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Articles and Publications

Geography treasures № 3. The map or the metal detector?

Quite a few on a globe of a treasure hunter and places to look for treasures of the Stone Age and Bronze Age. Archaeologists have developed a technique that allows to determine by local relief whether its sites of ancient man. There is only one "but" in working with maps of different times and imposing them on the modern relief.

If to shade the spots on the top of the map where were various peasant uprisings, rebellions, relocations, add to that the military action of the Civil wars and all the rest, then shading will take the whole map! From all this you can make one conclusion - it is not necessary to sail to distant lands to find the treasure. We need a precise topographic map and knowledge of the history of its native land. And, of course, the ability to logically compare one with the other.

It is enough for an experienced fans of treasure haunting with such detailed map of the are on their hands, to discover the outlines of castles, forts and burial mounds. Preference is given to places with natural areas protected from the disusters, as well as fertile soil and proximity to reservoirs.

Traveling by the river, you can see a wide flat area. Let it be overgrown for today, but with a high degree of probability you can say that this terrace is located on the ancient village or the ancient fortress. Where's fortress - there the treasure. And in the same way the place of ancient river port is determined. Deep-water section of the river with high banks near the transport route. Although this method of detection is not applicable to the rivers, the channel of which, steeply changed direction for a hundred years.

It is much easier in the mountains. The topographical consistency here is the value of small amount of changes because the relief is changing more slowly than the fleeting history of origin and death, and place of human habitation. It is easy to identify ancient trade routers and locations of guard posts and forts on the map. You can always check your guess by using a metal detector. Typically, treasures did not depart far from the places where people lived. Topographic maps will tell you more specifically in which caves and canyons to look for. Once again, we come to what is important in Treasure Hunting – its not a metal detector, but the ability to read maps. And now some advice on the correct "reading" of maps, from the book by A.M. Kuprina "Word on the map":

"Using ABC of cartographic art, you can freely read a map, and by a combination of characters to see the area for what it really is. You can learn how to mentally inhabit the map and fill it with the living creatures particular for that area".

Reading maps is not like reading books, although these concepts have much in common. When you read a book you get images in your mind about what you read, same thing with maps, symbols can represent the images of reliefs. Reviewing and studying individual symbols and combinations, we mentally recreate the images of the objects depicted by comparing them with images of similar objects that are available in our memory. For example, looking at the schematic map of the railway, we present it the same way as we know in life, as we seen many times seen in nature.

Look at the list of a topographic map for one or two minutes, then set it aside and try to put on paper all the things you saw. If you do not get an approximate copy of the map, it does not mean you've wasted your time. This is a good exercise in map reading. That way you learn to see topographical signs and groves, villages, roads, ravines. You also need to know how to read locality: to see not only the forests, rivers, lakes, but at the same time imagining how they are portrayed on the map".

The significance of modern maps, nevertheless, is not so high. First of all - the scientific progress and the comprehensive urbanization became such a strong influence on the relief that sometimes maps of ten years ago may not reflect the real situation on the ground. Not to mention the fact, of what could have been there 100 or 200 years ago! This explains the discrepancy between the facts of modern maps with drawings from the archives of different periods of limitation. 
One example of an offensive mismatch - an excerpt from the book, by I.V. Popov's "Mysteries of the river bed", which explored the history of the treasure of 100 years ago. Of the schemes in 1913 it was clear that the treasure is buried on the island, and today this place has become a blurred shore.

A similar situation is observed in a forested area. In the story "Old map" K. Paustovsky talked about how he had a hard extracted ancient map of Meshcherskys forests composed out on the sets produced before 1870. Next, the writer states: "I had to correct the map myself. Riverbeds changed. Where on the map were swamps here and there already rustled young forest, the site of the other lakes were a bog". 
However, in the first place human activity is firmly established on changing the relief. Treasure hunters, by the way, are among them.

I remember a story when a friend found out the exact location of the treasure. Well, just like in the novel! Grandfather on his deathbed gave his grandson a precise breakdown showing the cache. More than that, grandfather described the contents of the "Share"! Our main character considerably spend on the equipment, bought all the necessary and went for the "legacy". But unfortunately, on the point it turned out to be trenches of the defensive line, cut up trenches and sunken dugouts. However, our treasure-hunter did not leave without a treasure. His trophies have become an old dish with monogram of ancestors and family crest. Judging by the numerous bullet holes in which it can be assumed that the soldiers used it as a very low value target of all properties of good!

But do not think that everything that a modern man does brings only harm. Some technological changes offer benefits to our brother hunter. In the South Baikal, mountain slopes after heavy rains turned into an inexhaustible source of semi-precious agates, locally harvested like mushrooms. You need only to go deep with a shovel in the untouched fields as placers stop.

If you talk about comfort, it's best to work at the plow. The soil is loose, the earth is flat. No bushes, no stones - a pure pleasure! Only this should be done in the spring or fall, to avoid interference with agricultural operations. And if the weather is good - a real paradise! Just the place should be defined better, so that there was a real point in digging (read topographic maps and study the history of the countryside!). Otherwise, it is better to dig in the garden!

Anna Gridasova

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