Diving into history: The Megalodon tooth hunter

Bill Eberlein has spent the past 23 years hunting medalodon teeth
Published: Sep. 27, 2022 at 1:30 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - There’s plenty of history laying deep within the rivers surrounding Savannah.

We’ve seen cannon, and ships hundreds of years old unearthed.

But one man is more interested in finding something much older than that…millions of years older and he took us along for the ride.

“You know, it’s funny people think of Savannah as being a historic city, and it is. But they think history goes back to when they settled Savannah, but actually the history of Savannah goes back millions of years,” said Bill Eberlein.

It’s the hunt for that part of Savannah’s history that draws Eberlein out on the water.

“It’s just a hobby that I love, almost like an obsession. Every day off I love to dive. It’s just something I never get tired of.”

But he isn’t just diving for fun, he’s looking for something specific.

“It’s just so exciting when you find one of these. The only thing you can compare it to is like when you’re a kid on an Easter Egg Hunt,” says Eberlein.

The hidden treasure he’s after, “this is a giant megalodon shark tooth I found this morning.”

Eberlein started diving for megalodon teeth in 1999 after hearing about them from a friend.

“And I said, ‘I just want to find one, I just want to find one.’”

Well, since finding that first one 23 years ago, he hasn’t stopped.

“It’s always exciting because you never know what you’re going to find, but you always find something.”

Which is impressive considering the conditions he dives in.

“You get down five feet in these rivers and it’s pitch black. It’s like going into a room with no light.”

Luckily Eberlein has a light, but other than that, it’s a literal shot in the dark.

“What I’m doing is feeling for the megalodon teeth. You can tell by the feel of the root or the slickness of the enamel that I have that.”

Of course, as his megalodon tooth hunting partner and wife Dodie knows all too well even with as good as Bill is it’s not always a guaranteed success.

“Because it’s like fishing. Somedays are better than others and somedays he finds absolutely no teeth,” explain Dodie.

But on this day his instincts pay off as he somehow finds a tooth amidst the dark muck of the river.

A great feeling, but one that comes with an inherent risk.

“You know you’re diving alone in the strong current. No visibility, and there’s sharks and sting ray in the water,” says Eberlein.

But for Eberlein the present danger is worth the risk to unearth a piece of Savannah history that’s over 3 million years old.

“No matter what I find it’s just so exciting to be able to do what I enjoy so much. I don’t ever take it for granted.”