Sunday June 14, 1903 the brothers Sam and Will Martin robbed more than 75 people who traveled on the old road to Pawhuska near Liza Creek three miles west of Bartlesville. They committed several other robberies across the region and finally they camped near Wooster Mound south of Pawhuska. Sam and Will found two women cooking at a “cow camp,” robbed them and demanded a meal. The very next day they were so bold as to return to the same camp, and this time they rode away with a large pot of beans.
A granite stone was placed south of Pawhuska as a historical marker, beside the highway across from the Bronze Horse Foundry. It bears these words: THE BATTLE OF WOOSTER MOUND Near this site on August 8, 1903, U.S. Marshal Wiley G. Haines, Chief of Osage Indian Police Warren Bennett, and Constable Henry Majors ended the career of the notorious outlaw gang known as the Martin Brothers. The outlaws were wanted for murder and robbery over a five state area. During the fierce gun battle Sam and Will Martin were fatally wounded. Marshal Haines was seriously wounded but recovered. “No better stroke for law and order in the territory was ever struck than in wiping out the vicious Martin Gang.” (Judge Horace Speed)
It has been said that a large amount of money was cached in this area. My search located the camp, the actual site of the gunfight, several copper jacket slugs, and an assortment of markers that may lead to one or more caches of ill gotten money.
Copyright Bill Wade #grampawbill
It was in 1871 that a shipment of 24 Colt Dragoon Pistols was making its way from back East to its final destination at Fort McDowell. The pistols were under military escort, consisting of eight men. A sergeant, four soldiers a Lieutenant as well as a civilian packer.
The escort left Camp Pinal (Picket Post Mountain in Superior) beginning their arduous journey to Fort McDowell. After traveling on the only real road at the time (which was a stage road) the soldiers were attacked by between 15-25 Apaches at a spot where the road narrows tightly between two hills, making an ambush a flawless success.
As the first explosion of Apache’s gun fire erupted and in less than 15 seconds the four soldiers and the civilian packer were killed in a failed attempt to return fire. The Lieutenant and Sergeant grabbed the reigns of the pack mule that was carrying the pistols and made a frantic attempt to get away from the ambush and make their way back to the garrison Camp Pinal.
They rode like hell over several ridges and down into washes while being pursued by the Apaches, but were soon cut off by more warriors riding down on them from their chosen escape route. So the Lieutenant and Sergeant cut north and either rounded a sharp bend and took shelter inside of a small cave and prepared for their defense. The first warrior to round the bend charged the cave and was shot in the face by the Lieutenant and the pursuing Apache dispersed (at least appeared to disperse).
After about three hours of waiting and not seeing any signs of movement around them from the Apache, they decided to lighten their load to make a fast get away to Fort McDowell through the Superstition Mountains. So they took off the 24 Pistols that were packed on the mule and buried them in the floor of that small cave and then made good their escape.
As they made their way through the Superstition Mountains they could see in from a distance the Apache in return watching them from rocks high above but they didn’t make any movement to attack. As the Lieutenant and Sergeant were near the Salt River and clear of the Superstition Mountains, the Apache attacked yet again. The warriors knew exactly where to lay the ambush and exactly where they had to exit the mountains and cross the Salt River. The Sergeant was shot out of his saddle and the Lieutenant just spurred his mount and made a desperate attempt to escape and rode straight through the ambush. He was now the only survivor and eventually made his way to Fort McDowell and reported what had occurred.
General Crook dispatched two or three companies of troopers to go with the Lieutenant to the place where he had buried the Pistols and to investigate the attack. The troopers gathered up the bodies (what was left of them) but the Lieutenant could not recall where the cave was located where he had buried the pistols. He was new to Arizona and didn’t know the terrain, the only ones in his escort party who did know the Mountains and trails and passes were killed during the attack. The soldiers continued searching while in frustration but with no results.
The exact cave was never located and the pistols were never recovered and still waiting to be found to this very day. If these pistols could be found they could fetch a nice price but more importantly, they would be a priceless link to our states beautiful and bloody history.
