The Arabia Rediscovered
Notorious for its shifting channel, the Missouri River cut a new path and moved east, abandoning the spot where the Arabia sank. By the twentieth century, the steamboat was lying deep beneath a Kansas farm field. Rumored to be filled with whiskey and gold when it sank, the Arabia drew the attention of treasure hunters and failed salvage attempts for many years.
Using a metal detector, weathered maps, and old newspaper clippings to guide the search, David Hawley located the wreck in July 1987. Years of erosion and shifting sand left the lost paddleboat 45 feet underground and a half-mile from the present channel of the Missouri River.
David, along with his father Bob, brother Greg, and family friends Jerry Mackey and David Luttrell, would soon return to the farm and begin an adventure consuming the next 20 years. The excavation resulted in the discovery of the largest collection of pre-Civil War artifacts in the world.