The Treasure Hunters (2014) s01e02 Episode Script

Manmade Treasure

I'm in a secure room deep underground, surrounded by the most valuable shipwreck treasure in history.
There are 551 of these plastic containers in here, each of them are full of silver and gold coins.
These aren't just any old silver coins, these are pieces of eight, which is a currency that everybody's heard of.
Look at that! And this would have been worth eight reales, hence the name "pieces of eight".
Today all these gold and silver coins are worth more than 500 million.
Amazing tales of buried treasure don't just exist in story books or our imagination.
Our planet is full of treasure, from precious metals like these to dazzling jewels.
All you need to know is where to look.
Come with us on the world's biggest treasure hunt.
Scratch the surface of our planet and you'll discover a world of natural wonders Oh, my word! Our ingenuity has transformed them into priceless riches.
This is the one I still can't believe, I can't believe how enormous that is.
We'll reveal where shipwreck hauls are lying on the bottom of the ocean.
Just as shiny as the day it sank.
Investigate how we've created dazzling masterpieces from the raw materials of our planet.
It's going to be 800,000 to a million dollars.
Ooh! And uncover extraordinary man-made wonders.
This whole place just seems to glow.
We're going around the globe to reveal the incredible stories behind the planet's greatest treasures.
Perhaps the most intriguing treasures are those that have been lost.
Storms, wars and misadventure have left millions, maybe billions, of pounds' worth lying at the bottom of the ocean.
So, where do you go to find it? Shipwrecks can be found everywhere, of course, but I've come to the Florida Keys for a very special reason.
One of interesting things about this area, of course, is that there's a lot of hurricanes and consequently the whole sea bed is littered with shipwrecks, which is bad news if you're the captain of one of those ships, but very good news if you're a treasure hunter.
I'm going diving for treasure on one of the richest wrecks ever discovered.
You have to cast your minds back, if you will, to 1622, the Spanish galleon, the Atocha, was sailing from South America back to Spain via Cuba, completely loaded with treasure, and about 90 miles off the Cuban coast, right where we are now, she got hit by a hurricane and was sunk.
What's left of the Atocha was rediscovered in 1985.
The galleon has been destroyed by the ocean but around 400 million dollars' worth of booty has been discovered strewn for miles across the sea floor.
So that's the salvage boat that we're going to be diving from and it's just crazy to think that right under where we are now could be treasure, more treasure, emeralds, gold, silver.
'The Fisher family are professional salvage hunters.
'They spent 16 years looking for the Atocha before they struck gold.
'Kim Fisher and I are about to search for more.
' You've been diving here for a while, are we going to find something today or is this just a bit of a wild goose chase? No, we're in a really good spot here, it's virgin territory, it hasn't been worked before.
And we've just started working this area and we've been finding stuff every haul.
Is it actually hard to spot treasure? Yes.
The artefacts get all encrusted and they kind of blend in, they look just like a rock.
So you have to have a trained eye to see it or use this metal detector.
You've got to look out for the current, there's a really strong current here so, you know, just follow the dive line down right to the bottom.
Oh, God.
The current is so strong.
'And that's another reason working a wreck like this is so tough.
'The combination of the current and storms means there's nothing 'recognisable as a boat on the bedrock.
' OK, let's see what we can find.
'The trail of artefacts is spread out over nine miles and Kim's team are 'still finding things nearly 30 years after the first discovery of gold.
' I keep seeing things that might be something, and then you have a little closer look and it's just a bit of shell or a piece of rock.
This looks like a piece of timber or something from a ship.
'I'm having no luck relying on my eyes, 'so it's time to try using the underwater metal detector.
' OK, I think I have something.
I'm getting lots of beeping noises here.
Oh, look! Wow, look at that, that is a real musket ball and I'm the first person to touch this for 400 years.
This is a real piece of treasure.
Oh, until you pick something up like this it is such a thrill, you get such a buzz.
There's another musket ball, look.
Holy cow, look at that, it's huge.
Oh, God, there's loads of them.
Here's another one here.
'The presence of all this ammunition suggests 'we're hunting in the right area.
'The Spanish galleon was armed to the teeth to protect her precious cargo.
