We are now beginning episode nineteen of the eighth season of The Curse Of Oak Island and not to be spoiling any discoveries this week, but the title of this episode is "A Loose Cannonball." So I predict a cannonball might be found on the island. And maybe it will be loose?
The top of the show tease shows a big piece of iron being found that may be related somehow to tunneling. There's speculation that the stone road might be angling towards the so-called "eye of the swamp," what looks like a small cannonball is found in the spoils pile and Rick Lagina discovers a mysterious hole that might be hiding something "treasure." Okay, it probably isn't, but it makes for a good tease.
Rick Lagina meets with archaeologists Dr. Aaron Taylor and Miriam Amirault, who are continuing to excavate the mysterious stone road in the swamp. Taylor believes the road may be splitting into two different directions, one leading to the money pit area and the other towards an unknown destination. On a complete side note, have you noticed that since she first began appearing on the show, Miriam Amirault has been slowly upgrading her look? Her hair is longer now and blonde and she is definitely becoming the Lara Craft of Oak Island.
Over the past few weeks the team has found a number of items on or near the stone pathway, including multiple shards of pottery and large iron ringbolts that might have been used to help anchor a sailing vessel. They also found several pieces of wooden keg barrel that might date back as far as the 15th century.
As the team works to uncover more of the road, Aaron discovers rows of stones piled on top of each other along one edge of the road. They were obviously placed there for a reason and he tells Rick and the rest of the group that it somewhat looks like what you would expect to see in a cellar wall. But if the wall is some remnant of an old building, why is it located so close to the stone road and what might have been stored there. "It's a mystery," admits Rick. "And I don't need any more mysteries."
While members of the team continue their investigation in the swamp, in the money pit area, geologist Terry Matheson and Oak Island historian Charlies Barkhouse continue overseeing a core drilling operation that is trying to follow the path of a mysterious tunnel they have discovered. The tunnel is located at a depth of about 90 feet and wood from what appears to be the tunnel walls has been carbon dated to as early as 1648, nearly 150 years before the original money pit was discovered. The current bore hole uncovers wood at a depth of about 88 feet, making it the sixth successive hole where they have uncovered wood at the same depth. Rick tells them to keep drilling holes in hopes of discovering where this tunnel might lead.
Meanwhile, back in the swamp, Rick Lagina has invited geoscientist Dr. Ian Spooner to investigate the possible stone wall structure. Spooner also believes it could be a structure wall and deserves added attention. But at the same time, Aaron's work seems to show that one branch of the stone pathway is turning towards the so-called "eye of the swamp." It was in that area that last year the team discovered a mysterious circular stone feature made of boulders as well as evidence of back-filled shaft.
The next day, Rick and Marty Lagina, as well as various members of the team have gathered in the war room for a video conference with author and Oak Island theorist James McQuston. These types of calls tend to lead to some very unlikely speculation, but they are always interesting to hear. McQuston previously presented a theory that a 17th-century Scottish order with direct ties to the Knights Templar - known as Knights Baronet - were connected to the Oak Island mystery, he now has a new theory. He has recently discovered new details about how he believes a large treasure came to be buried on Oak Island.
McQuston spins a complex tale that I won't get into here, other than to say that it involves a bunch of vague connections to the Freemasons and members of the Plymouth Colony in what is now Massachusetts. It's an interesting theory, but that appears to be all that is. He doesn't have any real documentation of his theories, other than a lot of "well, it could have happened this way" speculation.
Later that afternoon, metal detection expert Gary Drayton along with Rick and Marty's nephew David Fornetti join the excavations of the stone pathway at the swamp and to search through some of the spoil piles from the digs so far. Gary's first find is deep in the wall of a trench and it is a heavy iron caster wheel - the type that would be used on a cart in a long tunnel.
As that works continues, members of the team examine spoils from the dig of hole E-5.25 on a wash table. The first thing they discover is possible coconut fiber, which does not exist in nature anywhere in the Northern Hemisphere. Cotton fiber had previously been discovered in mass amounts in Smiths Cove during an 1850 search and it was thought to have been used as a filtering agent for the legendary Money Pit flood tunnels as well as in the Money Pit itself. The team also discovers a small round iron ball which appears to be a cannonball.
Marty Lagina and archaeologist Dr. Aaron Taylor arrive at the wash table to examine the cannonball. He decides to have Gary Drayton and island archaeologist Laird Niven examine the find. Drayton says it is a dress stone or gun stone and that he has found similar items during searches in the U.K. He believes it's old and is the type of projectile that was used in cannons before the days of the iron cannonballs. So it's likely very old. But then why is is on Oak Island?
Back in the swamp, the excavation continues on the stone pathway. The focus is on the area that appears to be part of a cellar and the first discovery is made by Miriam, who finds a small shard of ceramic earthenware. Not long after, someone discovers what appears to be some small cavity in the ground. Miriam speculates that the area could be the remnants of Anthony Grave's root cellar, which opens up a lot of possibilities. In 1857, a farmer named Anthony Graves purchased most of Oak Island from the estate of John Smith, one of the three young men who made the original money pit discovery. Graves has always been a subject of speculation from Oak Island treasure hunters, because at the time, he was rumored to have sometimes bought items on the mainland using Spanish coins made of both silver and gold.
The episode awkwardly ends with Rick speculating about whether or not something might be in the newly discovered void or in one of the walls of the cellar. Which is a pretty anti-climactic end of the hour.
The tease for next week's episode is short and to the point. There are lots of exclamations of "wow, look at that" and "that is cool," although it's not clear what was discovered. So the search for Oak Island treasure - like the search for Bigfoot - appears to be a slow-moving, never ending road of discovery.