(While on your search please carry water with you and watch for rattle snakes as the temperatures grown higher and higher. Try to stay cool and always tell someone where you will be going and when to expect you home).
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.
Leon Trabuco’s Gold
At a makeshift Mexican foundry, gold coins and jewelry were melted down and cast into ingots. In less than three months, he and partners had collected almost sixteen tons of solid gold. They smuggled the gold into the United States, where if caught, they faced long prison terms. Trabuco searched for a safe place to hide the illegal treasure, but eventually, he decided it would be smarter to bury the gold. In the heat of the summer, he hired a pilot named Red Moiser to make several covert flights into the New Mexico desert for Trabuco.
It is believed that Trabuco chose a sparsely populated region near the Ute and Navajo Indian Reservations in New Mexico. Moiser allegedly made sixteen flights, carrying one ton of gold each time, taking them to pick-up trucks that transported them to burial site. Trabuco never revealed the location and was careful not to create a map. When the Gold Reserve Act of 1934 passed, the price of gold soared, but instead they waited for prices to soar higher.
Unfortunately, the Gold Act of 1934 made private ownership of gold illegal, and Trabuco was unable to cash in on his scheme. Over the years, he and his partners all died untimely deaths. Trabuco took the location of the gold to the grave.
Treasure hunter Ed Foster has searched for Trabuco’s Treasure in the desert around Farmington, New Mexico for over thirty-five years. He is convinced that he found the 1933 landing strip used by Red Moiser at a plateau called Conger Mesa. He has spoken with an Native American lady and Navajo woman who was six years old in 1933 who both recalled a plane that would land and take-off from there. Ed said she remembered several Mexican men who lived on the Reservation.
He also found an old Navajo home unlike any other on the reservation about twenty miles west of the mesa. It was probably meant as a guard post to guard the gold. It is a Mexican-style structure with windows, a front door, a back door and a veranda. Not far away is Shrine Rock inscribed with a date and the words: “1933 16 Ton.” Ed believes the gold could be hidden away somewhere in the vicinity of these three points.
Treasure hunter Norman Scott believes Trabuco’s Treasure has an air of authenticity to it. He believes that with available technology, it is only a matter of time before it is discovered.
It is believed that the treasure consisted of Mexican gold bought by several millionaires.
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.
World famous treasure hunter Floyd Mann shares with the AHRF his insights on a billion dollars worth of treasure that was scattered across the United States by A secret organization called the Knight Of The Golden Circle or KGC for short. This group of confederate sympathizers refused to accept the terms of the surrender and started making plans for the south to rise again. But they needed a great amount of money to support a 2nd civil war. So they started collecting, robbing and stealing money, gold, silver, jewelry, arms and ammunition. They buried it around the country in old mining tunnels, pits and holes that they dug. They assigned armed sentries to protect this loot from being found. But by the time they had amassed enough fortune and supplies to fund their second civil war, World War One broke out an ended their plans by uniting the country. Also, most of the KGC had died off by then anyway. But the treasures they buried, which some have estimated to be worth billions if not trillions of dollars, is the stuff that dreams are made of to treasure hunters. Floyd shares some clues as to where to look, what to look for and where to go to get more information.
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.
With the release of the Disney motion picture “National Treasure: Book of Secrets,” the idea that America may be home to hidden treasure is capturing the imagination of audiences everywhere. Are there really national treasures linked to great American figures? Could the
Beale Papers, which until now have been a 19th century legend, indicate one such mystery? One
investigative author says yes.
The Beale Papers are three encrypted ciphertexts that have long been thought to point to a treasure in Virginia. The story goes, in 1820, Thomas Jefferson Beale left an innkeeper the encrypted documents telling where he had buried a treasure worth $30 million. Beale was never heard from again, and the mystery was left unanswered. Some have called the story a hoax, but author Kenneth Andrew Bauman provides evidence supporting a case for the mysterious Beale Papers