23 December 2015

Oak Island Mystery Deepens

The famous (or infamous) Oak Island near Nova Scotia, Canada, has been one of the world's most mysterious places ever since a young man
Daniel McGinnis and his friends found a depression marked by a rope and tackle in 1795. They dug on the spot, discovering a very deep pit with alternating layers of earth and wooden planks. Over the centuries many people died and fortunes were lost digging on Oak Island. The pit, over 200 feet deep, is connected to the sea via tunnels that flooded the pit with sea water once people dug too far down. Whoever dug the pit also engineered the entire island to safeguard whatever was at the bottom (or just to be a jerk and fool future treasure seekers). Gold links and paper with writing have been discovered in the pit, along with a stone covered with undeciphered markings discovered 90 feet down.

Various hypotheses have been put forth to explain the existence of the "Money Pit". Some say it was Blackbeard's treasure, or the survivors of a Spanish galleon hiding their loot from the British, or the Knights Templar buried the Holy Grail there, or proof that Francis Bacon was the real Shakespeare. Or some say it's just a sinkhole that somehow, conveniently, filled up with wooden planks every ten feet.

A new discovery could answer the mystery for good, or maybe just deepen it. Oak Island, which is now connected to the mainland via a causeway and is thus no longer technically an island, may have been visited by the Romans.

An ancient Roman sword was discovered in the waters near the island decades ago by a fisherman who hid it away in a closet somewhere. Now that he's died, his daughter's husband (the current owner now that his wife and daughter are also dead) has handed the sword over to archaeologists who have confirmed that it is a genuine Roman artefact.

gladius
This ancient sword clearly depicts Heracles with his legs spread apart, the blade between them.

J. Hutton Pulitzer, the man heading the investigation, says there is a Roman shipwreck off the coast of Oak Island where the sword came from, and that this will rewrite history. Skep-dicks claim that some wealthy collector brought the sword there during a boating trip and just dropped it overboard, but as Pulitzer points out, if you dropped the sword you paid a hefty price for in 20 foot deep water wouldn't you just jump in after it? This isn't like the Titanic at the bottom of the ocean, this is shallow water off the coast of a tiny island.

The wreck has been surveyed, but getting permission to dive it will be difficult. Governments really don't like it when rogue archaeologists buck the status quo. Remember when 200,000 year old human remains were discovered in Mexico? The Mexican army shut the site down permanently and Virginia Steen-McIntyre had her career ruined. A lie was cooked up saying the remains were only 35,000 years old.

Pre-Columbian Atlantic travel should not be controversial in the least, but it is. We know about the cocaine mummies, and the travels of Hanno the Navigator, the Carthaginian explorer who sailed along the coast of Africa all the way to Mt. Cameroon and discovered gorillas. The Pharaoh Necho I commissioned the Phoenicians to circumnavigate Africa, and they correctly described the sun rising and setting in the wrong direction, strong evidence the story is true as it was not known at the time that Africa extended into the southern hemisphere. Thor Heyerdal proved it was possible to travel across the ocean using only a raft made of reeds, recapitulating the voyages of the Polynesians. Columbus himself relied on Portuguese maps to travel to the new world, that they had ventured to 70 years earlier.

africa

Ancient peoples traveled across the oceans all the time. It is modern conceit that says it did not happen. The question remains whether this genuine Roman artefact is proof of Roman visitation of the new world, or whether it really was Thurston Howell accidentally dropping his collector's item overboard during a three hour pleasure cruise. We'll have to wait for Pulitzer and his team to get permission to dive the wreck. Until then it betrays gross arrogance to scoff and claim that such a thing is mere fantasy.