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TOPIC: British Explorer Closes In On Legendary 'Treasure Of Lima'

British Explorer Closes In On Legendary 'Treasure Of Lima' 7 years 9 months ago #9255

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British Explorer Closes In On Legendary 'Treasure Of Lima'
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Jasper Copping, The Daily Telegraph

It eluded Franklin Roosevelt, Sir Malcolm Campbell and Errol Flynn, but now an explorer from Melton Mowbray could be on the trail of a multi-million-pound hoard of gold, silver and jewellery stolen by pirates and buried on a treasure island.

Shaun Whitehead is leading an archaeological expedition to Cocos Island, the supposed hiding place of the “Treasure of Lima” – one of the world’s most fabled missing treasures.

The haul – said to be worth £160 million – was stolen by a British trader, Captain William Thompson, in 1820 after he was entrusted to transport it from Peru to Mexico.

He is said to have been stashed his plunder on the Pacific island, from where it has never been recovered.

An original inventory showed 113 gold religious statues, one a life-size Virgin Mary, 200 chests of jewels, 273 swords with jewelled hilts, 1,000 diamonds, solid gold crowns, 150 chalices and hundreds of gold and silver bars.

The site, credited by some as the inspiration for Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island, is uninhabited and around 350 miles off the coast of Costa Rica, of which it is a part.

It has also been designated a Unesco World Heritage Site for its unspoilt environment and variety of wildlife and it has taken around 18 months of negotiations with the authorities to secure permission to go there on an exploratory mission.

Although there have been no official expeditions to the island for more than a quarter of a century, Mr Whitehead will join an impressive a line of notable adventurers and explorers who been attracted by the lure of the “Lima loot”.

They include Roosevelt, the American president from 1933 to 1945, who travelled there with friends in 1910, Campbell, the racing driver, who went there in the 1920s, and Flynn in the 1940s.

Another explorer, August Gissler, a German, spent 19 years living on the island hunting the treasure but returned with just six gold coins.

However, Mr Whitehead’s team is equipped with technology that has never before been used on the island. He has also established the most likely spots around the island on which to focus his efforts.

Mr Whitehead, who has previously led a project to explore uncharted shafts inside the Great Pyramid of Giza, said: “Given the amount of treasure, it would have been too heavy to carry far from sea level and stories suggest the use of caves. We can also rule out where others have looked, dug up and detected – like on the beaches.

“If it is there, it will be in a natural cave which was hidden by one of the many landslides that occur on the island.

"It is not a case of following a map and “X” marking the spot. It is about using a bit of logic to establish the likelihood of some areas where it could be.”

The team’s research will concentrate on the areas around three of the island’s four bays, which have been most used by visitors.

The team plan to use a small, unmanned helicopter, fitted with specialist cameras, to fly above the nine mile square island, which will enable them to make a computer-generated 3D map of the landscape.

They will then use a snakelike robot that can be dragged across the parts of island and, using ground penetrating radar, detect voids and cavities up to a depth of around 60ft. This data will be added to the 3D map to identify any likely concealed caves.

After this, a team will use a specialist “keyhole” drill, which can reach more than 100ft, to dig down into the cave. A probe camera can be sent down through the 1in diameter.

The 10-day expedition will also involve extensive archaeological, geological and ecological research and Mr Whitehead is at pains to stress they are not simply going there on a treasure hunt.

The team, of around 15, involves researchers from the University of Costa Rica and the Senckenberg Insitute – a natural history research organisation based in Germany.

“This is a scientific survey, including archaeological, geological and biodiversity aspects,” Mr Whitehead said.

“Unlike previous trips we are not going to dig vast holes or do anything destructive at all. The real treasure of the island is its natural beauty. Anything else we find there is simply a bonus.”

The island, which is said to have been the inspiration for Jurassic Park, the book and film about an island on which dinosaurs are recreated, is home to hundreds of unusual species.

Dr Ina Knobloch, a German biologist who has visited the island on three previous occasions, is part of the team taking part, said: “We have a very good relationship with the authorities and they trust us that this is not a simple treasure hunt.”

Mr Whitehead, based in Melton Mowbray, Leics, is an engineer who has set up a company which supplies specialist electronic exploration equipment.

The group are funding the expedition themselves, although they are hoping a television company may help to cover costs. They plan to travel after the end of the current rainy season, which finishes in November.

The treasure could be worth at least £160 million. If any of it is found, the team plans to pass it on to the Costa Rican authorities, which would be expected to pay a fee for its salvage.

