Saturday, October 06, 2018

Treasure Quest - A Few Final Thoughts

Just a couple of things to clear up after the season finale of Treasure Quest. Just a couple of questions that I have about the show, or a couple of comments about what we saw.

First, if I understood it right, one of them mentioned they had spent two months in the wrong place. They had talked to the last man living who had actually looked for the treasure and he told them that he thought it was on the site of the old Jesuit mission. In that first episode, after they had traveled over the Death Highway, trekked in with burros, and made a big deal about how isolated the place was, they apparently found a silver goblet buried among the ruins. Interesting, suggestive of something more to be found, but in and of itself, irrelevant.

That didn’t stop them from crawling all over the area, finding tunnels and caves, and calling in heavy equipment from the “secret” road to Quime. That also told us that they could have driven in, from Quime, in a couple of hours. We didn’t need all the additional drama, but what is a treasure hunting show without some artificial drama.

C. H. Prodgers
Anyway, had they bothered to do any basic research, they surely would have come across C.H. Prodgers’ book telling of his adventures in the area about a hundred years ago. Prodgers made it clear that the treasure was hidden under a huge, egg-shaped rock that he had blown up. Fifteen feet or so under it, he found the roof of the cavern or tunnel that held the treasure. I mean, he told the world where it was and these guys spent two months in the wrong place. Even I, sitting at home with a computer hooked to the Internet, took nearly ten minutes to find Prodgers’ book and then find the relevant chapters. After all this, our treasure hunting crew found the tunnel that Prodgers had described. They could have saved two months time and been able to reach deeper into that underground lake.

Second, are the Spanish coins they found. These were silver, according to Shawn Cowles, and I have no reason to doubt his conclusion. What I did wonder about is why they were in such pristine condition. After they pulled them up, out of the mud in the underground lake, I thought they should show some signs of being under water and stuck in mud for hundreds of years. It seemed to me that he just wiped the mud away and there was a nice, shiny Piece of Eight looking as if he had pulled it out of his pocket.

I did try to find some information about silver buried in the ground. I learned that as a base metal, it doesn’t react to the chemicals in the soil the way other metals, such as tin does. Silver doesn’t rust. It does, however, tarnish, just as the goblet they had found earlier had tarnished. So, I wondered if a silver coin buried in the
Spanish Piece of Eight
mud, under, what, four feet of water (at least four feet at the time they found it) would react with the soil. Would the water protect the coins from the ravages of sitting around in the open air? We all know that silver, just sitting in a cupboard does tarnish. What about coins? What about Spanish coins? What about coins under water? And were they under water for the last three or four hundred years or had the lake receded or died up periodically in that time?

I confess that I can’t answer most of these questions, but they do make me wonder. And, I will say that it seems that silver doesn’t deteriorate as quickly as other metals do. That means that wiping the mud off them might have revealed silver coins that looked as good as these do. I just don’t know the answer.

To end this, I am intrigued by the images recovered using the Go Pro. What it seemed to show were bars of metal which they identified as gold, sitting in the water near the abyss they found. There seemed to be several of them. What we don’t know is if these are all the bars in that tunnel or are there more, maybe at the bottom of the deep hole they found. I do wonder why Prodgers or any of the other expeditions didn’t find more of the treasure… Or, did they? Maybe what the new team found was a few of the items dropped by those carrying the real find out of the tunnel long ago. Maybe the treasure was there and all that is left are just a few bits that were deemed unimportant.

That does make for an interesting ending to the season. We’ll just have to wait to find out what is at the bottom of that lake. Unless, of course, the show is cancelled.

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