On a Treasure Hunter

Max Steineke died in 1952. You’ve never heard of Max, probably, but you know his discovery. You see, Max was a treasure hunter of sorts, and the most important treasure he found still enriches the world today. Nations mourned him when he passed. One official statement from a prominent government official stated, “It is indeed a sorrowful calamity and a great loss.” Max died in his mid-50s four years after suffering an accident while in the field on a treasure hunt; the accident led to the infection that took his life.

Max would be the first to admit that his ultimately successful hunting was as part of a team, even if he made it clear that he was the head of that team. But he did credit his successful finding of the treasure to a group effort. Even though the group suffered initial failures in looking for this particular prize, he admitted that the discovery was, “as a result of all the false starts, the many discussions, and the theories that were advanced at such discussions, by the process of elimination (that) we finally began to sense the true solution to the…puzzle.”

The discovery by Max and his team remains the world’s greatest treasure ever discovered.

He was born into a family of German immigrants, one of nine siblings, in rural Oregon. He left home and went to California at age 12—on his own—and found work at a lumber mill. The man he rented a room from encouraged him to get an education, so Max completed his basic schooling and entered Stanford University. From such an inauspicious beginning, Max found that he excelled at school. He discovered that he liked rocks and hidden things, so he competed an undergraduate degree in geology at Palo Alto. After he finished his diploma, Max decided he wanted to look for buried treasure.

So, he did. In Alaska, in Canada, in New Zealand and even Columbia. While he had a modicum of success in those areas, it was not until he went to the Middle East that Max had his greatest success in hunting for treasure. It was here that he assembled his team of fellow explorers and treasure seekers. Max’s group began searching for this particular treasure using the most modern methods and theories. They were willing to do things no other group of treasure hunters had done before.

And these sometimes-unorthodox methods paid off; his discovery completely changed the nation forever. You see, the treasure Max and his team discovered turned a poverty-stricken, relatively newly formed nation that had relied on tourism previously for its primary source of income into one of the wealthiest places on earth.

That’s because it was Max Steineke who first discovered oil under the sands of Saudi Arabia.

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