Lost Treasure

The lost Dutchman's Mine
This time of year, David Bremson sees plenty of rescues in the Superstition Wilderness.

"Most of the body recoveries we've done out of the Supes have been Dutch hunters," Bremson said. A Dutch hunter who got lucky twice was Robin Bird, the woman who went searching for the fabled gold and ended up flirting with death before she was rescued late Wednesday night. Bird also had to be rescued in December while doing the same thing.
This time, she was found lying in the mud along the Bluff Springs Trail at about 11:30 p.m. Wednesday. She was unresponsive and suffering from hypothermia and severe dehydration, said Tim Gaffney, spokesman for the Pinal County Sheriff's Office.
But Bird was hardly the only hiker who needed help this week. At 12:30 a.m. Wednesday, rescuers found three men who had gotten lost in the Superstitions on Tuesday. They had met Bird on the trail and asked for directions, and she steered them wrong.

At 6:30 p.m. Sunday, a 21-year-old Arizona State University student was rescued after he failed to return from a hike on Saturday. "This is not an unusual amount of rescues," Bremson said. "It's fairly normal." Rescuers ask people to point to their map and show where they got lost, Bremson said.

"Well, none of them have a map. People are becoming more and more isolated from the outdoors because of the amount of time they spend indoors."


In 2009 Denver bellhop Jesse Capen disappeared after heading off to find the 'Lost Dutchman's' gold mine - which has evaded adventurers for centuries. 3 years after finding Capen’s Jeep, wallet, backpack and cellphone, volunteers from the Superstition Search and Rescue finally located what they believe is Capen’s body.

“We call ‘em Dutch hunters out here,” said Superstition Search and Rescue Director Robert Cooper. “They’re infatuated with all the lore and the history of the lost Dutchman mine and he was part of that.”

The body, Cooper said, was found in a crevice roughly 35 feet up a cliff face in the southern portion of the Superstition Mountains, near the 4,892-foot Tortilla Mountain. Capen, 35, had made finding the treasure an “obsession”.

In the 1840s, according to the Denver Post, the Peralta family of Mexico mined gold out of the Superstition Mountains, but Apaches attacked and killed all but one or two family members as they took the gold back to Mexico. Some 30 years later, Jacob Waltz — nicknamed "the Dutchman," even though he was German — rediscovered the mine with the help of a Peralta descendant, according to legend.

Jacob Waltz made periodic trips into the Superstition Mountains and returning to Phoenix with small quantities of bonanza gold ore. He was known to shoot anyone following him through the rugged mountains east of Apache Junction, Arizona. Waltz died in Phoenix, Arizona Territory on October 25, 1891 without revealing the source of the rich gold ore ... some found beneath his death bed.

"The clues to Waltz's gold mine still ring clear ... "No miner will find my mine." "To find my mine you must pass a cow barn." "From my mine you can see the military trail, but from the military trail you can not see my mine." "The rays of the setting sun shine into the entrance of my mine." "There is a trick in the trail to my mine." "My mine is located in a north-trending canyon." "There is a rock face on the trail to my mine." These and many other clues have fired imaginations for more than a century.


The queen of Sheba is said to have been born some time in the 10th century BC. Her lineage was part of the Ethiopian dynasty established in 1370 BC which lasted 350 years; her grandfather and father were the last two rulers of this dynasty. In 1005 BC, Makeda's father appointed her as his successor from his deathbed.

To the early ancient Greeks, Ethiopia referred to an empire that encompassed a vast territory, extending to Arabia, Syria, Armenia and the territory between the Mediterranean, the Indian Ocean and the Persian Gulf. This is the empire that the Queen of Sheba was said to have reigned over.
According to the Old Testament, the Queen of Sheba travelled from her kingdom to meet King Salomon in Jerusalem. The queen is immortalised in Qur'an and the Bible, which describes her visit to Solomon "with a very great retinue, with camels bearing spices, and very much gold and precious stones ... Then she gave the king 120 talents of gold, (the equivalent of four-and-a-half tons) and a very great quantity of spices."