' The sea bed throughout the world is just rich with treasures and it's estimated that there's three million shipwrecks and their cargo lying on the sea bottom but it's more than just that, it's the history itself.
We learn so much about what life was like on the actual ships.
And it's so exciting to think that any stone I might turn over, or any shell I might pick up, underneath it could be gold or silver.
You've just got to keep looking.
And that's what treasure is all about, it's all about the idea of discovery.
'Frustratingly, I'm out of air before we find anything else 'and have to head back to the surface.
' That was amazing.
That was unbelievable.
Have a look at this.
They're musket balls.
That's treasure.
That counts as treasure.
Sadly, no gold.
Even so, the fact that this was made by somebody and was on board that ship that in itself is exciting.
That's what's wonderful about shipwrecks - they're a snap shot of a single moment in history.
In 1662 the Atocha sailed from Havana to Spain with wealth taken from across the New World.
So far, they've recovered over 5,000 emeralds, so many that a section of the wreck has been nicknamed Emerald City.
As well as endless gold ingots, gold bars and gold chains.
OK, hold out your hand, I'm going to give you gold fever.
When we find the gold, it comes up just as shiny as the day it sank, it doesn't tarnish, it doesn't rust, it just shines for ever.
Solid gold.
Yes, that's a money chain and each link weighs the same.
When you went shopping, you just twist a link off and use it for money.
So you're swimming along, you see a little bit of this poking out, that's got to get the adrenaline going.
Oh, yeah, it does.
Can I touch some of this gold? Yes, please.
Oh, my God, that's that's ridiculously heavy, that's a couple of kilos.
Yeah, very deceptive.
That's a 360,000 gold disc right there but the best thing is these emeralds.
They're beautiful when the light comes through.
They are incredible, aren't they? They're about 27,000 a carat.
This big one here is 27 carats, so that's about three-quarters of a million.
And these were just lying on the bottom of the ocean? Well, yeah, they were buried in the sand and I saw a clump of emeralds just going up the pipe like that and I shut it down and the emeralds came falling down, and I spent the rest of my dive just swimming around picking up emeralds.
I've got to ask, I mean is there more of this stuff down there? Yeah, we know for sure.
We have one letter where a fellow shipped his brother 70 pounds in one box.
Now, so far we've found two stashes of emeralds and neither of them come close to 70 pounds.
Somewhere out there there's one box with 70 pounds and that box could be worth, you know, a billion dollars.
I mean, it could be worth more than everything we've found already, just in that one little box.
In 1984, the US Supreme Court decided that in this case it's finders keepers - the Fishers get to keep it all.
And we're prepared to pay more than the going rate for the Atocha's haul.
Our insatiable desire for the rarest treasures, coupled with our love of tales of the high seas and shipwrecks, means its value has been inflated by its extraordinary history.
Thousands of miles away, I'm on the trail of a lost treasure whose story is even more intriguing.
And it begins here in a Russian outpost with a humble forest.
35 to 50 million years ago, ancient evergreen forests oozed resin from their bark as a defence mechanism, sealing and sterilising any damage.
Normally, this resin gets broken down by the erosive effects of wind and rain, but not always.
If it gets covered by a layer of earth, it's protected from the weather.
Add to it the weight of many layers of sediment, and the pressure over the centuries turns it from this into amber.
One of nature's most beautiful gems, 90% of the world's amber is extracted here in the Baltic.
In winter storms, the sea tears it off the sea bed and sends it bobbing to the surface and then occasionally it'll get thrown out on to the beach.
And because of this incredible distinctive hue it's known as Baltic gold.
And it's the starting point for one of the strangest stories in the history of treasure.
This is St Catherine's Palace.
Completed in 1756 for Empress Elizabeth, this grand building is THE place to come if you want to experience the ultimate in opulent treasure.
This is what we've come here to see.
This is the Amber Room.
Oh, my word.
This is decadent.
Imagine throwing a party in here.
You'd be terrified of the red wine.
A masterpiece of baroque design, this is the most bejewelled room ever created.
They've made art out of it - the detail! Oh, my word, look at the detail.
This room was used by the Russian tsars to entertain foreign guests and dignitaries.
