For the May 2015 Treasure of the Month we are revisiting the Joel Ruth Hoard. Portions of this hoard, found by Joel Ruth after Hurricane Jeanne in September of 2004, were previously featured as our Treasure of the Month in June 2011, April 2014 and October 2014.
Hurricane Jeanne was the deadliest hurricane of the 2004 hurricane season. When it struck on September 25, 2004, it was the fourth hurricane to hit Florida during a six-week period. Brevard County resident Joel Ruth, who was qualified as a field archaeologist by Dr. Jim Miller in 1996, weathered the storm. As the winds died down and the tide dropped, he wanted to be the first person on the beach to search for what he believed to be the remnants of a king’s treasure.
Relying on his experience, research and instinct, Ruth knew exactly where to look. By the end of the day he had recovered over two hundred full-weight four and eight silver reales. Our Treasure of the Month features several of these coins just as they were found. After surviving the hurricane of July 1715 (and Hurricane Jeanne in September 2004), these coins are in an incredible state of preservation. Some of these coins were recently conserved, and they look as bright and clean as the day they were minted.
By all accounts, the Joel Ruth Hoard stands out as one of the most remarkable finds of the recent past and a fantastic addition to our Treasure of the Month series.