By STEVE DOANE
In March 1804, the Semiramis, a 120-foot schooner, was headed home to Newport, R.I., from a trade journey when it ran aground in Nantucket Sound and slowly sank.
The ship was returning from a two-year voyage from New England to South America, then the Pacific Northwest to China.
Thirty hours after striking the shoal, the Semiramis disappeared under the waves, taking with it one sailor and hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of gold, silver and Chinese porcelain, among other cargo.
Now, the shipwreck is at the center of a case in federal court involving longtime treasure hunter Barry Clifford.
Clifford's Provincetown-based company, Vast Explorer Inc., and the Massachusetts Board of Underwater Archaeological Resources were both in U.S. District Court in Boston on last week for a brief hearing on a salvaging rights lawsuit the company filed in 2009.
By Jayampathy Jayasinghe
SRI LANKA; The hunt for priceless treasures and artifacts from temples and archaeological sites scattered throughout the country has taken a sudden surge despite the clampdown on such activity. Treasure hunting is banned by an Act of Parliament and only the Archaeological Department is empowered to carry out such activities. Most treasure hunters who have dug for treasures from archaeological sites and abandoned temples have been rounded up by the police while a few have managed to escape with the loot, police said.
The question that looms large is why so many people have joined the bandwagon of treasure hunters during the past few years. It is a lucrative trade to gamble with despite overwhelming possibility of being arrested by the police. But the new trend has caught up fast in the country and many who venture into such projects are mostly fortune seekers who want to make a fast buck.
In the past we rarely heard of treasure hunting done on a vast scale unlike today. Only the Archaeological Department excavated treasures from hallowed sites in the past. It was during the period of Dr. Senarath Paranavithana that most treasures in Ceylon, as it was known then, were discovered.
What comes into our mind naturally is how treasure hunters dispose their stolen goods. It is a known fact that there is a demand for stolen artifacts and treasures such as golden Buddha Statues and precious gems. The stolen items are then smuggled across to foreign countries by syndicates involved in such activities, experts say. Treasure hunting will continue to be a thriving trade such as ivory in the African continent. It is common sense that people today are more knowledgeable about hidden treasures buried centuries ago. It is even plausible to think that knowledgeable people are the ones who tip off treasure hunters of buried treasures at various places.
There appears to be renewed interest on the subject judging from the number of cases detected so far.
Police have also set up a special unit in conjunction with the Archaeological Department to combat the menace of plundering treasures from temples, archaeological and hallowed sites.
By: HP Bureau
Madrid: The Spanish navy expelled from the Alboran Sea a US-owned, Panamanian-flagged vessel that was trying to find sunken ships, authorities said Friday.
The ship that was made to leave had done most of its work Thursday at some 25 miles from the Malaga coast, an area of international waters but part of the Spanish continental platform.
The navy’s Infanta Cristina patrol boat performed an inspection of the commercial ship, with the agreement of its captain, to determine whether it was engaged in illicit activities.
During the search, Spanish naval personnel found that the ship contained technical equipment specialized in finding sunken vessels, such as a sidescan sonar that can create images of large areas of the sea floor.
After the search and interrogation, the Spanish patrol ordered the treasure hunters to cease their activities in compliance with the UN Agreement on the Law of the Sea and the United Nations World Heritage Convention, after which the commercial ship left the area.
Two planes carrying $500 million in treasure salvaged from the 19th-century Spanish frigate Nuestra Senora de las Mercedes arrived in Madrid in February after Spain won a nearly five-year-long legal battle against a US treasure-hunting firm.
Courtesy Hill Post
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David Prudames, British Museum
This helmet is Iron Age (over 2,000 years old), and was found in Kent, in southern England, by a metal-detectorist in October 2012. It had been upturned and used to hold a human cremation – the first accompanied by a helmet to have been found in Britain. In fact only a handful of Iron Age helmets are known from Britain at all.
An extremely rare late Iron Age helmet from near Canterbury, Kent. Courtesy of the Portable Antiquities Scheme.
On the north-western edge of Europe, the mid-first century BC was a time of war, travel, communication, connections and change. Caesar was at war in Gaul (modern France) and mercenaries from Britain had travelled to join the fighting, so it’s possible that the person who owned this helmet might have fought in Gaul – perhaps against the Romans, or even alongside them.