The treasure had been amassed by the Spanish authorities in Lima, in what is now Peru, but facing a revolt, the city’s viceroy, José de la Serna, entrusted the riches to Captain Thompson for transport to Mexico, also a Spanish colony, and it was transferred to his ship, the Mary Dear.

After leaving the port of Callao, near Lima, Thompson and his crew killed the Viceroy’s six men and sailed to Cocos, where they buried the treasure.

Shortly afterwards, they were apprehended by a Spanish warship. All of the crew – bar Thompson and his first mate – were executed for piracy.

The two said they would show the Spaniards where they had hidden the treasure in return for their lives, but after landing on Cocos, they escaped into the forest.

They are said to have been picked up by a passing ship a year later, but without the treasure.

Several early expeditions were mounted on the basis of claims by a man named John Keating, who was supposed to have befriended Thompson.

On one trip, Keating was said to have retrieved some gold and jewels from the treasure and also to have killed a fellow treasure hunter and left his body with the hoard.

The Costa Rican authorities want to discourage treasure hunting on the island. They have permitted the latest expedition because of the scientific survey work involved.

The document granting permission states that if any treasure is found, the team must immediately halt and notify the authorities.

The Treasure of Lima is not the only haul said to be hidden on the island.

A further 350 tons of gold raided from Spanish ships by nineteenth century British sailor, Captain Bennett Graham, is also said to be there, while a Portuguese pirate, Benito “Bloody Sword” Bonito, also operating in the nineteenth century, is said to have hidden gains there too.
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“Treasure – If it’s out there, we’re going to find it!” (Tommy Vawter)
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Re: British Explorer Closes In On Legendary 'Treasure Of Lima' 7 years 9 months ago #9261

If they really wish to find it, I am at their service.

Don Jose de La Mancha
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Re: British Explorer Closes In On Legendary 'Treasure Of Lima' 7 years 8 months ago #9704

  • Kanacki
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Hello Don Jose

Have you ever searched for that treasure?

Kanacki
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Re: British Explorer Closes In On Legendary 'Treasure Of Lima' 7 years 8 months ago #9732

Good morning, Kanacki my friend. I can't find my answer to you from a few days ago. Sorry, so while you are drinking coffee, I iwll repost it.

No, I have not, but I have been reading about it and dreaming of it like many others since my kiddie days, say 1867? It exists but ---. hehhe

Should pair up with La Judy and end the search, but then that would be a psychological boo bo since it would end a beautiful dream which 'could' come true for many that may never actually try, but can still dream of it..

Of course, I am still very occupied with Tayopa.

Don Jose de La Mancha
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Re: British Explorer Closes In On Legendary 'Treasure Of Lima' 7 years 8 months ago #9733

  • Kanacki
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Go morning Don Jose

I think the treasure of Cocos Island has inspired many treasure hunters.

That coffee is looking good so the loot of lima shall wait.

Kanacki
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Re: British Explorer Closes In On Legendary 'Treasure Of Lima' 7 years 8 months ago #9745

  • Oroblanco
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tag post please ignore - great story!
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Re: British Explorer Closes In On Legendary 'Treasure Of Lima' 7 years 8 months ago #9778

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I'll second that!

Great to see you back, Oro .... hope you and Beth are doing well.
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Re: British Explorer Closes In On Legendary 'Treasure Of Lima' 7 years 8 months ago #9781

Ladies & Gentlemen, whch grudgingly includes Oro: My mentors that started me in on Mexican exploration, were Dana & Ginger Lamb of the "Enchanted Vagabonds" fame, who also spent a no. of months on cocos alone looking for the treasure. I believe that they eventually wrote a book on that adventure also.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dana_and_Ginger_Lamb

I still say set me and judy, uni, or tex, loose on cocos and we will find that elusive treasure for you,, or have a ball in any event.

Don Jose de La Mancha
Last Edit: 7 years 8 months ago by Don Jose de La Mancha.
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Re: British Explorer Closes In On Legendary 'Treasure Of Lima' 7 years 7 months ago #9848

  • Kanacki
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Cocos island can be a very un forgiving place. Depending on what time of year it is almost constantly raining with 100% humidity. your clothes rot on your back, the jungle is thick with vines creepers masking hidden dangers such as cliffs and hidden boulders. To get anywhere out side the trails takes about half a day hacking through the foliage. Not a place for the faint hearted.

Sadly the days of treasure huntering there is long gone.

But what amazes me is with all the 4 hundred or so expeditions none ever produced any credible evidence of treasure to start with?

Why? Becuse everyone was too focased on the legend and not the real story. Such is the power and lure of Cocos.

