List of treasure hunters

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A treasure hunter is a person who, as either a vocation or avocation, searches for sunken, buried, lost, or hidden treasure and other artifacts.


  • Heinrich Schliemann (1822-1890, German). He argued for the historical reality of places mentioned in the works of Homer and was an important excavator of Troy and of the Mycenaean sites Mycenae and Tiryns. He is considered by many to have been the "father of historical archaeology."
  • Mel Fisher (1922-1998, American). Best known for finding the wreck of the Spanish galleon Nuestra Señora de Atocha in 1985. The estimated $450 million cache recovered, known as the "Atocha Motherlode," included 40 tons of gold and silver and some 100,000 Spanish silver coins (pieces of eight), gold coins, Colombian emeralds, golden and silver artifacts, and 1000 silver bars.
  • Robert F. Marx (b. 1923, American). A pioneering scuba diver best known for his work with shipwrecks and sunken treasure. Considered controversial for his frequent and successful forays into treasure hunting. E. Lee Spence described him as "the true father of underwater archaeology."[1]
  • E. Lee Spence (b. 1947, American). A pioneer in underwater archaeology, he is noted for his expertise on shipwrecks and sunken treasure. Born in Germany to an American spy master, Spence writes and edits reference books as well as magazines (Diving World, Atlantic Coastal Diver, Treasure, Treasure Diver, and Treasure Quest), and publishes magazines (ShipWrecks, Wreck Diver); and a published photographer. Spence was 12 when he found his first five shipwrecks.[2][3] Spence has salvaged over $50 million in valuable artifacts[4] and was responsible, through his archival research, for the location of the wrecks of the side-paddle-wheel steamers Republic[5] and Central America[6][7] from which over a billion dollars in treasure has been recovered.[8]
  • Captain Robert MacKinnon (b. 1950-present, Canadian). Known for finding the wreck of the Auguste in 1977. Covered in an issue of National Geographic 77-78. The estimated value of artifacts said to be worth hundreds of millions. Auguste was a full rigged sailing ship which sank at Aspy Bay, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia in 1761 while carrying exiles from the fall of New France. Auguste was a former French privateer ship which had been captured by the British and converted to a merchant ship.[9]
  • Martin Bayerle (b. 1951, American. Finder of the legendary shipwreck RMS Republic, an in-=progress recovery for what may be the greatest treasure recovery of all time,The Tsar's Treasure, estimated to be worth in excess of $2 billion in gold coin, gold and silver bars, circulated coin and passenger valuables.


Fictional characters include:


  1. ^ Spence, E. Lee. Spence's Guide to South Carolina. Nelson Southern Printing: Sullivan's Island, South Carolina, 1976.
  2. ^ Warner, Eugene. "Diver Lee Spence" Sandlapper. April 1970, p. 40-43.
  3. ^ Hatch, Katherine. "Treasure Diver." Treasure World. February-March 1972, p. 44-45.
  4. ^ King, Charles. "About the Author" (p. 517) in E. Lee Spence, Treasures of The Confederate Coast: the "Real Rhett Butler" & Other Revelations. Narwhal Press: Charleston/Miami, 1995.
  5. ^ Nesmith, Jeff. "Ocean Treasure Company Has a Murky History." Cox News Service: 3 June 2007.
  6. ^ "Treasure." Life. March 1987.
  7. ^ "Milliard-Skatten." Vi Menn. November 1989. p. 4-7.
  8. ^ "£600M Gold in Them Thar Holds." The Sun, 16 September 1989, p. 11.
  9. ^ Book-Treasure Hunter: Diving for Gold on North America's Death Coast


  • Tolstikov, Vladimir; Treister, Mikhail (1996). The Gold of Troy. Searching for Homer's Fabled City. Harry N. Abrams. ISBN 0-8109-3394-2.  A catalog of the artifacts Schliemann excavated at Troy, with photographs.
  • Wood, Michael (1987). In Search of the Trojan War. New American Library. ISBN 0-452-25960-6.