Displaying items by tag: The Curse Of Oak Island

'The Curse Of Oak Island' Recap: 04/20/2021

20 April, 2021

We are now beginning episode twenty one of the eighth season of The Curse Of Oak Island and the title of tonight's episode is "Old Wharf's Tale." Unlike some weeks, we have some clue what that refers to since last week's tease for tonight's episode seemed to show the team discovering an old wharf in the waters off of the island.

The tease for the episode is the typical mix of scenes that are likely to be misdirects or things that don't actually happen in this episode. It's also the exact same tease that ended last week's episode. The possible discovery of a wharf buried in the waters near Samuel Ball's property, some details about the long metal bar discovered in the swamp in last week's episode and some sort of coin which might possibly be gold.

It is, as the show is fond of saying, the beginning of a new day on Oak Island. Rick Lagina is joining the efforts at the cobblestone pathway that leads out of the swamp. The team is working to uncover as much as the pathway as they can before winter sets in. They also are searching for more evidence that will help them date the construction of the road and/or give them a sense of why it was constructed. As he digs, Rick discovers several shards of pottery and besides the fact the pottery seems to be from the late 1700s period, the pottery has also been badly burned, which fits in with other evidence they have previously discovered.

Later that day, Oak Island historian Charles Barkhouse, David Fornetti and treasure hunter Dan Henskee travel to the home of blacksmithing expert Carmen Legge. They have brought along the burnt iron rod found a week ago in the swamp and hope he can provide some information about it. Legge doesn't have much information about how it was used, but he thinks it could date back to the 1600's. Although he does speculate that it could have something to do with anchoring ships.

Later that afternoon, Marty Lagina's son Alex arrives at the foundation of late 18th-century Oak Island landowner Samuel Ball. This is the site where archaeologists Laird Niven and Liz Michaels continue their excavation hoping to find clues that might help to explain how Ball, a simple cabbage farmer and former slave, mysteriously became a very wealthy man by the early 19th century. Alex is tasked with sifting through the dirt excavated from inside the foundation and besides a great number of shards of pottery, he discovers what appears to be a coin of some kind. 

A summer rainstorm temporarily halts work at both the foundation site and the swamp, so the team gathers at the Oak Island Research Center to more closely examine the coin found by Alex. Under a microscope, they are able to make out faint anchors and a rope design around the edges. Based on that, Gary Drayton suspects its the button from a military officer. And further research shows it's a British naval button, dating from the years 1804-1825, solidly within the timeframe Samuel Ball would have lived at the site. Ball did fight with the British military during the American Revolution, but was not known to have a connection to the British Navy. Which once again leaves the team with more unanswered questions. 

The following morning, Gary Drayton and David Fornetti join Rick Lagina and archaeologists Dr, Aaron Taylor and Miriam Amirault at the site of the excavations in the swamp area. As they metal detect, they find a small ox shoe nail, which was used to attach a horseshoe to the bottom of an ox's foot. Which is another piece of evidence that points towards teams of oxen being used to haul something heavy across the swamp.

Later that afternoon, at the Oak Island Research Center, a man named Stuart Wentzell meets with Rick Lagina and members of the team. He is a local treasure hunter who worked for the late Oak Island treasure hunter John Blankenship back in the 1970s. Wentzell tells the team that when he was working with Dan Blackenship, he discovered the remnants of two wharves located off the beach near the location where Samuel Ball lived. The team is intrigued by the news and decide to take a boat out and see if they can find the evidence.

After some searching, the diver finds clear evidence of two wharves, one much larger than the second and extending almost 100 feet into Mahone Bay. The evidence of a second, smaller wharf leads to speculation from the team that it might have some connection to man named Captain James Anderson, who lived on the property next to Samuel Ball's. And apparently, they became friends. Anderson was a well-known pirate and was notorious for having taken a ship reportedly containing some amount of riches with him when he defected from the American side to the British during the American Revolution.

So the clues continue to mount that something of profound importance took place centuries ago on Oak Island. But the team still seems no closer to defining what might have happened and whether or not treasure remains to be discovered on Oak Island.

The tease for next week shows several mysterious discoveries in the swamp area and on the beach that lead various members of the team to get excited. And apparently some testing is done in the one of the holes that has been dug in the money pit area that reveals the presence of silver?

Until next week....

