Friday, September 30, 2016

9/30/16 Report - Big Surf From Hurricane Matthew Coming Soon. Detecting Sites: Virgin or Not.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Hurricane Matthew Friday Morning Cone
By two AM Saturday Matthew is expected to have winds of over 110 mph.  That is nothing to take lightly.

You can still see the northward turn that is predicted, taking it up near Jamaica and over Cuba.

The west edge of the cone is now touching Florida, at which time it is still shown as a hurricane.

Below are the surf predictions for the Fort Pierce area.

If this prediction is accurate, the surf will begin to increase Tuesday and reach a peak of up to ten feet on Wednesday.  That is not just a one or two day bump either.  Could actually do something for us, but I hope it stays to the east.

Keep watching.


Back in the eighties when the economy was still good and I was doing a lot of consulting for corporations and government agencies, I flew into Washington D. C. for a conference, and in the taxi on the way to the hotel I saw block after block of prostitutes.  They were on every corner and in between.  Being a country boy at heart and not spending any more time than necessary in cities, I had never seen anything like that before.

People tend to think that you can't find virgin detecting sites anymore.  That is partly because the virgin sites aren't the most obvious.  You can't find them on every street corner.  Because I do mostly beach hunting these days, with few exceptions, I hardly ever think about finding what other people might call a virgin site.  I do think of detecting some out-of-the-way places or relatively unexplored places from time to time, but it is not much of an issue to me how many people might have been there before.  There are a few reasons for that.

I am often surprised by how much is left to be found at sites that have been hunted and hunted.  I also usually feel that there is some virgin ground even at most sites that have been heavily hunted.  It might be a bit deeper, or masked by junk, or under bushes, or next to concrete or rebar, near power lines, or it might be beach sand that just got uncovered or that just got replenished in one way or another.

Take for example the Jupiter beach that I talked about the other day.  That beach was hunted by Dave and others many times before I hunted it.  It sure wasn't what you would call a virgin site by any stretch of the imagination, yet all of sudden it became very productive because of the erosion.  Those coins had been there in the dunes waiting for a long time.

Every once in a while you get access to new layers of sand on a beach or new targets that wash out of the dunes or out of the water and onto the beach.  Something similar happens on land sites.  Areas get uncovered in one way or another.

Take for example, the old Indian and wagon trail that I hunt up in the hills of West Virginia.  It has been hunting many times by others and myself, yet it still produces.

Just this year they had heavy rains there.  It undoubtedly washed out parts of the trail as well as the cliffs beside the trail, and eroded gullies and hillsides.  I can't wait to get up there again some time this Fall because I know I will have access to new virgin layers of soil and new targets.  It doesn't matter if others have been there, I'll still find spots that have not been detected and feel like it is virgin ground all over again.

Happy hunting,

Thursday, September 29, 2016

9/29/16 Report - Hurricane Matthew To Turn North. Bottles From Old Inn. Horse Skeleton Uncovered in St. Augustine

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Hurricane Matthew
The big news today is that we now have a hurricane in the Carribean Sea.  It is expected to turn north and could come our way.  You can see the cone above.  If it tracks towards the western part of that cone, it could hit Florida next week.  Even if it passes to the east of us, we could still get some good waves.  This is something to keep an eye on.

The surfing web sites are predicting a smooth surf for the rest of this week, but they are predicting up to ten feet for Wednesday of next week.  As we well know, bumps in the long term prediction like that often do not happen.


The remains of a 200-year-old pub that was found buried under newer construction as a site was being prepared for a new skyscraper.  I really liked looking at the finds at this site, which included excellent old bottles, some still full.  Below is a picture of a full bottle that was found at the site.  That is a bottle-hunter's dream.

Full Bottle Recovered From Construction Site.


Talking about finds at construction sites, here is an excerpt from an article about a find in St. Augustine.

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla.—At the site of a Cordova Inn in downtown St. Augustine, archaeologists discovered something rare.

While construction crews were putting in a new swimming pool, they - and archaeologists who were monitoring the project - found a horse skeleton.

"We estimate this horse to date between 1680 - 1700," St. Augustine Archaeologist Carl Halbirt says. "So, it's roughly 330 years old. It makes it one of the oldest horse burials on the U.S."

Here is the link for the rest of the article.


I really like old bottles, but I haven't shown many lately.  I'll do that sometime.  Also other non-metallic finds such as fossils, pottery, lithic artifacts, and sea glass.  

Jerry K. of Melbourne Florida sent this email.

Thanks for today's post, I really enjoyed it. I'm a transplant from Nebraska and am fascinated with the treasure hunting stories of Florida. I rarely swing a detector but always read your blog, It is really first rate. More often than not I will take my kids down south to beach comb for emeralds. No luck yet, but we are accomplished arrowhead and Morel mushroom hunters and I have raised a couple of good "finders" plus, any excuse to get outside and away from devices is a blessing!

Thanks for writing Jerry. 


I got a few emails concerning my 9/27 post.  There are different ways that I judge my posts. They include the number of people who read the post, number of Google Pluses and email responses.  Surprisingly those things don't correlate very well.  The most Google Plused posts, aren't usually the most read.  I think the Google Plused posts get a strong reaction from readers that really resonate with certain people.  I suspect the most read posts are those that get shared or circulated or otherwise publicized.  Those that result in emails are those that cause readers to want to respond.  I guess each of those measures are different in some way and maybe it shouldn't be surprising that they don't correlate very well.

