for today, but I'm running out of time. I got into too many miscellaneous items today and didn't think that I would even get a post done.

Conditions and Forecast.

The wind is now from the east and the seas are running two to three feet on the Treasure Coast. That isn't enough to change beach conditions significantly.

The seas are expected to remain at current levels for a few days. It looks like maybe Monday they'll pick up some.

Have fun,

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

3/16/11 Report - Underwater Gold & Be Grateful

Galley Brick From El Rubi Wreck.

I like to post photos of things you might find on a beach but which you might easily overlook as being either junk or just plain insignificant. This galley brick is for sale on eBay and listed with a starting bid price of $500.

I've found old bricks on the Treasure Coast beaches that could be from wrecks. This particular galley brick is broad and not very thick. It is only about an inch thick.

Here is a link to more information on the El Rubi.

I believe that a detectorist should learn to identify different types of artifacts. Even if not valuable in an economic sense, they can indicate the possible presence of a nearby wreck. One item like this should also remind you to keep your eyes open for other non-metallic items.

I've been receiving a lot of interesting email lately thanks to the readers of this blog.

Does anyone know where I can find an older topographical map of the Treasure Coast area online? I'm thinking 1950s or earlier might do the job. It could help one blog reader solve a local history problem. Thanks.

I've heard from some readers, including one who collects colonial American artifacts, and the consensus seem to be that the lead item that I recently showed is indeed a lead stylus. When I picked it up that possibility didn't occur to me. I didn't think of that possibility until later when I vaguely remembered that I might have seen pictures of something like that before. That is why I post things like bricks for you to look at. I've thrown away things before I knew what they were and then regretted it later - sometimes years later. Several come to mind right now.

Don't be too quick to throw away unidentified items.

Starting off on my general beach and shallow water hunting topic, the first and most general thing to know is that if you want to find a lot of modern era gold, a lot more is found in the water than on land. I once had the ratio calculated from the detailed records that I kept. Although I don't remember what the exact numbers were now, off hand I would say that you will find something like about seven times the amount of gold in the water than on land. Of course that depends upon a lot of variables, but on the average, if my memory serves me, that is about the ratio that I discovered. Even if the number is wrong, I do know that the number of gold items found per time period in the water is several times higher than found on land.

You might ask why then would you spend any time detecting on land. The obvious answer is that sometimes it is very difficult or impossible to detect in the water, and the second reason is that sometimes there are nice productive holes found on the beach. Conditions change in the water as well as on the beach. For best success, adapt to the prevailing conditions.

You will find rings, chains and things in the dry sand and the wet sand, but you will find much more gold per hour of hunting in the water. That of course means that you will need a good submersible detector. Don't bother with target ID or discrimination. That is even less important in the water than on land. Just get a detector that will detect small pieces of gold at good depth.

I won't recommend a detector here because the very best are custom made and cost a lot, and it is not that easy to find a dealer of custom made machines that is good to deal with. Some will hold you for an arm and a leg if you need repairs. You won't really need a custom detector anyway and I won't recommend one, so don't ask.

Effort, knowledge and skill will pay off in the long run, but sometimes luck does come into play, especially when it comes to those exceptional once-in-a-lifetime finds.

I remember once when I had a few minutes to detect and couldn't decide if I should even bother to try. After I drove to a spot that I felt compelled to go to, I really didn't have more than a few minutes left to detect. I got on my wet suit, jumped in the water and bang. There it was. A real eye-popping find. I got out and drove home happy and glad that I went with my feelings even though it seemed like I didn't have enough time to really do anything.

I call that luck. There was some small amount of specialized knowledge involved, but it seemed as if there was something more than that.

I don't know if you believe in intuition, or whatever you might to call it, (I want to talk about that more some other time.)but it could be just plain stupid dumb luck.

Balancing out those kinds of special times, there are those other times when you hunt and hunt and don't find a single thing when it really seems like you should. So where is the intuition then?

People want to take credit for their successes. When things go well, they claim that it was their special knowledge or skill that earned their success. Failure, on the other hand, is usually blamed on bad luck.

People who feel cheated in life are quick to give blame, while those who think they did well, are quick to take credit. That is the way it is.

