The latest Curse of Oak Island episode had one of the most groundbreaking discoveries the show has ever seen.
It came as the geographical origins of the two human bones discovered in borehole H-8 earlier in the season were revealed following advanced DNA sequencing.
Tests also came back on other items showing them to apparently be part of an ancient book, while Sir Francis Drake also made an appearance in the form of a new theory linking him to the island.
Here’s 10 things we learned from The Curse of Oak Island Season 5 Episode 7:
1 Sir Francis Drake could be buried on Oak Island
The episode kicked off with the Oak Island team inviting local area historian Paul Speed into the War Room to present his theory about Sir Francis Drake.
In a nutshell, he believes that despite there being no actual records linking Drake to Nova Scotia, through “reverse engineering” he can be linked to the area. Speed also believes Drake would have had the engineering know-how which would have allowed him to build something like the Money Pit.
Why? Because he would have been familiar with the practice of “coastal mining”, which was being carried out in the area of Britain he was from at the time he was alive. This allowed miners to dig out sideways underneath the ocean floor. Could this be how the Money Pit and the so-called flood tunnels on Oak Island were dug?
2 There could have been a ship’s staging area on Lot 26
Not much time was spent on this, but whilst exploring Lot 26, formerly owned by Captain James Anderson and Samuel Ball, the team came across a flat-topped wall that appeared to lead out towards the sea.
Charles Barkhouse speculated whether it could have been used as a staging area, possibly as a walkway or a ramp that led down to the ocean and which could have been used to load and unload goods from a ship moored off the island. Archaeologist Laird Niven said it almost looked as if you could roll a ball down it.
Could it have been used by Captain James Anderson and his ship the Betsy, which we learned about at the start of the current season?
3 There could be ancient books in the Money Pit
Both of the most interesting moments in the episode took place at St Mary’s University in Halifax — and this was one of them. Dr Christa Brosseau and Dr Xiang Yang were shown examining two items found in the H-8 borehole last episode — a piece of what looked like parchment, and another item that was thought could be shoe leather.
The first item DID turn out to be parchment made from animal skin, rather than plant-based paper. This signifies that what was written on it was either very old or in some way important, as we learned that after the 15th century parchment was only used for special documents, like correspondence between kings and rare one-of-a-kind legal declarations.
4 Rectangular holes don’t necessarily have chests in them
This was a big downer for the team. The rectangular shaped hole that Jack Begley had found on Lot 26 turned out to have nothing in it, despite both him and metal-detection expert Gary Drayton having said it was the perfect size for a chest.
Marty got the trusty old backhoe out and went to work on the hole, but…nothing. Even when Alex Lagina thought he’d seen concrete at the bottom it turned out to be just a piece of natural slate.
The hole got a big thumbs down for the lack of treasure chests, but Marty didn’t seem too fussed — as he said it just meant it was one less place the team now have to look on the island.
5 They’re abiding by the new dig rules
It was good to see that the team are abiding by the new rules regarding archaeological digs which they negotiated with the relevant authorities earlier this season.
Wherever they were on Lot 26 — of particular historical importance due to it being once owned by Samuel Ball — they had archaeologist Laird Niven with them. Then, when they found the rectangular depression, they didn’t actually do any digging until a week later after they had obtained the relevant permit.
6 The bones have fascinating origins
This was the episode’s big kahuna, without a doubt. They finally received the results of advanced DNA sequencing carried out on the two bones they previously found in H-8.
One of them turned out to be from someone of European descent, which got a big “meh” from the team — as that’s what they would have expected. But the second one? It was from someone with Middle Eastern ancestry.
Marty spoke for the whole team when he said: “Really? Middle East? MIDDLE EAST? It about knocked me off my chair.” You can read our separate article about the discovery of the bones here.
7 The Templar theory is quickly becoming favorite
Marty was quick to point out that the discovery of a bone from someone with Middle Eastern origins ties in nicely with the Knights Templar theory — that they visited Oak Island and buried priceless treasures there around eight centuries ago.
Marty said: “That Middle Eastern thing is pretty eye-opening. Extremely interesting. The Middle Eastern thing clearly supports the Knights Templar, and things like that.”
As we told previously, Rick Lagina has strongly hinted at a big Knights Templar link emerging this season, while the show’s executive producer Joe Lessard also did when he spoke to us earlier this month.
Last night in the sneak peek for next week’s episode we also got the soundbite: “We now have a pathway from the Holy Land to Oak Island.”
The Templar theory is evidently turning out to be No.1 this season.
8 They find ammunition from a cannon
The sneak peek for next week’s episode also showed Gary finding something which he said looked like ammunition, and which Marty identified as being from a cannon. Could this again be on Lot 26 and shed more light on exactly what happened there?
9 There’s a mysterious ship’s log
Again in the sneak peek we saw local historian and familiar Oak Island face Doug Crowell revealing that he had found six pages of a ship’s log during his research.
But it was what is written in the log that is interesting: “It has been agreed that a deep pit be dug, and treasure securely buried. The pit to have a secret entrance by a tunnel from the shore.” Sound familiar to anyone?
10 It’s time to make history
The end of the episode saw the big guns from Irving Equipment start rolling in as the team prepare to do what we’ve all been waiting for — dig down into H-8, and hopefully uncover the original Money Pit.
Irving’s Andrew Folkins said a total of 35 trucks would be arriving carrying equipment this year — some of which were photographed driving on to the island back in September.
The team have prepared the area around H-8 so that it’s as flat as possible, and once the equipment is installed we’re all ready to go. As we saw in the Drilling Down episode at the start of the season, the team get Dan Blankenship to press the big red button that starts the drilling process. We literally cannot wait.
The Curse of Oak Island airs Tuesdays at 9/8c on History.