Peralta Stones Maps - Gold Caches

Ground Trips - On the Trail of a Treasure
Part 4 of 5

By Robert L. Kesselring and Lynda R. Kesselring



Our discoveries in the Superstition Wilderness fit into one of two groups. The first group of discoveries matched the Latin Heart Map. The second group was of archaeological discoveries related to the legends and activity of the Mexican miners. The second group was not related to the Latin Heart Map. Because of that, we cannot be certain that all of these were from the Peraltas. However if they appear related to the legends then they are perhaps at least that old. None of our discoveries have been confirmed by any scientific research or by any field archeologist. We present this evidence in the raw in hopes you the reader can help us prompt professionals to take the necessary steps to perform field work to determine what exactly is here. All we can say is that the Head Ranger of the Tonto National Forest, Gary Hanna, confirmed our evidence was archaeological in nature and therefore covered by the U.S. Antiquities Act. That means it is not to be disturbed without official permits from several branches of the government, including that of his office.

Discoveries Related to the Latin Heart Map

Analysis of the aerial photos of the Latin Heart site confirmed we had located an area that matched the Stone Cross and Latin Heart maps. It was also possibly the site of the Peralta battle with the Apaches – but that would have to be verified through archaeological evidence. The first discovery was a ninety foot equilateral triangle etched into the desert floor, north of the Latin Heart site. It was positioned and oriented just as the matching symbol was drawn on the Stone Cross Map. You can observe this triangle yourself using Google Earth ©. It was the last site we visited before we entered the Latin Heart site.

Fig 1 Stone Cross Mapped Triangle North of the Latin Heart Site

Fig 1 Stone Cross Mapped Triangle North of the Latin Heart Site
33°28'43.92"N 111°22'43.05"W

The aerial survey over the Latin Heart site revealed that the features of the land matched our Google Earth© analysis, and both compared well with the map's text. One Latin phrase was particularly troublesome.  That phrase was ‘Noto Triangulum’ and that translates to ‘Notice the Triangle’.  We didn’t know what size or kind of triangle was meant until the triangle appeared in an aerial photograph of the area.  That triangle on the ground allowed us to verify the scale and alignment of the Latin Heart Map projected onto the terrain below. Locating it physically on the ground became our highest priority. It made an excellent position to relate the location of all other things.

Fig 2 Aerial Photo of Noto Triangulum and the Location of Cache 21
Fig 2 Aerial Photo of Noto Triangulum and the Location of Cache 21
33°28'31.52"N 111°22'27.13"W

We took our aerial survey photos into the field with us and used them to locate the items on the Latin Heart written in text. This helped us to find exactly what the words meant. These were words such as Domus, or ‘living quarters’ and Meus or ‘mine’. These are all things that are much smaller than hills, passes and valleys or craters. We knew that when we advanced into the area every step required a pause and a glance to search for signs of a battle and evidence of Mexican miners' work in the area. We created this short list of items to look for:

  1. Felsenspitze. This is a dogtooth spike stone Mexican claim marker so named by Jacob Waltz.
  2. Unrecorded mines and caves or other evidence of mining like ore dumps.
  3. Secret marks such as those described by Charles Kenworthy.
  4. Presence of gold ore dropped in travel.
  5. An unusual pile of boulders that required a mule to move.
  6. Building foundations, mining facilities or adobe walls.
  7. The items the Stone Cross Map presented.
  8. Items the Latin Heart Map and text presented.

To reach the site of the Latin Heart we hiked the trail that reportedly was given by Jacob Waltz. This route is 9.7 miles in length. Difficulties on the trail required us to take the journey carefully and it took approximately twelve hours to cover the distance and take rest stops to catch our breath. Since we had so much scientific equipment, photographic equipment, first aid and food we hired the Feldman family, owner of the OK Corral in Apache Junction, to carry our equipment to the site area on pack horses.

We started at the First Water trailhead. We hiked that trail to the junction with the Second Water trail and took the Second Water trail eastward to the Second Water springs. On the way to the springs we passed the Rio Solado Indian ruins that are indicated on the Peralta map of 1844. Their map places it on top of what they called Mesa Negro. Today it’s called Black Top Mesa.

