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10 Steps To Become a Treasure Hunter

Treasure Hunting 101

Documented by Timothy Draper

Categories & Site Details: Ancient History, Famous Treasure Stories, Field Research, Gold, Gold & Doubloons, Lost Forgotten History, Mysteries, Outlaw Loot, Spanish History, Spanish Treasure, Treasure Sites in America



Tim has been treasure hunting for over two decades and has had his fair share of treasure hunting, researching, and discoveries. He has aired on many TV shows on Travel Channel and Discovery Channel. He has also made his way up on podcasts, news articles, and social media. To learn more about Tim, click on this link below to learn more. 

Professional Treasure Hunter from Utah | Historical Researcher





This is a tough question. Where to start with this one… I think the best thing to do is to tell my story and hope that it gives the readers some ideas and tips. I may bounce around from past to present but bear with me on this, I’m sure you’re going to like it. 

It all made sense and came together when I was 18 years old. I had two friends at the time that enjoyed looking for an adventure and I just followed along because it seemed fun. We decided to go out on the hunt after a lost Spanish mine and a buried cache. I had no idea how to treasure hunt for this type of thing back then and neither did my friends, so we took the book that inspired us. The book was called, “Of Men and Gold” by Stephen B Shaffer. It took us a couple of hours to get to the mountain range that Shaffer had described in his book and we quickly discovered that the real adventure started at a rough, dirt road that lay ahead. Looking back, I think it was my best treasure hunt yet. Four-wheel driving, metal detecting, and exploring a whole new, unknown area. We didn’t find much that day, but it turned out that I had found the best treasure yet; a passion and love for the hunt.


There has to be a fire in your soul for something in the realm. Maybe it’s the hunt, perhaps it’s an adventure to get outdoors and explore, maybe it’s the excitement of finding your fortune and glory. I’d say it’s all of the above for me and even more. And really, it doesn’t matter what the reasoning is if you like doing it. 

For me, I believe it’s embedded in me. I feel that I was the perfect recipe for becoming and learning to be a treasure hunter. Ever since I was 6 years old, I have loved the outdoors. I wanted to go camping, hiking, and exploring every weekend, and when I couldn’t, all I did was think about the next time I could go out again. All I could think about and all I wanted to do was to go and be outdoors. By the time I was 8, I noticed that I really liked history. I loved hearing stories and learning about Ancient Egypt, Greek mythology, and the exploration of the Spanish in the new world. Still to this day, I love doing all of the above. There’s nothing I look forward to more than taking a drive with my family and choosing an unknown road I’ve never been down before. I enjoy four-wheel driving in my jeep, and when we come across an area that catches my interest, I break out my metal detector and we begin exploring our newfound area.

I would say it was my personality and outdoor skills that led up to the treasure hunting. To be the type of treasure hunter I am, historical treasure hunter & researcher, it sure did make it easier to have the outdoor expertise that I had. As a treasure hunter, you need to be able to take on anything that comes your way. That is why I created a team of people with all types of skills, but we’ll leave that for another blog. Now that I’ve explained a little about my lust for the world of treasure hunting, I would like to set some ideas in your head about how you can get started. 





1.) You need to do a little research. Find out what it is that drives you. Is it outlaw loot buried in the Western States? Or is it the Knights Templar treasure that is said to be hidden in the United States? Or is it the Spanish exploration here in the Americas? You need to find your passion, whatever it may be. 

2.) Once you have an idea, then it’s time to decide how you want to treasure hunt. Do you want to metal detect old fields? Do you want to scuba dive off the coast looking for sunken treasures? Or would you like to do it more in a historical researcher way, start with researching lost history in your area, and set out to find clues, artifacts, mines, and/or buried caches?

3.) Now that you have narrowed it down a little more, I would suggest starting with what is in your area. Treasure hunting can be timely and costly. One thing I’ve learned is to have a direction and plan set so you can stay on task and get as much done as possible in the time you have. Learn your treasure sites. Take drives to it and explore the roads and areas.

