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Thread: Montezumas Treasure: Colorado Leads

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  1. #1
    Charter Member

    Jun 2004
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    Montezuma's Treasure: Colorado Leads

    As part of my ongoing research into the legends of Montezuma’s Treasure in the SW US, I wanted to do a bit of state specific focus, in this case, Colorado. I’d be curious to talk to folks on or off Treasurenet about stories they’ve heard, been told, read about, etc at part of a broader research effort into Montezuma’s story. I’ve managed to pin down a few specific references, though I suspect there are more. More importantly, I’m hoping to get more details about these specific areas that would lend any credibility to these stories or new avenues for research and exploration on my part. Thus far, I have uncovered the following broad leads:

    Dove Creek, Dolores Co: “There are some strange symbols carved into the walls of a cave near Dove Creek. Several people have stated their belief these relate to one of the incredible caches of Montezuma, and tat the markings indicate the burial to be somewhere in the Four Corners area. (Carson)”

    McElmo Creek, Montezuma County: “It is said that one of Montezuma’s great caches, large amounts of gold and silver, is hidden within Montezuma County near McElmo Creek. Maybe so, maybe not. Known this, if parts of his treasure are buried wherever people say they are, you have half a dozen spots to search just here in Colorado. (Carson)”

    St. Charles River, Pueblo Co: “There is a tale of an Aztec cache located somewhere along the St. Charles River. (Carson)”

    Spanish Peaks Antonio, Conejos Co: “A possible search site for one of the Aztec chief Montezuma’s huge caches is in the area around Antonio. (Carson)”

    Guinore W of Durango, Montezuma Co

    Primary source materials (at this time) for these leads comes from some of the vaguest sources possible: Carson’s “A Guide to Treasure in Colorado.” These are all extremely brief accounts with no documentation or suggestion for original source materials that would aid in further research. In his defense, Carson did include a rather impressive bibliography but not a single citation in the text connecting a story to any particular bibliographic content.

    I could be wrong, but the last citation may have come from the 5000 Treasures of the World CD. It doesn’t work with my current operating system so I can’t confirm. It didn’t come from Carson, Probert’s bibliography or Robert Marx’s “Buried Treasure of the United States. There is a chance it came from one of Thomas Penfield’s books as well, but I don’t own those either ( “Directory of Buried or Sunken Treasures and Lost Mines of the United States” or "Buried Treasure in the United States and Where to Find It." Thomas Terry’s atlas series is a possibility to but I also do not have access to these so unless I got it in the past (which is possible) it’s something I cannot confirm.

    This thread will be cross posted at both the Colorado state forum and on Aztec treasures in the Treasure Legends forum. Thanks in advance for your assistance. I welcome insights and feedback, either on this thread or directly at: rbradford1@kc.rr.com

  2. #2
    um
    Nemo me impune lacesset

    Jan 2005
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    Tag post - please do continue!
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  3. #3
    us
    Jul 2012
    San Antonio, Texas
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    I always heard the story that it all was somewhere in SW Texas, but never believed it. I am impressed with your research. You keep searching for those primary sources and I bet you will be successful. Best of luck to you in your search...
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  4. #4
    donald peterson

    Jan 2013
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    wet blanket time.
    while the aztec and the maya use gold for decorations...they valued jade and turquoise.
    a jade knife to rip your heart out was worth far more than any trinket worn to flash in the sun while you made the cut.
    so? why on earth would the aztec, carry how ever many stashes north over a thousand miles, and bury it in the traditional range of raiders that farmed?

  5. #5
    Charter Member

    Jun 2004
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    Quote Originally Posted by austin View Post
    I always heard the story that it all was somewhere in SW Texas, but never believed it. I am impressed with your research. You keep searching for those primary sources and I bet you will be successful. Best of luck to you in your search...
    I have plenty of sites in Texas too.

    Texas was well covered by Dobie, what strikes me about his stories is he speaks about them very casually, like they were well known at the time. The idea that these sorts of stories are fading away, particularly when scrutinized, is a big part of why i want to capture them for posterity and to demonstrate that true or not, these sorts of stories were a critical part of the fabric of history and tradition.

    that said, Texas has a long history of not just Montezuma's treasure but Aztec treasure in general, whether the two are synonymous or not is open to debate.

    Texas has a number of interesting and under-studied sites that i might bring up in other posts later, two in particular stand out as worthy of further research.