I believe there is a mixture of luck and skill involved a lot of the time, but sometimes there is a lot of luck involved, especially when you make one of those once-in-a-lifetime finds. Yes, some people will try to promote themselves and use such finds as compelling evidence of their superior skill, but truth be known, the most exceptional finds are often largely accidental.

Sometime I'll have to tell you about a chest of old silver coins that was discovered, and how one guy found some nice old Spanish tumbaga bars. Now those are some real treasure finds. But I'll tell you more about that some other time.

I know of one lady that found a gold escudo the first time she ever went detecting. She could have written a book and spent the rest of her life promoting herself as the greatest natural treasure hunter on earth, but the way I see it, that was luck.

And even though there might be a lot more behind the story than you usually hear, those good ole boys that were supposedly out lobster hunting when they found the Fort Capron payroll treasure, if the story is as it is often told, that was luck.

And how about the life guard that was out for his morning swim who looked down and saw the freshly uncovered site of the Jupiter wreck? Luck! He wasn't even looking for the wreck site, but there it was.

Those are a few examples, but I think you see what I am saying. Sometimes there is a large element of luck involved in those types of finds. Sometimes there is good luck, but also sometimes bad.

You'll never know what you missed when you turned left rather than right on a big empty beach. Maybe it is good that you don't know what all you missed. It could be disheartening.

No matter what your past luck has been, over time if you are persistent, do your research and spend a lot of time on task, you will eventually have good finds. But don't brag too much when it finally happens. Remember, you never know what all you missed. And you have to count yourself fortunate just to be able to get out in the air and sunshine to pursue your hobby. Be glad that God will never embarrass you by saying, "That is a nice find there, but you don't know how hard it was for Me to get you to finally stumble onto it, and just look at what all you missed in the process.

Treasure hunting is very much like life in general. You never know how much you missed.

When things are going well, be grateful, not proud, arrogant or boastful.

Forecast and Conditions.

A mild cool front will be coming through. The wind has shifted and is now coming out of the southwest. That, of course, means relatively calm seas. On the Treasure Coast we'll be getting two and three foot seas for a few days. Although conditions for hunting cobs remains poor, as I recently showed, there are still a few artifacts to be found on the front beaches. Targets are often fairly deep and the digging not so easy to layers of shell under the sand. You might need a heavy duty scoop or shovel.

West winds generally mean calm seas for water hunting. As I've been mentioning the Spring Break season has started and there are a lot of tourist and beach-goers out in the beautiful weather.

I have a lot more to write about but that's it for now.

Don't forget to do the survey on the main page of this blog.

Happy hunting,

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

3/15/11 Report - Blog Changes Coming & More on the Stylus and Capron Treasure

Photos of Other Found Lead Syli.

Yesterday I posted a photo of a recent find that came from a Treasure Coast treasure beach. I thought it might be a lead stylus and asked for help in identifying the item. One reader (mzbarrerras - Thanks!) wrote and provided links to two web sites that showed lead syli. The first web site, and the one that the above pictures came from, is a UK Finds Database. It is a very nice web site for browsing detector finds.

Here is the link to the finds database.

After reading about lead styli, I could see in my mind's eye a hihg-ranking survivor of the wreck standing on the beach trying to keep count of salvaged treasures or supplies. That was only my imagination, but it makes sense to me that it certainly would have happened.

I also read somewhere that lead styli were used from very early on and up to the 20th Century, and in addition to be used to write on wax tablets as I mentioned the other day, I read that they were also used for writing on slate.

I've been talking about the Fort Capron payroll treasure. Tom Guidus of Wreckovery Salvage (see the link to his web site listed in my treasure site link list) wrote in to say that there were more coins that were found as a part of that treasure than those listed in the tables that I recently showed. I won't get into that whole story now, but there were 2600 other coins that were initially found and were not included in those tables.

Sometimes what you learn as you follow a story is the treasure. I always like learning new things, whether it is about a part of history or an object like a lead stylus.

Still Out There.

These guys must be making a permanent full-time job out of cleaning the grates(?).

This morning the smaller boat brought some crates that were moved to the platform boat.

You may have noticed the new addition to this blog's title and description. I've been thinking for a while that I needed to make some changes to this blog, but didn't know exactly what. Now I know.