I always appreciate emails.  They help me know what you are thinking.


Happy hunting,

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

9/28/16 Report - Hurricane Coming? Portuguese Nau From The Pepper Wreck. Settler's Cabin.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

3-D Model of 17th-century Portuguese Nau Known From the Pepper Wreck.
Source: Thesis presented below.

I found a Texas A and M Master's thesis by Aubrey Wells that will help you visualize a 17th-century nau.  The title of the thesis is Virtual Reconstruction of a Seventeenth-Century Portuguese Nau.  The thesis involves the development of a 3-D virtual model of the ship now known as the Pepper Wreck.

Above is an illustration from the thesis showing cut-aways and how the cargo was stowed.  Of course, that is only one of the illustrations in the thesis.  Here is what the thesis says about that figure.

Above the gun deck is the main deck (see Fig. 48). The bow area is roofed by the forecastle, and was divided into small rooms. The stern area is roofed by the quarterdeck and was left open for the operation of the rudder. The central area is exposed to air, sometimes called the weather deck. On this level I included 64 pipa-size barrels, 56 quarto-size barrels, 20 small jars, 1 large jar, 46 boxes, and 27 baskets. I left this level somewhat open for occupation by people, and included 22 mattresses tucked away or laid out for use.

Below you can get an idea of what the virtual immersive view would be like.

A Virtual Immersive View From the 3-D Model.
Source: Wells Thesis
Even if you have no interest in 3-D modeling, you still might want to take a look at this thesis because the illustrations are interesting.

Here is the link.


While on the topic of illustrations, here is one that I found that is of much interest to me.  It is a picture of a cabin built by one of my ancestors in the 1700s on the frontier in what is now the panhandle of West Virginia.

The parents and boys lived in the wooded hills that I know very well.  The parents were killed by Indians.  Lewis, and another boy was captured by the Indians, but escaped.  Lewis had a musket wound to the sternum.

As much as we enjoy the small artifacts that have endured the centuries, being able to visualize what has not physically survived gives more meaning to those artifacts.

Imagine cutting the trees and constructing a cabin with the few hand tools they had.


As you can see there is still one disturbance that has a good chance of becoming a cyclone sometime in the next few days.

The latest prediction shows it becoming a hurricane, moving west and then turning north, possibly crossing over Cuba and coming towards Florida.

There are currently a few (very few) places out there where the sand has been slowly eroding over the past few months, but it isn't good enough that there is much of a chance of finding anything old other encrusted pieces of iron or copper or something like that.

Happy hunting,

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

9/27/16 Report - Almiranta Campsite Finds. Before the Jupiter Wreck Discovery. New Tropical Depression Forming.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

9 Maravedis and Reliquary Pendant
Finds and photo by Darrell Strickland
There was a time when you could get up in the dunes to detect.  That has changed. 

I've been talking about survivor and salvage camps a bit lately.  These finds were made in an area thought to be a campsite associated with the Almiranta. 

Thanks for sharing Darrell.


Everybody knows the much publicized names and place, but there were often others who were there first. Everybody knows, for example, how the Jupiter wreck was discovered by a lifeguard who noticed the cannons on the bottom one morning when making his morning swim, but people were finding cobs on that beach long before that.

One fellow that worked the beach there before the wreck site was discovered, I only knew as Dave. Dave worked the beach south of the inlet frequently. At the time he was like the beach keeper, and he found a lot of cobs there.  I told the story before about  how a jar of cobs was stolen from the trunk of his parked car while he was detecting.  That was years before 1987, though I can't remember how many years before.

I first ran into Dave on the beach one morning after I made the drive up to Jupiter from Broward County.  I didn't visit Jupiter very often because it was at least an hour drive for me.  Dave used a brand of metal detector that I was not familiar with at the time, and he was very curious about mine.  I was using a modified Nautilus, which I liked a lot.  It was modified and mounted in a Ikelite case by Steve Noga of Maryland.  After I got my first detector from Steve and used it a little while, I called him and asked if he'd give me a good deal on a second one to use as a back-up.  It was that good.  So I got a second one.

I tried to contact Steve a few times in recent years, but without any luck.

There were others besides Dave that detected the wreck area for cobs back then.  One fellow I remember, I can only recall his last name, which was Rainey.

One day that I remember very well, the beach produced hundreds of old U. S. coins, including a lot of silver, but oddly no cobs.  Dave showed up a little late that day, and promised he'd beat me there the next time beach conditions were good.

The first time I found a cob there, the cliff was really getting really banged by the waves and I was fighting a strong backwash as the water bounced off of the cliff.  The backwash was up to my knee and washing back down the slope when I detected that cob.

The first time I met Dave there he told me that the cobs sounded like tin cans.  I don't know if he was trying to throw me off or what.  Some were loud, but the small ones weren't that loud.

I'm sure there were others that worked the beach by the Jupiter wreck even before that.  If I correctly recall, Frank Hudson, who is not known for religiously sticking to fact, in at least one book said there were chests and other treasures buried in the dunes there, so I'm sure people were detecting there and perhaps having some luck.  I think some of Hudson's Lost Treasures books were written as early as the seventies.  Maybe I can find one around here somewhere.


