Peralta Stones Maps - Gold Caches

Summary - 5 of 5

By Robert L. Kesselring and Lynda R. Kesselring


From 2009 to 2013 we focused on locating the Latin Heart Map site. We needed to determine if the Treasure of the Church of Santa Fe was there. We scanned three cache sites and the "Cave of Gold". Computer analysis of Rover UC data showed nonferrous bars of metal in the shape of bullion. Cache 21 was the largest site and the roman numeral indicates 10,000 bars. The second site, cache 30, is estimated to contain 5, 269 bars. The third cache was number 22 and we counted the 9 bars the roman numeral recorded. We scanned around the entrance to the Caverna Aurum and saw several bars scattered about. All four sites revealed the same shaped bullion. Of the estimated 31,233 recorded on the Latin Heart Map the caches we scanned had an estimated 15,278 bars or approximately 49% of the estimated total. That is a good statistical sample. It is sufficient to say that, yes, there are bars of nonferrous material in the shape of bullion that are buried at the locations near to those we predicted. There are 28 cache sites remaining to be scanned. Scanning is how we verified the exact cache location. We feel sufficiently confident to say we believe that there is a large treasure that the map calls the Treasure of the Church of Santa Fe still buried at the site.

Rover UC GPR Image of the Edge of the Bullion Pile
Rover UC GPR Image of the Edge of the Bullion Pile

In order to locate the site we had to solve the riddle of the hearts and also decipher the entire Peralta Stone Map. The last base of operations clearly marked for all to see was Post 18. Post 18 was discovered by Charles Kenworthy on the northern slopes near Marsh Valley and Squaw Valley in a cave that contained a two room house. They gained access via a chimney. They observed it contained many mining tools, firewood, pots etc. However the main entrance had been sealed. A sealed Post implied to us that the Peraltas were nearly ready to depart when the battle began. The photo of the site includes a dark triangle in the hills above. It is another cave where rooms built into it.

Marsh Valley Red Bluffs Contains Post 18; Discovered by Charles Kenworthy
Marsh Valley Red Bluffs Contains Post 18; Discovered by Charles Kenworthy

We also found mineralized zones with shafts buried under piles of boulders that were between a foot and two feet or more in width. We observed similar piles of boulders near Bluff Springs and Little Black Top Mountain which indicates that the miner activity to hide the presence of mineral deposits worth mining covered a large area within the 100 square mile patch mapped out by the Peralta Stone Map.

Our most significant finding was the location of gold ore at a mine and on the oxcart road to an arrastra located on La Barge near Marsh Valley. Marsh Valley is known to have been the site of a battle and it contained many pieces of wreckage that were found over the years.

Our most significant product was a topographical map of the Latin Heart site that records the location of all the archaeological and mapped items we found.

Our Topographical Map: a Product of Four Years Work
Our Topographical Map: a Product of Four Years Work Click to enlarge

Jacob Waltz, aka the Dutchman, was involved in the legends of the Peraltas as he said that he shot the sole survivor of the second Peralta battle and took over the fabled gold mine. This was by his deathbed admission. We had to consider all he had said about the area, the Mexicans and the Peraltas. We looked for other evidence to support any information about this fabled mine and any evidence of others having searched for the mines.

Brownie Holmes wrote about how Jacob attempted to describe the Mexican methods and the Peralta history to Brownie's father but his father changed the subject back to the mine. Some of the Dutchman’s experience survived in legend and lore. He described how Mexican miners would dig hexagonal pits and circle up the mules around them to load them. We observed evidence of such operations in the Superstitions along the Peralta Stone mapped trails. The Latin Heart text stated we should look to the Northwest. We did and we observed remnants of this type of mining operation. Other locations provided hexagonal shafts that were not hidden, leaving us to wonder if these were in operation at the time of the battle.

Mexican Mining Operation on La Barge NW of the Latin Heart Site
Mexican Mining Operation on La Barge NW of the Latin Heart Site

Mexican Hexagonal Mine Shaft on a Cliff Face
Mexican Hexagonal Mine Shaft on a Cliff Face

We placed the red dots in images as we analyzed them to identify points of interest. They often record the outline of areas affected by people, and the trails used to come and go to the site.

One aspect of Jacob's deathbed confession and a letter he purportedly wrote to Miguel Peralta describe the events behind his discovery of the Mexican miners and the terrain around the mine. It could be interpreted, that when he ran from the Apaches that attacked him at breakfast, that he ran to the area we show as Post 18 in Marsh and Squaw valleys. He described following a wash back to Fort McDowell and finding tracks crossing the sandy wash. That may have been La Barge canyon in the vicinity of the Latin Heart site.