Fig 3 Rio Solado Indian Ruins upon Mesa Negro, Beside Second Water Trail

Fig 3 Rio Solado Indian Ruins upon Mesa Negro, Beside Second Water Trail
33°29'7.47"N 111°25'39.16"W

We paused on the eastern downhill slopes of Mesa Negro on the approach to Boulder Canyon to drink and rest at Second Water springs. After a lunch there we hiked the rest of the way down to Boulder Canyon. At that junction we turned southward as indicated on the Stone Cross. The Stone Cross Map shows we would cross the river ten times and reach a very pointed peak. Today’s trail crosses eleven times. When we got to the ‘Third Water Stop’, a large pool of water in Boulder Canyon at 33°29'10.556"N 111°23'38.907"W we saw the mine as shown upon the Stone Cross Map. To our surprise next to the mine entrance is a man sized heart carved into the mountain side.

Fig 4 Stone Cross Zig Zag Trail in Boulder Canyon as seen from the Heart Mine
Fig 4 Stone Cross Zig Zag Trail in Boulder Canyon as seen from the Heart Mine

Fig 5 Heart Mine at the Peak above the Junction of Cavalry Trail and Boulder Trail
33°28'59.51"N 111°23'24.10"W
Fig 5 Heart Mine at the Peak above the Junction of Cavalry Trail and Boulder Trail
33°28'59.51"N 111°23'24.10"W

Once we were at the base of the that peak we were at the start of Cavalry Trail. This is the same trail Jacob Walz said he could look down upon from his mine. We next hiked up the mountain via Cavalry Trail. It led to La Barge Canyon where we could camp by the main trail. That location is a regularly used campsite where there are large pools of water. Our analysis showed this campsite to be at the top left lobe of the Latin Heart site. A gentle hike up small mesas to the southern edge would lead to the location of the Latin text ‘Crater’. Once in the campsite we located our packed in gear and set up a base. From that base we searched the Latin Heart site for the first time to identify the elements described on the Latin Heart and recording their GPS coordinates. One Latin text was as important as 'Noto Triangulum' and that was ‘Fornix’.

We Discover Latin Heart Text Features

There was a problem in locating the primary target, ‘Noto Triangulum’ or noticing the triangle from the surface. It lay on the ground and we really didn’t know the physical size of the rocks. We needed a way to find it. The Latin Heart text ‘Fornix’, or arch, was important to locate because it was opposite from ‘Noto Triangulum’ across a stream.  The problem was we had not found the ‘Fornix’ in any aerial survey photos! We thought we could spot the arch because it ought to rise up from the desert floor. Then to locate ‘Noto Triangulum’ we only had to turn around and walk across the stream and up the hill. We went to the predicted spot to find ‘Fornix’ but couldn’t find it. It was Lynda who calmly said, “You mean like the arch on the other side of the mesquite tree?”  Many surprise discoveries such as this took the perspective of us both to be revealed.  We began searching for the triangle and other Latin text objects. As we searched we discovered other items more archaeological in nature. In every case whenever something was found we took a GPS coordinate and photos. What follows are some of the images of the site to which the Latin text refers.

 

Fig 6 Fornix: Arch, a Unique Geological Feature
Fig 6 Fornix: Arch, a Unique Geological Feature
33°28'32.79"N 111°22'25.82"W

Fig 7 NOTO TRIANGULUM: Notice the Triangle

Fig 7 NOTO TRIANGULUM: Notice the Triangle
33°28'31.52"N 111°22'27.13"W

 

Fig 8 CRATER: Now a Depression at the NW foot of Cacumen
Fig 8 CRATER: Now a Depression at the NW foot of Cacumen
33°28'36.85"N 111°22'27.32"W

 

Fig 9 FAUCES: or Narrow Pass at the base of the next hill south
Fig 9 FAUCES: or Narrow Pass at the base of the next hill south
33°28'32.63"N 111°22'18.24"W