'The Curse Of Oak Island' Recap: 04/13/2021

13 April, 2021

We are now beginning episode twenty two of the eighth season of The Curse Of Oak Island and while the episode titles for the show tend to be very literal, I'm not sure what to make of tonight's title: "Be There Or T-Square." It would be fun to think the title means Mr. T will make an appearance, but that seems unlikely.

The tease for the episode is the typical mix of scenes that are likely to be misdirects or things that don't actually happen in this episode. We see some excited unveiling of a core sample from the swamp area, Craig Tester telling the team some sample has been identified as being from the "pre-searcher" era, the discovery of a very burned large iron bar that someone says "has to be from a ship" and the discovery of what appears to be a large wooden beam in the middle of the swamp area.

It is, as the show is fond of saying, the beginning of a new day on Oak Island. Rick Lagina, along with Oak Island historians Doug Crowell and Charles Barkhouse are calling Marty Lagina to update him on a potentially important discovery made the previous day in the are known as the swamp. Sure, it it's that significant, you'd think that might have called him the evening before, but hey, TV. They let him know that a piece of polished wood that appears to be part of a ship's railing was discovered 8-10 feet down in the mud. And there appears to be some sort of wooden object buried at a similar level. So the plan is to try and uncover the object, which everyone hopes - but is afraid to say - might be a boat.

But as is always the case with Oak Island, nothing comes easily. While the day is clear, it rained heavily the night before. Forcing the team to bring in a large pump they hope will remove enough water to allow them to continue to dig. So as the water drops, metal detection expert Gary Drayton will inspect the buckets of mud for items of interest. The team is able to dig down enough to uncover one long wooden beam, but so much water is pouring into the hole that it is impossible to keep the hole clear or continue working. Rick Lagina is forced to conclude that they will have to suspend work on the area until next spring. Then they can create a cofferdam consisting of large steel sheets that will wall off the area and keep out the water. That is similar to the wall that was built several seasons ago in Smith's Cove.

On the western end of the island, Charles Barkhouse and Scott Barlow join archaeologists Laird Niven and Liz Michaels at the 18th-century stone foundation that used to be part of the home owned by Samuel Ball. He came to Oak Island in 1787 and raised cabbages. But somehow during his time on the island, he managed to become one of the wealthiest people in the area, eventually buying a number of lots on Oak Island as well as several on the mainland. Leading some people to suspect that he might have found at least some of the Oak Island treasure. Laird discovers a large metal hinge that could have come off of a door or perhaps a chest of some kind. He also uncovers wooden boards and it's not clear if they are from a door or were just discarded there for some reason.

Later near the eastern edge of the swamp, Rick Lagina, along with geoscientists Dr. Ian Spooner and Dr. Aaron Taylor and other members of the team are now focusing their attention on the long stone pathway that has been uncovered in the swamp. As Gary Drayton examines the spoils pile from the dig, he spots a wooden object of interest. It's a smooth wooden T-shaped object and based on the title of the episode. my guess is that this is the "t-square."

Later that afternoon at the Oak Island Research Center, Marty Lagina meets with Doug Crowell and Gary Drayton to inspect the new find. Crowell tells them that after some research, be believes it is a stone mason's tool. 

The following morning, Rick, Marty, Craig and members of the team assemble at the War Room. They have arranged to meet with Oak Island theorist Phillip Stevenson via a video conference. Like the 100 or so people who have come before him, this guy has a theory which he believes might explain what went on at Oak Island several hundred years ago. He explains that a relative was a member of the Freemasons and that when he died 25 years ago, the family discovered a piece of paper hidden in the pocket of his Freemason robes. The writing on the paper included a number of strange symbols, along with some words written in English. He tells the team that he believes he has cracked the cipher on the paper and that the symbols translated into a series of navigational instructions. He also says he believes that religious items were transported to Oak Island by members of the Knights Templar and that he can now identify the location on the island where the objects are buried.

While this sounds like another one of those goofball theories that frequently pop up on the show, it is interesting to note the location Stevenson identifies is close to location of interest once identified in a survey conducted in the 1980s. But until now, the site has never been the subject of a dedicated search. 

These "expert" suggestions are usually put on the back burner by the team, but the next day they are out drilling at the spot suggested by Stevenson. Which makes me suspect this spot might have already been on the radar and action planned even before his call. Regardless, they drill down to the target depth of 40 feet and don't find anything. Surprisingly, Marty Lagina says in an interview that he believes the clues were deciphered brilliantly by Stevenson, but that the path started at what is referred to in the cipher as the "alter." And he's not convinced Stevenson had the correct starting point.

