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.
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.
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."
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.
The remains of a 500-year-old sailing vessel thought to be the wreck of the French warship “La Trinite” have been found off the Atlantic coast of Florida somewhere in the vicinity of Cape Canaveral.
The wreck, its exact location being withheld from the public to protect the site, may have been the flagship of a French colonization fleet sent by King Charles IX in the middle of the sixteenth century to establish a Protestant colony in the southeastern US. The French navigator who led the fleet, Jean Ribault, commanded the 32-gun flagship, only to lose the vessel and three additional galleons during a hurricane in 1565.
Archaeologists have been on the hunt for the ship for a number of years, according to the Associated Foreign Press. If the wreck discovered off the coast does happen to be “La Trinite”, the archaeological and historical implications are high, according to John de Bry, the director of the nonprofit Center for Historical Archaeology. Such a find would be “unparalleled,” he added.
Panama is, for now, the only Latin American country really committed to conservation of underwater cultural heritage and the fight against treasure hunters, Efe said one of the global leaders of the industry, the Spanish archaeologist Ivan Negueruela.
Besides being one of the first countries to ratify the Convention on the Protection of Underwater Cultural Heritage, adopted by UNESCO in 2001 and in operation since 2008, Panama is the only country in the region that is trying to form a specialized unit that can deal with the pirates of the century.
"Hopefully Panama serve as oil stain and other countries in the region imitate their model," said Negueruela, which runs for more than a decade the National Museum of Underwater Archaeology (Arqua), located in the Spanish city Cartagena (southeast).
In March 2015, Panama warned Spain of the appearance ten years ago a Spanish galleon sunk near the archipelago of Las Perlas on the Pacific and subsequent pillaging by an American company, with the connivance of the Panamanian administration then.
"At the current government he did not like what was done then. By dividing the treasure, this American company was very villainous with Panamanians and gave them very little material and in very bad condition. Most were coins semi destroyed without any commercial value, "said the expert.
International Meeting on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage Sites, 22-23 September, Paris
An International Meeting on Underwater Cultural Heritage Sites Protection will be held on 22 and 23 September 2016 at UNESCO Headquarters (22nd September in Room II and 23rd in Room IX, Fontenoy building) in support of implementing the 2001 Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage.
It will focus on the issue of quantification and identification of threats to underwater cultural heritage especially in what regards pillage and commercial exploitation and on preventive measures to be taken. International experts will present their experiences, followed by a round table which will allow the exchange of views regarding the effectiveness of the means used.
The meeting will bring together representatives of the States Parties to the UNESCO 2001 Convention and other States, experts representing different national authorities (Culture and Foreign Ministries, Navy, Customs, Coastguards, Police, Museums etc.) and international organizations (UNESCO, INTERPOL, Europol, etc.).
PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] —The Grolier Codex, an ancient document that is among the rarest books in the world, has been regarded with skepticism since it was reportedly unearthed by looters from a cave in Chiapas, Mexico, in the 1960s.
But a meticulous new study of the codex has yielded a startling conclusion: The codex is both genuine and likely the most ancient of all surviving manuscripts from ancient America.
Stephen Houston, the Dupee Family Professor of Social Science and co-director of the Program in Early Cultures at Brown University, worked with Michael Coe, professor emeritus of archeology and anthropology at Yale and leader of the research team, along with Mary Miller of Yale and Karl Taube of the University of California-Riverside. They reviewed “all known research on the manuscript,” analyzing it “without regard to the politics, academic and otherwise, that have enveloped the Grolier,” the team wrote in its study “The Fourth Maya Codex.”
The paper, published in the journal Maya Archaeology, fills a special section of the publication and includes a lavish facsimile of the codex.
The study, Houston said, “is a confirmation that the manuscript, counter to some claims, is quite real. The manuscript was sitting unremarked in a basement of the National Museum in Mexico City, and its history is cloaked in great drama. It was found in a cave in Mexico, and a wealthy Mexican collector, Josué Sáenz, had sent it abroad before its eventual return to the Mexican authorities.”
By Earl Rinehart
A judge is done listening to Tommy Thompson's excuse that an illness prevents him from remembering where he put treasure from a sunken ship.
With lawyers for investors waiting for their cut of the SS Central America gold standing nearby, Thompson's attorney argued in federal court in Columbus on Friday that Thompson's systemic exertion intolerance disease — chronic fatigue syndrome — inhibits his memory.
The lawyer, Todd A. Long, had asked U.S. District Judge Algenon L. Marbley to close Friday's hearing to the public because there would be medical testimony, but the judge refused because of "the public's interest."
"There's no evidence his inability, unwillingness or refusal to comply is the result of some mental defect," Marbley said of Thompson. He said that neither a psychologist nor a psychiatrist whom the defense hired has said Thompson definitively has the condition or that it impairs his memory.
Harriet Alexander, New York
A Nazi submarine which sank off the coast of North Carolina 72 years ago has been pictured for the first time, showing how the vessel has remained as a remarkably intact tomb for the 45 sailors on-board.
The U-boat, U-576, had been dispatched to the American coast to hunt Allied cargo ships.
Captained by Hans-Dieter Heinicke, it had been damaged during its months of activity in the Atlantic. And the submarine was limping home to Germany when, on July 15, 1942, it spotted a convoy of 24 ships.
Among them was the Bluefields, a merchant tanker flying the Nicaraguan flag, and headed from Virginia to Florida.
Heinicke, 29, had managed to sink three ships during his four prior patrols. One of his victims, the armed British freighter Empire Spring, had sunk off Nova Scotia, killing all 55 mariners aboard.
Another, the Norwegian vessel Taborfjell, sank off Cape Cod so fast that only three of its 20-man crew survived.
In the case of the American freighter Pipestone County, torpedoed off Cape Henry, Virginia, in April 1942, Heinicke surfaced near the lifeboats and gave the survivors provisions. He apologized for sinking their ship, and no one was killed.
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