The Top 15 Most Notorious Urban Treasure Hunts Of All Time

Treasure hunts are a great way to explore the world and solve mysteries. Whether you’re searching for the lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine or a hidden treasure in your own home, there’s something special about hunting for treasure. 

In this article, we list some of the most notorious urban treasure hunts of all time: 1. The recovery of the Dighton Marbles

Urban treasure hunting is a fascinating hobby that allows you to explore the hidden corners of the city and uncover forgotten treasures.
Scavenger hunts are a fun and exciting way to discover new places and engage in team building activities.
With the right equipment and research, anyone can get started with urban treasure hunting and scavenger hunts.
Planning a scavenger hunt requires creativity, attention to detail, and a willingness to explore new ideas.
Urban treasure hunting and scavenger hunts can provide a unique perspective on history, culture, and local landmarks.

1. The Recovery Of The Dighton Marbles

In 1865, an American farmer named William D. Morgan found a marble statue in his backyard. The statue was part of a larger piece that had broken off and rolled down into his yard after having been buried for 19 years. 

It turned out to be part of a Greek statue that was originally made around 200 BC by the sculptor Polyclitus and stood somewhere between six and nine feet tall.

The search for the rest of this ancient artifact began almost immediately, with people all over the world trying to find it by using clues provided by Morgan himself. 

He said he thought it looked like a woman wearing an Olympian crown and holding an olive branch in one hand, so everyone started looking for something similar even though he could’ve been totally wrong about what he saw altogether and just made up those details later on because they sounded cool enough at the time.

In 1872 (nearly 20 years after finding the original piece), another clue led some treasure hunters to believe they’d discovered everything there was left from this missing sculpture: 

A small fragment bearing part of its inscription reading “Polykleitos”—which is exactly how you spell “Polyclitus” if you’re Greek but mostly illiterate when it comes down to spelling things correctly in English (just ask me!).

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2. Find A Hidden Treasure In Your Own Home

Look under the rug. It’s the easiest spot to hide something, and it’s also one of the places people are least likely to look. 

The only place you might not want to check is if there’s a stain on the rug that keeps coming back they could be hiding some serious dirt down there!

Look in your attic. If you’re lucky enough to have an attic, check it out! You never know what treasures may be tucked away up there. Just make sure it’s not full of bats before you start digging through boxes (unless you’re into that sort of thing).

Look in your basement or garage. Even though basements can be damp spaces with lots of spider webs, they still hold plenty of potential for urban treasure hunts especially when people don’t clean them out regularly! 

Plus, if anyone sees you going through their stuff without permission and calls 911 because they think someone broke into their house while they were gone at work/school/etc., just tell them that it was all part of your Urban Treasure Hunt adventure…and then ask them how much money they’d pay for those shoes so that we could call off our search right now because we’ve found exactly what we were looking for!!

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3. Find A Lost Treasure In Your Room

If the treasure is hidden in your room, you may need to do some detective work. Start by looking for clues around your room. 

Look under the bed and behind furniture, then check inside closets and drawers. If that doesn’t turn up any leads, look for hidden compartments in your room maybe there’s one under a rug or tablecloth or inside of a bookcase or nightstand drawer. 

If all else fails, try looking for secret passageways leading from another part of the house into yours (these can be disguised as closed off hallways). Lastly, if all other options fail, just tear apart the place until you find something!

4. Search For The Hash House Harrier Treasure Hunt On A World Map

As the oldest, largest and most well-known of all the Hash House Harriers, the New York City chapter hosts a treasure hunt every month. A few hundred people participate in each event, ranging from young adults to senior citizens. 

The “hare” (the person who hides the trail) will leave clues along a road map that lead participants to a secret location where they find their prize often a bottle of alcohol or some other gift.

It’s not just an urban pastime; it’s an international phenomenon! In fact, there are more than 1 million members across 200 countries worldwide.

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5. Unearth The Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine From The 1990 Film Of The Same Name

This urban treasure hunt is a classic example of how a story that’s been around for decades can make its way into popular culture and become part of the collective consciousness. 

The Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine is a legendary gold deposit in the Superstition Mountains, near Apache Junction, Arizona. It is said to be the site of a rich gold mine discovered by German immigrant Jacob Walz (1810–1890) in 1891.

The movie version of this legend has been described as “a comedy/action/adventure.” In it, an old prospector named Jacob Walz played by Walter Brennan discovers an abandoned Spanish mission while searching for his friend’s lost son. 

He finds out that his friend was murdered by an evil prospector named Kane who happens to have found himself on the verge of discovering great wealth…by following some clues left behind at Jacob’s campfire!

6. Find The Two-Faced Coin From “The Fugitive”

The Fugitive, released in 1993, featured a two-faced coin as a main plot point. The prop was used to help fugitives escape prison by tricking guards into thinking they had been searched. 

One side of the coin would show a picture of a train while the other side showed an image of an old lady’s face. 

If a prisoner was asked to flip his coin and it landed on either side showing what guards were looking for, he could be let out of custody without being searched again.

However, if you think this means that finding this movie prop would be easy think again! It wasn’t until 2003 when someone finally found one near Chicago and returned it back where it belongs: Hollywood

7. Find The Ring That Belonged To Cleopatra’s Hand Of Fate In Her Tomb

In 1891, a group of French and Italian archaeologists located the tomb of Cleopatra in Alexandria, Egypt. 