Every surface of every wall is covered in individual amber pieces, all ornately put together, so it's a real statement of wealth and beauty.
It was known as the Eighth Wonder of the World.
The reason this room is a lost treasure, despite appearances, is that what we're looking at here is not the original, it's a modern replica.
And that's where the story gets very Indiana Jones.
The original was finished in the 1750s and was made up of 100,000 pieces of intricately carved amber.
But nearly 200 years later, tragedy struck.
Just imagine - it's 1941 and the Nazis are invading Russia.
They're advancing fast, so all the treasures in the palace need to be removed at great speed.
But the trouble was, these amber panels were incredibly fragile, so the decision was made to hide them instead.
They were papered over and covered in gauze and cotton wool and finally they were boarded up.
But the gamble failed and the Nazis found it.
It took them just 36 hours to dismantle the entire room.
They crated it up and took it to Konigsberg Castle in Prussia.
Nobody knows for sure what happened to it - soon after, it disappeared.
In 1979, the Russians started to recreate the Amber Room from scratch.
This labour of love cost over 11 million and required six tonnes of amber.
And when you need that much, you can't rely on it washing up on a beach.
We're driving down on a bumpy, very muddy, wet track and it's really rare that anybody's allowed down here, so it's like an incredible honour to be able to do this.
This is the world's largest open-cast amber mine.
This place is really big, much bigger than I had envisaged.
Just looking at the cabin of that digger over there, that's about the size of a standard three-bedroom house.
The amber is in a layer of grey clay known as blue earth, or glauconite.
Here it sits at 50m below ground level, so that takes a very particular type of mining to extract it, using these water cannons.
Once the blue-grey layer is piled up by the extractor, the miners blast the clay with high-pressure, saltwater jets.
The amber is washed out into the open and the bigger the piece the more valuable it is.
Look at this.
A whopper.
This mine produced over a million pounds' worth of amber last year.
To turn this into a jewellery box of a room is still a Herculean task and it took Russian craftsmen 24 years.
To recreate the Amber Room they didn't have a huge amount to go on, just a few old photos like this, which were black and white and pretty grainy.
Not much of a blueprint, really, to recreate a masterpiece.
But the big question is, what happened to the original? The intrigue has massively increased its value.
It's been speculated that if it were found, But it hasn't been seen since the Second World War, when the Nazis took the looted room over 500 miles to the town of Konigsberg.
This may not look like much but it's the ruins of the castle where the Amber Room was last seen.
People are still looking for it.
There are some archaeologists searching down in these flooded tunnels recently and they found absolutely nothing.
Perhaps it's hidden in another part of the tunnel network.
Was it destroyed in the fire that followed the battle of Konigsberg, or could it be that it was stolen again right under the nose of the Nazis? One thing is certain, by 1944, when the Germans retreated, the Amber Room had disappeared and became the Holy Grail for treasure hunters across Europe.
Of course, not all treasures are lost.
Some are hidden, so valuable they spend most of their time locked away from public view.
Such is their rarity that their coming onto the market creates a sensation.
This is the largest flawless diamond ever to be brought to auction.
So, there's nothing nothing like this on the planet? This is it is the queen of diamonds.
No.
I mean, it is some spectacular diamond, as we can see, and to get that sort of size, that purity, that colour today, it's quite amazing.
In terms of the world treasure where does it rate? In terms of these flawless diamonds, other than your Crown Jewels, they would rank as the top ten easily, easily.
What is it about diamonds historically? Why are we so fascinated by diamonds particularly? I think, first of all, I think diamonds are such a rare treasure from the earth.
But it really takes man's artistry, the masterstrokes of polishing that up to be what it is, it's really for me, man and nature together creating a beautiful gem that is really, really of great mystery.
How do you reveal the potential value of the most sought-after rock on earth? I've come to Belgium to find out how the magic happens.
Antwerp's diamond district is one of the biggest in the world, with more than 1,500 diamond companies and four diamond exchanges all within an area of less than a square mile.
Everyone here is trying to create the biggest, best-looking diamond.
It's a notoriously secretive operation but I've been allowed to step inside the world of the people who turn a raw treasure into a man-made one.
