Monday, March 19, 2018

Searching for, or hiding, treasure

And old homestead foundation.

A Sugar Maple growing through the wheel of an old manure spreader.  It has been there for a while.
Lilac bushes.
We are coming to the time of year when it is easy to find old homestead foundations.  In Michigan, the two signature plants that mark them are lilacs and daffodils.  Both plants can easily last for fifty years after the house is abandoned.  And, come late April and early May they scream their presence to any who wish to look.  Autumn Crocus is a less common plant that exhibits similar durability.

Other places have other "signature plants."  Large parts of Texas, for instance, are marked by heirloom rose bushes that are growing on their own roots.  Not only can these species last a long time but they resprout after being bulldozed.

Now suppose you wanted to bury some valuables.  You don't know who is going to move into the house so you don't want to hide it in the house.  Furthermore, there is always the risk the house will burn down or be bulldozed.

So where do you hide the valuables?

Burying the valuables under the lilacs or daffodils ensures that the owner of the treasure can locate them fifty years later.

Suppose an item were to become contraband...much like when Roosevelt made it illegal to physically own gold.  Further, suppose the people given the task is as smart as you are and knows to search beneath the lilacs and daffodils.  What then?

A couple of alternatives spring to mind.  One is to plant LOTS of daffodils and lilacs and to have a single grouping of white specimens.  It is virtually impossible to guess the flower color when they are not in bloom.

Another alternative is to "salt" the ground with decoys.  Nothing triggers inductive metal detectors better than iron.  Burying handfuls of 16d, galvanized decking nails (3.5" long) in strategic places is guaranteed to having the boys whipping out their shovels.  Another decoy is to cut 3/4" foam into strips that are 1-1/2" wide by 5" long. Ultrasound back-scatter search techniques should trigger and get the boys excited.

These decoys are similar to the technique of "hiding" a house key where you know an intruder will find it.  The intruder will use up valuable time, perhaps even breaking off the key in the lock as they try to make the WRONG key work.

Good luck!!!


  1. The other place is IN the foundation stones... We found a tin box in the foundation of the old smokehouse when it was torn down. That box was from the mid-1850s, and the documents were still in good shape.

  2. I've been "salting" the areas behind my house and bar for 20 years. Steel scrap, aluminum and steel tubing (some tubes buried 24" deep in both horizontal and vertical orientations) and lots of cut off wire and all my half used welding rods.

    There may or may not be firearms buried there, but someone is gonna have fun finding them if they are.....


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