By: Vincent Cabreza, Inquirer Northern Luzon
BAGUIO CITY, Philippines—For P50, a visitor is treated to a tale of adventure and nail-biting suspense at a little known museum in the summer capital.
The best part of this story is that “it’s all true,” said Henry Roxas, 47, son of the late treasure hunter Rogelio Roxas.
Henry runs the Roxas Museum near the tourist-drawing Lourdes Grotto, which offers an interesting collection of World War II relics, war helmets, rifle bayonets and a fortune in old coins.
He is always ready to narrate the discovery of the “Golden Buddha,” which his father supposedly discovered, and then lost, to the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos.
Some of the relics were dug up as Rogelio searched for the “Yamashita treasure,” referring to loot collected throughout Southeast Asia by invading Japanese forces, which were supposedly buried in the Philippines toward the end of World War II.
UNITED KINGDOM - Metal detectorists Dave Derby and Alan Standish found the skeleton in a field near Nether Heyford after they picked up a signal from a shield boss that was buried with the body.
Archeologists have excavated the skeleton and analysis has revealed it is likely to be more than 1,500 years old.
The site, known as Whitehall Farm, where the skeleton was found is near to where a Roman villa was located 15 years ago.
Steve Young, an archeologist who led the excavation, said: “We believe it is 5th or 6th century as the burial seems to have followed pagan rituals.
“In those days men tended to be buried with a weapon of some sort. Other skeletons we have found in the area have been buried with swords.”
Further analysis of the site has also revealed some more human remains, believed to be that of a child. A brooch was also found in the grave.
Mr. Derby, who has been metal detecting for 42 years and was the person who uncovered the Roman villa, said: “It is a fascinating hobby. You never know what you are going to find.”
The last major dig on the Whitehall Farm site, which is owned by Nick Adams, was in 2012.
Since the first discoveries in 1996, volunteer archaeologists from around the world have offered their time to dig trenches, uncovering more than 250,000 artefacts in just over a decade.
The historic haul of goods includes 560 coins, 20 brooches, six rings, 32,000 animal bones, 20,000 fragments of pot and many other finds.
Courtesy: Daventry Express
By Paul Fontaine
ICELAND: A foreign ship conducting unauthorized undersea investigations may have been looking for treasure, possibly within sunken ships and submarines from World War 2.
Vísir reports that the ship in question is registered in Togo, but belongs to an American company. Called Endeavour, it was caught conducting unauthorized undersea research sixty nautical miles northwest of the Ísafjarðardjúp fjord by the Icelandic Coast Guard and ordered to shore.
Endeavour’s captain admitted the ship had deep sea imaging equipment on board, which they were using to search for wreckage at the ocean’s bottom. There is indeed a great deal of such wreckage around Iceland from World War 2, as Germany and other countries were fairly active around the coast at that time.
Auðunn Kristinsson, a project manager for the Icelandic Coast Guard, told reporters that there are long-standing rumors of treasure on board some of the ships and submarines lying at the bottom of the Icelandic sea, but that Endeavour’s captain has not made any statements to that effect.
It is uncertain if the captain and crew will be facing criminal charges, but for the time being, nothing is legally preventing the ship from leaving port and setting sail again.
Courtesy: Reykjavik Grapevine
The nation is almost certain a subterranean radar signal is that of a highly-armored Nazi vehicle, which were typically used to transport weapons and precious cargo during World War II.
Two anonymous treasure seekers staked a claim to the discovery along a four kilometer stretch of track between Wroclaw and Walkbrzych in the country’s south west earlier this month.
Poland has taken the claim that the treasure hunters, after years of searching, say they learnt of through a deathbed confession from a former Nazi soldier.
The site has generated an enormous buzz mainly because of previous ‘loot train’ finds.
American soldiers in 1945 captured a heavily armored 24-carriage train that was filled with $250 million worth of goods including jewelry and stolen artwork from Jewish families.
“We do not know what is inside the train. Probably military equipment but also possibly jewelry, works of art and archive documents,” Poland’s deputy culture Minister Piotr Zuchowski said.
Poland has also deployed local police and railway protection service officers to the site near a collapsed tunnel.
However, it’s not the only nation that has taken interest in what could prove to be a rich discovery.
Russian historian Andrei Swietienko has told local media that Moscow would expect any of its property to be returned as well as a cut of “war reparations”. The World Jewish Congress has also expressed similar sentiment.
Mr Swietienko also referred to the 1945 Potsdam Conference of 1945, which stipulates loot discovery rights between multiple nations.
Firefighters are also on site managing a nearby forest fire.
By April Holloway
The Hellenic Ministry of Culture, Education and Religious Affairs has announced that remnants of a massive Bronze Age city have been discovered submerged in the Aegean Sea. The settlement, which dates back approximately 4,500 years, covers an area of 12 acres and consists of stone defensive structures, paved surfaces, pathways, towers, pottery, tools, and other artifacts.
The discovery was made by a team of experts from the Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities, University of Geneva and the Swiss School of Archaeology at Kiladha Bay on the Peloponnese Peninsula south of Athens, while they were searching for evidence for the oldest village in Europe. While they were hoping to find traces dating back at least 8,000 years, the finding of the ancient city is no less significant.
Florida treasure hunters found a trove of $4.5 million worth of Spanish gold coins 300 years to the day after a fleet of ships sunk in a hurricane while en route from Havana to Spain, the salvage owner said Wednesday.