"A British excavation has struck archaeological gold with a discovery that may solve the mystery of where the Queen of Sheba of biblical legend derived her fabled treasures. An excavation on the high Gheralta plateau in northern Ethiopia has found an enormous ancient goldmine, together with the ruins of a temple and the site of a battlefield."

"Although local people still pan for gold in the river, they were unaware of the ancient mine. Its shaft is buried some 4ft down, in a hill above which vultures swoop. An ancient human skull is embedded in the entrance shaft, which bears Sabaean chiselling."



The Lima Treasure

Spain had controlled Lima since the 16th century, when it defeated the Incas. In the centuries that followed, the Catholic Church amassed a huge treasure in Lima. In 1820 the city was on the edge of revolt. As a preventative measure, the Viceroy of Lima decided to transport the city’s fabulous wealth to Mexico for safekeeping.

Captain William Thompson, commander of the Mary Dear, was put in charge of transporting the riches to Mexico.

Thompson and and his crew turned pirate, cut the throats of the guards and accompanying priests, and threw their bodies overboard.

Thompson headed for Cocos Island, off the coast of present day Costa Rica, where he and his men allegedly buried the treasure. The Mary Dear was captured, and the crew went on trial for piracy. All but Thompson and his first mate were hanged. To save their lives, the two agreed to lead the Spanish to the stolen treasure. They took them as far as the Cocos Islands and then managed to escape into the jungle.
Thompson, the first mate, and the treasure were never seen again.

The Spanish had been at war with the Incas of Peru for nearly forty years and the Incas had retreated to the Vilcabamba Valley in what is now Ecuador where they held off the invaders until 1572.

When the Spanish conquered the Incas they found the city there was largely deserted. It appeared as if the Incas had fled to a new location in the rainforests taking their vast treasure of gold with them. The new city was never found nor was the gold.

In 1979 the Inca city of Mamería, long since reclaimed by the dense Amazon forest, was re-discovered. These ruins, some way out into the jungle from where the known boundaries of the Inca empire lay, seem to have been a outpost and coca growing area.

In 2001, the Italian archaeologist Mario Polia discovered the report of the missionary Andres Lopez in the archives of the Jesuits in Rome. In the document, which dates from about 1600, Lopez describes a large city rich in gold, silver and jewels, located in the middle of the tropical jungle called Paititi by the natives.

2009 satellite photos of deforested areas of the Boco do Acre region of Brazil have revealed that there were once vast settlements there.

Some say that the belief in the existence of Paititi is the result of the conquering of the indigenous of the Cusco region, who hope that somewhere their culture and traditions continue. They say it is a myth.

Others say it is a passed-down historical fact, that some Incas left their defeated empire to start again out of the reach of the Spaniards.


Laguna de Guatavita is located in the municipality of Sesquilé, in the Cundinamarca Department of Colombia, 35 miles north-east of Bogotá.

Laguna de Guatavita was one of the sacred lakes of the Muisca, and a ritual conducted there is thought to be the basis for the legend of El Dorado. The lake is where the Muisca celebrated a ritual in which the Zipa (named "El Dorado" by the Conquistadores) was covered in gold dust, then venturing out into the water on a ceremonial raft made of rushes, he dived into the waters washing off the gold.
Afterward, trinkets, jewelry, and other precious offerings were thrown into the waters by worshipers.
Conquistadores Lázaro Fonte and Hernán Perez de Quesada attempted to drain the lake in 1545 using a "bucket chain" of labourers. After 3 months, the water level had been reduced by 3 metres, and only a small amount of gold was recovered.

In 1580 Antonio de Sepúlveda had a notch cut deep into the rim of the lake, which managed to reduce the water level by 20 metres, before collapsing and killing many of the labourers. Various golden ornaments, jewellery and armour were found. Sepúlveda died a poor man, and is buried at the church in the small town of Guatavita.