A topical depression might develop Tuesday (red), but as you can see it could well stay to the south of us, but it isn't even to the West Indies yet.

Not much but a two or three foot surf for the rest of this week.

Happy hunting,

Monday, September 26, 2016

9/26/16 Report - Old Wells As Signs and Treasure Troves. This Mornings Beaches. Three Atlantic Disturbances.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Treasure Coast Surf This Morning Before Low Tide

Yesterday I showed the marker for the old Spanish well at Anclote River Park.  That kind of thing provides a good clue about the history of an area.  People always need a good source of water, and seaside camps as well as old homesteads will often have one.  They exist all the way along the Florida coast, including the Treasure Coast and some of the 1715 Fleet camp sites.

Wells aren't always obvious.  Over the years they can get filled and covered over.  Sometimes all that remains is a depression in the ground surrounded by vegetation or a few stones or bricks.

Wells can be nothing more than dug holes or they can be lined with stones, bricks, barrels, boards or even a hollow log.

One of the older wells that was used by early explorers was on Key Biscayne.  That is one of those that in recent years looked like little more than a depression surrounded by lush vegatation.  I think you can probably still see it today not far from the lighthouse.

There was one on Pigeon Island that I showed a day or so ago.

Two have been identified at the survivor camp site by the McClarty Museum.  One was a barrel well.  The other was lined with timber. Kip Wagner told about how he found one when he noticed his dog drinking water from a shallow depression.

Below is an illustration of a barrel well as published in the FINAL TECHNICAL REPORT WELLS IN DELAWARE: ALTERNATIVE MITIGATION FOR THE POLK TENANT SITE (N05221, 7NC-F-111) prepared for the Delaware Department of Transportation.

Barrel Well Illustration
Source: deldot link below.
That is a good article and provides a lot of information about history and wells.

Here is the link.


Not only can wells be signs of camps or homesteads, but they can also be treasure troves.  The water and sediment at the bottom of a well will preserve items.  Items can be dropped acdidentally into a well, but when a well is abandoned it might become a trash pit.

Here is an excerpt from a good article about wells at Jamestown settlement from Popular Archaeology entitled History in the Wells.

...Consider, for example, the discoveries made in recent years during excavation of an early 17th century well located inside what was identified as the northern corner of the James Fort. Here, archaeologists retrieved artifacts that included a halberd, Scottish pistol, a leather 17th century style shoe, a nearly intact hammer, a rapier hilt, iron pike head, a lead plaque reading "Yames Towne", and two mostly whole Bartman jugs, ceramic pieces common to the time period. Many of the finds, such as the wooden shoe and halberd, were made at least in part of organic material such as leather and wood. They were preserved in remarkable condition, almost as if they had been tossed into the well yesterday....

Here is the link.


A Couple Cuts On The Treasure Coast This Morning.
The above cuts were over a foot high.  Nothing special though.  The sand in front was mushy.  I'm sure this happened yesterday when we had a slightly higher surf.

Exposed Rocks Near the Waterline This Morning Near Low Tide.
This one area has been eroding over the past month or two.  It is probably only because of a beach replenishment project to the north, which is also eroding too.

There were some coins and a few older items around this location.  Some were heavily encrusted.

This area isn't anything special now, but it is an area that can rapidly improve if there is more erosion at the same spot.  Some areas have a lot of sand and will require a lot of erosion before they become productive, while other areas are much closer to becoming productive.

We now have three disturbances in the Atlantic again, but no important changes.

Happy hunting,

Sunday, September 25, 2016

9/25/16 Report - Historic Sites of Florida. The Wreck of the El Nuevo Constante. 80% Chance of New Cyclone Forming.

Spanish Well Marker At Anclote River Park
Source: TripAdvisor

Want to find something besides modern coins and jewelry?  If so, you'll improve your chances by doing some research.  But where to start?  Here is an idea.

Start with something easy.  Many historic places are clearly marked.  In fact there is a county by county list of historic markers for the entire state of Florida.  They might not always be one hundred percent accurate, but they'll give you a place to start.

You might not be able to metal detect those locations, but they tell you where things happened, and when you find where something historic happened, the surrounding area will also generally provide some good detecting.  Historic events don't happen in isolation.  People had to get to and from those locations.

Here is a good web site that provides a list of Florida's historic markers.  If you just go through the lists I'll bet you'll find at least a few that you didn't know about before.


The wreck of El Nuevo Constante lies off the coast of Cameron Parish, Louisiana, in the Gulf of Mexico. The site is only a mile from the coast, in less than 20 feet of water. Nearby are lakes and bayous with the name “Constance,” the English form of Constante. These place names confirmed the name of the ship. In the first week of September 1766, a hurricane blew the Spanish ship aground. It was in a group of ships that was sailing from Veracruz, Mexico, to Cadiz, Spain.

El Nuevo Constante was a merchant ship that carried a load of products from Mexico. All of the people on the ship made it safely to land, but the cargo had to be rescued. The Spanish government in Louisiana began immediate salvage of the ship. This work to save and move cargo lasted for two months, but the effort was unable to recover everything from the wreck...

The above paragraphs are from an very good article.