In one chamber was found the Hand of Fate, a ring made from gold that is believed to have been worn by Cleopatra herself and symbolizes power and authority. 

The Hand of Fate had been stolen from its rightful place centuries ago—and sold to an art dealer!

8. A Search For Buried Treasure In Washington State’s Ross Dam Recreation Area

Ross Dam is a hydroelectric dam on the Skagit River in Washington State. It is located near Diablo Lake, about 100 miles north of Seattle. 

The dam was built in the early 1960s and its reservoir was named after President Dwight D. Eisenhower (Eisenhower Reservoir). The Ross Dam Recreation Area was established in 1972.

The location became famous as a treasure hunt location when former president Richard Nixon announced on April 17, 1987 that he had buried some of his personal artifacts there during a ceremony at his ranch in California earlier that year: “There are things like my old football helmet from Whittier High School.”

 He added: “I put some coins under rocks… I have this little box thing with some other fun things that are kind of interesting,” he said. “And then there’s my own little X-ray machine… Well, it isn’t an X-ray machine but…”

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9. The Famous Safety-Pin Coin Hunt In New York City, And Its Sequel

The safety-pin coin hunt is a legendary urban treasure hunt that took place in New York City in the late 1960s, when the city was a much more dangerous place than it is today. 

The objective of this coin hunt was to find and retrieve a large silver dollar encased inside an old safety pin. 

This particular treasure hunt had its roots with an organization called the New York Coin and Stamp Club, which would later become known as The Mystery Hunt Society.

The first edition of this urban treasure hunt took place on October 2-6, 1966—an event that involved over 1,000 participants coming together to participate in what would hopefully be a fun adventure! 

It was during this event that all 1,000 participants were given clues leading them towards where they could find their next clue (and therefore eventually leading them towards where they could find the safety pin). 

However despite how organized this event may have seemed from afar – things quickly went south once people started following their clues…

10. The Search For King Arthur’s Cave In “Excalibur”

The film “Excalibur” was released in 1981, based on the legend of King Arthur. The movie follows the story of King Arthur’s rise to power, his relationship with Morgana and Mordred and ultimately his death at Camlann.

The story is loosely based on Geoffrey of Monmouth’s book “History of the Kings of Britain,” which was written in 1135 AD. 

In fact, many scholars believe Geoffrey pulled from earlier oral traditions about King Arthur that date back even earlier than this (though there are no surviving texts).

In one version of the mythos, Merlin founds Camelot by using magic to create a beautiful castle in an area called Mons Cumbrorum (Cumberland County now known as Cumbria). It is said that he placed stones around Camelot while it grew before everyone’s eyes. 

Some say it was these stones which made up parts of what we now know as Hadrian’s Wall near Newcastle Upon Tyne and Carlisle Castle; both built by Emperor Hadrian between 122-125 A.D.. So if you ever happen across some large rocks while traveling through Northumberland or Scotland keep your eyes peeled for any signs indicating where Merlin may have left them!

11. Unearthing An Ancient Sarcophagus Near Nazca, Peru, And Its Connection To Indiana Jones

In 1926, the tomb of the Ancient Egyptian Queen Nefertari was discovered by an American explorer in a secret chamber underneath one of Egypt’s pyramids.

The discovery was made famous by the movie “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” which featured an adventure to find this very same sarcophagus.

The sarcophagus contained no mummy, but instead had only bones and jewels inside it.

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Treasure hunts are fun, but they can also be a pain in the butt. This list is full of the most notorious urban treasure hunts of all time, so check it out and see if you’re up for a challenge!

Further Reading

Here are some additional resources to help you learn more about urban treasure hunting and scavenger hunts:

Scavenger Hunt Puzzles: MyCityHunt offers a variety of scavenger hunts and puzzles for urban explorers of all levels.

Urban Treasure Hunting: New York’s Hidden Gems: This blog post from the Eldridge Street Museum in New York City provides a glimpse into the hidden treasures of the city.

Scavenger Hunt Ideas and Tips: Scavify offers a range of scavenger hunt ideas and tips to help you plan your own adventure.


What is urban treasure hunting?

Urban treasure hunting is the practice of exploring urban environments, such as cities and towns, in search of hidden or forgotten treasures. These treasures can range from historic artifacts and valuable objects to hidden gems and local secrets.

How do I get started with urban treasure hunting?

To get started with urban treasure hunting, you’ll need to do some research on your chosen city or location. Look for areas with a rich history or interesting stories, and use online resources or local guides to find potential spots to explore. You’ll also need to be prepared with the right equipment, such as a map, compass, and flashlight.

What is a scavenger hunt?

A scavenger hunt is a game where players are given a list of items or tasks to find or complete. These items or tasks are often hidden or scattered throughout a designated area, and players must use clues or riddles to figure out their location. Scavenger hunts can be played in a variety of environments, from parks and city streets to malls and office buildings.

How do I plan a scavenger hunt?

To plan a scavenger hunt, you’ll need to decide on a theme or location, create a list of items or tasks for players to complete, and design clues or riddles to lead players to each item or task. You’ll also need to determine the rules and time limit for the game, and provide prizes for the winners.

How can scavenger hunts be used for team building?

Scavenger hunts can be an effective tool for team building, as they encourage communication, collaboration, and problem-solving skills among team members. By working together to complete tasks and find items, team members can build trust and strengthen relationships. Scavenger hunts can also be customized to include team-specific challenges or objectives.