The presence of “Alkitran” or “Asphalt” (also called “Tar”) is actually a good indication that a Japanese (Yamashita) treasure was hidden around the area. To tell you, most of our successful recoveries involves dealing with thick asphalt.
What is an alkitran or asphalt?
An alkitran is a sticky colored black “semi-solid” type of liquid. Today, asphalt is commonly used for road constructions. It is an important ingredient that is mixed with the aggregate particles to create “asphalt concrete”. Aside from road constructions, asphalt is also used for “waterproofing” purposes.
In some countries, asphalt is more commonly known as “bitumen” but in the 20th century, it was called “asphaltum” derived from the Greek word “asphaltos”. Anyway, here are the following interesting facts about the ancient applications of alkitran in the past:
1. In the early Indus community of Mehrgarh (5th millennium B.C), alkitran was used as a waterproofing agent to the baskets that they used for gathering crops.
2. Both in the ancient period of the Middle East and Greek had used asphalt for the construction of their mortars.
3. At the ancient period of Queen Semiramis (ca. 800 B.C), the tunnel that connects Euphrates to Babylon (beneath the river) was constructed with burnt bricks covered with alkitran to prevent the water from penetrating into the tunnel.
4. During the ancient Egyptian period, they actually used alkitran to embalm their mummies.
5. In the ancient East or Asia, Japan (and probably China) had discovered a method of purifying a natural asphalt by slowly boiling it. They then used it to cover valuable objects that needs waterproofing such as their samurai scabbards, golden statues and etc…
How to Distinguish Alkitran or Asphalt as Japanese Treasure Sign?
If it happens that you encountered an alkitran or asphalt from your diggings, don’t immediately derive a conclusion that it’s a Japanese treasure sign. You have to know that natural asphalts are very common in the Philippines. Thus, as a treasure hunter, it is important that you should be able to distinguish processed or refined asphalt from the natural asphalt.
The difference between them is that, natural asphalt consists of other elements such as sands, resins, fillers, asbestos fibers, pigments or limestone while refined asphalts are “pure” because it has been filtered.
Encountering the natural form of asphalt means that you just dug an “original” portion or layer of the ground. This means that the spot that you dug has never been touched or dug in the past. In other words, you dug the wrong spot and its pointless to continue digging.
Assuming that you encountered the refined type of asphalt (or asphalt concrete), this means that you are near the hidden deposit. In most cases, the alkitran itself was used as a protective cover of the item.
The Reason Why the Japanese Imperial Army Used Alkitran
Gold is a non-reactive type of element that it won’t even rust or corrode throughout time. Although, some people claims that gold gets tarnished in time but this is actually just a “discoloration” which is a result of the gold’s reaction to the oxygen around it. Since gold has the capability to preserve itself especially against rust, then why would the Japanese soldiers had to cover them with alkitran?
The answer into the question is to “preserve the physical form” of the golden treasure. You have to know that high carats of gold tends to be soft that it can be easily disfigured when dropped on the floor.
How to Clean or Remove Asphalt Off from Gold Bars
There are many possible ways on how to clean the alkitran off from a gold bar or golden Buddha statue. In fact, most treasure hunters does it in a traditional method in which they use sharp knives to scrape off the asphalt. Although, this method can damage the original form of the item leaving a lot of scratches.
For us (me and my crew), we always want to preserve the original appearance of the item. To share you the method we use, you need to prepare the following tools and materials:
– Muriatic Acid
– Eye Protection
– Rubber Gloves
– Stiff Bristled Brush
– Bucket with Water
1. Wear your Protective Gear
Before handling the Muriatic acid, it is important that you have to wear your protective gears. You should also read further safety procedures and precautions on how to properly use the product from its written manual.
2. Control the Strength of the Acid
Controlling the strength of the acid is done by diluting it with water. The proper way to dilute a water with the acid is to “add the acid to the water”. Not the other way around.
3. Submerge the Asphalted Gold Item into the Mixture
Assuming that you properly prepared a bucket of water mixed with Muriatic Acid, you can now submerge your asphalted gold item for around 2 to 3 minutes.
4. Scrub the Item with the Stiff Brush
After 2 to 3 minutes, take out the item from the bucket and start scrubbing it with the stiff brush. Once it becomes difficult for the alkitran to remove, submerge it again on the acid for about 1 minute then continue scrubbing.
5. Repeat Step 4
Repeat the step on number 4 until the gold item is cleaned.
Moreover, the most common mistake that is often committed by amateur treasure hunters is that, they are expecting to find the hidden Japanese treasure in their shiny golden form. Although, some are not covered with asphalt or alkitran but the majority of them are covered with this kind of material. And what usually happens is that, amateur treasure hunters who encounter them often either ignore or throw the items.