It's here that they turn this rough diamond, this rather dreary-looking piece of rock, into this dazzling diamond, And they can't afford to get that bit wrong.
Meet Yan.
Every day thousands of pounds' worth of diamond are sculpted by these hands.
His life revolves around precision, skill and nerves of steel.
Yan, how are you doing? You're working on a really big diamond there.
Yeah, it's very big diamond here, it's 37 carats.
So, what are you doing on this one then? You see? Have a look.
Yeah, I'll have a look there, yeah.
OK.
You have to see the small facets on top of it.
'Each facet is cut by hand.
'The wheel turns at 3,000rpm 'and is coated with olive oil and diamond dust.
' So, you put it on here so that it sort of grinds it down a bit and then you look at it in-between? You look and see the small facets lighting up now.
Yeah.
So, this one's worth how much? It's going to be 800,000 to a million dollars.
Ooh! So, that's a lot of pressure that you carry.
Let's say something does go wrong, I mean what can go wrong? Maybe we push too hard or we don't concentrate, it can explode inside the stone.
And how do you feel if that happens? Oh, terrible, terrible.
You get tears in your eyes, you're feeling bad, it's yeah, then we go take a walk outside and calm down and then OK, the next day we go back to it.
That doesn't happen very often, but even before the first cut is made there are some very tough decisions to be taken.
And for very large diamonds these choices can take months.
The rough diamond is placed here in the scanner, and there are any number of possibilities for which diamonds can be cut out of it, and that's what this incredible piece of kit can tell them.
The machine maps all the different options onto the stone like a 3D jigsaw puzzle.
This reveals the finished diamonds that could be made from the rough.
So, with our rough diamond, they've identified five diamonds that they can take out from it, all marked in different colours here on the screen, and the red dots represent flaws that they need to avoid.
It was here they cut the largest rough diamond this century.
This is a replica of the Lesotho Promise.
It was bought for 12.
4 million and Yves was part of the team that did the deal.
What did you turn this diamond into? It's 26 diamonds, D flawless diamonds.
That's incredible.
It's so hard to imagine that all of these came from what looks like a small piece of rock.
Yep.
And still bear in mind that the total weight of these diamonds is about a third of the total weight of this diamond.
So this is 225 carats finished and this is 600 carats in the rough.
So much goes to waste.
Just to dust.
And how much could the finished stones sell for? Well, that remains a secret they won't reveal.
Treasure can come to obsess us.
The thrill of the hunt becomes all-consuming and there's no better place to experience that than here.
I'm in America where a man named Forrest Fenn has deliberately hidden a multi-million dollar treasure chest somewhere in the Rocky Mountains.
The treasure's meant to be worth anything from a million to three million dollars and it contains diamonds, emeralds and rubies.
But if I want to find it, I'm going to have to decipher nine clues that are hidden within a poem.
I'll be searching in an area that's home to some pretty feisty wildlife, so I need to be prepared.
You'll want to have a backpack, some bear spray.
See, now this is OK, let's just pause with the bear spray.
You have a sign outside that says "bear spray".
I mean, insect spray, mosquito spray I'm familiar with, but bear spray? I've got it right over here if you'd like to look at it? This is the most common size.
And as you can see, it works on all bear species.
This is my favourite bit.
Works on all bears.
Works on all bears.
Black.
Grizz is what we have around here in Yellowstone.
I love this.
We've got sun, mosquito and bear.
Right.
Right.
We've got it all.
To improve my chances of finding Forrest Fenn's hidden treasure, I'm teaming up with Dal Neitzel.
He's crossed America 40 times in the past three years to hunt for it.
So, how long did it take you to get here today? I'm about 900 miles from here, so it takes me a day and a half to drive.
Yeah.
So, that's more than just a passing interest.
How much time are you spending on this? Every bloody minute that I'm not working.
I mean, is it the adventure? Is it the puzzle solving? Is it the sense of anticipation, expectation? Who doesn't love a good treasure story? This is wonderful stuff and to get involved in it yourself 'There is no treasure map for this secret stash, 'instead the clues are hidden in a poem written by Forrest Fenn.
' "Begin it where warm waters halt And take it in the canyon down, "Not far, but too far to walk.