Fig 10 NOTO MEDULLA: or Notice the Middle. A stone lookout
Fig 10 NOTO MEDULLA: or Notice the Middle. A stone lookout
33°28'32.97"N 111°22'24.64"W

Fig 11 CAVERNA AURUM: or Cave of Gold. The Entrance is sealed.
Fig 11 CAVERNA AURUM: or Cave of Gold. The Entrance is sealed.
33°28'32.50"N 111°22'18.40"W

 

Fig 12 SPECUS; Cave at the northwest foot of Cacumen (High Point)
Fig 12 SPECUS; Cave at the northwest foot of Cacumen (High Point)
 33°28'35.66"N 111°22'30.02"W

 

Fig 13 CACUMEN: High Point
Fig 13 CACUMEN: High Point
33°28'36.02"N 111°22'27.31"W

Fig 14 DESILENS AQUA AURUM: Water runs over the gold.
Fig 14 DESILENS AQUA AURUM: Water runs over the gold.
33°28'35.70"N 111°22'32.86"W

 

Fig 15 MONETA: Bullion Foundry

Fig 15 MONETA: Bullion Foundry
33°28'24.17"N 111°22'21.00"W

Fig 16 MARIDES CACUMEN: High Point to the South
Fig 16 MARIDES CACUMEN: High Point to the South
33°28'26.72"N 111°22'28.54"W

As we searched for Meus or ‘mine’ we had to consider there were many types of mining methods to look for. Mexican mines were dug using many methods and each method produced a different shape. If a vein was rich it was worth the effort to dig a big shaft. By big we mean several people could stand side by side in the shaft. The cross section of these was usually rectangular if the shaft was dug in the vertical direction or trapezoidal if dug rather horizontally. However if it was a less rich local pocket of ore to be hauled out with minimal effort the miners only removed the amount of material that was necessary. Because of this the shaft resembles a natural cave. These are called drift mines because the miner follows the drift of valuable ore.  The image that follows is of a Peralta drift mine. This drift mine has a Mexican Felsenspitze in the mouth of the ‘cave’ and this is the back side of the shaft of the Heart Mine sitting above Boulder Canyon and Cavalry Trail. This is on the south side of the peak. It is entirely possible this mine was once a cave that they simply opened up.

Fig 17 Peralta Drift Mine in a Cave: Back of the Heart Mine
Fig 17 Peralta Drift Mine in a Cave: Back of the Heart Mine
33°28'58.08"N 111°23'23.52"W

Another type of mine we found was like a tomb, trapezoidal in cross section. It lacks any obvious Felsenspitze claim markers. But American miners and explorers may have knocked them down. For all intents and purposes we cannot claim we know who dug this shaft.

Fig 18 Standard Mine Shaft Next to Mesa Negro

Fig 18 Standard Mine Shaft Next to Mesa Negro
33°28'58.68"N 111°25'49.82"W

We were aware that the Mexicans departing during the Mexican American war like the Peraltas were hiding their mines. Therefore we realized we had to look for trails or roads that led to flat spots where mines may have been covered up. The first one located had a road sufficient for an ox cart that went from Marsh Valley around the mountain and through the edge of the building foundations at Moneta. It crossed a stream and went to the ridge containing ‘Merides Cacumen’ or high point to the south. Upon that southern rise of the ridge of Merides Cacumen the road went eastward towards the box canyon in the direction of ‘Noto Triangulum’ or note the triangle.  There in the slope was a sudden end to the small road, a shallow flat spot filled with tall grass. This shallow spot had to be scanned with a Rover UC to see if it was a mine shaft or not. As it turned out, it is a mine shaft, hidden with a two foot layer of dirt over a square shaft.

