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The Curse of Oak Island: A change of tact brings the Money Pit tantalizingly close

Wood from shaft 6 on Oak Island
Charles Barkhouse (from left), Rick Lagina, and Terry Matheson examine wood they suspect is from shaft 6. Pic credit: History

This week on The Curse of Oak Island, the team changed direction with the borehole drilling and instantly found a shaft. The guys believe they may have hit shaft 6, which would put them merely feet away from the Money Pit and the treasure.

There was quite a bit going on in different places on this week’s episode, but the most interesting action happened in the Money Pit area, as Rick Lagina ordered the guys to go in search of his “white whale,” or as everyone else calls it, shaft 6.

Geologist Terry Matheson and historian Charles Barkhouse have been overseeing the borehole drilling in the Money Pit area and have been concentrating on the C-1 cluster. In recent weeks, they have uncovered various pieces of wood dating as far back as the 15th century, along with a couple of metal pieces with golden flakes.

However, the time has come to move on. In approximately one month, four giant 10-foot steel caisson cases will arrive on the island, and the team needs to have four locations to put them in the ground where they can guarantee results. Rick told the guys, “we need to move from exploration to confirmation.”

With that in mind, surveyor Steve Guptill recommended they move the borehole drill about 17 -18 feet to the southwest of the C-1 hole to see if they could find shaft 6. And Rick wholeheartedly agreed, stating that he has always thought shaft 6 was key to finding the treasure.

This shaft was constructed by searchers in 1861 and was built to enter the Money Pit chamber from underneath, thereby avoiding the flood tunnels. The project failed when the shaft filled up with seawater, and they suspect the Money Pit chamber collapsed scattering the treasure.

However, if our guys hit that shaft and can figure out its orientation, then they will be just 18 feet away from the Money Pit! Simple!

And Terry and Charles got a result almost straight away. At 79 feet, they hit what was obviously stacked timbers, and again at 79 ft. and again at 89 ft. They hit at least 20 feet of stacked timber and didn’t need to dig any deeper to be sure that they’d hit a shaft.

At 89 feet, the guys found an old square nail embedded with the wood, and Marty was wasting no time, straightaway, he took it to Doug Crowell and Laird Niven at the archaeology trailer to have it analyzed in the XRF machine.

Clear evidence it could be shaft 6

The team wanted this shaft to be shaft 6, so the hope was to find something to date it to around 1861. They were in luck, the XRF found manganese in that nail, a chemical element that would not be present in a nail older than 1840. Furthermore, Laird said the nail looked to be from the early to mid-1860s, which puts it in the right time frame.

This is starting to look more and more like shaft 6. Hopefully, next week, the guys can learn its orientation, and then they can finally put an X on the ground and dig up the Money Pit.

Computer generated image of shaft 6
The Oak Island team suspect they may have found shaft 6, which searchers previously used in an attempt to access the Money Pit from underneath. Pic credit: History

A couple of other finds on Oak Island this week

Elsewhere in last night’s episode, Gary Drayton and Michael John uncovered a leather strap that blacksmith expert Carmen Legge said was used to hold a trunk or wooden chest together. Legge also said it was a heavy-duty strap, so it would likely be used in the transport of heavy goods such as china or treasure.

And in the swamp, Billy Gerhardt and his digger pulled three large pieces of wood out of the marshy depths, which were clearly humanmade. Two of the pieces looked like they may be survey stakes, but there wasn’t time this week to do a proper analysis. Perhaps, the guys will know more next week.

The Curse of Oak Island airs at 9/8c on History.