Jacob described how the mine was high above facing the west. He said that the Mexicans were mining a shaft not easily found in very rough country and that they were in the process of building a stone house at the site.  We found a site that matches all this and more. The mouth of Deering canyon is not far from Peters Trail on the Malapais just southwest of Pistol Canyon. As you descend you pass a cave, then you pass the house foundation. To reach the mine you must go back towards the house and return along the cliff wall, just as he wrote in his letter. This is a switchback. Following the switchback allows you to climb up to the wall of a sheer cliff along which there is a mine hidden by growth. As Jacob said, he would have had to show you the mine location and you would not find it easily. He had also said you could look down upon it but not get down to it that you had to enter the canyon as described. We show you the view he described.

A Possible Match to Jacob Waltz’s Story about his Mine
A Possible Match to Jacob Waltz’s Story about his Mine
33°28'54.53"N 111°22'0.46"W

This mine is at approximately 3,000 feet in altitude within approximately seven tenths of a mile from Cacumen up a very steep canyon. The mine is the dark rectangle to the left side of the image provided.

We also found possible evidence that when Cristobal Peralta came and located the mines that he left his marks. Among the evidence were many saguaros that had been marked in similar fashion at both the Latin Heart site and at the Burbridge Map treasure site.

Saguaro Sight Line from the Burbridge Mapped Site
Saguaro Sight Line from the Burbridge Mapped Site

We observed a large arrow and the curved handled dagger at Music Canyon near the Stone Peralta Master Map. This points northwards to the Malapais and Post 18. The arrow is 165 feet long and the base of the arrowhead is 65 feet across. One map marks the ridge as containing caches. The curved dagger points to the only access to Bluff Springs Mountain from Charlebois Spring via the western slopes. The point is, to see this arrow one needs to be airborne.

White Arrow & Dagger of Music Canyon
White Arrow & Dagger of Music Canyon
33°26'57.79"N 111°20'2.53"W

One of the more surprising discoveries was the set of three crosses painted on a mined outcrop near the site where the Peralta Stone Maps led and an arrow painted at the Peralta Heart Mine. The paint appears to have been lead base paint, a white color, and faded from exposure to the sun. These were nearly 15 miles apart on a north south line.

Three Painted Crosses at Mines where The Peralta Stone Map Led
Three Painted Crosses at Mines where the Peralta Stone Map Led

Painted Arrow above Peralta Heart Mine
Painted Arrow above Peralta Heart Mine

Another discovery within the Latin Heart site reflects the possibility of recurring visits by the Peraltas.  On the slopes of Marides Cacumen we found a cross made of stones lying in a ditch alongside boulders. It is now virtually impossible to see from the ground due to weathering on the slope and plant growth. What is odd is that this cross is identical to the one carved as a petroglyph on a rock on Black Top.  This cross does not appear on the Latin Heart. The petroglyph does not appear to be as old as the Peralta Master Map petroglyphs. One must wonder if this too is an artifact from Cristobal Peralta, or is it a mass grave created when the Peraltas returned during the Civil War as legend claims. The cross is approximately one and a half mile northwest of the petroglyph.

Aerial View of the Cross in the Latin Heart Site
Aerial View of the Cross in the Latin Heart Site
33°28'27.41"N 111°22'24.69"W

Black Top Mesa Petroglyph of the Cross
Black Top Mesa Petroglyph of the Cross
33°27'10.05"N 111°22'40.72"W
(Courtesy of the Superstition Mountain Historical Society)

In summary it would appear we have found sufficient evidence to require a serious archaeological investigation to determine what all this evidence is by excavation and laboratory analysis by professionals. We believe we have succeeded in demonstrating the Peralta Stone Map is deciphered and usable. We believe they accurately portray the locations of buried nonferrous bars of bullion and that this is the Treasure of the Church of Santa Fe. We have found evidence matching most of the legends about Jacob Waltz and the Peraltas about the mining operations and battles as well as what was mapped in the years prior to the battle of 1847. Due to this conclusion we have decided to try to initiate that professional activity.


We first contacted the Head Ranger, Gary Hanna, of the Mesa Ranger District Office for the Tonto National Forest. We were invited to provide a briefing and Robert met with Gary at that same office.

