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Sunday, March 18, 2018

History of the Spanish Master Map

History of the Spanish Master Map

Many of those who have taken up the hobby of treasure hunting, have never heard of the Spanish Master Map, even those exclusive to treasure hunting in Utah. Did you know that what is thought to be a copy of a Master Map was discovered by Thomas Rhoades at a massacre sight in Chicken Creek? The Map was referred to as the Silver Cylinder map, which covered an area from west of the Great Salt Lake all the way to the Colorado boarder? It is said that it had over 100 Mine locations and several other things.

Another presumed master map was in a private collection of a man in Utah county, It is presumed to have been sold to a private collector in California, A friend of mine came very close to getting pictures of it before it was presumed to have sold, however as a result of another’s interfering antics, the holder of the map cut off all communications which was only through a 3rd party.

Another occasion of what was thought to be an early version of a Master map appeared in Utah in late 1980’s when Mel Fisher came to Utah searching for places on a goat skin map which was said to have been sealed with wax in a cannon barrel found on the Atocha. It was relayed to me by this friend that Mel believed that the contents of the Atocha came from specifically the Uinta Mountains. This map was said to cover an area from at least Kamas Utah to Vernal Utah, his hired guide who is a friend of mine, got just a bit more than a glance of the map. A few others I know who had personal knowledge of Mel’s 2 year search but also his daughter who also came searching not long after Mel had past away, and searched another two years. The areas Mel is said to have been looking but not limited too, includes Hoyt Peak, Soapstone and an area west of White Rocks.

Now the Atocha sank in 1622, so how many years prior did these expeditions begin coming to the Uinta’s where in a map was in existence covering such a broad range? The earliest documented expedition into the Uinta Mountains was in 1584 headed by a privateer Spaniard, Antonio de Espejo,  with a previous expedition in 1582-3. It is unknown as to whether a Master Map was underway at the time, the map itself does not share the typical characteristics you would find had it been made by an expedition assigned cartographer. It is because of the whole story behind Antonion de Espejo, that it is suspect that not only was the master map underway, but other maps from a previous expedition period of Europeans existed, dating back as far as 700 AD up and to about 1050 AD. Evidence of this hypothesis, would not be difficult to show... Anotnio de Espejo's map of 1584-8, although highly suspect as having NOT come from a master map, it is incorporated into this map project.

Of the previous mentioned maps, it is unknown if any of them were actually “Master” maps, as it is said and stands to reason that the true master maps would have never left Mexico City, Madrid and Seville Spain, and rumor has it one was even kept in Santa Fe New Mexico. To keep the maps from leaving their safe places, expedition leaders would simply “Copy” the map potion they intended to travel to, such as the famous Reinaldo Map, these portions of maps are those which occasionally surfaced in Utah. Dozens of maps have surfaced over the years here in Utah many very obviously pertaining to portions of the Uinta Mountains.

In a private collection of near 100 maps, and after careful scrutiny of the collection, I was able to narrow a selection of maps to 11 which was felt to be authentic and which were to be used in what became the Master Map recreation Project.

What is the Master Map Recreation Project?

One day while going over the maps discussing them with my map collector friend, I brought up 3 of the maps and asked if he noticed how well they came together when putting them side by side, he said he had noticed two of them but not the third. He asked me why I thought they matched so well. The only thing that made any sense to me is that these maps which were likely carried by the expedition leader whose name was on them, copied them from one of the Master Maps prior to the expedition. The idea came into my head that the 11 previous mentioned maps could be put side by side or incorporated into the whole of what would be a recreation of a fair portion of the Master Map from which they came from. The maps used met the tests of scrutiny, some of them have been published but not in entirety, other had not and still have not.

Digitally stitching the maps together took a few days and when I finished, knowing the maps are not geographically correct, I thought what if…. What if I could create a 30 minute map base with drainages and mountains etc… essentially recreating the Master recreation but geographically correct and after words add in all the other marks with the finished product being a geographically correct Spanish Master map. In my estimation this was a great success as it helped resolve issues of what drainage was intended in the original maps making it difficult to find certain features. Correct geography was a key in resolving perception differences. 

Then the big idea hit… what If, now that I have a geographically correct map base, why couldn’t I create an overlay version for Google Earth? Could it help in locating mine sites and such? Using this tool, I have found several mine sites one in particular that has been sought after for a very long time and only speculation as to its whereabouts has been written, the famous Mina De Rey, The Mine of the King. Rumor has it the Mina De Rey was mine anciently long before the Spaniards, but by whom?

