This book takes you through the steps of treasure hunting Street and Sidewalk Tear-outs with a Metal Detector. I talk about the detectors, coils and other equipment I have used over the years of treasure hunting during street and sidewalk construction. This has information from Diggers Hotline and Wisconsin State Statute for digging. Click the link to purchase your copy…https://www.amazon.com/Treasure-Hunting-Street-Road-Tearouts/dp/0692974695/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=kenny+briggs&qid=1588815330&s=books&sr=1-1
Originally told by Arthur H. Lamb in his book “Tragedies of the Osage Hills” and used with permission from the late Raymond Redcorn, this story is quite well known throughout Osage County.
In 1862 a wagon train of immigrants was returning from the California gold fields. The wagon master was a stout man with a large nose. He was known as Captain Goldie. They stayed on the Santa Fe Trail until the Arkansas River crossing and took a southern turn to follow a central route known as the California Trail, also known as Evans Road., eastward on towards southern Missouri. This trail shared some footage with the Black Dog Trail. Their cargo was said to be $100,000 in gold.
One evening while the immigrants were camped a lone Indian had nosed his way into camp and offered to trade a few ponies for some of the gold. He was told no and became angry. He left and soon he had convinced a large number of Pawnees to give chase. Near present day Foraker they came into view. Upon seeing the approaching Indians Goldie had the men circle the wagons and gather together all the gold. Goldie took the gold to the edge of the woods with the intentions of burying it but saw the futility of the battle for his men were greatly outnumbered. In the cover of the woods he made good his escape. Here we pause to thank the late Mr. Lamb, for through his efforts we know what took place at the site of the massacre.
After a long and difficult battle the Indians succeeded, and after killing the wounded they searched the wagons and bodies, but found no gold. They were outraged and threatened to kill the lone Indian. He decided to find the body of the wagon master and cut off the end of his nose, but he couldn’t find the man. It was then realized that Goldie had escaped with the gold. They soon picked up his trail and followed after him.
My efforts put him following upper Sand Creek east for about a mile, turning northeast, following Dog Creek a short distance east, turning northeast again, crossing Buck Creek, then following a small creek to where he slept briefly and left a lengthy inscription on a large boulder. Late in the next afternoon he stopped briefly on top of the hill just west of Artillery Mound and scanned the countryside. He saw that he was being followed and decided to bury the gold.
Near here, according to all published versions of the story, he found a hollow tree near the base of Artillery Mound and put an old musket in this tree. So many steps from this tree stood two large trees sharing a common single trunk. So many steps from these he buried the gold. A good distance down the trail from this site he tied his mule to a tree and hung the tack and gear on a limb. From here he proceeded on foot. At this
point the Indians lost Goldie’s trail and after scouring the countryside they gave up the chase.
Goldie made it home to Missouri, to his wife and his six year old son, but weakened from the ravages of the journey he soon fell ill. In the winter shortly before his death he revealed the story of the massacre and his escape to his wife. He left her a detailed hand drawn map with instructions to where the gold was buried.
Not knowing anyone she could trust, and her son being of tender age, plus the consideration of the Civil War, she decided to wait until he grew to be a man.
The government purchased this portion of the Cherokee Outlet from a group of Cherokees who represented only the Cherokees who were not living here in what was to become Osage County, and after a forced march the Osage People were confined to the area. They then allotted the land in 160 acre tracts to each Osage Tribal member.
After stopping near the Caney River at Matoaka to investigate the twin hills as the possible site, young Goldie appeared one evening in 1882 at the farm of an Osage man named Joe Boulanger. Joe invited him in for supper. After examining the area he explained his mission to Joe, and the significance of the trees and the musket. Joe claimed to remember the trees and the musket, having cleared the land himself. He did not produce the musket but he did take young Goldie to a spot and left him to dig for several days. After failing to find anything, young Goldie made Joe a copy of the map and received the promise that if anything was found a portion would be sent to him. He returned to his Missouri home and life went on.
Just after 1900 the story of the gold had leaked out and large holes began appearing in Joe’s field. Joe called upon the law and he sat up late many nights trying to catch the diggers but none were ever caught.
Many years later, in 1961, a cowboy was repairing a fence and cut down a dead tree. The tree was hollow and had grown back shut, totally concealing Goldie’s musket within. Even now remains of the stump and roots are visible in the ground. This location was revealed to me by the late Mr. C. E. McClurkin in 1991. Accordingly, the musket was given to a member of the Boulanger family. I was also informed that the man who found the musket passed away in 1968.
After much moonlit exploration, over a dozen trips tainted with no permission, I was privately informed that the treasure had long since been removed and was only about 150 pounds instead of the supposed 300 pounds, yes, we had done the math, and that it had all been quietly turned into cash and all had been spent some years prior to my search.
Where the treasure had been found, if it really was found, was said to be near a fence line on the southeast slope of the hill. Cattle had exposed a portion while walking the fence line. If this information is true and the structure of a cow hoof is taken into consideration then my attempt to justify another search gains credibility. I can easily imagine a nugget traveling a short distance in the cleft of a hoof. Pure speculation on my part can allow for a pound or two spread out along the fence line in both directions.
Another possibility is of relics at the massacre site. My studies put this to be at the top of a hill south of upper Sand Creek east of Foraker near what was once a dense forest but now is claimed to always have been prairie. I remember the dead trees.
Copyright Bill Wade #grampawbill
The Jesuits priests, in addition to saving souls, set about enriching the church. Through their travels in the new world, they took advantage of mineral finds by getting locals to work the mines and send the gold and silver back to Spain.
Somewhere around 1635 the good fathers established the Plazuela Monastery in Bolivia. The Monastery was located at the junction of the Inquisivi and Ayopayo Rivers. This area was very rich in gold and silver and the monastery severed as a central holding place. Massive amounts of treasure were collected here and then sent back to Spain.
King Charles III was concerned about the growing wealth and power that the Jesuits controlled. There were rumors that the Priests were planning to establish an independent colony in South America. So he ordered all the Jesuits expelled from the new world in 1767.
The Spanish set up blockades in the mountain passes to prevent the Jesuits from exporting their gold. The priests in Plazuela knew it was only a matter of time before the Spanish came in after them. Over the next few years, they assembled all the mined ores and church artifacts at the monastery. They enlisted the help of 500 local Indians and set about hiding the treasure.
There are rumors of two mass graves in the area. One is said to hold the remains of 300 of these Indians that died of yellow fever, the other is said to hold the remains of the other 200 Indians without reference as to their cause of death. In any case, no Indians survived that were involved in the hiding of the Plazuela treasure.
In 1778 the Spanish came to Plazuela. They found the monastery deserted and without the expected wealth waiting for them. They rounded up some of the local Indians and through use of various means, including torture, attempted to extract the treasure location from them. The soldiers left the area with nothing.
In 1910, Corina San Roman approached Cecil H. Prodgers with a proposition. Mr. Prodgers was a well-known mining engineer. Ms. San Ramon’s grandfather was the Prefect of Callao in 1778 and his brother was one of the last Jesuits to leave Plazuela. Father Gregorio San Ramon left his brother the following description of the treasure location:
There is a hill on the left bank of the Rio Sacambaya opposite the Monastery of Plazuela. It is steep and covered with dense forest. The top flat and with long grass growing. In the middle of the long grass there is a large stone shaped like an egg, so big that it took five hundred Indians to place it there. If you dig underneath this stone for five cordas you will find the roof of a large cave which it took five hundred Indians two and a half years to hollow out.