The wreck was discovered by a shrimper who snagged copper ingots of copper in his nets.  After a little exploration, they then contacted the state.

I think you'll enjoy reading this article. There are maps, lists of weapons and cargo carried by the ship and pictures of artifacts.


Karl and Lisa are out of the scene but we have one disturbance in the Atlantic that you can see above.
That one has an 80 percent chance of becoming a cyclone in the next 48 hours, but is at this point expected to stay pretty far south.  See below.

The surf today (Sun.) is supposed to be around three or four feet.  It is expected to be smaller the next couple of days.

Happy hunting,

Saturday, September 24, 2016

9/24/16 Report - Very Neat 4-Reale. Scale Weight or Assay Sample. Thirty Gold Bars Hidden On Beach.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Interesting 4-Reale
Find and photo by Darrel Strickland

This is an old find by Darrell Strickland.  Darrell said, I sold the shaped 4 reale to Hugh Mitchell many tears, ago. Really hated selling a lot of my finds, but needed the money back then.

Thanks for sharing Darrell.


This is one of those artifacts I've lived with for a while and still go back and forth on its identity.  Sometimes I'm pretty confident it is a scale weight.  There are other times that
 I think it is an assay sample.  Right now I'm about 80% on the side of scale weight.

Find and Photo by Author.
It is about the same shape as a silver ingot that I showed in my 12/7/12 post.  What reminded me of it, though, is the scale weight I posted the other day shown below.

Scale Weight Found At The Luna Settlement Shown a Couple of Days Ago In This Blog
Photo credit: University of West Florida
Two features that I noticed are the "X" which is stamped very much like the "1" on the other item, and the circular marking in the center.  If you look closely you can see what appears to be a wreathe in the center of the silver item.

While the markings for both items are similar in some ways, the shape is different.  The silver item is not shaped well for stacking, which I would think would be desirable for scale weights.

I also never saw another scale weight made of silver. Some say they just used what they had.

I don't think the silver item is Spanish either, and I don't know why it is stamped with a "1" when the weight is 10 grams.

Well, I still don't have a firm conclusion, and I might be living with that mystery as long as I live.


Here is a story from 2014 that I missed at that time.

A gold-rush has started at a beach in Kent where a German artist buried £10,000 worth of bullion as part of an arts festival.

Michael Sailstorfer has hidden 30 24-carat gold bars on Folkestone's Outer Harbour beach.
More than 150 people started digging for gold when low tide exposed the beach. Organisers say prospectors can keep any bars they find.

The Folkestone Digs project is part of the town's triennial arts festival...

Here is the link.


Karl and Lisa are still hanging around.  There is a new disturbance over by Africa.  Maybe it will come this way.

Happy hunting,

Friday, September 23, 2016

9/23/16 Report - French Shipwreck Off Cape Canaveral. Drones. Living With An Artifact. And More.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

French Shipwreck Off Cape Canaveral.
Source: Daily Mail link below.

Not long ago I mentioned the Ribault survivor camp near Cape Canaveral.  A 16th century French shipwreck was found near there.

Here is a bit of the WESH news report.

...Just a couple of miles from Jetty Park, a popular swimming beach, divers found canons made of bronze and iron; anchors, crusted with marine growth; and the Fleur de Lis, along with a French coat of arms archaeologists call priceless. And maritime wreckage is around 400 years old.

Finders, working for the company Global Marine Exploration, said they’ve discovered the remains of what appear to be three French ships. The origin of the ships will be difficult to verify, they said.

The ships could be from the French colonial period on the Florida coast, around the year 1560, Global Marine Exploration archaeologist Jim Sinclair said. The ships may have sunk in a hurricane, he said...

And here is the link, which also provides a video showing, among other things, part of the wreck under water.


Ancient Roman ruins that lie hidden below the surface at the Apennine Mountains of Italy have largely escaped discovery because the rugged terrain makes them difficult to spot by foot and dangerous to find by airplane.

Now, using small airborne drones archaeologists have found that an ancient settlement in the Apennines was much more dense and organized than previously thought, a new study reveals. The study offered evidence that drones could help uncover more unknown sites in mountains worldwide...

Here is that link.

Sam's Club was selling what appeared to me to be decent drones not long ago for around four hundred dollars.   I don't remember the exact price.


You might be interested in the book Turquois Mosaic Art in Ancient Mexiko by Marshall Saville.  Mexico with a K is actually how it is spelled in the listing.

You can preview it online by clicking here.


Darrell Strickland said the following about the dagger that I posted not long ago.

I knew the owner and that was a long time ago. It did resell past few years. The owner, Jack Williams, is deceased, and not sure if Dana (son) is the one that relisted it.


A buried train trestle was uncovered by a construction crew.

Click here for the video.


When you live with an artifact for a while, it seems to change with you.  It amazes me how after many years an old object can take on new meaning.

Sometimes you run across more information or see pictures or something that relates to the object. Other times it just seems like you just get a new feeling about what it might be or where it came from.  That can happen over a period of many years.  That amazes me sometimes.  I guess it is just everything coming together to lead you to a new idea or perception.

I have mystery items that I haven't positively identified after a period of years and years, but as time goes by I generally tend to get a feeling about what the item most likely is.  I still wait hoping to see something that proves to my satisfaction one way or another, and sometimes that happens, but more often than not, it is a matter of some level of confidence rather than proof.  Nonetheless, the process is fascinating to me.


