Thursday, May 5, 2011

5/5/11 Report - Where Cobs Have Been Found

Gold and Emerald Ring Found Recently Found on the Trail of the Atocha.

Photo received by email from the Mel Fisher organization.

This is the find I mentioned a few days ago.

*** [NOTE: Normally I add a new post almost every day. Since thousands of readers are looking for this post I thought I better leave it at least another day before adding a new post. I want to follow up on this post, but it might take me some time to get the follow-up post ready anyhow - at least to do it the way I want to. Among other things I'm hunting a beach photo that illustrates the five different zones mentioned in the survey.

It will probably be later today or tomorrow before I do a new post. If you read this post over again, you'll probably get some additional new clues out of it anyhow. Also you should check out the treasure reference list found on the main page of this blog.] ***

I've been eagerly waiting the conclusion of the survey on where beach cobs are found. I don't know of another survey like this. Of course you hear of individual cases and where things were found, but this survey had 29 votes, so there were a good number of people willing to anonymously share where they have found treasure cobs or coins.

The results in some ways confirm what I thought, but there were a few things that were a surprising enough that I will definitely take note and thoroughly consider the implications.

First, there were two answers that were tied with the most votes. Both "near the wet sand close to the water" and "near the base or on the face of the back dunes" received nine votes. So if the survey is an accurate sample, the front and back of the beach are the two places where most treasure cobs or coins are found.

I've also seen a lot of evidence that eight reales are the most commonly found cobs. That is suggested by Alan Craig's book, the sample of coins in the Sedwick Auction, and the survey that I conducted on that subject in this blog. While I might doubt anyone of those sources, the combined evidence seems pretty strong.

If eight reales are the most frequently found type of cob, it makes sense that the place they would be found are the very front and back of the beach. Eight reales are relatively heavy and might not be moved so quickly and far by the water. You might therefore, expect to find them more at the water's edge, or eroding out of the dunes where they have been buried for years and years until washed out by very high water. In both cases they would not be far from the source: the water in the one case and the dunes in the other case. That makes sense to me.

I'm sure you've heard of some of the places where treasure cobs or coins have washed out of the back dunes. Melbourne is one of those places, and the Pillar Dollars above Wabasso is another, to mention just two.

I've personally tracked some shipwreck items to the back dunes as they've washed out. I've traced some of the lighter items from the back dunes as they washed further down towards the water.

I've also seen cobs wash out of the back dunes at Jupiter.

While I've not been able to track it, it appears obvious to me that sometimes cobs and things was up onto the beach. I've also seen beaches that were at one time cut hundreds of feet back and way down in the past, reveal cobs in new sand after those areas have filled again in places where there is no way they could have washed down from the back dunes. In some cases, there was no elevation to the back dunes and they were back that there was just no way they could have come from the back.

If you give any weight to the results of this survey and the other sources of data or observations that I've cited, it appears that the most coins are eight reales and that they are evidently washed out of the back dunes are onto the beach from the water, but they often are found near the source, weather it is the back dunes or water.

After those two top answers, the next most frequently mentioned location that treasure cobs or coins were found is near the toe or on the face of a cut. If I went from my own personal experience, this area would have been one of the top areas. I've personally found more cobs along cuts than any other place.

Bringing up the last three areas in decreasing number of finds was the flat dry sand area, followed by the high tide line on an uncut beach, and last, the splash area ust above a cut.

I'm surprised how many are reported for the flat dry sand area. I've never found any there that weren't either at the high tide line or in the splash area above a cut. Maybe those areas weren't clearly defined in the survey or in the memory of those who responded. There was a time that I wouldn't have distinguished those areas in my own thinking.

I have found cobs at both the high tide line on uncut beaches, and in the splash area just above a cut. I originally found it surprising to find cobs in those areas and still wonder exactly how they got there. I wouldn't think the cobs get washed up to the highest point that the water reaches on a slanted beach, but whoops, there they are. And I am just as curious as to how they end up in the splash area above a cut.

When I've found cobs in what I am calling the splash area, they have been small cobs and in with a scattering of shells. I've noticed on frequent hunter that hunts the shelly splash area very heavily and frequently.

I guess it is not surprising that the cobs found in those two areas tend to be small given the obstacles and small amount of wave energy reaching those two points.

My guess is that the shells and cobs found in what I am calling the splash area just above a cut, are flipped there when the water splashes against the face of the cut or up over the edge of the cut, but I don't know that. That is just the best explanation that I can some up with.

I've actually seen cobs fall out of the face of a cut, but never have been fortunate enough to see one splash up onto the flat sand, although I have seen that happen to a couple of 19th century coins. I guess it would work the same.

That turned out to be a fascinating survey question. In summary, I'd have to say, there are a lot of different areas on a beach where cobs and treasure coins have been found.

One warning is that if you tend to hunt only one or two of those areas, you'll probably be missing some good opportunities.

Self-fulfilling prophecies are not uncommon. If you found your first several cobs in one area, you'll tend to hunt that area more, and as a result, that is where you'll find more cobs. That is natural. People tend to go where they have had success. But that limits the possibility of finding success in other areas.

I often warn about too narrowly limiting yourself. For maximum success, you need to watch the current conditions and what is going on, and adapt. It is good to try different things once in a while. Don't get stuck in a rut.

I know of some people who have only found small cobs. I know of others that have only found large cobs, even though they've found quite a few. And I know of people who have found lots of shipwreck spikes, but never found a cob. I would bet that the reason that those people found a good number of one kind of thing, but none of another, is that they hunt the same places and hunt the same way. That will limit the range of their finds.

In the past few month there have been a number or iron artifacts out on the front of the beach at some places. That is pretty much over now, but that is how it was. There were spikes an things like that, but it no cobs. Like I often say, when conditions are not good for one thing, they are often good for something else.

The beach is a dynamic system. The water moves the sand and sifts and sort items, by density and other characteristics. If you hunt one type of area, you might find one type of item, but if you hunt other areas or under different conditions, you'll probably find other things.

Don't get stuck in a rut.

I guess that is enough for today.

Treasure Coast Beach Forecast and Conditions.

The wind is from the east/northeast today and calmer than yesterday. The seas are running around four feet today, and again tomorrow, then slacking off over the weekend.

I haven't been out for a couple of days to see what is happening, but I suspect not much of anything.

We are into summer conditions. That means it will take a northeaster or something to help us out.

Happy hunting,