Saturday, December 31, 2016

12/31/16 Report - Happy New Year. 2016 Popular Posts. Magnetometers and Ground Penetrating Radar: Technology and Application.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

A  New Year Post Card Received by My Grandfather in 1913.

Well it is the end of the year again.  It seems like they fly around faster and faster.   It is a good time to look back and assess things.  What went right?  What went wrong?  And how can we do better?

For the Treasure Coast and metal detecting, Hurricane Matthew provided a lot of the big news this year. First we hoped that it would move some sand and leave us some treasure.  Then as it grew and grew and appeared to be headed towards us, we hoped that it wouldn't cause a lot of destruction.  As it turned out, after all the preparations were made, it skirted the Treasure Coast.

You'll see the most popular blog posts of 2016 at the top left of the main blog page, where I'll leave them for a couple of days.  They are the most read posts of 2016.

As you can see most of those popular posts dealt with Hurricane Matthew in one way or another, and six of the ten were posted in October of 2016.  The most recent posts are at a disadvantage since readers continue to read the older posts over the days, months and years.

One of the most popular posts of 2016 was posted in 2014.  It continues to be popular year after year.

I never expected this when I started this blog back in 2008.  I had no idea that I would have something to say almost everyday or that the blog would grow like it did.  On an average day the blog has  1000 page views.

For some there were losses in 2016.  Some lost family members or loved ones or experienced other hardships.  The holiday season is a sad time for some who remember departed family members and happier times.  I hope 2016 was a good year for you, and I'm hoping that 2017 is a great year for you.

One of the more interesting finds that I reported on this year was the 68 karat emerald found at Golden Sands park by a lady looking for shells.  No detector.  Not even a treasure hunter.  Just someone beach combing!

Next year is already very promising.  I know of a couple exploratory things being done.  I'm thinking of investigating one of those with a technology that is new to me.  Maybe I'll be able to give you the details some time in 2017.


Yesterday I was talking about the advantages of conducting a comprehensive visual site survey.  I still intend to get out and take some pictures to help illustrate that.  I also plan to get into steps after that.


Time spent in the field is a critical factor for beach hunting.  Finds can come in clusters and being out there a lot multiplies your chances of finding those really hot spots when they first pop up.


If you are interested in learning more about how magnetometers and ground prentrating radar works and their practical application, here is a theses entitled Magnetics, Radar, and Steam: Geophysical Testing of the Allegheny Portage Railroad Industrial Historic Site by Michael Raymond Sprowles.

Here is the link.


We are starting the year with a small surf and a little negative tide.  A week or two down the road they are predicting a 4 - 7 foot surf.   Those types of long range predictions seldom happen.  We'll see.

Happy New Year.

Be kind.

Friday, December 30, 2016

12/30/16 Report - Why A Thorough Systematic Visual Site Survey Is Recommended For Any Serious Treasure Hunt.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

I was watching a TV program about a very big treasure and the extensive hunt that has been and is being made to find the treasure.  Sometimes the method used on that extensive long term heavily funded search astounds me.

This is not the kind of treasure hunt that I usually write about, but a discussion of the approach should be useful whether you are hunting a Treasure Coast beach or some other completely different type of place.

First of all, the search I am talking about, although extensive and employing a multitude of "experts" and technologies, has not been very systematic.  It amazes me.

If it was me, the first thing I would do would be a comprehensive visual site survey.  I'd walk the entire area that is accessible and might be of possible relevance.   I would walk the entire area in a purposeful and predetermined pattern or grid  looking for any visual clues or features that could possibly be helpful.  That includes both visible objects and characteristics of the land.  Any possible clues and features would not only be noted but also mapped.  That would be the first step.

It is amazing what you can find by sight.  Ceramics or glass will often be the among the first and most obvious "sight clues" to past human activity.  Shards can often be seen on or near the surface after hundreds of years.  They can be very easy to see and can provide more useful information than you might think.

Detectorists can develop selective blindness.  They are interested in certain types of metal objects and are so determined to avoid what they call "junk" that they can ignore many potentially useful clues.

I've talked about Pigeon Island, for example.  Hundreds of 200-year-old shards littered the island. They weren't evenly spread about.  There were concentrations at certain locations, which is what you would expect, but the point is that they were laying on the surface after hundreds of years and screamed out to anyone that might pay attention that a lot happened there a long time ago.

When you see ceramics, or other surface items, get whatever information you can from them.  Take a good look and see what you can learn from them.  Look for marks.  Look at what they are made of.  Look at the designs.  They can tell you a lot if you study them.

Look for any patterns in how they are distributed.  That can tell you where certain types of things took place.  It can also tell you something about the ground.  Where have things stayed on the surface and where have things piled up or washed away, for example.  It is important to know something about the evolution of the ground.  Where things are found on the surface can tell you something about that.  Has the ground been packed down from usage, such as on a path or other heavily used area?

There are some areas where even light things get deeply buried in a hurry.  In the W. Va. woods that I hunt from time to time, there are areas where the leaves fall and deteriorate every year.  Even light things such as aluminum foil gets buried there.  And old objects of interest are deeply buried so quickly that they are mostly out of detector range there.  You need to know those types of variations and whether it is an area where you'll see near surface items or not.

I get to know the sites that I hunt.  I know where the soil is hard packed from either human activity or nature and where they are not.  That is important and useful information.

An extensive and systematic survey is too useful to be neglected whenever a specific area is going to be seriously hunted, yet the visual site survey would only be my first step. It would guide much of what I would do next.

I always do something of a sitr survey when I visit a beach too.  What does it look like?  What clues are there?  Where is the loose sand and where is the firm sand?  All of those things help determine what I'll do next.

On the TV program that I was watching I was amused as a detectorist walked out and started wandering around like a wild monkey.  And some of the observations were hilarious.  I really enjoyed watching it.  I guess that is what it is all about.  At that rate they'll be able to pick up random finds for several more years.  Makes a good TV program, and it won't come to an end any time soon if that is how they approach it.

You can find something old or interesting almost anywhere.  Most areas are heavily littered.  Some places the items might not be visual and they might not be in detector range, but if you are around area that have been inhabited or used at all, there are plenty of items out there to tell the story.

