Over 80 golden artifacts are presumed stolen from the museum depot in Skopje, the capital of FYROM, the Reformed Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
Many of the items were golden earrings dating back from the Hellenic era. They were discovered in digs between 2009 and 2010.
Several archaeologists (illegal excavators) working as employees of the culture ministry, have been charged with helping to determine the price of the artifacts and find buyers abroad.
FYROM's former chief excavator, Pasko Kuzman, was arrested in July for misuse of office, leading to speculation of his involvement in the theft.
And so the "Indiana Jones-esque" intrigue continues.
Extra tidbit: Though the country’s residents call themselves the “Republic of Macedonia,” its neighbor, Greece, is outraged. It has threatened economic blockades, fearing the use of the name “Macedonia,” might provide claim to ancient Macedonian lands that reside well within Greece.
For more on the lost treasure, click HERE.
For more on FYROM, click HERE.
There is a little-known (outside of Texas) legend about Jim Bowie's additional purpose for being at the Alamo at the time of the famous 1836 battle.
This tale assures us he was defending the fabulous gold and silver treasure he found at the Lost San Saba Mines. It was intended to finance Texas independence from Mexico.
Are there any facts to support this story? Possibly.
In 1753, an expedition seeking a site for an Apache mission led to the discovery of Los Almagres Mine (later called San Saba) in what is now Llano County. It was famed to be rich in silver and gold. The mission, however, was destroyed a year later, and constant Comanche and Apache attacks made further hunts for the treasure a deadly risk.
We know that around 1832, Bowie lead two separate expeditions into the hill country north of San Antonio. Did he find the mines? Rumors abounded that he led a pack train of seventeen burros laden with treasure. Some assumed that when all seemed lost at the Alamo, he ordered his men to hide the treasure.
Too much to believe? More recently, after a radar scan over the Alamo revealed something odd buried underground, the Archaeology Department at St. Mary’s University agreed to oversee an excavation project. Permits were granted for a dig 15 X 15 feet. Historically valuable artifacts were found, but no treasure.
So, was the treasure real? Two first-hand accounts add more weight.
In 1838, a story appeared in the New York Mirror, about Ms. Webster, a white woman who escaped from the Apaches. She told of gold and silver mines and brilliant stones like diamonds (certainly quartz crystals).
Later in the century, using the original chart from his great-grandfather that mapped the mines, Franciso Yorba led a band of Mexicans to the mine. It was at Bowie's old fort, Loma Grande. They camped for ten days and dug a great hole under the wall of the fort.
One witness, Pedro Sanchez, asserted that a frenzy broke out after discovering a mound of gold and silver bars and coins.
Sanchez was shot, but escaped with a gold bar and several gold coins in his shirt. When the cowboys that treated him found the gold, it set off a new round of searches.
The hunt continues. One journalist reports he has heard these stories for more than three decades. On occasion, a secretive miner will show up with "bars of silver the size of the largest Hershey bars and five times as thick."
Panning for Texas Gold by Ira Kennedy
San Saba Lost Silver Mine
The legend of Leon Trabuco’s gold hovers over the sands near Farmington, New Mexico.
It began during the Great Depression in 1933. Trabuco, a Mexican businessman, and four associates thought to make a killing reselling gold in the U.S. when the value of the dollar fell. They bought Mexican gold coins and jewelry, melted them at their makeshift foundry, and cast them into ingots.
Their pilot, William Elliot, was hired to fly sixteen trips, transporting the gold to a clandestine spot in the desert. Trabuco carried the cargo away by truck to an unknown destination.
Records show that the final shipment arrived on July 14, 1933. Approximately 16 TONS of gold ended up buried, waiting for the price to rise. It did, increasing the value by over $7,000,000. Certain that it would go farther, they waited. Bad move.
FDR signed an executive order related to the Gold Act. It declared that after January 1934, private ownership of gold within the US was illegal.
The gold became worthless overnight.
More bad luck. Within five years, Trabuco’s three partners died early deaths. Struggling for over twenty years, Trabuco was unable to find a buyer for the gold. Hounded by the U.S. Treasury Department, he died, taking the location of the gold to his grave.
But there are clues.
One treasure hunter, Ed Foster, has this to say. "I believe that Conger Mesa is where the plane would adjust and come in and land. I met this Indian lady that couldn’t speak English so I got an interpreter. She said she had watched that plane land there many, many times.” Foster also followed leads from eye-witnesses who were children at the time and remembered the unusual appearance of Mexican men on their Navajo reservation.
The ruins of a Mexican-style house, foreign to the area, is believed to have housed the men who guarded the gold. Ed Foster believes the gold lies in a triangle formed by Conger Mesa, Shrine Rock and the Mexican-style home.
Up for a treasure hunt? Is 16 tons of gold enough to tempt you into rattlesnake country?
In the seventeen hundreds, this Puritan community was delivered by an angel - or was it?
Where’s the Mystery? Any guesses? Leave a comment.
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