The 350 coins found on July 30 include nine rare pieces, known as royal eight escudos, which were being transported to the King of Spain, according to Brent Brisben. His company, 1715 Fleet – Queens Jewels, owns the rights to the wreckage.
Only 20 such coins were known to exist prior to the recovery of the nine royals, Brisben said.
"The gold looks like it fell into the water yesterday," said William Bartlett, 51, the diver who spotted the haul.
Bartlett was part of a three-man crew aboard Brisben' boat S/V Capitana when it found coins in shallow waters off Vero Beach, Florida. The search site was picked because it was close to a previous discovery.
On the same day in 1715, a hurricane tossed 11 treasure-laden Spanish galleons on to reefs off Florida' East Coast, sinking them in the early hours the following morning. Today, the wreckage is scattered over a wide area.
The coins found by Bartlett are part of the now-scattered treasure transported by the galleons, which have since broken up.
Bartlett said the crew used the boat propeller to blow a hole in the sandy ocean floor to reach bedrock eight feet (2.4 meters) down. The salvage operation lasted five days.
Like many Florida treasure hunters, Bartlett, a Pompano Beach kitchen and bathroom re-modeler, dives as a hobby.
He said he did not hunt treasure for the money, and declined to say how much he would receive under contract with 1715 Fleet-Queens Jewels.
"I'm just a guy on a boat living the dream," Bartlett said.
Hunters like Bartlett typically work under contract with the company, which grants them a percentage of their find after the state of Florida exercises its right to 20 percent of the haul.
The company acquired legal custodianship of the sunken fleet from the heirs of world-renowned treasure hunter Mel Fisher.
Photo by John Rawlston /Times Free Press
by Ben Benton
Civil War artifacts in the last century have gone from common leftovers of yesteryear to historic relics subject to federal laws that can land unauthorized history hunters behind bars.
As laws have changed, so have people's perceptions, and some history buffs believe reality television shows like "American Digger" could be fueling a shift from responsible archaeology to profit-seeking treasure hunting.
Two Tennessee men recently were sentenced to 30 months in federal prison for illegally excavating and collecting artifacts from sites in Marion and Hardin counties in Tennessee and in Jackson County, Ala.
Dr. Anthony Hodges, president of Friends of the Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park and a local Civil War collector, has as many relics and images from the conflict as some museums.
Hodges said he hasn't been an active relic hunter for 20 years but he defends relic hunting on private land. Those artifacts might be lost to time if not for the people with metal detectors who ask landowners for permission to look, he said.
"I'm not down on relic hunters. In fact, I'll say a good portion — and perhaps all — of what we know about Civil War artifacts themselves come from the relic hunters. They're the ones who write the books," he said. "The academics don't share that information.
"That said, I'm a law-abiding guy," Hodges said. "I've never dug on national park property, and if anybody's caught doing it they need to be prosecuted."
PANAMA CITY, PANAMA: Although Panama ratified a 2003 convention against the commercial exploitation and looting of wrecks, the plundering of a sunken Spanish galleon continues.
The National Institute of Culture (INAC) Heritage Director Wilhelm Franqueza has reported that an official Investigation of Marinas del Istmo, S.A., a company exploring The San Jose, was found in a mall with a suitcase full of coins from the vessel. He said that although the company has a valid concession, it must inform the authorities when it removes any treasure. "There are regulations that must be followed" he said.
The authorities have seized some 3000 colonial coins and they are in the custody of the National Customs National Authority while an investigation is underway.
When Eric Schmitt's metal detector got a hit about 15 feet below the ocean's surface, he didn't think much of it.
Most of the time, the metal detectors uncover beer cans and lead fishing weights. But this time was different. This time, the treasure-hunter from Sanford struck gold, and a lot of it.
Schmitt and his family found 52 gold coins worth more than $1 million. The star of the haul was an extremely rare coin known as a "Tricentennial Royal" minted in 1715. It had been underwater since a fleet of Spanish ships foundered during a hurricane along Florida's Treasure Coast 300 years ago, Schmitt said.
"These things were known as presentation pieces not meant to be circulated as currency," Schmitt said.
That coin alone is worth about $500,000, according to Schmitt.
And according to Brent Brisben, co-founder of 1715 Fleet — Queens Jewels LLC, the company that owns the rights to dive at the wreckage site where the gold was found, the coin's value comes from the fact that it is in nearly perfect condition and is a rarity.
MADRID SPAIN; The first globalization occurred in the sixteenth century and was the work of Spanish and Portuguese sailors, who opened and maintained the first trade routes that had traveled around the world. From all we know of that time left the keys that have to do with precisely the machines that made possible that globalization effort, held for more than three centuries. No ships there would be Hispanic, yet our country has seriously neglected the need to know this history.
The remains of the old galleons, more accessible technology, explain better than any other item details birth of our world view , which was the first global, which is made to be as our nation and our culture. Each boat is a time capsule, precious and sealed, waiting for scientists to extract all the information stored.
However, the governance model of underwater archaeology did not want to hear any talk about that story. By inaction and neglect, what we have left to the treasure hunters industry, destroying fields and raises the modern version of the black legend fueled by our dark pessimism.
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- Spain backs inclusion of galleon trade route to World Heritage List
- Archaeologist arrested for pilfering digs