One of the good things about the Archeaeology of Pensacola book is that it presents a number of tables giving detailed lists of items and features found at various sites.  It gives you a baseline for comparison.  If you archaeologically dig a site, you'll find virtually everything in a well defined area - not just metal, but all kinds of things.  If you are not finding a good representation of the variety of types of objects, there is a reason whether it is selective blindness on the part of the searcher, or the forces of nature shifting and moving things, or the result of human activity.

Just as an example, I was taking a long hike in the Rockies one day and found an old abandoned cabin site.  There was no cabin there anymore.  No boards or anything like that.  The first sign, as is often the case, was surface glass and ceramics.  Then I found a man made depression, about the size of a small cabin.  Then not far off, the remains of an old stove.  I think I mentioned that in this blog at one time.

You'll be able to find things almost anywhere - in the mountains of Colorado, the hills of W. Va., beaches of Florida or islands of the Caribbean.  Even when you don't see them or can't detect them they are probably there.

Finds might or might not be related, but there is a story to be found if you systematically gather the information and analyze it.  A systematic site survey is the best first step.  If you didn't do it first, at least do it.  It will provide a lot of information that will help you develop a conceptual framework for the search.  It will save a lot of time and guide your next steps.


I might follow up with a description of subsequent steps in future posts.  I think I will go out and take some pictures to illustrate my point.

A cold front came through and it is actually a little chilly this morning.   We'll have some north winds, but not much surf today.  We'll get a little negative tide.

Happy hunting,

Thursday, December 29, 2016

12/29/16 Report - Archaeology Book. More Sand Coming. Very Old Wall Falls.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

When your childhood follows you like a little fuzzy puppy bounding through the grass on a lazy summer day, you are lucky.

I'm lucky.

(photo borrowed from an anonymous source on the internet)


Here is a useful book.  It is The Archaeology of Colonial Pensacola, edited by Judith Pense and published by the University of Florida Press.  Very helpful.   Tons of information.  Since the area changed hands from time to time, you'll read about both Spanish and English sites and artifacts.

One of the things I found helpful were the lists giving the total number of features and artifacts found at various sites.  That can be useful in many ways.  I might elaborate in the future on how you can use those numbers when you visit a site.

You can view some of the book online.

Click here to see the preview.

I did a fair amount of detecting in the Pensacola area when I was doing contracct work at the Naval Air Station and flying up there about every other week for a few years.  It was always an interesting place to detect with a lot of history


The Space Coast beaches, which were hit hard by Matthew, will get new sand starting in January.  I'm sure that will only be the beginning.  Look for a lot of replenishment in 2017 along the Treasure Coast.

Here is link.

Thanks to James F. for the link.


I recently mentioned all the replenishment sand reducing old finds on the Treasure Coast and received this response from one reader.  (Very minor edits made by TG.)

You are on target. it is all the sand being dumped on beach. destroyed all in close habitat for marine life as well. Take one beach in pic Bathtub Beach. Had live rock everywhere, French angel fish,snowflake ells, swarms of fish now it's all gone. Covered in sand. very sad how it's all being taken away.

Thanks RY.  Sad indeed.


Israel, which was very much in the news yesterday, is also now in the Treasure Beaches Report.

A wall dating back to 1750 BC was damaged by a heavy downpour.


We're going to have a couple weeks of small surf.

Happy hunting,

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

12/28/16 Report - Shiver Me Timbers. Wood Shipwreck Remains.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Worm-Riddled Shipwreck Wood From a Treasure Coast Beach.
I mentioned the other day that a lot of the visible wreckage of the treasure wrecks is not longer there. To a large extent it has deteriorated, been removed, or scattered about.  Once in a while, though, there is still some timber that gets uncovered and washes up on the beach.  That happens most after rough weather that removes protective layers.  It doesn't seem to happen very often anymore.

Of course things deteriorate and disappear, especially in rough salt water environments.  One thing that was always a problem for wood ships is the Toredo worms.  Various things were used over the years in the hope of preventing that type of damage, such as covering the hull with copper or lead or various materials or substances.

Prior to around 1800 hulls were made almost entirely of white oak, possibly with sacrificial planking on the outside of the hull. The sacrificial planking was used on ships that traveled in warm ocean waters, where wooden hulls are susceptible to damage by burrowing marine organisms such as teredo worms. Sacrificial planking was applied to hulls to decrease the risk of damage. This half-inch thick layer of wood, such as pine, was replaced regularly when infested with marine borers. By the late eighteenth century copper sheathing replaced sacrificial planking as the preferred method of hull protection.

As far back as the reign of Edward the III, in 1336, several compositions containing pitch, tar, sulphur and oil were employed for coating the hulls of ships to prevent the attack of sea worms and the adherence of barnacles and sea weeds. It was also a common practice to use a thin planking, secured by nails, over the main planking, in those olden times. In 1625, a patent was granted to one William Beale, in England, for a composition not described, but the object of which was to render the hull and rigging incombustible.  

(That excerpt is from

There are places on the Treasure Coast where you can still find pieces of lead and copper sheathing.  I think the place that seems to produce the most copper sheathing is a later wreck and probably not a treasure wreck.

I've read that pieces of hull and other wood structures were observed on some of the 1715 wrecks into the mid-20th century.  I don't know how much wood the salvage crews see on the wrecks anymore.  I do know that it wasn't long ago that I found pieces of worm-riddled timbers on the beach.  Large sections were found over the years in the dunes at various locations.  It can be difficult to tell the age or source of small isolated wood finds like that.

At the top of this post you can see a close up of one piece that I found one time.

Often there will be the remains of iron or other types of metal such as spikes or rods.  This piece shown above has a piece of what appears to be a spike and a hole or two where there were once pieces of metal.

I've posted some beach found shipwreck wood in this blog in the past.   I suspect that there has to be a relatively unusual combination of weather conditions to uncover centuries old wood and wash it up onto the beach these days. A few years ago quite a few pieces washed up.  Of course it is also possible that wood covered by the dunes was washed out, but I don't think that was the case the last time I saw it happen, judging from the other things that were washing up onto the beach and where it happened.


KEY WEST, Fla., Oct. 11— After 364 years under water, 40 timbers from the sunken 17th-century Spanish galleon Nuestra Senora de Atocha, each weighing 1,600 pounds, have been raised from a depth of 54 feet in the Gulf of Mexico...