It has been such a slow year for hunting shipwreck treasure coins that I decided to add more how-to information on beach and shallow water hunting techniques that should help almost anyone find more gold.

The material in this blog has always been applicable to hunting more than treasure coins on the Treasure Coast, but that was and will continue to be one of my main areas of focus. I'm not going to quit doing what I have been doing, I'm just going to add more material on beach and water hunting techniques.

As I've often mentioned, it is good to expand your hunting experiences. You can learn things from any type of treasure hunting that will apply and help you with other types of hunting.

When I first started detecting, I began on the tourist beaches of South Florida where I lived. I often hunted the beaches in Broward as well as those in Dade County and the Keys and other places. I always enjoyed traveling and hunting new places. It's always interesting to try new and different types of beaches.

No matter where you hunt, many of the same principles apply. It doesn't matter if you are detecting along the Gulf of Mexico, in the ocean, or in a lake or stream, or hunting foreign soil.

I have a lot of new topics in mind. They aren't really new topics to me, but with the new breadth of this blog, I'll include them whenever they seem to fit.

When one type of hunting is slow or you are ready for a little change, you'll be able to use this new beach and water hunting information almost anywhere.

If you hunt long enough your preferred targets will probably change. But no matter what you want to hunt, the more diverse your knowledge and experience, the more likely you will be to maintain a good level of success over time. As things change, you will need to change and adapt too.

But like I said, I won't be doing away with my Treasure Coast treasure beach reports. That will continue to be my central focus. I'll just be adding a little more material on beach and shallow water hunting techniques.

This blog had evolved from the time I started it and it will continue to evolve. I never imagined that the blog would be getting over 300 hits a day when I started it.

Although the Treasure Coast has some very good treasure beaches, you should also know that you can also find old shipwreck coins down through Palm Beach, Broward, Dade County and the Keys. In fact my first treasure coins were found down in Dade County. And in this blog I've shown shipwreck coins and artifacts that came from down south.

Anyhow, I hope you like the new topics that I add to future posts of my Treasure Coast Treasure Beach Report.

Don't forget to take the survey on the main page of this blog.

Forecast and Conditions.

The weather is beautiful. The wind is out of the southeast and the seas remain relatively calm. As you probably know by now, that means continuing poor conditions for finding shipwreck coins on the Treasure Coast beaches.

It is almost like we are already into summer conditions this year. In fact, we hardly had anything else. It just was a sandy year.

Anyhow, calm seas mean easy water detecting. That makes my new direction even more fitting.

There are a lot of tourists on the beaches for Spring Break already. I was even finding new coins dropped on some of the treasure beaches.

Makes me think back to the time when Fort Lauderdale was the place to be for Spring Break. That beach was packed beyond belief.

A lot of class rings came from that place.

If you want to take advantage of the busy beaches, this is a good time to get started. There is plenty out there to be found.

One of the topics that I will cover through a series of posts is how to evaluate a tourist beach.

That's about all for today.

Happy Hunting,

Sunday, March 13, 2011

3/14/11 Report - Detecting Tourist Areas and Lead Object

South Florida Weekend Finds.

If you are tired of banging your head against the tons of sand we have here on the Treasure Coast looking for 18th Century shipwreck treasures, you might take a Spring Break and hunt some of the big tourist and Spring Break beaches for a while. With the beautiful weather and all the beach goers it is not unusual to come up with some nice gold, and you know the price of gold these days.

As you know, I put a survey on this blog that asked about your favorite brand of detector. The survey results initially showed what I was expecting. Minelab took an early and big lead. That matched my personal observations on the Treasure Coast. But then all of a sudden, Garrett users started voting and quickly caught up with Minelab. It seemed like some kind of write-in campaign.

Anyhow Minelab and Garrett ended up tied for the top with each having 30% of the votes, followed by Whites with 19%.

Of course this survey wasn't scientific, but I found it interesting.

I put a new survey on the blog this morning. It asks about your oldest coin find.

Have you been watching the coverage of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan? The power of nature is amazing. When I watch the results of a natural disaster on TV, I can't help but notice how many things are lost and how many old things are uncovered and the good detecting spots that are created when the earth is moved by an earthquake, flood, tornado or hurricane. Yet I won't allow myself to focus on that. That, in my opinion, would be a pitiful response to human tragedy.

