National Geographic : 1965 Jan
ENTACHROME(LEFT) ANDKODACHROME EBYOTIS IMBODEN © N.G .S . hopefully whenever it approached buried met al (page 4). A high-pitched whine. Metal! I quickly dug into the loose sand-only to come up with a rear spring from a Model-T Ford. This same process soon produced dozens of tin cans, two bedsprings, and the remains of a coffee grind er of the 1920's. I moved my search operation half a mile to the north. Almost immediately I turned up a ship's spike and a cannon ball-then an entire clump of cannon balls. Now, instead of digging at each signal, I began to draw a chart, staking out the limits of the metal bearing zone., The area covered barely half an acre. I began organized excavation. I was convinced that I had hit my target, the fortified ware house. Clusters of cannon balls marked the gun sites, though someone had removed the guns themselves. The digging also turned up many pieces of broken earthenware. Another early find encouraged me-a pair of cutlasses buried under a few inches of sand. They lay side by side in opposite directions, as if fitted into a case. There was no sign of the case and the blades were half rusted away. Another ping in the detector led me to three blackened metallic rectangles. Scraping and testing soon proved that my search had brought its first modest rewards. They were channel-shaped silver fragments. I theorized that some bricks nearby were part of a small kiln used to melt the silver coins into more easily transported bars. This, I guessed, would have been the work of the English freebooters. Or could it be that the Spanish salvagers melted down the King's plate to make it easier to conceal and carry off their personal share of the proceeds? Glint of Gold Stirs Excitement On the following day I had just put my shovel down near the edge of the hole when a yellow glint caught my eye. I bent over and retrieved a gold ring set with a large, crudely shaped diamond. On this shortest and most profitable day of salvage, I think Henry Jen nings's grinning ghost sat on my shoulder all the way home. The rudely made ring is of gold so soft that the large diamond was of necessity half buried in its setting, and its weight of 21/2 carats is only an estimate. Round the central stone are grouped six others about the size of a match head (page 19).