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Such a "The phenomenon of buried hoards and the hobbyists scouring the land" occurred in the USA in the 1820s & '30s--sans electronic metal detectors. Perhaps it was fed in part by the knowledge that the Cherokee had a gold mine in northern Georgia, the proceeds from which they used to finance their legal contest of Andrew Jackson's Indian removal policies to the U.S. Supreme Court.

But there is also the story of Joseph Smith and the Angel Moroni who he described as first appearing to him in 1823 and telling him of the gold tablets buried on Hill Cumorah, providentially located adjacent to the Smith family farm in upstate New York. Smith describes retrieving the tablets in 1827 along with the Urim and Thummim, Old Testament stones for divination. As rumors spread, this likely added to the number of those "scouring the land."

Word of the discovery of gold at Sutter's Mill in California turned the quest into one purely for naturally occurring precious metals, which, when found, had the effect of spurring the expeditious admission of California as a state to the United States in 1850 and Nevada in 1864. From then until the end of the century there was, essentially, free land and free money for those who could find it and claim it.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Nov 26th, 2009 at 12:41:31 PM EST
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