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Treasure hunting is the physical search for treasure.
In modern times
In recent times, the early stages of the development of archaeology included a significant aspect of treasure hunt; Heinrich Schliemann's excavations at Troy, and later at Mycenae, both turned up significant finds of golden artifacts. Early work in Egyptology also included a similar motive.
More recently, most serious treasure hunters have started working underwater, where modern technology allows access to wrecks containing valuables which were previously inaccessible. Starting with the diving suit, and moving on through Scuba and later to ROVs, each new generation of technology has made more wrecks accessible. Many of these wrecks have resulted in the treasure salvage of many fascinating artifacts from Spanish treasure fleets as well as many others.
Treasure hunting is condemned by a growing number of nations, and UNESCO issued a chart for the protection of the underwater cultural heritage in 2001: the UNESCO Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage. This convention is a legal instrument helping states parties to improve the protection of their underwater cultural heritage.
Every year in February, The Syracuse Post-Standard holds an annual Treasure Hunt, in which they hide a plastic medallion in a public park. Each day they publish clues in the paper leading to it's location. In recent years, the medallion was been found at the Camillus Erie Canal, Onondaga Lake Park, and Green Lakes State Park.
Notable treasure hunters
- Capt. Martin Bayerle located the shipwreck of RMS Republic in 1981.
- Mel Fisher (discoverer of the Spanish galleon Nuestra Señora de Atocha)
- Cork Graham (war correspondent, author)
- Mike Hatcher (discoverer of the "Nanking Cargo")
- Juan Ponce de León (searched the new world for gold and the Fountain of Youth)
- Robert F. Marx (underwater archaeologist, author)
- Odyssey Marine Exploration has extracted treasure from the shipwreck of the SS Republic
- Dr. E. Lee Spence (pioneer underwater archaeologist, author)
- Heinrich Schliemann (grocer turned treasure hunter, considered father of historical archaeology, discoverer of lost city of Troy)
- Jack Colton (Romancing the Stone, The Jewel of the Nile)
- Lara Croft (Tomb Raider, Tomb Raider II, Tomb Raider III, Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation, Tomb Raider: Chronicles, Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness, Tomb Raider: Legend, Tomb Raider: Anniversary, Tomb Raider: Underworld)
- Archibald Cutter (Gunga Din)
- Nathan Drake (Uncharted: Drake's Fortune, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception, Uncharted: Golden Abyss)
- Benjamin "Finn" Finnegan (Fool's Gold)
- Sydney Fox (Relic Hunter)
- Benjamin Franklin Gates (National Treasure, National Treasure: Book of Secrets)
- Dr. Henry "Indiana" Jones, Jr. (Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles)
- Rick O'Connell (The Mummy, The Mummy Returns, The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor)
- Dirk Pitt (Raise the Titanic, Sahara)
- Allan Quatermain (King Solomon's Mines)
- Wario (Wario series, Super Mario series)
- Jackie aka Asian Hawk (Armour of God 1, Armour of God 2)
- Scrooge McDuck (Ducktales)
- "Protection | United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization". Unesco.org. Retrieved 2012-09-11.
- "Years of searching pays off for winner of 2013 Post-Standard | syracuse.com Treasure Hunt".
- "34 comments Persistence pays $2,000 for Cicero mother-daughter treasure hunters".
- "East Syracuse Minoa sophomore finds Treasure Hunt medallion at Manlius park".