Monday, February 29, 2016

3/1/16 Report - A Story About The Difficulty of Interpreting The Source And Date of A Lost Item. When Location Isn't Enough.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

This isn't just one more post about swivel guns.  It is about more than that.

Lets start with an article about "a" swivel gun.  The article I'm talking about is an online article about a swivel gun found between the Margarita and Atocha wreck sites.  The article is actually a reprint written by Corey Malcom that was originally printed in The Navigator: Newsletter of the Mel Fisher Maritime Heritage Society, Vol.11, No.4, April, 1997.

One paragraph of that article says, Other than its location upon discovery, there is no evidence to support the theory that this swivel gun is a part of the scattered wreckage from either of the Atocha or Santa Margarita. Rather, it seems clear that this cannon represents the first attempt by a quick thinking survivor of the tragedy to mark the location of the sunken galleons for later salvage. Unfortunately, subsequent storms quickly followed and carried away the buoy that this gun anchored, not only leaving it lost at the bottom of the sea, but further destroying what remained of both the Atocha and Margarita. For another 364 years this piece had to lay quietly where it had been dropped before finally being able to reveal its tortuous journey from the 16th to 20th centuries. 

Sometimes we think that because an item is found close to or in a similar circumstance to another item it must be from the same time period or same source.  That can be the case, but it isn't always the case - especially when the location is a beach or in the water.

As I've mentioned in the past, the beach is a turbulent place.  Sand comes ago - time and time again.   There are two tidal cycles almost twice a day.  Things get churned up.  That is why there is no remaining context, as the archaeologists like to say.  Things get scattered an intermixed from different times and sources.

It is true that if you find one item from a time period, the probability is greater that you will find another from a similar time period.  There are times when you are not likely to find anything old at a particular beach location and the presence of one "older" item greatly increases the probability of another.  Same thing for source.  However, it is also true that you can find a good bunch of 20th century objects and still find an earlier item in the group.  The greater the number items found, the better the chances are of finding something even older in the mix.

You can find old items on a beach that were lost only yesterday.  Don't forget that old items are still being carried around - maybe infrequently, but it does happen.  An 18th Century gold coin, could have been dropped just yesterday.  Old things are still being lost today.

I've seen 1715 Fleet gold coins that were found on a beach that were originally found decades ago by modern salvors, were mounted in a ring or pendant, and then lost again.

If you hunt in a place like south Florida, you might find a good number of old gold coins mounted in jewelry.  But of course, they don't have to be mounted in jewelry.

There are still old coins in circulation.  And occasionally little Johnnie takes an item from daddies collection and loses it.  Point being that not all old items were lost long ago.

That was particularly true in older days.  As you'll see from many undisturbed archaeological sites where the context has not been disturbed, people in older times kept things longer.  They repaired things over and over and continued to use them for decades or centuries.  The modern home in 1700, might contain a lot of items from much earlier periods.  It wasn't like they furnished the home exclusively with items that were purchased within the last three years.   Things were made to last longer, and on the average they were used much longer than the stuff we buy and use today.  The age range of items from an old site is often much broader than from a more modern site.

The fact is that dating an item can be particularly difficult for older items because of the broad range of items kept in use in older days, and new and old items can be mixed together, particularly on the beach or in shallow water.

When old coins are being found they can be from different decades or even centuries.  When you are getting to the old stuff, the possibility of finding even older stuff increases, but you can't be sure that things are from the same source just because they are found together.

As much as they like to talk about shipwreck sites as being a time capsule, it is not unusual to see beer cans, sinkers, etc. on an 18th century shipwreck.  There might still be a high degree of clustering, but items from different ages and sources can get mixed together.

That is one thing the article about this swivel gun illustrates.  It is thought that it was not lost with the Atocha or Margarita, but was used to anchor a buoy to mark the shipwrecks.

There is a tendency to accept the simplest explanation as the most correct, but often the story of an artifact is both more interesting and complex than the simplest or "most obvious" interpretation.

This paper reveals the interesting story behind a swivel gun.  Good historical research can help to reveal a lot about an artifact.  Still the apparent answer might not be right.  There is still an element of uncertainty and mystery.  What is the real story?  We'll probably never know for certain.  And maybe that is part of the fun and fascination of an old artifact.

Here is the link to the article.  Enjoy!

And here is an illustration of that particular gun from that article.


I spent all of yesterday in the hospital trying to help someone and haven't been out to the beach much lately for a variety of reasons.  Just goes to show what is really important.

Make the best of the good days.  Be kind and helpful.

Happy hunting,

Sunday, February 28, 2016

2/28/16 Report - More On Ship Artillery Including Swivel Guns and Others.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

I am far from arriving at a conclusion about the item shown yesterday, but in the process of doing a little research have found a lot of interesting information that I want to post.

The item I showed yesterday seems from the photos to me to be close to the size of a swivel gun. Swivel guns were varied in size and shape, but you can see one example above.

The swivel gun was a small cannon named for it's mechanism of attachment. It was about the only 18th century gun that was not a "crew-served" weapon, although it's effectiveness was multiplied when manned by more than the gunner. Once mounted, almost always on a fixed base (as the block of wood shown) it may be pointed quickly to any quarter. But the swivel mechanism cannot stand heavy recoil, so the size, and hence effectiveness, of a swivel gun is severely limited.

Cannon calibers became relatively standardized during the 1600s based on the weight of the ball projectile used in the gun. The smallest standard cannon was the two-pounder, and the largest was the fifty-pounder.