4.) Don’t be afraid to reach out to others. Some treasure hunters are going to be really secretive. It’s best to understand that from the beginning, but there are others, like locals, that have families that have lived in the area for generations that would love to share their stories. Those people often have some of the best stories and legends. 

5.) Use search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo to find more information. But remember, just because it’s on the web, doesn’t mean that you can take that information to the bank. That’s why you need to research, research, and yes, research some more. You don’t want to be wandering around the wilderness off the word of one person (although you could) but I’d suggest finding at least a few sources that talk about the story you’ve chosen.

6.) Here’s the hard part, find someone to help coach you. This took me a couple of years and it took time because you need to earn their trust before they’ll be willing to give you too much information. Find someone and/or a group that seems like they want to help. If they are only posting information on social media and not commenting on their posts to others, there’s a good chance they may be harder to get in with. Look for websites, authors, and people that seem like they would like to help take you under their wing. They’re out there, don’t give up.

7.) Put a list together of things to look out for. Remember, if it doesn’t look natural, most likely it’s not and it’s man-made. This rule applies underwater, in the wilderness, or metal detecting in a field. Always keep your eye out for structures, artifacts, old camps, rock monuments, and anything else that catches your attention.

8.) You need to really think about this one. Most treasure hunters will disagree with me but I know this is why I became successful in and out of the field. Do you need help? Is there someone you can trust to go with you? It’s dangerous to venture off on your own. Not only that, it’s good to have another set of eyes to help hunt. If you don’t choose to find a partner and/or partners, then make sure you tell someone where you are going and when you plan on being back.

9.) Now that you have learned the history of the area, you’ve reached out to people for legends, you found a mentor (if possible), and you know your area a little… Go out on a scouting trip! Here are some things to do on your scouting trip:

  • Decide what road to take
  • If you are going to stay overnight
  • Where you want to hike and explore and why
  • Learn your bearings (North, South, East & West) 
  • Ponder on the gear you may need
  • Consider once again if you need to have a partner
  • Keep in mind what you’re looking for and consider the history of how it got there

10.) This is key. Now that you know the area a little and you have somewhat of an idea of what you’re looking for, it’s time to gear up. You’re going to need some basic tools that are available to start out with. You don’t need too much at first, but these are the items I suggest. Use the checklist below:


This information will surely help you get started but remember to come back to this article because you are going to need it over and over again. Treasure hunting takes time and money. You can decide how much. You can dive right in and go all out or you can take it slow and go at the pace you and your budget are comfortable with. Some treasure hunters work on many different sites and they travel all the time. Some only stay in their area and spend their life working on it slow and easy. You are in control and I say, let your new information and passion guide you. 

If you are interested, we at Treasures in America have every intention to help people. We have a membership plan that helps people with discounts on gear and we offer up our advice and knowledge to those members. We have treasure stories to help teach what to look for and we have blogs to help guide you. We are the central hub for all things treasure hunting and if you would like to work with us, we are here to take you under our wing and guide you. We believe that together, we will only be stronger and more successful. Be safe out there and good luck with your new hobby. Find Your Adventure. 


17 responses to “10 Steps To Become a Treasure Hunter”

  1. This article is great! My next novel will feature teen treasure hunters and you’ve given me some great insight. It’s a good thing one of the main characters will be a former Boy Scout – he’ll be prepared!

  2. I have metal detected all over….I have found Edo period Japanese relics on the Nakasendo Trail in Japan…been in Florida all over….Oklahoma and Texas and even Pennsylvania.
    Mostly as a hobby but i am wanting to get more serious and go for actual lost treasures. Researched allot on Jesse James and the mountains in Oklahoma but one of his biggest unfound treasures is on a wild life refuge now.
    Any tricks to getting permission to detect one state property

    • can i come with you? i want to be a treasure hunter that’s my dream I’ll spend my life searching for lost treasures

