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Why Guatemala's Archaeological Sites Remain Unprotected Email

Friday, 23 February 2018 14:11

Newly discovered areas of Petén are unprotected and experts recommend consensus on an inter-institutional agreement to safeguard new prehispanic structures found.


By Brenda Martínez, Prensa Libre

After it was announced, at the beginning of the month, the existence of 60 thousand structures hidden in archaeological sites under the Petén forest, scanned with LiDAR technology, the question remains as to how an expanded area can be protected from predation of 2 thousand 100 square km. 

Last Tuesday, the Minister of Culture and Sports, José Luis Chea, told the EFE news agency that state funds destined for "the protection of this immense number of new monuments do not exist". The 21 excavated archaeological sites can barely be protected, with part of the Q540 million destined for sports, heritage, development and arts.

"Unfortunately, the budget of the Ministry of Culture and Sports is inadequate to ensure that there is so much cultural wealth in Guatemala. The wildlife around the archaeological sites is the jurisdiction of the Conap -National Council of Protected Areas-, so there should be better integration of these institutions to be more effective, "says archaeologist Francisco Estrada-Belli, a researcher who participates in the LiDAR project.

When asked if widely disseminated maps of archaeological discoveries could alert looters to their location, Estrada-Belli indicates that there are no exact references to where the sites are located. "Also, these places are unknown to the archaeologist and the rest of the population. The looters are local people and have known them very well for some time, "he adds.

Read more: Why Guatemala's Archaeological Sites Remain Unprotected

Sprawling Maya network discovered under Guatemala jungle Email

Friday, 23 February 2018 13:07

Researchers have found more than 60,000 hidden Maya ruins in Guatemala in a major archaeological breakthrough.

Laser technology was used to survey digitally beneath the forest canopy, revealing houses, palaces, elevated highways, and defensive fortifications.

The landscape, near already-known Maya cities, is thought to have been home to millions more people than other research had previously suggested.

The researchers mapped over 810 square miles (2,100 sq. km) in northern Petén.

Archaeologists believe the cutting-edge technology will change the way the world will see the Maya civilization.

"I think this is one of the greatest advances in over 150 years of Maya archaeology," said Stephen Houston, Professor of Archaeology and Anthropology at Brown University.

Mr. Houston told the BBC that after decades of work in the archaeological field, he found the magnitude of the recent survey "breathtaking". He added, "I know it sounds hyperbolic but when I saw the [Lidar] imagery, it did bring tears to my eyes."

Read more: Sprawling Maya network discovered under Guatemala jungle

A gold ingot was stolen from Key West Museum, seven years later two men were arrested Email

Thursday, 22 February 2018 12:49

The gold bullion valued at $ 550,000 was stolen from a display case designed to allow visitors to carry it, but could not get it out.


After someone stole a 17th-century gold ingot from a Key West museum more than seven years ago, federal prosecutors have charged two men with taking the valuable artifact. 

Richard Steven Johnson, 41, a resident of Rio Linda, California, and Jarred Alexander Goldman, 32, a resident of Palm Beach Gardens, were charged with conspiracy to commit a crime against the United States as well as theft of an important work of art. 

The theft took place at around 5:15 pm on August 18, 18, 2010, and since then, the Mel Fisher Maritime Heritage Museum, located at 200 Greene Street, is waiting to retrieve the stolen piece. However, the gold bullion has not recovered, prosecutors said on Monday. 

Read more: A gold ingot was stolen from Key West Museum, seven years later two men were arrested

Blue Water Ventures International and Endurance Exploration Group Operations Team Recover Coins and Artifacts From Lost Steamship Email

Thursday, 04 January 2018 09:38


JACKSONVILLE, FL, Jan. 03, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Blue Water Ventures International (OTC PINK: BWVI), and Endurance Exploration Group (OTCQB: EXPL) are pleased to announce they have begun recovery of coins and other artifacts from a shipwreck site believed to be the Pulaski, a paddlewheel steamship that sank in the waters off North Carolina June 18, 1838. 

The coins being found by the operations dive team are dated no later than 1836 and consist of early United States silver issues AND Spanish silver coins from the late 1700’s. These recoveries provide further evidence that will lead to the identity of this shipwreck.  “Discovery of these coins and other artifacts validate the methodology of our recovery plan.  We are looking forward to these next months, as our team continues to recover this shipwreck, bringing pieces of our past back to the present,” states Keith Webb, President of Blue Water Ventures International.

Read more: Blue Water Ventures International and Endurance Exploration Group Operations Team Recover Coins...

Indiana Joan: Meet western Australia’s real-life tomb raider, 95-year-old Joan Howard Email

Monday, 06 November 2017 01:07

The value of Joan Howard's collection of artifacts has appreciated beyond $1m. Photo: 7 News

By Joseph Catanzaro

Deep beneath the badlands of Palestine, alone in a darkened tomb, Joan Howard crawled forward on her stomach in search of lost treasures.

It was the late 1960s, a turbulent time in the Middle East, but the thrill of discovery drove Mrs. Howard deeper into the grave.

Sluggish scorpions scattered and clacked amid the bones of the ancient dead as she scooped artefacts and the detritus of ages into a bucket.

Only when it was full did she inch backwards. Ten meters above her, at the top of a vertical shaft hewn out of the desert bedrock, a colleague began to winch her swaying bucket of artefacts to the surface.

