Sunday, June 26, 2011

6/26/11 Report - Sterncastle Gem

Atocha 10 Carat Emerald Ring Found

Good news from Key West!

A couple of days ago I received an email from the Mel Fisher organization reporting the find of this 10 Carat emerald ring found in the new area of exploration within 300 feet of where a gold rosary and gold bar were recently found. Seems to be a nice new hot spot. They think it might be where the sterncastle went down, and that is where the possessions of the aristocracy would have been.

Captain Andy Matroci said, “This is the largest emerald box ring I have ever seen from the Atocha,” It could be worth as much as $500,000.

The ring is engraved with VRC, which might be the initials of the original owner.

Also found yesterday were two silver spoons, 4 silver coins, and what looks like an encrusted lid to a box and a broach.

Salvage ships are now busy all over the Treasure Coast. I saw two ships working the Nieves site just the other day.

Don B. informs me that this story was also in the Sun-Sentinel.

I was browsing eBay and noticed a bunch of very suspicious looking "shipwreck coins." It seems there are as many fakes as there are genuine shipwreck coins being sold on eBay.

The first group that really jumped out of me was a bunch of silver Roman coins that were said to be from a shipwreck discovered near Israel in the 1960s or 70s. The thing that caught my attention is that they looked like they were two hours old. The edges and everything were unbelievable sharp and the silver bright and shiny.

Another warning flag is that there were a variety of ancient coins from different eras and places being sold by the same seller, and they all had the same impossibly new look.

Another warning sign was that the seller said he only had second hand knowledge of the source of the coins and that he was told they were from a shipwreck.

No silver coin immersed in salt water is going to look shiny new, and if it is cleaned of all oxidation, the details would not be so impossibly sharp. The edges looked so sharp that they looked like they would cut you. Those coins just didn't look right in any way.

Watch out. Buy "shipwreck" coins from reputable sources.

Years ago, I once went to Hollywood Beach (FL) early in the morning to detect.
Some of the early-risers were already running up and down the beach picking up furniture. A cargo container had fallen off of a ship coming out of Port Everglades and dumped furniture in the ocean, and it was washing up on the beach.

I don't know how a ship looses a cargo container, but that is what happened.

I was reminded of that incident this morning when reading about the hoards that showed up to salvage a sunken ship in Hawaii back in the 18th Century. It must have seemed like the Sea Gods opened Davey Jones' treasure chest.

Think about it. All of a sudden all kinds of goods are washing up on shore for the taking. I would think a shipwreck like that would attract the locals from far and wide in ages past. The article mentioned one of the Hawaiians conducting a ceremony thank God for the bounty from the sea.

When walking a beach, I often feel a little like the sea is making an offering. There is always something washing up on the beach, even if it is only sea shells.

Yesterday morning I was at one of those broad flat beaches that is producing a lot of iron artifacts. I was reminded of a couple of tips I recently gave in this blog. I found using both of them very helpful, so I thought they were worth repeating.

The first is when digging an iron artifact close to the water level keep your eyes pealed for the first glimpse of rust. You'll usually see a hint of rust before you see or remove the object. When you see the rust, stop digging. When you see the first evidence of rust, top digging and see if you can see the location of the object. If you can, remove the item by hand. I think you'll find this easier, especially when the item is buried in a layer of shells, and it will help prevent damage to the item that might be caused by further digging.

Elongated Iron Object Giving Signals at Each End.

As I described in my 5/30/11 report, a long narrow piece of iron, such as a spike will give signals at both ends when swinging the coil in the right direction. This morning I detected an iron object that gave a broken signal that sounded like two signals several inches apart. I figured it was an iron spike,or something similar in size and shape. I figured that the object was buried only a few inches, and that the object was between the two signals. I dug, scooping from one signal to the other, and indeed the item was an elongated iron object was located just where I expected between the two signals. I was therefore able to locate and scoop out the item without hitting it at all.

If you want to read more about this technique of identifying elongated iron objects, you might want to go back and read my 5/30/11 post.

The Condederate sub Hunley is being turned right side up. Here is the link to that story.

Treasure Coast Beach Forecast and Conditions.

The wind is still from the south and the sea calm. Therefore no change in conditions to report.

There isn't anything significant going on in the Atlantic either. The flat seas are predicted to remain for another week.

I saw a couple other detectorists that were on the beach before me yesterday, but there were still a lot of iron targets. I suspect that there is still a spike or two within detecting range on that beach. I was surprised how many targets there still were - and not only iron. There were copper items and other non-ferrous targets still there. I left some again. Just didn't have the time to clean them all out.

I suspect there are other beaches with targets to keep you busy, but some, of course, will probably be pretty clean. What I've been seeing is some of the beaches where the sand has been dragged down and into the water in recent weeks, there are still some targets. I don't think the beaches with a steeper slope will generally have as many targets to dig.

Again, it is hard digging. The beaches I am talking about have a lot of packed shells under a layer of sand. That makes for tough digging. That is also why you have to be more careful to avoid damaging items that you are digging. It takes some real vigorous digging to get them out.

We had some rain on the Treasure Coast the last couple of days - not nearly enough, but some. I'll therefore remind you that even a good rain can expose some targets.

One other thing: Some of the Treasure Coast beaches now have a lot of green sea weed on them. That stuff is slippery as ice. Watch your footing.

Happy hunting,