Personal computers have become nearly as commonplace as VCRs for home use and, with this rise in popularity, more and more treasure hunters currently have access to one. There is an ever-increasing number of companies that produce software programs targeted at highly specialized areas of interest, and the treasure hunting field is one that has not been overlooked.
Treasure Garden, a division of the programming firm, Computer Garden, Inc., has developed a comprehensive program designed to satisfy the needs of virtually any treasure hunter, regardless of computer knowledge or skills.
Milford Webster, Treasure Garden's owner and lead programmer, has been involved in TH'ing for over 25 years and he recognized the need for a quality, computer-based research tool. The U.S. Treasure Database was subsequently developed with two main objectives in mind: to provide users with an inexpensive computerized database containing a large number of documented U.S. treasure locations and allow treasure hunters to quickly and easily add to the existing data, thereby creating a highly useful and personalized research and record-keeping tool.
The U.S. Treasure Database is actually a two-part system. The data base that drives the program is a powerful product produced by Buttonware, Inc.-a well-established programming firm-and is included in the package at no additional charge. Treasure Garden has built on this data base program by developing overlays, screens, reports, graphs, and files that apply directly to treasure hunting. An added feature of the U.S. Treasure Database is that if you have a need for a data base program and possess even a could use Buttonware's Program to create spreadsheets to fit virtually any possible need that might arise. A 300+ page user's manual and a short quick-start reference guide is included on one of the disks and can be easily printed out if needed.
To provide a starting point, the U.S. Treasure Database comes with information on over 2,500 treasure locations in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. This information was obtained from a number of different sources, and before including any location, Milford attempted to authenticate each one by finding it referenced in more than one source. Users can also add new leads or documented sites to the compilation of treasure locations included with the Treasure Database.
The data fields that are available for each of the locations that come with the program as well as any that you might want to add include the name and the specific location of the site along with the county, state, and region it's in; the estimated value of the treasure;
the type of treasure; a "reliability factor"; comments on the site or the treasure; and, on the Gold Edition, the exact latitude and longitude coordinates of the site.
The reliability factor referenced on each record ranges from 0 to 100, with a higher value indicating that there is a higher probability of the treasure actually existing. This field serves another extremely useful function. If during your research activities you hear about a specific site or see it referenced, you could enter it in the data base and assign it a low probability value. As you obtain additional information from other sources you could add this new data and increase its probability factor, and then decide when it would be worth perusing. Sites at which you have found targets could be entered as having a probability factor of 100%, and since this field is readily searchable, you could quickly and easily print out a listing of all sites worth going back to, based on previous finds.
The field for TYPE OF TREASURE allows you to group individual leads based on what the treasure consists of. The pre-defined categories include COINS, INGOTS, JEWELS, JEWELRY, MISCELLANEOUS, ORE, or PAPER. As with all the other fields, TREASURE TYPE is fully searchable and it can be used to select a group of sites for a particular type of treasure hunting such as coin hunting, prospecting, or cache hunting.
The entire country has been broken down into several regions which allows searches to be limited to a specific geographic region. The preidefined regions include the Mid-Atlantic, Midwest, New England, Plains, South, Southwest, and West areas. For example, the Southern region contains 373 treasure leads as compared to over 2,500 for the entire country and by limiting the number of records, the time required to complete the search is greatly reduced.
The COMMENTS section on each record allows you to enter your own research information as you collect it. This feature enables you to keep all of your research material together in one location and eliminates the potential for losing that one lead you come across that may have pinpointed a bonanza.
In addition to the LOCATION data files described above, there are also templates for keeping track of your finds, treasure hunting expenses, and site-specific information. The EXPENSE portion includes fields which allow you to enter the names(s) of the people and the date(s) of the trip; the total mileage driven; the destination; food, lodging, and transportation expenses; as well as comments and remark. which may be helpful in reconstructing details regarding the trip at a later date. When combined with the report features of the U.S. Treasure Database, this module would be extremely useful when preparing your Income Tax Return if you treat treasure hunting as a business.
The SITE module is helpful in keeping track of what was found at specific sites and the information that can be entered includes the individual(s) hunting the site and the date it was searched; whether permission was obtained and from whom; the mileage to and from the site; the number of pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters, or other type of coins recovered; and comments on the site itself.
The FINDS module is designed to keep track of specific items recovered and contains the name of the site; the date searched; the time spent at the site; name of the whether permission was required; the detector us found, and a comments section for any additional information you may want to enter regarding the site such as ground conditions, trash content, and depth of targets recovered.
In addition to these modules for entering and capturing information, the U.S. Treasure Database also includes a number of predefined user logs and reports. These can be viewed on the screen or sent directly to a printer and retained for field use at a later date.
