At some point in every boy's life, we all dream of being Indiana Jones. It just looks so bloody fun. And being an actual treasure hunter is more of a reality than you'd think. We got Dallas Campbell, presenter of BBC One's Treasure Hunters, to tell us how it's done...
01 Mark the X on the spot.
"Decide what treasure you’re looking for and go and look for it. Our planet is a giant treasure chest full of all kinds of riches waiting to be discovered.
Are you going to mine for Opal in the Australian outback? Dive for lost Spanish treasure on shipwrecks in Cuba? Panning for gold in the Yukon? Discover a lost pharaohs’ tomb in Egypt? There’s too much to do it all, so pick one that takes your fancy."
02 Do a lot of homework.
"And then do some more homework. If treasure hunting is like looking for a needle in a haystack, make damn sure you know there’s a needle in the haystack to begin with.
You will need to know your subject inside out. You’ll need to become a world class historian or geologist or both. And you’ll need a battery of new skills. Scuba diving perhaps, or mining, or metal detecting. If you’re looking in a particular area, you can bet your bottom dollar others are looking too. Be better than they are. At everything."
03 Give up any thoughts of ever having a normal life again.
"Treasure hunting is highly addictive. Once you’ve turned over a rock and found nothing, it’s very hard to stop turning over rocks. You might need to seek professional medical help."
04 Understand the risk.
"Treasure hunting is the worst form of gambling. The odds are stacked against you.
When you play blackjack in a casino (if you know how to play perfect ‘basic strategy’) is close to a 50/50 coin-toss and hence the game of choice for the savvy gambler. Roulette is heavily skewed in favour of ‘the house’, and other games even more so.
So before you sell the house and kids and give up the day job, understand how risk works. Most opal hunters in Coober Pedy go broke. A few will scrape by. One or two will get rich. It’s like the worst casino game you can imagine."
05 Have a Sugar Daddy.
"OK, maybe not, but certainly a very rich, eccentric, understanding patron who can bankroll your hair-brained project. Let’s face it, you aren’t going to strike the ‘mother lode’ on day one, and you’re going to need to survive in the meantime.
Howard Carter, the Egyptologist who found Tutankhamen’s intact tomb full of ‘wonderful things,’ was on the hunt for many years without even knowing the tomb was definitely in the Valley Of The Kings. Carter was funded by Lord Carnarvon, who had decided eventually to pull the plug, giving Carter one last throw of the dice. He got spectacularly lucky.
Anyone who works in a freelance job understands the principles of treasure hunting already."
06 Dress for success.
"If you’ve come this far, you may as well look the part. I suggest a Fedora hat, whip with a leather satchel over the shoulder with a copy of ‘Ten Years Digging In Egypt’ By Flinders Petrie.
Or there's always my favourite, the nautical ‘Steve Zissou’ look (from The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou): light blue shirt, red woolly beenie hat, and a pair of vintage Adidas ‘Roms.’"
The second episode of Dallas Campbell’s new series The Treasure Hunters for BBC1 airs on April 14 at 9pm.