  3. I have divining rods and cavalry scout training looking to join a team ASAP
    I’m a good cook as well

  4. Hello. I came across this website while i was doing a search on google. Im 21 and history is something i love. Specially parts where treasures are lost. I’m portuguese btw. I’m not interested in diving although i may to if necessary. I’m interested in a specific cache from marco polos time, that stayed in africa and it came from asia, probably china as it traveled through the sea. Although it may have come from the middle east too and i messed up in my research… For some reason it’s not very talked about. I’m more concerned about the legal problems i may get into (I will not wait for govs approval or let anyone else know of my intentions), as well as personnal safety, shelter and transportation. If gold was lost in africa in 1310, would you think it may have been stolen by some other smart pirates and distributed around the world, or hidden somehwere for the owners to come back for it later? I reckon this will be an adventure of a lifetime and if something happens then so be it. It would be nice to hear from people who may want to join me. I hope to start this “adventure” in ~4 years from todays date. Anything just message me through an email i created just for this: b20ytb0 @gmail . com. Keep up the good blog. I havent read any other page other than this one to be honest, and sorry for my english mistakes.


  5. Reading this ignited a spark thats been dorment for a while due to covid. Im quite young and still discovering who i am and what i love, but if theres on thing im sure about, its that my biggest passion is treasure hunting. Throughout my life I have always loved adventuring and when I couldn’t go out I would always play games that involved thrilling history and amazing treasure hunts (favourite game has always been uncharted). As i’m young I can’t travel much nor have money to properly get into treasure hunting. Throughout my life I have always felt something was missing. I could never accept that life is as boring as it is now. That there must be more waiting for me around the world. And now I the spark within me telling me to do what I love is alive again. Thank you.

    • Kyla, thanks for replying. Many things that you said in your reply reminded me of my thoughts. I was about 8 years old when I knew I loved history and I was around 15 years old when I discovered that treasure hunting can be done if you try hard enough. It takes time, studying, research, money, and a little luck. I have never been happier in life since I decided to become a full-time treasure hunter. It was calling to me too. Be patient but stay focus on what you really want to do. Work hard and never let your dream die. People will learn that you’re passionate and that’s when things start to change in your life.

      Good Luck. Be Safe. Find Your Adventure.

      Timothy C Draper | Historical Treasure Hunter

  6. I’ve been studying Spanish trail markers for over 20 years and after awhile it actually becomes easy the PROBLEM is “they” won’t let you dig for treasure LEGALLY Any “lost” mine or hidden vault can be located ANY and there are more out there than people would believe. I’ve been looking for ANYONE who seriously want to excavate REAL treasure , I can provide proof that by learning to read the signs you can literally find ANYTHING the Spanish hid

  7. This is very interesting, If you have associates in Tanzania, please help. There are many areas with tones of hidden treasure. Treasure that require to be unlocked or dug out, abandoned Gold mines, Gem stone mines and the like. Few people have had opportunities but we still are looking for serious EXPERTS for this work.

    Most of us lack the FINANCIAL ABILITY and help to be able to provide vivid photos, videos and imagery of the said areas but little evidence is with us as, we have physically visited most of these locations and failed due to lack of resources like DETECTORS.

    Areas like Iringa, Singida, Tanga, Geita, Bagamoyo, Kilwa have a history of abandoned and locked sites which have been there for decades and could give positive results and findings. For more details of interest please find me through

  8. Hello I have a metal detector and live in Ohio. I am new to this but wouldn’t mind joining up with someone(s). I am willing to go anywhere in Ohio but am unwilling to leave the state currently. I know that’s a lot of baggage but I am a quick learner and definitely won’t disappoint. Anyone interested, feel free to email me at

  9. Hello! This is kind of off topic but I need some help from an established blog.
    Is it hard to set up your own blog? I’m not very techincal but I can figure things out pretty quick.
    I’m thinking about making my own but I’m not sure where to start.
    Do you have any tips or suggestions? Many thanks

  10. I’m really impressed with your writing skills as well as with the layout on your weblog.
    Is this a paid theme or did you customize it yourself? Either way keep up the nice quality writing, it’s rare
    to see a great blog like this one these days.

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