Some of the reports include Sites (which gives a tabular listing of sites available in whatever region you have specified); Expenses (which provides a detailed summary of your expenses); and Monthly Coin Totals (which tabulates the number of pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters, and other coins you have recovered). The reports can be easily customized or modified if additional information is needed for a specific application, and these changes can then be saved and retained for future use.
There are also over 500 pre-made graphs and charts available which can be generated by simply filling in the information called for in the templates displayed on the screen. These graphs and charts can be used to determine the amount of treasure, the number of leads, or the various types of treasure in a specific region.
There are two versions, Silver and Gold. The two versions contain the same features with the exception of the Gold Edition feature which has longitude and latitude coordinates for the more than 2,500 treasure sites, faster data access, and retrieval, and it will support working in a network environment by allowing multiple users to access and update the same data files. With the Gold Edition, the longitude and latitude coordinates can be included on any of the new records that are added.
This feature is extremely useful for treasure divers interested in shipwrecks as there are a number of books available that list each wreck and their cargo, and having this information on a computer could make planning trips or identifying wrecks as simple as pressing a few keys. Also, with the increasing availability of hand-held LORAN units, even land sites could be located quite easily through the use of the information included with the Gold Edition.
Another nice feature of the U.S. Treasure Database is that if you know another registered user, you can exchange research data on a periodic basis and each user will have all of the data from both researchers in one complete data base.
In addition to the data files that come with the package, there are four other features that have been included to help the treasure hunter. The first is a Search and Salvage Agreement that Treasure Garden has developed and allows registered users to copy for their own use. This form is extremely useful, especially if you are looking for a treasure that may be worth considerably more than just a few recently lost coins in the park; and remember, without a signed agreement, the landowner can claim ownership of anything you might find. The second additional feature is a section on metal detectors and their operation which was written by Rick Maulding, a senior project engineer for White's Electronics. While it is not that long, it does contain information that even experienced TH'ers may find useful.
Following the section on metal detectors there is a bibliography which provides a list of the books Treasure Garden used to generate many of the leads that come with the program. All of the leads these sources contain were not included, so it may be worth reviewing them yourself and adding those that are in your area or that you might be interested in searching for.
The last section provides information on where to search for lost valuables with a metal detector, and while many of the sites have been written about elsewhere previously, they have been brought together in one place for easy reference.
USING THE PROGRAM
I found the U.S. Treasure Database extremely simple to install by following instructions that came with the disks, and once I started the program, the on-screen prompts virtually eliminated the need to refer back to the manual.
After spending several days entering data from my handwritten logs covering the last few years, I used the search feature to identify which sites had been the most productive in terms of silver coins and jewelry. B y selecting the SEARCH option from the main menu, I simply put in the word SILVER and the U.S. Treasure Database quickly provided me a list of those sites at which I had recovered silver coins.
With a few additional keystrokes I received a printout listing all the sites, the dates I had searched them, what I had found, and the particular detector I had been using. I repeated the process using the search word GOLD and was able to identify three beaches I had forgotten about that had produced well a few years ago.
Several of the other output options provided me with reports that showed me how many coins of each type I had found (broken down by month), expenses I had incurred on my trips over the last couple of years (which came as quite a shock), and which detector had found the most in terms of old coins, artifacts, and jewelry. Considering I had not had to actually do any programming but rather simply used the selection screens provided by Treasure Garden, I found that virtually any possible report I might want in the future was already available from the menus.
With treasure hunting becoming ore and more competitive, research is often the difference between success and failure in the field. The combination of a personal computer and Treasure Garden's U.S. Treasure Database program results in a powerful tool that not only allows you to keep track of what you have found and where, but also identifies those sites that may be worth searching in the future. The program win help ensure that a brief mention of a potential site is retained for further follow-up at a later date. Additionally, the EXPENSE portion of the program will prove to be extremely useful at tax time if you're treating your TH'ing activities as either a full- or part-time business.
The program is quite reasonably priced especially when considering all the features and data that come with it. The Silver Edition comes with Buttonware's PC-File+ as the data base program and sells for $27.50. The Gold Edition uses PCFile:db to manage the data base and it sells for $66. Shipping and handling is an additional $5 for either version. One year of free, unlimited technical support for registered users is available either through the online bulletin board or by talking directly with the staff of Treasure Garden.
For additional information on this extremely useful program or to order a copy, write to Treasure Garden at 100 Clemwood St., Suite C, Salisbury, MD 21801, or call (410)749-3226. They can also be reached by modem at (410)546_ 1508, and their treasure hunting bulletin board will allow you to order a copy of the program, request a demonstration disk, access any one of over 150 treasure-related files, or browse through the message section.
Be sure to mention that you read about the U.S. Treasure Database in Treasure Facts. Maybe one of the treasures Milford Webster has documented in the program will be the next one you recover!