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May 31, 2007



These treasures came from History. And with many a tale of pain and despair in the making. Finds like these, robbed from the dead, should, with all people involved in the find and cost reasonanly compensated, be given to the genuinely needy of this world. To quarrel over gold, while clean drinking water still remains our biggest killer in the world is absurd. This tresure should become part of a new international fund. The people indiginous to the origins of this treasure are spread globally. If only to look back on this time and see what history was made.



As an archaeologist (Ok, student of archaeology) I'm outraged at the behaviour of treasure hunting firms like Odyssey. It is obvious that they have no interest whatsoever in the historical value of the wrecks they find, claiming to do archaeological work only for publicity reasons. The main problem, I think, is the fact that they are publicly traded. This puts an immense pressure on them to suceed in finding "profitable" sites, to "excavate" them as quickly as possible and remove anything that's potentially valuable. Publishing their results and research only adds cost after the treasure is removed and is therefore kept to a minimum. To increase their profits they sell those items on open antiquity auctions, a place where museums and scientific institutions can't compete financially with wealthy private collectors and where associated finds are sold seperately and strewn all over the world.

I know that, especially in fields like deep-sea archaeology, academic institutions cannot provide the necessary research due to lack of funding which means commercial archaeology is neded.

I think a profitable archaeology firm operating under strict (albeit self-imposed) rules would still be possible. The rules would have to look like this:

- The firm is not publicly traded, reducing the pressure for fast and spectacular discoveries.
- in case of discovery commercial archaeologists invite their academic colleagues to collaborate (reducing labour-costs and increasing quality of research)
- everything (including "treasure") is properly recorded before it is removed
- the finds and research are published thoroughly and in time (which means 5 to ten years :)
- when the artifacts are sold a right of preemption is granted to museums which are allowed to buy them at a lower price than potential private collectors

The problem with this approach is that a huige amount of money would be needed to found the company which means that either government subsidies or a trust are needed to establish one.


Everyone else here has already beaten me to the punch, because I had exactly the same thoughts. The Spanish are saying "It's ours because we stole it fair and square!"

I don't see Spain down there at the bottom of the ocean trying to get the treasure up. In a case like this, it oughta be "finders keepers, losers weepers." Period.


and who made legal the "ill-gotten gains".

Ricardo Buenrostro

If the treasure is gold or silver probably was stolen by the Spanish (Gachupines) from Mexico, so it would be Mexico that should claim it, not Spain.


If Spain has a claim on treasure, do the native american tribes that the treasure was stolen from by Spain have any legal rights here?

Joe Garcia

If Spain has a claim then maybe whoever they stole it from has a claim too.


Rosseti, from a moral perspective you are undoubtedly right. From a legal perspective it has no standing as far as I am aware, and in any case it would be impossible to repatriate gold and silver coins to the heirs of the people who originally possessed the raw materials, however ill-gotten the gains may have been. Unless you are talking about reparations, in which case there is a very long line.

When funereal remains are repatriated to native North American and Native Hawaiian communities under US law, there is a rigorous standard for proving whether the claimants are indeed decendants of the individuals whose remains and effects are in Museum collections. Assuming there was a legal basis for doing so, could you do the same for those living in South America who are truly descendants of those who were living in the lands where this gold and silver was plundered at the time it was taken? You can't give it to individual nations on those grounds, nor to descendants of Europeans.


that treasure belong not to spain,in all case belong to the country were that gold and silver was looted..... south america

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