Five decades and thousands of kilometers away from that moment, sitting in the tastefully decorated surrounds of her riverside apartment in Perth this week, Mrs. Howard smiles and hefts a mummy mask pulled from the sucking sands of Egypt on one of her many expeditions.

Read more: Indiana Joan: Meet western Australia’s real-life tomb raider, 95-year-old Joan Howard

What happened to the Christopher Columbus ships Email

Saturday, 14 October 2017 14:54

525 years ago, Christopher Columbus first came to the continent that would later be called America aboard three ships: Santa Maria, La Niña and Pinta. In spite of being so important for the history of the humanity, there are no remains of its existence in any museum. 

For centuries, archaeologists and treasure hunters have tried to find them without success. Why? 

Poor conservation conditions 

The travel notes of the Genoese Admiral note that the most important vessel - the Santa Maria - ran aground during its first voyage on the coast of what is now Haiti and Columbus ordered to use its wood to build Fort Christmas, the first Spanish population in the New Continent. 

Three years ago, the American marine explorer Barry Clifford believed he had found his remains, but UNESCO denied this information when he concluded that they were from a later period. 

What would happen if Columbus had not come to America? "Europe would be plunged into obscurantism" 

Read more: What happened to the Christopher Columbus ships

Missed fortunes - Treasure hunter Greg Brooks speaks Email

Sunday, 26 March 2017 14:56

By Doug Fraser 

GORHAM, MAINE — Twenty-seven months after federal agents, with guns drawn, executed a search warrant at his home and removed computers, memory storage devices and other materials, treasure hunter Greg Brooks, 66, has yet to be indicted for any crime. 

He said he is living off his Social Security payments in a rented home, with no access to his salvage vessel or to the SS Port Nicholson, a British freighter sunk in 1942 in 641 feet of water about 50 miles off Provincetown. Brooks claims the ship contains a bounty of platinum, gold and perhaps diamonds that is worth billions. 

"I think I'm one of the most honest treasure hunters out there and I still intend to pay people their money back," Brooks said, sitting at the kitchen table of his Gorham, Maine, home with two crew members. He said he raised a total of $8 million from investors, and all of it is gone. 

Brooks said he wants to tell his side of the story, something he claimed his lawyers prevented him from doing while he was involved in court battles over control of the wreck. He said he is not the criminal people think he is, and the more than two years without an indictment proves that. 

"Don't you think that If I'm the biggest crook they say I am that they would have already done something?" he asked. 

"Pathological liar would be more like it on the truthful scale," said Tim Shusta, a Miami-based attorney who represented the British government in opposing Brooks' claim to the Port Nicholson, a 481-foot-long refrigerated cargo vessel. There is a five-year statute of limitations on federal fraud cases and time for prosecution may be running out for incidents from 2012. A second investigation from the Maine Office of Securities is still ongoing, according to investors. 

Read more: Missed fortunes - Treasure hunter Greg Brooks speaks

Treasure hunters find Iron Age gold in farmer's field - the earliest ever discovered Email

Tuesday, 28 February 2017 12:11

Intricate jewelry found buried in a Staffordshire field is the earliest example of Iron Age gold ever found in Britain.

The collection, made up of four twisted metal neckbands, called torcs and a bracelet, was discovered by two metal detectorists just before Christmas.

Experts say they would have been owned by wealthy powerful women who probably moved from continental Europe to marry rich Iron Age chiefs.

The pair who discovered the find had swept the field 20 years earlier and uncovered nothing. But after abandoning a fishing trip to go treasure hunting they came across the horde, which could be worth hundreds of thousands of pounds.

The torcs were buried nested together and archaeologists believe they may have been buried for safekeeping or as an offering to a God, or an act of remembrance for someone who had died.

Read more: Treasure hunters find Iron Age gold in farmer's field - the earliest ever discovered

Treasure hunters find stolen coins in Galveston Email

Monday, 16 January 2017 14:58


By Keith Garvin - Anchor/Reporter

GALVESTON, Texas - Beneath the waves and sand on the beach in Galveston you never know what you'll find.

That's an especially intriguing prospect for treasure hunters Robert Hodson and Clyde Longworth, who on Sunday, hit the jackpot for a man they didn't even know.

The men showed us a few of the several hundred foreign coins the men located.

Several hundred in one location is an unusual find.

"Sometimes we don't find like maybe $2 or $3 in maybe a little coin spill," says Hodson. "But this was a big coin spill."

Read more: Treasure hunters find stolen coins in Galveston

Treasure hunter seeks Government permission to search for Yamashita gold Email

Thursday, 22 December 2016 14:36


BAGUIO CITY, PHILIPPINES — A treasure hunter asked the local government to allow him to dig up alleged truckloads of gold believed to be part of the World War II loot supposedly left by Japanese forces in a tunnel between the Baguio Convention Center and the University of the Philippines-Baguio residence hall for girls.

Eliseo Cabusao Jr. who has written the city to exempt him from a local law banning treasure hunting, reportedly got a go signal from the National Museum last October to look for treasure signed by Director Jeremy Barns in a “Treasure Hunting and Disposition of Recovered Treasures” permit. The permit's effectivity lasts for a year.

“When I sought the permit, I was not aware of the prohibition, otherwise I would have sought first an exemption consideration from the city government,” Cabusao said.

The treasure hunter has assured the city government that there would be minimal ground disturbance if extraction is approved.

Read more: Treasure hunter seeks Government permission to search for Yamashita gold