The timbers are ''the largest single collection of remains from a Spanish galleon,'' according to Dr. John Dorwin, senior archeologist for the treasure hunters who found the ships. ''And in terms of construction of such a galleon, very little is known.'' He predicts the timbers will help to break new ground in ship architecture.

Here are links to the article and a YouTube video about that.

And here is an article that claims that as the result of global warming teredo worms are spreading farther north and damaging shipwrecks that in the past were safe from the pest.


If you're curious about the expression "shiver me timbers," here is a link.


We're having unusually warm weather for the season.  And the beaches aren't doing much.

Happy hunting,

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

12/27/16 Report - Pistareens On The Treasure Coast Beaches In 1775. T. C. Beaches Today. Scams of Old.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Douglass Beach Looking North Near Low Tide Tuesday.

Heavily Eroded Fort Pierce South Jetty This Near Low Tide

South Hutchinson Island Around Noon.

Another South Hutchinson Island Beach Near Low Tide Tuesday

There were a good number of beach goers out taking advantage of the warm weather after Christmas.  There were no big crowds or anything, but a more people than normal for the Treasure Coast.

The beaches did not look very good for metal detecting.  There was one beach that had a firm front.  I will take another look at it in a day or two.


You are probably familiar with the name Bernard Romans, who published a book in 1775 concerning the natural history of Florida and in the process mentioned shipwrecks observed along the Treasure Coast and including a map.  For those of you who are not intimately familiar the Romans book, I decided to post a couple of excerpts from pages 273 and 274.  Here they are.

Not only did Romans see the remains of the wrecks, but he also made note of the fact that "pistareens" were repeatedly found by those walking the beach after "eastern gales."  He goes on to speculate that more would be found on the wrecks.  Remember, he wrote this in 1775, sixty years after the sinking of the 1715 Fleet.  

Here is the link to a facsimile edition of the book which you can read online.

Romans saw wreckage.  I read somewhere that wreckage besides ballast stones was visible still in the 1940s and 50s.  Today there is little left to see.  A lot of the ballast stones have been removed - some very systematically.


Here is another item from the "nothing new under the sun" category.  The email scams you see today were going on long ago - just without email.  The following excerpt is from a 1920 issue of the Washington D.C. Evening Star.

The letter goes on to tell the reader how to receive a reward amounting to one/third the amount stored in the trunk.

Who would guess todays email scams are just updated recycled scams.


Happy hunting,

Monday, December 26, 2016

12/26/16 Report - Treasure Hunting on the Treasure Coast Over the Decades: What Has Changed (continued). Natures Nightly Light Show.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

On 12/22 I started a post having the title Treasure Hunting on the Treasure Coast Over the Decades: What Has Changed.  I intended to finish that post the day after it was started but got off the topic for a little while.  I'll pick up with that post today.

A lot of people think that finds have decreased dramatically because so much of a finite amount of treasure has already been found.  That is a certainly a reasonable idea, but in 2015 we saw some huge finds.  In fact the 2015 finds were the largest in the previous thirty years.  That shows there was still a lot out there, and some of the people who should really know, believe that there is a lot more out there to be found.

While a lot has been found, is it really enough that future finds will be much less frequent and less significant?   And if finds have decreased over the decades, is it just because there is less out there to be found or might there be other reasons?

I mentioned how in the back in the mid 20th century there were large and apparently frequent "sight finds" and how cobs were skipped back into the ocean by unwitting beach goers.  I mentioned those impressive finds made "by a flip or a fin."  At the same time we know today how hard it is to make beach finds.  Many of those that write to me have made several trips to the Treasure Coast and although they have good modern metal detectors, have searched hard but found not a single reale. We have to put that into perspective though.  The storeis we have from the early decades of modern treasure hunting on the Treasure Coast accumulated over decades.  In retrospect the time frame collapses.  The reader might feel like people were picking up cobs all the time.  Our perspective of distant decades could be distorted somewhat.

I started detecting in South Florida and didn't move to the Treasure Coast until sometime late in the 90s, although I made trips to the Treasure Coast to detect in the eighties, my first escudo find was actually made in Dade County before I ever hunted on the Treasure Coast.

My own personal observations are limited.  In one way it seems that it was easier to find cobs on the Treasure Coast beaches in the eighties, but I'm not sure how accurate that is.  I made several trips before I found my first reale, so it wasn't like they were everywhere all the time, but after the first, I did find them on a relatively frequent basis and in good numbers on some occasions, and that wasn't after any major storms or hurricanes (as I recall). I wish I had taken photos and could compare the beachs then with the beaches today.  My impression is that beach conditions were generally better - a significant part of that being because of all the beach renourishment project in recent years.  It certainly seems that they are piling sand on the beaches all of the time anymore.

Big sight finds have been made in the 21st century.  After Francis and Jeanne removed sand down to the mud and clay, people filled their pockets with sight finds once again.  Folks ran around and picked up what they could see.  It was a matter of beach conditions.

To summarize, my main question was if finds have been decreasing since the mid 20th century.  My answer to that is I think so.  The second question is, if that is so why.  I do not believe that the targets have been reduced as much as some people think.  There is still a lot out there to be found, as the 2015 salvage season shows.  The main reason I believe that beach finds have not been as plentiful in the past few years is the amount of renourishment sand, which can affect beach conditions for miles south of where the sand was dumped.

I think we would have had more good hunting on some beaches such as Corrigans this year if it wasn't for all of the renourishment sand.  One of the more northern beaches on the Treasure Coast did produce a good number of reales this year.  For beach hunting, it is still largely a matter of sand and beach conditions.

Overall, my conclusion, and mine alone, is that there is still a lot left to be found, but that man, and possibly nature, has worked to make it more difficult.  Nature does on occasion open up a window of opportunity for beach hunters, but with all of the sand dumped on the beaches, it takes more to open that window and it occurs less frequently.

A large proportion of the overall finds in the 21st Century are made during extreme circumstances such as when Hurricane Jeanne opened up a huge window of opportunity.  In between events like that, the hunting is much more difficult and finds are reduced to some extent.

On the other hand, there are people who will adapt and change.  There are people who will do what it takes to overcome the obstacles.