" So, what is it about this area for you that is ticking this box? "Begin it where warm waters halt.
" Forrest spent all of his childhood summers in Yellowstone National Park.
He was bought up here.
His favourite bathing place was on the Firehole River, a river that runs so warm because of the hot springs and geysers that are around it.
So we should start at the beginning.
Let's go.
Each clue is a riddle that must be solved to work out where to go next.
I think right here, we're at "no place for the meek" because this is a grizzly bear territory.
I've got my spray so, er, we'll be OK, hopefully.
You've got a 40% chance with the spray of stopping a grizzly bear and you've got a 60% chance over here so OK.
You win.
I like those odds.
There is only one man that knows for sure where the treasure is and that's the man who hid it, Forrest Fenn.
I was nine-years-old when I found this with my father in Texas, started me on a long adventure of discovery, my very first arrowhead.
It had been laying on the ground there for 600 years, waiting for me to come along and pick it up.
The thrill of seeing it, wondering about its history, it's the thrill of the chase.
As Forrest's obsession with treasure grew, he became a collector.
In 2010, having been told he had cancer, he decided to hide a treasure chest.
Well, you're looking for a beautiful little cast-bronze box, ten inches by ten inches and five inches deep, that weights 42lbs .
.
and is full of 265 big gold coins, hundreds and hundreds of gold nuggets, and emeralds, and diamonds, and rubies, and sapphires.
When you open that chest and look at it, your heart's going to stop, it's going to be so beautiful.
Four years on, and there are now thousands of people hunting for it.
So far, no-one's been able to solve the clues and find the chest, but I'm hoping today Dal can help me do it.
We're looking for the blaze right now.
For the blaze.
"If you've been wise and found the blaze".
So, what does he mean by "blaze"? Blaze, blazing trail? Blazing a trail.
We're on a trail.
This is a trail.
Conjures up images of fire, of something burnt perhaps.
Horses that have white splats on the forehead, they call them Blaze, they name them Blaze.
So, I think a white spot, a white mark, like a waterfall, for instance.
Blaze, blaze, blaze, blaze.
'After wrestling with the clues for several hours, 'it suddenly feels like we're onto something.
' Could this be a blaze? I don't see why not.
That works for me.
"The end is the ever drawing nigh; "There'll be no paddle up your creek.
" Here we are.
Here's a creek.
You certainly couldn't paddle up it.
No, I couldn't.
Be careful.
Hey, Dallas! Yeah? Look at this, man.
This is good.
There's caves in here.
I think we need to look in there.
There's a whole bunch of stones.
What about in here? Look at how deep this one is.
I can't see behind the water.
There is a big opening in there.
If I can get this one out There you go.
Hang on, let me pull it out.
I've got it.
Can you reach down and see if you can put your hand in there and see if you can feel anything? I can feel there's a bag.
Empty.
It's not here.
This is the problem.
You're right, it's addictive.
Every time you don't find it, you've got to You've got to keep looking.
You've got to go a little further.
There have been a few people within 500ft, I think.
There have been people within a couple of hundred feet.
They figure the first two clues, but they don't get the third and the fourth and they go right past the treasure chest.
But you don't know.
That's the whole thing.
You make the trip, you get to the spot and you say, "OK, it's not here.
Where else could it be?" This is my 40th time.
I know 40 places where it isn't.
But you don't have to go to remote or hard-to-reach places to get your hands on treasure.
Some of the greatest finds are much closer to home.
For centuries, a huge hoard lay undisturbed under one of London's busiest streets.
In 1912, a group of workmen were taking down a building just below my feet down there at number 32 Cheapside.
They were using pickaxes to open up the cellar floor, when suddenly one of them came across something truly spectacular.
Buried in the cellar floor was a stunning hoard of all kinds of treasure, from jewels to uncut stones, elaborate chains and pendants.
Nearly 500 objects, but nothing to say who owned it all.
I mean, look at this amazing watch embedded inside an incredible emerald.
And this salamander brooch is made with emeralds and diamonds and even the little toes have been cut out.
So, who would have buried it in the ground and why would they have done it? It is a genuine mystery, and to solve it we need to learn more about the treasure itself.
