THE TREASURE CAVERN
While searching for a safe place to bury the treasure, Drake's men discovered the entrance to a natural cavern along Greenbrae Ridge. Water from a nearby spring pooled in this deep cavern that was used by the Miwok as a source of water during the long dry season. The entrance to the cavern was set-back just far enough from the edge of the ridge so that it could not be seen from the deck of a ship. This made for an ideal spot to hide the treasure and Drake's men redirected the spring's runoff through a cement structure that was an integral part of the tricks designed to scare off or kill any treasure hunters who found the location.
Drake knew that precious stones would be destroyed by a lack of moisture, so a system was needed to redirect the spring's runoff to create a moist environment in the areas where treasure was going to be buried. An ancient type of valve system, similar to that used in Roman aqueducts was created from a cement-like material. Cannon barrels salvaged from the disassembled ships were placed end-to-end and served as water pipes connecting the valve system to the desired locations.
Once the pool of water had drained from the cavern, the valuable items were placed inside along with layer-upon-layer of colored clay until the cavern was completely filled. Then, the entrance was covered with several feet of dirt so that it would not be noticed by anyone who came upon The Treasure Site.
After the task of loading the caverns was completed, the course of the spring's runoff was redirected into the valve and water-pipe system. The heavily-clayed soil would retain moisture during the annual dry season and even through long periods of drought. THE TREASURE WAS NOW SAFE!
The Emerald Goddess - Umina
The Emerald Goddess holds a place on the list of Great Missing Emeralds. It disappeared during the Spanish Conquest of the Incas in Peru during the 16th Century...and was never seen again...until now! Note the features of the face including; the eye, nose, mouth and Inca-style earring. The Goddess also sports two breasts below her face on the torso.
Smiling/Frowning Ghost Image in the Cavern Wall
Images such as the ghost served as maps or markers. In order to confuse the Spanish or anybody else trying to recover the treasure, Drake used several types of reversals when preparing his maps and markers. Misinterpretation of the reversals could be serious or fatal.
The least problematic result of not understanding the reversals was the wasted time and effort of digging in the wrong direction. The more serious outcome could result in injury or even death if the treasure hunter found himself digging in a location that could trigger a deadly trick such as a falling boulder or collapsing room!
Layer upon layer of beautiful, but highly toxic
colored clays were used to fill the Treasure Cavern.
This required many layers of protective
clothing to prevent toxic metal poisoning.