(The late Mel Fisher knew the value of thorough research in his hunt for the fabulous treasure of the Nuestra Senora de la Atocha.)
There are many factors that can make the difference between being a successful treasure hunter and drawing a blank, luck notwithstanding. Here are three tips I consider fundamental keys if you want to become a success at treasure hunting:
1. Do Your Research
This is the single most important aspect of any treasure hunting endeavor. Thorough and thoughtful research can mean the difference between success and failure, and separates the "men from the boys" and the "girls from the women" when it gets right down to the nuts and bolts of treasure hunting. Departing on an extensive treasure hunt without having done your research up front is like going into battle without a weapon in your hands. You may get lucky and survive, but chances are you won't.
A classic example of someone who understood the importance of research in treasure hunting was the late Mel Fisher, finder of the unbelievably rich Spanish treasure galleon Nuestra Senora de Atocha. Without the help of a PhD historian who combed the Spanish Maritime Archives in Madrid for key information on the last known location of the Atocha, Mel would not have found this legendary sunken treasure.
2. Use Good Equipment
This can be a tough one because most treasure hunting gear such as metal detectors, ground-penetrating radars, magnetometers, and the like is often outrageously expensive these days. Granted, not all of us are embarking on large and elaborate treasure hunts involving research vessels, support crews, or underwater robots. But the essential principle remains the same.
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Before embarking on any serious treasure hunting endeavor you should make certain you have the right gear for the job on hand, but you should also do your level best to ensure it's the best equipment you can afford under the circumstances. One of the worst things you can do as a treasure hunter is to perform painstaking research, actually locate a cache or treasure, and then come up short because your equipment failed or was not up to the task. I know it's not always easy, but you must always strive to do the best you can in this regard.
3. Keep Your Mouth Shut
You may think I'm joking here but I'm definitely not. This is the first commandment of treasure hunting and you should sear it into your memory. Learning to keep your ego in check and your mouth closed are extremely important if you want to actually recover treasure troves, no matter how large or how small they may be. This means something as innocuous as a "posthole" bank or two, or a large cache of gold 20-dollar Double Eagles...it's all the same my friend.
Why? Simply because if you allow a fragile ego and a motormouth to take charge of the situation at hand regarding treasure finds, you'll soon find yourself in a world of hurt. How so, you ask? Use your head. If you go around broadcasting what you have accomplished and the financial successes associated with those treasure hunting accomplishments, every Tom, Dick, and Harriet is going to be actively and aggressively attempting to get a piece of your hard-earned treasure pie. Or worse yet, you'll lose the entire kit and kaboodle.
A few of the folks who will take your loose lips info and run with it include the following:
other treasure hunters
property and land owners
con men (and women)
local and state governments as well as the Feds
Get the picture here? And this is just a partial list. Yes, sometimes publicity is unavoidable, particularly in the larger and more expensive treasure hunting expeditions where you are seeking investors or backers. However, even in those environments the less you say, the better off you'll be in the long run.
These three tips are pretty simple and straightforward and that's the way it should be. Let these simple tips guide you throughout your treasure hunting endeavors and, in the end, you'll come out on top.
Good hunting out there.
If you liked this post, you may want to read: "West Virginia Troves Worth a Second Look"
(c) Jim Rocha (J.R.) 2012
Questions? E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org