Although stumbling across lost treasure under the sea isn’t something you do every day, if you were thinking that it was a physical impossibility, then you’d be wrong. There are still pockets of treasure buried deep beneath the water that are yet to be discovered. Take this opportunity to channel your inner pirate while reading about some of the most famous sunken treasure around the world that’s just waiting to be found.
In 1715, 11 treasure-filled ships made their way from Spain to Havana, together making up what is now known as the 1715 Fleet. Just off the coast of Florida, the ships came across a fierce hurricane, that consequently ended in all eleven boats sinking, claiming the lives of over 1000 sailors. Today, this event is believed to be ones of Spain’s biggest maritime disasters. Although tragic, this catastrophic event is still to this day providing divers with sunken treasure. Recently, Diver William Bartlett delved into a 300-year-old shipwreck, taking with him a metal detector just in case he came across any hidden gems. When he left shore, he had no knowledge of the life changing moment he was about to encounter. Inside the shipwreck, he found a single Spanish gold coin, when searching a little deeper, it wasn’t long before his diving gloves were full to the brim with all the coins he could manage, having to leave a considerable amount of the treasure behind.
Over the next few days, Bartlett and two other treasure hunters, Dan Buckingham and Jonah Martinez returned to the wreckage, collecting between them 350 gold coins with a total value of $4.5M. This incredible find is now known to be the most valuable discovery from the 1715 shipwreck. With over $400M worth of coins still waiting to be detected, there is thought to be many more valuable discoveries to come – one day.
First discovered in caves at Qumran, the Copper Scroll is known to be part of the collection of 1st-century documents, commonly referred to as the Dead Sea Scrolls. Appearing different to the rest of the collection, the Copper Scroll seemed to have a different author, style, and even language, to the other many scrolls, found. Created from an entirely different material to other scrolls, the importance of the ancient document was quickly discovered. As the scroll was written on metal, it proved difficult to unroll the corroding record; however, a couple of years later it was decided that the scroll should be cut into strips, then placed carefully back together, with the intention of being able to uncover the hidden message on the inside. After transcribing the contents, it quickly became apparent that they had stumbled across something incredibly special.
An extraordinary list was unveiled, containing formal directions to 64 different locations, where large quantities of hidden treasure could be found. Nobody is quite sure where the treasure originated, but many assume that it could be that of the Jewish Temple. Although countless searches have been carried out, they have been to no avail. The instructions written on the scroll are broad, appearing to be written for somebody that already had an inside knowledge of the location. That doesn’t stop people searching, though; however, to this day, all 4,600 talents of precious metal (worth over a billion dollars) are still waiting to be uncovered.
Art Dealer, Forrest Fenn, is believed to have hidden over a million dollars’ worth of treasure somewhere in the Rocky Mountains. Fenn himself came up with this usual idea, after a close brush with death, just a few years previously. He made the conscious decision that anybody that passes away with more than $10,000 still left to their name, has failed at life, so began to think of something meaningful he could do with his money while having a little fun at the same time. He concluded that people should take more time to stop and think about life, putting his new-found happiness down to regular yoga classes and daily meditation. For the people looking for something more fast paced than time spent on a yoga mat, Fenn decided to put his treasure hunt idea into action. Putting together a set of clues, some of which are included in two of his published books, he made a couple of different trips out to the Rocky Mountains, taking with him a substantial amount of ‘treasure’. On his first trip, he was believed to have taken with him a bronze, Romanesque chest, and on his second, a backpack full of gold coins, nuggets, and gems, like those found in gemstone jewellery.
Rumour has it that many people have found the treasure, but seeing as nobody has been able to provide Fenn with the evidence he requested, he believes these rumours to be untrue. In July 2017, Fenn made the statement: “The treasure remains where I hid it about seven years ago,” which means it’s yet to be found.
The Desert-Stranded Pearly Galleon is a subject of legends, reportedly being about various ships that have supposedly become stranded in California’s Colorado Desert. Shortly after the Colorado River flood in 1862, stories of a lost Spanish galleon started to crop up. Various sightings were recorded in 1870, one of which was reported in the Los Angeles Daily News as being half buried in a dried-up marsh or lake. Although at the time, the ship could easily be seen poking out the sand, from several miles away, when the time came for the ship to be searched, it has mysteriously disappeared once more. The ship is now thought to be buried beneath the Salton Sea, meaning that any treasure left on this large vessel is yet to be found or claimed.
Whether you’re thinking about delving into the depths of the ocean or spending time studying the riddle-like clues of Fenn is more up your street, if you’re willing to put in the time, energy and purchase a good quality metal detector and shovel, there is plenty of riches just waiting to be discovered around the world.