The Treasure Cavern


Drake knew that precious stones would be destroyed by a lack of moisture, so a system was needed to redirect the spring's runoff to create a moist environment in the areas where treasure was going to be buried. An ancient type of valve system, similar to that used in Roman aqueducts was created from a cement-like material. Cannon barrels salvaged from the disassembled ships were placed end-to-end and served as water pipes connecting the valve system to the desired locations.


Once the pool of water had drained from the cavern, the valuable items were placed inside along with layer-upon-layer of colored clay until the cavern was completely filled. Then, the entrance was covered with several feet of dirt so that it would not be noticed by anyone who came upon The Treasure Site.


After the task of loading the caverns was completed, the course of the spring's runoff was redirected into the valve and water-pipe system. The heavily-clayed soil would retain moisture during the annual dry season and even through long periods of drought. THE TREASURE WAS NOW SAFE!

Alluvial Stones

Faceting of gemstones as we know it did not begin until the 17th Century. During the 16th Century, the value of a gemstone was based upon its size and the richness and depth of its color. Alluvial gemstones (those found in rivers and dry river beds) were polished and not cut! Today's translucent and transparent gemstones (commonly grown in a laboratory and not mined) would have been considered to be the lowest quality stones during Drake's time. Back to top

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The Emerald Goddess - Umina

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The Emerald Goddess holds a place on the list of Great Missing Emeralds. It disappeared during the Spanish Conquest of the Incas in Peru during the 16th Century...and was never seen again...until now! Note the features of the face including; the eye, nose, mouth and Inca-style earring. The Goddess also sports two breasts below her face on the torso.



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Partially Exposed Cannon Barrel and a Patch of Green Treasure in Cavern Wall

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Images of Brightly-Colored Cavern Walls (above and below)

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The Smiling Ghost

Smiling/Frowning Ghost Image in the Cavern Wall

Images such as the ghost served as maps or markers. In order to confuse the Spanish or anybody else trying to recover the treasure, Drake used several types of reversals when preparing his maps and markers. Misinterpretation of the reversals could be serious. The least problematic result of not understanding the reversals was the wasted time and effort of digging in the wrong direction. The more serious outcome could result in injury or even death if the treasure hunter found himself digging in a location that could trigger a deadly trick such as a falling boulder or collapsing room! Back to top

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The Frowning Ghost


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Wood Carving of a Bird Used as a Directional Marker


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The Treasure Cavern Ceiling