August 22, 2012
Who said "buccaneers and buried gold" were a thing of the past?
A 21st century Billy Bones has come upon the scene, telling stories of vast riches in distant lands. British archeologist Shaun Whitehead, who has explored unchartered territory before in the Great Pyramid of Giza, has announced that he is set to sail this fall to Cocos Island, 350 miles off the coast of Costa Rica, in search of a deserted stash said to be worth more than $200 million. Dubbed the "Treasure of Lima," the booty is fabled to have been buried there in 1821 by Captain William Thompson, a British trader who was hired by Spanish authorities in Peru to transport the loot to Mexico for safekeeping but instead made off with it and hid it somewhere on Cocos. A Spanish warship soon captured the seafarer and his crew, all of whom were executed except for Thompson and his first mate. They were kept alive when they vowed to reveal the hiding place but managed to escape before they were forced to do so.
The plunder purportedly contains 113 gold religious statues, 200 chests of jewels, 273 swords with jeweled hilts, 1,000 diamonds, solid gold crowns, 150 chalices and hundreds of gold and silver bars.
Whitehead has his work cut out for him. For centuries, explorers have failed to find the treasure on this unoccupied, largely deserted island. Former President Franklin Roosevelt, Australian actor Errol Flynn, and race car driver Sir Malcolm Campbell are amongst those who have tried.
However, The Sunday Telegraph reports that Whitehead is hopeful that he and his team of 15 researchers from the University of Costa Rica and Frankfurt's Senckenberg Institute will be able to pinpoint the exact spot where Thompson buried the treasure almost two hundred years ago with the use of hi-tech machinery.
The team plans to use an unmanned helicopter, outfitted with cameras, to fly above the nine square-mile island and make a computer-generated map of the landscape. A snakelike robot will then be moved across likely hotspots and use radar to detect cavities of up to 60 feet deep.
The ten-day expedition is set to take off after the rainy season in November.
Tell me, what do you think? Will Whitehead find the hidden treasure or won't he? And if he does, what will he do with it? Come to think of it, I'd like to know what you would do with over $200 million in hidden treasure?
I can think of a few ideas myself.