The Real History of Treasure Hunter Security

I’ve always had a huge fascination with ancient history. In high school, I studied math and science, but the history teacher still invited me on their museum visits and excursions. I’ve visited Egypt twice, and visited every temple and tomb I could get to on my visit to Greece and Turkey.

So, it has been an absolute pleasure in my action-adventure series, Treasure Hunter Security, to mix in a whole lot of historical facts and myths along with my fiction. To mix ancient legends with modern adventure and romance.

I’ve promised quite a few readers to do some posts on the real-life locations and real history behind each of the THS books. I have put in some links if you’d like to read more, and have used many Wikipedia links as I often find it a good place to start.

Today, we’ll look at the history in Undiscovered and Uncharted. So sit back and relax, I promise some interesting history and pics!



Some pictures of locations featured in Undiscovered:

Dakhla Oasis (near to where Layne’s dig is located) (credit – Vyacheslav Argenberg)

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Khan el-Khalili Market, Cairo, where Layne and Dec first meet (credit – Derek)
Kom Ombo Temple on the Nile which inspired the temple discovered by Layne and Declan (credit – Divya Thakur)

The treasure hunt in Undiscovered is all focused around the real legend of the Lost Oasis of Zerzura. Long rumored to be somewhere in the Western Desert of Egypt, the oasis has been referenced in many ancient writings, and spawned many real-life hunts.

Hungarian explorer Almasy searched for Zerzura in the Libyan Desert, and was the protagonist in the novel and movie, The English Patient.

More info:

The Cave of Swimmers and the Cave of Beasts

Caves containing ancient Neolithic rock art in the Gilf Kebir plateau of the Libyan Desert.

Cave of Swimmers (credit – Roland Unger)


Cave of the Beasts (credit – Clemens Schmillen)

More info:

Seth and Nephthys

Seth or Set is the god of the desert, storms, disorder, violence and foreigners in ancient Egyptian religion. He is known as an usurper who murdered his brother Osiris to steal the throne. But Seth wasn’t always considered evil and was demonized over the centuries. Seth’s wife was the goddess Nephthys.

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A dog or jackal-like animal that was the symbol of the Egyptian god Seth. It does not resemble any modern animal and is considered a myth. Some speculate it to be a stylized representation of an aardvark, a donkey, a jackal, a fennec fox, or even a giraffe.

Set-animal (credit – public domain)

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Libyan desert glass

Libyan desert glass is a yellow-green substance found strewn over a section of the Sahara Desert, around the border between Libya and Egypt. No one actually knows how the glass was formed but many attribute it to the impact of a meteorite.

Libyan Desert Glass (credit – H. Raab)
Tutankhamun jewelry with Libyan Desert Glass (credit – Jon Bodsworth)

Ancient Egyptians knew about the glass and a large sample of Libyan desert glass can be seen in Tutankhamun’s jewelry.

More info:



Some pictures of locations featured in Uncharted:

Siem Reap (credit – Jensre)
Siem Reap Night Market (credit – JP Newell)
Plateau of Phnom Kulen in the distance (credit – Xufanc)
Pyramid of Koh Ker which inspired the pyramid temple in Uncharted (credit – thomaswanhoff)
Ruined temple inspiration – Ta Prohm (credit – Staffan Scherz)

More info:

Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat is a huge temple complex in Cambodia, built by the Khmer king Suryavarman II, it was once the capital of the Khmer Empire. Built in the 12th century, it is visited by many tourists every year and admired for its amazing architecture and bas-reliefs.

Angkor Wat, where Dani and Cal first meet (credit – Bjørn Christian Tørrissen)

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Lidar Scanning

Lidar (light detection and ranging) is a scanning technique for making high-resolution maps. The entire story for Uncharted was inspired by real-life lidar scanning carried out by archeologists around Angkor, Mahendraparvata and Phnom Kulen.

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Linga and River of a Thousand Lingas

A linga is a column or egg-shaped representation of the god, Shiva and his energy and potential. There is some debate as to whether the linga is a phallic symbol. In Uncharted, it is purely my imagination that suggested the cintamani stone was a linga.

The River of a Thousand Lingas is a site on Phnom Kulen where hundreds or thousands of lingas have been carved into the river bed and banks.

River of a Thousand Lingas (credit – Prerit )

Srah Damrei (Elephant Pond)

Meeting place for the team on Phnom Kulen.

Elephant Pond by Angkor Driver Bun is courtesy of TripAdvisor


Nagas are serpent deities in Hindu and Buddhist mythology.

Seven-headed naga statue, Cambodia (credit – Stephan Schulz)

More info:

Cintamani Stone

A sacred stone in Hindu and Buddhist mythology said to grant wishes. Said to be connected with the gods and often depicted in the possession of the Naga king.

More info:

Stay tuned for another post on the history of Unexplored and Unfathomed!

Treasure Hunter Security

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12 thoughts on “The Real History of Treasure Hunter Security”

  1. Wow! Thank you for sharing all of those images & background. Places I will most likely never get to visit, but I feel like I get to live vicariously through your stories ?

  2. Thank you SO much for doinng all this! My mid-reading-story investigations were pretty cursory. I was too busy enjoying the story! Th photos, especially, bring everything to life for me. Amazing stuff! I can see why you’ve been so fascinated. Perfect fodder for THS series.

    1. Thanks, Jannie! It took me a while to put all this together but it is so much fun for me. And I agree, seeing the pics adds something. Will be doing another post for Unexplored and Unfathomed.

  3. I cannot thank you enough, Anna, for the historical back stories and images for the THS novels. One of the big reasons I so love this series is that I was an anthropology major in college, but the biggest reason I love these books is the way you have written them. You knew your material and it greatly showed!! Thank you for the stories to take us all away on marvelous adventures!!!

    1. Thank you so much, Pegge. I love hearing that readers enjoy the history in the stories so much. And I love that I can take readers on adventures they may not get the chance to have in real life. Lots more adventures coming!

    1. Cheers, Eileen. Lots of research, which I love, but is time-consuming. So easy to fall down a rabbit hole when you are reading about myths and legends from all around the world!

  4. This is really cool!! love seeing where your inspiration came from or what you used as reference. I had imagined a few things differently, so its quite nice to see what certain things really looked like ie. Nagas.

    1. Glad you liked the pics, Karen! That is a seven-headed naga, but many just had a single head. There are quite a few different depictions. It is all so interesting.

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