The roof is twenty-four cordas long and there are two compartments and a long narrow passage leading from the room on the east side to the main entrance two hundred cordas away. On reaching the door you must exercise great care in the opening. The door is a large iron one and inside to the right, near the wall, you will find an image of the Madonna, made of pure gold, three feet high, the eyes of which are two large diamonds; this image was placed there for the good of mankind.
If you proceed further along the passage you will find in the first room 37 heaps of gold, and many gold and silver ornaments and precious stones. On entering the second room you will find in the right hand corner a large box clamped with iron bars; inside this box are 90,000 duros reales in silver money and 30 bags of gold. Distributed in the hollows on either side of the tunnel and in the two rooms are, altogether, 160 heaps of gold, of which the value has been estimated at 60 million duros reales.
Great care must be taken on entering these rooms, as enough poison to kill a regiment of the King has been laid about. The walls of the two rooms have been strengthened by large blocks of granite; from the roof downwards the distance is five cordas more. The top of the roof is portioned off in three distinct esplanades and the whole has been covered for a depth of five cordas with earth and stone.
When you come to a place twenty feet high, with a wall so wide that two men can easily ride abreast, cross the river and you will find the monastery, church and other buildings.
Ms. San Roman’s proposition was to share the treasure with Mr. Prodgers if he could find it. Prodgers accepted. She provided him with the information above and with the assistance of an old Indian named Jose Maria Ampuera. Senor Ampuera was the grandson of one of those who hid the treasure and was paid by the San Romans to watch over the site many years earlier.
Prodgers found Ampuera in 1905 living in the town of Cuti. The old man was over 100 years old. Ampuera told of how President Melgarejo had searched Negro Muerto for the treasure, but that was on the wrong side of the River Sacambaya. The actual location was on a hill called Caballo Cunco.
Prodgers found the egg shaped rock where Ampuera told him it would be. He dymamited the stone and began digging at that spot. He found a manmade roof of bricks and slate slabs. He wrote that while digging:
..at 12 feet, yellow alter slab with flowers nicely engraved on it, there was no longer any doubt in my mind…
The digging was difficult and the locals were afraid that what they were doing was an affront to God. On one occasion, after sinking some bamboo into the dig, noxious fumes were emitted. By the end of 1907, Prodgers was nowhere near the depth he needed. He returned to England to gather a work force a little more skeptical. He was never able to return.
It appears that Prodgers discussed his find with a Cornishish miner named Tredennick. Tredennick searched the area from 1921 to 1927. He dug numerous tunnels into the area. At one time he dymamited a tunnel that set of an internal upheaval that lasted for an hour and a half.
In 1920, Prodgers made a deal with Dr. Edgar Sanders. Prodgers gave Sanders all the details on the condition that his original deal with Corina San Ramon would be honored. Sanders set out with a small group in 1925. At 900 he found another stone. This was 618 feet by 128 feet and a perfect rectangle. The stone is now referred to as the Square Heap Stone. Sanders believed the treasure was under this stone, that the stone was the roof of the treasure room. Near there, he found a tunnel.
Sanders and his group relied mostly on the locals for the digging required. He started clearing the tunnel. As they progressed, they came across a silver crucifix attached to a board. Four feet later they encountered a wall made of stones. In the wall was a hole and in the hole was a wooden box. The digging stopped as all gathered around. Sanders removed the box and in crumbled in his hands. He was left holding a piece of parchment. With the locals and his group from England around him in the tunnel, finally at the wall to what they believed to be the treasure room, he read aloud from the parchment:
You who reach this place withdraw. This spot is dedicated to God Almighty and the one who dares to enter, a dolorous death awaits him in this world and eternal condemnation in the world he goes to. The riches that belong to God Our Master are not for humans. Withdraw and you will live in peace and the blessing of the Master will make your life sweet and you will die rich with the goods of this world. Obey the command of God Almighty our Master in life and in death. In the name of God the Father, The Son and the Holy Ghost. Amen.
The Indians refused to continue. All left the tunnel and Sanders was unable to continue on his own. The rainy season was now upon them and all hope of continuing was lost. Sanders returned to England and was able to enlist a investors. He put a new group together that not only included 22 others, but included compressors, generators, pumps and tractors. They left Liverpool on June 15, 1928. They cleared out the tunnels and removed the stones only to find the tunnel ended there.
They went back to the Heap Stone and started looking for other tunnel entrances that would lead them into the room below. The local Indians said that their ancestors told of three iron doors that into the room. All the digging and prodding done by the group led them to stone. Sanders worked the area until he was broke. He wrote that he was beyond heartbroken. He believed the treasure was right below him, but could not find a way to reach it.
Four bells, the largest weighing 28 arrobas and 17 pounds on which where inscribed Tayopa. One bell inscribed TAYOPA. One bell inscribed REMEDIOS. Weight 11 arrobas and 10 pounds.One small bell inscribed PIEDAD. Weight 5 arrobas. These bells were cast in 1603 by the Right Reverend Father Ignacio Maria de Retana.
One high cross of carved silver from the Tayopa mine, weight 1 arroba, 15 pounds, with an attached crucifix of hammered gold from the Paramo placer.A pair of processional.candle holders and six bars of hammered silver, weighing 4 arrobas, 13 pounds from Santo Nino Mine.Four incensories of silver and gold plated, weighing 1 arroba, 3 pounds from the Cristo Mine. In a cut-stone box are stored jewellery. Box is buried in basement under room built of stone and mud, between the church and side of convent and fruit garden.
One large custody with silver bracket, weighing 1 arroba from Santo Nino Mine, with gold glimmer from placer El Paramo and four fine mounted stones from Remedios Mine.Two silver chalices from the Jesus Maria y Jose Mine, and twelve solid gold cups. Six gold plates made from the Jesus Maria y Jose Mine, and twelve solid gold cups. Six gold plates made from Cristo Mine and Purisima Mine, and two large communion plates of gold made from placer El Paramo.One shrine with four hammered silver columns weighing 4 arrobas from Senor de la Buena Muerto Mine.Sixty-five cargas [packloads] of silver packed in cow-hide bags, each containing 8 arrobas, 12 pounds. Eleven cargas of gold from four mines and placer El Paramo, each wrapped in cloth and cow-hide, with a total weight of 99 arrobas [2512 pounds].Also 183 arrobas of Castilla ore, and 65 arrobas first-class Castilla ore from El Paramo, with a know assay of 22 carats, clean and without mercury.
For the knowledge of our Vicar General, I have written this to inform our Superior. This inventory, written by a Jesuit and sealed on 17 February, 1646, was found by Henry O. Flipper, the Spanish legal expert, surveyor and historian of mines and mining, in 19121. It tallies almost exactly with another of the same date which had been in the possession of the priest of Guadalupe de Santa Ana, a tiny village in Sonora, Mexico, and which came to light in 1927. Both are headed: A true and positive description of the mining camp Real of Our Lady of Guadalupe of Tayopa, made in January 1646, by the Right Reverend Father Guardian Fray, Francisco Villegas Garsina y Orosco, Royal Vicar-General of the Royal and Distinguished Jesuit Order of Saint Ignacio of Tayopa, and Jesuit of the Great Faculty of the Province of Sonora and Biscalla, whom my God keep long years.
