Friday, March 1, 2013

3/1/13 Report - Pope's Ring, Emeralds Found, Illegal Artifact Sales

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Ring of Pope Benedict XVI
Picture from the Moynihan Report
Link found in this post.
Two months of 2013 are already gone.

After groundhogs, hearts and President's birthdays, the shortest month of the year ended with the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI.  It left me feeling a little sad somehow - just a vague feeling that I can't tap into well enough to explain.

To the left is a picture of Pope Benedict's papal ring (called the "fisherman's ring"), which was returned to the College of Cardinals and will be broken.

I don't know if it will be melted down after that.  I would guess so, but don't know.

Here is the link if you want to read more about that historic event.


The Mel Fisher organization reported that a few days ago via email that the crew of the Magruder found a large emerald in an area where emeralds have not been found and six miles away from what is known as Emerald City.  That emerald is 4 kts.  Then to add to that, a day or two later, another emerald was found in the same area.

They might be getting close to another big bunch of emeralds.


13 people were arrested and charged with 400 felony counts for removing and selling nearly $3 million worth of historic Florida artifacts, including pots, arrowheads and various other items.

This was a group that had been selling artifacts nationally for quite a while.

The investigation was conducted by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.  Would that seem to be the most appropriate agency to you?  Maybe, but not going by the name.  That is government.  A bill to save the whales is just as likely to exterminate possums.  Nothing like clarity!

William M. first brought this story to my attention and then Terry H. added additional information.  Thanks to both of you!

Here are two links to that story.

You can see some of the looted artifacts here.

Here are the two concluding paragraphs from the Tallahassee article.

FWC officials are hopeful the arrests will help deter future artifact looting by highlighting its serious consequences. Bendus, however, stressed stopping the crime will take more than law enforcement.
“We have to change norms,” he said. “We can’t leave it up to the just the laws. We need to teach about the enterprise of archaeology and how great it is to participate in it professionally, and to teach history, to learn history and to pass it on to future generations.”

I agree with some of that.  It will take more than law enforcement.

Archaeologists have alienated many who would otherwise be their biggest friends and supporters.  Many people who really like and appreciate history have been shut out of the process.

Not everyone who likes history can become a graduate student or professional archaeologist.  Many are already actively pursuing other professional careers and others have retired from long careers.

Many important finds and contributions have been made to the field of archaeology by amateurs.  And while many important sites remain unstudied, it is illegal to pick up a forty year old coin from state waterways.  That type of heavy-handed over-reaching behavior alienates people who would otherwise be happy to participate with archaeologists, contribute to archaeology and help protect archaeological resources.

There are many who would be glad to view archaeological sites and collections that remain hidden in university basements and are only described in obscure technical journals  Many have contributed finds to museums only to find out that they are never displayed, or worse yet, go missing.  The taxpayers who fund most archaeological work, deserve better.

Furthermore, it does not help to label anyone that legally salvages historic shipwrecks or uses a metal detector a looter or grave robber.  Not all archaeologists use those labels that broadly, but some do.

I strongly agree with preventing looting of important archaeological sites, but to effectively do that, a change is needed.  Archaeology should bring those who would be their biggest supporters into the process instead of continuing to alienate them.


Along the Treasure Coast beaches the wind is out of the northwest and the surf has decrease to around 2 - 3 feet.  The surf will continue to decrease to a low of one foot by Monday.  That should be a good time to check out the water or low tide zone.

It looks like towards the end of next week there is a good chance for increase surf again.  Maybe in a range that might improve beach detecting conditions.  Let's hope.

Low tide Friday will be around 4:30 PM.

Happy hunting,