The legend of the Lost Dutchman′s Mine was the subject in last night′s episode of ′America Unearthed′ on the History Channel H2. Are Indian thunder gods the guardians of Superstition Mountain, protecting the gold mine with a deadly curse? Forensic geologist Scott Wolter explores the story of Jacob Waltz, a Dutchman who came to Arizona and may have found a treasure of gold. Many have died in the past 120 years trying to find the lost mine, Some were murdered, but most were killed by the desert and its harsh environment. Will Scott Wolter survive his own expedition?
Scott begins his quest at Apache Junction, Arizona where he meets with Thomas Kollenberg, who provides historical background. Jacob Waltz paid for everything using gold ore. Where did he get it? Nobody knows. Many even argue what kind of gold he used for paying. Was it gold nuggets or ′vein′ gold, found in deposits of quartz? Kollenberg also tells Wolter about the thunder gods and their curse on trespassers, as well as on the discovery in 1949 of the Peralta Stones, a collection of stone maps many believe is a guide to finding the Lost Dutchman′s Mine.
But one fellow who does not believe in the stones is Ron Feldman, a veteran treasure hunter. He meets with Scott and talks rocks with him. Geology is the key, say Feldman, and Wolter agrees, but Scott still is intrigued by the stone maps. There is disagreement on who found the stones. Some say it was a Mexican migrant worker who happened across them. Others contend that it was a white man who had stopped along the road to take a whiz. Who can say? Ron shows Scott replicas of the stones. They are loaded with images, numbers and plenty of squiggly lines. Can Scott Wolter solve the mystery with them?
Ron thinks the stones are a bunch of bunk, so Scott meets a believer, Jim Sieglitz. Jim has studied the stones for years and has a few ideas. For example, he believes that the number 1847 is not a date but notes distance. That one must follow the map′s markers and squiggly lines 18, then 4, then 7 points along the map in relation to the star Polaris, the North Star. Sieglitz tells Wolter that is his opinion, the Lost Dutchman′s Mine is somewhere in the eastern portion of the Superstition Mountains.
Scott returns to meet with Ron again before starting his own treasure hunt. Feldman also believes that the mine is in the eastern half, but not because of the Peralta Stones. Ron says that the geology of the area supports gold quartz deposits. He arranges for Wolter to start his search on some private property that few have access to. Scott walks about the desert, checking out rock samples. After a brush with a rattlesnake, Wolter finds a piece of quartz with gold in it. Woo-Hoo!
Scott meets with Ron again and they visit the ghost town of Goldfield, AZ, once the home of the famous Mammoth Mine. Founded in 1892, one year after Jacob Waltz died, a million dollars worth of gold had been extracted, worth considerably more in today′s fiat currency. This makes Scott wonder if the Mammoth Mine is the Lost Dutchman′s Mine? Another theory is that there was no mine at all. That Jacob Waltz found the remains of a Spanish treasure train which had been attacked by Indians and hidden in the mountains. Wolter gets a text message and learns that he can see the actual Peralta Stones. They are on display at the Superstition Mountain Museum. Scott checks the stones out. They are actual stones with carvings, but they yield no further clues. So is the Lost Dutchman′s Mine still lost, or was it found and renamed the Mammoth Mine? The mystery continues.