As humans, we are by nature self-centered, but also as humans, we can grow and develop. We can become less self-centered. We can put aside petty self-interests and consider the needs of others. We can pitch in and help those in need.

I recently mentioned how people often get their first cobs by being among the first to get out on the barrier islands immediately after a hurricane. That is how a lot of first finds are made. But I don't think that reflects well on the detecting hobby, or the human race for that matter.

I know that some people dream of the opportunity to hunt in the wake of a hurricane. I know that people can come up with all sorts of justifications and rationalizations for that, but when it comes down to it, what it represents is the ability of some people to ignore the needs and losses of others to pursue their quest for a little silver or gold. To me, that speaks of a poverty of spirit.

I understand that some people won't see it that way, but maybe someday when they are in need, they might wonder why people who could easily be helping them are too busy pursuing a trivial pursuit in the midst of a disaster.

Think about it.

Three Inch Long Lead Object Found

This was found this morning on a beach front. After a while, I thought I remembered seeing a picture of an object very much like this described as a lead stylus that was used to write on wax tablets.

If anyone knows where I can find a picture or description of an artifact like that I'd like to hear from you. Or if you think I am way off track and it is something else, please let me know.

It has no holes or anything other than one end being more pointed than the other. It fits the hand like a pencil very well.

Forecast and Conditions.

The wind is out of the southeast this morning and there are some shell piles and some scalloped beaches. The seas are running about three feet.

I'd call conditions for finding cobs on the Treasure Coast poor. There are however some areas where there are some deep hard-to-dig artifacts on the beach fronts.

I found the lead item above in an area like that this morning, and in the same area I found a shipwreck spike. I had to leave some items for another time.

As I mentioned above, there are also a lot of busy tourist beaches in Florida right now and some good water hunting if you want to do a little day trip.

Happy hunting,

Friday, March 11, 2011

3/13/11 Report - More on the Fort Capron Treasure & Jeremiah Dashiell

Fort Capron Payroll Gold Coins Found.

If you've been reading this blog, you know that I've been talking about the coins that were lost in 1857 when a boat sank and lost the payroll for Fort Capron near the old Fort Pierce inlet.

Coming from a academic research background, I'm very particular about how things are recorded and reported, knowing that even under the most rigorous scientific conditions mistakes are made and observations are reported in such a way that you have to know a lot before you can precisely figure out the real situation. There are just so many variables. And language is not really very precise unless you take great pains to avoid the possibility of misinterpretation. I don't make a huge effort to be as precise as possible in this blog because first, I don't have the time, and secondly, I assume that people who are interested in treasure hunting know the nature of the literature and that you always have to check and double check to fill in the blanks. I write this blog much differently than I would write a scientific article.

Fort Capron Payroll Silver Coins Found.

Anyhow, Tom Guidus had the article from the Historical Quarterly and sent me these tables listing the gold and silver coins found. As you can see there were more gold coins than silver, and a lot of both.

I have a hard time believing that there aren't at least a few that haven't been found yet.

Whenever I get into a topic like this, one thing leads to another. I usually don't remember all the details and then go and look some things up and discover some other things of interest.

One thing about the Fort Capron payroll treasure is that it points to a geographical area where a treasure was found but which doesn't receive very much attention from treasure hunters. Maybe they believe that all of it was found and there is no reason to hunt there anymore. Even if all of that treasure was found, when there is treasure in an area, it means that there was activity in that area and there is the distinct possibility of more treasure or other treasures in the area. Indeed, books like Frank Hudson's, though not the most trustworthy in every detail, do indicate that there are other treasures in the same area.

I also discovered another related article. It is about the life of Jeremaih Dashiell, the man that was in charge of the lost Fort Capron payroll. Guess what! That is not the only payroll he lost. He lost another up by Jacksonville. Very interesting!

Here is the link if you want to read more.

Here we go again. I love archaeology, but some of the archaeologists absolutely drive me crazy.