Karl is a tropical storm once again.  It still doesn't seem to be headed this way though.  Neither is Lisa.

We'll be having a two to four foot surf for a few days.

Happy hunting,

Thursday, September 22, 2016

9/22/16 Report - Pigeon Island. How To Metal Detect a Steep Hillside. Spys In The American Revolution.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Photo by Dale Lutchman
Source: Pinterest
Obstacles are often opportunities in disguise.  That is particularly true when it comes to metal detecting.

Pigeon Island was detected many years ago when it was overgrown and in disrepair. (See photo of old building above.). It is now a national park, has a restaurant and is a tourist spot, and of course, should not be detected.

Pigeon Island.
Source: pinterest
Photo by Sally R.
You can't see it well in this photo but the peak on the left has a cannon emplacement.  Another canon emplacement was located at the base of the taller peak, now hidden by the trees.

The building shown in the first photo is located by the trees in the flat area under the tallest peak.

The peak was used by the British to observe the French fleet at Martinique.

Here is a little of the history of Pigeon Island.

Pigeon Island was first occupied by the Amerindians, mainly Caribs. The island was later occupied by pirates whose leader was a Norman Captain called Francois Le Clerc. He had a wooden leg and was known to the French as Jambe de Bois. The French who owned the island in 1778 declared war on the British, who retaliated by attacking them in Saint Lucia and capturing the island. The British then built a Naval Base at Gros-Islet Bay, heavily fortifying Pigeon Island. From there they were able to monitor the French fleet in Martinique which resulted in the defeat of the French at the Battle of the Saints in 1782. Pigeon Island was therefore a key factor in the Battles between the British and the French. In 1909 a whaling station was established at Pigeon Island.

Sorry, I can't find the link to that anymore.

Steep cliffs such as some of those on Pigeon Island can be difficult to detect.  Notice the steep cliff on the right side of the tallest peak leading down to the water.  Some of it is very steep and virtually impossible, but some of it could be detected using the technique I'll now describe.

If you are on a steep hillside, use a shortened rod as shown below.  You might choose a dive rod.  I have used a short length (just over a foot) of furring as a short rod or handle.  All you need is a bit of a handle for the coil.

You can hold onto a tree with one hand while detecting with the other.  You can also use a rope around the tree.

Another advantage of using a small length of wood instead of your standard detector rod is that it can be easily stowed in a backpack with your control box and coil.

Any hillside like that can hide nice finds.  It won't be easy though, at least until you get the technique down.

Good boots are also helpful in keeping your feet dug in and steady.

I should mention that recovery can also be tricky.  After pinpointing, you'll want to be able to attach your coil to your belt and use the free hand to dig.  Be careful to not let items roll down the hill.


The summer 2016 issue of the SAR magazine has an article written by Liam O'Connor about spying in the American revolution.

One American spy that we all know is Nathan Hale who uttered the famous line, "I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country," before he was hanged.

The Culper Ring was an American military spy organization operating in New York City during the British occupation.

Spys were referred to by coded numbers.  Robert Townsend, a very productive spy for the Americans, was 723, for example.

Robert Townsend uncovered a British plot to flood the American economy with counterfeit dollars and warned the Americans of Benedict Arnold.

Code names, ciphers, dead drops and invisible ink were all used by the Americans during the revolution.


The storm situation remanins unchanged.  Karl is a tropical depression, and Lisa is still a tropical storm.  I don't believe either will affect our beaches.

The surf will be picking up a little.

Happy hunting,

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

9/21/16 Report - Survivor Camps. Ribault. An 1813 Wreck Camp. Studying Survivor Camps.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Different beaches are different.  There are narrow beaches with a high cliff at the back, and there are wider beaches with only low dunes at the back.

The area from Turtle Trail to Wabasso has a narrow beach with a good cliff behind.  When the water gets high enough to erode the back dunes on a beach like that, coins and things will slide down the eroded cliff onto the beach.

John Brooks beach is another kind of beach.  It is wide, flat and has no cliff face on the back dunes.  When the water gets high enough to get to the dunes on a beach like this, which doesn't happen too often, the water generally just flows back and around the dunes and then down into the low spots.  By the time it gets to the dunes there isn't much water left.  As a result, beaches like John Brooks seldom have things washed out of the dunes and onto the beach.  It really takes a lot for erosion to reach back to the dunes.

Beaches like John Brooks seldom produce large denomination cobs.  More often you get small cobs, mostly 1/2 reales, 1 reales or 2 reales.  Beach shape is not the only factor though.

There were survivor camps in the dunes near the wrecks.  A survivor camp is not the same as a salvage camp, although they will often be found in the same locations and on top of each other. Salvage camps obviously come after survivor camps.

Salvage camps and survivor camps can sometimes be distinguished from each other by the types of artifacts, and when both occur at the same location, they might be distinguished by the distribution pattern.

Here is a paragraph from from an interesting NOAA article about the discovery and excavation of one survivor camp in the Cape Canaveral area.

During the winter of 1970-1971, a group of Central Florida relic hunters discovered an archaeological site on the western or inland shore of the outer barrier island in what is now Canaveral National Seashore. Over the next several months, the group explored the site and the surrounding area, locating two more related sites, all within 1.3 kilometers of each other.