Both list the number of mines at or around Guadalupe de Tayopa as seventeen. For many years before these documents were found, there had been tales of a real de minas – a group of mines – at a place known only as Tayopa. This was the first time that its full name had been discovered. Now it only remained, it seemed, to identify Guadalupe de Tayopa and to sear for the treasure in the church vaults and for the mines in the mountains.
The Jesuit MinesIt may at first sight seem odd that a real de minas of such legendary richness should simply have disappeared from written history and form the face of the map. It must be remembered, however, that, although many of Mexico’s mines were owned by Jesuits, it was illegal under Spanish law for priest to own and operate mines. This law was initially passed in 1592 and reiterated in 1621 in the face of gross violation by the Jesuits. In 1703, a royal decree was passed to reproved those who were consistently breaking this law.
It was in the interests of the Jesuits, therefore, to keep their mines secret – not least because they would have wished, as at Plazuela, to avoid having to pay the Royal Fifth to their king.The first Mexican finds seem to have been made in 1600 when a rich lode of silver was discovered in Chihuahua. Sometime around 1603, according to our inventory, the mines now known collectively as Tayopa were discovered in Sonora, the westernmost province of northern Mexico, which rapidly became famous as one of the richest mining regions in the world.
Zacatecas, Aguascalientes, San Luis Potosi, Guanajuato, San Miguel de Allende and Queretaro, now architectural gems on the tourist circuit, were once mining towns that owed their existence and in due course their pomp and magnificence to mineral wealth. Even today, the town of Pachuca has the largest output of silver in the word.In Frutos En Que Comercia O Puede Comerciar la Nueva Espana (Fruits In Which New Spain Trades) by Father Francisco Javier Clavijero, published in 1767, we find the following reference to ‘Projecto Sobre La Sonora’ (‘The Sonora Project’): ‘La Sonora…is the province that is the richest in gold and silver. What is said of it in the History of California is no exaggeration; that “there are mountains there that are of little less than solid silver”.’
Father Clavijero also described, however, the principal hazard of the area:These mines were first worked by various individuals, but when the Royal Council of the Indies declared that they were not mines, but treasure trove, and as such belonged to the Royal patrimony, the workers withdrew, and they were abandoned to the incursions of the barbarians. These incursions which prevent the working of extremely rich mines, which there are in the provinces of Primeria, Sonora, Tarahumana, Tepehuana and others of New Vizcaya could be avoided by the erection of various strongholds and fortresses along the frontiers with the Apaches – according to representations made to the Viceroys by various zealous missionaries of the Company [i.e. the Jesuits].
Guadalupe de TayopaSome traditions maintain that Tayopa was razed after only fourteen years in the great Apache uprising of 1646, thus dating its foundation to 1632; however it is clear from Father Clavijero’s account more than a hundred years later that the Jesuits maintained an active interest in the area.Other evidence shows that Tayopa was inhabited regularly or even continuously during the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. Flipper, the most dedicated and successful of Tayopa seekers, found documents referring to marriages and deaths in Tayopa in a village in Eastern Sonora. Other Tayopa records were discovered in the town of Granados. In 1927, Carl Sauer of the University of California, trapped by rain in Arizpe, Sonora, inspected a chest full of documents including marriage banns drawn up at Tayopa shortly before 1700. Various ‘miners of Tayopa’ testified in these as to the pure Spanish blood of the men and women to be married. Sauer also learned that the baptismal records of Tayopa were kept at Bacadeguachi.
‘The records that I saw established the fact that, in the seventeenth century, Tayopa was a mining camp of sufficient importance to have its own cura (priest). At the time there were probably not three other curas in what is now the state of Sonora. If it had a cura, it had a church. The church should have been built of stone; if so, remains of it should be evident today. The Apaches were very hostile towards the close of the seventeenth century; my guess is that Tayopa had to be abandoned because of them. I judge it lay somewhere between Nacori Chico and Guaynopa.’
Britton Davies, an office in the United States army, was leading troops in pursuit of Apaches in 1885 when he came to Nacori. He found there, he says, ‘a curious state of affairs. The population was three hundred and thirteen souls; but of these only fifteen were adult males. Every family had lost one or more male members at the hands of the Apaches.’ He also heard here of the lost mines of Tayopa. ‘This mine was said to have been of such wonderful richness that blocks of sliver taken from it had to be cut into several pieces so that mules could carry them to sea coast for shipment to Spain. My informant, the white-haired presidents, a man over eighty years of age, told me that his grandfather, who also had lived to be a very old man, had worked in the mine as a boy, and that it was ain a mountain range to the east of Nacori.
‘The Apaches attacked the place one day when the men were nearly all away at a fiesta in one of the river (Rio Bavispe) towns, killed everyone in the camp, destroyed the buildings, and blew up the entrance to the mine. A hundred years went by with no force in the country strong enough to conquer the Apaches, and the mine has never been found.’ The presidente’s grandfather had also stated that ‘Here in Nacori, where we stand, on a still night one could hear the dogs bark and the church bells ring in Tayopa.’ If we take the presidente’s evidence literally and assume that the word ‘grandfather’ was not, as in many tongues, a generic word for an ancestor, it is unlikely, although not impossible, that his grandfather could have been working at the mine earlier than, say, 1720.
The Gold and Silver BellWhether as a result of the Jesuit expulsion order in 1767, or as a result of Apache depredations, then, the mines at Tayopa seem to have been closed and the village itself lost by the mid-eighteenth century. Flipper, incidentally, heard of another tradition that, from Tayopa, one could hear the dogs barking in Guaynopa. This proximity of the two settlements may find confirmation in the evidence of a bell of gold and silver which was dug up near the Sonoran border in 1896, but has since been melted down. The legend inscribed upon it read, “TAYOPA, GUAYNOPA, GUAYNOPITA, SONORA. TRES MINERALES DEL MUNDO’. This as been mistranslated as ‘the three mines of the world’ and even, by optimistic implication, ‘the tree richest mines of the world’. We can find no evidence, hover, that the word ‘minerale’ has ever been used to mean ‘mine’. The legend, simply translated, means ‘three minerals of the world’ – a reference, perhaps, to gold, silver and copper. ‘Throughout history and throughout the world,’ says Alan Hughes of the Whitechapel Bell foundries, ‘Bells have been cast in bell metal, an alloy of copper and tin, because their brittleness give the bell its tone. Soft metals are totally impracticable.’ If, therefore, this bell existed, tit was not a church bell, but might, perhaps, have been a memento cast by the mines, or even a Jesuit device to disguise a large amount of precious metal. It is, at any rate, an unsatisfactory piece of evidence.
James Kirker’s DiscoveryIn 1842, James Kirker, riding with a party of seventy Shawnee warriors, came to a ruined town on the western slopes of the Sierra Madre, which many have since believed to have been Tayopa. Kirker was a bounty-hunter, who made his living by collecting Apache scalps. He was pursuing a large band of Apaches who had captured some freight near Vera Cruz and killed many Mexicans.‘In wonderfully rich country,’ beside a lake some six to eight miles across, wrote Captain James Hobbs, who was riding with Kirker, ‘we found some ancient ruins, the cement walls and foundation stones of a church and a lignum vitae cross, which seemed as sound as it had ever been. We also found remains of a smelting furnace…and some drops of silver and copper. From the appearance of the ruins, it seemed as if there had been a considerable town there. The lake was the headwaters of the river Yaqui…Besides the remains of furnaces, we saw old mine shafts that had been worked, apparently long before. Specimens of gold, silver and copper ore that we took to the mint at Chihuahua were assayed and pronounced very rich.’