The next morning at the Eastern edge of the swamp, Gary Drayton and David Fornetti continue to examine the area around the stone pathway. They find what appears to be a broken ringbolt but unlike earlier discoveries, this one is perhaps three feet long and twisted in several directions. Rick Lagina suggests that David Fornetti take it to archaeologist Dr. Alex Taylor for his opinion. His first comment is that the bar is covered on charcoal, which means it must have been exposed to high levels of heat for an extended period. He suspects that the bar was likely part of some wooden structure, perhaps part of a ship.

Later that evening, the team gathers in the War Room to hear the results of a highly anticipated scientific report from Craig Tester about the mysterious wooden t-shaped object that was found in the swamp. The tests show the tool is likely from a time period ranging from 1632 to 1668. That is more than 160 years before the discovery of the money pit. Marty Lagina does bring up the obvious fact that while the tool might have been made in that time period, it could have still be in use 20 or 30 years after its construction. 

But that still dates to well before the discovery of the money pit and it falls into a time period where the team has found other ship and construction-related items. So what was going on at Oak Island in the mid-1600s?

That's it for this week and the previews show what appears to be the discovery of the remnants of a large wharf in the waters near Samuel Ball's house. And someone on the team seems to have found a gold coin.

See you next week!

'The Curse Of Oak Island' Recap: 03/31/2021

31 March, 2021

We are now beginning episode twenty 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 "Fire In The Hole" I know that the episode titles for the show tend to be very literal. But I am assuming there won't be an actual fire in a hole at some point in this hour.

The episode uncharacteristically begins in the War Room, where the team is hearing an update from Rick on the progress in the swamp. The latest estimate on the length of the stone path that has been uncovered so far is 460 feet. He also tells the team about the mysterious foundation that had been discovered along the path the previous day. And the fact that the foundation seems to have some sort of unexplained voids large enough for someone to stick their arm completely inside.

One theory about the foundation revolves around a farmer named Anthony Graves. His house and farm were originally located not far from the site of the foundation. Graves had purchased most of Oak Island in 1857. And while he was never known to have conducted any treasure hunts on the island, local shop owners on the mainland reported at the time that he sometimes purchased goods using old Spanish silver and gold coins. So could Graves have discovered some of the Oak Island treasure and then hidden it in the walls of this newly discovered foundation?

Later that morning, near the swamp, archeologist Miriam Amirault and Rick and Marty's nephew, David Fornetti, continue investigating the mysterious stone foundation. As they dig, David finds charcoal mixed in with some of the stone foundation wall. The location of the charcoal and the look of the surrounding soil suggests either it was the result of the building burning down or perhaps it was the location of a large hearth. But the confusing thing is that if was the site of continued burning, then where are any of the remnants of what we burned. There are no artifacts, which is confusing to the scientists.

Meanwhile, about 50 yards to the south, project manager Scott Barlow, metal detection expert Gary Drayton and heavy equipment operator Billy Gerhardt are searching the stone pathway for valuable objects and artifacts. They uncover a few pieces of wood that were placed under the stone pathway, presumably to keep the stones from sinking into the mud. With any luck, a carbon dating of the wood might lead to a more precise estimate of when the stone pathway was constructed.

At the same time, drilling continues at the so-called "money pit" area. The team is still chasing the tunnel they discovered at the 86-90 foot level and the next hole will hopefully continue their streak of hits. This hole is named CD-7 and it is just east of their previous holes. Charles Barkhouse and Terry Matheson continue to examine the soil in the core borings for any wood or evidence of human activity. But they've reached 91 feet and there is nothing to report. 

Later that afternoon on Lot 26, metal detection expert Gary Drayton along with treasure hunter Michael John are investigating an area near the foundation that used to belong to Samuel Ball. They are hoping to find more clues about how the 19th-century landowner mysteriously became one of the wealthiest men in Nova Scotia. The first discovery is a very small ox shoe, which appears to be quite old. 