Fig 19 MEUS: Peralta Mine Being Scanned with a Rover UC
Fig 19 MEUS: Peralta Mine Being Scanned with a Rover UC
33°28'27.12"N 111°22'24.36"W

Fig 20 Rover UC GPR scan of the Covered Peralta Mine
Fig 20 Rover UC GPR scan of the Covered Peralta Mine
33°28'27.12"N 111°22'24.36"W

The scan of the mine revealed a stack of nonferrous (nonmagnetic) metal at the eastern edge of a shaft. The shaft is approximately eight by eight feet in width and another eight feet deep. There is a pile of debris in the center of the shaft as if it had been filled with odds and ends. The shaft is covered in a cap of about two feet of earth. These measurements were obtained by computer analysis of the Rover UC images. We were surprised by this scan because it was also the possible location for a cache according to the Latin Heart Map. It may be that the red orange zone that is six foot wide is a stack of bullion in a hole on the side of the shaft. The shaft is colored blue. The green spot within the blue square mine shaft is a pile of debris. This is possibly as the legends states, that the Apaches gathered battle debris and dumped it in a mine shaft and covered it with a two foot cap. It seemed more than coincidence; rather it seemed to be evidence supporting our suspicion that this was the battle site as well as a mining camp.

One of the drift mines we found was near Cache number 21. In this instance the shaft starts at the edge of the rock outcrop. The dump from this mine is at the base of the photo. You can see the Rover UC in the photo of the mine where the author is reaching for it. It appears as a walking stick. It communicates to an Android cell phone application where data is collected and the operator controls the scanning sensor. It's the item that looks like a walking stick. The box frame is used to allow the operator to know the exact location of what appears in the images. When necessary the operator can go back to the site to see where that item is located underground. The underground image is color coded. Green is the color of undisturbed dirt. Blue is for voids such as faults, mines and air pockets. Red-orange colors are for nonmagnetic metal that is corroding. If an object appears as both red orange and blue then it is made of magnetic material, but if it is only orange it is nonmagnetic. Two scans per site are taken. Manmade objects always look much the same in each view, however mineralization such as veins of ore will not.

Fig 21 MEUS: Mine Uphill from Cache 21 Being Scanned with a Rover UC
Fig 21 MEUS: Mine Uphill from Cache 21 Being Scanned with a Rover UC
33°28'31.31"N 111°22'28.70"W

The rock adjacent to the covered vertical shaft has a niche carved into it for a windlass. Caverna Aurum has a shaft next to a rock face in the same fashion and it also has a notch like this one. That’s why we think it was for a windlass. They are not natural features as carved rock has a much lighter hue due to the loss of patina. Patina is the coating on a rock due to ages of oxidation and exposure to the environment.

Fig 22 Windlass Notch at the Mine above Cache 21
Fig 22 Windlass Notch at the Mine above Cache 21
33°28'31.31"N 111°22'28.70"W

The rock outcrop had other gouges cut into it for which we lack ideas. We documented them but we don’t know what was stuck into the hole or if they were small pockets of gold ore that they had dug out.

 Fig 23 Notch Carved into Bedrock Above a Mine

 Fig 23 Notch Carved into Bedrock Above a Mine
33°28’31.31”N 111°22’28.70”W

Fig 24 Rover UC GPR Scan of the MEUS: Mine

Fig 24 Rover UC GPR Scan of the MEUS: Mine
33°28'31.31"N 111°22'28.70"W

The mineral vein is on the edge of the shaft and the shaft is colored blue. If you perform a rough estimate you will see that the blue shaft is about half the seven foot frame therefore it is approximately square and approximately three and a half feet wide. The Mexicans were using the metric system and this hole is approximately one meter wide. Digging out veins has left irregular gouges.  Green is the color of undisturbed earth at the mouth of the shaft. Red-orange is the mineralized zone. After inspecting the ridge upon which Cache 21 sits, we noted that the mineralized zone runs the entire length of the ridge. A mesothermal quartz vein had erupted at several locations across a span of over one hundred feet in length along the ridge. The Peraltas had mined it at several locations.

The mesothermal quartz vein in the following image erupts through the volcanic ash along the on top of the ridge upon which Noto Triangulum was placed. This fin or sill in the language of geologists is eighteen inches wide. Someone has placed a piece of it above, higher on another rock. Gold ore was found in the mine tailings at the rear of the photo. These tailings are approximately fifty feet from the scanned mine and its tailings. Another mine is west where the Latin Heart text spells out Meus or ‘mine’.

