TV treasure hunters find pieces of the past at Rose Hill and on Daufuskie

mmcnab@beaufortgazette.comAugust 19, 2013 

  • Did you miss it?

    The "Diggers" episode about Rose Hill Plantation and Daufuskie Island will re-air at 10:30 p.m. Friday on the National Geographic Channel.

Professional treasure hunters Tim Saylor and George "KG" Wyant didn't find the silver and gold they hoped to during their search in Beaufort County, but the duo found plenty of the "sweet nectar" they're known for.

An episode of the National Geographic show "Diggers" -- Saylor and Wyant are the stars -- aired Wednesday, featuring the two men searching for Confederate silver at the Rose Hill Plantation in Bluffton and for pirate's gold on Daufuskie Island. The show, filmed in March, followed the two men on the hunt for "sweet nectar," their nickname for buried artifacts and treasure.

At Rose Hill, the duo searched the grounds of the Rose Hill Mansion and beneath the house hoping to find a cache of guns and buried Confederate silver.

On the show, it appeared they had little luck; finds like a Revolutionary War-era flat button and a thimble were highlighted, but, as Wyant put it, he found "no nectar with my detector in this sector."

Robin White, the mansion's owner, said Saylor and Wyant also found farming tools such as cotton hoe heads, used during the time the home was the center of a cotton plantation. Those artifacts are now part of a display inside the mansion.

White said that while she planned to watch the show, she wasn't too excited about being featured on it.

"Hopefully they edited me out," she joked.

On Daufuskie Island, the hunters hoped to find the pirate Blackbeard's gold or Spanish reals, coins minted from silver, a childhood dream of both men. Their search took them from Bloody Point at the island's southern end to the tabby ruins further north.

The men examined the ruins on the property of Tom Richardson. Richardson and his 5-year-old son joined the crew as they searched the area, and Richardson said Saylor and Wyant were "fantastic" in keeping his son involved.

"They showed him everything they found," he said. "The guys were great. It seemed like they really had a lot of fun."

While Saylor and Wyant didn't find the treasure they hoped for, they did pull a few interesting items from the ground, such as a Civil War-era uniform button, a Mercury dime from 1917, and a treble gilt button that marked high quality garments.

The two men also made a bet on who would find the most interesting item on Daufuskie, with the loser having to go through some "pirate punishment."

When Daufuskie Island Historical Foundation executive director Nancy Ludtke picked a coffee grinder faceplate from 1897 that Wyant found, it meant Saylor had to jump into the waters off Hilton Head from the Black Dagger pirate cruise ship.

Attempts to reach Ludtke for comment were unsuccessful.

Not every search bears good results. Wyant found an item at Rose Hill he termed a UFO, or "unidentified ferrous object," the duo's nickname for unrecognizable materials.

Rose Hill Mansion's marketing manager Tracey Bartlebaugh said she contacted the treasure hunters after seeing promos for the show. Bartlebaugh said the program appealed to her and White because the men return all artifacts to the homeowners after cataloging them.

"They're a great group of people," she said. "They were so nice and so friendly."

Follow reporter Matt McNab at twitter.com/IPBG_Matt.


Video: Mystery object

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