That text and image is from, which is a very nice web site with good information about Revolutionary War artillery.

Another web site (link found below) says,  Clearly the 24lb and 16lb guns were prevalent at the time.( Note that due to a lack of internal gun foundries, most Spanish cannons were produced either in Italy or the Spanish Netherlands. But much of the shot was forged in Spain. 

The smallest caliber cannons were not mounted on wooden carriages but on the railings of the ship. These were principally guns of 5lbs or less, and their principal purpose was not to damage an enemy ship, but to repel boarders. As such they often did not carry an iron ball as shot, but sharp fragments of sharded metal which formed a deadly curtain of shrapnel when fired.
Here is the link to the web site providing that information.

The shot manufactured in Spain was of poor quality and frequently cracked.

I don't know much about artillery, but from what I've seen so far, I'm starting to wonder if the gun shown yesterday might be a swivel gun.  That seems to me to be closer to its size, even though the exact size is difficult to judge because of advanced state of corrosion.

Click here to see a large variety of swivel gun images.  I have seen a few examples that seem to me to match the approximate size of the one shown in yesterday's post.

It also appears to me from yesterday's photos that the breech could have been squared off some.  As you might have seen some swivel guns had a square or rectangular breech, particularly those that were breech loaded.  That opening in the breech might have also contributed to the way the item corroded.

Illustration from Peterson's Encyclopedia of Markings and Decorations on Artillery, Vol. 1. 
Click here to go directly to vol. 1 of Peterson's work. (It is a pdf file so might take a while to load.) It also also includes an excellent reference list.

In the photos of the find, I see no evidence of reinforcing rings, which seems to me to support the idea of it being a swivel gun.  It is possible that they are just worn away.

I also see no evidence of side trunnions, which also seems to me to be consistent with the idea of a swivel gun.

Like I said, I'm don't know much about artillery, and all I am doing at this point is wondering about possibilities.  I hope others will add their thoughts.  If you can tell me I'm completely wrong, please do so.

I really like these kinds of research projects because even if you don't come up with the correct answer right away, you always learn a lot in the process.  I enjoyed looking into the subject, and learned a lot myself.

For me leaning what you found can be as much fun as making the find.  It definitely adds a lot.


On the Treasure Coast it is simply a beautiful day.  The surf is smooth.  Great day to be on the beach or in the water.

Happy hunting,

Saturday, February 27, 2016

2/27/16 Report - Nice Old Cannon Find for ID and Some Great Online References. International Society of St. Hubertus.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Remains of Probable Found Canon
Photo submitted by Alexander G.

I received the following message with the two photo shown above.

My name is Alexander and I write from the Canary Islands.

I've been visiting some websites and I have seen yours so I would therefore like to ask you about a strange piece of iron that looks like a gun/cannon (photos attached) that some acquaintances found near the coast (weighs about 10 kg and is very, very strong especially in the base, with a thickness of about 8 cm.).

I recently visited websites and seems in some ways to an old Spanish cannon pedrero, falconente or similar. You see this very run down and has lost a lot of metal that has simply disappeared. The coasts of the Canary Islands were frequented by all kinds of Spanish galleons and by pirates etc...

To me that is one beautiful piece that if a replica was made would look great in a museum display.  It is hard to tell what the original dimensions were due to the severe wear.  For me that is what makes it so beautiful.  You can see the action of many years under water.  It looks like it was in shallow water where the currents or water movement was strong.

Thanks for the photos and information Alexander.  I'd like to receive any or all thoughts on the identity of the item.

Here are a few related references to check out.  First is this Project Gutenberg Ebook, Artillery Through the Ages: A Short Illustrated History of Cannon, Emphasizing Types Used in America by Albert Manucy, 2007

Here is one illustration from that book.

And her is another interesting reference.   This one is from the Collections of the Georgia Historical Society, Vol. III, Pt. III, The Spanish Official Account of the Attack on the Colony of Georgia.

And here is an illustration of a pedrero from that reference.

As always, one of the best places to start when it comes to conserving such items is the TAMU Conservation Manual.

You can access any of those links by clicking on the underlined title.

Again, I'd like to receive your thoughts on the item.

I'll have some more thoughts and references on this item tomorrow.


You undoubtedly heard of the passing of Justice Scalia, but did you know he was connected with the International Soceity of St. Hubertus.

Here is the link.


That was an interesting slate pendant that I showed yesterday.


On the Treasure Coast today we still have a north wind and small surf.

Happy hunting,

Friday, February 26, 2016

2/26/16 Report - 11,000 Year Old Pendant Found. Button For ID. When to Grid.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

"Silver" Button For ID.
Find and photo by Tom G. from Delaware.
Front of Same Button.

This button was found by Tom G. in Dover Delaware.  If you can provide any ideas about possible age or identity, please let me know.

I also received pictures of a very old cannon to identify.  I hope to be able to post that soon.


Here is something really interesting.

"An 11,000 year old engraved shale pendant discovered by archaeologists during excavations at the Early Mesolithic site at Star Carr in North Yorkshire is unique in the UK, according to new research."
Here is the link for the rest of that article.


Gridding can be useful in some situations, however it can be a big waste of time in other situations.

Gridding, to be done well, is done in a very tight pattern.  When gridding is appropriate, the boundaries of the area should be defined and marked, and you should be able to see or keep track of the areas you have already covered well.

There is simply too much area on a beach to cover an entire beach.  A team of detectorists might choose to grid a section of a beach.

