17 December, 2015
Researchers investigating the mysterious Oak Island, located on the south shore of Nova Scotia, Canada, have made a startling announcement regarding the discovery of a Roman ceremonial sword and what is believed to be a Roman shipwreck, radically suggesting that ancient mariners visited North America more than a thousand years before Columbus.
Evidence of the finding, which was exclusively revealed to Johnston Press and published in The Boston Standard , was uncovered by researchers involved in The History Channel’s series Curse of Oak Island , which details the efforts of two brothers from Michigan as they attempt to solve the mystery of the Oak Island treasure and discover historical artifacts believed to be concealed on the island.
J. Hutton Pulitzer, lead researcher and historic investigator, along with academics from the Ancient Artifact Preservation Society, have compiled a paper on the finding, which is scheduled to be published in full in early 2016.
The Mystery of Oak Island
Oak island is home to one of the biggest treasure hunts in history , which began in in 1795, when 18-year old Daniel McGinnis saw lights coming from the island. Out of curiosity, he went searching for the lights and discovered a clearing on the southeastern end of the island. Within the clearing was a circular depression, and nearby a tackle block hung from a tree. McGinnis and several friends returned to the area and began excavating the depression. A few feet beneath the surface, they discovered a layer of flagstone, and the pit walls had markings from a pick. Approximately every ten feet (3 m) they dug, they found a layer of logs. After excavating to thirty feet beneath the surface, McGinnis and his friends abandoned the excavation without ever finding anything of significance.
Digs and Buildings, Oak Island, Nova Scotia, Canada, August 1931. ( Wikimedia Commons )Reports of the boys’ efforts were published in several printed works. Eight years later, the Onslow Company sailed to the area to try to recover the supposed treasure, that was assumed to lie hidden at the base of the pit. Based on the written accounts of the boys, the Onslow Company attempted an excavation of what was now referred to as the “Money Pit.” However, they were eventually forced to abandon their efforts due to flooding.
Numerous searches of the pit continued over the next two centuries, but they have been continually plagued with difficulties including collapses and flooding within the pit. The entire island has been searched for treasure, and is continued today by Marty and Rick Lagina, as chronicled on Curse of Oak Island .
Startling Discovery – A Roman Sword
While most treasure hunters have ended up empty handed, a recent revelation points to an incredible, and possibly history-changing, finding. A shipwreck, believed to be Roman, was found off Oak Island, and within the wreck a well-preserved Roman ceremonial sword was retrieved.
The Roman sword found just off Oak Island. Photo courtesy of investigatinghistory.org and National Treasure Society
Pulitzer told the Boston Standard that the sword was hauled onto a fishing boat decades ago, but was kept secret because the finder and his son feared they would be punished due to strict laws in Nova Scotia regarding retrieving treasures from shipwrecks.
However, relatives of the finder, who is now deceased, recently came forward to reveal the precious sword to researchers.
Pulitzer carried out tests on the sword, using an XRF analyser, which revealed that the sword contained the same metallic properties, with traces of arsenic and lead, that match other Roman artifacts.
“The shipwreck is still there and has not been worked,” said Pulitzer [via The Boston Standard]. “We have scanned it, we know exactly where it lays, but it will be a touchy thing for the Nova Scotia government to allow an archaeological team to survey it. We know beyond a shadow of a doubt that it is Roman.”
A close-up of the sword found off Oak Island. Photo courtesy of investigatinghistory.org and National Treasure Society
- Petroglyphs carved on cave walls and boulders in Nova Scotia by the indigenous Mi’kmaq people, which depict what Pulitzer’s team believe to be Roman soldiers marching with their swords, and Roman ships.
- The Mi’kmaq people carry a rare DNA marker, which can be traced to the eastern Mediterranean region.
- Fifty words in the Mi’kmaq language that are nautical terms used by mariners from Roman times.
- An invasive species of plant (Berberis Vulgaris) growing on Oak Island and in Halifax, which was once used by Romans to season their food and prevent scurvy on their voyages.
- A Roman legionnaire’s whistle found on Oak Island in 1901
- A metal ‘boss’ from the center of a Roman shield found in Nova Scotia in the mid-1800s
- Gold Roman Carthage coins found on the mainland near Oak Island
- Two carved stones on Oak Island that Pulitzer says displays a language from the ancient Levant.
Roman shield 'boss' like the one found in Nova Scotia, representative image only (public domain)
“When you put all these things together and you look at the anomalies, it’s not a coincidence,” Pultizer told the Boston Standard. “The plants, the DNA, the artifacts, the language, the ancient drawings - you have something that deserves to be taken seriously.”
Professor Carl Johannessen, formerly of the University of Oregon, who is also involved in the research, says the findings challenge the orthodoxy of 1492 as the date when the New World was ‘discovered’.
While it has long been suggested that other ancient civilizations reached the New World before Columbus, including the Vikings, Chinese, and Greeks, this is the first set of compelling findings to suggest Roman mariners made it North America over a millennium ago.
Pultizer says it is time to rewrite the history books.
Featured image: Main: Featured image: Oak Island, Nova Scotia. Credit: Farhad Vladia / Panoramio . Inset: The Roman sword found in water just off the mysterious Oak Island, Nova Scotia. Credit: investigatinghistory.org and National Treasure Society
By: April Holloway