Back in the war room, Craig Tester and Marty Lagina are trying to decide what to do next with the drilling operation. They could backtrack and try and find the buried tunnel again. But Craig suggests maybe drilling one of the sites found on the Berringer survey. Paperwork had been found by a historian that showed a company named Berringer had conducted a survey about 30 years ago that examined the ground with low-frequency radio waves. The survey found four spots in the Smith's Cove and money pit area that suggested they might include non-ferris metals - which could be gold or silver. Given the short amount of time left in the season before winter comes, Marty agrees that drilling at one of the Berringer holes might be the best move at this point.

Later that afternoon, Jack Begley and Charles Barkhouse have traveled 50 miles away from Oak Island to the farm run by blacksmithing expert Carmen Legge, who has proven in the past to be very good at identifying and dating objects found by the team on Oak Island. They brought the small shoe found the day before on Lot 26. Legge identifies the shoe as being Scottish and dates to between 1610 and the 1740s. 

Back at the site of the stone pathway in the swamp area, archeologist Miriam Amirault discovers shards of brightly colored hand-painted pottery near the pathway. It's more evidence of human activity, but as is always the case on Oak Island, it provides more questions than answers.

Later that day, the team gathers in the War Room to hear from Craig Tester, who has the results of testing done on the pieces of hand-cut wood found underneath parts of the stone pathway in the swamp. The first piece dates from 1489 to 1654. That dates back to as much as 300 years before the discovery of the money pit. 

And that's the end of this episode, which was a bit of a letdown after several weeks of big finds. But I'm sure the tease for next week's episode will be filled with optimism.

The tease shows Gary Drayton finding some object he thinks looks "military." And there is a discovery made somewhere - maybe the swamp? - that Carmen Legge dates back to the 1400s.

See you next week.

'The Curse Of Oak Island' Recap: 03/23/2021

23 March, 2021

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.



'The Curse Of Oak Island' Recap: 02/09/2021

09 February, 2021

We are now beginning episode thirteen of the eighth season of The Curse Of Oak Island and not to be underselling any possible discovery this week, but the title of this episode is "The Fellowship Of The Ringbolt." Instead of something more treasure-like such as "The Fellowship Of The Massive Chests Of Pirate Gold."

As always, the tease at the top of the episode sounds promising. A couple of things are uncovered in the swamp by metal detection expert Gary Drayton, including what I assume is the "ringbolt" mentioned in the episode title as well as the lock for what is later described as belonging to a "large box or chest." And apparently they discover more wood in one of the money pit drill holes. And awaaaaay we go.....

At the start of "another exciting day on Oak Island," Rick Lagina is showing Tom Nolan the team's progress so far in the swamp. They have uncovered what appears to be two massive stone roads in the Southeast corner of the triangle-shaped swamp. One of which may be leading directly to the original money pit treasure shaft. Tom Nolan is also a landowner on Oak Island, but he is also the son of the late treasure hunter Fred Nolan, who spent nearly 50 years trying to find treasure on the island. He was convinced there was something of value in the swamp, but son Tom admits that his dad probably wasn't expecting to find stone roads.

The team has brought in archaeologist Dr. Aaron Taylor to oversee the excavations in the swamp. He tells Rick Lagina and Tom Nolan that his best guess is that the stone road was built and used as a way to transport some sort of containers or other large items to the uplands are where the money pit is located. He also has found small bits of coal mixed in with the stone road and some areas appear to be supported by wood stakes or timbers.

Later that afternoon, Rick Lagina and members of the team are in the War Room to discuss a piece of metal that was discovered recently in the digs of the money pit. They are receiving a report from Dr. Christa Brosseau, who has been able to shed some light on the age of the item. The item was found in the borehole known as C-9 and it was found with a number of pieces of wood. The hope is that it can be dated accurately enough to show it might be part of the so-called "Tupper Shaft." The shaft is named for Adam Tupper a member of the Trurow Company, who constructed a shaft in 1850 just ten feet NW of the original money pit. 

Her tests have determined the square nail was made after 1840. So while it doesn't prove they've found the Tupper Shaft, it certainly is a promising sign. Although, pretty much every episode has one or two promising yet not quite definitive moments.

Back at the money pit the next morning, Oak Island Project Manager Scott Barlow, geologist Terry Matheson and surveyor Steve Guptill are supervising the team's core hole drilling operation in borehole CD-8.5. They are hoping to confirm that they have located the Tupper Shaft. When they pull up a core that runs from only 18-28 feet down, it includes a significant amount of stacked lumber. It certainly appears to be a slice of a wall of some kind. 

