Early Days on the Isthmus

The items above were found while searching some very old areas and are all from the 1600 - 1700's. Areas searched were the Camino Real (King's Highway) in Madden Lake area and Fort San Lorenzo on the Atlantic Coast. The bell is a mule bell that was used on the mules that hauled booty and supplies across the isthmus. Note there is a wear hole in the side of the bell. This bell must have been used for many years until the device that held the bell to the mules halter broke. It is made of bronze. I found this bell right off the edge of the Camino Real cobble stones The beads are trade beads brought over to the new world for bartering with the indigenous people. They are made of glass and are hand made. There is many different colors, some solid, some mixed, some large and some very small. A piece of gold is on this bead necklace that was found while sifting for the beads. Gold nuggets, coins, glass gem stones and other small artifacts can be found when sifting. I made up this string for display purposes. The beads are found individually. The silver thimble both above and in the photo below, is probably my most favorite find. I found it off a old Spanish settlement in Madden Lake. It is crudely made of silver and has geometric designs etched in it. I have found many thimbles, but this one is the best ever. Many square copper nails can be found in all these areas. These nails were hand made and used over and over again. Many different sizes can be found if the eye is good.



English Ship Wreck


These items are lead seals that were used to seal shipping boxes. The two large seals are believed to have sealed shipping boxes containing Rapiers (Slim Sword), as thousands of these swords were found on this wreck. The smaller seal doesn't seem to have been used yet. Quite possible was going to be used to seal cargo on the return trip home. This wreck was dated 1756.


This item was found on the same English wreck as above. It has a large square nail soldiered on the back. To me it appears to be a pin of some sort that would be worn on a hat, belt or was even mounted on a old firearm.


This is a "Piece of Eight". The Spanish silver coin was called the "reale". Reales were issued in denominations of eight, four, two, one, half and sometimes quarters. This particular one is a quarter reale. This is the same coin in both pictures. The side that had been facing down for 240 years still has a shine to it, while the unprotected side has a dark patina from all those years facing the elements. This coin is dated 740 which is 1740. I never had much luck finding these coins, but others have found thousands of them at San Lorenzo, Porto Bello, Madden Lake and the Las Cruses trail. A large cache was even found on Gorgona Island across from Gamboa once. Gorgona was an important town even back in the days of the Spanish.

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