Before Gaul fell, Caesar would make his first expedition to Britain, landing on the shores of Kent not far from where this helmet was found. I find it quite appealing to imagine that the owner, or the people who placed it in the grave, may have lived through the beginning of the story of Roman Britain.
OCEAN CITY, MARYLAND — As crews demolish Ocean City’s Boardwalk to its sandy base this winter, treasure hunters armed with metal detectors are arriving in droves, seeking valuables lost between the planks over decades.
“This year, there’s a lot of people coming down,” said Roland, 64, who declined to give his last name. “I guess they heard the finds that were occurring last year, so they’re all hoping to strike it rich.”
Last winter, the town had its Boardwalk rebuilt from the midpoint to the northern end. This year, in phase II of the project, they’re downtown. Working about a tenth of a mile at a time, crews laying new boards on one end of the job site while tearing up the substructure at the other, leaving nothing but sand in the middle.
Standing outside The Dough Roller at Second Street, Roland scours that sand using his White’s brand Spectra V3 model metal detector in one hand, and a pole-mounted sand scooper in the other. Its display shows him how deep an object is, and at what frequency it’s responding to his machine.
Gianni Groening, 4, pours a portion of raw soil into a gold pan at the Temecula Valley Prospectors exhibit at the Wild West themed 12th Annual Fall Back Festival in the Gaslamp Quarter Sunday for children.
By JENNIFER KABBANY Special to the U-T
SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA - Long before gold reached nearly $2,000 an ounce and reality television shows such as “Gold Rush: Alaska” became huge hits, there was the Temecula Valley Prospectors.
The group, which formed in 2001, is designed to allow people who like to pan for gold or use metal detectors to search for treasures to band together for camaraderie, advice and joint field trips.
That hasn’t changed, but the numbers in its ranks have.
Today, the club has about 100 members of all ages, which is a lot more than when it first started, said Jackie Johnson, secretary of the group.
The more the merrier, she added.
“It’s a blast,” Johnson said. “You learn a lot, and it’s a lot of fun.”
But don’t quit your day job just yet.
“I don’t find enough to pay for my gas, but then again, I am not a serious prospector,” Johnson said. “They say you have to move a lot of dirt to find a lot of gold, but we have some guys in our club that go out there and work and they do quite well, they can make money on it.”
Membership in the club is free and help is offered to anyone interested in learning about prospecting and metal detecting.
The club also organizes periodic trips to look for gold, such as to nearby mountains and rivers. Johnson said the members never travel too far, and those who don’t have equipment may borrow some from others.
The monthly meetings take place on the second Saturday of the month. They begin at 9 a.m. at the Temecula Community Center, 28816 Pujol St., and coffee and refreshments are served.
The meetings typically include a guest speaker and an opportunity to share the biggest “finds” of the month.
“When people find gold it’s usually nowadays more flakes of gold,” she said. “You will find nuggets, but it’s rare. Everybody finds flakes and the flour gold. Metal detectors, those people bring in everything from toys and coins and wedding rings and watches and all kinds of stuff.”
For information, call (951) 226-8717 or visit www.gpaatvp.com.
Courtesy UT San Diego
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A Greek-Australian treasure hunter, Vangelis Dimas, is financing an excavation to locate the hoard of Ali Pasha, a murderous ruler of the Ottoman Occupation known for his atrocities. The diggings are near the village of Vassiliki, 352 kilometers (218 miles) northwest of Athens, and near Kalambaka.
Ali Pasha (1740–1822) surnamed Aslan and known as the Lion of Yannina, was an Ottoman Albanian ruler (pasha) of the western part of Rumelia, the empire’s territory which was also called Pashalik of Yanina. His court was in Ioannina.
According to the Trikala Voice, Dimas has tied up all loose ends, instituted the legal proceedings with the Municipality of Kalambaka and begun excavations again. Two years ago he said in a statement to NET that the treasure could be worth millions of euros.
This time he is convinced that he has found “Ali Pasha’s Rooms,” in the area between Agioi Theodoroi and Theopetra. The excavation is already under way and the permit given is for 25 days. The village of Vassiliki is named after the pasha’s Greek-born wife who hailed from the area and lies on his old tax caravan route to Ioannina.
