An ancient Roman sword discovered off the coast near Oak Island, Nova Scotia is being hailed by Carl L. Johannessen, Professor Emeritus with the University of Oregon, as a find that is set to "challenge the orthodoxy of 1492 as the date when the New World was 'discovered,'" according to Boston Standard.
While it is has become more widely accepted that the Norse visited the North American continent about 1,000 years ago, according to Smithsonian Magazine, Johannessen and researcher J. Hutton Pulitzer believe that Romans may have visited even earlier. Pulitzer believes that a known, but unexplored, shipwreck near Oak Island has Roman origins.
Oak Island, Nova Scotia is home to one of the greatest mysteries on the North American continent, with a history that dates back to at least the late 1700s. The Oak Island "money pit" has produced pieces of gold, non-native to Nova Scotia coconut fiber, stones etched with undecipherable codes, and seeming clues that a great treasure is buried over 200 feet below ground in a cavern that some speculate is man made.
Theories for what may lie at the bottom of the infamous shaft that is currently being excavated by Rick and Marty Lagina and documented in the reality television program, The Curse of Oak Island, on the History Channel abound, ranging from treasure left by pirates to jewels belonging to Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette.
Publicly traded companies have been formed, Former U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt actively participated in the hunt for treasure at Oak Island, and was photographed there, according to The U.S. National Archives, and several lives have been lost, since the mystery first became apparent sometime before beginning of the 19th century.What, if anything, lies buried beneath Oak Island has been the subject of a huge amount of debate. Curiously, the Roman sword found off of Oak Island is far from the only piece of evidence suggesting a pre-Columbus Roman history in Nova Scotia, and indeed, the rest of the Western Hemisphere.
Other tantalizing pieces of the seeming puzzle include the local indigenous Mi'kmaq population sharing not only DNA markers with Mediterranean populations, but 50 sea-based words used by ancient Roman mariners; petroglyphs appearing to depict Romans; and the presence of the Berberis Vulgaris bush in Nova Scotia, which was eaten by ancient Romans and used to fight scurvy. The bush is viewed as an invasive species in Canada.
Other artifacts found in Nova Scotia thought to be genuine Roman relics include coins and a Roman shield boss. Some speculate that a Roman shipwreck is located in the Atlantic, near Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, according to the New York Times, and in 1888 a, now long-gone, shipwreck that was found near Galveston in Texas, has been theorized to have had a Roman origin, according to Science Frontiers.The story behind the Roman sword is that it was found by a man "scalloping" near Oak Island, accidentally pulling the sword up in his nets. There was reportedly a ban on salvaging relics from shipwrecks along the Nova Scotian coast, so the man became scared and hid the sword, and passed it on to his daughter, who then gave it to her husband.
Upon seeing The Curse of Oak Island on television, the man was said to approach the Laginas and state, "I think you should know about this and where it was found."
J. Hutton Pulitzer is said to have released his early findings on the Roman sword ahead of a full white paper that is expected in early 2016. Pulitzer has appeared on The Curse of Oak Island with the Lagina brothers, and became interested when he learned of about the find.
The Roman sword was found in water reported to have been about 25 feet deep, which Pulitizer feels reduces or negates the chance that the sword could have been brought to North America post-Columbus, then accidentally dropped and left-behind as lost. The treasure hunter feels that if anyone were to actually drop such a valuable relic in such shallow water that they would surely recover it.
Testing of the metal indicates that it shares qualities with Roman swords known to be authentic, seemingly backing its provenance, according to Yahoo News.
Professor James P. Scherz with the University of Wisconsin was quoted with regard to underwater burial mounds located off the shore of Nova Scotia, close to Oak Island, that may be connected.
"I am in agreement the underwater mounds being of a foreign (ancient mariner style) and not native to Nova Scotia or traditional North American. These mounds, in looking at the known ocean levels for the area, give a possible date of occurring between 1500 BC and 180 AD."
"When you put all these things together and you look at the anomalies, it's not a coincidence," J. Hutton Pulitzer summarized. "The plants, the DNA, the artifacts, the language, the ancient drawings - you have something that deserves to be taken seriously."
