I think that hunting treasure must be one of the most universal fantasies in our culture. Treasure hunters are glorified in movies, video games, novels, and every other medium there is. After all, what could be better than finding buried treasure. It combines history, mystery, archeology, danger, and all the other adventurous attributes into one seamless whole.
I have been a sort of amateur treasure hunter for most of my life. I started off with a metal detector like many geeky kids do. Most metal detecting treasure hunters don’t find much besides a little bit of spare change, but some people actually strike it rich. I had a friend who bought a metal detector and found a stash of Roman coins near an excavation site. In the end he made hundreds of dollars off it – not a fortune, but more than enough to recoup his expenses. Best of all, he had quite an adventure.
Of course for amateur treasure hunters, sometimes the treasure doesn’t even have to be real. If you have never had a treasure hunting party and you’re interested in buried riches, you should consider holding one. It’s basically a scavenger hunt for grown-ups, only a bit more intellectual. The clues will involve riddles, anagrams, and other sophisticated word games for adults. There are even some private companies that hold parties for the would-be treasure hunter. If you can get invited to one of these events or sign up for one, it is certainly worth it to do so.
Still, my favorite thing is reading about the famous archaeological expeditions that have happened over the centuries. I love hearing the story of the discovery of King Tutankhamen, for example, or reading about the excavation of Mayan ruins in Latin America. Although my job doesn’t allow me to go on these treasure hunts, I can always dream. Through the books I read, I can certainly live them vicariously.
Of course, if you want to be a real-life treasure hunter, you can always get an education in archeology. Although some archaeologists work in far tamer occupations, quite a few are treasure hunters. They get to dig up excavation sites looking for any signs of ancient civilizations. I know a few people who do this professionally, and they say that it is a lot of fun. It is not all excitement – there’s certainly no gun play involved like in Indiana Jones – but the work is every bit as rewarding.