Now they are criticizing the Smithsonian because the Smithsonian plans to exhibit artifacts recovered from a 9th century wreck by a "commercial" company. Heaven knows that archaeology is for archaeologists and nobody else. Tax payers should fund any and all archaeology projects but any findings should be published only in expensive professional journals and any finds should be kept in museum basements where only the special few will ever see them. That makes sense, doesn't it?

Forgive me for the rant, but this type of thing does it to me.

At least the public will be able to see the artifacts - unless the archaeologists have their way.

Here is one paragraph from the article that I'll quote directly. Underwater archaeologists have been fighting for decades to protect shipwreck sites from treasure-hunting operations that mine sunken ships for artifacts to sell. In 2009, the archaeological community scored a major victory when the UNESCO Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage came into effect. It stated that "underwater cultural heritage shall not be traded, sold, bought or bartered as commercial goods."

I might be wrong, but it sounds to me as if the authors might not approve of the way that the State of Florida handles shipwreck salvage.

And what is this "fighting for decades" business. It was not many decades ago (you can certainy count them on one hand) that underwater archaeology became a recognized academic discipline. And that came about because of the work of treasure hunters such as those we know so well here in Florida.

I won't rant much more about this, but isn't it ironic that those archaeologists who complain about commerciaization of salvage operations make a business and living out of archaeology. If they don't want archaeology to be commercialized they should donate all of their time and work.

I could rant on about this all day, but I'll leave it at that.

Here is the link if you want to read more.

Forecast and Conditions.

The wind is from the East/Southeast and the seas are running about 3.5 feet and will remain at about the level for at least a few days. That means no significant changes on the beach for then.

You might explore some new areas.

Happy hunting,

3/11/11 Report - Fort Capron Treasure Coins

Half Reale From Cabin Wreck Being Sold on EBay.

This half-real was found on the Cabin Wreck site and is now listed for sale on eBay. It is a good example of a Treasure Coast cob find.

The current bid is less than $6.00 and it has a reserve that I would guess is way above that.

Here is the link.

Notice the P mint mark to the left of the Philip monogram.

Did you know that ancient Chinese items are bringing in very high prices these days. It seems that rich Chinese were bit by the collecting bug and are trying to bring Chinese antiquities back to China.

Kovels Komments reports, A cardboard box with six pieces of antique Chinese jade inside was stored in a Florida home's closet for over 30 years. Manor Auctions of Tallahassee recognized the value of the jade collection and offered to auction it. The owners took the jade to others who offered to buy it for $2,000. Manor Auctions offered to buy it for more but recommended that the collection be sold at auction. Good advice. A censer (it is used to burn incense) auctioned for $18,000, a jade teapot for $12,420, a ram for $6,210, and a white jade ship for $57,500. Interested Chinese buyers paid a total of almost $100,000 for the family treasures.

Yesterday I posted a press release from Sedwick Coins that mentioned that coins from the Fort Capron treasure would be sold in the next Sedwick Coins auction. The loss of the payroll is reported in a 10 page article by Carl Clausen in The Florida Historical Quarterly, Vol. 47, No. 1. You might be able to get the full article through the library.

You can see the first page and some good information on the loss through the following link.

If you noticed, the article said the fort was opposite the inlet. That is not now the case, because the old inlet is closed and the new Fort Pierce inlet is south of the old inlet.

The above article also refers to silver coins in the first paragraph, but in 1965
two local young boys diving for lobster found a number of gold coins that were thought to be part of the payroll that was lost in 1857. It seems that treasure stories always have some contradictions or missing details.

I'm eager to see the Fort Capron treasure coins that Sedwick has listed in the next auction.

Reminds me of Fort Lauderdale. The old fort was near the old inlet there, which is now closed, and the new inlet is south of where the old inlet was.

Forecast and Conditions.

The wind is out of the northwest this morning. The air is a little cool. It's nice.

The seas are still running three to four feet. I saw no cuts or erosion or anything else that would suggest an improvement in beach conditions.

I was finding copper sheeting in shell piles. One was a nice size and had a couple nail holes in it. Some other metal was also found in shell piles.

I never expect to find cobs in shell piles, but when the shells are large and there are stones in the shell piles, you can often find some neat junk or artifacts there.
Also keep your eyes open for fossils, shards, and Indian points.

Happy hunting,