Gridding is more appropriate when the area to be covered is small and well defined, such as at an old home site.

On a beach, there will be different areas.  Some of them will be much more promising than other areas.  If you decide to grid, you will want to spend your time only on those areas that are the most promising.

So how do you find the best areas?  One is by recognizing the signs when you look at a beach. Another way is by knowing the history of the beach.  And another way is by sampling.

Signs you might want to look for can include things like dips or cuts.

Other things to look for include high traffic areas, such as walkways, beach chairs, or vendor booths.

High traffic by itself is not the only factor.  Not all traffic is the same.  Generally speaking, the more active the population, the better.  Activities such as parasailing, jet skiing or volleyball can cause  lot of losses, so look for areas where people are not only present but also active, especially in the water.

I do a lot of sampling.  Even the busiest areas can be cleaned out on a daily basis, or even more often than that.  Before committing the time to run a serious grid pattern anywhere, I want to know that there is some reason to spend a lot of good time at that location.  To test an area, I will run a loose pattern of some sort to see it it looks promising at all.

There are times when you might want to go after a high value target in an area where there really isn't much else to be found.  If there is the possibility of a very high value target, there are times when it could pay to grid the area thoroughly even if there aren't any other targets.

I discussed basic metal detector math in a post back some time ago.  One high value target can be worth thousands of low value targets.  If have good reason to believe there might be a high value target in the area, it doesn't really matter if there is nothing else to be found there.

My main point is that before deciding to grid an area, especially on a beach, I need a good reason to spend my time gridding that area instead of spending my time somewhere else.


On the Treasure Coast the wind is turning into a north wind, however we'll have a couple of days of very smooth surf.

Happy hunting

Thursday, February 25, 2016

5/25/16 Report - Things I Wish I Knew Then. Be Aware Of Your Surroundings When Detecting.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Old Silver Key Charm Corroded and Discolored
by Contact With Other Metals During Storage.
Another item from the  IIOKTWIKN (If I only knew then what I know now) department.  It looks a little like Greek.

I've been thinking of those kinds of things lately and mentioned one yesterday.  Yesterday I mentioned that I learned how important it is to store items, even metals, carefully.  Today I'll mention a few other things I wish I had known sooner.  Actually there are some things that I knew about but didn't take seriously enough to take the best precautions.

In the picture at the top of the post is an example of what can happen when a silver item is stored with other metals.  It looks like the one shown in the picture was actually fowled by at least two different types of metals.  Notice the white corrosion and the rust colored corrosion.  All that happened during storage.

One of the things I wish I knew before is how to identify various types of items.  In the early days I probably passed up a lot of things that were important and I didn't realize it.  It can be very helpful to identify the things you see.  Anything from a pot shard to a piece of metal in a heavy conglomerate can tell you something important about the site you are hunting.

I highly recommend reading broadly.  If you are a coin shooter, you probably won't miss many coins, but you might miss other things that you'll someday wish you had.

If you want to hunt a treasure beach, do a lot of reading.  Know what other kinds of items besides pieces of eight might be found.

I remember one person that I helped on a beach one day.  They found their first cob that day, a small black half reale, and they didn't know what it was.  I am sure that if I wasn't there they would not have know what they found.

Even coins might not be easy to identify,  Don't expect them to all look like those nice cleaned coins you often see.  In this blog, I often post how they look as found, and then how they look after they are cleaned.  You might find a totally encrusted coin and throw it away because it looks more like a stone than a coin.

There are a lot of things I know now that I wish I had known before.  A lot of things don't catch up with you right away, and you'd never guess the long term results.  You just don't want to fool with a bunch of stuff when you younger, and you think it would never happen to you.  Well, one thing that I never wanted to do is use sun tan lotion.  Kids sit out and get sun tanned and sun burned and never think about it.  I did.  But in time the strong Florida sun will take its toll, especially if you are a fair skinned person.  I know detectorists who have had a lot of trouble with skin cancer.  I hate to mention that, but it is a reality, and supposedly it can be prevented to some extent by proper care.  I doubt that many people who have not had the problem will want to take it very serious until the damage is done, but I felt I should mention it anyhow.  And even if you don't have that serious of a problem with it, it will dry out your skin and make you look older.   Now that that much of the damage is already done, I do protect my skin better, mostly by using SPF clothing, and some sun tan lotion.


I received some emails about an incident at Juan Ponce De Leon in Melbourne Beach,  

Always be aware of your surroundings.  If you have ear phones on and are focusing, you might not e aware of various types of danger including but not limited people.  Look up once in a while.  I usually know what is going on around me because I'm always scanning the area even if I appear to not be paying attention.  

It is also a good idea to hunt with a partner, especially if you are on an isolated beach or hunting at night.  I'd especially advise that of women, not because they can't take care of themselves, but because other people might think they are more vulnerable.

You might want to be aware of this fellow or others like him.  Check it out.

In the past I've also received a few emails about nudists on Treasure Coast beaches.  There are places where they congregate.  South Hutchinson Island has a couple of those areas.


I've been meaning to give a plug to Lindquist Plumbing of Fort Pierce.  They installed a hot water heater at a great price and did a super excellent job.  If you are looking for a plumber I can recommend them.


I've had back problems and had to cut down on my field time for a while.

Happy hunting,

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

2/24/16 Report - Last Naval Battle Of The American Revolution. Embrittlement of Silver and Importance of Storing Things Carefully.

Written by the Treasureguide for the exclusive use of

March 5 there will be there will be an event commemorating the last naval battle of the American Revolution.  Above is the front of a flyer from the Sons of the American Revolution describing the event.

