Tales Of Treasure
The Legendary Treasure of Red Bone Cave
A Saga Magazine article from January 1972 called “The Legendary Treasure of Red Bone Cave,” states many historians believe limestone cliffs along the north side of the Tennessee River in the Shoals house a treasure from Hernando de Soto. It is said to be a large portion of a $200 million Incan treasure taken by Francisco Pizarro in Central America.
It also discusses an account from an unidentified trapper who said he briefly was a prisoner of the Chickasaw tribe in an area that today is the Shoals. He described “gold and sliver bars, neatly stacked” that reached to the ceiling of a cave. Old chests also contained “medallions and golden animals with jeweled eyes.” He also described “red-boned skeletons” of warriors, hence the name Red Bone Cave.
The story goes that de Soto and his men camped for a time at a Chickasaw-inhabited area in what today is northeast Mississippi.
Initially, the groups got along, but eventually relations fell into battle and the Spaniards fled, leaving behind the gold and treasure.
The Chickasaws had no use for it, but realized it had value, so they took it to a cave somewhere in this area and hid it. Some warriors allowed themselves to be killed in the cave, where their bodies remained so the spirits could stand eternal guard.
The article states that when Pickwick Dam was constructed in 1938, many caves were flooded. Still, some American Indian artifacts often make their way to the shore during the dry summer months.
In March 1971, two boys found four ancient Spanish coins that had been washed ashore after high waters caused by horrible tornadic weather, the article states.
In addition, a Shoals farmer near the Natchez Trace Bridge once broke through the roof of a flooded cave. Two local treasure hunters picked up what appeared to be a brick, buried in sand about 150 yards from the cave’s entrance. The brick turned out to be a gold bar that showed signs of being melted down somewhat.
June 3 2007
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