Searching for Montezuma’s treasure with ROVs in Utah

Here’s one I actually hadn’t heard of — looking for Montezuma’s treasure in a Utah pond.

Filmmakers search for Montezuma’s treasure in Kanab pond | KSL.com.

Producer Mike Wiest along with landowner Lon Child and a crew of filmmakers are setting out to tell the story of Three Lakes, Montezuma and the treasure hunters whose attempts of recovering the gold have been foiled.

The pond is surrounded by mystery, which is what Jubal Productions hopes to uncover.

“No one’s gone there yet. We’re only talking 140 feet away from shore,” Wiest said. “It’s so close, yet no one’s gotten there and no one’s ever documented it.”

Now, the production team is raising funds to send remote operated vehicles, particularly submarines carrying lights and cameras, into the cave. The ROVs are well-situated to high water pressure and immune to human fears of the supernatural that have impaired scuba divers in the past, Wiest said.

The footage is intended for a documentary about Montezuma’s treasure. The crew believes there is something there and that something, possibly supernatural, like the spirits of Aztec warriors, is protecting it. Wiest even mentions possibly sending in a scuba diving exorcist! Absurd.

Lost treasures always have a mist of mystery about them. Why are they lost? Why can’t we seem to find them when we know where they’re supposedly buried? Oh, yeah, it’s protected by a supernatural entity. How convenient. This story sounds remarkably like the search for the Lost Dutchman mine. It probably doesn’t exist but is a fanciful legend that has been sustained through repeated telling to hopeful treasure seekers.

People have long been in a frenzy to find the gold reported placed by The Aztecs who drained the pond (how?), buried the treasure in a chamber inside a rock face and then allowed the pond to fill up, blocking any access to the treasure. The mysterious treasure is said to worth up to $3 billion according to the legend. In 1989 Brandt Child, Lon Child’s father, bought the land and surrounding area and planned to have the lake drained. However, the US Fish and Wildlife Service put a stop to his plan because an endangered species lived in the area: Snails.

More: Legend of Three LakesMontezuma’s Revenge

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  7 comments for “Searching for Montezuma’s treasure with ROVs in Utah

  1. Todd Sikkema
    February 13, 2014 at 6:08 PM

    This reads like National Treasure Part III. I didn’t realize that Montezuma or any of his cohorts ever visited Utah. Is there a Mormon connection in all this?

  2. Chris Howard
    February 14, 2014 at 9:00 AM

    My guess is that Spooky could really shed some light on this, no? ;-)

  3. February 14, 2014 at 10:01 AM

    Chris Howard  He’s the one who told me it was Montezuma II, not I. :-)

  4. busterggi
    February 14, 2014 at 11:26 AM

    Will Cortez’ decendents have a legal claim on this?

  5. spookyparadigm
    February 14, 2014 at 2:08 PM

    Chris Howard It’s almost certain bunk. Jason Colavito has been working on these sorts of topics recently. But there was a mania in the 19th and early 20th century for putting the Aztecs far north. Part of this was due to the recognition that Nahuatl is an Uto-Aztecan language, and that does tie into migration stories the Aztecs had (but lots of people in Mesoamerica had such stories, whether there was a major migration involved or not. See the Popol Vuh for an example that didn’t involve walking the distance between Utah and Mexico City, if there was any kind of migration at all). 
    But most of it was at least framed, if not based, in racism and hatred/disdain of local Native Americans. Anglos saw masonry structures in the Southwest, or earthen pyramids and earthworks in the east, and assumed they were too sophisticated for local “savages” of the sort they had just spent decades trying to wipe out or ethnic cleanse. So they made up stories of Aztecs or especially “Toltecs” (a concept I have issues with in Mesoamerica, which is a different more academic thing), wandering around in the US building things. That’s why a lot of sites formally named a century or so ago have names like Aztec ruins, Aztalan, Montezuma’s Castle, etc., even though they have nothing to do with Mexica or other Nahuatl groups.

    I’d also add that much of the region in question was Spanish and then Mexican until 1848, so that made it even more an “Other” sort of place, one ripe for making up legends on the map.

    This then combined with the “lost treasure” legends, and the “lost civilization” fiction so popular at the time, into stories like this one, or the “Smithsonian is covering up ancient advanced technology in the Grand Canyon” story that some woo peddlers still peddle.

  6. spookyparadigm
    February 14, 2014 at 2:09 PM

    @Todd Sikkema I wouldn’t be shocked.

  7. Chris Howard
    February 14, 2014 at 2:17 PM

    Thank you. My professor in Anthropology, Mike Merrifield, (in the 80’s) would talk about theories like this, but I couldn’t remember what he had said.
    I do have to admit that I am really excited about the romote controlled submarine footage, though!

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