Captain John Barry left France on December 8, 1782, and arrived in the port of Martinique on January 8, 1783. There he received orders from Robert Morris, dated October 11, 1782, sending him to Havana to pick up "specie for Congress" and deliver the cargo to Philadelphia. Despite the long wait for the orders, Captain Barry prepared his ship for the journey. Along the way during his cruise to Havana, the Alliance had spotted various vessels just off the horizon, but was never quite able to identify them or give chase. Ultimately he realized that several British vessels were patrolling the waters and more than once he had to use the speed of the Alliance to avoid capture...

Here is a link for more information about the battle.

If you have an ancestor who fought in the revolution you are eligible to join the SAR.


If I only knew then what I know now!  How often have you thought that?  That has been on my mind recently.

One of things I would do differently is store finds more carefully.  You might be surprised how things that survived many years in the ocean or on a beach will break for apparently very little cause.

Some things you expect to break easily, such as glass or pottery, but sometimes things you would never expect to break do.

I've been surprised by some metal items that cracked and broke.  You'd think that if they survived for so long in the wild that they wouldn't break just sitting in a box or whatever, but it happens, and it can be very disappointing when it does happen.

Silver and gold can both be more brittle than you might think.  Not long ago I talked about tumbaga.  Tumbaga, which can look like pure gold, but it can have high percentages of other alloys, such as copper, which makes it much more brittle.

I had s silver side plate for an old gun in a box with a bunch of coins.  It broke.  Who would have thought?  And after all of those years.

Silver can corrode in ways that makes it brittle.  I found a good study that talks about that.  The title is of that paper is Embrittlement in archaeological silver artifacts: Diagnostic and remedial techniques.

Unfortunately only part of the article is available online, but here is the link.

I never expected it to break under the circumstances, but it did.   Knowing what I know now, and considering that and other cases, it is better to store things very carefully even if you might think it isn't necessary.

It is always good to separate items made of different metals too.  Silver is especially vulnerable to being fowled by other metals that touch it.   It is just a good idea to store things in separate containers, coin holders or whatever.  Don't forget good labels with dates, locations and other information.

Remember, that as this article shows, silver, like other metals, can be corroded in ways that makes it more brittle.


I haven't been out much lately due to a combination of causes.

The surf is decreasing along the Treasure Coast.  Expect that for the next few days.

Happy hunting,

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

2/23/16 Report - Various Beach Shards. Frozen Gold TV Program.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Variety of Beach Sherds.
Yesterday I showed some pottery.  I thought I'd follow up on that today.

Glass and pottery can be one of your first hints of a land site.  They can be very plentiful on the surface.

On a beach, there are times when they might be found, but most often you won't see any shards.

The picture above shows a wide variety of beach pieces.

The three big orange ones could be from olive jars or something similar.

It is easy to confuse more modern pieces with older pieces.  You can learn to tell the difference though.

Modern pieces are often extruded.  If you carefully inspect them, you can see how they were extruded.  They look different than pieces that were wheel thrown.  For one thing, they won't show the marks of the potter's hands or fingers.  The surface might be more perfect, the clay more consistent and the surface more heavily glazed.

If you want to learn to tell the difference, study modern items such as drain pipes, roofing tiles, etc.

The top left piece in the picture above shows some fairly large inclusions.  The other two pieces of similar color show some encrustation or other signs of sea life having been attached.

The one at bottom left corner, shows the ridges typical of wheel thrown pottery.

The two light colored pieces are actually more beige than they appear in the picture.

The lower of the two is a bottom piece and is very chalky and worn but shows only a touch of remaining glaze.

Directly below that is a small red/orange bottom piece.  The glaze, which is darker, remains only in the more protected corners.

There are both Spanish and Native American pieces in that group.

The blackened beige piece second from the right side in the bottom row is incised.

Kang Hsi Porcelain

Kang Hsi porcelain was transported on 1715 Fleet ships and has been found on Treasure Coast shipwreck beaches.

At left is a small piece of Kang Hsi porcelain. Note how white it is, how thin it is and how the blue is sinks into the top layer.   That is typical.

It isn't difficult to distinguish Kang Hsi from the more common types of blue on white pottery that you will often see.

I've talked about how to identify Kang Hsi and other porcelain before.

Seal Mark Of The Kang Hsi Dynasty

If you are lucky enough to see a marked piece, the mark shown to the left woul indicate the Kang Hsi dynasty.


Here is another TV show you might like - Curse of the Frozen Gold.   You can also watch it online.

Thanks to Dean R. for the link.


The surf will be decreasing a little.  Expect another day of south wind on the Treasure Coast.

Happy hunting,

Monday, February 22, 2016

2/22/16 Report - Pottery: Whole Vessel and Small Piece.

Written by the Treasureguide for the exclusive use of

Nice Old Conserved Pot.

A few days ago I was talking about artifacts as being more than objects.  I was talking about how there is always a story behind an object.  And it is a detailed and often personal story.

Who made this pot?  Why?  Who used it?  And how did it end up where it was found?

Those are all good questions, and I'm sure the answers would be interesting.  Unfortunately we can't answer those questions in this case, but we can start down the path.

One nice thing about this item you can see the imprint of the fingers or hands of the person who made it.  Those markings were preserved in the clay when it was made.

This particular pot is about thirteen inches high.

This pot was formed on a wheel by hand.  Notice the grooves around the sides.  You can also see the grooves inside the pot.

