This post refers to The Secret Treasure Hunt by Byron Preiss
As I mentioned in a previous post, I buried a 6″ acrylic box in my backyard, so I could test what it felt like to probe it and dig it up.
One thing I didn’t expect was how long it took me bury it – about 30 minutes to dig the hole, fill it in, and cover it up. I realize I was about twice the age of Byron Preiss at the time he buried the casques, but it had to take him at least 20 minutes. And he had to be on his knees to place the casque in and backfill the earth. Even though he was “disguised” as a construction worker, he still had to be inconspicuous for 20-30 minutes. Think about that when you choose your spot.
Although I was the one who buried my casque, I have a terrible memory. I knew that it was near one of my trees, and the general vicinity – within a 10 foot radius. But I did NOT leave any marker whatsoever for my future self. Fast forward 3 years later, and I decided – now that I have a scheduled dig date – that it’s time to probe and dig up that faux casque box.
I live in California and the ground where I’m going to dig is in San Francisco, so it should be fairly similar. Hopefully.
When I probed the ground 3 years later, I definitely felt a difference when I tapped the acrylic box. It sounded different (gave a different vibration) than a rock or a root. The other thing I noticed was that the earth over the box was softer, bouncy – because it had been unsettled. This was after 3 seasons of rain and snow. I can’t guarantee that it will be like that after 40, it could have compacted and compressed. Especially if there is anything landscaped above it. 3 years does not equal 40 years!
Things I learned when digging: along with a spade, bring a skinny trowel. If you hit the acrylic box from the top, you’re going to have to dig around the sides of it before you’re able to remove it from its spot. Use gloves, but ones that aren’t too thick. Bring knee pads. It took me approximately 20 minutes to dig up my Faux Casque Box after finding the location with the probe. The top of my box was about 11-12″ from the surface. Byron wrote, “Every treasure casque is buried underground, at a depth of no more than three to three and one-half feet.” If it’s that far down, it’s going to take a LOT longer. Looking at Chicago’s burial spot, it doesn’t look like it’s 3 feet down from the surface:
After my dig – look at the root system that grew over my Faux Casque. Now imagine one that’s been there 40 years!