It might take a lot of patience and skill, but there will always be some that overcome the obstacles, whatever they are.  And I can guarantee that more exciting big finds will be made, along with many smaller and less publicized finds made by anonymous men and women who are not easily discouraged or deterred.


Yesterday for me was Christmas and football, thus no post.  

I awoke on Christmas well before the sun began to appear over the horizon just like a child wanting to see what Santa left.  The sky was turning black to grey.  The world was still quiet.  

I like silence.  I like joyful activities too.  What is one without the other?

If you really looked at the sky on Christmas Eve you would have seen how well decorated it was. Orion stood clearly high in the east.  Uncounted constellations of lights told their ancient story.  Stars of various brightness flickered like candles.  And one very bright Christmas star stood out in the west - either Venus or Jupiter, I assume.  

Memories are something like the stars.  Some stand out.  Others are there but are not as bright.  You don't really notice them unless you focus on them.  But they are there all the same.


It looks like we'll have a three to four foot surf for a couple of days then a foot or so less for a few more days.  The tides are unremarkable now.

Hope you had a Merry Christmas,

Happy hunting,

Saturday, December 24, 2016

12/24/16 Report - Merry Christmas From the TreasureGuide. Extinct Seal Tooth On Lake Worth. Small Sight Find.

Merry Christmas to all from the Treasure Guide!

Here is a Christmas wish to you from the 1950s.
Just a little time travel.
With all the Christmas activities, I don't have much for you today but wanted to wish you a Merry Christmas.


The tooth of a monk seal was found on the shore of Lake Worth.

According to Robert S. Carr, the conservancy’s executive director, the lake was believed to be a freshwater body until the area’s earliest settler, Augustus Oswald Lang, cut a channel across the barrier island around 1867. That resulted in changes in the lake’s salinity. Those are being studied by the conservancy through careful examination of animal remains.
Discovery of the tooth is the first evidence of the seal found in the area. Its presence is an indicator that the seal was hunted by prehistorical people.
Here is the link for more about that.

Dan B.,  who was a part of the huge 1715 Fleet find of the 2015 salvage season, offered this insightful response to yesterday's post.

I think that that the "flip of the fin" observation is fun because it exposes the reason why joy is important in your activities. Too many times we are distracted enough to miss a little gold glimmer. Thats why we have to be mindful and present. Enjoying what you are doing allows us to look at our surroundings clearly, instead of clouding our senses with drama or stress. If we are fretting about not finding the lobster, we could sure miss the find of a lifetime, even if it was staring us in the face. 

Thanks for the comment Dan!


Speaking of a little glimmer, yesterday I saw the smallest gold sparkle coming from the sand in a field.  I bent down to investigate and pinched the sand where it was coming from and picked it up.  When I opened my fingers this is the object that reflected the light. (Dime shown for comparison.)

It is the thing that goes on an earring post.  The funny thing about it is that I can't imagine how it ended up where it was.  Those kinds of things fascinate me.  I'm left wondering how in the world it got there.

I'll have to test it and see what I can learn about it.

I have a knack for noticing small things on the ground.  I like eye-balling and am in the habit of noticing things like that.


The second part of my series of post was delayed again.  I'll get back to that after Christmas.

Have a blessed and merry Christmas.

Read more here:

Friday, December 23, 2016

12/23/16 Report - The Flip of A Fin: The Dividing Line Between Success and Failure.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

By the Flip of a Fin.

Some of the best and most amazing finds are accidents.  Almost all of them are to one extent or another.

The gold coins of a lost old army payroll was discovered while a couple guys were hunting lobsters. It was the sudden flip of the tail fin of a startled shark that exposed the  gold at just the right time.  You can't plan that.

How about the gold glove tray.  It is the largest gold artifact ever found along the Treasure Coast.  That is another example of a happy accident.  The gold tray was discovered when the swim fin of one of a group of guys that were spear fishing exposed the glint of gold.

Many of the most amazing finds were not  sought - at least not specifically.  They were unexpected.

You can set out to find a specific lost ring that has been described to you in detail.  In that case you know what you are hunting for, you have a specific goal and intend to find that specific object, but when you are searching for a centuries old treasure, you seldom if ever are hunting a particular object. You hope to find something, but not a specific item.

One story I have told many times and to many audiences, including radio audiences, is the story about how one Easter my wife and I tried to make a special memory for my young nephew when his parents were going through a difficult divorce.  We bought tons of candy, decorations and things, and did our best to make that Easter special for him.  In the morning when he came out and saw everything, he excitedly exclaimed, "I must have been really good, huh?" (He is now 36, has been nominated for a Pulitzer Prize and still thinks he is really good.)

Over the years I realized how well my nephew's statement illustrated the nature of man.  When we have good fortune, we think it must be because we did something good and fail to recognize when some of the credit should go elsewhere.

None of us can take credit for the good fortune of being born with relatively good health, having two arms and legs and a pretty good head on our shoulders, not being born into the poverty of a third world country, and being raised to adulthood by someone who cared.  We had not control over that.  We were just lucky.  We like to take the credit, but other things - things out of our control -  had to happen for us to be where we are.

Most big treasure finds are usually to one extent or another happy accidents.  There are those rare times when someone is targeting something very specific in a very planned way, but usually there is a large element chance.  Despite our skills and effort there is the element of surprise when a great find is made.

I once described skill as intentional action that increases the probability of success.  Probability is the key word.  Even with great skill, there is still the possibility of failure.  The element of luck (factors outside of your control) is usually there whether you want to recognize it or not.

I'm not saying there is no skill involved in treasure hunting.  I've spent a lot of time talking about ways to improve your skill and therefore the probability of success.

Effort and skill are to be celebrated, but it is also good to recognize good fortune.

There are truly great finds, but if you think about it, many of them could have been made by a total beginner if they just happened to put their coil over a treasure or if the item happened to be exposed to them at just the right time.  (Of course there is some skill involved in being at the right place at the right time on a regular basis.)

Many who have worked just as hard and skillfully failed in their endeavors, and many who were less skilled but happened to be in the right place at the right time succeeded wildly.  It is good to celebrate accomplishments that occur as the result of effort and skill, but it is just as important to recognize the factors outside of your control -  good or bad.  Sometimes, probably more often than we realize, success or failure is a matter of little more than the flip of a fin.


I intended to finish yesterday's post today, but got off the subject.  I'll finish yesterdays post some other time.