Bottom of Same Pitcher.
You can see that this area near the bottom has deteriorated some.

Tools were used on some pottery like this, but in this case, it looks like it was formed by hand.

Marken, in his book on shipwreck pottery, shows a number of olive jars with shoulders that were smoothed over.  The grooves were not apparent on the shoulders even though they were on the rest of the jar. 

A big part of it is knowing where an item was found.   

Put together whatever facts you can to narrow it down and then use your imagination.  After that enjoy doing some research.


Sometimes you don't have the entire artifact.  Pots are fragile and if you see something washed up onto a beach, it would likely just be a sherd.

Not all sherds are the same.  Some provide more information than others.  And it isn't always the biggest pieces that tell you the most.

Shown here is a small sherd - or shard if you prefer.
It is a beige color but is has been blackened on the surfaces.

This piece shows some of the rim, which is thickened towards the inside.

You can get a good idea of the circumference of a vessel from the rim.

This small piece provides even more diagnostic information than that.

The outside is more heavily darkened than the inside. Could that be from being over a fire?  I'd guess that is the reason.

Also notice the incised design.  It shows one incised line slanting up and to the left on the left side and two lines slanting up and to the right on the right side.

I'd say this is a Native American sherd.  It is surprising how often you can see those if you keep your eyes open when you are on a beach or out in nature.

In my experience, you are lucky to get a piece that is decorated.

What story does it tell?  As you know objects found on a beach get washed around.  They may be a long distance from where they were.  They would have no context.  It would be nothing like an archaeological site that you could excavate to unravel the story behind it.

If you find object, there is higher probability that there are more similar objects in the same area. That isn't very specific information, but it tells you to keep your eyes open.

I'm sure there are some people who might be able to tell you a lot about even a little piece like this.


Happy hunting,

Sunday, February 21, 2016

2/21/16 Report - Luna Camp Found by Amateur Archaeologist. Information Access Inequality. Cleaned Find. Black Glass.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Same Find After Cleaning
Treasure Coast Beach Find.
Here is a find that sat around for a while before I did anything with it.  

Before I cleaned it I thought it might be a silver heart.

I had just finished cleaning another object and had a muriatic bath ready to go so I decided to put the object in.  I was just assuming that it was silver,

In a very short time it was clean.  It didn't take long at all.

It turns out it wasn't silver.  It was copper.

I don't think it is a heart now either, but maybe.  It appears that there was a hole or chain or something, which broke through.

There is some gold gilt left on it.

It is a little more interesting to me now.  I was wrong about the metal, for sure.  And now I really don't know what it is.  


An amateur archaeologist recently discovered a lost Spanish settlement in the Florida Panhandle.

According to experts, Garner’s find at a newly cleared lot along the Pensacola Bay was the landing site of a doomed 1559 expedition led by Tristan de Luna. The discovery bolsters Pensacola’s claim as the first European settlement in the modern-day United States, six years before Pedro Menendez founded St. Augustine on Florida’s Atlantic coast. The Luna expedition was scuttled by a hurricane that sank five ships in September 1559, shortly after the fleet arrived.

Click here for the rest of that story.

Thanks to Dean R. for the link.

Amateur archaeologists make many important finds.  They are out there in the field, are interested and informed.  Empowering and informing the public will lead to even more discoveries.

If you look at Allan Craig's books about the coins in the Florida Collection or the Marken book on pottery from Spanish shipwrecks (both printed by the University of Florida Press), you'll see how much treasure hunters have contributed.  Both of those studies make extensive use of items found by treasure hunters.  In the preface Marken spends a lot of time apologizing for the fact that his study considered objects found by treasure hunters, but without them the record would be much less complete.

Books published by university presses are expensive.  And either of the books mentioned above will cost you over $50 for used copies.  That is too bad.  The oft stated purpose is to save history for the public, yet the information is not inexpensively available.

Those types of books will mostly be purchased by research libraries and accessed by academics and graduate students.  There is not a large market for such books, and that is part of the reason they cost so much.

In my opinion the information in those books should be inexpensively and easily available to the public.  The public pays for most of the research activities anyhow, and in more than one way.  And the state universities are supported by the public.

If you do not want or cannot afford your own copy, you can get free access to them through a library. Don't be afraid to ask your librarian for an interlibrary loan if they do not keep a copy on hand.

Also remember that you can see part of those books online for free.

While a lot of people are calling for income equality these days, I am as interested in information access equality.

The internet has increased access to information for the public, but there are limits.

I've recently reported how archaeologists intentionally keep site information from the public who funds most of the activities either directly or indirectly.

The academic and scientific communities publish much of the time in very expensive scientific journals.  If you don't have a good research library nearby or if your local librarian won't assist. you might not be able to easily access that information.

I've mentioned the Open Access Movement before, so won't go into that now, but to me that is an important movement.

As I said, there isn't a large market for books like the two I mentioned above, so they are expensive. That is simple economics.  There are a variety of possible solutions though.

In these days when income inequality receives so much attention, I would like to bring attention to the issue of information access inequality.


Piece of Black Glass
Same Piece of Glass Held Up
To a Light.
You've heard of black glass.  It looks black, but is usually actually a dark green.  You can see that it is green if you hold it up to a light.

This piece of black glass was found on the Treasure Coast, but turned out to be brown instead of dark green.  You can see what it looked like when held up to a light (below).

That was a little bit of a surprise to me.  Most of the black glass I've found was a dark olive green.