Pulitzer reportedly fears that with so many political and logistical forces against him, his theory may take a long time to catch on, if it ever does. He is hopeful that both history and politics have "matured" and that people should "fight for the truth."Update -- 6:45 p.m. Sunday, December 20
Reader J. Lawrence tweeted with regard to a replica Roman sword with a similar look to the found sword.The replica was available in an eBay auction that ended without any bids. Whether this replica Roman sword on eBay casts doubt on the findings of Pulitzer and his team remains to be seen.
Update -- 12:45 a.m. Monday, December 21
Anthropologist Andrew White, whose LinkedIn profile lists him as "Research Assistant Professor at University of South Carolina," tweeted with regard to his writing that may cast doubt on the authenticity of the Roman sword found near Oak Island.On his blog, White quotes a statement made by J. Hutton Pulitzer since he made his statements to Boston Standard.
"Logically anyone should question the find of a single sword out of place, and you can bet we have been working hard to verify it's authenticity."White questions why Pulitzer is still working to confirm the authenticity of a Roman sword that has been "confirmed" "100 percent." The anthropology professor also points out in a blog post that an image of a Roman shield boss used in the Boston Standard article has long been shown to be from England. White concedes that their may be a separate Roman shield boss that was actually found in Nova Scotia, but it appears that he has yet to see proof of one.
Andrew White also details a long list of plausible alternate origins of a sword that would resemble a Roman sword, and conditions where comparing the metal of the sword found near Oak Island with a sword thought to be genuinely ancient, could prove problematic. White feels that there is a high probability that the sword used for comparison, as well as the Oak Island sword, may have been replicas produced at many different times, in different parts of the world.
"One of the most important things that distinguishes science from pseudo-science is the presence of a mechanism for testing ideas to determine if they are false," Andrew White writes in a blog post. He presents many different ways a fake sword could be compellingly, at least at the surface, appear to be genuine. The motives, possible perpetrators, and beneficiaries of such a plan are ripe for speculation.
Update -- 9:00 p.m. Tuesday, December 22
Since Andrew White published his comments about the Oak Island Roman sword, J. Hutton Pulitzer has contacted the Inquisitr with regard to new writing of his own that addresses some of White's concerns, hosted with Medium.com.
Pulitzer writes that his upcoming white paper has been "peer reviewed" and that it is "supported by the Ancient Artifact Preservation Society." The paper is purported to present evidence that Romans visited North America in the "second century AD or earlier."
"Dozens" of specimens with seeming Roman origins found on or in the area near Oak Island are said to be investigated in Pulitzer's upcoming white paper.
Pulitzer writes with regard to the Roman sword found near Oak Island.
"This sword is a gladiator ceremonial 'votive' sword as verified by the Roman Antiquities authority participating in the study. History shows many such items were given out by the Emperor to legion commanders, possibly as for 'protection, strength, and guidance of hercules' prior to entering into battle or departing on a special mission."Pulitzer reports that the sword found in Nova Scotia may have been part of a known 10-piece set, of which another member resides in Florida. The Florida sword is reported to have originated in Naples and to have been the model for a "museum commissioned" cast that was used to produce replicas.
"When such ceremonial swords were made they used solid cast, then hand crafted using a lost wax technique, and lastly gilded with gold like various Egyptian artifacts, making them very rare and highly prized."
The latest article from Pulitzer states that the sword found near Oak Island has been "proved authentic" after the analysis of "Roman Antiquities authorities." Producers of The Curse of Oak Island have reportedly "vetted" the sword for "inclusion" in the series.
Pulitzer's latest reveal about the Roman sword also states that it has magnetic properties and that it will point to "true north," a property that is "only found in authentic items of antiquity, not cast iron or manufactured stone replicas."
Further, Pulitzer writes that the Roman sword is but "1/50" of the body of evidence he has accumulated, which is said to include "DNA, botanical, linguistic, stone symbols, archaeoastronomy, structure and architecture evidence plus other artifacts including coins, but what may be the two most important discoveries — burial mounds and a Roman shipwreck — where the Oak Island sword was found."
Pulitzer states that his teams are working to determine which "Roman legion" the collected artifacts may have come from and why this group of Romans decided to visit North America.
[Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images]