Whether this was Tayopa – and it may well have been – it is not likely to be the same site as that seen by Casimero Streeter just a few years later. Streeter was a ‘white Apache’, a renegade white man who lived and fought of some years with the Indians. He was on a raiding-party to the south-east of Cananea in Northern Sonora, when his fellow braves pointed to some ruins way below in a canyon and told him, ‘That is Tayopa, leave it alone. Never try to go to it.’ He could just make out a bell in the ruined church tower. He subsequently identified this spot as lying on a fork of the River Yaqui. Neither the canyon or the church bell are mentioned in Hobbs’s account of the town which he visited. It is therefore unlikely that they are the same, though both are said to be on the Yaqui, from whose headwaters, Hobbs tells us, ‘the Indian [i.e. Mayos] bring down much gold, thought they dare not venture far into the mountains for the fear of the Apaches.’
The Search for TayopaIn 1909, Henry O. Flipper, still searching for Tayopa, was living in Ocampo, when a surprising activity was noted in the area; ‘Many Jesuits came into the Sierra Madre, taking charge of churches that had for generations been abandoned and even establishing themselves where there were no churches. In one little Indian village without a church there were four Jesuit priests. The mountain natives thought theses Jesuits were after Tayopa and other lost mines or hidden treasure. Whatever they were after, the Revolution of 1910 prevented their accomplishing anything.’ In 1910 another attempt to find Tayopa was made by a mining company on the basis of a map copied some fifty years previously by the caretaker of an ancient by regrettably unnamed church in which man y Tayopa documents have been housed. This map gave clear directions to Tayopa. Following these, a party of thirty arrived at a remote and hidden valley in Yaqui country. They found traces of adobe houses and between fifteen and twenty mineshafts some eighty feet deep and full of water. The samples of ore which they took there proved rich in silver. They returned to civilization, founded a new company named Cinco de Mayo, staked their claim to the site, and were poised to sell out to some larger company which could exploit the mines properly when the Revolution also put paid to their hopes. The number of mines that they found is consistent with that in the Tayopa inventory, but we have no idea where the site lies.
In 1911, Flipper was in Spain where he discovered a paper giving directions to Tayopa. He quotes it verbatim:On the 7th day of March stand on the summit of Cerro de la Campana, near the Villa de la Concepcion, and look at the sun as it sets. It will be setting directly over Tayopa. Travel eight days from the Cerro de la Campana towards the sunset of March 7th and you will come to Tayopa.
He was able to identify Cerro de la Campana with considerable confidence as Cerro de la Minaca, a bell-shaped hill a few miles south of the town now called Guerrero, in Chihuahua. But Flipper could never avail himself of this clue: the Revolution prevented further work in Mexico, and he was sent to Venezuela. He never came back. In 1927, C. B. Ruggles, a latterday frontiersman and veteran Tayopa hunter, and the writer, J. Frank Dobie were approached at their camp in La Quiparita, a valley to the west of Chihuahua, by a man who gave his name as Custard. Custard possessed an extended version of the original inventory which included directions to Tayopa from a flat-topped mountain or mesa
Campanero. He also had an approximate and highly stylized map which placed Tayopa amidst the hills of the Sierra Madre. These documents had been copied from originals left by Father Domingo, the parish priest of Guadalupe de Santa Ana, a man who was described by an old Indian parishioner as ‘a queer man…always walking about and looking, looking.’ Custard proposed that they pool. Their skills and resources. IF they should find the lost village, Custard would take the treasure in the church crypt and Ruggles and Dobie could have the mine.
Ruggles agreed. He believed the Mesa Campanero to be an alternative name for the Sierra Obscura, a mountain which stand alongside the river Mayo.The three men spent ten days exploring the Sierra, searching for the two cerritos chapos or ‘runt’ hills which were said to form the gateway to Tayopa and the ‘two notably thick guerigo trees’ mentioned in Custard’s directions. They found nothing.
On their gloomy descent from the mountain, they stopped at the little range of an Opata rancher named Perfecto Garcia. Garcia’s brother had that day pursued a big boar. At bay, it had gored his dog and, when he attacked it with his machete it had turned and nearly slashed off his ear. Ruggles had some skill in medicine. He washed, stitched and bandaged the man’s wounds. When he had finished, in Dobie’s words, ‘Don Perfecto was in an expansive humour.
“Are you not hunting for mines?” he asked Ruggles. “Yes.”“Do you have any documents to direct you?” “Yes.”I have one also. Let me show it to you.”’
And incredibly, Garcia drew from a niche in the wall an old parchment entitled ‘Conocimento de Tayopa’ or “Recognition of Tayopa’. Ruggles and Dobie copied it eagerly. Garcia informed them that the Opatas had taken the document in a raid on a ranch owned by the Pima Indians. It read, ‘It is worthwhile to remember and never to forget that there is a famous mining camp of prodigious richness known to the ancients by the name of Tayopa. It is situated on the first flowings of the River Yaqui, on the downward slopes of the Sierra Madre, in the direction of the town of Yecora in the ancient province of Ostimuri. The smelters remain there not only with great deposits of ore of high assay but with considerable silver in bullion form, stored away just as the antiguos left it. During long years Ostimuri has been almost altogether depopulated.’ From this point onward, the partly torn parchment was unreadable except for a few disconnected words.
The searchers left immediately for Yecora, which still bore the same name. The natives had seen no strangers for two years and in their own curiosity were happy to answer Ruggles’ questions. Asked for directions to Mesa Campanero, they at once pointed to the pine-clad ridge to the west of their village.Here, on top of the mountain, the party found the ‘first flowings of the river Yacqui’ to their west. They followed Custard’s map from this point. They had already concluded that Guadalupe de Tayopa might be Guadalupe de Santa Ana, but resolved for fear of error to follow the map implicitly. It took them two weeks. Amongst others whom they met were the descendants of some Confederate soldiers who, in the aftermath of the Civil War, had turned their backs on their country. At last they found two giant trees of a variety u familiar to them. Ruggles rode ahead to Santa Ana and brought back with him an old man who at once identified them as guerigos, which Dobie later ascertained to be populus wislizeni.
The villagers show them the MinesThey followed their road down to the village, passing between two ‘runt’ hills. After initial hostility from the villagers Ruggles’ medical skills once more saved the day. He treated some fifty influenza sufferers over the next three days. Only then did they broach the subject which had brought them so far. Was Guadalupe de Santa Ana really Guadalupe de Tayopa? To their delight, the villagers, now deep in their debt, showed them the ancient circle of mines. Even the names mentioned on the map and in the inventory were still in current use. The smelters were still there too, and many told of evidently Spanish provenance.