On the Treasure Coast we're going to have three or four days of 3 - 5 foot surf.  That is not bad, however the wind will be mostly a south wind.

Happy hunting,

Friday, February 19, 2016

2/19/16 Report - Rougher Surf But Little Erosion In Most Places But Some Exceptions.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Surf On Treasure Coast Beach
The surf was up today.  Somewhere around 4 - 6 feet.  Unfortunately the surf is already hitting directly from the east.

Not much erosion around most of the Treasure Coast.  Above is a typical beach.  Note the small amount of sea weed.

It looked like later yesterday that there might have been some cutting, but then after that some filling.

The last high tide came up over the berm in some places.

John Brooks Beach Looking South This Morning Before Low Tide.
John Brooks Beach Looking North Before Low Tide This Morning
In the photo immediately above you can see a little erosion.  This beach is not very different from what it was a few days ago.  

The sand on this beach in front of the berm is very soft.

The water had been up over the berm here.

I would not be surprised if there were a spot or two that was better.  I didn't get around to a lot of the beaches.

The areas south of inlets and jetties have been losing sand though.

Take a look at the beach south of the Fort Pierce inlet.

Fort Pierce South Jetty Beach This Morning.
There is a seven or eight foot cliff here.  I'd say the beach has eroded back 50 to 100 yards here in a few months.  

Erosion Running Hundreds of Yards.
This sand doesn't appear to be as junky as the sand that was here in the past.

I sampled this area with a detector some today.  Some coins were laying along the foot of the cliff. Lower on the beach was more iron junk but also a few other things. 

Cliff at South Jetty Beach Park.
People were walking along inspecting the cliff for shells and things.

There have been times when old items were found in the renourishment sand here.  I haven't seen any evidence of that lately.

Happy hunting,

Thursday, February 18, 2016

2/18/16 Report - Mardi Gras Shipwreck Report. Billion Dollar Shipwreck. 404 Carat Diamond Found. North Wind.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Cover Illustration From a Report On the Mardi Gras Shipwreck
Showing Conglomerate of Weapons Including Swords, Muskets Etc.  

Source: See link below.

Maybe you've seen the Billion Dollar Wreck show on the History channel.  So far I just saw a few pieces.  I heard from one reader that thinks the treasure might be gone.  From what I have seen, it looks interesting.  Here is an excerpt from the History channel web site.

Fifty miles off the coast of Nantucket, 250 feet beneath the Atlantic, lies the RMS Republic and her secret treasure. A famed White Star liner, Republic, set sail three years before her sister-ship Titanic. Like Titanic, she met a similar fate at the bottom of the ocean. As soon as Republic sank, rumors spread of a precious cargo, but Republic has kept her secrets intact for over a century. Until now.

Life-long treasure hunter Martin Bayerle has devoted the past 35 years of his life researching the Republic and proving the existence of her reputed cargo of 150,000 American Eagle gold coins–a bounty worth a billion dollars in today’s economy...

Now, with the help of his estranged son, Grant, Martin is returning to Republic for one last shot at the gold. Armed with three decades worth of new research, Martin is convinced he now knows the precise location of the gold. Together, Martin and Grant will lead a team of salvage divers down the deep, dark and dangerous waters that have held Republic’s bounty hostage for a century...

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


On the subject of deep water wrecks, here is a super report on the excavation of the Mardi Gras Shipwreck.  It is a really in depth report, complete with photos and illustrations.  Very good.

The report is very complete.  There is an extensive reference list in the appendix.  Check out the artifacts, many of which are military.

I am often critical of the government, but this is a government product that is excellent. Archaeological information is sometimes kept from the public instead of being published for free and easy access.  I don't have any doubt that this project cost millions of dollars.  Nothing is free... except this blog.

I'll comment on the expensive books published by University Presses some other time.

The Mardi Gras Shipwreck site was characterized by a scatter of large and small diagnostic artifacts and features within a discrete 20 m (65 ft) long by 5 m (15 ft) wide area of the silty, nearly flat bottom. The hull and artifacts were distributed along a northwest to southeast line, with the probable bow situated to the northwest. These artifacts, which were nearly all in a remarkable state of preservation, included an anchor, a cannon, a ship’s stove, ceramic tableware, glass bottles, navigation instruments, and a wooden chest containing an assortment of small arms. The remains of the ship’s hull were visible in specific areas, but the majority of the ship was deteriorated or buried in the sediment and beyond the scope of this project. The artifact assemblage and hull remains suggest that the vessel wrecked circa 1808– 1820 and was constructed during the preceding decade...

Here is the web site that you'll surely want to visit.

And here is the preferred citation.

Ford, B., A. Borgens, W. Bryant, D. Marshall, P. Hitchcock, C. Arias, and D. Hamilton. 2008. Archaeological excavation of the Mardi Gras Shipwreck (16GM01), Gulf of Mexico continental slope. Prepared by Texas A&M University. U.S. Department of the Interior, Minerals Management Service, Gulf of Mexico OCS Region, New Orleans, LA. OCS Report MMS 2008-037. 313 pp.


A 404 carat diamond was discovered in Angola.  It is the 27th largest recorded.

Here is the link.


On the Treasure Coast the wind is coming from the north now.  Tomorrow the surf will bump up to around 4 - 6 feet if the predictions are correct.  That isn't bad if it lasts any time at all.