This afternoon the surf is supposed to be up to four to six feet.  Tomorrow and for a few days it will decrease a foot or so.

Happy hunting,

Thursday, December 22, 2016

12/22/16 Report - Beach Conditions Today. Treasure Hunting On The Treasure Coast Over the Decades. What Has Changed.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Douglas Beach Thursday Morning Just After Low Tide

Different View of Douglas Beach This Morning.

I took a look at the beach this morning.  As you can see from the photo above, there was very little in the way of cuts.  At some spots there was a little cut less than a foot high.  In front of that was a sloped front beach, which was mushy towards the top and a little firmer at the bottom.  It didn't look very promising.


In yesterday's post I said I might start a new series of posts about treasure hunting on the Treasure Coast over the last few decades.   I'll get that started today.

Some people think that most of the treasure has been found and that is why there are decreasing finds being made. Some would be a little more specific and say that the "easy" finds have been made.  If you think about how many big finds were made both in the water and on the beach in the early days - many without the use of a metal detector - it would be easy to conclude that the easy finds have been made.

You might have read at one time or another how beachcombers used to find flat black items on the beach and skipped them back into the ocean.  That was decades ago.  It is very rare for reales, especially the larger ones, to be found by sight these days.  In fact they aren't found real often even with a metal detector, and when it does happen it is probably one of those special days when conditions are just right.  That doesn't happen very often.

In 1940 the local newspapers reported that gold coins, cannon, cannon balls and other shipwreck items were found on the beach along with the remains of what were believed to be the bones of Spanish shipwrecks.  Those things were reportedly found on both the beach and in the shallow water.

I suppose those reports were accurate.  Of course I can't prove it one way or the other, and I'll entertain the possibility that they could be wrong to one extent or another, but I suspect that they are basically true.

I've also read that the mid-century salvage crews made a lot of big finds without metal detectors, sometimes in very shallow water.  And some of them successfully worked without blowers - again making some impressive finds.  I don't think that happens very often today either.

Comparing the reports of finds made forty, fifty or sixty years ago with those of more recent days, it certainly appears that it was easier to find treasure on the Treasure Coast back in the earlier decades.

If you've been waiting to make some nice beach finds, you probably know that there haven't been a lot lately.  There are some finds from time to time, but not the kind of days when you walk out and quickly fill your pockets with silver or gold.

If it is harder to make big finds these days, the question remains as to why.  Why would so many more finds be made by sight back in the early 1900s?  There are many believe that it is simply a matter of all the past finds reducing the amount of treasure that remains to be found.  That could be.

It could also be that back in the forties and up to just a few decades ago, beach and water conditions were better for treasure hunting.  It could be that there was a period of continued erosion.  I'll check on that as soon as I get a chance.   I think I've seen studies on the amount of erosion that occurred along the Treasure Coast over the years and decades.

The beach and inlets have opened and closed over the centuries as the result of both nature and man.

In 1924, the Sebastian Inlet was opened at its current location and small jetties were completed.

In 1939, Approximately 72,000 cubic yards of sediment are removed from the inlet at a cost of $6,000.

In 1941 the Inlet closed due to a northeaster. For safety reasons, it was left closed during World War II, then permanently blasted open in 1947 and has remained open since.

Here is the source for that information and more on the Sebastian Inlet.

Shallow water visibility also changes along with the opening and closing of inlets.

Areas to the north of the inlets fill with sand while the areas immediately south of the inlets cloud up to some extent when the inlets are open.  Bigger and bigger jetties are required, and that means more sand piling up to the north of the inlets and more and more frequent replenishment projects to the south of the inlets.

Besides natural trends, man has had an effect on beach conditions too.  We all know how often the beaches of the Treasure Coast have been replenished in the last decade.  It seems that every year replenishment sand is being dumped somewhere along the Treasure Coast.  Even when the beaches erode again, the sand moves southward along the beach and covers the shallow water areas.  If it wasn't for the renourishment sand, I think we would have had more finds in the past couple of months.

Well, I haven't answered the question yet, and this post is getting long.  I'll finish this post tomorrow or some other time before long.

To be continued...


Happy hunting,

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

12/21/16 Report - Metal Detecting Technique. A New Series of Posts Introduced.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

I will be doing a post or a series of post on Treasure Coast finds and major trends and conclusions.  I don't know yet how many posts it will involve, but probably more than one.  I might even get started on that today.

I just received a post from SuperRick who besides visiting the Treasure Coast every once in a while does a lot of hunting for gold nuggets and meteorites out west.  Here is an email I just got from Rick.

I don't know if you remember it or not but I sold the same detector that you use because it would not read meteorites but was great for gold and deep targets! I bought it when it first hit the market and tried everything I could think of to get it to read common meteorites and it just wouldn't do it and weighing in at 6 1/2 pounds didn't help out here in the desert! 

The one thing that most guys miss is you have to spend time with any detector that you use. What should be a love affair turns out to be a nightmare for some guys because they don't understand their machine or don't know the proper way to detect with any metal detector!
Their swing is always way off of the ground and when they are coming to the end of it the detector swings up into the air even higher! So far I had two bad experiences with two different detectors that I bought for meteorites. The first one the factor took it back after I worked with them for a few months. I sent them videos of how we were setting it up and it wouldn't even read gold nuggets doing air test with the way they were telling me to set it up!
I want to thank you once again for all that you do with your Blog, your the best out there when it comes to the Fla. beaches and the history of the shipwrecks!
I hope that you have happy holidays and good health in the next new year!


Thanks Rick!  You mention a lot of very important points. 

I'm going to expand on a couple of things Rick referred to.

First, different detectors are good for different things.  A detector that might be great for one type of hunting, might be an absolute waste for another.  Rick mentions one detector that he found to be very good for certain types of targets but poor for meteorites.  Florida guys don't think much about hunting meteorites.  Florida is just not the place to do that.  

Second, it can take a lot of time to master a metal detector - some more than others.  In the past I've spent a lot of time talking about experimenting and testing with whatever detector you are going to use.