Gary acknowledged the evidence appeared archaeological in nature and that it is covered by both the Wilderness Act and the Antiquities Act. That meant any request for professional archaeological activity required permits and studies. Gary was interested in performing the work because it would provide a means to reduce human impact and lives lost due to the legends and stories we have discussed. Gary attempted to procure a permit but those with the authority to grant the permit declined and the only official reply in writing was “there is nothing to be removed”. Of course this has many plausible interpretations and we won’t go into the legal aspects of language because the main issue is that the National Forest Service declined to take any action.  We advised Gary that we would have to take the matter to the public through publishing and he had no comment.

We went as far as the law allows. We had attempted to acquire solid physical evidence and turn it over to the NFS for safe keeping and to use to initiate the funded research and protection of the site. We had been told that unlike England the United States does not care to award anything to the discoverer of treasure on Federal Property and that we would never get anything in return for our discovery. That may seem unfair to everyone but that is the legal fact in our ‘democracy’. That being the case we completed our two volumes on the subject in great detail and published it.

We told Gary Hanna we would do so and give him a full year to prepare. We also contacted the Governor’s office of New Mexico and briefed them regarding the matter. We were informed they are helpless in the face of the Federal Government's position on Federal lands. We sent a full documented briefing to President Obama and never received acknowledgement of receipt.  We contacted the office of John McCain several times with no acknowledgement of receipt.  We contacted the University of Arizona and the Arizona State Museum in Tucson. We brought the matter to an independent archaeologist that does required studies on land to be developed. We got various replies that suggested nobody wants to get involved because the NFS also provides them permission to do their regular work in the field. 

Since the treasure may be church property we contacted the Jesuits and the Catholic Church. Again, nobody wanted to get involved because it involves legal matters with the Federal Government.

It became clear to us that Federal legal action is required to modify the Wilderness Act to allow the site to be set aside as a Historical Monument. We felt the person to contact was Arizona State Senator John McCain, however, he seemed unavailable. Members of the Superstition Mountain Historical Society noted that in a speech given by him in Apache Junction he said  (to paraphrase him), that given sufficient evidence he would support the changes to the Wilderness Act necessary to provide permits relative to the Lost Dutchman Mine. We suspect at the time he had no knowledge of the Treasure of the Church of Santa Fe.

During the period of time that we did our field work, five people died in the same vicinity we were in. Four of these people were known to be searching for the Lost Dutchman mine or other Peralta gold.  If you suspect this is unusual let us point out that the skull of Adolph Ruth was found with two bullet holes in it from his apparent murder in 1931. A cryptic line in his notes said he had seen the mine and it was nearby. His skull was found less than a mile south of the Latin Heart Site, or one and a half miles from the mine. Death has been a legacy of the region for hundreds of years and continues to this day.

Now our concern has several aspects. First we’ve noted evidence of people impacting the Superstitions. This is a grave problem as noted by the National Forest Service and we want the Wilderness Act used to preserve the area and its wealth in natural flora and fauna. Second we believe the site involved is the cause for much of the death and remain convinced that Senator John McCain should be called to fulfill his promise and bring to bear his influence. We hope that the site could be set aside as a national monument or historical site within the wilderness area. The site could be properly protected and studied by professional archaeologists. A legend may be transformed into its proper place in history. The site would not be plundered.

Our decision has been to bring our evidence to you, and if you are interested in supporting our goal then please ask for assistance. Summon the efforts of the Representatives and Congressmen in Federal Government.

We want you all in agreement to contact Senator John McCain about this matter and voice your opinion. We also ask you contact the other politicians you support in similar fashion. This is too big a problem for Lynda and Robert.

We need to ask them to be our champions.

Here is the link to Senator John McCain’s site for contact information.
Senator John McCain Phoenix Office
2201 E. Camelback Road
Suite 115
Phoenix Arizona 85016
Main: (602) 952-2410
Fax: (602) 952-22410

We also need a Pro Bono legal counsel. We think that the Wilderness Act provides that the Governor of Arizona may write a letter to the Head Ranger ordering him to generate a permit but we need legal counsel to interpret the laws to legally support our objective. It would be helpful to be able to ask someone with knowledge of the appropriate laws the basic questions.

Most importantly we seek to motivate the professionals in various fields to get involved and investigate the sites we’ve introduced to you.

Please take the work we have done and build upon it.

Robert and Lynda Kesselring

Go to Part 1 - History of the Mines and the Treasure

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
  5. Summary (this page)
  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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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 Please include "DesertUSA" in your subject line or we may not receive the email.

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