Maureen Milford, The News Journal
Wilmington lawyer Bruce L. Silverstein will not be sanctioned for bad-faith litigation in the case of a phony sunken treasure in the Gulf of Mexico, a federal judge has ruled.
U.S. District Judge James Lawrence King of the Southern District of Florida denied a sanctions case against Silverstein brought by a Key West treasure salvage company, saying the company failed to establish by clear and convincing evidence that Silverstein knew of "corrupt criminal conspiracy."
Neither was it proven that Silverstein acted in bad faith in the case or was willfully blind to a fraud involving the fabricated discovery of thousands of emeralds on the floor of the Gulf of Mexico.
Yet, in what lawyers describe as highly unusual, King referred the matter to the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Florida "for such action as in his discretion he deems appropriate."
"I've not seen that done in a civil case in a long, long time, if I've seen it done," said Thomas Reed, a professor emeritus at Widener University School of Law.
More than two dozen archaeologists and anthropologists have written an open letter of protest against the “sensationalisation” of their fields, with one accusing National Geographic of reverting to “a colonialist discourse” in announcing researchers had found two city-like sites in the deep jungles of Honduras.
They also say National Geographic has ignored decades of research that suggests Honduras was home to a vibrant chain of kingless societies, which merged qualities of the Maya to the north with other people’s less stratified, more equal cultures.
The scholars criticize National Geographic and the media for what they describe as the aggrandizement of a single expedition at the expense of years of research by scientists and decades of support from indigenous people of the dense rainforests in Honduras’ Mosquitia region.
John Hoopes, a signatory and professor of anthropology at the University of Kansas, said that National Geographic had shown “a disrespect for indigenous knowledge”. The expedition was co-coordinated by two American film-makers, National Geographic and Honduras’ national institute of anthropology.
By Emily Sharpe
Museum professionals and archaeologists met in London today to discuss how to tackle the growing issue of what to do with archaeological archives in the UK as institutions rapidly run out of space to store them. In fact, many museums have stopped acquiring these types of collections, even though excavations continue to be big business.
“We have archival material in museums that are becoming increasingly inaccessible because of the lack of specialist archaeology curators and we have museums that are ceasing to collect this material which has created a backlog that has nowhere to go,” said Duncan Brown, the head of archaeological archives at English Heritage, who was one of the speakers at the Museums Association’s conference “Dig It! Museums and Archaeology”, held at the British Museum on Friday. A 2012 report on the subject, by the consultant Rachel Edwards for the Society for Museum Archaeologists and English Heritage, stated that there are more than 9,000 un-depositable archives in the UK.
BY ERIC RUSSELL
A California businessman who last year partnered with Gorham treasure hunter Greg Brooks on the ill-fated salvage of a shipwreck off Cape Cod has ended the partnership.
Don Rodocker, CEO of Seabotix, a San Diego producer of remote-operated vehicles, said this week that he saw “no way to go forward” after revelations that Brooks’ chief researcher forged documents intended to prove there was treasure aboard the SS Port Nicholson.
“No one is ever going to fund him again,” Rodocker said of Brooks, who has been salvaging shipwrecks for three decades but has yet to find anything of substantial value.
Rodocker declined to say how much money he invested in Brooks’ enterprise.
By Tommy Vawter
In the dark and deadly underworld of narco-trafficking down here in Central America, where ruthless people of limited education and meager beginnings are transformed almost overnight into multi-millionaires, to the point that they no longer count the cash money that is flowing in. They have to weigh it because counting it all takes too long.
It seems almost inevitable that sooner or later, some of these modern day pirates of this multi-billion dollar industry are going to burry some of their ill-gotten gains in secret locations.
I am sure that the reasons for hiding some of their wealth varies from one drug lord to another. Some hide their treasure for old age retirement, some to us as an emergency escape in case they are being hunted by new drug lords wanting to take over precious territory and drug transportation routes, and some to save in case the authorities are moving in on them and they need to buy their way out of jail or prison.
Y’all remember about 5 months ago we were talking about the crew of the Aqua Quest, and their miss-adventure down in Honduras and how the Capitan and her crew ended up spending some 52 days in the squealer of a sorry excuse of a prison located in the department of Gracias a Dios (Thank God), in La Mosquitia region of northern Honduras on trumped up weapons smuggling charges.
To his credit, Capt Mayne did not cave to the pressure to pay extortion money to some local officials, but they paid a heavy price in term of the loss of their freedom, and the constant worry of friends and family back home.
The six Americans were finally released from prison on the 26th of June, and then headed home to Tarpon Springs, Florida. On the July 2nd, the Aqua Quest and her crew sailed into their home port to a hero’s welcome.
Well, it is often said that us Treasure Hunters are a different breed, and that many are cut from the same cloth as other Explorers and Adventurers that have gone before us. This is defiantly the case for Capt Mayne and his crew. As I am writing this, Capt Mayne is back in Honduras meeting with local officials in several municipalities, signing exclusive 5 year agreements to continue with his salvage operation of ancient Mahogany logs in the Mosquitia region of northern Honduras.