Third, I often see some very poor technique being used on the beaches.  I usually assume that the user is a beginner, but I saw one fellow recently that I don't think was a beginner.  I almost said something, but decided I wouldn't.   It was not cheap "beginner's" detector either.   It was a high end metal detector, but it was being used in a way that would make it impossible to detect a lot of good targets.  I thought maybe the fellow was backing the coil off for some specific reason.  If you don't want to detect small or normal size targets or something, you can lift your coil off the ground higher than normal.  The fellow had the coil nearly a foot off the ground, and like Rick said, was lifting it even higher at the end of the swing.

You can miss a lot of targets at the end of a swing by lifting the coil or changing direction too quickly.  Jerking the coil at the end of the swing can cause false signals, which can mask real signals.  The same goes for lifting the coil at the end of the swing. 

You may or may not realize how high your coil is from the ground, but it is worth checking to make sure that it is near the ground.  There were some people years back that used to "scrub."  Scrubbing refers to actually having your coil in contact with the ground.  I haven't seen anyone doing that for a long time. You can't do it with all detectors anyhow, and you might need a coil cover.


Yesterday when I was talking about detectors that years ago showed target images, I was not talking about some of the more recent detectors like the CTX 3030.


I'll introduce what might become a series of posts today.  The series, if that is what it actually turns out to be, will be called Treasure Coast Finds: Major Trends and Conclusions.

The series will be about old treasure finds going back to the mid 1900s up to today.  While thinking about the history of treasure hunting on the Treasure Coast, I realized that there are some definite trends over the past several decades and some general conclusions that can be reached.  At least it appears that way to me.  Maybe you will not agree with everything.  In that case feel free to let me know.

I'll consider discoveries made from the post - World War II era up to the present.  After the war there were a bunch of developments that came together to facilitate treasure hunting on the Treasure Coast.

There were young, healthy skilled, adventurous trained men coming out of the war ready to begin new lives.  Some were trained right here along the Treasure Coast.

Technologies developed during the war were also helpful.  Magnetometers and mine detectors developed for the military were used to find treasure on the Treasure Coast.   SCUBA technology was developed around that time too.

The products of military research and development often have peacetime applications.   A couple of days ago I referred to the development of "swarm" drone technology being used by the military, and as you know, underwater remote control devices are being used for deep sea treasure hunting.  Military research and technology is often on the leading edge.  That is why I referred to it in a post the other day.  

WW II technology will not be my topic for the proposed series, but the series will consdier the post - WW II era.  I think I might get started on that tomorrow or sometime soon.


Still eagerly awaiting the predicted increase in surf this weekend.  We had some nice low tides lately.

Happy hunting,

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

12/20/16 Report - Detector That Displays Target Images and Has Exceptional Target ID? Higher Surf Coming

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Interesting Intertwined Ring Design
Find and photo by Dan B.
Below you can see how it looked when found.

Same Ring Shown Above.

Thanks Dan.


I haven't posted many pictures lately.  I've been having some trouble with the camera I usually use.

There will soon be  new book out that was written by a salvage crew member who worked on 1715 Fleet wrecks.   Keep watching and I'll let you know when it is available.   This one will be different than most of the others.  It takes a unique perspective.  More on that in the near future.


I don't often talk about specific metal detectors, but I do sometimes.  I think most detector tests aren't worth much.  Many are done by people who either don't now how to use the detector or only barely know how to use it.  Some detectors take a while to really learn how to use them well.  Others not so long.

I came across some YouTube videos demonstrating a line of detectors by DRS Electronics - a German company.  The low end detector starts at around $4,500 and the upper end system costs around $45,000.  At those prices you should expect something good.

It appears from the DRS videos that the DRS Ground Exper Pro, the $4,500 detector, that the detector has truly exceptional discrimination capabilities.  The video shows the detector being able to discriminate out both iron and lead and still detect and identify gold.  That is a good trick.  From the video it would appear that the discrimination capabilities exceed those of other detectors costing up to $3000 or more.  It looked as if the detector was capable of allowing the detectorist to dig nothing but gold, if that is what they wanted to do.  That would be great for some situations - if it actually works well.

As you probably know if you've been reading this blog very long, generally speaking I encourage digging everything.  Don't just see the trash, but get rid of it.  There are however situations when discrimination and target ID, if it is accurate enough, would be very useful.

One thing I think I saw mentioned in a DRS video is the statement that strong batteries are required for accurate target ID.  From what I've seen with other detectors, I'd say that is true for most detectors.  Also, with many detectors, depth makes a difference.  Deep targets are not identified as accurately as shallow targets.

Back to the DRS detector.  Not only does it appear from the video to have exceptional discrimination and target ID capabilities, but it also can produce target images.  You can see the round shape of a coin, for example, or the more rectangular shape of an aluminum can.   Images can be displayed on an iPad that comes with the detector or your own smart phone.

I seem to remember years back seeing advertisements of detectors that displayed target images like that.  Was it Whites or Garrett?  It seems that it didn't catch on at the time.  Does anyone remember that, and if so, why it didn't work out.  Am I just dreaming, or does someone else remember that.

Three types of coil come with the GroundExper, including a large coil for detecting large targets meters deep.

Here is a link if you want to look into it.

I'm not advertising this detector or company.  I have never used a DRS detector and would never draw any strong conclusions about a detector without having used it or at least seen a demonstration.

I would like to hear from anyone who has used a DRS system or seen it demonstrated in person.

I also recommend not buying any detector without a personal demonstration, especially something this expensive or advertising capabilities that seem so remarkable.

Again, it does seem like years ago I saw advertisements of detectors that provided target images on a display screen, but I don't know what happened with that.


It looks like beginning Saturday and lasting for about a week, we'll have a four to six foot surf.  That isn't bad.

Happy hunting,

Monday, December 19, 2016

12/19/16 Report - First Hand Reports on Wrecking of the 1715 Fleet. History of Metal Detectors.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of the

Talking of the wreck of the 1715 Fleet, here is what the Escribania de Camara said in a letter sent to Seville about the wreck (translated, of course).

We all grounded upon the coast from midnight of the 30th at 10AM of the 31st of July. Most of the ships were divided into sections upon grounding. Mine was the only exception and it remained intact throughout the storm. It was only after 30 days after grounding that the hull was destroyed by fire in order to try and take advantage of salvaging what lay below the decks in the main hold.”

