An underwater archaeological explorer, who found the wreck of the Whydah Gally pirate ship over three decades ago, claims to have uncovered treasures from the ill-fated ship.
According to AP, Barry Clifford revealed that a huge pile of metal has been detected at the site of the shipwreck near Cape Cod. He believes that this could be coins and other valuables from the Whydah Gally.
“We removed this big massive lump of canon that weighed 15,000 pounds, and then underneath this massive canon, we found another very large concentration of metal,” Clifford said, according to Web Top News.
Since Clifford discovered the wreck of the pirate ship in 1984, he has found thousands of artifacts at the underwater site including jewelry, antique items, canons, and other valuables. Many of these items are currently on display at the Whydah Pirate Museum, which was opened in July. If the latest find is confirmed, it will go down in history as one of the most remarkable underwater finds.
The Whydah Gally was the first verified pirate shipwreck found in the North American region. Barry Clifford also boasts that the Whydah Pirate Museum has the only authentic “collection of pirate treasure in the world,” according to Cape Cod Times.
The Whydah Gally was built in the 18th century to transport slaves and goods from Africa. The ship was attacked by a pack of pirates led by Samuel “Black Sam” Bellamy near Cuba after delivering its first batch of slaves and goods to the Caribbean.
Under Black Sam, the Whydah Gally is believed to have been used in pirate attacks on over 50 ships. The ship sank in 1717 near Wellfleet, Massachusetts after getting caught in a storm. The pirate ship is thought to have been laden with tons of stolen treasure at the time it sank. A majority of the pirate crew members aboard the ship–including Black Sam–died in the incident.
While news of the discovery of treasures from the Whydah Gally is exciting, experts have called for caution until it is authenticated because some other finds that Clifford has made in the past have turned out to be false.
In 2014, UNESCO dismissed Clifford’s claim that he had found Christopher Colombus’ long-lost Santa Maria ship off the coast of Haiti. The United Nations agency said that bronze or copper fasteners found on the ship did not match the shipbuilding techniques of the era when Colombus made his first trip to the Americas, CNN reported. Last year, UNESCO also announced that a 50kg silver ingot that Clifford found off the coast of Madagascar is not part of Captain Kidd’s treasure as he claims as it is 95 percent lead, the Guardian reported.
However, Clifford has disputed UNESCO’s decision, accusing the agency’s archaeological experts of “incompetence.”
“UNESCO’s professional archaeologists confused a 19th-20th century dock with a 17th-18th century shipwreck,” he told the Guardian.
In light of the news that Clifford may have found the lost treasure of the Whydah Gally pirate ship, an underwater heritage expert with UNESCO, Ulrike Guerin, said that Clifford does not follow the “necessary scientific approach,” AP reported.
Clifford, 71, said that he and his team are waiting for the weather to get better later this month before they go back to carry out more studies on the discovery, Web Top News reported. He noted that it would take years for the analysis of the discovery to be completed.
“For me, it’d be great to get it all finished, but it isn’t going to be done in my lifetime,” Clifford explained. “Archaeology doesn’t happen quickly, if you’re doing it correctly.”
[Featured Image by Stephan Savoia/AP Photo]