Later that day, Oak Island historian Doug Crowell and Scott Barlow travel 50 miles from Oak Island to meet with blacksmithing expert Carmen Legge. They brought the item which appears to be some sort of a latch that was found by Gary Drayton on Lot 13. Legge says it appears to a higher end double-bolted lock, used to secure a large box or trunk. (Cue narrator: "A large box? Like the boxes that might have been used by the Knights Templar?")

Later that afternoon, Scott Barlow joins Rick Lagina and geoscientist Dr. Ian Spooner at the dig in the swamp area. They are continuing to uncover the mysterious stone road and they find a number of pieces of wood buried under the road and intertwined with the stone. Which is good news, since they can carbon date the wood and hopefully put some sort of specific construction date to the project. 

The following morning, Craig Testor, along with metal detection expert Gary Drayton, join the excavations in the swamp. As Drayton examines the dirt that is being uncovered, he discovers what appears to an old lock. 

The next day, Marty Lagina and his son Alex arrive at the old homestead of Samuel Ball, who owned Lot 25 from the late 18th Century to the mid-19th Century. Laird Niven has been supervising an excavation of the site once owned by one of Oak Island's most controversial figures. Born a slave on a plantation in South Carolina in 1765. He escaped at age 11 and made his way north. He eventually won his freedom when he joined the British military forces during the American Revolution. After the war was over, he traveled to Nova Scotia, where he bought a lot on Oak Island for a reported eight pounds. 

Although Ball was known to be a simple cabbage farmer, he somehow managed to become one of the wealthiest people in the province. He ended up owning 36 acres on Oak Island and several more on the mainland. Leaving people to wonder if he found some or all of the Oak Island treasure.

The Ball homestead has been designated a protected historical site by the Canadian government and Niven has obtained a special permit to dig at the location. The excavation is in its very early stages, but Niven has discovered a number of expensive pottery shards that date back to Samuel Ball's lifetime.

Meanwhile, back at the swamp, members of the team are continuing to work and determine where the stone road is headed. And as they search, Gary Drayton discovers some mysterious piece of winding iron. It could be a decorative handle or perhaps even a bracelet. And a bit later, Drayton uncovers a large hand-forged ringbolt. The ringbolt discovery is interesting, because when Fred Nolan was surveying the island during his searches in the 1960s, he discovered three large boulders near the edge of the swamp that large ringbolts driven into them. At the time, he believed someone had used the ringbolts to anchor a ship that had entered the swamp area back when it held more water.

Craig Testor, Rick Lagina and other members of the team arrive at the swamp to see the ringbolt. Laird Niven suspects it can easily be dated back to the 18th Century, which certainly fits into at least one of timelines for treasure being deposited on the island.

But with that, the episode ends and there are no teases for next week's episode. So let's meet here again next Tuesday?

'The Curse Of Oak Island' Recap: 01/19/2021

19 January, 2021

We are now beginning episode eleven of the eighth season of The Curse Of Oak Island and not to be pessimistic, but the title of this episode is "Rocky Road." Sadly, I don't think this refers to ice cream.

As always, the tease at the top of the episode sounds promising. Some sort of "high end" gold coin is found in the swamp and wood is found deeper than expected in one of the bore holes. Could the team finally be on the trail of the money pit (for the 43rd time?).

At the start of "another exciting day on Oak Island," Rick and Marty Lagina, along with their partner Craig Tester, Terry Matheson, Charles Barkhouse and other members of their team continue a drilling operation in the Money Pit area. The team is looking at a core sample which appears to include a large hunk of a wooden beam, found at a depth of 165 feet. The current drill hole is about ten feet from the hole called "OC-1," which was drilled a year ago and found pieces of wood at a depth of about 150 feet. The wood was later dated to 1706, which could make the pieces part of the original money pit. The team decides to drill another 10-15 feet, to see if they hit other wood samples or the bedrock.

The next core goes down to 185 feet and is a lot of wet clay with some small wood pieces mixed in. That level is too deep to be part of any searcher tunnel and is in fact deeper than the team expected to find anything. The deepest shaft or tunnel of any kind is the so-called "Hamilton Shaft," which went down to 170 feet. Craig Tester decides the best thing to do is go a bit deeper to see if they uncover anything else. In the meantime, he heads over to the swamp.