Friday, March 16, 2018

A Spanish Cache Configuration

A Spanish Cache Configuration

In the fall of 2016, a friend called me who was working on a remote sub station site for the local power company. He asked if I had ever seen any monuments in the area he was working. I asked him why? And he responded telling me that from where he was standing not far from the sub station, he could see what appeared to be at least 3 monuments on the side of a small hill. I had my doubts not that I didn’t trust his perception; it is just that if I had a dollar for every misconception of monuments, petroglyphs and the like, I suppose I would be set for life. I ask him to take a few pictures of what he could see in the distance, and sure enough, it appeared as we had another potential monument location likely an instructional site giving directions to a place I learned of many years ago in the North West where Spaniards had been known to frequent, yet this is information is not publicly known.

Many years prior a friend of mine had taken me to the place in the North West to show me some monuments where his Uncle was a big rancher, from what I recall it certainly appeared Spanish expeditions had been there, but this was well over 30 years prior. Since this time there has been many indications of expeditions to the place shown on the old maps, Sierras de Oro.

When we first arrived at this new monument site, I knew if they proved to be authentic and because of their location at the edge of a great barrier, that this site was some how connected to what I knew was Sierras de Oro on the other side. On first examination of the monuments I highly suspected this site as an informational location giving instruction of some thing. At first I thought it was possibly giving instruction as to a location of a last chance spring of water for if one left this place without water, they most certainly could die of thrust if they were to continue.

Further investigations began to show that my initial suspicions were likely incorrect.
Approaching the first monument with two more in site, I could see this suddenly had the potential of a cache. Triangulation is the primary reason for this suspicion; confirmation would soon come after taking all the data of documenting the site back to the computer to create the digital layout.

There are several things to do when investigating a monument, questions to resolve such as, "Is it a mining claim marker from the late 1800's or later? Is it a modern creation for what ever purpose? These questions can be answered very quickly by turning to the Crustose Lichen IF it is present.

Spanish monuments are fairly stout, unlike a well built however Mining claim marker which I have seen plenty and some are actually built quite well, but they are always lacking in two things, one, Crustose Lichen of significant growth, and two, rigidness. When doubt is ever in the mix, I like to give the monument a fair jolt with my hands just enough to jar it, a Spanish monument will not move, maybe just a bit, a more recent monument such as a well built mining claim marker will move with even applying pressure to it as if you just wanted to push it aside. There are several other things to concider as well and with all these things combined, it is possible to determine authenticity and in some case a general time frame they may have been built.

Monument # 1: Approaching monument 1, it was a simple 4 foot monument, it had no particular shape nor any indication of pointers or site windows, this to me was an indication of its purpose of  a specific point in a configuration layout, but for what? Had this monument been found all by itself I may not have given it to much of my time. Crustose Lichen spores present gave indications of approximately 300 years since the monuments were built, this incited even more enthusiasm and excitement. (UPDATE: Monument # 1 on a second visit it was discovered to be a turtle monument of which the head points precisely to monument # 4).

(Note: A "turtle Monument" IS NOT a single rock of any size that just happens to appear to look like a turtle using imaginative skills, it is a literal construction of rocks to form a column or well shaped pile of rocks and not necessarily intended to look like a turtle. An added head and tail to ANY presumed Spanish constructed monument is what makes it a "Turtle Monument," A "cache turtle" is very similar.) Each presumed cache site will use different variations of triangulation and the use of turtles, this tells a tale of who the builder may have been, whether it was a Royal funded expedition or privateers. 

Monument #1

300 plus years of Crustose Lichen

Proceeding to Monument # 2 above at 48 yards away or 52 Varas, I find the same in simplicity, however this monument is about 5 feet tall but near the top of it is what appears to be a possible pointer. Upon looking at this and lining it up with the horizon to which it points, another monument, approximately one mile away, is spotted that is nearly undetectable with the naked eye, but once you see it, it seems to stand out to its surroundings. This sited monument is # 5 to the west and on top of a much larger hill. Although the pointer points to this hill, it was clear it was pointing to a location not far down the hill or south of the monument that could be seen one mile away, we would find out later why. 