The villagers told stories of other treasure seekers who had come to the village and had dug towards the church. It seems probable, however, that the present church, built by Father Domingo in 1888, was not on the same site as that which the Jesuits had built. Flipper at some stage in his researches had come upon a traditional document which claimed that a huge quantity of bullion was secured in a tunnel or vault 2, 281 varas (about 57 years) south of the church door. This tunnel was said to have a metal door or lock. Flipper had been sceptical of this story, but the head of the village independently confirmed it. His mother and aunt, he said, had found an iron door in the ground somewhere east of the village about fifty years before. They had never been able to guide the villagers back to it, and had been subjected to much mockery. Their story had never changed, however, and the village head knew that it must be true.
The villagers gave Ruggles and his party several old derroteros, one of which had guided an ill-fated expedition to Tayopa in 1858. A Jesuit had led the party. Only one member had survived. Those who were not killed by Indians on their way, died one way or another at their destination. The sole survivor had been hidden by an Indian girl who later married him. Ruggles and his party surveyed the mines and made estimates as to the time and money necessary to re-open them. They then, tantalizingly and mysteriously, disappear apart from Dobie who later wrote up the story of their expedition in detail. Dobie suggested that Ruggles returned to Guadalupe de Santa Ana shortly afterwards but does not record that he succeeded in extracting any of the silver ore or in finding the great Jesuit hoard.
For the Modern Prospector and Treasure Hunter. There is still much to find in the Sierra Madre mountains of Mexico. A prospector with his gold pan and pick and a treasure hunter with his metal detector could still do very well. If they have managed to do all there research. For it takes much more than courage to crack the secrets of Jesuit order.If you are interested in searching for Jesuit Gold. Go to the following section of the website to learn about some rare maps that will help you in your quest.
Looking for Custom Gold Jewelry by one of the finest Goldsmiths in the United States?
Specializing In Heavy Mens Gold Rings…
Here are some pics of a ring he has made for me..from the wax mold to finished product.
NATURAL GOLD JEWELRY
IN SPANISH MEANS THE GOLDEN ONE AND IS THE NAME OF A MUISCA TRIBAL CHIEF WHO COVERED HIMSELF WITH GOLD DUST AND, AS AN INITIATION RITE, DOVE INTO LAKE GUAVATITA. I AM KNOWN AS EL DORADO IN THE ARTISAN MINING COMMUNITY AND HAVE BEEN A PROSPECTOR FOR 30 YEARS. PRETTY MUCH DONE IT ALL BUT NOWADAYS I MOSTLY DETECT FOR GOLD AND PURSUE MY PASSION OF MAKING UNIQUE JEWELRY FROM NATURAL GOLD. ESPECIALLY FROM GOLD FOUND IN THE CALIFORNIA MOTHERLODEALL THE YEARS I WAS MINING FOR GOLD I ALWAYS WANTED TO BE ABLE TO USE MY FOUND GOLD IN JEWELRY. IN 1994 I ATTENDED THE CALIFORNIA INSTITUTE OF JEWELRY TRAINING, JEWELRY ARTS PROGRAM AND LEARNED GOLDSMITHING. I LOVE TO TURN GOLD DUST AND NUGGETS INTO ONE OF A KIND CREATIONS IN MY PRIVATE STUDIO. WHEN I’M NOT OUT PROSPECTING I AM USUALLY SLABBING, CABBING, SMELTING AND CASTING GOLD. AT TIMES I AM COVERED IN GOLD DUST LIKE EL DORADO.
MY SMALL ARTISAN COMPANY IS KNOWN AS NATURAL GOLD JEWELRY. THIS SITE IS A GALLERY OF A FEW OF MY PAST CREATIONS. THERE IS NOTHING TO SELL, BUT JUST SHARE MY WORK WITH THOSE THAT ARE INTERESTED. I DO NOT MAKE JEWELRY AHEAD OF TIME. IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN HAVING ME MAKE A PIECE FOR YOU, MY CONTACT INFO IS AVAILABLE ON THIS SITE.
Here is the link to Steve’s website, many pics of the type of jewelry he has made.
Don’t see something you want, just contact Steve and he will work to insure your custom design is made just for you. Old World Craftsmanship is just an email away. Check him out today, use your gold or his.
Archaeologists have uncovered what may be the largest royal tomb found in more than a century of work on Maya ruins in Belize, along with a puzzling set of hieroglyphic panels that provide clues to a “snake dynasty” that conquered many of its neighbors some 1,300 years ago.
The tomb was unearthed at the ruins of Xunantunich, a city on the Mopan river in western Belize that served as a ceremonial center in the final centuries of Maya dominance around 600 to 800 AD. Archaeologists found the chamber 16ft to 26ft below ground, where it had been hidden under more than a millennium of dirt and debris.
Researchers found the tomb as they excavated a central stairway of a large structure: within were the remains of a male adult, somewhere between 20 and 30 years old, lying supine with his head to the south.
The archaeologist Jaime Awe said preliminary analysis by osteologists found the man was athletic and “quite muscular” at his death, and that more analysis should provide clues about his identity, health and cause of death.
In the grave, archaeologists also found jaguar and deer bones, six jade beads, possibly from a necklace, 13 obsidian blades and 36 ceramic vessels. At the base of the stairway, they found two offering caches that had nine obsidian and 28 chert flints and eccentrics – chipped artefacts that resemble flints but are carved into the shapes of animals, leaves or other symbols.
“It certainly has been a great field season for us,” said Awe, who led a team from his own school, Northern Arizona University, and the Belize Institute ofArchaeology.
The tomb represents an extraordinary find, if only for its construction. At 4.5 meters by 2.4 meters, it is “one of the largest burial chambers ever discovered in Belize”, Awe said. It appears to differ dramatically from other grave sites of the era. Most Maya tombs were built “intrusively”, as additions to existing structures, but the new tomb was built simultaneously with the structure around it – a common practice among cultures such as the ancient Egyptians, but uncommon among the Mayas.
“In other words, it appears that the temple was purposely erected for the primary purpose of enclosing the tomb,” Awe said. “Except for a very few rare cases, this is not very typical in ancient Maya architecture.”
Many Maya societies ruled through dynastic families. Tombs for male and femalerulers have been found, including those of the so-called “snake dynasty”, named for the snake-head emblem associated with its house. The family had a string of conquests in the seventh century, and ruled from two capital cities. Awe said the newly discovered hieroglyphic panels could prove “even more important than the tomb”, by providing clues to the dynasty’s history.
The panels are believed to be part of a staircase originally built 26 miles to the south, at the ancient city of Caracol. Epigraphers say the city’s ruler, Lord Kan II of the snake dynasty, recorded his defeat of another city, Naranjo, on the hieroglyph, to go with his many other self-commemorations. On another work, he recorded a ball game involving a captured Naranjo leader whom he eventually sacrificed.
Naranjo apparently had its revenge some years later, in 680AD, having the panels dismantled and partially reassembled at home with gaps and incorrect syntax – possibly deliberately, to obscure the story of the snake dynasties’ conquests. Fragments have been discovered elsewhere in Caracol and at a fourth site along the Mopan river, but Awe said the new panels could be “bookends” to the story of war and sacrifice in the ancient Maya world.
According to the University of Copenhagen’s Christophe Helmke, the research team’s epigrapher, the panels provide a clue for Kan II’s conquests – he appears to have dedicated or commissioned the work in 642AD – and they note the death of Kan’s mother, Lady Batz’ Ek’. The panels also identify a previously unknown ruler from the Mexican site of Calakmul, Awe said.