Could you imagine wrecking and scrambling for your life on a deserted beach in the middle of the night.  I don't know if you've ever been on one of the beaches like Douglas Beach at night, but it can be very dark.  I imagine there were clouds so if there was a moon, it might not provide much of any light.  You might not be able to see the wreckage scattered about, but you could hear the waves crashing.  And if you've ever been on the beach during a strong storm, you know how the palm trees and other flotsam can be a real danger as it trashes about in the waves.  I imagine that people died from that.

Supplies for survival would have been the first priority after getting safely to shore.  Fortunately, some of that would have been salvagable, being light or in containers that could float.

Decks that survived would have been an obstacle to recovering treasure underneath.  It seems to me that very little treasure would have been salvaged without sinking first.  Perhaps a few pockets or bags of personal property, but I think even little of that.

De Camara goes on to say, “All of the main ships were broken in pieces and wrecked at a distance from one another of 15 or 16 leagues. The only one which remained intact was the Refuerzo of Lima, under the command of Rafael de Eliza, on which I was sailing, although later it gradually filled with water so that the greater part of its cargo in the hold was lost and we set fire to the hull…”

About a month after the wrecking, Don Miguel de Lima y Melo wrote, “… All of the ships, with the exception of mine, broke to pieces. My ship stayed intact for 30 days after this disaster until we recovered part of the cargo and then burned the ship... 

All of the cargos of the other ships were all lost, less a few leather bags off my ship, but this was little because by the day following the disaster the hold of my ship was completely full of water with over a codo and a half (27 inches) over the main hatchway. This was caused because we were unable to cut the rigging on the leeward side of the ship to dislodge the foremast. By the movements of the sea, caused by the mast still being erect, the bottom part of the ship opened and if this hadn’t happened I would have been able to recover all of the cargo on my ship."

You can read more about that along with the draft manifests by using the following link.


Darrel S. sent in the following brief history of metal detectors.

Electromagnetism by Joseph Henry USA and Michael Faraday ENGLAND in 1833.

1877 Alexander Graham Bell passed a coin across 2 coils on telephone noticed silence broke.

July 2 1881 Pres. Garfield shot. Bell attempted to find the bullet with his newly found discovery. Garfield died Sept. 19, 1881. Later Bell noticed the springs in the mattress interfered with the 2 coils.

Supposedly, detectors were used in WW1, but the first actual metal detector was invented by Gerhard Fisher in 1929 known as the M-Scope or Metallascope. It weighed 22 lbs and cost $200.

Thanks Darrel.


I watched football and did Christmas things yesterday.    Christmas will be here soon.

The surf this week will be in the 2 - 4 foot range until the weekend when it is supposed to bump up to 4 - 6 feet.

Happy hunting,

Saturday, December 17, 2016

12/17/16 Report - Numismatic Archaeology. Underwater Drones. A Study of Two Early Shipwrecks.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Last month this blog had over 100,000 page views.  When I started this blog I never dreamed of those kinds of numbers.


Here is the description of what sounds like an interesting book.

Numismatic Archaeology of North America is the first book to provide an archaeological overview of the coins and tokens found in a wide range of North American archaeological sites. It begins with a comprehensive and well-illustrated review of the various coins and tokens that circulated in North America with descriptions of the uses for, and human behavior associated with, each type. The book contains practical sections on standardized nomenclature, photographing, cleaning, and curating coins, and discusses the impacts of looting and of working with collectors. This is an important tool for archaeologists working with coins. For numismatists and collectors, it explains the importance of archaeological context for complete analysis.

Click here to read a preview.


One of the big things in defense technology these days seems to be drones.  That is not real new and we've all heard about it, but the newest thing with drones is using them in swarms, which are groups of small drones that communicate with each other and act in a coordinated fashion to accomplish mission objectives.

If you like to stay up on technology - and I think any serious treasure hunter should -  Jane's would be good reading.  It will keep you up on defense and security intelligence.  See
Search underwater drones, for example.

As you probably know, metal detector were developed to detect mines and the internet was developed as a military project.  A lot of research and development is conducted for military applications.

Here is a test on the latest underwater drone technology.

 Click here to read about that.


Jack sent an email and said the following.

I've been reading your site for years,.. Worked Ft Lauderdale for over 25 Yrs,  but that will come later, You are right on the ball in everything you  say. Keep it up, please. I Love it!  Regarding The article on Tommy Thompson,  It's reported that just B-4 Blackbeard was hung, when asked where he had buried his gold he said, "Only me and the Devil knows where it's at."  Maybe Mr Thompson is following suit with a grin on his face,
Thanks Jack.


The only people normally reflected in the documentary record pertaining to these fleets are European. Very little is written about the approximately 100 Aztec warriors who accompanied Luna and his men to Florida or about the common sailors of the Padre Island fleet. Archaeology has the unique ability to give a voice to the disenfranchised whose history and lifestyles were not chronicled in the historical record (Little 1996:42-78).

That is one paragraph from a lengthy masters theses that primarily compares the ceramics of the Padre Island and Emauel Point shipwrecks.  

Here is the link.


The surf will be around 2 - 4 feet for a few days, but we will still have some nice negative tides.

Happy hunting,

Friday, December 16, 2016

12/16/16 Report - What Happened To Tons of Gold From The S. S. Central America? Tommy Knows!

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of the

Neat Picture of Recent Cold Air Covering The Northern U. S.

Here is a link to a video showing the cold air moving south.


The main topic today comes from a long article from the Washington Post about Tommy Thompson and three tons of sunken gold.  It seems Thompson won't be able to leave jail until he tells where the gold is.

Here is how the article, which reads more like a novel, begins.

Tommy G. Thompson was once one of the greatest treasure hunters of his time: A dark-bearded diver who hauled a trove of gold from the Atlantic Ocean in 1988 — dubbed the richest find in U.S. history.

Years later, accused of cheating his investors out of the fortune, Thompson led federal agents on a great manhunt — pursued from a Florida mansion to a mid-rent hotel room booked under a fake name.

Now Thompson’s beard has grayed, and he lives in an Ohio jail cell, held there until he gives up the location of the gold...

And here is the link if you want to read the rest of the article.

I think you'll want to read it all.

Thanks to Dean for that link!


The water has calmed down in the Keys and the Dare was back out working the Atocha while the Sea Reaper is working west of the Margarita.


The surf isn't going to increase much for a while.  From earlier predictions it looked like it might be higher this weekend.

