How to Be a Modern-Day Treasure Hunter

“Modern-day treasure hunter” - this name is so mesmerizing and carries feelings of fascination. There are plenty of movies created about treasure hunting, like National Treasure, Indiana Jones, and Kumiko the Treasure Hunter, just to name a few.


There are real life treasure hunters too, however. We’ll mention a few notable examples. Back in 2013, a Florida family found a buried treasure of gold that was worth over $3,00,000. Have you heard of the team of treasure hunters who found a 4.5 centuries-old Spanish ship off the coast of the Dominican Republic? Was that ship empty? No, it was full of valuable gold and silver coins. Now, come towards the biggest treasure-hunting story in the history of the US. There was a ship named SS Central America that sunk off North Carolina coast in 1857, on which they found 21 tons of gold bars. This brought stupendous fortune to the team of treasure hunters in 1988 who uncovered it. This treasure was worth over $150,000,000!

If you want to become a treasure hunter for a living or want to explore this field because of your interest, like any other profession, you need a starting point and guidelines to do so. We are here to help you out!

Study Archaeology

Archaeology is the most important field to study for a person who is looking to become a successful treasure hunter. Many universities offer this degree. Go to college, graduate, and kickstart your professional life. If you think that academic study is not your thing, then consider volunteering to gain practical experience and deep insight by seeking out local museums or archaeological excavations.

Get a Passport

To search for treasure, you may have to go out in different cities and countries as well. You cannot do this while sitting at your home. Traveling across the world, uncovering previously lost artifacts, and getting a lot of money requires a passport and a visa. You need money to start, for a passport and updated visa for the desired countries you plan to visit.

Brush Up on your Foreign Languages

How will you communicate to the locals of an area where you’re searching if you don’t speak the language? Knowing a little of the language and culture of where you’re going can go a long way for travelling there in general, and for asking treasure hunting questions and local tips.

Moreover, ancient scrolls will not be written in English or your local language. So get ready to learn new languages. We recommend starting to learn and speak Latin, Greek, Hebrew, Sumerian, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, and much more!

Modern Equipment

Would some water bottles, snacks, and hiking sticks be enough for treasure hunting like simple hiking? No, equipment is necessary to help you detect, dig, and uncover the lost treasures in sands! Thanks to technological advancements, there are advanced metal detectors, rain gear, safe shoes, and plenty more to make your search easy. Moreover, it would help if you were an excellent swimmer to explore things in bodies of water. For more information on underwater equipment, here is an article on the best underwater metal detectors.

Treasure hunter with metal detector

Treasure hunter with metal detector.


Many treasure hunters spend months reaching their targeted place. Now, you should have solid internet researching skills. You must gather complete information about the targeted area, including past attempts, languages, civilization, and laws.


You have money and passports, your research is complete, and you finally arrived at your destination. Here come the foreign customs and laws. Countries are too conscious about protecting historic sites from looting and damage. You first need to get permission from the state to start your search.

For example: In Oregon, it's a crime to dig up anything older than 75 years intentionally. You first need to get a permit from the state, even if it's on your property! So, treasure-hunters must keep up to date information about countries' laws to prevent severe repercussions.


Why not tell you about one of the hundreds of hidden treasures that have clues but are not discovered yet. “The Nazi Gold” is a treasure allegedly tossed by many of Hitler’s men into Lake Toplitz in Austria. People tried to find it but so far have ended up in failed attempts. It is still uncovered and costs around $45 billion!

Things to Remember

This profession is not like any field that has a high potential of earning money after getting the required skill set. It demands so much expense to travel and to buy modern machinery. In general, it is said that academics rarely have access to the required funding. So, there must be an alignment of private and public forces working together.

If stories like treasure hunters of Florida family fascinate you, then remember they spent 16 years uncovering hidden treasure! This high-risk search for lost things business is more for gambler-type temperaments as it contains so much uncertainty. However, if you have patience, money, passion, and support of state executives, then best of luck on your treasure-hunting adventure!

  • Updated a couple of weeks ago
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