SPOILER ALERT! Don’t read on if you don’t want to know what happened on The Curse of Oak Island Season 5 Episode 10.
Now, that was an amazing episode of The Curse of Oak Island if ever there was one. From the Duc d’Anville all the way to a possible Templar cross with a quick stop at what could be the Chappell Vault, this one had everything.
The discovery of the cross could turn out to be the most important find ever in the history of the treasure hunt on Oak Island. And with Season 5 seemingly stepping things up a gear each and every episode, here’s hoping for more to come!
Here’s the 10 main things we learned in Episode 10.
1 The Duc d’Anville expedition could have dug the Money Pit
The episode started with lots of wood being pulled out of the H-8 location by the hammer-grab tool — probably parts of the Chappell Shaft. But things were quickly moved to the War Room, where local area historian Doug Crowell revealed a fascinating bit of research.
Basically, a ship’s log from the 1746 Duc d’Anville expedition described plans to dig a hole with a description spookily similar to that of the legendary Money Pit. The eight-page log talked about the vast fleet of ships coming over from France before disaster struck with hundreds of men — including the Duke — dying thanks to outbreaks of typhus and scurvy.
The log came from a ship that was awaiting the Duke’s arrival on the coast of Nova Scotia, and showed the crew were worried about losing a large amount of treasure they had on board because they were in enemy territory.
The log said: “Still no word of d’Anville, and the weather being clear we set sail turning south-westerly along the coast passing many rocky islands. At midday we reached a deep bay with several hundred small islands wooded to the shore.
“The wind dying down we anchored for the night. The great quantity of treasure on this vessel makes it unwise to jeapordize it in any engagement with the enemy.”
It went on: “September 8 — It has been agreed that a deep pit be dug and treasure securely buried. The pit to have a secret entrance by tunnel from the shore.
“On September 13th, down 67ft, pit seems damp from seepage of sea water. Have decided to go deeper to dry soil.”
2 The Duke was a Rochefoucauld
Interestingly, the Duke’s full name was Jean-Baptiste Louis Frédéric de La Rochefoucauld de Roye. As fans of the show know, the Rochefoucauld family already have significant links to Oak Island — with the name appearing on a map shown to the team by Zena Halpern last season.
The trip by Rick, Alexa Lagina and Peter Fornetti to France last episode also revealed that members of the Rochefoucauld family may well have had links with members of the Knights Templar.
3 Rick is nervous about damaging whatever’s down there
As the dig continued at H-8, and the hammer-grab tool started to get into target depth (150ft-170ft), Rick was shown to be visibly anxious. When Marty asked how he was feeling, he said “nervous”.
He added: “There’s got to be something in there. By something I mean it could just be more bones, it could be more leather but it’s hard to think that that dual-induction log [which picked up a metal object earlier in the season] was wrong. There’s got to be, you’d think there’d be something.”
Rick made sure the drilling team from Roc Equipment got the message as well, telling them they “really need to watch the pressure” on the oscillator in the area from 150ft onwards so they don’t “break through something aggressively”.
4 They might have found the Chappell Vault
The team seemed to be getting pretty worried that their hammer-grab efforts were about to prove fruitless when, suddenly…the casing hit a “flat, hard surface” at 170ft — the deepest point of their initial target area.
The operator of the equipment, called Dan, said he believed what the casing was sitting on was wood. What do they think it is? The Chappell Vault, obviously — originally said to have been found by William Chappell and Frederick Blair back in 1897, and the focus of their initial target area.
In order to cause minimum damage, the plan is now to install a permanent casing down the shaft before trying to slowly cut through the surface they have hit. After that, with the permanent shaft in place, they will be able to send a diver or cameras down if they want to.
5 There could be a lot more found in the spoils
Funniest moment of the episode award went to Jack Begley while covered head-to-toe in muck after spending an entire day sifting through the spoils brought up by the hammer-grab tool from H-8.