Helmke said the panels “tell us of the existence of a king of the dynasty that was murky figure at best, who is clearly named as Waxaklajuun Ubaah Kan” . This ruler reigned sometime between 630 and 640AD, and may have been Kan’s half-brother.
“This means that there were two contenders to the throne, both carrying the same dynastic title, which appears to have been read Kanu’l Ajaw, ‘king of the place where snakes abound’,” he wrote in an email.
The panels clarify what Helmke called a “tumultuous phase of the snake-head dynasty” and explain how it splintered between cities before dominating Maya politics in the region.
The panels identify the origin of the snake dynasty at Dzibanche, in the Yucatan peninsula of modern Mexico, and refer to the family’s move to their capital of Calakmul. Awe said Lady Batz’ Ek’ “was likely a native of Yakha, a site in neighboring Guatemala, who later married the ruler of Caracol as part of a marriage alliance”.
The researchers have had their work peer-reviewed for publication in the Journal of the Pre-columbian Art Research Institute.
Awe said it was not clear why the panels appeared in Xunantunich, but the city may have allied itself with or been a vassal state to Naranjo. The cities both fell into decline, along with other Maya societies, around 800 to 1,000AD, for reasons still mysterious but possibly including climate change, disease and war.
The city was called Xunantunich, meaning “stone woman” in the Yucatec Maya, long after its abandonment by original residents. The name derives from folklore around the city about a hunter who saw a ghostly, statuesque woman, dressed in indigenous garb, standing near an entrance to a temple called El Castillo – a storytouted by tourist sites today. The site was also once called Mount Maloney, after a British governor.
The temple is impressive in its own right, a stone structure that towers 130ft above the city’s main plaza, adorned with a stucco frieze that represents the gods of the sun and moon
Tomorrow from 3 to 6, (Sunday 21 Feb 2016) Sam Milner and I will be signing our Book, Uncharted Waters,40 years of Treasure Hunting, at the Lor-i-lei Restaurant in Islamorada, MM 82, Florida Keys.
Uncharted Waters can be found at http://www.treasureexpeditions.com (PayPal accepted) or a check for 24.95 plus 4 dollars for shipping to, Spanish Main Treasure Co. P.O. Box 1733, Tavernier Fl. 33070. Outside United States add 17.00 for shipping.
WHO IS CAPT CARL FISMER?
Carl Fismer is a world famous Treasure Diver, Cancer Survivor, World Traveler, Television Star and Dynamic Motivational Keynote Speaker.
With over 30 years of treasure search and salvage experience, Captain Carl Fismer is one of the most respected and knowledgeable diving professionals in the world. Carl has worked with some of the leaders in treasure hunting. Carl has worked over 30 years with respected Treasure Historian Jack Haskins and worked with Mel Fisher on the Atocha. His area of expertise is shipwrecks… especially Spanish shipwrecks. During his career, he has worked over 300 shipwrecks in the United States, Bahamas, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, the Indian Ocean and Central and South America. He has recovered millions of dollars in Spanish gold, silver, jewels and other artifacts. “Fizz”, as he is known to friends, directed part of the salvage diving of the Santa Margarita, sister ship to the Nuestra Senora de Atocha which was discovered by Mel Fisher. Then in 1986, he led an expedition to the Silver Shoals in the Dominican Republic, and there located the famed galleon, Concepcion which sank during a hurricane in 1641. In 1992, he traveled to Sri Lanka and dived with Sir Arthur C. Clarke of 2001: A Space Odyssey fame, in association with the Great Basses Reef Treasures. In May, 2010, Captain Fismer was awarded the Mel Fisher Lifetime Achievement Award for perseverance in following his quest for life, his motivation of mankind in the search for knowledge, discovery and the ambitions of the human spirit and the ability to achieve in life what others might only dare to dream.
SPANISH MAIN TREASURE COMPANY (SMTC) was founded by Captain Carl E. Fismer in 1980. Since its inception, SMTC has salvaged artifacts and sunken treasure from shipwrecks around the world. SMTC maintains a considerable inventory of treasure, coins, artifacts, books and video documentaries for perusal or sale to museums, collectors and history enthusiasts. SMTC specializes in producing treasure-related speeches, treasure-related exhibitions and displays for conventions, theme and entertainment parks, shopping malls, cruise ships and any special occasion. These presentations have proven to increase attendance and interest wherever we go.
Carl Fismer lives the life of an adventurer. The type of life that they make books, movies and video games about. Carl Fismer, affectionately dubbed “Fizz”, is a treasure hunter that has dived on some of the world’s most famous shipwrecks. He is often described as a real life underwater Indiana Jones. Carl is an active treasure hunter who travels the world looking for treasure and artifacts. He has worked with Mel Fisher on the world famous treasure ship, the Atocha. Carl Fismer is often called in as an expert on shipwrecks and treasures of the Spanish Main when producers and writers want to add realism to their productions.
When Carl Fismer isn’t diving shipwrecks, he tours around the world as a motivational speaker. Imagine your next conference with an inspirational speaker as electrifying as Carl Fismer as your keynote speaker. The excitement of the crowd when they hear that a world famous treasure diver is is going to be featured. Carl’s story is fascinating and will motivate and inspire the room. Carl Fismer delights his audience with stories of shipwrecks, lost treasure, the Spanish Main, and treasure hunting. Carl is a motivational speaker like no other. Unlike usual speakers who are business people or politicians, your audience will be intrigued and inspired by Carl’s unique story.
Carl Fismer is a motivational speaker who left an ordinary job to lead the life of a treasure hunter. Carl has weathered hurricanes, starred in his own television series “Treasure Divers”, looked for lost treasure and found millions of dollars of sunken treasure.
Pictured: the gleaming riches no-one was meant to see belonging to an ancient nomad potentate, and his queen…or was she his concubine?
In all, some 9,300 decorative gold pieces were found here, not including the ‘uncountable golden beads’. Picture: Vera Salnitskaya
The royal tomb known as Arzhan 2 in the modern-day Republic of Tuva – to many, the most mysterious region in all Russia – is some 2,600 years old but its valuables match any trove from any era anywhere in the world.
Here inside a mound 80 metres wide was buried a warrior tsar with a sway that plainly reached over a vast territory of mountains and steppes, and whose magnificent possessions indicated close contacts with other civilisations.
Forget the notion of barbaric Siberian nomadic tribes in this epoch: well, don’t quite forget. These ancient warriors used the skulls of their vanquished foes as drinking cups, according to no less an authority than Greek historian Herodotus.
And this queen or concubine was almost certainly sacrificed to that she could be buried beside the dead ruler. And yet, as the pictures show, their exceptional artwork predates the influence of the Greeks, and displays a high degree of sophistication.
Unknown warrior was found literally covered in gold alongside with his woman. Pictures: Konstantin Chugunov, Anatoli Nagler and Hermann Parzinger; Vera Salnitskaya
The unknown monarch – a Siberian Tutankhamun – was entombed in this ancient necropolis with 14 horses, a defining symbol of wealth in these Scythian times; each animal was from a different herd.
Alongside him lay the woman in his life, his queen or, as is suspected, his favourite concubine, but in any event a woman held in great esteem who was ethnically distinct from this monarch’s retinue also buried alongside him which included 33 others, including five children. She was in all likelihood not alone in being sacrificed to accompany him to the afterlife…
The most breathtaking aspect of this Tuvan find are the contents of the burial chamber of this royal couple – pictured here – located by archeologists some two or three metres beneath the surface.
