The Burbridge Map
Found Hidden Under the Back Cover of a Book
The following story was given by Greg Davis of the Superstition Mountain Historical Society in regards to the Burbridge Map's provenance.
Robert Schoose was a treasure hunter of the Superstitions, when in 1966 several people from Chicago turned up with the map in hand. They knew of Barry Storm, who was at the time occupied with the ‘Storm Jade Mine’. Robert contacted Barry and Ed Hudak about the map. The people from Chicago identified themselves as the Chicago group, whose members were Errnie Saviano, Basil Zircardi, and Hank D. Anelea. Apparently Hank also owned a restaurant in Mesa. The first thing Robert did was to have the map authenticated at the University of Arizona. The information the Chicago group gave out about the map's origins was scant. They said only that the map was found inside the back cover lining of a hardback book.
The owner had noticed that the paper on the back cover had been lifted and glued back down. A lump inside of the back cover implied it was more than a repair job, that in fact something was folded and placed therein. When the back cover was lifted, the map was found there. The Chicago group heard back from the university scholars that the map was authentic. As it was dated from the 18th century, they agreed to see if they could determine where it would lead them. Schoose then took them into the Superstitions to Bluff Springs Mountain but they did not find the treasure.
Having succeeded we will share what we did.
The map was published later under the title of “Cuenta de Oro del Rio Solado del Norte”. John Burbridge was the first to attempt to unravel its clues. He is attributed with some of the earliest studies of the map and its translations. Some defied translation from Spanish to English. Our analysis shows that some labels are a mixture of Spanish and Latin. This is an interesting twist to support the suspicions of Pedro Francisco Peralta that the mines used to belong to the Jesuits prior to their acquisition by the Peralta family. We found other such circumstantial evidence. Note the date on the map and that this is the first documented transfer of mines in the region to the Peraltas.
The citation on the map for the mine assigned to: “Mendoza Jeguando Marzo 1753” contains labels that provide us with some interesting details for analysis. “Marzo” is the month March, from Spanish spoken in central and northern Spain, and it is derived from the Latin (mensis) martius. The naming convention at the time in Spanish included the last names of both parents. In the cases we observed, the first name of the complete last name is the father’s name and the second part is the mother’s name. In these cases both houses were important familial connections. We suspected that Señor Mendoza’s mother was from the Jeguando family.
It would be an error to assume that this map fits some standard form and that all words placed in the same locations have the same purpose. In another citation, “De La Garza Suuio 1749” the word “Suuio” is apparently a last name. Normally in Spanish the name given would be written as “Suuio De La Garza”. We were uncertain which way to interpret this one.
The dates on the map may indicate when the mine was established by the family owning the mine, or when it was transferred to the Peraltas. This is sheer speculation on our part. This was in the time period when the Jesuits were active in the area.
Now we enter the question that arises for every Peralta map we’ve seen. The analysis of the Stone Maps to date had shown that there were standard encryption steps taken. In almost every case the orientation of the map was not as indicated. In the Burbridge map "North" is clearly aimed towards the top of the map. Is this a misdirection?
By Robert L. Kesselring and Lynda R. Kesselring
Index to Articles
- History of the Mines and the Treasure
- Peralta Stone Map and Cross
- Research and Planning
- Ground Trips
- Read and Post comments on this article (you will need to register to post, it is free.)
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Barry Storm's Jade Mine DesertUSA researches Barry Storm, the author of Trail of the Lost Dutchman, first published in 1939. In 1957 he came out to California and was wandering around in the desert near Joshua Tree National Park. He chipped off the corner of a rock and discovered it was jade. Thinking he'd found the source of the ancient Mayan's jade, Storm mined and lived in that area for the rest of his life. Join us on our road trip to see Barry Storm's Jade Mine.
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