In the triangle-shaped swamp, Rick Lagina, Dr. Ian Spooner and metal detection expert Gary Drayton continue searching for valuable clues along the mysterious stone-paved pathway discovered earlier this year in the southeastern corner of the swamp. Archaeologists Liz Michaels, Dr. Aaron Taylor and Miriam Amirault - along with Jack Begley - continue working to clear mud and muck off the surface of the feature.

As Gary Drayton examines the mud with his metal detector, he makes a potentially interesting find: a gold-colored knob of some sort. But what is it from?

Later that afternoon, Craig Tester meets with Marty Lagina back in the War Room to update him on the latest information from the drilling at the Money Pit. After some conversation, Marty advises Craig to keep drilling deeper, because wood splinters that size could be part of the collapse of the money pit. Or could be part of the money put itself.

The archaeologists are now wrapping up work at the mysterious feature that has come to be known as the "serpent mound." Initially, the thought was that it had some sort of religious significance, but some of the team now believe it is actually spoils from the construction of the nearby money pit. But the team has already found several interesting items in the mound, including an old nail that matched one found when the OC-1 hole was dug, as well as burnt charcoal that was dated back to the 1300s.

Despite those discoveries, the consensus seems to be the serpent feature is a spoils pile from the dig. And given that, Rick Lagina believes the team should focus now on the features that have been discovered in the swamp.

Then there is this odd sequence at the money pit area where Rick Lagina shows up and Craig recounts what they've discovered so far. Which is odd, since earlier in the episode Craig headed to the swamp and spoke to Rick. And the archaeologists who were at the swamp were then seen at the serpent mound with Rick. Honestly, the sequencing of these scenes feels more like a reality show version of "Inception."

Later, several of the team examine the final core from the hole, which goes down to a level of 210 feet. Unfortunately, no more evidence of human activity is found. 

While they shift the drill to the site of the next hole in the money pit area, Charles Barkhouse joins Rick Lagina as they meet with rare coin and artifact expert Sandy Campbell at the Oak Island Interpretive Center. He's there to give his analysis of the gold-colored object found by Gary Drayton in the swamp. Campbell puts the knob in an ultrasonic cleaner, which uses water and sonic pressure to gently clean objects without damaging them. 

In the end, he tells the duo that it is not gold, but brass. But the item was probably a high-end product and likely used on some sort of a jewelry box. But what was inside the box? And why was it found three or four feet below the surface of the swamp?

Later that afternoon, Gary Drayton is detecting items in the swamp and finds a bunch of possible hits. But what they find are some large timbers located next to the stone pathway with large iron fasteners attached to them. Looking at the timbers, Drayton speculates that it could be part of a ship dock that was attached to the stone pathway. 

And we're done for an other week. The tease for next week includes Craig Tester saying they have discovered a shaft that was reported to be located ten feet from the treasure vault. The second reveal is that some unknown item has been dated back to 1492.

See you next week.

'The Curse Of Oak Island' Recap: 12/29/2020

29 December, 2020

We are now beginning episode eight of the eight season of The Curse Of Oak Island and even for this show, the season as been spectacularly slow-moving. Granted, some of the problem is due to the delays caused by the pandemic. The search season began late and some of the projects the team wanted to do would have required too much time to complete before winter began.

But as much as I would like these to be some hidden treasure trove, this season has seemed to primarily be filled with episodes where a relatively small "discovery" is turned into a breathless event. "Hey, look, it's a mound of dirt! Just like the Knights Templar used to build!"

Tonight's episode is entitled "High On The Bog" and while I can't claim to be a psychic, I suspect the swamp will be involved in some way.

It's nighttime on Oak Island and the Laginas along with their team have gathered in person and remotely to hear the latest presentation from geographic information systems expert Erin Helton. She has previously examined papers and a 14th-century map collected by the late Oak Island researcher Zena Halpern and used that information to lead the team to several large boulders that she suspects had been used as markers. Now that the location of those boulders have been confirmed by the team, she believes she can use those boulders as a way to lead the team to the location of the so-called "money pit."

Helton tells the team that she doesn't believe they should continue to dig in the money pit. She believes it's a booby-trapped entrance and that the location of the vault is somewhere else. She believes they can use directions she's discovered to lead them to the location of the treasure. She lays out her theory, based in part on other material that had been collected by Zena Halpern: the La Formule Cipher. The paper is a cipher comprised of mysterious symbols, which reportedly match symbols found to have been carved on the legendary 90-foot stone.