In all, some 9,300 decorative gold pieces were found here, not including the ‘uncountable golden beads’. Put in another way, there was more than 20 kilograms of gold, including earrings, pendants and beads, adorning the bodies of the royal couple all made in what is known as Animal Art style.
The ancient ruler was buried with a heavy necklace made of pure gold and gold quiver with fish scale decoration. Pictures: Vera Salnitskaya
Ancient robbers had sought to raid vast burial mound, just as they had successfully looted the neighbouring Arzhan 1 site, which was perhaps 150 years older. It could be that specially built ‘decoy’ graves threw these ancient looters’ off the scent.
Here in Arzhan 2, thieves had left a trail which archeologists unearthed but fortunately the raiders gave up shortly before reaching these treasures, which are made from iron, turquoise, amber and wood as well as gold.
So valuable are they that it is rumoured these wondrous objects – now held mainly in local capital Kyzyl but also in St Petersburg – cannot be exhibited abroad because of the cost of insurance.
The find has been described by Dr Mikhail Piotrovsky, director of the Hermitage Museum as ‘an encyclopedia of Scythian Animal Art because you have all the animals which roamed the region, such as panther, lions, camels, deer…’ It includes ‘many great works of art – figures of animals, necklaces, pins with animals carved into a golden surface’, he told The New York Times.
‘This is the original Scythian style, from the Altai region, which eventually came to the Black Sea region and finally in contact with ancient Greece. And it resembles almost an Art Nouveau style.’
The reconstruction of the costumes made by the experts from Hermitage Museum. Picture: Hermitage Museum
Covered with two layers of larch logs, the royal burial chamber was carefully constructed like a blockhouse and stood inside a second, outer burial chamber of the same construction.
The four walls were presumably adorned by some kind of curtain. Long wooden sticks were found along the walls, which could have been used like curtain rails. The curtains themselves, as well as any other textile remains, were not preserved. On a carefully made boarded wooden floor – likely softened by felt – were the bodies of this sovereign and his companion.
The skulls had dislocated from the bodies because they had probably been placed on a kind of pillow, now decayed. The ancient ruler was buried with a heavy necklace made of pure gold and decorated all over with the carvings of animals.
His outer clothes, probably a kind of kaftan, had been decorated with thousands of small panther figures, each 2-to-3 centimetres in length, attached in vertical rows, also forming motifs such as wings on his back.
A gold pectoral in Animal Style decoration, golden earring with turquoise and a miniature gold cup. Picture: Vera Salnitskaya
On his boots, maybe originally of felt or leather, thousands of mini-beads – in diameter only about 1 millimetre – had been stitched; on the upper part they ended in golden turndowns. Alongside and under the skull were gold plaques with animal-shaped inlays: four winged horses and one deer originally attached to the headgear.
The total weight of his jewellery – including minute glass beads on his trousers – was 2 kilograms. The man’s weaponry consisted of an iron dagger, poorly preserved, on his right hip. This was connected to the belt by a strap, and both had been decorated with numerous golden adornments.
Beside the dagger was a miniature gold cup. On the left side of the deceased was a gold quiver with fish scale decoration. The wooden arrow shafts were painted in black and red. His arrow heads were made of iron, but also showed the remains of golden encrustation. The golden adornment on the belt – used for carrying his quiver into the afterlife – was extremely rich.
Below the quiver lay the wooden bow itself, studded with pieces of golden decoration. Between the quiver and the north-eastern wall of the burial chamber were two picks, one of iron with golden encrustation. To the left of the man’s head lay a bronze mirror.
His outer clothes, probably a kind of kaftan, had been decorated with thousands of small panther figures, each 2-to-3 centimetres in length. Pictures: Vera Salnitskaya
A second, slightly larger bronze mirror was located to the left of the woman’s head, a little bigger and with a gold handle. Below the woman’s head were three gold plaques in the shape of animals – two horses and a mystical winged creature – associated with the woman’s headdress.
Beside her head was a pair of gold pins, decorated with carvings in Animal Art style. The decoration of the woman’s dress corresponded to the man’s kaftan: thousands of golden panthers form different motifs, again, notably, wings on her back. Around her breasts, archeologists found golden earrings and many small beads of gold, amber, garnet, malachite and other precious materials.
Near her feet were thousands of mini-beads made of gold, which must have been fixed onto felt or leather boots which had been inlaid with golden ribbons and granulation.
On her right hip hung an iron knife, poorly preserved but with numerous excellent gold belt adornments. Her wrists were adorned with gold bracelets. Here, too, lay two bronze kettles, seen as exceptionally valuable for these times.
In the western corner of the burial chamber were three large amber beads, a wooden cup with a golden handle, a gold comb with wooden teeth, and a heap of various seeds. Within the heap of seeds was a gold pectoral in Animal Style decoration and a small bronze cup, still inside a small leather bag.
‘It’s hard to imagine that these fine pieces were made by nomads living in tents.’ Pictures: Vera Salnitskaya
In other burials, which surrounded the prominent couple, bronze knives, an axe-type weapon, known as a Raven’s beak, arrowheads, bronze mirrors, belts, and much jewellery – beads made of glass, stone, amber, and golden earrings – were found. So too were fragments of cloth – felt, fur, and fabric.
Here too were discovered bridle sets made of bronze, mane ornaments and tail decorations cut from gold sheet.
What can we discern of the personal stories behind these ancient royals and their entourage found in Uyuk hollow, northern Tuva, and excavated by a joint Russian-German team between 2001 and 2004?
Professor Konstantin Chugunov, highly respected senior researcher at the world famous Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg, who headed the project, said DNA analysis of the group indicated those buried here were from the Iranian ethno-linguistic group.
According to the analysis of strontium isotopes in the bones, all those buried were locals except for one person – the ‘queen’, and it gives reason to think about dynastic marriage,’ he said.
Weapon: an iron dagger and iron arrowheads with golden encrustation. Pictures: Vera Salnitskaya
Totally 35 people – 16 men, 13 women, five children along with bones which cannot be identified by gender, were buried here, as were 14 horses.
The ‘king’ was between 40 and 50 years old and analysis of his remains revealed that he died of prostate cancer. ‘This is the earliest documentation of the disease,’ said Michael Schultz, a paleopathologist at the University of Gottingen. It is believed that in the last years of his life, this potentate could not have walked.
His female partner, accorded pride of place alongside him, was around 30 years old. Who was she?
We don’t know if the woman was a queen or a concubine,’ said Professor Hermann Parzinger, president of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation, and a joint leader of the excavations, ‘but since their ornaments were similar, both must have had high status.’
No cause of death can be detected for her, leading to a theory that she could have been poisoned or strangled, to be buried beside her liege, and to travel with him into the next world: willingly or not, she was a human sacrifice, according to this version.
‘Maybe she was poisoned,’ said Chugunov, ‘or maybe she chose to die to be with her husband.’ We may never know how she died, by natural causes around the same time as her master or in more sinister fashion, but others in the tsar’s entourage certainly had gruesome demises.
Early Scythians were people who knew good artwork when they saw it, and used contacts to obtain, or commission, jewellery and decorations. Pictures: Vera Salnitskaya
The scene archeologists uncovered here appears to match with remarkable accuracy a description by Herodotus of the macabre Scythian burial rite.