Ali had three sons: Ahmet Muhtar Pasha, Veli Pasha of Morea and Salih Pasha of Vlore. Ali Pasha of Tepelena died in a battle on Feb. 5, 1822 at the age of 81 after refusing an order to surrender and be beheaded. He was shot through a door and beheaded anyway.
Courtesy Greek Reporter
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Discovery is going on a modern-day treasure hunt.
The network has picked up six episodes of Wild West treasure hunter series Ghost Town Gold, The Hollywood Reporter has learned exclusively.
The six-part series will follow modern-day explorers Brit Eaton and Scott Glaves as they search for priceless treasures from the Old West that they can turn for a profit.
Described as part history buffs, part pickers, the duo will visit old ghost towns, abandoned mining camps and industrial graveyards as they search for treasures from another era. The pair has more than 25 years of experience collecting and selling Western memorabilia, with a collection that includes priceless whiskey bottles, old revolvers and one-of-a-kind branding irons.
Ghost Town Gold, produced by JWM Productions for Destination America, the series will launch Thursday, Nov. 15 at 10 p.m., with an encore airing of the series starting Tuesday, Jan. 1 at 10 p.m. on Destination America. JWM's Bill Morgan and Jason Williams will exec produce alongside Eaton and Discovery and Destination's Pamela Deutsch.
The series comes after Discovery's similarly themed Moonshiners scored its highest ratings to date on Wednesday, averaging 3 million total viewers and pushing the network to lead cable in total viewers, men 25-54, men 18-49 and men 18-34.
Courtesy The Hollywood Reporter
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Ben Hunter with son Joshua, 5, try their hand at gold detecting in central Victoria. Picture: Rob Leeson Source: Herald Sun
VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA - Giving crusty prospectors a run for their nuggets, latte-sipping Melburnians, as well as grey nomads, are taking up metal detectors, pans and picks in what traders describe as a "mini gold rush".
Bendigo gold trader David Watters said the past year had seen more families travelling to the region in search of buried treasure.
"With the price of gold so high, there's been a renewed interest in the hobby of prospecting," Mr Watters said.
"We've sold a lot more pans and parents are buying kids gold detectors to get them to ... have a go.
"There's a whole range of people coming through ... the dad has a fossick, the kids are running around."
He described the surge as a new gold rush.
The Gold Prospectors Association of America is pleased to announce its 2013 Gold & Treasure Expo schedule.
The GPAA will hold 13 shows, including some exciting new locations such as Quartzite, Ariz, which will feature a special three-day event.
Other new locales are Turlock, California; Pecatonica, Illinois; Jacksonville, Florida; Charlotte, North Carolina and Millwood, West Virginia.
One noticeable change in 2013 will be the shift from Gold & Treasure Shows to Gold & Treasure Expos.
“Expo tells you straight up that we’ve got vendors ready to sell you products,” said Trade Show Manager Gary Sturgill. “That’s where you’re going to find the latest and greatest new equipment and the vendors are going to demonstrate how to use it.”
Sturgill said education will take on a pivotal role in 2013 with much more focus on teaching people how to prospect and pan for gold.
“We’re actually going to have a few different guest speakers who we haven’t had before,” he said.
Some of the returning speakers will include Gold Cube inventor Mike Pung talking about fine gold recovery, GPAA Executive Director of Operations Dominic Ricci talking about the Alaska Gold Expedition, GPAA Executive Director of Development Kevin Hoagland talking about metal detecting and Walt Wegner of Public Lands for the People talking about land rights.
Wegner, who is PLP vice-president, delivers informative talks on the importance of land rights, your right to prospect, stake claims and mine on public lands. He talks about how some of those rights have been eroded under all levels of government including the federal government and even the United Nations under Agenda 21, for example.
“Walt gets a lot of people and they are well-informed when they leave,” Sturgill said.
The Expo will cover more than just gold, including gem and treasure hunting.
- Amateur treasure hunter finds 40 Roman gold coins
- Dr. Eugene Lyon Joins Board of Directors of Aqua Quest International, Inc.
- Spain’s Queen Sofía in Bolivia for Odyssey Treasure Agreement
- Digging up a bit of history for soldiers' families
- Second ancient treasure hoard found
- Go on a treasure hunt in Russia
- Treasure hunters show off their finds
- Florida man claims N.J. shipwreck site