The latest episode of The Curse of Oak Island proved more than intriguing — if not for the reasons we may have been expecting.
While a voiceover at the end of Episode 2 pointed to something sinister happening later this season, that didn’t occur in Episode 3 which suggests it’s still to come.
But with hard evidence of a British presence on the island long before the discovery of the Money Pit materalizing in the form of two historic coins, and with the introduction of new archaeological protocols, we were left with plenty to chew on.
Here are 10 questions we were left asking after watching Season 5 Episode 3…
1. Are we getting closer to Gary Drayton’s gold dance?
The ever-endearing Gary proved his worth as a metal-detecting legend once again this episode, with the discovery of two ancient coins — the well preserved Charles II one from 1673, thought to be a farthing, and the second more worn one from 1694.
Every episode he seems to be unearthing something ever more important — so surely it can’t be long before he hits the jackpot? Last week it was a “top-pocket find” that made him “wiggle”, this week he said “holy shmoly”, next week his famous gold dance?
However, there was something that might put a slight spanner in the works…
2. Will having a permanent archaeologist hamper their efforts?
There’s nothing like bureaucracy to put a downer on treasure hunting. As we told yesterday, efforts to have the team hire a permanent archaeologist have been bubbling away since 2014.
This week it appears that those efforts finally got a result after a “compromise” was reached between the team and Nova Scotia’s department of Communities, Culture and Heritage.
It saw them hiring respected archaeologist Laird Niven — who has worked with them in the past — to oversee future digs.
3. Could the compromise work?
The compromise appears to be that Laird will only need to apply once for a licence rather than every time the team do a dig, and that Gary will still be able to metal-detect without him as long as he doesn’t do any digging.
Hopefully that means Gary’s efforts won’t be hampered too much, and the compromise works for both the team and the archaeological community. The fact that archaeological experts are actually interested in what lies on Oak Island surely only adds legitimacy to the whole thing, and as Marty said in the Drilling Down episode, that’s “exciting”.
However, we can see why it could be frustrating to have to hire an archaeologist now after all the massive digs that have taken place on the island in the past without one, which leads us nicely on to…
4. What else will they find in the Dunfield Spoils?
Robert Dunfield was truly a man possessed. To actually create a hill out of your spoils pile because it’s so big is pretty remarkable — but that’s obviously the result when you dig a hole 100ft wide by 140ft deep!
Excavation works of that size creates A LOT of dirt. However, it’s unlikely the spoils were meticulously checked at the time the way they would be today so it’s definitely possible that lots more could be uncovered there.
From the Drilling Down episode, we already know the Dunfield dig uncovered a fascinating piece of riveted wood — but what else did they miss?
5. Are all these finds pointing towards pirates?
Spanish coins? British coins? Pirates? Could it be? Dan Blankenship said that the two coins found this episode “confirmed” that the British were on Oak Island in the neighborhood of 1670 — around when the oldest coin was forged. Obviously it’s also possible that the coins were left on the island sometime later, as they could have been carried around for several years before being left on the island.
However, what was perhaps most intriguing about the coins was the fact they were from the same general time-period as the Spanish maravedi from 1652 that was found in the swamp in Season 1.
As was pointed out on the episode, the late 1600s was the era of Captain Kidd, whose so-called Skeleton Island — at least the one that appears in Harold T Wilkins’ 1935 book — looks a lot like Oak Island. While a map from a fictionalised book can’t hold that much authority, the coins definitely do add to the theory that pirates did visit the island in the past.
6. What is the weird steel from the Money Pit area?
The team’s geotech drilling efforts are now in full flow, as shown this week. We know from the Drilling Down episode that the marker Marty and Rick eventually believe sits atop the Money Pit is one marked “H-8”. This week they were working on “EF-9.5” and then “H-3.5” — where the drill bit suddenly got stuck after hitting something very solid.
Kyle Fetterly from Brewster Drilling picked out two pieces from the spoils of what appeared to be steel found at around 162ft down. As the voiceover asked, is it from the same obstruction that William Chappell first encountered back in 1897 which apparently left traces of yellow metal or gold on a drill bit? Kyle said of the latest metal finds: “It’s not the hardest bit of steel, but it’s not soft either.” Definitely intriguing.
7. What are the rocks Laird Niven had them stop excavating?
The episode ended with newly brought-in archaeologist Laird Niven stopping excavation work in the Dunfield Spoils area after he spotted unusual rocks in the ground where a tree had been uprooted. What could those rocks be?
By the looks of it, Laird thinks they could be the foundations for some sort of building. Along with the spoon bowl and what they think might be a door hinge, it appears the rocks may have been part of a home of some sort or possibly an encampment. But whose?
8. What is the ‘top secret’ thing referred to next episode?
The sneak peek for next week’s episode showed Lee Lamb — the daughter of Bob and Mildred Restall — introducing her brother Rick Restall to the team.
At one point she says: “You mustn’t tell anyone about this, this is top secret.” It’s possible she’s recounting what someone else has said in the past, but what is it that she’s referring to?
For those interested, Lee Lamb has previously written books about Oak Island and her family’s treasure-hunting efforts which ended with the now-famous Restall Tragedy in which four people died.
9. Do they find the spiral tunnel?
The sneak peek for next week also focused on the “spiral tunnel” the Restalls allegedly found during their work on the island. Meanwhile, footage showed an accident taking place — which featured in the pre-season trailers — after the team apparently hit a void with their drill. Is the void the spiral tunnel?
The sound-bites certainly suggested there could be a link. The full description for next week’s episode reads: “Danger strikes just as the geo-tech drilling team hits a possible void in the Money Pit and the discovery of a long lost artifact leads to an emotional reunion for one of the surviving members of the legendary Restall family.”
10. When will the show take a darker turn?
The voiceover as the credits rolled at the end of Episode 2 last week seemed to point at something dark unfolding this season. Nothing sinister happened in the latest episode — which seems to suggest that whatever it is is yet to take place. But when? And what will it be?
Trailers have previously shown the discovery of a piece of bone at some point during the season. Could that be what the ominous voiceover was about? Episode 5 is called “Bone Dry”. Could that be the one where things take a dark turn? Only time will tell…
QUOTES OF THE WEEK: Jack Begley looking at spoils falling from a funnel on to the shaker plate at the Money Pit area: “Part of me is anxiously waiting to see it just start spilling gold coins out.”
Also, Rick Lagina on Gary Drayton: “The 3030 metal-detector, it’s an extension of Gary’s arm and his brain. That’s how good he is.”
SCENE OF THE WEEK: Gary Drayton repeatedly saying “pewter” as “poo er”. Got to love his British accent.
HONORABLE MENTION OF THE WEEK: Jack Begley’s beard. It has taken on a life of its own since the start of the season!
The Curse of Oak Island airs Tuesdays at 9/8c on History.