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Treasure hunting to bring Alaskan history alive!

By WInston Endall

Alaska is a unique place, being both a part of the United States and off on its own in the far north. It is a place where people either run from their past or go to create a new future. Life in Alaska has always been an adventure. With both the highest mountains and harshest winters in North America, Alaska is the last wild frontier. But most people aren't aware that it is also home to buried treasures and lost cultural relics. Stories of murder and lost gold spark the imagination to a time of wild lawlessness. This truly was the wild west. But due to this nature, a lot of history has been lost.

Unaccounted hordes from the Gold Rush are waiting to be found. Tales abound of prospectors uncovering gold but due to weather or conflict with the natives, never being able to take their find back to civilization leaving it there for people to still find. There are even stories of pirate treasure being buried on an island. The big difference between this and the Caribbean variety is Alaska is frozen for half the year. And not all the treasure is buried. The SS Aleutian sunk somewhere off the coast of Kodiak Island may contain $24 million in gold.

The team from Cache Creek Treasure Hunters has made it a mission to find these lost treasures and place them in museums or universities for study. Named after the mystery involving murder and lost gold, the team is a non-profit company created to bring Alaska history into the present.

Part scientific expedition and part detective, the team studies the history of a claim trying to figure out how much is true versus myth. An area like Alaska is fertile soil for folk tales to get past around so there are many rabbit holes to go down before a clear picture starts to emerge. Once they are confident the story holds some truth, they work to narrow down the search area before heading into the field.

Treadwell Mine cave in. April 22nd, 1917.

Being Alaska, this is a lot harder than it sounds. With few roads and rugged terrain, the treasure hunters have to be as strong outdoors people as they are scientific researchers. But once they are into the target area the real searching begins. Starting with historical maps they then set out with a mix of high-tech equipment to scan the ground. From precious metals to ancient tools, the team catalogs finds of historical significance, unearthing a little more Alaska history with each expedition. From an old prospector’s pick to native stone tools, each find expands the story of what Alaska is.

Some seek treasure for the riches. Others for the glory. But for Cache Creek Treasure Hunters it is the mystery that draws them. The idea that just under the ground lies a piece of history is too strong a draw to keep them away. By bringing these historical finds to light they hope to shed some light on mysteries from long ago and preserve the history of Alaska for future generations.