Lost Dutchman Mine

Superstition Mountains - Peralta Stone Tablet Maps

For more than 120 years, the legend of the Lost Dutchman Mine has haunted the minds and souls of treasure seekers throughout the world. Said to be the most famous lost mine of all time, it continues to draw prospectors to the Superstition Mountains of Arizona in search of its rich gold.

The Flat Iron in the Superstition Mountains as seen from the Lost Dutchman State Park in Arizona, USA. Photographed by Doug Dolde.

DesertUSA has obtained another theory about the location of the Lost Dutchman Mine. Since this information has surfaced, we thought it would be timely to republish existing research and documents relating to the famous legend.

This article is the first of three in which we will revisit the Legend of the Lost Dutchman Mine. We will present data discovered several years ago at a collector's garage sale of old books and notes. These old papers were found to contain clues, symbols and formulas pertaining to the Lost Dutchman Mine.



As a writer for DesertUSA, I've come across numerous references and stories associated with the Lost Dutchman Mine. On a recent visit to the Phoenix area, I toured historic Route 88, the Apache Trail. Along the route is the ghost town of Goldfield and Lost Dutchman State Park, located at the foot of the imposing Superstition Mountains.

The Superstitions were shrouded in misty clouds the day I visited, a warning sign of an impending storm. Moments later, I was drenched with heavy rain, and the range disappeared in the storm. The moody weather evoked a sense of mystery and danger, and I recalled the Apache curse associated with the Superstition Mountains.

Clay Worst talking about the lost

Clay Worst in 2011, discussing the legend of the Lost Dutchman Mine in a very informative presentation. .

Many tales of the Lost Dutchman mention an Apache curse which protects the sacred burial ground of Apache Indians. This curse also protects the treasure of the Superstitions, whose secret location the Apache are said to know.

The legend of the curse traces back to the early 1500s, when Jesuit priests from Spain began to build missions in the areas now known as Arizona and New Mexico. During this period, the Jesuits established relations with Native Americans, who worked to mine the gold, much of which was sent back to the King of Spain.

In the late 1700s, after a falling out, the King ordered the Jesuits out of Mexico. Some believe they hid away their records of mines, treasures and ore deposits before leaving the country. Others believe that the Jesuits convinced the Native Americans that bad things would happen if they ever revealed the location of these riches to outsiders. For centuries, Native Americans have kept the treasures a secret and to this day many are reluctant to provide any related information.

There is, however, another version of the tale. Before the Lost Dutchman Mine was discovered by Jacob Waltz (the Dutchman) in the early 1870s, there was a legend of another rich mine which was discovered in the same area and mined by the Peralta family from Sonora, Mexico. It is believed by many that the Lost Dutchman Mine is one of the rich mines discovered by the Peraltas.

New book on the Lost Dutchman Mine

Historians say there is no hard evidence proving the Peralta family actually mined in the area, but they have nevertheless become a significant part of the legend. According to this version, the Peralta family made a number of gold mining expeditions to the Superstitions. Their last is said to have occurred between 1847 and 1852. Before this expedition could return to Sonora with gold, they were attacked by a band of Apache Indians.

Different versions of the story portray a variety of outcomes. One version says the Peralta expedition consisted of two groups, the Gonzales group and the Peralta group. It was the Gonzales group that was massacred by the Apaches while the Peraltas made a safe return to Sonora loaded with gold. Another version of the massacre left only one survivor of the Peralta expedition, who escaped to Sonora to tell the story. Which, or if, either version is correct, I leave to the reader's imagination.

Weaver's Needle, Superstition Wilderness, Arizona, USA.
by Chris C Jones / CC BY-SA

There is evidence of a skirmish between the Spaniards and the Apaches at the area of the said massacre. Since the turn of the century, remnants of mining equipment, high-grade gold ore, old guns, weapons, gear and a pack train have been discovered at the site.

The legend includes details on how the Peraltas buried the rich mines with rocks to hide their discovery. Some also believe that after the Spanish miners left the area, the Apache removed up all evidence of mining by filling holes, mines, tunnels, etc. with dirt and rocks.

Peirpont C. Bicknell, a free-lance writer and seeker of lost mines, was the first person to link the Peraltas and Weaver's Needle (a pinnacle landmark) with Jacob Waltz and the Lost Dutchman Mine in written documentation dating January, 1895.

Barry Storm's later investigations made the same connections with the addition of the Spanish Jesuits. His work had a more significant impact on prospectors and treasure seekers than any other writer.

Grave site of Jacob "Dutchman" Waltz, a German immigrant who it in the 19th century discovered a gold mine in Arizona and kept its location a secret, hence the "Lost Dutchman's Mine". Photo by "Tony the Marine", Marine 69-71 at English Wikipedia / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0).

In 1952, the infamous "Peralta" stone maps were discovered in the foothills of the Superstition Mountains by a man on vacation with his family. In the following pages are photographs of these stone maps, with interpretations of the meaning of the symbols and signs carved on them.

In part two of this article, we will present the information we have obtained about the location of the legendary Lost Dutchman Mine. This new evidence is linked to the stone tablets and presents another interpretation as to their meaning. Go to Part 2.

Lost Dutchman Mine: Part 2
Lost Dutchman Mine: Part 3

Lynn Bremner
DesertUSA Staff

DesertUSA Note The History Channel ran a series on the Lost Dutchman Mine.

Here are some additional stories that may be of interest to you.
Lost Dutchman Mine clues
The Peralta stone maps
Bat cave with ladder
The Search For The Real Facts
Jesuit Treasure in the Superstitions


Related DesertUSA Pages

How we found the Peralta Treasures
Dating The Peralta stone maps
Lost Dutchman State Park
New Evidence Surfaces About the Lost Dutchman Mine
Are The Peralta Stones Map Fake

How to Turn Your Smartphone into a Survival Tool
7 Smartphone Apps to Improve Your Camping Experience
GPS Navigation Systems Can Be a Misleading Travel Companion
Twenty Six Tips for Surviving in the Desert
Heat Acclimation (Combating the Desert Heat)

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