Shaun Whitehead, a British archaeologist, is planning on leading an expedition to the real "treasure island," an island in the Pacific that reportedly holds more than $200 million in gold, silver, and jewels.
Whitehead, who has already explored previously uncharted passages inside the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt, stated that he will sail to Cocos Island, an uninhabited island off the coast of Costa Rica, in November to search for the fables "Treasure of Lima" that was stashed there in 1821 by Captain William Thompson, if the legend is correct, reports The Huffington Post.
Thompson, a British trader-turned pirate, was tasked by Lima's viceroy José de la Serna in 1821 with transporting their loot to Mexico for safekeeping. Instead, the captain of the Mary Dear killed the viceroy's men and made for Cocos Island, burying the stash of 113 gold religious statues, 200 chests of jewels, 273 swords with jewelled hilts, 1,000 diamonds, solid gold crowns, 150 chalices, and hundreds of gold and silver bars on the uninhabited island, according to The Daily Mail.
A Spanish warship caught and murdered Thompson's crew, leaving him and his second in command alive under the guise that the two would lead them to the buried treasure. Instead, they escaped on Cocos Island and were reportedly picked up by a passing ship without the treasure a year later.
Finding the treasure has been the dream of many including Franklin Roosevelt, Errol Flynn, Sir Malcolm Campbell, and German explorer August Gissler who spent almost 20 years living on the island but came back with just six gold coins. According to The Telegraph, Shaun Whitehead stated of the Cocos Island treasure expedition that:
"Given the amount of treasure, it would have been too heavy to carry far from sea level and stories suggest the use of caves. We can also rule out where others have looked, dug up and detected – like on the beaches. If it is there, it will be in a natural cave which was hidden by one of the many landslides that occur on the island. It is not a case of following a map and "X" marking the spot. It is about using a bit of logic to establish the likelihood of some areas where it could be."
The team will be using a small unmanned helicopter to fly over the nine-mile square island, which will help them make a 3D map of the landscape. They will then use a snake-like robot that uses ground-penetrating radar to detect voids and cavities to a depth of 60 feet. The data will be added to the 3D map to identify likely concealed caves.
The next step is to use a "keyhole" drill to drill a hole into the suspected caves and then lower a one inch probe camera to be a treasure eye. Along with their treasure hunt, the group plans to do extensive archaeological, geological, and ecological research, stressing that the 15-man crew is not simply going on a glorified treasure hunt.
The team is made up of researchers from the University of Costa Rica and the Senckenberg Institute (a natural history research organization in Germany). Whitehead added that:
"This is a scientific survey, including archaeological, geological and biodiversity aspects. Unlike previous trips we are not going to dig vast holes or do anything destructive at all. The real treasure of the island is its natural beauty. Anything else we find there is simply a bonus."
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