Happy hunting,

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

2/17/16 - Using Junk And Other Finds As Clues: A Simple Example. Talk To Local Old-Timers. Surf Increasing.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Elementary School As Viewed On Google Earth.
Yesterday I said that artifacts are more than objects, and I attempted to illustrate that with an example from my own life.  With that example I wanted to illustrate how personal, meaningful and complex the story of an artifact could be even if it wasn't part of a big event in history.

Today I'll use something very different.  The diagnostic artifacts today are common.  It might be difficult to imagine that there could even be a story connected to these items.

Yesterday I suggested but did not elaborate on the idea that as you attempt to find the story behind an artifact, thinking about the possible story can lead you to more and better finds.  Today's example is very simple and clear, yet in my opinion, instructive.

Take a look at the Google Earth image at the top of the post.  The bottom one fifth of the image is a hill with the higher part at the very bottom of the screen, The hill gets higher as you to from left to right towards the very bottom of the image.  Sorry that isn't more clear.

Lets say I see the school shown above and decide to do a little detecting there.  First of all, I would be ahead of the game if I had done a little research, which would tell me that this school (the main building had only four rooms for eight grades) was in operation back in the 1930s.

If you just wandered around for a while without using too much discrimination, one of the most prominent things you would most likely find would be a very small dense area with a heavy concentration of soda bottle caps.  Not the more modern screw type.

The concentration of bottle caps are indicated by the orange dot on the image below.  Your first reaction, instead of cursing the darned things and turning up your discrimination, might be to wonder what if anything that might tell you.

Same View of Same School Yard With Additional Indicators Added.
What is the age range?  Why are there so many in that one small area?

The light blue line indicates the path of a small stream.  I just wanted to highlight that.

Notice how flat and even that area to the right of the buildings and just below the stream looks.  I'm sorry you can't see the lay of the land better in this illustration.

You keep detecting and run into two areas that are turning up almost exclusively silver coins from the 1950s and a little scattered junk.  The yellow lines indicate where the silver coins were found.

Now you have a heavy concentration of soda bottle caps and two areas where silver coins were located.  Have you figured it out yet?

That flat area was once a baseball field.  There is no longer any obvious sign of the baseball field, and trees have grown in what was once left field.

Below I've outlined in white where the baseball field and the infield was.  There were benches and a backstop, both of which are now gone.

Same View But Now Showing Outline of Baseball Field.
I actually detected this site and found the bottle caps and silver coins in the indicated areas, but I had an advantage and knew about the baseball field long before I detected there.  In fact I played Little League baseball there.  

Once I found the bottle caps, outlining the baseball field and locating the bench areas was easy. Where the baseball caps were found they had an ice cooler with a bottle opener on the side where they sold soda and a few candy bars.

The cooler looked something like this one, as I recall. 

Vintage Soda Cooler
Source: Ebay.
When I arrived to detect, it wasn't easy to align exactly where the baseball field had been,  Nearly fifty years had elapsed, and it looked very different.

The main point, once again, is to try to figure out the story behind finds, even if they are junk finds such as bottle caps.  They still have a story to tell and can provide good clues.

If you talked to some of the local old-timers they might also tell you about the arrow heads found on the hill to the right of the little brown roofed buildings just below the school buildings.  They might tell you about the path leading up the hill where the kids always went for sled riding. or the shade trees close to the building where people ate lunch on hot days.  They might tell you about the older one room school building that is now disguised by the facade of a pizza shop.  (That one room school building is barely out of this picture, arrow heads were routinely found behind that building near the creek when there was a potato field there.)  And they might tell you about the old out-buildings that are no longer there, one of which was filled with cork-top bottles with paper labels, and the nearby bottle dumps and other buildings that have disappeared, including the old wash house that has been rebuilt and modified many times.  You say there is no place left to hunt?  Think again.

And the same principles apply on a beach, even though it is a more dynamic environment.  

I don't think anyone really knows an area like the old-timers that grew up there.  They can be the best source of good leads, They can give you local information that can't be found anywhere else.


In the future I plan to talk about other types of artifacts that can point you to additional finds.  It doesn't matter what the age or type of find is if you can figure out the story behind it.  And when you figure out the story, that can be a reward by itself.  Remember, it is more than an object.  It was a part, however large or small, of some one's life.

I have a lot of different types of things to post.  It will take a while to get around to them all.


Have you ever heard of biomimetics?  I once found a box fish skeleton that I thought was so intricate and interesting that I posted a picture of it in this blog.  Who would have ever guessed that the picture is going to be used in a book on biomimetics for design engineers?  The more I look at that picture the more remarkable it seems to me.  Anyhow, biomimetics is the use of biological materials to inspire new designs for materials and things like Velcro, which, if I correctly recall, was inspired by the structure of sand spurs.  It is nice to contribute to science in small and unexpected ways.


We've been having a surf of bout 3 - 4 feet.  Late Thursdays it will bump up to 4 - 6 feet.  The wind is supposed to be more from the north too.  It could get interesting.

Happy hunting,

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

2/16/16 Report - Artifacts Are Not Just Objects. Time To Consign For Sedwick Auction.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

From Sedwick Coins.

Consign to Treasure, World and U.S. Coin Auction #19 (May 18-19, 2016)

Now is the time to consign to our Treasure, World and U.S. Coin Auction #19. Our spring auction is already shaping up to be another great sale, with plenty of time still to include your consignments. The deadline is February 26, 2016  Click here for more information on how to consign.

As this time we are seeking shipwreck coins, ingots and artifacts (well documented and properly conserved), and important gold and silver Latin and Colonial coins (singles or collections).