Ship's spikes, jewelry and numerous 16th century Spanish and French coins were found by detectorists.

Douglas Armstrong, a member of the group that originally found the site, determined that the site might well be a survivor camp from the Ribault fleet.

(I've mentioned Douglas before in this blog. He also authored the book The Winter Beach Salvage Camp.)

You'll undoubtedly want to take a look at this NOAA web site.  Here is the link.

They provide a map and pictures of artifacts and coins as well as more detail.


Here are a couple paragraphs from another article that looks at a survivor camp.

...The archaeological team--which includes members from Russia, the U.S. and Canada--believes articles they found over the past two years represent the everyday tools used by 26 shipwrecked members of the Neva's crew. Those crew members survived for almost a month in the winter of 1813 by foraging and gathering materials that washed ashore from the wreck.

In July, researchers discovered at the campsite a series of hearths with early 19th century artifacts such as gun flints, musket balls, pieces of modified sheet copper, iron and copper spikes, a Russian axe, and a fishhook fashioned from copper. Well-preserved food middens--or refuse heaps--will allow reconstruction of the foraging strategies the sailors used to survive....

And here is that link.


Here is an abstract of an article that suggests a systematic approach to the study of shipwreck survivor camps.

Shipwreck survivor camps are a neglected terrestrial component of maritime archaeology, usually being investigated purely as an adjunct to work on the associated wreck site. Most studies have considered these sites as individual and unique, molded by the particulars of the historic events that created them. However, by considering the history, anthropology, and archaeology of a series of Australasian survivor incidents and sites, this paper highlights common elements and themes, which allow examination of these sites within a comparative framework. These include the development of authority structures, social organization, salvage and subsistence strategies, material culture, short- and long-term rescue strategies, and the possible infl uences of crisis-related stress upon the decisions made by individuals and groups. Survivor camp studies are linked into the wider concerns of maritime archaeology and anthropology by placing them within the context of wreck formation models.

Here is the link to entire article.

Since the beach is an area where items from the dunes and from the water mingle, it is good to know a little about those very different areas and the items that come from them.


Tropical depression Karl and tropical storm Lisa are still out there, but my guess is that neither will affect us.  Things could change though.

The surf is small today and expected to increase a couple of feet by the weekend.

Happy hunting,

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

9/20/16 Report - WW II Class Ring Returned. Important Luna Settlement Artifact. Two Tropical Storms.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Class Ring of WW II Medal of Honor Winner Returned
Source: Aggie News (See link below)

This is a great story.  It was told on Oliver North's War Stories TV program.  I found it online too.

The ring was lost by Tourney Leonard, a WW II Medal of Honor recipient who was killed at a battle in Germany, where his body lies in an unmarked grave.

The ring was found by a German soldier after the American dead were recovered.  His son-in-law, also a soldier, found the ring, did the research and returned the ring to the family many years after it was lost

Here is the link for the entire story.


Here are a couple of paragraphs from an article about excavations at the Luna site identified as the Luna settlement.

...“We have this large trash pit, which definitely indicates something about the number of people there, the amount of garbage they generated, the fact that they buried it, as opposed to just sort of leaving it around on the surface,” Worth said. “So, what we’re seeing is clear evidence of a two-year span of time, in which this particular corner of the site, which we think is the heart of the site, was the residence for a number of Spaniards of different social levels.’

For example, in one area containing a dense concentration of artifacts, they also found a balance scale weight, made out of a copper alloy, likely used in measuring pay for soldiers. Worth says there’s only one person in the expedition, the treasurer, who was in charge of that and, therefore, would have owned a set...

And below is one of the telling artifacts from the excavation.

Here is the link to that article.


We have two tropical storms now, Karl and Lisa.  Both are expected to head towards the northwest turning north before hitting the U. S.

Despite the nice big tides we are having I don't expect any significant improvement in beach detecting conditions real soon.

Happy hunting,

Monday, September 19, 2016

9/18/16 Report - The Spanish Conquest of the New World. Tactics. Black Conquistadors. Toledo Steel.

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Julia, Karl, and a Newer Disturbance.
Julia is not moving fast, but is drifting a little north while weakening.

Karl is heading north, a little below Bermuda.

The disturbance over by Africa is strengthening and I expect to follow Karl, but we'll have to wait to see.

Nothing but one or two foot surf is predicted for the next several days for the Treasure Coast.


Lightning can travel many miles from its source.  One bolt was recorded as 199 miles long.

I read that 35 people were killed by lightning so far this year.

Here is an interesting article on record-breaking lightning.


A perspective largely unexamined in past works on the Spanish Conquest of Mexico has been the details of the tactical systems of the respective sides, and how these systems worked on the battlefield to produce the Spanish victory. This article examines the Conquest in terms of tactics, applying a military-historical perspective to ethnohistorical texts and data gleaned from modern works. It is shown that Spanish infantry tactics and horse cavalry were critical factors in the Spanish victory...

Here is the link to that interesting article.


Although race is a concept that I find indefensible, here is an article about a black conquistadors and other blacks in the early days of the Spanish New World.