The hoard has jewels from across the globe.
Emeralds from Colombia, topaz from Brazil, rubies and diamonds from India, opals from Europe and even pearls from Scotland.
So they started to think the hoard belonged to someone who traded in gems.
The next question was, when did they bury it? Hazel Forsyth has been trying to piece the truth together.
This piece here really helps the dating.
What we're looking at, really, is a very sophisticated watch, a sort of iPad of its day.
From the evidence we have, I think this watch was probably cut and made in around 1610, 1620.
And is this the newest piece in the hoard, 1610? The newest piece is really this, a seal of Lord Stafford who was created Viscount Stafford in 1640.
1640.
So, the hoard will have been buried some time after that, if that's the newest piece? Absolutely.
After 1640.
So the clues point to the owner of the hoard being someone who traded in gems and buried it after 1640.
But if it was stashed by a jeweller, why didn't they come back and reclaim it? Could it be that they died in the Great Fire of London, or possibly a dose of the plague, or even something more sinister? When the Museum of London tested the gems, they uncovered a secret.
Some of them, like this gem, weren't quite what they seemed.
Three were fake.
This would have looked just like a ruby, but unlike the genuine article, the colour has faded.
In the 17th century, how would you go about creating a fake ruby? I've come to University College London to find out.
Andrea Sella is a professor of chemistry.
Together, we're going to try and make our own fake jewels.
So, Andrea, I've got the goods right here.
Quartz crystal.
So these are just pieces of quartz.
They're actually very, very nice, very, very clear.
So, what we'll do is we'll take this Yeah.
.
.
and put it into the flame.
And try and heat it up.
So this is worth 50p, but the equivalent size ruby is worth 70,000, so it's a good business model.
Absolutely.
'So, that's why someone would be tempted to fake a ruby, 'but how would they have done it?' We're getting this nice and hot and what we're going to do now is we're actually going to drop it very quickly into a beaker of water and dye.
It's going to cool the quartz down and as it does so, it's going to crack.
OK.
So we've clearly got it very hot this time.
'That's water-soluble fabric dye.
There's nothing special about it, 'it's just a bit more concentrated then you'd use to dye your clothes.
' So let's just see if we can fish this guy out.
Wow.
That's definitely changed colour.
You can see that there's loads and loads of little cracks in there.
The pink colour is associated with particular cracks.
Ah, yes.
Running through them.
We've simply sucked the dye into little imperfections.
We'd need to repeat this process over and over again for the stone to take on the famous ruby-red hue.
Really, this is a totally cheat.
It might have worked in the 17th century but in the 20th century microscopes will immediately reveal that cracking.
We wouldn't get away with it today, would we? Voila! One fake ruby and perhaps another reason why our jeweller didn't return to his hidden hoard.
Could it be that he went after the person who sold him the fakes? Or maybe he came face to face with a less than satisfied customer.
That might be what happened but, thankfully, the rest of the Cheapside hoard is very real.
Of the 480 pieces only three gems were fakes, the rest is worth millions.
The Cheapside hoard is my ultimate childhood fantasy treasure trove.
Every single item is slightly different from the last and every single item sparkles.
Of course treasure is being created all the time.
And it's not just sparkly stuff like diamonds or gold.
So could a car, for instance, ever qualify as treasure? Well there is one piece of automotive history that is worth a look.
This is a 1936 Bugatti type 57 SC Atlantic, and this is considered by many people to be the world's first supercar.
There were only three production models built.
One was hit by a train, one is owned by Ralph Lauren, the fashion designer, and then there's this one, the one I'm sitting in.
Now, I'm not a particular car enthusiast but this goes way beyond just being a car.
It is absolutely exquisite.
It is beautiful - it really is a work of art.
When it sold in May 2010, it was believed to be the most expensive car in the world.
It was a private sale so we can't know for sure, but word is she went for between 30-40 million.
But that is small fry when it comes to the value of our next treasure.
It's an epic achievement of human ingenuity and, unlike our previous wonders, this one had been totally forgotten.
To uncover this truly unexpected treasure, I've come halfway across the world.
China, where change is god and the new is almost worshipped.
