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2011-01-06 digital edition

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2011-01-06 / General Stories

Laura On Life

Ancient Treasures

Everyone at one time or another has dreamed of winning the lottery or finding something worth millions of dollars.

Each time we go to a beach, the topic of hidden treasure comes up. What if some scurvy sea-thief buried a chest filled with silver and gold somewhere on the beach and then forgot that he did that? Maybe he had early- onset Alzheimer’s. Who knows?

What if an ancient ship filled with gems and doubloons sunk in a storm and the treasure chests floated to the beach and buried themselves in the sand?

It could happen. couldn’t it?

When you think about all the millions of people who have walked the earth before us, anything is possible. People do hide things for safe-keeping, even today. It’s also a fact that every person that ever walked the earth was a child at one time. Children are curious and precocious. They have all done much weirder things than burying their “treasures” and then forgetting about them.

However, their treasures are not likely to be chests of gems and gold. It would have been extraordinarily irresponsible of their parents to put children in charge of the gems and gold.

However, it is not unheard of for a child to receive something special or rare for a coming of age event. Or perhaps they simply found something “cool.”

Consider 6-year old Little-Skipsin the-Mud (Skippy, for short). He lived 1000 years ago. His mom made cookies. um. raspberry crème cookies using raspberries and goat milk. (I’m guessing here. Did Native Americans have goats?) She gave little Skippy two cookies. He decided to eat one and save one for later. So that his sister wouldn’t steal it, he placed his cookie, and a pretty yellow rock that he found in the river, and his lucky bear tooth in a bison intestine pouch and buried it behind the tepee. Why did Skippy bury his cookie with gold and a bear tooth? Six-year olds don’t need a reason for anything.

Two weeks later, after the tribe had broken camp and followed the buffalo herd south for the winter, the little boy remembered his cookie.

“Mama, we have to go back! I left my cookie there!”

“Oh, Little-Skips-in-the-Mud, I will make you more cookies when we get to our new home.”

A thousand years later, you could be roto-tilling your garden when a hunk of gold covered in red goo is unearthed.

It also isn’t very difficult to imagine an ancient warrior dressed in a loin cloth and riding a horse, bareback. He might have found a “treasure.” Where would he have put it? His loin cloth didn’t have pockets and neither did his horse.

The only logical thing to do would’ve been to bury it and come back for it later when he had something with which to carry it. Chances are that men haven’t changed much since the Age of Antiquity. In his language, “later” probably meant “ never” too, which may explain lost pirate treasure as well. Though, it’s also possible that the warrior might have tried to carry his “treasure” home anyway and may have lost it along the way.

All this means that it is possible for we modern-day American’s to go for a walk in our backyard, see something sticking out of the ground and dig up an ancient treasure.

I can use my own life for an example. Considering how many times in my life I have lost something after putting it in a “safe” place, the number of things my decendants might find would be in the triple digits. Do the math.

Even if every person who ever walked the earth lost only one item in their lifetime, assuming that item could withstand the rigors of time, there could be millions of “treasures” still unaccounted for.

I suspect that sales of metal detectors will spike this week. Just doing my part to end the recession.

But. What if your backyard is the resting spot for the treasure lost by the Native American with no pockets? What if there was a precocious 6-year old who used to wander around your backyard and bury his treasure.

My advice to you? Never stop believing in lost treasure. and always look down when you are walking in your backyard.

Laura Snyder is a nationally syndicated columnist, author & speaker. You can reach Laura at lsnyder@lauraonlife.com Or visit her website www.lauraonlife.com for more info.

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