Monument 2 with # 3 in the background

Continuing to Monument # 3, I find a near 6 foot monument much like the previous with also a suspect pointer, it is pointing to the exact same location mentioned prior, however this monument had one thing that really stood out, and that is what seems to be for no reason at all, placed on top is a very square rock. At this point the first thing that came to mind is, in the Spanish symbolism, the square is said the represent two things, one is Cache, the other is 90 degrees. From this # 3 monument to what I will later conclude is the actual cache site at Monument 4 and 5, is the exact opposite according to the compass of 90 degrees at 270 degrees. The other thing I took notice of because it exists for no apparent reason was the increase in height from monument to monument, 4 foot, 5 foot and 6 foot, having 3 heights present. This to me, was only significant simply because of my studies and others who have constantly made notations of the Spanish doing things in 3’s or 3 times in addition to its application in triangulation. In addition to this notation of 3's, and you will want to remember this, Let this be a clue, there is a way to validate your findings or conclusions of triangulation in EVERY valid Spanish Cache site, if it is not present, you have either made a mistake, or it is NOT a Spanish Cache Location, This last piece of information I will keep to myself, this way, you will need me. ;-) Sorry...

Monument # 3 with # 1 and 2 in the background

At this point it seemed to me the obvious next course of action was to travel to the monument site we could see one mile away. Later in creating the digital layout I would notice the angle used from monument to monument and as a result I could not help but notice the distance from monument to monument within each of the two separate sites.

Approaching the location of Monument # 5 traveling up the hill, another monument comes into view, this would be monument # 4 and it just so happened to be in the very location the pointers of # 2 and 3 were pointing, but because of the smaller size of approximately 4 feet and near identical with monument # 1, and having been camouflaged from view from the other hill, we could not see it from the previous site. 

Monument # 4

Looking uphill I notice by compass the degrees from # 4 to 5, is the same as from the previous site #1 to 2. Why this has my attention would take some time to explain as to why this is important but suffice it to say it is a sure indication that not only are you on the right track, but it is a likely verification of a Cache site.

Later in drafting the digital layout it is also observed that the 1st site of # 1, 2, and 3 is seemingly a template or map so to speak of the 2nd site on the larger hill, with this suspicion, I checked the distances again between #1 and 2 being 48 yards, observation of site 1’s seeming counter part (2nd site Larger Hill), I see by visual estimation the distance between # 4 and 5 appeared to be 3 times longer, could it be? Sure enough, the distance was near exactly 3 times the length.

Monument # 5 was a stout and 6 foot tall monument, it had no indication of site windows, pointers or anything unusual other than it seemed to fulfill its purpose of representation of a given point in triangulation of a cache layout just as the previous # 4 seemed and serving as an Icon so to speak. If this second site and seeming reconstructed representation of its template site was in fact the results of the template X 3… then where was the 3rd missing # 6 monument? That wasn’t to difficult to answer as there is not a one soul who would place a monument right on top of an intended cache. In creating the digital layout it became very clear the intent of monument # 3. Using this 1st site as a template, your job was to figure out that it was a template and with two monuments already positioned in its counterpart on the larger hill, it was up to the finder to realize, the objective is to plot the cache location which would ultimately be the missing # 6. This would represent the location in the template of # 3, the one with the implicating square rock on top. This # 6 position can easily be established using the same compass bearings found in the template site, and 3 X’s the distances in it. 

Monument # 5 with # 4 in the background slightly and to the left side

I have found over the years at 5 other similar sites, the same basic principles only differing by what would seem to be the expedition leaders personal preference and depth of encryption, it would seem the more important the site, the more encryption is included, however this is speculative and has yet to be proven. Until recently I have not had cause to proceed any further with these sites. Perhaps it is time? Of all the monuments at this site, not one, is what I would call a turtle monument of which I fully expected to find, why was it not used in this case? (UPDATE: On the second trip it was discovered that monument # 1 is indeed a turtle monument of which the head points to monument # 4)

This particular site was educating to say the least, but a far cry from the most encrypted site found years prior, using a combination of all the geometric principles of navigation and triangulation, and took me near 10 years to unravel it, the site which is the subject herein, took less than 30 minutes to resolve once the digital layout was complete.

  Smaller Hill, template site

Larger Hill, Cache Layout

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Uinta Mountains Discoveries SEEKING IDENTIFICATION

Just a few of them little discoveries you hear about but never see... If anyone has any information to help in identification of these items, please speak up. I am certain the finder/owner does not wish to be known...


Small BRASS cannon reportedly found in the Uintas in the 1920's
It is thought to be what is called a signal cannon due to its small size. 
Bronze, 17 inches long, 10 lbs or more

Recent Discovery
Thought to be Pewter, but a silver content is possible, found in the Rock Creek drainage in a sand embankment 2 feet deep.

Recent Discovery
A Pair of spurs found 20 feet apart at one foot deep, near Moon Lake.
Note the Large diameter spur

Recent Discovery
A single spur found near Moon Lake one foot deep