Back in 2016, the Laginas had paid a computer science to decode the La Formule Cipher and Helton is using that translation as the jumping-off point for her translation. And by following the directions across the island instead of downward at the money pit, she arrives exactly as the location known as "Cone E" on Nolan's Cross. Even more impressive, if you overlay the corridors drawn on the 14th-century map collected by Zena Halpern, you arrive at the exact same spot. 

The Laginas are impressed enough to bring out a crew the next day to dig some exploratory holes based on Erin Helton's new theory. Rick Lagina and the small team are drilling at a location Erin believes is the site of a hidden underground corridor that might lead to the location of the true money pit. Nicknamed "EJZ-1," is is located at the edge of the clearing where many different people had dug searching for the treasure.

While drilling continues at EJZ-1, at the Oak Island Research Center, Rick Lagina, Charles Barkhouse and Craig Tester are meeting with numismatist Sandy Campbell. While searching on Lot 15 seven weeks ago, near a structure believed to be a 16th-century pine tar kiln, metal detection expert Gary Drayton and Jack Begley found an old coin unlike any they had ever discovered on Oak Island. The coin is thin and flat with a square old punched in the middle. 

After examining the find, Campbell tells the group that it is clearly a Chinese Cash Coin. And while the coin is too worn to identify more specifically, based on the way the edge of the coin was created, Campbell estimates it could be 1,100 or 1,200 years old. In other words, it was manufactured somewhere between 400 and 900 A.D. But how did it get to Oak Island? Campbell tells the group that he is surprised by the find, given that while English, Spanish and French explorers brought their coins with them on their travels, the Chinese typically did not. Campbell's best theory is that it came to the island in someone's pocket. They had likely been to the Far East and collected the coin as a good luck piece.

Following that piece of interesting news, Rick Lagina heads back to the money pit area to check on the progress of the drill holes at EJZ-1. But after a lot of back-and-forth conversation and the examination of some material brought up in the holes, the bottom line is that they haven't found anything yet.

The following day, while the drilling continues at EJZ-1, metal detection expert Gary Drayton and Peter Franetti arrive at the southeastern corner of the swamp. It is currently being drained in preparation for a new excavation and the duo hope to find some items that had previously been buried under the muck. Their first find is an old iron pin, probably used for construction on a ship or wharf and almost certainly dating back to the 1700s or earlier.

Later that day at the money pit, surveyor Steve Guptill, Oak Island historian Charles Barkhouse and geologist Terry Matheson continue to examine the bore hole material from EJZ-1. They haven't found any evidence of Erin's proposed tunnel, but when Rick Lagina arrives Guptill makes a suggestion. Last year, the team dug up woof dated back to the early 1700s at a money pit location known as OC-1, which is located a few meters east of RF-1, which they used as the starting point to determine where to dig. If the team uses OC-1 as the starting point, that might give them the location of the tunnel. But until Erin can examine the new theory to map a new location, the drilling is on hold.

On nearby Lot 15, Marty Lagina's son Alex Lagina joins archeologist Dr. Aaron Taylor and archaeologist Miriam Amirault as they continue to investigate a mysterious, serpent-shaped mound. Dr. Taylor has discovered a bit of a charcoal layer in one portion of the mound and by testing the charcoal, he should be able to determine when the material was burned. 

Meanwhile, back at the swamp, Gary Drayton and Peter Franetti continue their search for more evidence of a possible hidden ship wharf. While digging for metal, the two men discover a layer of hand-hewn boards that Drayton thinks might be the entrance to a tunnel or shaft. They call Rick Lagina and island archeologist Laird Niven to come and examine the find. Niven seems to think it could be a slipway, similar to what was found in Smith's Cove. No one is entirely sure what the feature might be, but there also appear to be sort of iron nails attached, which could help the team date the feature.

While the discovery is noteworthy, it also could potentially force the team to reevaluate their current plan to build a cofferdam in that corner of the swamp similar to the one they build two years ago in Smith's Cove. If there is indeed the remains of a slipway in that location, driving large sheets into the ground to build the cofferdam could destroy unseen wooden features. They ultimately decide to dig in the area in an effort to discover what might be there before the arrival of the metal sheets.

The tease for next week shows the discovery of more wooden features in the swamp, a new discovery by Gary Drayton and Craig Tester announcing the dating of some unseen object to 1320 to 1440.

See you next week.