On The Curse of Oak Island this week, the team recommenced digging at the Money Pit as they christened a new shaft and almost instantly began pulling up artifacts.
After last week’s disappointment when the TF1 shaft ended in failure, there was a renewed vigor and optimism amongst the Fellowship of the Dig as drilling began for a second time.
Rick Lagina introduced Dan Henskee to the drill team as the “elder statesman of Oak Island,” and Dan was given the honor of starting the drill and naming the new shaft. He christened it Early Christmas 1, or EC1 for short.
The giant 10-foot wide steel caisson, which began carving out the shaft, was placed just a few feet to the east of the failed TF1 shaft. The guys are hopeful that EC1 will be a success as it was in this area that they previously discovered wood dating all the way back to 1488. And they also uncovered traces of gold and silver.
However, the team had two very specific goals with this hole. Firstly, they were aiming for what is believed to be a collapsed tunnel that may contain the scattered remains of treasure. The historical record states that during a dig in 1861, a collapse occurred at approximately 90 to 118 feet. This caused a chamber to shatter, spreading the gold and silver across a wider area.
Secondly, the guys also suspect that at a slightly deeper depth, they’ll come across the Chappell Vault; named after William Chappell’s dig of the 1930s, the vault is thought to contain an unknown amount of riches.
The drill moved fast and soon uncovered artifacts
The drill team moved really fast, and by the middle of last night’s episode, they were already hitting a depth of 80 feet. It was at this point, and much to the team’s relief, that the hammer grab began pulling up wood.
It was essential that they first find wood. Wood was required to show the presence of a tunnel collapse and a chamber that could contain a vault.
Once the hammer grab went past 86 feet, it started pulling out numerous ax cut wood beams, and some of this stuff looked really old. The next step is to get some of this wood carbon-dated to find out its true age.
And hopefully, next week, the team will break through the wood and start pulling up some real treasure.
Jack Begley found another intriguing artifact
Also, on last night’s episode, Jack Begley uncovered a curious artifact from the spoils of the TF1 shaft. It appeared to be a small piece of parchment, which excited the guys, as one theory states that ancient documents may have been buried at the Money Pit.
The artifact was handed over to some experts at the interpretative center who analyzed it closely and determined that it was not parchment but a special kind of paper used to wrap explosives, specifically dynamite. In 1909 an excavation, partly funded by future US president Franklin D. Roosevelt, detonated dynamite in a shaft at the Money Pit.
Marty Lagina saw this revelation as good news. He suggested this could explain why they had found fragments of gold and silver; he reasoned that if dynamite were detonated near a deposit of treasure, it would blow off small pieces. Therefore, they must be near the main deposit.
The Curse of Oak Island airs at 9/8c on History.