‘Based on accompanying burials, we also found evidence of phenomena described by Herodotus when the living would follow the deceased,’ Parzinger has explained. ‘Herodotus wrote that when a military leader died, his close circle – wife (or concubine), bodyguards, advisers, servants – were killed. As they were the property of the leader, they had to follow him to the tomb. And we identified particular evidence of their murder.’
Herodotus, who lived later, from 484 BC to 425 BC, wrote: ‘The body of the king is laid in the grave, stretched upon a mattress. Spears are fixed in the ground on either side of the corpse and beams stretched above it to form a roof.
‘In the open space around the body of the king they bury one of his concubines, first killing her by strangling, and also his cup-bearer, his cook, his groom, his lackey, his messenger, some of his horses… and some golden cups, for they use neither silver nor brass.’
It is believed that when the king died, he was mummified and his body travelled for 40 days across all his lands. And all expressed their sorrow. Then at some sacred place a burial mound was constructed and his entire entourage were slaughtered and buried there.
Cups: wooden cup with a golden handle and small golden cup. Pictures: Vera Salnitskaya
Herodotus did not describe how the ruler’s entourage were killed. While the queen or concubine shows no sign of a violent death – the assumption is that she was poisoned – one woman’s skull in Arzhan 2 was pierced four times with a war pick.
A man’s skull still retains the splinters from a wooden club used to kill him. In some cases archaeologists see evidence of blows to the head with kind of poleaxe: in other case, they suppose strangulation or poison.
Separately, on these human remains was found evidence of ‘battlefield surgery’ conducted on these warriors during earlier conflicts. Next to the burial mound, to the north, was found a separate burial where ‘chipped’ human and horse bones were mixed.
A ‘guess’ is that this fits another Herodotus description of the burial mound being guarded by dead horses pulling wagons with their wheels removed on which were placed dead horsemen.
The Greek historian described 50 young men, who were set around the mound. Those, who made the burial, went away and the mound remained. The corpses of the horses and riders were pecked by birds, eaten by animals, and all this decayed.
Decorations on the akinak – or short sword – show similarities to patterns used in Eastern Zhou (Eastern China). Pictures: Vera Salnitskaya
More can be understood about these nomads from the riches lying beside this noble couple, although these ancient people left no written records, and hardly any sign of settlements that – some archeologists suspect – must have existed.
A royal burial such as this gives the ‘quintessence of information’ because the achievements of the culture at the time were laid to rest with the dead king, it has been said. As Parzinger has said: ‘It’s hard to imagine that these fine pieces were made by nomads living in tents.’ Chugunov concurs: ‘In Arzhan 2, the gold jewellery was clearly not made by nomadic artists.’
They fought and pillaged but as Dr Anatoil Nagler, from the German Archeological Institute, told National Geographic: ‘The people were excellent craftsmen. This puts the Scythian quality of life in a new light. It rejects the stereotype that Scythians were just wild horsemen and warriors, migrating and destroying other people. They had a high level of cultural development.’
Or so it seemed at the time when the discoveries were first made. Now it is seen as more likely that these early Scythians were people who knew good artwork when they saw it, and used contacts to obtain, or commission, jewellery and decorations that matched their needs and tastes. Not that anyone was meant to see these treasures encased in the burial tomb.
The gleaming riches no-one was meant to see. Pictures: Vera Salnitskaya
Some probably originated on the territory of what is now present-day China; others owe their origins to the Near East, with more seemingly made by Scythians in non-nomadic settlements. Some treasures came from a distance of between 4,000 and 5,000 kilometres from this burial mound, yet at this point there were no contacts with the Ancient Greeks.
Even so, the treasures suggest the lost civilisation of Scythians were culturally more advanced that was once supposed. The experts surmise that it was Scythian craftsmen who cast the daggers, arrowheads, and gold plaques found at this site.
Decorations on the akinak – or short sword – show similarities to patterns used in Eastern Zhou (Eastern China) at around the same period. Bronze jars found in Inner Mongolia are compatible to a small bowl with horizontal a loop-like handle from the main burial in Arzhan 2.
The same applies to methods used in embroidery and the manufacture of earrings, the latter resembling a technique used close to the Aral Sea, some 3,600 km distant. Remains of fruit and seeds of plants found at Arzhan 2 had also come from far afield.
DEATH VALLEY UNDERGROUND CITY?
Several years ago, two men – Jack and Bill (surnames
unknown) – were exploring in Death Valley, near Wingate
Pass, when one of them fell through the bottom of an old
They claimed to have found themselves in a natural
underground cavern which they followed about 20 miles
northward into the heart of the Panamint Mountains.
“To our amazement,” they reported, “we found ourselves in
a huge, ancient, underground cave city.
“As we explored, we came upon several perfectly preserved
‘mummies’ They wore thick arm bands, and had gold spears.
“The place seemed to have been abandoned for ages, except
for the mummies. The entire underground system looked
“It was apparently once lit by an ingenious system of
lights fed by subterranean gases.
“In one spot was a polished round table. The thought
crossed our minds that it may have been part of an
ancient council chamber.
“There were also large statues of solid gold. And stone
vaults and drawers full of gold bars and all sorts of
“We were intrigued by some heavy stone wheelbarrows. They
were so perfectly balanced and scientifically-constructed
that even a child could use them.
The men reported that throughout the city were huge stone
doors which were almost perfectly balanced by counter-
They followed the caverns upwards to a higher level. The
caverns ultimately opened out onto the face of the
Panamint Mountains, about half-way up the eastern slope.
HIGH WATER OVER MOUNTAINS?
There were a few exits in the form of tunnel-like quays.
It appeared obvious that the valley below was once under
water. After some thought, they concluded that the arched
openings were ancient ‘docks’ for sea vessels.
Far below in the valley, they could pick out Furnace Creek
Ranch and Wash.
The explorers brought out with them some of the treasure
and tried to set up a deal with certain people, including
scientists associated with the Smithsonian Institute. The
idea was to gain help to explore and publicize the city
as one of the ‘wonders of the world’.
However, to their bitter disappointment, a ‘friend’ stole
the treasure (which was also the evidence).
And worse, they were rejected and scoffed at by the
scientists when they went to show them the ‘mine’
entrance and could not find it. It appeared that a recent
cloud-burst had altered the entire landscape. It did not
look like it had been before.
When Bill and Jack were last seen, they were preparing to
climb the east face of the Panamints to locate the
ancient tunnel openings or quays high up the side of the
But they were not seen again.
DOCTOR GIVES SIMILAR REPORT
In 1946 a retired physician by the name of F. Bruce
Russell told a similar story.
He claimed to have discovered strange underground rooms
in the Death Valley area in 1931. He spoke of a large
room with several tunnels leading off in different
One of these tunnels led to another large room. It
contained three mummies.
He identified artifacts in the room as similar in design
to a combination of Egyptian and American Indian.
What struck him most about the mummies though was their
size – more than eight feet tall.
Dr. Russell and a group of investors launched “Amazing
Explorations, Inc” to handle the release, and profit,
from this find.
But, Russell vanished. And although he had personally
taken his friends there, they were never able to find the
caverns and tunnels again.
The desert can be very deceiving to anyone not used to
Months later, Russell’s car was found abandoned, with a
burst radiator, in a remote area of Death Valley. His
suitcase was still in the car.