    Colorado fascinates me because many of the counties where these treasures are associated with have suggestive names, Montezuma County and the surrounding communities lead you to wonder if the names of the towns influenced the stories or vice versa. I'm particularly interested in the Dove Creek story which appears nearly verbatim in multiple sources...illuminating the tendency of treasure writers to not only not give credit, but to outright plagiarize. Another one of my goals in my book is to really illustrate that real or not, a treasure story can be just as viable a serious research topic as any. to be sure, Steve Wilson has proven this point, and in all likelihood far better than I will be able to, but I think it's a lesson that bears repeating.

    Quote Originally Posted by pippinwhitepaws View Post
    wet blanket time.
    while the aztec and the maya use gold for decorations...they valued jade and turquoise.
    a jade knife to rip your heart out was worth far more than any trinket worn to flash in the sun while you made the cut.
    so? why on earth would the aztec, carry how ever many stashes north over a thousand miles, and bury it in the traditional range of raiders that farmed?
    I think you are right that the Aztecs in particular valued things besides silver and gold...obsidian was an important aspect of their art as well. The presence and importance of gold and silver cannot be understated, particularly since much of what they sent to the Spaniards to bribe them to stay away was precisely that: gold and silver. Keep in mind, it wasn't a cart wheel sized block of jade they sent...it was gold, and another was silver. Perhaps one could make the argument that they were sending what they didn't want but in the end the Spaniards wanted gold and silver irrespective of how the Aztecs valued it.

    WHY the Aztecs would move the treasure that far is a matter of speculation, and will likely never be much more. Even if a treasure was found we'd never really appreciate the motivations for doing so. Richard Walburn who used to post ages (and I mean ages) ago made a strong case for the fulfillment of cosmological events, giving rise to the notion that Chicomoztoc was more than a symbolic place in Aztec cosmology. This is a similar basis for Babcock's book "Chicomoztoc" who not only applies religious symbolism, but the literal idea that 7 caves is precisely what the Aztecs sought out for their hoard.
    Common sense would dictate the Aztecs would not undertake such an endeavor but I think we as a culture fail to grasp what a powerful motivator faith and religion can be to a truly devoted people. As a Latter Day Saint, it's difficult for me to imagine having the faith to abandon my home and my property to pull handcarts and my family across the 1800s Midwest to a remote valley in Utah based on nothing more than faith in leaders who proclaimed it was the will of God. But it happened. In that context it's not impossible to believe that the Aztecs might be similarly driven to fulfill some act of obedience of faith as well.

    There is also the possibility that between what we believe and what our mind tells us can't be so lies the truth. Perhaps 2000 Aztecs didn't carry a vast haord to the SW US. Perhaps a far smaller party carried something far smaller, but far more important.
    Presenting: Selections From the National Prospector's Gazette Volume 2: Ask Exanimo!

    Presenting: Selections From the National Prospector's Gazette Volume 1: Exanimo Looks at Books

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    National Prospector's Gazette, Exanimo Express, Gene Ballinger Publications, 8 States Association, National Treasure Hunter's League, Gold Bug, Johnny Pounds "The Treasure Hunter," and so many more...

    Understanding our hobby, by embracing its history...

  6. #6
    donald peterson

    Jan 2013
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    good luck with your book..merry christmas

  7. #7
    Charter Member

    Jun 2004
    332
    527 times
    Not at all...I appreciate the insights and inquiries...it's always helpful when people bring things to me from a different vantage point. I don't have a problem with criticisms or doubts either, it's always important to keep thoughts flowing in different directions. I guess me point is I appreciate the feedback and very much welcome it.
    Oroblanco and cactusjumper like this.
    Presenting: Selections From the National Prospector's Gazette Volume 2: Ask Exanimo!

    Presenting: Selections From the National Prospector's Gazette Volume 1: Exanimo Looks at Books

    ----------
    Randy Bradford's Buy, Sell and Trade List


    National Prospector's Gazette, Exanimo Express, Gene Ballinger Publications, 8 States Association, National Treasure Hunter's League, Gold Bug, Johnny Pounds "The Treasure Hunter," and so many more...

    Understanding our hobby, by embracing its history...