Fig 25 Eighteen Inch Mesothermal Quartz Vein
Fig 25 Eighteen Inch Mesothermal Quartz Vein
33°28’31.09”N 111°22’29.42”W

Pieces of this mesothermal quartz vein are lying in odd places all over the Latin Heart site. This one was found near the location the map called Crater.

Fig 26 Recently Dropped and Broken Mesothermal Quartz at Crater
Fig 26 Recently Dropped and Broken Mesothermal Quartz at Crater
33°28'40.28"N 111°22'33.55"W

The ore found at the mine dump next to the large sill or fin of mesothermal quartz vein was found to contain one millimeter grains of gold. The samples found were photographed through a microscope. It appeared to be fault gouge ore. Fault gouge is the material that eroded from the vein over millions of years and the heavier grains were trapped in the fault alongside the vein. Lighter debris washes away or blows away leaving the grains of gold naturally concentrated as if they were gold panned. The ore contained many metals including copper, silver and cinnabar (mercury).  The fault gouge is very friable and can be crushed easily by hand.

Fig 27 Fault Gouge Ore
Fig 27 Fault Gouge Ore
33°28’31.09”N 111°22’29.42”W

The collage image that follows is made of photos taken through a microscope of the small pieces of gold that were approximately one millimeter in size (on average). This accounts for the somewhat blurry images. They gold grains were very concentrated, but very small. This ore was also found on an oxcart trail from ‘Moneta’ to Marsh Valley. Ore from both locations were of similar size and identical in color and texture implying they were from the same location.

Fig 28 One Millimeter Specs of Gold in the Fault Gouge Ore at the Sill
Fig 28 One Millimeter Specs of Gold in the Fault Gouge Ore at the Sill
33°28’31.09”N 111°22’29.42”W

Locating a cache associated with roman numerals representing large numbers was a problem. A large roman numeral is a long written number. Given that the region of the Latin Heart spanned about one square kilometer large roman numerals could record a small hole but that hole could be located anywhere within a hundred feet of our prediction.  That means adjacent numerals could be close or far from one another. During searches of the countryside we mapped every possible archaeological item and see if there was a match in the estimated position of the roman numerals. In some instances a cache location was associated with a marker described by Jacob Waltz. Jacob has been quoted as saying that a spiked stone monument was used to mark claims by Mexicans he reportedly called it a ‘Felsenspitze’ which is German for stone spike. We found a great variety of marker types placed at suspected cache locations.

Fig 29 Marker for Cache #1: Felsenspitze (Stone Spike)
Fig 29 Marker for Cache #1: Felsenspitze (Stone Spike)
33°28'41.59"N 111°22'33.08"W

Fig 30 Marker for Cache #5: Stone Pile
Fig 30 Marker for Cache #5: Stone Pile
33°28'34.83"N 111°22'31.11"W

As we gathered information at the site we began to realize that the main feature of the site was a small box canyon that was much higher than surrounding ground and it had an amply supplied stream that passed through it. We thought it was a citadel and began looking for evidence of battle. It seemed very crowded with items not associated with the map text. Our attention shifted to searching for more archaeological evidence. Until we knew where everything was we didn’t know if we were actually at a cache and needed to perform a Rover UC GPR scan. We believed our best chances for success was to locate a large cache first.

ig 31 View Looking North of the Box Canyon in the Heart Zone
Fig 31 View Looking North of the Box Canyon in the Heart Zone

Fig 32 Marker for Cache #21: Stone Pile
Fig 32 Marker for Cache #21: Stone Pile
33°28'31.29"N 111°22'27.80"W

According to the map there were 10,000 bars of bullion in cache number 21. When we scanned the area the Rover UC GPR data displayed a large pile of bullion that was about twenty square feet in area. We could not measure how deep the pile was. We determined it was bullion by scanning the edges of the pile at high resolution to see individual bars of bullion. The bullion was piled in a mound underground on a slope and approximately four to eight feet deep depending on where you measure over the mound.