We are still having some nice negative tides and the water is calm.

Happy hunting,

Thursday, December 15, 2016

12/15/16 Report - A Key Find. Appreciating Finds. 62 Foot Wave.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Encrusted Find
Find and photo by Jerry P.
Can you guess what this is?  Below is what Jerry said.

I was detecting on Palm Beach last week when I dug this find out of the wet-sand. We’ve had a LOT of erosion here lately in PB County and I’ve been finding older modern coins and jewelry from as far back as the 1930’s. This key set really got my heart rate going when I first set eyes on it.  As you can see, it is from the Breakers Hotel back when they still used regular room keys. They were riveted together with a copper rivet that broke during a multi-stage cleaning. Not sure what the small key might have been for. A cabana lock or safe maybe? I’m trying to find out what time period it may be from, but not getting very far.

I also have an old silver woman’s ring (missing a large stone) I found this week that could be Very old. If you’d like to see it too, just let me know.

Thanks for looking,
Jerry P.

Below are the keys as they looked after cleaning.

As you can see the one side is very pitted.

Nice find Jerry.  Thanks for the report and pictures.

I have about 10 gallons of big brass hotel keys that I dug back in the 80s.

Breakers Hotel Key With FOB Dug In The 80s.
I don't know what era this one came from.  I just remember roughly when it was dug.  It looks very much like the one Jerry dug.  (Jerry's photo is better than mine.)

The danger was that if you found a hotel key you could possibly go up and enter the room.  Locks weren't changed quickly like the key cards of today.

If they changed over the years and somebody knows how to date them, please let me know.

People collect vintage hotel keys.  If you check eBay or other auction sites, you'll see that even the ones with large plastic fobs are priced around $12 or more.  I personally like the look of the large metal ones like the one shown above a lot better.

Old skeleton keys seem to be popular with collectors.

Some people don't collect keys, but they collect hotel memorabilia, and the keys fall in that category.

If you detected the beach back in the eighties, you probably found a lot of hotel keys, and if you kept them, you might now be able to get a few dollars from them, or at least have a little collection of your own.

One other thing - if you dig up an encrusted item like the one shown at the top of the post, be sure you know what it is before you throw it out.  I've been very wrong before.  I thought one such item was a modern coin and it turned out to be a 18th century medallion.

One of the main things I want you to get from all of this is the various ways you can appreciate and enjoy your finds.  Keys or gold coins can be more than some amount of money.  They can also be viewed as collectibles, history and art.  They are more valuable to you when you learn to appreciate them more.


The 62 foot (19 meter) wave -- captured between Iceland and the UK on February 4 2013 -- has set a new world record for the biggest wave ever recorded by a buoy, according to the World Meteorological Association...

Here is the link.

I wonder what that would do to the Treasure Coast and how it would redistribute shallow water and beach treasure.


More people believe in climate change than evolution.  One study recently found that about 45 percent of the sample did not believe in evolution.

Here is the link.

I accept microevolution but not macroevolution.  There is a big difference.


The surf will be only one to two feet on Thursday.  It will increase a bit, but not a log, Friday and Saturday.

You might want to take advantage of the calm surf and nice negative low tides.

Happy hunting,

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

12/13/16 Report - Treasure In The Indian River Lagoon.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

There has been at least one Exploratory lease in the Indian River Lagoon.  As far as I know, not much was found in that lease area, however there is evidence suggesting the possibility of wrecks in the river. 

We know that just south of the nuclear power plant a large piece of an old wreck was found in the river.  Some think that it might have washed over the island during a storm.

I can't imagine that there are no old wrecks in the river.  There has to be.  The question is if there are any treasure wrecks there.

Caches of Spanish reales have been found west of the Indian River, such as those found when a bulldozer uncovered a large cache while clearing a site for the Sebastian Walmart.

How did those cobs get there?  I don't think anyone knows how they got there, but I think they must have crossed the river at some time.  Who moved them or when remains unknown.

I imagine that the Spanish salvage crews used the river for many purposes.  As in later times, the transportation would have provided easy transportation.

My thinking is that there has to be some treasure in the river.  Any treasure that might be in the river would probably be more scattered and harder to get to.

I've been told by the guys that build docks on the river that the sand is about six feet deep near the western edge of the river.  That is a lot of sand.  There is also a LOT of junk in the river.  Whether it is centuries old or not, there has to be shipwrecks and some amount of treasure in the Indian River.

Part of what appeared to be an old Spanish shipwreck was found in the river.  There are other rumors of wrecks in the river.  Items found in the river or on the banks also suggest the possibility of wrecks.

I've heard of or seen various nautical items found in the river or on the banks.  Besides native American artifacts and 18th century buttons and anchors and other nautical items, I know of about a half ton of lead ingots that were  found along the river.  I don't know how old those might have been. Where the ingots came from is anyone's guess.  They could be old or more recent.

Although I've done a little (very little) research, I've not found any newspaper articles reporting steamships or other wrecks in the river either Indian River or St. Lucie County.  Perhaps there are some, but I haven't found them.  Maybe someone can point me to some that they have found.  I'd appreciate that.

As we know, the inlets have changed position from time to time and there were times when inlets opened or closed for a period of time.

We also know that the inlets were dangerous and were near impossible to enter at different times.  We know, for example, how the army payroll was lost near the old inlet.  Not only were the gold coins from the army payroll found, but also a number of muskets that were found.

There are also reports of buried treasure along the Indian River, such as that found many years ago at Sewalls Point.

Some old items were dredged up onto the spoil islands at one time.  One spoil island in the Vero area is known for the fossils that are found there.

Just after hurricane Matthew the east side of the river along A1A was damaged opposite the McLarty museum.  I made a mental note of that, but never investigated it any further.  I wish I had taken a photo.  Maybe it hasn't been totally repaired yet.

Much of the east border of the river is artificial and there are tons of sinkers and a lot of trash.  That is a problem, but a few old items have been found along the east side.

Remember any old artifacts found in the Indian River are the property of the state of Florida.

I'm sure there is a lot of history in the Indian River that we'll never hear about.  If you have any old newspaper articles or other documentation of treasure in the Indian River, I'd like to hear about it.


We had a beautiful full moon last night.  We also had some nice low tides.  The surf is small too.

Happy hunting,