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Homepage Archives Open in new window Index (07/2003) Headlines (06/2003) Headlines (08/2003)   Vol. 37 July 2003 
Treasure In The Headlines
As seen in the July 2003 edition of W&ET Magazine


A college student unearthed a copper spear point that could date back thousands of years.

Aaron Gurney of Peshtigo had hoped to find a few old coins or maybe some jewelry with his metal detector during a visit to Stephenson Island on the Menominee River last month.

Instead, he found the spear point.

Gurney went to the island thinking a recent excavation for a new parking lot may have uncovered some objects.

Construction crews were in the way, so he passed his metal detector over a grassy area near the Marinette County Historical Society Museum.

That's when his metal detector found an object about 4" below the surface. He carefully dug toward it and removed it from the ground.

"I just think it was ironic it was found there, just 15' behind the museum," said Gurney, a University of Wisconsin-Marinette business student.

Gurney spent an hour at home washing the dirt off the spear point but stopped when he found wood fragments attached to it.

"It's a museum-quality piece," said Thomas Pleger, an assistant professor of anthropology and archaeology at UW-Fox Valley. "It's part of what we call the Old Copper Complex, which is based on a metal copper technology that dates between 4,000 B.C. and 1,000 B.C."

Gurney plans to send the spear point to UW-Madison to have the wood residue radiocarbon dated to provide more accurate information about its age.

He then intends to donate it to the Marinette County Historical Society for display in its museum.

From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, submitted by Jeff Dobratz, East Troy, WI.


The discovery of $150,000 in an old house has led to a battle over who gets the cash.

The money was discovered last fall when remodeler Jeffrey Picklo of suburban Wickliffe punched through the ceiling in the home.

The money has been claimed by Mr. Picklo, who already has spent $30,000; by the man who hired him, homeowner Brian Williams; by the house's former owner; and by the heir to an owner who died 45 years ago.

The multicolored, 1930s-era bills apparently were hidden in the ceiling in 12 cans.

Because the bills have different colors and markings than modern cash, workers at Dave's Supermarket in Cleveland thought they were phony when Mr. Picklo tried to spend them there last month. The workers called police, who summoned the Secret Service.

The cash includes five $500 bills and nine $1,000 bills, denominations last printed in 1945.

Wickliffe police Detective Ahmed Mohamed said the money was placed above a wall between the kitchen and bathroom. Found with the cash were a Social Security card and citizenship papers for Louise Stamberg, who emigrated from Yugoslavia and bought the house in the early 1900s.

Detective Mohamed said the stash totaled $121,019, not including what Mr. Picklo spent to buy a van, to shop, and to pay some debts of family members.

Wickliffe Prosecutor William Gargiulo said Mr. Picklo did not commit a crime, though it's possible the court would order him to repay money.

"The general law in Ohio is lost property goes back to the owner," Mr. Gargiulo said. "With abandoned property, it's finders keepers."

From The Blade, submitted by Jeff Hauenstein, Findlay, OH.


After looking for 15 years, finding the Japanese submarine that drew the first fire of the United States in the war in the Pacific was not something the University of Hawaii was completely prepared for.

The Hawaii Undersea Research Laboratory found that out when it returned to port recently and saw a pier lined with reporters.

When lab acting director John Wiltshire arrived at his office he had 100 e-mails and 30 phone messages. Wiltshire figures he talked with 20-25 media outlets.

"I'm still in sort of a state of shock," Wiltshire said. "I didn't realize (the discovery) would generate anything like this. We've been looking for this on and off for 15 years."

The destroyer USS Ward opened fire and depth-charged the two-man submarine at 6:45 a.m. Dec. 7, 1941, when it was spotted outside Pearl Harbor a little more than an hour before the massive aerial attack to come.

The sub's fate would become a mystery and its sighting part of the national debate on whether the United States could have been better prepared for the attack.

"There are two big what-ifs in the Pearl Harbor attacks," said Daniel Martinez, historian for the National Park Service's USS Arizona Memorial. "Certainly, the sub incident that morning


A research crew that found a sunken cannon last summer now says it could belong to a 1715 Spanish treasure ship.

Company divers recently found granite rocks that ships used to stabilize hulls, which could mean the crew found the lower portion of a ship.

Rob Westrick, an archaeologist with Historical Research and Development Inc. of Fort Pierce, said the discovery north of Vero Beach could be the first such find in four decades.

A hurricane hit 11 armed Spanish galleons that left Havana in July 1715, full of New World wealth and bound for Spain. The ships reportedly carried silver and gold from Spain's Central and South American colonies and fine Chinese porcelain from Spain's Philippine colony.

From the Associated Press, submitted by David M. Wolan.

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