This is a history of treasure hunting from the middle ages to the present day, rather than a how to book. Nevertheless, it is well researched and despite being written by a university senior lecturer, is quite entertaining, although biased towards Europe, as medieval North America is largely undocumented. The study leads to the conclusion that treasure hunting in the medieval period was all about dealing with treasure-guarding angels, fairies and ghosts, where wizards were willing to face demons in order to get rich quick and resourceful tricksters exploited greed and stupidity, all watched by profit-seeking authorities. Generally speaking, most authorities regarded treasure hunting as benign and not evil like witchcraft. In the modern period treasure hunting evolved through searching for saintly relics to today’s method’s of researching, gathering and interpreting historical clues to find the treasure.
Interestingly, dowsing or divining has been used throughout the history of treasure hunting and another finding I picked-up on, was that flames, particularly blue flames were claimed to appear above buried treasures. Compare this with Louis Matacia, writing in Finding Treasure Auras, (1996). “When the full moon is highest in the night sky, the Indians would see a bluish-green flame glowing above the ground in the mountain. The glowing flame appeared to grow very slowly, reaching an impressive height and then retreating to the earth from whence it came…And this is where they found the silver and gold.” It seems the phenomenon of treasure auras existed well before the invention of the camera.
Going back to the book, I read it from cover to cover and found it a good read. First printed in hardback in 2011 and paperback 2012. The drawback, as with academic books in general, is the eye-wateringly high price. Even the E-book is priced at over £20.00 GB Pounds. You can always try and borrow the book from your local public library though.