Kanacki
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Re: British Explorer Closes In On Legendary 'Treasure Of Lima' 7 years 7 months ago #9850

Kanacki: That is so true. I personally know how interesting the jungle can be, and is. I spent over a year in the Solomon islands, and later in the jungles next to British Honduras. - Belize today.

On one island during the 'dry' season, it would cloud up starting about 3 pm,,.at 5, rain heavily to about 6, then be clear by 7 pm.

Still it would be fun with one of our lovely TW gals, if we camped on the beach.

As for documentation on the treasure actually being there, hmmmm. ????

Don Jose de La Mancha
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Re: British Explorer Closes In On Legendary 'Treasure Of Lima' 7 years 7 months ago #9925

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The reason The Treasure of Lima has not been found at Cocos is because it was buried on a second island very much like Cocos.

Forrestal
www.spindlequest.com/treasureleads.html
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Re: British Explorer Closes In On Legendary 'Treasure Of Lima' 7 years 6 months ago #10279

  • Kanacki
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Interesting comment.

Do please explain how you came to that conlusion?

Kanacki
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Re: British Explorer Closes In On Legendary 'Treasure Of Lima' 6 years 11 months ago #12516

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Hello All

Just to kick this topic along. You notice all the hoooha of the last alleged expedition has quietly faded away. :huh:

Hmmm Kanacki
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Re: British Explorer Closes In On Legendary 'Treasure Of Lima' 6 years 11 months ago #12517

G'vening mi buddy Kanacker: Most don't seem to realize that a deposit is one of the hardest things to find unless you are exactly on target. One can be off just an inch or so, and never recover your target.

My friends Dana & Ginger Lamb lived on Cocos for a while looking for the treasure. It was cut short when Dan slipped and fell on his "sharp" machete almost losing a finger.

Still I would love to give it a crack. Just imagine a lovely, soft, on shore breeze to cool you off while relaxing on the beach, being waited on hand and foot by delghtful femnine companions- sigh. :blush: Join me ??

Side issue, how many bottles of Crow's beer stash did you and hardluck drink up on the last trip to Magnetic Island?

Don Jose de La Mancha :blush:
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Re: British Explorer Closes In On Legendary 'Treasure Of Lima' 6 years 11 months ago #12518

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Hello Don Jose

Oh so True 1m can be a 100 m. But there has been a few success on the Island during its long history. Writers still hack out the tired old claims nothing has been found on the island.

I beg to differ my friends.

Of course over the years their has been many alleged claims and counter claims. It is hard to know what is true with this treasure legend?

One such claim was by 4 French students that searched the island illegally in the mid 1960's. After searching the usual places they started looking elsehere on the island. They found a cave with two skelentons that appeared to have killed one another.

One had knife in his rib and the other had his skull smashed in with an axe. There was 2 sea chests, A bible beloning to a Gerald Macintosh and book about George Vancouver explorations of the Eastern Pacific. A rusted revolver was found and in the two sea chests was several wedge shaped gold bars with pile of peruvian dollars. One chest had the writting on it. Property of Gerald Macintosh. The other sea chest had no name. But in the chest with no name there was a old badly faded newspaper clipping telling about a runaway slave called William?

It appears the gold they found was divided evenly but greed got the better of them an they killed each other.

The Students managed to smuggle their gold back to France.

Was the story true?

Yes later an friend of mine and you could Don Jose proberly guess who? Managed to get in contact with the Grandaughter of one of the students. She offered to be a go-between of her now sick grandfather and my friend. They arranged a meeting in France but the interview fell through.

Was there any truth to their story? My friend as you are well aware leaves no stone unturned, discoverd another living on a private island in Tahiti. But when the subject came up about Cocos the subject went dead.

Whatever the truth beind the story perhaps one of treasure caches was found at least?

And of course my tribe likes a drink or two especially when its for free. And he did say drink as much as you like! Ironic when he has a bar he prefers home brew. What are mates for. Its tradition B) As I write this dear old crow is brewing as I type. Under a stockpile of a 100 or so bottles of beer he gets testy. :P

Perhaps this year again at the beach bar overlooking all the beautiful back packers through the day, A nice meal then by then old crow will have wobbly boot then off by boat to the Casino. Funny me and Hardluck always come out in the morning with the asses out of our pants not coin on us. Old crow well he throw a wad on money on the wheel and walk out with an ever bigger wad of cash.

We swear he has dirt on the casino? :laugh:

Kanacki
Last Edit: 6 years 11 months ago by Kanacki. Reason: spelling
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