5.18.2007

Silver Treasure from the Sea
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A piece of Eight: 8 Reales, or the Spanish Dollar. Minting of this coin commenced in 1497 and it remained legal tender in the U.S. until 1857

Odyssey Marine Exploration, America's only publicly-traded treasure-hunting company hit paydirt yesterday with the announcement of the discovery of a haul worth $500 million at an undisclosed location in the Atlantic ocean.



What about Pharaoh's Gold? Where did the Egyptians get the gold to make King Tut's fine mask?

Answer: Nubia and the Eastern Desert.

Walk around the Eastern Desert and if you are lucky you might find the hieroglyphic mark for "gold" - phonetically "n-b-w" which we pronounce nebu - incised on the rocks. The Egyptians were fairly good about leaving graffiti in odd places, like "Ankh-Sheshank, overseer of the kings mines was here" or "here is where water flowed from the living rock in the land of Schnum" (this was the ram-headed god of the 'cataracts' or rapids, think of the Colorado River).

If you want to dig for the lost gold of the Pharaohs, you can be an armchair archaeologist and avoid the 125 F heat and the landrover, camel, or donkey trek. All you have to do is invest in Centamin, a publicly traded company that has won a concession from the Egyptian government to develop the gold resources of the Eastern Desert, not too different in appearance from the Sinai or the greater Mojave around Death Valley.

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