Image: Michel Becker via BBC News

It’s the dead of night on April 24, 1993, somewhere in France. A man called Paul Régis Hauser has dug a hole to a depth of more than six feet. Out of necessity he’s done this furtively. For now he carefully places a bronze owl in the hole. So starts a treasure hunt that will last for more than 25 years. And the reward for the finder is another owl – this time in gold.

Buried treasure has been the romantic stuff of dreams for many centuries. Witness Roman historian Dio Cassius, who recorded one tale from the early second century. He wrote that King Decebalus of Dacia actually re-routed a river in order to bury a huge cache of gold and silver. After later restoring the course of the river, he guaranteed the silence of the slaves who’d worked for him by killing them all.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT