Monday, May 2, 2011

5/2/11 Report - Gold Santa Margarita Chain, Osama, & St. Johns Wreck

Gold Chain From Santa Margarita Sold in Sedwick Coins Auction for Over $12,000.

I always like to study the shipwreck artifacts that come up for auction. For example, this chain has very plain round links. Many other chains from Spanish shipwrecks are more intricate. But if you study artifacts, it will help you to better identify the things you find.

On the other end of the spectrum, flakes of rust from a shipwreck anchor were sold in the same auction. I have no doubt that a lot of people throw away good finds because they don't know more about them and don't do the necessary research.

The big news today is the death of Osama Bin Ladin. I can't help but find the super-quick disposal of the body as strange if not suspicious. In this day and age, for a man that was rumored to have body doubles and surgeries to conceal his identify, and there is no autopsy to positively identify the body - it just doesn't smell right to me that they would kill him in the mountains and take him out to dump his body into the sea before the news is even reported back home. Call me suspicious, but this just doesn't seem to add up. I also find it hard to believe that burial at sea is a Muslim burial custom, but I don't really know anything about that.

I just decided to look that up, and it seems my suspicion about burial at sea was not totally off. Here is a link.

Maybe some salvage company will someday stumble upon the remains.

Back to treasure news.

You might have heard of tumbaga bars. But do you know what tumbaga is? Tumbaga is a mixture of alloy of gold and copper together with other metals that was used by the pre-Colombian peoples to create artifacts. Tumbaga melts at lower temperatures than either gold or copper alone, which made it possible for the pre-Columbian peoples to use it to create objects using molds.

The proportion of gold to copper varies widely and other metals such as silver were also sometimes included.

The Tumbaga bars that you often hear about, especially those from the Tumbaga Wreck that was found in the Grand Bahamas, were created from the melted metals of the tumbaga artifacts that were taken from Central and South America.

Here is one link where you can learn more about tumbaga.

And here is one where you can read more about the Tumbaga Wreck.

If you found an old artifact that appears to be gold but has a reddish color and is more brittle than gold usually is, it might have a lot of copper in it. Sometimes the metals are mined with impurities and sometimes thay were added intentionally as alloys.

And while pure gold will not corrode, the impurities or alloys in gold can cause it to corrode. So don't be too easily fooled. The more you learn the more complex things become.

I was doing a little research and discovered a very nice report on St. Johns Bahamas Shipwreck Project by the Mel Fisher organization. It really is a good read and provides a lot of useful information. It has a lot of pictures of artifacts and other illustrations.

Here is the link to that report.

Treasure Coast Beach Conditions and Forecast.

I took a quick look at the beach this morning and it didn't look good at all. High tide was in the morning and was bringing in a lot of sea weed. It seems all, or at least most, of the shell piles are gone now. They come and go very quickly.

I did a little hunting. I found some unidentified encrusted objects to clean and research. I also found some fossil bones and saw what might be some Indian artifacts.

The conditions are bad for this time of year. I think we are in a long term accretion trend along the Treasure Coast. I don't know how much of that might be due to the many beach renourishment projects.

The forecast is interesting. First, the next two days the seas will be slacking off down to around two feet on Wednesday. That would be a good time to check the low tide area as close as you can get to the water. Then on Thursday the sea is going to get rough again - up to about 5 or 6 feet according to the current surf web site prediction.

As I've mentioned before, the surf web sites have shown what appears to me to be s systematic error when it comes to predicting higher seas a few days out. Almost always the prediction is reduced as the time draws near. If they haven't made any fixes to their model, I would not be surprised if the seas are not as high as now predicted for Thursday. If we do actually get high seas on Thursday, there might be some cuts then, depending upon the angle of the wind and waves.

So there are now two points that I would be considering for outings. First the low tide on Wednesday, and then after the high seas on Thursday and Friday.

Happy hunting,