Fig 33 Close up Scan of the Edge of Cache #21 Showing Bars of Bullion
Fig 33 Close up Scan of the Edge of Cache #21 Showing Bars of Bullion
33°28'31.29"N 111°22'27.80"W

Red-orange is the result of nonmagnetic material which in this case is shaped in ingots. Green is the color of undisturbed earth that covered the mound of bullion.

Archaeological Discoveries Not from the Map

As we documented the human impact on the site, Lynda searched the ground for lost objects including her favorite shaped rocks, hearts. When we had our first chance she showed one to Robert. We laid it in our lap and took the following photos. This was a manmade heart, a Peralta heart!

Fig 34 Peralta Latin Heart Cache Marker, Placed in a Circle of Stones
Fig 34 Peralta Latin Heart Cache Marker, Placed in a Circle of Stones

We went back to our photographs and observed that the odd stone circles we had photographed often had little heart shaped stones in them, like the one Lynda had found. We began documenting the location of stone circles as they might be another way caches were marked. Once we had all the archaeological discoveries in our digital map, we were able to associate them with a corresponding cache numbers. We needed to do a Rover UC GPR scan of the sites to determine if the quantity of targets detected corresponded to the roman numerals. We scanned one smaller cache and obtained the same quantity of targets as the roman numeral. A sample of one is not proof, but we remain convinced the roman numerals represent the number of bars of bullion in a cache. What we cannot know is if any has ever been taken out by anyone.

The discovery of a circle with a stone heart was the last breakthrough. The other markers were obvious but this one was subtle. Some had been disturbed as if kicked around in a scuffle, such as in hand to hand combat. As we thought about the circles and stone hearts we realized it was in line with the riddle of the Priest Stone: ‘Search the Heart’, and why hearts were the key to the entire map set. The final heart of the map was laid on the battle ground over a cache of bullion.  Naturally we were unsure if all the hearts seen were manmade. Some were crude and not like the example we have provided. But they lay in stone circles. We also observed that such naturally occurring stone hearts in the area were created through the course of natural weathering.  The simple fact is we began to think that the most well shaped heart was made when times were peaceful. We speculated that the more naturally shaped stones were grabbed when they ran out of time; and in haste, other types of markers were set up on the caches. This haste indicated to us that while burying the bullion and marking the spot, they may have been aware of an impending threat of attack by the Apaches. It is just conjecture, but we pose the question, why the great variety in the quality and the forms of the markers for caches? Frankly we don’t even know why some of the thirty one caches apparently only contained one bar that would easily have fit in another cache. Archaeological research may provide clues.

Fig 35 Stone Circle with a Crudely Formed Heart Shaped Stone

Fig 35 Stone Circle with a Crudely Formed Heart Shaped Stone
33°28’30.20”N 111°22’26.40”W

As we looked about we began to observe other archaeological discoveries that related to the activity of the site, and it wasn’t necessarily from the original Peraltas. In 1924 Cristobal Peralta came from Spain with his maps to find his way into the Superstitions, hoping to verify the location of the gold mines. He asked the U.S. Government for permission to operate the mines but they required him to become a U.S. citizen. It is perfectly possible that Cristobal’s search party made markers and marked saguaro.  Three saguaro cacti had secret marks cut into them to act as sights. We felt the saguaros were marked to ensure that destinations were seen.  The sights were used to locate items. The first saguaro is at the Triangle of the Stone Cross. This saguaro sight is a cut or a bullet hole in the saguaro's side about 16 feet high. It points directly at the triangle Noto Triangulum.  The triangles are not always carved into earth, rock or laid out in stone on the ground. The triangle Noto Triangulum points up the hill to another marked saguaro. That saguaro marker points to another triangle made of leaning stones to form a window to be used as a sight. That triangle sight aims to a crevasse across La Barge where they may have been mining.

