Top 5 greatest treasure troves ever hidden

Have you ever gone into the countryside with a metal detector, hoping to unearth a Saxon gold ring or a hoard of ancient coinage? Treasure seeking is as normal to humanity as taking a breath, but more often than not leads to frustration, because all you find are old nails or worthless lumps of tat. How would it be, do you suppose, to find something so valuable that it set you up for life? Exciting, thrilling, even devastating, but never really likely to happen. Here are the five greatest, still superbly hidden treasures of the last millennium.

1 The Hidden hoard of Montezuma

Thought to be one of the greatest missing treasure troves on earth, this huge stash of precious objects was never actually hidden, but thrown away in panic. The Aztec empire in Mexico was finally put down in 1520, when Montezuma, their leader, died at the hands of Hernando Cortés in the capital city of Tenochtitlán. Weary from the ferocious scrap, Cortes told his troops to move the treasure overnight, but they were ambushed in transit by an army of Aztec fighters, and lake Tezcuzo was soon filling with dead soldiers, as well as numberless amounts of jewels, silver and gold artifacts discarded in the struggle. A year on, having escaped with a few soldiers, Cortes returned, but by the time they reached there, locals had interred all remaining treasure around the lake, to stop invaders from getting it. To this day, 500 years on, no trace of the buried loot has ever been found, despite constant searching.

2. The vast burial treasures of Egyptian kings

Tutankhamen, ancient leader of Egypt, was buried in the Valley of the Kings, and the tomb was unearthed in 1922. This young king had, as per tradition at the time, taken riches with him to the afterlife, a treasury of valuables so vast that the discoverers needed ten full years to catalog them all. Strangely, though, the subsequently discovered burial chambers of far more important pharaohs had treasure chambers that were all empty of such objects. Tomb robbers had, without doubt been pilfering the tombs for centuries, but there must have been vast amounts, relevant to the importance of each Phararoh, too much for such theft to account for.

If, as some believe priests conducted reburials of prominent figures during the time between 425 and 343 B.C., that could account for some missing treasures, as later pharaohs reused the tombs of ancestors. The most notorious of such grave robbers was Herihor, a high courtier of Ramses XI, who, upon the demise of his leader, divided the kingdom up with son-in-law Piankh, before taking charge of reburials. These he carried out on a grand scale, and the quantity of treasure he purloined may only come to light when his own tomb is discovered, which so far it has not been.

3. The glorious gold treasures of Lima

Lima, capital city of Peru, was facing a time of revolution in the early 1820’s. The city leader decided that, for safety’s sake, the vast treasure horde that was hidden there should be sent to Mexico city, where it should be safe. This astonishing treasure trove included two solid gold, life-size statues of the Madonna with baby, fabulous jewels, gold and silver objects in such quantity that eleven ships were required to move it all. Value then was said to have been around $60 million, probably in excess of $1billion today.

Commander of the Mary Dear, William Thompson, had responsibility for the transport, which was staggering, considering that he was a known thief, and by reputation quite ruthless. Within hours of setting sail, he had the throats of the Peruvian guards cut, the bodies pushed overboard, after which he made for the Cocos Islands, in the Indian Ocean, where he buried the treasure. Unfortunately for him, he was caught and tried for piracy, but made a deal to save himself by giving up the location of the buried treasure. Taken back, with his first mate, to the Cocos island, they managed, once there, to escape. Niether they nor the treasure were ever seen again.

4. The stolen loot of pirate Blackbeard

Blackbeard, the most infamous of all the pirates, only actually carried out his high seas robberies over a two year period, said to have been between 1716 and 1718, but the treasures he supposedly plundered in that short time are of legendary proportions. This was the period of history when Spanish treasure ships were regularly leaving South America, bound for Spain, and Blackbeard was, for many of them, just waiting to pounce. His reputation for cruelty and viciousness was quite fearsome, and he terrorized the Atlantic coast of the Americas as well as the West Indies, from his operations base in the Bahamas, as well as in North Carolina. It was in 1718 that he was captured, and beheaded, by Robert Maynard, an English naval lieutenant. The pirate refused absolutely, before his execution, to reveal the whereabouts of the vast fortunes he had buried, and to the present day, nobody has ever found it.

5. The utterly entrancing Amber Room

The eighth wonder of the world was how the Amber Room was once described, and for those who were fortunate enough ever to actually see it, this fabulous missing treasure is surely among the most unique and valuable in history. A Square hall, iift long at each side, this astonishing work of art was comprised of enormous panels, each several tons in weight, constructed with intricate care, of pieces of precious amber, gold-leaf-edged mirrors of huge size, as well as a group of four glorious Florentine mosaics. The wall panels, in three tiers, contained amber inlaid with precious jewels, and what was without doubt among the most valuable collections, of both Prussian and Russian artwork that had ever been put together, was housed in decorative glass display cases. This awesome work,

given to Peter the Great in 1716, was housed in the St Petersburg Catherine Palace, And would be valued today at no less than $150 million. It was lost to the world after WWII, because no trace of ever showed up in Nazi Germany, to where it had been taken, and it may never reappear, but the Russian government ordered that it be painstakingly recreated, and today it can be once again be seen, on display at Catherine Palace, where it belongs.