But it's a land of contradictions, where ancient traditions are held in equal esteem and one of our most incredible treasures is one of the oldest.
This is Xian, so Beijing is about 700 miles that direction, and prior to 1974, this whole area would have been completely rural - so that city you can see down there just wouldn't have existed - and then everything changed when they made arguably the greatest archaeology discovery of the 20th century.
And it was found entirely by accident.
One day, some local farmers were digging a well looking for water when they found something completely unexpected and something which, at the time, terrified them.
They actually unearthed the life-sized heads of ancient terracotta warriors.
These few heads were just the tip of the iceberg.
In the 40 years since they first came to light, the site has grown and grown.
Excavations revealed entire warriors in their tens, then hundreds, then thousands.
There's nothing comparable in scale anywhere in the world.
Now, what an amazing sight that is, it's extraordinary.
Such a huge, huge space - the whole place is the size of St Pancras railway station - and as far as the eye can see, you have these rows and rows of terracotta soldiers.
Over a 1,000 ceramic warriors in battle formation have been uncovered so far but it's believed there's more than 8,000 of them.
These soldiers all marching towards you, it's quite foreboding, actually.
These warriors of the ancient world are over 2,000 years old but it's more than their antiquity that makes them a treasure.
Now, this is as close as you're allowed to get to the terracotta warriors when you're actually here, so we're very, very lucky today.
We've actually got a little bit of privileged access.
Come with me, because we're going to be allowed to wander amongst the figurines themselves.
They are amazing, aren't they? When you're close up like this, and actually standing in front of them, and actually face to face with their expressions, it's quite creepy, quite eerie.
Gosh, just these wonderful faces and they're all completely different - every face is completely different.
Each one is a handcrafted masterpiece.
The detail is amazing.
In the hair you can see all these tiny little lines where they've put in the hair detail and round the ear and round the moustache here.
God! You can actually feel their fingerprints at work.
You can feel the worker's hand just looking at it.
The warriors were found close to the tomb of the first emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang, the man that unified the country and started the Great Wall.
There's something really intimidating, actually, about standing face to face with these terracotta soldiers.
Because of course they're almost exactly the same height as I am so the people who built these would have been a little bit shorter.
So if you go down a couple of inches and suddenly you have this great figure towering above you.
You understand why they were built - they were built to protect the emperor in the afterlife and they're doing a pretty good job, I reckon.
The emperor ruled for over 30 years, but even if his workforce started on day one, imagine the manpower required to build this army in that time.
Lead archaeologist Jianwei Zhong has been trying to uncover the warriors' secrets.
They're obviously hugely important culturally for China but do they have any monetary value I wonder? If I knocked one over by mistake, would you how much would the bill be? So if you were interested, they are not for sale.
But we can learn more about who created them.
It's amazing to think that these are over 2,000 years old.
We can read the names of the people, the people who made them.
Oh, look at that.
They're so clear as well, the marks.
The archaeologists have identified 87 different managers' signatures so far, and each one could be the top man in the team of up to ten people.
So to make the 8,000 warriors would have taken an enormous workforce.
But impressive as it is, the terracotta army may not be the greatest treasure of Emperor Huang.
For me, the most exciting part of his burial site is the one place that's never been excavated.
This giant soil pyramid is covering the tomb of the first emperor himself.
Scientists have been using technology like ground-penetrating radar to have a closer look.
I've got some artist's impressions here and you can see some of the structure almost resembles that of the Egyptian pyramids.
You can see the actual tomb at the bottom and the structure towering above.
Chinese history books speak of rooms full of rarities and precious stones.
It's believed this could be a giant treasure chest just waiting to be opened.
The Terracotta Army was forgotten about for centuries and there are still thousands of priceless figures here waiting to be uncovered.
But what I can't help thinking is that that army was designed to protect the emperor and his wealth in the afterlife, that are currently residing in that hill behind me.
For the moment, there are no plans to enter the final resting place of the first emperor.
But I can't wait for the day we discover the secrets within.
We've seen some amazing creations.
From shipwrecked treasure When we find the gold it comes up just as shiny as the day it sank.
.
.
to riches stolen by the Nazis.
Wow! Even jewels buried under a busy London street.
