Maps for the serious . . . (click)
SOUTHWEST FLORIDA SITES:
MANATEE COUNTY SITES:
PASSAGE KEY -- (N27° 33.44 W82° 44.64) is just off the S. tip of Egmont Key at the mouth of Tampa Bay, and is avery popular spot for boaters in the summer. Hundreds of them come here, frolic in the water, and some invariably lose their jewelry. There are several wrecks near Passage Key, among them is the Tug Cindy, at N27° 34.34 W82° 42.08.
BAYFRONT PARK BEACH -- is on the NE side of Anna Maria Island, and is (and was in the past) a heavily populated beach in the summertime. A beach dive with a metal detector almost always turns up yellow metal! Anna Maria Island guards the entrance to the Manatee River, an excellent river for finding giant Megalodon sharks teeth by looking for bars and excavating there.
BICKEL INDIAN MOUND -- in Bickel Mound Park, off Bayshore & 24th Ave. West, on Terra Ceia Island which faces Tampa Bay (to the North). Terra Ceia Island is the first land you come to when crossing Tampa Bay on the Sunshine Skyway Bridge (Hwy. 275). To get to the mound site by land, get off Hwy. 275 at Center Road (14th Ave. W.) and go straight to Bayshore Dr., and then wind your way west to the mound. For artifact divers, the area off Beville Point (N27° 33.60 W82° 35.36) is rich with Paleo and later spearpoints. Fossils may also turn up at this location.
PORTAVANT INDIAN MOUND -- (N27° 31.86 W82° 37.56) a small mound on Snead Island, a point of land between Terra Ceia Bay and the Manatee River, North of Palmetto at the end of Hwy. 43. The mound itself is in the mangrove swamp near the N. tip of the island. It is illegal, unethical, immoral, and everything else to disturb the mound, but the waters opposite the mound sites likely hold bone pins, spearpoints, knives, and other artifacts.
MANATEE COUNTY PARK BEACH / HOLMES BEACH -- at the end of Hwy. 64, turn up 41st St. to the beach.
BRADENTON BEACH / CORTEZ BEACH / COQUINA BEACH -- off the end of Hwy. 684 is Bradenton Beach. Cortez Beach and Coquina Beach are the next two beaches to the south. This begins the major area for finding Megalodon fossil sharks teeth at the 15-18ft depth off the beaches. Finding gold requires an underwater metal detector with a large searchcoil in these locations due to the large areas to be covered; nonetheless, many extremely valuable finds have been recorded on these beaches! Many times the harder beaches to hunt are the best because treasure hunters are unwilling to work them.
LEE COUNTY SITES:
GASPARILLA ISLAND - (N26° 46.07 W82° 17.95) is the site of much history but alas, the legendary pirate Gasparilla you may hear of is not part of it. A treasure story was concocted around a fictional pirate by an old fisherman (too old to fish so he had to do something) named Johnny Gomez in the late 1800's, who sold his treasure tips and maps to the ship's wreck-site and hiding places of Gasparilla's buried treasures etc. etc. His story was that he was a cabin boy on the pirate ship (which would have made him 120 something when he died), that Gasparilla kept women on Boca Captiva, and that the ship was sunk and Gasparilla killed by (insert a US Naval Ship of your choice) XYZ ship of the line in the 1820's. Instead of the story dying with Gomez, it was exacerbated by real estate developers who knew a good sales slogan when they heard it, and still used to merchandise material by a bevy of Tampa merchants. The unfortunate part about all this is that normally rational people dig up Indian graves, bulldoze mounds, and in general create havoc with archeological sites while looking for the treasure. THERE IS NONE! For treasure authors giving the latest treatment to the tale, factual evidence can always be provided to cancel their story out. Should you hear the tale, I will give you a brief debunking, and urge you to spend some time in the library before digging up anything. David Porter's anti-piracy squadron attacked pirates in other countries, not our own. The squadron's ships were all deployed from Key West to the south, and every ship given the credit for sinking Gasparilla in any of the stories I have seen can be proved (by U.S. Navy documents in the National Archives) to have been on station somewhere else. If a pirate of Gasparilla's supposed stature had been slain, it would have been a national story of the times, much as Blackbeard's demise was in his time. Such is not the case! BEWARE! What can be found on Gasparilla Island is tourist's gold, and lots of it! The beaches are loaded with people in the summer, and the water is different from most of the Gulf, as it is crystal clear almost year round. A good spot to concentrate is opposite the yellow and white wooden Gasparilla Inn, circa 1912, as it had a casino for beach frolickers to visit! Fossilized shark's teeth can also be found here by diving out to 15 feet and sifting the sand with a spaghetti colander. Look for anything black! Two more top gold producing beaches are Boca Grande Beach & Lighthouse Beach off Hwy. 775 on Gasparilla Island. Working these beaches with a large searchcoil is bound to produce a fist-full of gold jewelry!
DE SOTO COUNTY SITES:
PEACE RIVER -- up and downstream of the Hwy. 760 crossing of the river, many large MEGALODON shark teeth are found, many as large as the human hand. There is a boat ramp at the Hwy. 760 crossing, suitable for small boats. Most teeth are found at bends of the river, and it is wise to plan a trip here in the winter, when the alligators are a bit more docile (for an alligator)!
CHARLOTTE COUNTY SITES:
MANISOTA KEY -- enormous numbers of fossil shark teeth can be found here, from the beach out to 20 feet. The larger ones are found further out, by using a tough spaghetti colander to dig and sift the sand. The key itself is an excellent spot to metal detect for gold, using a large searchcoil in the pattern indicated in the "how to" section for beaches.
TOP BEACH SITES -- are Englewood Beach off Beach Road on Manisota Key opposite Englewood.
SARASOTA COUNTY SITES:
BEACHES -- from north to south, the top beaches for finding gold are Lido & S. Lido Beach off Hwy. 789 on Longboat Key, Siesta Key Beach Park off Hwy. 758 on Siesta Key, Turtle Beach off Hwy. 758 on Siesta Key, Nokomis Beach off Hwy. 789 on Casey Key, Venice Municipal Beach in Venice, Brohard & Caspersen Park Beaches on N. Manisota Key. All these beaches, worked underwater with a metal detector consistently, would undoubtedly reward the searcher with enormous amounts of jewelry. An added bonus to finding gold along these beaches, are MEGALODON shark teeth finds!
WARM MINERAL SPRINGS -- in North Port Charlotte, this is the site of the oldest human remains found intact to date.
ONLY YOU CAN KEEP IT FLYING & PHOTOGRAPHING!
ORDER YOUR T-SHIRTS!
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ÓMatt Mattson, 1997, 1998, 1999, all rights reserved.
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