A few days ago I posted a picture of a dagger made of Toledo steel that was said to be found on the Treasure Coast.  I found this article on Toledo steel interesting.  Here is the first paragraph.

Although Toledo is a well-known city, few know just how famous and important it used to be a couple of centuries ago. Today Toledo is famous for its art and Damascus gold decoration known as Damascene but before firearms were invented Toledo was the centre of the world for forging metals and more specifically sword making. The fame of the master sword smiths from Toledo lay in their unrivaled skill in tempering steel, a unique art form that no one was able to copy. Steel from Toledo has been considered the most prestigious in the world ever since the V century, mainly due to its characteristic flexibility and strength, which was later employed in fencing. For centuries Toledo lead the world in sword making and for centuries they managed to keep their “trade secrets” within the family. The master sword smiths jealously guarding their “Secret of Temper”, only passing it on to their children, who in turn guarded the secret and passed it on from generation to generation, making Toledo steel the most sought after steel for centuries. It was later discovered that the master sword smiths each had their own very characteristic formula. These formulas were the secrets of their trade and were never written down. Instead each master converted his “secret” into a series of songs or prayers, and the rhythm of the song or the speed of the prayer and its repetitions marked a specific time frame which enabled them to accurately measure how long the sword should be immersed in water to reach an optimum “temper”. The songs, verses and prayers which marked each stage of the process were either hummed or sung in silence so no one would be able to steal their secret. But at the same time they were easy to recite in exactly the same way every time they produced a sword, leaving no margin for error.

Here is the link to that web site.


You might have noticed that when football season begins I sometimes miss making a post, especially on a Sunday.  That happened this week.


Happy hunting,

Saturday, September 17, 2016

9/17/16 Report - Harvest Moon. 1715 Fleet Rings Found This Summer. Wreck of Ulua Ships.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Seven Panels of Life Ring Found by Larry Bacola
Photo submitted by Captain Jonah Martinez
Space Coast Daily just published an article on Larry Bacola and the two gold rings that I first described in a post on 7/28/16.  Since that time I've discussed those rings as well as other Claddagh and Life rings in other posts.

Above is a picture that Captain Jonah sent me.  (Thanks Jonah.) It shows each of the panels as if he ring was flattened out.  I think it shows the scenes a little better than the one in the article.

If you look at other similar rings found on Spanish Colonial shipwrecks, the different rings show different images.

The individual scenes on the ring are each unique and probably represent meaningful experiences or images from the life of the owner.

Thanks to Jon Morgan for sending the link to the Space Coast Daily article.


Here are a couple paragraphs from a web site on the 1554 wrecks.

On April 9, 1554, a Spanish convoy set sail from the Veracruz, Mexico, port of San Juan de Ulua, on their homebound voyage to Spain, where anxious merchants awaited the treasury on board. The fleet included four ships—the San Andrés, San Esteban,Espíritu Santo, and Santa María de Yciar—and carried more than 400 people. Among them were prisoners, old conquistadors, merchants, and wealthy citizens returning home to Spain. En route the convoy was to stop off in La Havana, Cuba...

The three ships wrecked within 2½ miles of each other, and it is believed that their crews and passengers banded together for comfort and safety. Master of San Esteban, Francisco del Huerto, salvaged a boat and sailed for Veracruz with a few seamen. Other survivors from the ship started walking southward, believing a Spanish outpost was within only a few days walk. Their assumption proved wrong. Of this group, only a few were to make it to Tampico, which was actually 300 miles away...

And here is the link.


The harvest moon was beautiful last night.  You can see it this weekend.

The Harvest Moon is the full moon closest to the autumn equinox, which this year is Sept. 22.

The harvest moon is a little different in another way.  It rises about the same time for a few nights.



Julia is now just a tropical depression. She is scheduled to wonder a little north and out to sea.

Karl is a tropical storm and is expected to work west, turning north towards Bermuda.  Karl is expected to become a hurricane.

Then we have the disturbance just coming off of Africa to watch.

A surf of one or two feet is expected, but with the harvest moon, the tides are nice and big.

Seems like only a couple of weeks ago I did the January 1 report.

Happy hunting,

Friday, September 16, 2016

9/16/16 Report - Three Tropical Storms Plus Now. Padre Island and Emanuel Point Shipwreck Study. Fossils.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Julia has become a tropical storm again.  It is lingering off of South Carlina and it looks like it is bringing some northeast winds to parts of North Carolina, South Carolina an North Florida.

That is the kind of thing I'd like to see happen off the Treasure Coast - a storm that sits off shore and churns for a while.

We now have three tropical storms, two depressions, but no partridge in a pear tree.

Karl is expected to become a hurricane, but is expected at this point to move to the north before long.  I've made the observation before that when they get strong that far away they tend to move north into the Atlantic.

Another depression is about to come off of Africa.  

It is pretty busy out there.

You might enjoy this fossil slideshow.  Just some very neat fossils.


I found a paper on the Padre Island and Emanuel Point shipwrecks.  Simplified, the hypothesis is that the pattern of ceramics on a wreck site can help you determine something about the type of ship was involved.  There were however some other details that you might find interesting, for example the following illustrations on early salvage techniques.

I suspect that there will be differences between deep and shallow water wrecks and some other factors.