  8. #8
    um
    Nemo me impune lacesset

    Jan 2005
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    Just to address that question (rhetorical) about why would the Aztecs bother to move a lot of gold/silver, the obvious answer to me is to get it out of reach of the invaders. They may not have valued it the same way as the Europeans, however they did value it, and demanded (and received) fair amounts of the precious metals from subjugated enemies as tribute. If they put no value on gold, why would they wish it as a part of the tribute from a conquered enemy tribe or city-state? Even if they had no value for gold at all, the fact that the Europeans were so aggressive to get it, would be good grounds to move it out of their reach, perhaps as far away as they could get it.

    Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas, did not intend to derail the topic please do continue.
    Oroblanco
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  9. #9
    donald peterson

    Jan 2013
    somewhere between flagstaff, preskit
    Whites prism III
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    I am not saying the Aztec did not value gold...but...

    there is a factor, the amount of labor costs to dig, smelt, mold into objects of value, and now add on the thousand mile journey into Navajo country, through the apaches and numerous other tribes hostile to them
    even if one considers the aztec claim to have come from the north...and were taking the gold back to traditional lands, the shear effort of such a convoy in labor and resources.
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  10. #10
    Charter Member

    Jun 2004
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    527 times
    Quote Originally Posted by pippinwhitepaws View Post
    I am not saying the Aztec did not value gold...but...

    there is a factor, the amount of labor costs to dig, smelt, mold into objects of value, and now add on the thousand mile journey into Navajo country, through the apaches and numerous other tribes hostile to them
    even if one considers the aztec claim to have come from the north...and were taking the gold back to traditional lands, the shear effort of such a convoy in labor and resources.
    The items were manufactured already...they weren't moving new items but one's that had been made previously and were clearly in possession of when the Spaniards came to begin with. This is evidenced by the treasure they sent to persuade the Spaniards to turn back, and then again by the treasures the Spaniards found where they were staying hidden behind a false wall. The same treasure cost many Spaniards lives as they fled from the city and were overcome by the Aztecs or fell into the lake and were drowned or captured and sacrificed. One of the few things we can be certain of about this story is that there was indeed a treasure to be had.

    As for labor and resources, if you take the legend at face value, 2,000 men were what took the treasure Northward. I'm not sure where the origin of that figure comes from, but let's take it at face value. 2,000 men would be a formidable sight to most any tribe they encountered. Not many tribes would have considered provoking them, even fewer I suspect had the means to do so. My suspicion is they followed established trade routes which means they likely would have had access to dependable water and game sites and most likely intimidated tribes and villages along the way with supplying them whatever else they needed. Like the Spaniards that would follow, the tribes they encountered would have gladly consented to their demands as a means of being rid of them.

    This is all pure speculation, which is the weakest part of the story...so little to corroborate at this point that we have little else to go on but speculation and educated assumptions.
    Last edited by Randy Bradford; Dec 24, 2013 at 10:15 AM. Reason: Spelling
    Presenting: Selections From the National Prospector's Gazette Volume 2: Ask Exanimo!

    Presenting: Selections From the National Prospector's Gazette Volume 1: Exanimo Looks at Books

    ----------
    Randy Bradford's Buy, Sell and Trade List


    National Prospector's Gazette, Exanimo Express, Gene Ballinger Publications, 8 States Association, National Treasure Hunter's League, Gold Bug, Johnny Pounds "The Treasure Hunter," and so many more...

    Understanding our hobby, by embracing its history...

  11. #11
    pw
    Apr 2003
    New Mexico
    BS
    2,850
    1335 times
    Quote Originally Posted by pippinwhitepaws View Post
    I am not saying the Aztec did not value gold...but...

    there is a factor, the amount of labor costs to dig, smelt, mold into objects of value, and now add on the thousand mile journey into Navajo country, through the apaches and numerous other tribes hostile to them
    even if one considers the aztec claim to have come from the north...and were taking the gold back to traditional lands, the shear effort of such a convoy in labor and resources.
    Well, obviously the Mexica did accumulate the gold and create objects of value. I'm still on the fence about whether this alleged treasure trek happened - but if it did, the Mexica would clearly have been very strongly motivated in ways we don't identify with. We can't judge the effort they would have been willing to expend based upon our values.
    Oroblanco and Randy Bradford like this.
    ​Adios, amigos - it's been interesting.







  12. #12
    donald peterson

    Jan 2013
    somewhere between flagstaff, preskit
    Whites prism III
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    clearly my ability to communicate is substandard.