Fig 36 Marked Saguaro aims at Noto Triangulum from the Stone Cross Triangle

Fig 36 Marked Saguaro aims at Noto Triangulum from the Stone Cross Triangle
33°28’44.20”N 111°22’42.51”W

Fig 37 Marked Saguaro aims at a Stone Triangle Sight Window

Fig 37 Marked Saguaro aims at a Stone Triangle Sight Window
33°28’30.53”N 111°22’30.23”W

Fig 38 Stone Triangle Sight Window Points to the Malapais

Fig 38 Stone Triangle Sight Window Points to the Malapais
33°28'30.25"N 111°22'30.08"W

ig 39 Stone Triangle Sight View Includes This Crevasse and Shaft
Fig 39 Stone Triangle Sight View Includes This Crevasse and Shaft
33°28'38.56"N 111°22'2.02"W

The discovery of the Stone Triangle sight aiming at a crevasse and the fault gouge ore found near this triangle led us to consider mining practices that may be evident at the site.  According to the legend the Peraltas were hiding outcrops of ore and mines using boulders dragged by mules. They lacked sufficient mules to do the job rapidly and the delay of the task gave the Apaches time to attack. If that component of the legend had a basis in truth we felt physical evidence should be found. We found it all over the site.

Fig 40 Boulder Pile Covering Mineral Deposit
Fig 40 Boulder Pile Covering Mineral Deposit
33°28'27.15"N 111°22'22.30"W

Fig 41 Rover UC Scan of the Boulder Pile Covering Mineral Deposit
Fig 41 Rover UC Scan of the Boulder Pile Covering Mineral Deposit
33°28'27.15"N 111°22'22.30"W

The scan of one of many boulder piles reveals a pit that is irregular in shape and a mineral deposit below. The mineral or ore is colored bright orange. The underground voids are in blue. Green is the color of undisturbed earth.

One of the odd things noticeable in the area were spots where it appeared as if a guard had moved some rocks around at his post and formed a position from which to watch or fight but be shielded from incoming fire. We saw what appeared as redoubts and defense works. Again professional interpretation is required. We provide an example.

Fig 42 Sight Window in likely Guard Post

Fig 42 Sight Window in likely Guard Post
33°28'27.15"N 111°22'22.30"W

We were realizing that just as the maps of 1844 and 1845 revealed, the area had been in use for mining and not just the deposit of the Treasure of the Church of Santa Fe. One item on the Latin Heart appeared on those older maps, ‘Caverna Aurum’ or Cave of Gold.

We wondered if Caverna Aurum was the cave of gold that legend claimed the Apaches had sealed. We had located a site that fit the expected geology but the entrance was covered in earth. Above it was a shelf where there was a Felsenspitze. We returned to inspect the site to see if it was one of the caches and whether or not the stories of the cave were correct. 

One story was that people had to be lowered into the cave from above quite a distance and that the opening was narrow. When we inspected the rock face near the Felsenspitze we observed miners' pick marks (scrapes about five eights of an inch wide) and an odd hole where a wooden post could be inserted. It was possible to install a windlass directly over the Felsenspitze where we later observed a hidden shaft. We scanned the rocky ground from the rock face by the Felsenspitze across the opening of the shaft to the south approximately ten feet. Below this cleft was an earthen heap sloping down the hill. Our scan produced images of singular bars of bullion in several locations. There, bars were not under the Felsenspitze as caches had been before. The Felsenspitze was marking the shaft as it had at Specus and the entrance to the cave-mine behind the Heart mine.

The cave entrance or drift mine was small and narrow.  The pick marks indicated it was a rock hewn hole that was positioned so that a windlass would span the shaft to allow entry and exit into the shaft by rope. But the bullion laid in a scatter in that ten foot zone and it appeared as if at some time in the past bars of bullion were dropped here and there when earth was laid down to hide the entrance of the shaft.  These bars did not seem to be buried as deeply as those in the caches. Caches were usually about six to eight feet deep except where erosion may have worn it down. We wondered, did the Apaches find a few bars of gold in the battle area and drop them in the fill to be buried while hiding the entrance to the cave of gold?

Fig 43 Rover UC GPR Scan Above CAVERNA AURUM: or Cave of Gold.