In 1898 the lake was successfully drained by means of a tunnel that emerged in the centre. The water was eventually drained to a depth of about 4 feet of mud and slime. This made it impossible to explore, and when the mud had dried in the sun, it set like concrete. A haul of only £500 was found, and subsequently auctioned at Sothebys of London.

The Colombian government has disallowed any more draining attempts.

The legend of the fabulous lost city of Ciudad Blanca - 'White City' of Gold was first recorded by Hernan Cortes who, in 1526, less than five years after vanquishing the Aztecs, came to the colonial town of Trujillo, on the north coast of Honduras.

In 1544, Bishop Cristobol de Pedraza, the Bishop of Honduras, wrote a letter to the King of Spain describing an arduous trip to the edge of the Mosquito Coast jungles. He tells of looking east from a mountaintop into unexplored territory, where he saw a large city in one of the river valleys that cut through the Mosquito Coast. His guides, he wrote, assured him that the nobles there ate from plates of pure Gold.
In June 2012, a team of scientists using advanced laser mapping detailed a remote region of Honduras that may be the legendary lost city.

Flying over the Mosquitia region in a small plane shooting billions of laser pulses at the ground, they created a 3D digital map of the topology beneath the jungle canopy.

Ciudad Blanca has played a central role in Central American mythology. Text's cite it as the birthplace of the Aztec god Quetzalcoatl and previous reported sightings over the years have described golden idols and elaborately carved white stones, leading to the lost city's name.


Its not the mythical city of gold that draws treasure seekers to the rugged Llanganates mountain range in Ecuador, some say there is a vast Inca hoard hidden from Spanish conquistadors there.

The Inca Empire in South America in the early 15th century was quickly giving way to European invaders. Atahualpa was an Inca king who, after warring with his half-brother, Huáscar, for control of the empire, was captured at his palace in Cajamarca in modern-day Peru by Spanish commander Francisco Pizarro.

Pizarro agreed to release Atahualpa in return for a roomful of gold, but the Spaniard later reneged on the deal. He had the Inca king put to death on August 29, 1533 before the last and largest part of the ransom had been delivered. Instead, the story goes, the gold was buried in a secret mountain cave.
"We're dealing with the frontier land between fact and fiction," Honigsbaum admitted. "We know Atahualpa's gold existed because it's recorded in the Spanish chronicle, and it's recorded that a large convoy of gold was on its way from Ecuador. After that, the best and most persistent stories revolve around the Llanganates."


The Flor de la Mar (Flower of the Sea) was a 400 ton Portuguese carrack (frigate) built in Lisbon during 1502 for traveling from Portugal to India and back. It was twice the size of other ships that had gone on the run.

The Flor’s service life had been long for a ship on the India run. Built for only three or four years of work, she lasted from 1502-1511. However, her design made her dangerously unseaworthy when fully loaded, and her service in various campaigns had necessitated many repairs.

In command of the Flor was Alfonso de Albuquerque. Alfonso was a Portuguese fidalgo, or nobleman, whose titles included Duke of Goa and Governor of Portuguese India. His successes in conquest were many and his bounty and tribute massive.

It was the largest treasure ever assembled by the Portuguese navy, and included 60 tons of gold from the house of the Sultan of Malacca. Supposedly, 200 gem chests were filled with diamonds, rubies and emeralds. Accompanied by four other ships, the Flor set sail for Portugal in November, 1511.
A violent storm blew up in the Straits of Malacca and the heavily overloaded Flor de la Mar was shipwrecked on the reefs near the Straits, just northeast of Sumatra on the 20th of November 1511. The ship broke in two and although Alfonso was saved, the treasure was lost to the waves. The exact location of the shipwreck is confused due to the inaccurate maps of the time. It is considered the richest treasure yet to be found.


UPDATED : "Latest News: 17th August 2012

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The state has issued a permit allowing for archaeological work at the site of a sunken Gold Rush-era ship in southeast Alaska.

A permit application was filed earlier this month by David Miller, an archaeologist under contract with Kent, Wash.-based Ocean Mar Inc. The Associated Press obtained documents related to the project, including a copy of the application and work proposal, through a public records request.

