Treasure often that of which is considered lost or forgotten until being rediscovered. Some jurisdictions legally define what constitutes treasure, such as in the British Treasure Act 1996. To some treasure is found in the earth, to others there is a more spiritual meaning. The Gospel of Matthew defines Treasure as the focus of one’s heart and warns of focus on Worldly Treasure. “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Mathew 6: 19 – 21.
In modern times
In recent times, the early stages of the development of archaeology included a significant aspect of treasure hunt; Heinrich Schliemann’s excavations at Troy, and later at Mycenae, both turned up significant finds of golden artifacts. Early work in Egyptology also included a similar motive.
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More recently, most serious treasure hunters have started working underwater, where modern technology allows access to wrecks containing valuables which were previously inaccessible. Starting with the diving suit, and moving on through Scuba and later to ROVs, each new generation of technology has made more wrecks accessible. Many of these wrecks have resulted in the treasure salvage of many fascinating artifacts from Spanish treasure fleets as well as many others.
Treasure hunting is condemned by a growing number of nations, and UNESCO issued a chart for the protection of the underwater cultural heritage in 2001: the UNESCO Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage. This convention is a legal instrument helping states parties to improve the protection of their underwater cultural heritage.