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The Curse of Oak Island: Has the show sidelined archaeologist Laird Niven?

Laird Niven working on Oak Island
Laird Niven has been enjoying his work on the Samuel Ball Foundation on Oak Island. Pic credit: History

Some fans of The Curse of Oak Island noted that long-time show regular archaeologist Laird Niven seemed to spend less time on our TV screens than usual during Season 8, and it’s left many wondering if he’s been sidelined by the show’s producers.

Laird first appeared in episode 2 of Season 4 and didn’t officially become a regular until Season 5, but once he was bitten by the Oak Island bug, he went on to feature in a total of 66 episodes.

Always seen as pragmatic and something of a realist, Laird quickly got a reputation as being the one who brought everyone else down to earth when they got a little over-excited. Despite earning the nickname “Negative Niven” from Jack Begley, he’s become one of many fans’ favorite’s on the show, and the other team members clearly value his expertise.

Laird had been the go-to archaeologist for the last few years; however, Season 8 saw a bit of an influx of archaeologists to the team; of whom the big stars were Dr. Aaron Taylor and Miriam Amirault, who both put in a lot of work on uncovering the mysterious stone roadway in the swamp. And at the start of the season, David McGinnis worked on Lot 15.

But Laird and another newcomer, Liz Michaels, were left to quietly work on the Samuel Ball Foundation. And, it seems as though that’s exactly how Laird wanted it.

Laird Niven is happy working on the Samuel Ball Foundation

Last month, Laird appeared in an interview on Deidra and Dustin White’s Could It Be Oak Island Podcast where he discussed his work on the island and his thoughts on various developments.

And it’s pretty obvious that Laird has not been purposefully sidelined but is actually thoroughly enjoying his work on the former residence of Samuel Ball. Ball was a former American slave and cabbage farmer who settled on Oak Island at the end of the 18th century and became quite wealthy, leading some to suspect he found the treasure.

Laird and Liz are doing some outstanding work too. At the end of last season, the Oak Island team announced they’d uncovered 700 artifacts, but incredibly, that did not include those found at the Samuel Ball Foundation, which numbered a whopping 1900.

Laird seems to be happy to be in charge of things at the Ball Foundation, and he doesn’t have the other members of the crew bothering him too much. As Deidra said of Laird in the interview, “he’s in his happy place up at the Ball Foundation.”

In another Deidra and Dustin podcast interview, Aaron Taylor recently joked with the guys that he was a bit jealous of Laird, up on Lot 25, in the nice cool forest where it’s “beautiful and peaceful,” while he was stuck in the hot stinking swamp all season. Aaron also added that there’s a lot of “cool stuff” up there.

Laird Niven says he wants to be with the ‘Oak Island folk’

Laird also spoke of how he came to be on Oak Island in the first place. He said he was put there by the Nova Scotia authorities essentially to keep an eye on all things archaeological on the island. But thankfully, for us fans of Laird, he said he’d now much rather spend his time with “the Oak Island folk” instead of in the company of other archaeologists from the province.

The Curse of Oak Island is currently on hiatus, but is expected to return with Season 9 in the fall 2021.

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