Miller's application lists August as the start of the proposed work, with no definitive completion date, and the Alaska State Museum as the proposed repository of collected items. The permit expires Dec. 31 but can be extended.

In June 2012 ... "JUNEAU -- A Gold Rush-era mystery could soon be solved, with a recent federal court decision approving a Washington state man's plans to recover cargo from the sunken luxury liner SS Islander -- including any gold on board.

The ship was believed to be transporting "hundreds of pounds of gold" from the Klondike to Seattle and San Francisco. The gold would likely be "single gold bars and boxes of gold bars" buried under as much as 8 feet of silt.

Theodore Jaynes and his company, Ocean Mar Inc., had been fighting since the 1990s for salvage rights to the vessel, which was carrying about 180 people when it sank off the coast of Douglas Island in the early morning hours of Aug. 15, 1901. Forty people died, according to a court of inquiry report for the Canadian government

Jaynes' expedition is hardly the first to try its luck at finding the treasure; perhaps the most significant and successful prior attempt came in the 1930s, when a salvage company raised about two-thirds of the Islander's hull. According to the 1992 report, it cost an estimated $200,000 to beach the remains, and the salvagers got about $50,000 in returns.

About 60 feet of the ship's forward section snapped off during the raising and remained under water.

In a 2007 filing, Ocean Mar said its research had indicated that at least six tons of gold bullion in 25 to 30 wooden boxes was stored in a passenger cabin. It also said it had found what it believed to be bullion boxes near shore, no deeper than 200 feet.

The SS Islander was a 1519 ton, 240-foot (73 m) steel hull, schooner-rigged twin-screw steamer, built in Scotland in 1888, and owned and operated by the Canadian Pacific Steam Navigation Company.

She was built especially for the Inside Passage to Alaska and the lucrative Klondike gold fields, and was reputedly the most luxurious steamer engaged on that run.
On August 14th, 1901 the Islander departed Skagway, Alaska for Victoria, British Columbia, filled to capacity with passengers and carrying a cargo of gold bullion valued at over $6,000,000 in 1901 dollars. (gold was worth around $ 20 per ounce)

Sometime after 2:00am on 15 August, 1901 while sailing down the narrow Lynn Canal south of Juneau, the SS Islander struck an iceberg and within five minutes, her bow was underwater and her stern, rudder and propellers completely out of the water. She sank within 20 minutes.
Fifty ounces of gold were recovered from one body and another lucky passenger was reportedly carrying 600 ounces of gold dust when rescued. Some estimate upwards of 480,000 ounces may have been on board.


Two Mir submersibles have been hot on the trail of wreckage 400 meters (1,300 feet) below the surface of Lake Baikal, Russia since late 2010. The ship's three-man crew discovered "steel girders that looked like railway bridges."
Russian experts believe the recent finds might be part of the gold taken by Admiral Aleksandr Kolchak, which has been missing since the chaos of Russia's civil war. During a major offensive in 1919, Kolchak led the "White Guards" under his command over the Ural Mountains. Kolchak and his forces drove the Bolsheviks out of Kazan, a city east of Moscow, and took control of a major part of Russia's gold reserves.
Fearing that German troops might get their hands on it during World War I, Czar Nicholas II had had 500 tons of gold transported from St. Petersburg to Kazan. The gold, worth about 650 million rubles, reportedly filled 5,000 crates and 1,700 sacks; the "Whites" required 40 railway cars for the journey.
According to legend, members of the "White Guards" tried to cross Lake Baikal with the railway cars while it was frozen over with winter ice. But the weight of the cars caused them to crash through the ice and the gold sank into the depths. Still, historians expressed their doubts that this was the czar's gold. It was much more likely that the gold never sank, they guessed. Instead the "White Guards" might have smuggled it out of the country and deposited it into bank accounts in Great Britain and Japan. Another explanation: The withdrawing Czechs had taken it with them and it had brought about a period of unexpected prosperity in that country during the 1920s.

To this day no gold has been recovered.