The Curse of Oak Island wrapped up another year of exciting discoveries and unexpected finds when the Season 6 finale aired earlier this year. But what exactly did the treasure-hunting team led by Rick and Marty Lagina pull from the earth during the show’s exciting sixth installment?
The finds were varied and intriguing on the island, ranging in size and shape from bits of pottery to, as a sneak peek for Season 7 showed, a possible ship! The team also found more coconut fiber and leather, a curious cement wall, and iron crib spikes. And it came after the discovery of a rhodolite garnet brooch and medieval lead cross the previous year.
In no particular order, here is a summary of the main finds made by team members on Oak Island during Season 6:
At the wash plant, crane operator Billy Gerhardt found a possible pipe stem, pottery, and bits of glass amongst the Shaft 6 spoils. Rick thought these finds could point to human presence in a shaft or tunnel associated with the Money Pit.
Archaeologist Laird Niven examined the Shaft 6 pieces and determined that one of the pottery pieces had a Blue Willow pattern, one used between the 1810s-1840s. Of the yellowed pipe bit he noted, “this wouldn’t be out of place in the 1870s to 1810s,” to which Rick responded that they may have stumbled upon, “A little piece of history.”
Laird had not seen the striations on a piece of red-bodied stoneware before, meaning it could date earlier than the other finds, possibly to the early part of the 1700s, “This is the sort of thing you’re hoping for,” he stated. This left Rick hopeful that the stoneware bit could be definitive proof of human activity in the area, prior to the Money Pit, circa 1795, saying, “it’s the first real a-ha moment,” for Laird.
Meanwhile, metal detecting expert Gary Drayton turned up his usual amount of copious finds, as he has done in seasons past, usually with Jack Begley at his side.
On Lot 25, once owned by former American slave Samuel Ball, the duo found an intriguing lock with an old nail in it as well as a visible keyhole. Did this metal object come from a chest belonging to Ball? Or perhaps to soldier and privateer James Anderson, an American who defected to the British side and later escaped to Canada?
In the past the team visited a descendant of Anderson’s who showed them one of his sea chests along with a mysterious set of keys. Could this scrap be from yet another of Anderson’s chests? Gary called the find “amazing.”
Jack and Gary also found curious discoveries on Lot 1 on the western shore of the island, including a bit of pottery with blue on it, similar to the piece that was found in the Money Pit. They also found a fancy officer’s button, probably from a shirt cuff. According to Gary it had gold gilding on it, and likely was from the 1700s. The button is similar to one found in the Money Pit two years ago, an object that was determined to be a gold plated military button.
On Lot 21, previously owned by searcher Daniel McGuinness, they hoped to find Money Pit artifacts discovered centuries ago. What they found were two pieces of lead with a decorative design along the edges which fit together like a glove, with a square hole smack dab in the middle. This discovery reminded Gary of the hole in the lead cross discovered at Smith’s Cove which dates to before the 15th century, and is possibly connected to the Knights Templar.
“This might be holey-schmoley, Part II!,” he exclaimed. Later Laird noticed what could be decorative vines on the pieces which may be symbolic of the Holy Land, or even the Tree of Life.
The season climaxed with the revelation that seismic testing in the swamp found four key anomalies: two so-called Highland anomalies, and a Connector anomaly, all clues that point to the Money Pit area. And then there was the Swamp anomaly. In the swamp the experts found, “a very unusual object,” around 250 feet long. “We don’t know what it is … it just doesn’t make sense,” one official said. Marty and the others were hopeful that it could be a ship!
A well-engineered slipway, an intact box drain, as well as U and L shaped structures were found in Smith’s Cove. Dendrochronology testing on the structures revealed the slipway was made of red spruce dating to 1771, meaning it predates the Money Pit. Marty stated that before finding the slipway wood sample he thought, “nothing happened here but collective madness.”
On Lot 26 Jack and Gary were joined by Mike West, a local geophysicist and metal detector. West used an EM61 device, which, unlike conventional metal detectors, is capable of sensing metal objects 1-3 feet below the earth, and can detect objects to a depth of 20 feet. They found a 1700s spike, theorized to possibly be from a fishing wharf used by pirate captain James Anderson, the former owner of Lot 26.
They also found a rusty, crusty old hook that Gary speculated could have been used to unload cargo from ships.
Gary also found what was initially believed to be a cross bow bolt on Lot 26, ten inches below rocky soil. An expert informed the team that manganese was detected in the arrow, which was used in the production of steel and iron beginning in the 9th century B.C. Another expert later declared the cross bow bolt to be Roman. The team was stunned silent by the shocking news.
The expert explained that the bow’s long neck was significant, explaining that this type of Roman weapon was used from the 1st century B.C. up to the 5th century A.D. The find could be a Roman javelin called a pilum, and it was declared a rare find by the expert.
Peter Fornetti, Jack, and Gary headed to Lot 21 and found metal bits with a fleur de lis design that could date to the 1700s, and possibly be from the cap of a French military officer.
Meanwhile, on Lot 21 Gary and Rick made a startling discovery, a bobby dazzler of the first order, a gold-plated brooch. The find was later determined to date back as many as 700 years.
In H8 leather and rag paper dating to pre-1890 were recovered.
After discovering what they hoped was the 90-foot stone, experts conducted a 3D laser scan that confirmed the letters L and N were carved into the boulder.
A florescent dye test was also conducted which led to red water emerging in Smith’s Cove, indicating the possibility of box drains.
Also at Smith’s Cove, Jack and Gary found a long, slender, metal object, a projectile of some kind, perhaps a spear tip, which could be related to the Roman pilum. They also found a silver coin, possibly from a depositor, maybe a Spanish one real. The silver real was commonly used between the 15th-19th centuries by North American explorers, as well as Spanish and Portuguese pirates dating back to the 1500s.
As usual, many more finds will actually have been discovered during last year’s treasure-hunting season which were not shown on camera. But the above list details the majority of the main finds from Season 6.
With Season 7 already confirmed, the team will without doubt be adding to their haul in 2019. But what treasure lies ahead?
The Curse of Oak Island Season 7 is expected to return in the fall.