Marty couldn’t help but crack up as he tried to have a serious conversation with Jack grinning out from behind a face-full of mud. While sorting through spoils for hours on end might not be everyone’s cup of tea, Jack evidently totally loves it. The good news is, he’s also pretty good at it.
Before reaching target depth, Jack and the team had already found several interesting items in the spoils including another bit of bone, some pottery, and an old nail.
But Jack was having such a field day with his high-pressure hose that they managed to run out of water — despite having an incredible 10,000 gallons on tap — before they even started searching the spoils brought up from below 155ft. That means the really interesting stuff, assuming there is some, is still to come.
6 Gary Drayton makes a phenomenal find
This was the big kahuna of the episode — the discovery of what appears to be a Medieval cross in mud amongst rocks at Smith’s Cove, in the same area as the team found a French drain (a trench full of gravel or rocks to direct water) last season.
Metal-detecting expert Gary Drayton was totally beside himself at the find, exclaiming “holy shmoly” in true Gary Drayton style — and knowing immediately that this was a hugely significant find. He told Rick, who was with him when he made the find: “This is the type of thing I’d expect to find in Europe. When I first saw it I thought, that looks medieval – a medieval cross. I mean this is old.”
Rick said: “Gary was extremely excited, more excited than anything he’s ever found on the island. And mind you now, this year he’s found coins from the late 1600s — those finds pale in comparison to this one in terms of his excitement level. So…I’m excited, because Gary’s excited!”
This was without doubt the ultimate “top pocket” find. But why? Because…
7 It could change the history of the world!
The cross was made of lead, with a square hole at the head, and was in a very distinctive style. Gary knew immediately that it was an “oldie”, dating it to somewhere between 1200 and 1600.
It was also eerily similar to one of the carvings made by Templars in a wall at the prison in Domme which Rick visited last episode, and he immediately spotted the resemblance.
If the cross could in some way be definitely linked to the Knights Templar, it could prove to be a totally game-changing discovery. As narrator Robert Clotworthy said at the end of the episode: “For Rick, Marty and the Oak Island team, the discovery of what could be a 13th century Templar cross may turn out to be not only a clue but the first step in finding an answer — perhaps the very answer that has alluded treasure hunters for more than two centuries.
“For if proof can be established that members of the Knights Templar successfully made their way to North America as many as seven centuries ago, it would change not only the history of a small island over the coast of Nova Scotia, it could change the history of the world — forever.”
8 They could end up pulling a skeleton out of the Money Pit
The sneak peek for next week’s episode showed another, larger piece of bone being found in the H-8 spoils. It looked like it was a lot larger than the ones found previously, and perhaps one that formed part of a joint. In all likelihood, this is not the last bone we’re going to see.
Rick is heard saying in the footage: “We’re thinking a skeleton will come out of there, literally.” It seems pretty feasible that he could be right. Whose bones are they, and how did they get down there? The more bones they find, the more information they will likely be able to uncover about who they belonged to.
9 Laird Niven is impressed by the cross
The sneak peek for next week’s episode showed archaeologist Laird Niven being shown the newly found cross by Rick and Gary in the War Room, with Gary telling him: “We think it’s going to knock your socks off.”
The good news is, Laird — not one for showing his emotions — is evidently pretty impressed by it, meaning it probably is as significant as Gary thinks. He remarks after examining it intently: “I’ve never seen anything like that before!”
10 Next week could be Money Pit time
The last segment of the sneak peek showed geologist Terry Matheson, saying while referring to the dig at H-8: “We’re down into open cavern void.” This must mean that after passing through the wood surface they hit an empty space. Could this be the vault? Or the actual Money Pit?
Marty says on the sneak peek: “It means we’re in the collapse of the Money Pit and we’re going to find what was ever in there!”
Next week’s episode can’t come fast enough.
The Curse of Oak Island airs Tuesdays at 9/8c on History.