Today, most people stay away from Pere Cheney, Michigan (near Roscommon) but it’s not simply because there’s nothing left of the place except the old cemetery. Or because it’s on a difficult to travel road that resembles the ruts made by two wagon wheels.
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
FORT SUMNER, N.M. (KRQE) – A flea market treasure could mean big things for New Mexico’s history. A North Carolina man believes he may have a photo of Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid.
Frank Abrams traveled all the way to New Mexico to learn more about an old tintype he purchased years ago. KRQE News 13 followed Abrams to Fort Sumner, New Mexico to try and get to the bottom of this historical mystery.
Billy the Kid’s legend lives on more than a century since his reported death.
“I knew only Billy the Kid from the movies,” Abrams chuckled. But the North Carolina attorney is learning much more about the western outlaw, especially since he may have a photo that could blow the lid wide open on a piece of history.
“The holy grail might exist,” Abrams told KRQE News 13.
Abrams spent $10 on an old tintype at a North Carolina flea market years ago. He said it was the rough looking cowboys that caught his eye.
The tintype sat hanging in a guest room for years.
Recently, the newly-verified photo of Billy the Kid playing croquet, now appraised at $5 million, got Abrams thinking.
“After I Googled Billy the Kid, I said ‘oh my gosh, he looks like Pat Garrett!” Abrams recalled. “And that’s what got it started.”
Legend has it Billy the Kid was killed by Lincoln County Sheriff Pat Garrett in July of 1881.
Convinced his photo shows Garrett possibly with the Kid, Abrams brought high resolution images of his tintype to meet with local experts.
“The improbability of this situation is such that I need to find out,” Abrams told KRQE News 13.
Abrams and his wife flew to New Mexico, then hit the road to Fort Sumner, home to the Billy the Kid museum and his reported gravesite.
Inside the museum’s walls are rare pieces of history, including Billy the Kid’s gun, his wanted poster, and dozens of old artifacts.
Tim Sweet is the museum’s owner. “The first thing when I looked the photograph, the first one that stood out to me was Pat Garrett,” Sweet told KRQE News 13.
Sweet said he’s 95-percent convinced the man with the mustache in Abrams’ tintype is Pat Garrett.
“If this is the real deal, Frank has got a jewel right here,” said Sweet.
Finding out who the other men are and why they were together is key. Sweet believes if the tintype is a photo of Billy the Kid, it may have been taken when Garrett and a crew took him to be arraigned, and before Billy’s escape.
Sweet said the capture was cause for celebration. “All of them are smoking cigars,” Sweet pointed out.
There are other features that have him thinking. Abrams points out a defined Adam’s apple on the man he believes to be Billy the Kid, compared to the known photo of the Kid. Both photos show a pronounced Adam’s apple.
Still, Sweet said more research is needed, and more experts need to analyze the tintype.
Sweet, along with local historians, would be curious to figure out why Garrett would have taken a picture with Billy the Kid and when.
If Abrams does have a photo of Billy the Kid and Pat Garrett, Sweet said, “I think it just proves what took place.” It would be the first photograph of the two together, which Sweet admits would be “big.”
Either way, Abrams said his first trip to New Mexico, and the adventure this photo has led him on, is worth it.
“I’m going to do whatever is necessary to find out,” Abrams told KRQE News 13. “This picture would clear up a lot of mysteries, historical mysteries. The truth is the key.”
It took a team of experts more than a year to authenticate the second-known photo of Billy the Kid playing croquet. Abrams said he’s in it for the long haul to get to the truth.