Thursday, September 29, 2011

9/29/11 Report - Phillipe, Where Is He Going?

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Phillipe Heading West.

A 12 year old boy put a note in a bottle in 1961 and set it out to sea. The bottle and message was found this year after hurricane Irene by two ladies who are now trying to locate Jeffrey Vickers who wrote that note.

Here is the link to that story.

There are always some things in the world of collecting that become popular and bring high prices for a time before eventually losing favor. Kovels Komments reports that right now antique firearms are particularly popular and are bringing high prices.

3-D laser scanning of artifacts is now being used to develop 3-D computer images that can be used in museum displays and to further study the artifact.

Here is a link to an article about using 3-D laser scanning on artifacts from George Washington's estate.

A few days ago I provided a sketch of a theoretical beach and began a series of posts on treasure beach dynamics.

I think everybody accepts the idea that heavy items over time sink on a beach. It isn't all that simple though. Obviously for an item to sink, movement is necessary. But not only does the sinking item move, the materials immediately under the item must move. A coin or ring can not sink through sand without the sand moving enough to permit the ring to move down through it. Sand is not solid or stationary like concrete. That might sound obvious enough, but it seems to be overlooked sometimes.

How fast and how persistently an item sinks on a beach will be determined by a number of factors. The object's density, size and shape, and composition will all affect how fast or how much an item sinks. Also, the materials that the item is in will determine how fast it will sink.

Sometimes the sand is loosely packed and sometimes densely packed. Sometimes the sand is fine grain and sometimes course. Sometimes there are layers of other materials such as shells, rocks, or clay. Some sand is saturated with water. That all makes a difference in how an item will sink.

Generally speaking gold and similarly dense objects such as lead will be found at deeper levels. However dense materials in the shape of a thin sheet will not sink very much. A lead musket ball will more often be found at deeper levels than a thin lead sheet, for example. The sheet will present more surface area, and moving water will move it more. A thin plain gold band presents little surface area to the sand and also to the force of moving water.

The shape of a coin when laying on the surface of well packed sand will tend to hug the sand and will not present much surface area to water moving over it, and so will not tend to move much unless there is a good bit of force applied by the water. Of course the coin it will move if the surface that is is resting on is being moved.

Often the sand is moved away, the object settles on the new lower base, and then new sand covers the object again. That is why it helps to know where different layers are.

One of the missing pieces to the puzzle for me is that I don't know where the beach was back in the 18th century. I suspect that it was signicantly different than it is now.

Back to the sinking objects. I do know how far some beaches were eroded back after the 2004 storms. One beach that I'll use as an example was eroded down several feet all the way back to the walkover.

Now here is an important point. Everything in that area, all of the sand and other objects in that area was gone. Material had to wash in and up to fill that vaated area again. On other beaches it could possibly be that some of the fill material washed down from the dunes, but on my sample beach, that didn't happen. Therefore, I know that cobs and other objects wash up. On some beaches there is simply no other way for those objects to end up in previously vacated areas. The conclusion is that coins wash in as well as out, and up in addition to sinking.

That seems like a good place to stop for now.

Treasure Coast Beach Forecast and Conditions.

No change in the long standing poor conditions yet.

As you can see from the illustration at the top of the post today, Philippe looks like he might head west.

Today and tomorrow we'll have relatively calm seas, but this weekend and maybe for a few days after that it looks like the seas will increase, maybe up to about four feet. That is what the surf web sites are predicting now.

That could help a little.

Happy hunting,