However, every once in a great while there are others who make a discovery that can change the history books.
Many times these discoveries are made by archaeologists and professional treasure hunters; and, other times the discovery is made by an average Joe. The following list summarizes the five latest treasure discoveries that shocked the world within the past decade.
1. The Black Swan’s Coin Treasure
In the spring of 2007, the Florida-based deep-sea shipwreck exploration firm Odyssey Marine Exploration recovered a treasure trove at a site the company code-named the “Black Swan.” The site contained a 17-ton gold and and silver coin treasure that was scattered over several hundred yards.
This discovery not only shocked the world, but also created a legal battle between Odyssey Marine Exploration and the country of Spain over the ownership of the coins.
Spain claimed ownership because they believed it to be part of the shipwreck Mercedes. However, Odyssey Marine claimed there was not an actual shipwreck present at the site, and even if it was, the ship was carrying merchant cargo, which is fair game for anyone.
They claimed that either way the treasure was legally retrieved.
2. Treasure of Satricum
In December of 2008, the Carabinieri announced that they discovered the long lost treasure near the village of Campoverde di Aprilia, roughly 25 miles south of Rome, Italy.
What is most shocking about this find is that it was not discovered at a true archaeological site, but on a bookshelf in a small rural farmhouse. The discovery was made after an investigation into the activity of the home’s owner.
Finding suspicious mounds at a nearby lake, the Carabinieri conducted an investigation that led them to search the farmhouse.
The search turned up over 500 miniature jars. The jars, made of Italo-Corinthian pottery and Etruscan bucchero pottery, seem to date between the 7th and 5th centuries B.C. It is believed they were used as offerings in the worship of a diety.
3. The Staffordshire Hoard
In September of 2009, it was reported that a metal detector enthusiast unearthed the largest collection of Anglo-Saxon gold and silver artifacts ever found.
Even more shocking was that this find was discovered on his friend’s farm. The discovery included artifacts such as intricately designed helmet crests, enamel-studded sword fittings, and a gold band with a biblical inscription in Latin calling on God to drive away the bearer’s enemies.
The gold alone in the collection weighed about 11 pounds. The two friends planned to split the find 50-50, which could net them both a seven-figure sum.
4. The Salcombe Treasure
Last February, the South West Maritime Archaeological Group announced the discovery of one of the oldest shipwrecks on record at the International Shipwreck Conference in Plymouth, U.K.
The shipwreck was discovered near the town of Salcombe in 2009. The ship carried a cargo that dated back to 900 B.C. Part of that cargo consisted of 259 cooper ingots and 27 tin ingots.
However, even more exciting was the several rare golden torques that was discovered. Torques were twisted golden bracelets commonly wore by the wealthy back then, but are very rare finds today. The site is still being explored and excavated today.
5. The Somerset Treasure
This past summer, another metal detector enthusiast stumbled upon a treasure that is being touted as the second largest find in England; coming in second only to the Stafford Hoard mentioned above.
The find was a stockpile of 52,500 Roman coins weighing in at 350lbs. Just as in the case of the Staffordshire Hoard, the metal detector enthusiast and the owner of the property split the value of the find right down the middle.
All of the these discoveries were very valuable. Many people choose to base the value of these finds upon monetary worth; however, their impact on our knowledge of history increases the value of the discoveries ten-fold.
Also, these discoveries prove that anyone can find buried treasure, as long as they know what to look for.