While Bob and his crew have made many friends in Honduras as a result of their efforts to assist the native Mosquitia Indians with some profit sharing from the Mahogany Log project and the promise of other Humanitarian aid. I would venture to say that in the back of his mind he must be thinking that he has also made a few enemies during their ordeal earlier this year.
Northern Honduras is one of the most stunningly beautiful places that I have had the pleasure to visit, and I fully understand the desire to return. On the 12th of August TreasureWorks temporarily pulled the plug on our plans to set up an operation in northern Honduras, in part because of security concerns. In the meantime, we have moved down to Panama, but the desire to return to Honduras burns bright.
Honduras is also one of the most dangerous places on the earth, and the UN has rated Honduras as the most deadly country in the world for the last four years with an annual murder rate of 90.4 per 100,000 residents. In part due to narco-traffickers who often operate with the support of some corrupt government officials, but mostly due to gang related violence exported from Los Angeles, California prisons and brought on by mass poverty.
Capt. Mayne has not yet announced when he and his crew will be returning to Honduras.
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BELIEZE - A group of tourists visiting the archaeological site of El Caracol, in the border area between Guatemala and Belize were able to document in this video, an armed incident which killed a park ranger. The attack, apparently perpetrated by illegal traffickers of a plant named Xate (Shatay), with whom the park rangers maintain a constant battle.
The video was captured by tourists and published in a Belizean media, revealing that at the time of the shooting the group of visitors were at the top of the complex in the center of the ruins, accompanied by local guide who immediately asked them to take shelter between the walls.
The body of Danny Conorquie, a guard at the site, was located on the side of one of the trails in the main square of the park and was immediately guarded by fellow agents according conversations evidenced in amateur video. Officials blame trafficking groups of Xate for retaliation against the work of the guards to prevent looting of the listed plant.
As explained by the Tourist Guides, Park ranger recently stumbled on a group of traffickers smuggling Xate in the area and days before the event. The dead guard had managed to seize some horses out of the archaeological site and it is believed that the group of traffickers returned to take revenge.
The archaeological site El Caracol is located 40 kilometers south of Xunantunich and the town of San Ignacio Cayo. The city, which had its heyday in the classic period, was probably the most important political center of the Maya in the present territory of Belize.
The demand for the plant Xate has increased internationally in the last decade in the forested area of Petén and Belize border where more is this plant that has different uses, mainly ornamental. Since the country has regulated the trade of the plant Xate, by the National Council of Protected Areas (Conap), groups of illegal traffickers have proliferated.
Courtesy LIBRE.COM / Guatemala
Experts identified a shipwreck uncovered last month in the Arctic as the HMS Erebus, the ship British Rear Adm. Sir John Franklin was likely sailing on when it vanished along with another vessel 170 years ago, Canada's prime minister announced Wednesday.
Experts believed the shipwreck was either the HMS Erebus and the HMS Terror, both of which sailed under the command of Franklin on an unsuccessful search for the Northwest Passage.
Stephen Harper said in Parliament that experts have identified the wreck as the HMS Erebus, which Franklin was believed to have been aboard and perhaps died on.
Harper's office said confirmation was made by underwater archeologists, following a meticulous review of data and artifacts observed from the Arctic Ocean's seabed and using high-resolution photography, high-definition video and multi-beam sonar measurements.
Canada announced in 2008 that it would look for the ships, and Harper's government has poured millions into the venture, with the prime minister himself taking part in the search. It's all part of Harper's plan to boast Canadian nationalism and a sense of ownership of the north. Harper's government made the project a top priority as it looked to assert Canada's sovereignty over the Northwest Passage, where melting Arctic ice in recent years has unlocked the very shipping route Franklin was after.
A hoard of 22,000 Roman coins has been unearthed on land near Seaton in East Devon.
The “Seaton Down Hoard” of copper-alloy Roman coins is one of the largest and best preserved 4th Century collections to have ever been found in Britain.
The hoard was declared Treasure at a Devon Coroner’s Inquest on 12th September 2014 which means it will be eligible for acquisition by a museum after valuation by the Treasure Valuation Committee, a group of independent experts who advise the Secretary of State. The Royal Albert Memorial Museum in Exeter, which already houses a large collection of local Romano-British objects, has launched a fund-raising campaign.
The discovery was made in November 2013 by East Devon builder and metal detector enthusiast Laurence Egerton who was operating under license on private land near the previously excavated site of a Roman villa at Honey ditches in East Devon.
NOAA today released a final rule and environmental impact statement expanding the boundaries of Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary in Lake Huron from 448 square miles to 4,300 square miles. The new boundaries now include the waters of Lake Huron adjacent to Michigan’s Alcona, Alpena and Presque Isle counties to the Canadian border.
The expansion is based on several years of research by NOAA and its many scientific partners, and now protects an additional 100 known and suspected historic shipwreck sites.
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