Also keep in mind that for qualifying consignments WE WILL TRAVEL TO YOU to discuss and take delivery of your items. There is no better place than our auctions to sell TREASURE, COBS and LATIN AMERICAN material.-to


It is funny how some things impress you along the journey of life.  There are some things you always remember.  For me, a lot of those things are new experiences or "firsts."  Those memories are special even if nobody else remembers or cares.

Long ago and far way, there were rolling tree-covered  hills - not snow covered mountains, but big hills that would take a school bus several minutes to climb before descending into the valley and starting up the next hill.

If you climbed a tree on top of one of those hills you'd see nothing but tree-covered hills in every direction.

On top of one of those hills was a new high school, and capping the flattened top of the next hill was a football field.  On one Friday night that hill, unlike any other in the county, was lit by stadium lights. A bunch of farm boys suited up to meet a bunch of kids from a not too distant mining town.

It must have been a strange site from space.  One hill among many shined out on that cold night.

When I kicked an extra point at one end of the field, I remember the ball sailing out of the light and into the darkness at the open end of the field.  Bed Bug, the team water-boy and one of my childhood friends, was out there to retrieve the ball.  I could see him only dimly just outside the brightness of the stadium lights.  That image is fresh in my mind.

Much later on, in the closing seconds of the game with the score tied, the fullback, heading directly at me, missed the hand-off and fumbled the ball right at me. I fell on it to make the recovery, and trotted off to the bench.

Sometime during the game it began to snow,  The snow was coming down hard, and it was blowing up over the hill and directly through the goal posts at the end zone near the entrance.

Coach called time-out, found me on the bench and told me to go in and kick a field goal.  I wasn't expecting that.  It was the first field goal attempt of our school's short history.  It was a little less than forty yards and easily within my range.

I lined it up.  It wasn't that far.  I wasn't worried about distance, but wanted to get it between the uprights.

The kick was up.  I heard the roar of the home crowd.  I couldn't see where the ball went as it disappeared into the blowing snow, but I remember the roar.

The roar of the crowd faded.  I didn't take into account the wind. The ball fell just under the horizontal bar, and the referee signaled "no good."

If you wonder why I'm telling you this, just hold on a few seconds.

Every story has an end.  Bedbug went to Vietnam a few months later.  Vivian, who I knew all my life and was a cheerleader that night, passed away a couple of years ago, as did her husband who I knew from first grade.

I tell you this for a reason, and the reason isn't simply to share my story.  Like I said, nobody really cares.  I'm probably the only one that remembers. Maybe my dad would remember, but he is gone.  It isn't a big deal to me, even though I remember it so well.

My main point today is that artifacts aren't just objects.  They were once a part of some one's life. They meant something to someone even if they aren't important historically or valuable.  Some were more important than others, and some not at all.

My Football Shoes From the Sixties.

I still have those football shoes.  They went with me to college too, but they are more precious to me today because my dad got them for me, and I didn't realize at the time how little money he had.  I now think back on it and think about how he was scouted by major colleges when he was a sophomore in high school, but he had to work and dropped out of school.  He did well for me, more than I knew or appreciated at the time.

When you dig up an engagement ring, you can assume that it was probably very important to someone.  But there are other objects that might seem cheap and insignificant, yet they could have been very important to someone.

I really experienced that last Christmas when I found some cheap little Christmas figures that my grandma always used to create a Christmas scene on her buffet beside the table where we ate our dinner on Christmas Eve.  Among those objects were some cheap plastic reindeer's, most with a broken antler, but those raindeers and the other cheap little figures I found this year were more precious to me than the new expensive gifts that I received.

Back to my point, artifacts aren't just objects.  They were a part of at least one person's life.  And even if the object doesn't look like much to you, it could have been really important to them.

There is always a story.  The story might be some important part of history, or it might be a very personal thing, but it is important to remember that there is a story behind it.


By the way, those shows are over fifty years old, which means if you found them on state lands, they would be old enough to qualify as protected historic artifacts.


We had lightning and rain this morning, but it ended up being a beautiful day.

No significant changes on the beach to report.

Happy hunting,

Monday, February 15, 2016

2/15/16 Report - Survey Of Treasure Coast Beaches

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

I took a look at some of the Treasure Coast beaches this morning. We had a north wind yesterday that shifted.

There was more erosion than I expected.

Above is John Brooks beach looking north.  There were cuts like the picture running a good distance.  The sand on the front of the beach wasn't very promising though.  If I had a lot of time, I would have checked it out better with a detector.

You can see the same type of thing in the view from the same location looking south (above).

Pepper Park (above) had less erosion.

As you can see above, the beach south from Turtle Trail also showed little erosion.  None of the blue bags were out, even though there was a little sand loss on the front beach.

Looking north from the Turtle Trail access(above) showed a foot to two feet or erosion up towards the bend.

Above is the view looking north from the Seagrape Trail access.  A one to two foot cut ran a good distance, but there was no erosion around the bend up towards the pine trees.

According to the predictions we should have a three to five foot surf for a week or more.

Another front will be coming through and tomorrow we'll have a west wind again.

The fronts have been coming through so often and the winds changing direction every day or two so we've had nothing sustained at all.  A little sand gets moved on way and then back the next.

I was surprised that I saw no other detectorists today.  Although conditions weren't good enough to increase my beach conditions rating, they weren't all that bad.

I found some routines targets below some cuts.  Something could open up, but it will also probably close just as rapidly.

I had some other stuff ready to post today but will keep it for another day.

Happy hunting,