6 Locations to Search for Buried Treasure

We’ve all dreamed of unearthing a medieval king’s prized necklace on a Sunday stroll with the dog, or accidentally tripping over an ancient Egyptian amulet while walking in the woods, but why leave it all to chance? Travel writer Rebecca Lomax gives us the inside scoop on where to stumble upon some much sought after riches. This time next week, we’ll be millionaires.

Forrest Fenn’s Treasure Chest

Start the search: Rocky Mountains, Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

Somewhere in the mountains of Santa Fe lies a treasure chest full of gold, jewels and artefacts worth over $1m. How do we know it’s there? Art collector Forrest Fenn wrote The Thrill of the Chase, a book and poem with clues to the treasure’s location, after learning he had cancer. Thinking he was dying, Forrest hid his treasure collection as a last hurrah. Thankfully, Forrest’s illness went into remission, but he didn’t recover the chest of loot he lugged out into the wilderness, and it remains undiscovered to this day.

Santa Fe Vista – John Fowler

Roman Pocket Money

Start the search: Richmond, North Yorkshire, UK

The Roman civilisation may have been forward thinking for it’s time, but the one thing they seemed to lack was a decent place to store their money. Roman coinage slipped out of pockets all over the country and treasure hunting enthusiasts have had great success picking up dropped pennies in various areas of Richmond. Grab a metal detector and a trowel and get digging – but make sure you gain permission from the landowner  first and check the Treasure Act if you’re lucky enough to make a find.

Welcome to Richmond – Andrew Bowden

The Riches of El Dorado

Start the search: Lake Guatavita, Sesquilé, Colombia

The history of this lake’s riches stretches back hundreds of years, and speculation abounds that it is the source of the infamous El Dorado legend. The story goes that the Muisca tribal chief (dressed in gleaming gilt robes) would take to the waters to make sacrifices to the gods. His offerings of choice? Gold and precious stones, thus making this particular lagoon a magnet for magpie-like treasure seekers. Though excavations have been attempted in recent years, no huge haul has been successfully recovered. The tricky part being that, when the lake is drained, the mud hardens and the gold is locked in, but when full, the waters are far too deep and murky to even make an attempt at gathering any gold. Take a diving trip…if you’re feeling lucky.

Overlooking Lake Guatavita – C.C.P. Photography

Jaws’ Gems

Start the search: The Boneyard, Florida, USA

If you want to walk away with an almost guaranteed token from history, take a chartered diving trip to off the coast of Florida to the rather intimidatingly titled ‘Boneyard’. Also known as The Shark’s Tooth Capital of the World, the area is awash with fossilised gnashers, whale bones and, most impressively, Megalodon teeth, buried among multiple layers of silt on the sea bed. An ancient relative of the Great White, a Megalodon’s tooth can measure over 7 inches in length. Valuable to collectors, they can fetch as much as $800 depending on the size and condition. Now that’s definitely something to smile about.

Golden Nuggets

Start the search: Gallwyd, Dolgellau, Wales

Gold mining in the Welsh village of Ganllwyd officially ended in 1998, but that doesn’t mean the gold rush is over. Individuals are still travelling to the area to pan for gold in the surrounding rivers, using only the most basic equipment. Prospectors have been panning for nuggets here since 1860, and while the finds today may be smaller, there are still surprises to be found. Fortunately, you can keep any gold you do find, but be careful not to mistake your pickings for iron pyrite (Fool’s Gold) or risk a rather humiliating encounter should you try to cash it in.

Ganllwyd River and Rapids – William Hook/GanMed64

Yamashita’s Hoarde

Start the search: Baguio City, Philippines

There are approximately 175 caves in the vicinity of Baguio City in the Philippines, all of which may contain valuable items looted from areas across Southeast Asia and Singapore in WWII. General Yamashita is the man rumoured to be responsible for wedging the riches in the caverns and although there are suggestions that some of it has been recovered by the CIA, the spoils have yet to turn up officially in the public eye. While a visit to the caves nowadays may not turn up the treasure, some do contain mummified remains as a rather creepy booby prize.

Bikes in Bagio City – Sir Mildred Pierce