Stirring the blood of treasure hunters like the fabled Maltese falcon, the now legendary Amber Chamber is sending spikes up the fever charts again. The hunt for the priceless czarist treasure that vanished as Nazi plunder during World War II brought a search team Wednesday to a quarry near the southern German city of Coburg.

A spokesman for the Interior Ministry in Bonn said it had evidence of what could be a store of treasure buried near Coburg by a high-ranking Nazi in the final days of the war. "We have serious clues of some form of art treasure," he said. "But as you know, the Amber Chamber has proved elusive."The chamber, last sighted in 1945, is an assembly of ornately carved amber wall panels and furniture presented to Peter the Great by Prussia in 1712. It heads Russia's list of missing treasures seized by German troops.