Wednesday, June 19, 2013

6/19/13 Report - More Finds, Ancient Coin Finds in America, Tropical Depression 2

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Great Finds by Ken D.!
Photo by Ken D.
Thanks for sharing your great finds Ken.

Yesterday I wondered how long it would take silver to turn black in salt water and said I always intended to do an experiment to find out but had never done it.  Terry T. wrote and said he put .999 silver in salt water in a fish tank.   He said, It took one year for it to oxidize and turn completely  black.  He also mentioned that the water also had other chemicals in it that might have influenced the results.  Nevertheless, that gives some idea.

Silver found on the beach or in the shallow water can be under water the entire time or on the beach and submerged most of the time or just a small part of the time.  That might affect how long it takes too.

While researching the Bar Kokhba coin I found some other interesting literature that I'll comment on below.

By the way, Chuck G. said. ... I typed "4 column Greek coin" into yahoo search and then searched images. I was thinking Greek or roman as well.

I mentioned that it can be difficult to find foreign coins when the characters used are other than our Latin alphabet.  Anymore it can be worth searching images, as Chuck did, rather than or in addition to the letters or numbers seen on a coin.

Beach Find By Patrick H.
Thanks for the tip Chuck.

Here is a find from Patrick H. He'd like to know if anyone has seen one like it or can provide and thoughts or information on this item.

He hasn't found any markings on it yet.

I don't recognize the design.

Anyone else?

While researching the Bar Kokhba coin, I ran across a very interesting book by Gloria Farley.   You might be familiar with her book if you read a lot of treasure related literature.   The book is In Plain Sight.  The topic is evidence of European visitors to America before Columbus.  It discusses various pieces of evidence such as ancient coins found in America in a context that suggests they were introduced before the time of Columbus.  It also considers other evidence, such as rock carvings etc.

Not only is the topic interesting, but it is plain good reading containing a lot of clues and thought provoking comments.  I highly recommend the book to anyone interested in treasure hunting.  Several chapters can be found online through the following link.

You don't have to accept all of the stories and research or the conclusion to enjoy and benefit from this book.

Here are a few paragraphs from the chapter on ancient coin finds.

In March 1980 Dr. Norman Totten and I presented slide lectures on the same program at Brigham Young University in Utah, at the invitation of our mutual friend, Dr. Paul Cheesman. Both of us happened to show slides of ancient coins. Immediately afterward, a student approached me with this question, "How does one go about finding an ancient coin?"

He was told, "You don't, they find you." With a dissatisfied look, he wandered over to Totten where he asked the same question and received exactly the same answer.

The problem of the provenance of ancient coins can be summarized in one paragraph of a letter I wrote to Tom Lee, an anthropologist in Quebec: "I agree with you that it is too bad that ancient coins are found by treasure hunters and amateurs (and housewives and children and chickens) instead of by scholars, but who else is going to find them? If they are authentic, they just are where they are, and found by accident. It is not at all logical to think that a professional archaeologist or anthropologist or numismatist or historian could set out to find one and succeed. Where in God's millions of square miles would he pick to hunt? And if by chance he did find one, then who would say he did not plant it?"
After this was discussed with friend and colleague Alan Gillespie, he said, "As you well know, you would search first in areas with independent evidence of ancient habitation." That sounds reasonable, and a favorite site in western Oklahoma is replete with ancient inscriptions which translate. However, these inscriptions are scattered within an area of 100 square miles. A coin occupies approximately a square inch of space. And not one of the inscriptions says, "Dig here, at this exact spot I intend to lose a coin."

That gives an bit of the flavor of the book.  You'll find information, clues, thought provoking statements and  humor.

Most of the found ancient coins referred to in the book, and there are quite a few, were indeed found by regular people going about their daily business.  A good number were found by creeks or rivers.  Locations of finds were sometimes given in the book in good detail.  A few were found by detectorists. Some by farmers plowing, and one by a chicken scratching.

The statement about coins finding you rings a bell with me.  There are indeed some finds that I felt did find me.  And I've commented before that a coin occupies something like one square inch of space on a beach.

Most of the ancient coins referred to in the book were found up to fourteen inches deep or else were uncovered by the actions of man, such as plowing or construction, or running water.

And I've commented many times on the importance of archaeology developing good relationships with detectorists and the public at large.  As the book points out, they are the ones most likely to make important finds like those referred to in the book.   There is simply too much world to cover and too many artifacts and coins to find.

Here is the link to the site that presents several chapters of the book.

I highly recommend the following chapter about ancient coins in particular.

Tropical Depression 2 is over the Bay of Campeche but headed west into Mexico.  Not much chance of affecting us significantly.

On the Treasure Coast another day or two of south winds and 1 - 2 foot surf is expected.  That means more of the same.  No improvement in beach detecting conditions.

As I've been showing, people are finding some fun and interesting things.

Happy hunting,