But to reveal perhaps the most famous treasure on earth I've come to North Africa.
I'm here in Egypt to witness the power of treasure to transform a person into a legend.
This is the Valley of the Kings.
For 500 years from the 16th century BC, tombs were built here for the pharaohs and powerful nobles of ancient Egypt.
Just to the south is El-Asasif, where tombs are still being excavated.
Hundreds of tombs have been excavated already in this whole area and they're searching for new ones all the time.
This is an active dig, the tomb of a pharaoh's right-hand man.
Dr Martin Valentin and his team have been working on this site since 2008.
What a fabulous place.
Wow.
So, Dr Martin, what have you found here? We have parts of coffins, mummies, and pottery, a lot of pottery, and bundles of linen for the mummies.
And do you think any of the tombs were robbed in the past or did you find them intact? Er, the, the most part of were robbed, were robbed really.
And we have this, this example.
So far, they've found human bones, bandages, religious objects and a limestone relief that tells us that Amenhotep was here.
But it's likely that it would have originally contained jewellery, furniture and other valuables.
Everything of value has gone and that's because this tomb, like almost all of the others excavated in this area, has already been opened and robbed.
Over the centuries, the lure of treasure has proven to be too great a temptation.
There is only one tomb that has ever been uncovered intact and it's revealed the most extraordinary treasure cache ever discovered.
Egyptologist Howard Carter had been looking for the tomb of a pharaoh for seven years - of a little known boy king.
And he found the entrance under some ancient workers' huts at the base of the tomb of Ramesses VI.
In November 1922, Carter discovered a step that had been cut into the rock on the valley floor.
It was the beginning of this stairway right underneath my feet and it led here, to a blocked-up doorway.
On it were the seals of royalty and, incredibly, it seemed as though the tomb was intact.
The chamber had lain almost undisturbed for over 3,000 years.
And what lay within astounded the world.
It was the resting place of Tutankhamen.
For the first time ever they'd found a tomb that was complete with all its contents.
It was a time capsule offering an incredible insight into the opulence of the pharaohs.
The whole place just seems to glow.
There's gold all the way round the walls and an extraordinary amount of gold in that coffin.
Tutankhamen inherited the throne when he was just eight or nine and died in his late teens.
Tutankhamen could have remained a little known king, were it not for his treasures.
The sheer scale of the riches that were buried with him transformed him into the most famous pharaoh in history.
Tutankhamen is still resting here, unwrapped from his mummification bandages and preserved in a temperature controlled glass box.
It took a decade to excavate his tomb and remove the contents.
To see the boy king's gold I have to travel over 400 miles to Cairo.
The gold of Tutankhamen is now kept here at the Egyptian Museum.
The ancient Egyptians were drawn to gold because it was the same colour as the sun, and because it didn't tarnish they thought it to be indestructible.
They even believed that the flesh of the gods themselves would be gold.
When Tutankhamen's body was laid to rest in his tomb, he was wearing this ornate headdress.
It was placed on top of his head inside his famous death mask.
Tutankhamen was buried in three coffins, one inside the other like a Russian doll.
But for me, there is only one treasure that can lay claim to being the most iconic image on earth and it's this, the death mask of Tutankhamen.
Placed over the head and shoulders of the mummy, the face is thought to be a likeness of the young king.
The mask is made from pure gold and weighs 11 kilos but that really misses the point because you can't simply work out the price of this treasure - or any treasure - by adding up the sum of its parts.
Its true value is priceless.
At the back of the mask are ten lines of hieroglyphics.
The inscription is a spell from the Book Of The Dead and is for the protection of the pharaoh on his journey into the afterlife.
To me it is simply the most incredible wonder we've ever created from the raw materials on our planet.
We have travelled the globe in search of buried treasure and priceless riches lost and found.
We've journeyed deep beneath the surface to wrestle gold from the earth.
Wow.
Found ever more ingenuous ways to get hold of diamonds.
Oh, my word.
And used the power of nature to create pearls.
That is amazing, Oh, look at that.
Oh, my word.
But however much treasure we find, there is something in our nature that makes us search for more.
They are amazing, aren't they? We all know that it's out there if we just know where to look.