Dragging for a Wreck.
Source: Arnold, 1979.
Salvage Divers Following Chain Down To Wreck.
Source: Arnold, 1979
The source of those illustrations is the following.

Arnold III, J. Barto, 1979.  Documentary Sources for the Wreck of the New Spain Fleet of 1554, David McDonald, translator. Texas Antiquities Committee Publication, No. 8, Austin.

You might find the study of the wreck sites, ceramics, etc. interesting.

Here is the link.


The World Health Organization found that the United States ranks third (behind India and China) in most depression, anxiety and drug and alcohol abuse.


Promoting interest in Florida archaeology.

Happy hunting,

Thursday, September 15, 2016

9/15/16 Report - Tropical Depression Twelve Headed This Way. Nero Gold Coin. 1586 Segovia Eight Real.

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Projected Track of Tropical Depression Twelve.

On the Atlantic map there is now a tropical storm, two depressions and a disturbance.  The most relevant to us is Tropical Depression Twelve that will be working its way across the Atlantic (See above.).

Julia, now downgraded to a depression is off the coast of South Carolina.  North Carolina undoubtedly will get some more wind and waves from that one.


Gold Coin Showing Nero's Face.
"The coin is exceptional, because this is the first time that a coin of this kind has turned up in Jerusalem in a scientific dig,” Shimon Gibson, an archaeologist and adjunct professor at the University of North Carolina in Charlotte, said “Coins of this type are usually only found in private collections, where we don't have clear evidence as to place of origin."

The archaeologists discovered it this summer during a dig on Mount Zion in Jerusalem; it was found in rubble near villas that might have been the homes of the wealthy Jewish residents of the time, possibly members of a well-to-do priestly class. At the site, the archaeologists have also found the rooms of a large mansion and even a ritual pool...

The article says the coin shows Nero's face (See picture above.).  The image probably looks better than he looked, though.  Don't you think an emperor would make sure he was made to look good?

In the animated movie Nemo, there was the line "Just keep swimming."  In the TreasureBeachesReport, the line would be "Just keep thinking."

In that vein, to me the biggest treasure story of the year is about millions and even billions of dollars of cash in foreign currencies that was transported to Iran.  If you are a cache hunter, your first thought upon hearing about that kind of cash being moved about on the sly would be to wonder where it is going to go and how some it will be pocketed by various people who get their hands on it. Somewhere along the way as it moves around, some of that money is going to be extracted by more or less colorful characters and secreted away.  There will definitely be people who mange to get their fingers on a nice piece of it and hide it away.  

1586 Segovia Eight Real.
Yesterday I mentioned how a coin making machine was sent to Segovia under Phillip II.  Here is an early machine-made eight-real.

It seems Segovia made eight and four reales as early as 1586, but didn't make gold coins by machine until 1611 or thereabouts.


Happy hunting,

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

9/14/16 Report - Tropical Storm Julia. HMS Terror Found. Spanish Colonial Lives. Coin Machines Installed at Segovia.

Written by the treasureguide for the exclusive use of

The Atlantic is lighting up again.  We now have two tropical storms and a tropical depression.

Ian will stay out in the Atlantic.  Julia formed over North Florida and will follow the coast to the north.  We're on the wrong side of Julia to get anything but a southerly wind and some rain.

North Florida got some wind.

Tropical Depression Twelve is heading west but is still over by Africa.

Despite all of the action, I'm not expecting any change in beach conditions unless Tropical Twelve comes this way or a new storm forms.


The long-lost ship of British polar explorer Sir John Franklin, HMS Terror, has been found in pristine condition at the bottom of an Arctic bay, researchers have said, in a discovery that challenges the accepted history behind one of polar exploration’s deepest mysteries.

HMS Terror and Franklin’s flagship, HMS Erebus, were abandoned in heavy sea ice far to the north of the eventual wreck site in 1848, during the Royal Navy explorer’s doomed attempt to complete the Northwest Passage...

Here is that link.

Here is a good book that will give you a good look at life in the Spanish colonies.  The title is

Spanish Colonial Lives: Documents from the Spanish Colonial Archives of New Mexico, 1704 - 1744.  

You can read part of it online by clicking here.


Around the mid 1500's, German technology began to replace the ancient hammer-struck method of coining, in use since the dawn of coinage around 700 B.C. This new method employed rolling machines which were driven by giant waterwheels. This new process arrived quickly in Spain as a result of the Hapsburg royal family ties.

Towards the end of the year 1580, Spanish King Philip II negotiated several agreements on troop maneuvers and artillery production with his cousin, Archduke Ferdinand of Tirol, who, pleased with the outcome, gave several of these new coining machines to Philip for use in Spain to help process gold and silver brought from the New World. These machines were built in the Hall Mint, near Innsbruck, Austria and in February of 1582 special technicians were sent to Spain to prepare for their transfer and installation.

At first, it was thought the machines should be installed in Seville where the galleons unloaded their ingots and coins could be immediately produced. Several other sites were also considered, such as Lisbon (then under Spanish control), Toledo and Madrid. But in May of 1583, an old paper factory and flour mill on the Eresma River in Segovia was chosen specifically by King Philip II as the site for his new mint...

As a result, the Segovia mint was produced round machine-made coins while the other mints, including Seville, were still making cobs.

Here is the link for more about that.


Happy hunting,