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TOPIC: Become a real-life treasure hunter

Become a real-life treasure hunter 8 years 4 months ago #6028

  • wreckdiver
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Become a real-life treasure hunter
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Visitors to the Imaginarium can pan for gold, try out a working metal detector, use global positioning satellite technology and take the controls of a remote-operated vehicle.

FORT MYERS, FL. - Note to treasure-hunters in Southwest Florida: You’re much better off sweeping a metal detector along the beach than digging for pirate gold.

In fact, instead of riches, anyone convicted of digging on a state-owned archaeological site faces fines and jail time. Worse, you may very well destroy the true treasure that lies within the region’s ancient settlements and earthworks: clues about long-lost civilizations.

A new exhibit encompassing all of the above — the thrill, technology and ethics of treasure hunting — opened Saturday at the Imaginarium Science Center in Fort Myers.

Much more than coins in glassed-off display cases, “Treasure!” gives guests a hands-on hunting experience, says Imaginarium assistant general manager Shelby Baucom.

Visitors can pan for gold, try out a working metal detector, use global positioning satellite technology to find hidden caches of goodies and take the controls of a remote-operated vehicle — the kind used by divers exploring shipwrecks.

The exhibit is divided into various themed areas:

- Underwater Treasure, which includes real artifacts found in shipwrecks and shows how they were found.

- Buried Treasure, which features pirate booty and riches hidden underground by ancient civilizations.

- Gold Rushes, which shows the impact of get-rich-quick crazes that have swept through cultures around the world.

- Treasure in Popular Culture, which examines how the thirst for finding has influenced books, movies and even breakfast cereal.

- Treasure in the Attic, which explores the hunt for valuable antiques in unlikely places such as yard sales, spare rooms and dusty resale shops.

To help get visitors in the spirit, one of the exhibit’s sponsors, Pieces of Eight Pirate Cruise, which sails from Salty Sam’s Marina on Fort Myers Beach, is offering monthly drawings for two tickets to see “Treasure!” as well as for a pirate cruise.

A highlight will be the Feb. 4 appearance of real-life treasure hunter Pat Clyne. Clyne worked with the late Mel Fisher on the shipwreck Nuestra Senora de Atocha, a riches-laden Spanish galleon that sank in a 1622 hurricane.

Clyne will talk about his experiences working on what he calls “the Holy Grail of shipwrecks” and sign copies of his book, “The Atocha Odyssey.”

“The thought of treasure hunting goes through every kid’s mind,” says Clyne, who’s been diving since he was 13. “You start off with the idea of finding all this fabulous gold and silver, but after you do it for a while, that wanes.”

Then, Clyne says, an explorer’s definition of treasure begins to change — at least his did.

“It’s not about gold and silver anymore,” Clyne says. “As I began to find intimate personal objects — crucifixes and other religious artifacts — the people aboard that ship became real to me. It took many hours for that ship to sink. And you think about the last time that very piece you just found was held — that it might have been held very close by someone praying for salvation, well, that’s a whole different thing.”

Clyne’s advice to anyone thinking of following his career path? Don’t just dive in.

“If you’re really enthusiastic, you should go to school first. Learn the technology, learn the archaeology before you get involved with something like this. No. 1 is education.”

Courtesy The News-Press
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“Treasure – If it’s out there, we’re going to find it!” (Tommy Vawter)
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Re: Become a real-life treasure hunter 8 years 4 months ago #6155

  • Blackbeard
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Very good advice
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