Fig 43 Rover UC GPR Scan Above CAVERNA AURUM: or Cave of Gold.
33°28'32.50"N 111°22'18.40"W

The scan above shows the edge of two shafts dropping into the hillside, and next to that entrance there are several bars of what could be bullion buried. This is next to the Felsenspitze. The image that follows is of more bars at the edge of the shaft.

Fig 44 Rover UC GPR Scan of CAVERNA AURUM: or Cave of Gold.
Fig 44 Rover UC GPR Scan of CAVERNA AURUM: or Cave of Gold.
33°28'32.50"N 111°22'18.40"W

Until archaeologists open up the cavern or find the bars we may never verify if this location is the one on all three maps.

Some of the features recorded at the site were things that may have been from any period of time. We think we observed campfire rings like the one that follows.

Fig 45 Campfire Ring below Noto Triangulum
Fig 45 Campfire Ring below Noto Triangulum

However there were other items such as single file rows of stone and even others that reminded us of graves. We realized it was possible graves would be found at the battle site but that they would be from fallen Apaches. We respected these and did not scan them. We considered these odd piles of stones in strange locations to be graves due to one singular experience on a dark night. The wind was blowing a cool breeze when we heard outside our tent the shuffling of feet in the dark and the rattle of Mylar balloons. The shuffling feet passed our camp hidden in the brush with no pause. The next day there were three Mylar balloon tied inside a small tree, next to one of these odd piles of stones. Note we tell you they were tied, not loosely wrapped and they were inflated, inside a tree of thorns.  We believe Apaches from San Carlos had visited the site as it was within a week of Easter. We had heard that they used to do that in the past. Nobody thought it still goes on.

Fig 46 Strange Rock Pile Lying on a Slope below Noto Triangulum
Fig 46 Strange Rock Pile Lying on a Slope below Noto Triangulum

Realizing that Cristobal Peralta may have been at the site in 1924 and that the Apaches seemed to be aware of the importance of the site we wondered if the antagonists of old still carry out the contest of will to control the area. Neither appear to have forgotten the events that took place here. This site is very important to a great many people. Many of the deaths involved in searching for gold in the Superstitions gave rise to our awareness that the site is important more than a treasure alone would import. It’s important to keep in mind the history of these mines. It is important to keep in mind what they mean to people today. That leads us to our summary and final discoveries. It leads us to ask for your assistance.

Go to Part 5 - Summary

Author's Biography: Robert L. Kesselring

Index to Articles
  1. History of the Mines and the Treasure
  2. Peralta Stone Map and Cross
  3. Research and Planning
  4. Ground Trips (This page)
  5. Summary
  6. Read and Post comments on this article (you will need to register to post, it is free.)
Related DesertUSA Pages

Dating The Peralta stone maps
Lost Dutchman State Park
New Evidence Surfaces About the Lost Dutchman Mine
Lost Dutchman Found?
Lost Dutchman Mine: Part 2
Lost Dutchman Mine: Part 3
Are The Peralta Stones Map Fake
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How to Turn Your Smartphone into a Survival Tool
7 Smartphone Apps to Improve Your Camping Experience
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Twenty Six Tips for Surviving in the Desert
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Globe, Arizona


 

CAUTIONARY NOTE: Health Advisory and Legal Disclaimer

Caution: Many people have died trying to find this treasure. The authors of this story prepared thoroughly with provisions and emergency planning prior to undertaking their trips. DesertUSA does not advise anyone to try to replicate their journey without a guide and extremely thorough preparations to include plans for water, food, shelter, guidance and communications. No amount of gold or treasure is worth your life.

NOTE: The Superstition Mountains are east of Apache Junction in Arizona and the area has been designated a Wilderness Area by Congress.  This means all things within are protected by law. Anything other than hiking, camping and taking photos will require a permit from the National Forest Service. Therefore when we discuss the presence of treasure and mines please keep the law in mind, do not disturb archaeological sites.

If you would like to contact the authors for more information, please email dusa_feedback@DesertUSA.com. Please include "DesertUSA" in your subject line or we may not receive the email.


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