    THE AZTEC VALUED OTHER MATERIALS ABOVE GOLD.
    yes, they did mine, smelt and form gold...a simple task compared to shaping turquoise or jade or obsidian.
    you willnotice in the following photomontage that GOLD, while found, is noticeably absent from most maya graves.
    it is my belief that people are confusing continents and cultures...please examine inca culture for grave goods made of gold.

    http://www.famsi.org/reports/01081/01081Wrobel01.pdf
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  13. #13
    pw
    Apr 2003
    New Mexico
    BS
    2,850
    1335 times
    Quote Originally Posted by Randy Bradford View Post
    ...As for labor and resources, if you take the legend at face value, 2,000 men were what took the treasure Northward. I'm not sure where the origin of that figure comes from, but let's take it at face value. 2,000 men would be a formidable sight to most any tribe they encountered. Not many tribes would have considered provoking them, even fewer I suspect had the means to do so. My suspicion is they followed established trade routes which means they likely would have had access to dependable water and game sites and most likely intimidated tribes and villages along the way with supplying them whatever else they needed. Like the Spaniards that would follow, the tribes they encountered would have gladly consented to their demands as a means of being rid of them.

    This is all pure speculation, which is the weakest part of the story...so little to corroborate at this point that we have little else to go on but speculation and educated assumptions.
    The apparent lack of northern tribal stories describing such a journey (at least to my knowledge) has always been a red flag for me in regards to a long trip northward.

    Now, interestingly, Bailey mentions Tiburon Island as one of the treasure trove's rumored destinations - a journey that would have been shorter and would have eliminated traveling through all of today's American Southwest and the last 200 miles of northern Mexico. The land-based part of the trek could theoretically have been much shorter if a large section of the it had been made by boat. What were the Mexica's seafaring capabilities?
    ​Adios, amigos - it's been interesting.







  14. #14
    donald peterson

    Jan 2013
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    since my education is meaningless and prone to gathering insults....please read yahoo's answer to the question of gold among the Aztec and maya.

    Mayan and Aztec Mining? - Yahoo Answers

  15. #15
    Charter Member

    Jun 2004
    332
    527 times
    Quote Originally Posted by pippinwhitepaws View Post
    clearly my ability to communicate is substandard.

    THE AZTEC VALUED OTHER MATERIALS ABOVE GOLD.
    yes, they did mine, smelt and form gold...a simple task compared to shaping turquoise or jade or obsidian.
    you willnotice in the following photomontage that GOLD, while found, is noticeably absent from most maya graves.
    it is my belief that people are confusing continents and cultures...please examine inca culture for grave goods made of gold.
    The Aztecs might have valued a lot of things above gold...but the Spaniards didn't. Moving the gold would have accomplished two goals: Given the Spaniards a reason to leave and given the Aztecs a chance to stick it to those who were aggressive against them. More importantly, who's to say these other things weren't included. What we KNOW is that the Spanish found a lot of gold when they first visited the Aztecs...gold that was gone when they returned and conquered them 14 months later. Whether the Aztec valued other items above gold does not change that fact. You stated your position clearly, its just clear from the historical record that the Aztecs had a lot of gold, the Spaniards wanted a lot of gold, and in the end the Spaniards only took a fraction of what hey knew existed.

    Nice pics by the way...

    Quote Originally Posted by pippinwhitepaws View Post
    since my education is meaningless and prone to gathering insults....please read yahoo's answer to the question of gold among the Aztec and maya.
    I know nothing about your education, so I certainly couldn't insult that even if I wished to. I'm not quite sure where you see an insult in disagreement and that certianly wasn't my intention. I think we have a difference of opinion but I've made it abundantly clear that I welcome your feedack and insights, even those contrary to my own...
    Last edited by Randy Bradford; Dec 24, 2013 at 10:41 AM.
    Oroblanco likes this.
    Presenting: Selections From the National Prospector's Gazette Volume 2: Ask Exanimo!

    Presenting: Selections From the National Prospector's Gazette Volume 1: Exanimo Looks at Books

    ----------
    Randy Bradford's Buy, Sell and Trade List


    National Prospector's Gazette, Exanimo Express, Gene Ballinger Publications, 8 States Association, National Treasure Hunter's League, Gold Bug, Johnny Pounds "The Treasure Hunter," and so many more...

    Understanding our hobby, by embracing its history...

 

 
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