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The Curse of Oak Island recap: Gold-smuggling, keyholes, floods and…treasure!

Rick and Marty Lagina examining keyhole
Rick and Marty examining the decorative keyhole discovered on this week’s The Curse of Oak Island

SPOILER ALERT! Don’t read below here if you don’t want to know what happened on The Curse of Oak Island Season 5 Episode 14.

It looks like they’ve actually found some treasure on The Curse of Oak Island!

Granted, the gemstone shown at the end of this week’s episode wasn’t a chest-full of jewels, and it wasn’t in the Money Pit, but it’s a start.

The new find, shown in the sneak peek for next week’s episode, came after a dramatic hour in which we found out more about what the medieval cross could be, a decorative keyhole was discovered, and the DMT shaft, well…went the way of so many other shafts before it!

There are now just two more episodes left in Season 5 of The Curse of Oak Island, but there’s still time for something really big to come.

Here’s the 10 biggest things we learned from Episode 14:

1 The medieval cross could have been used to smuggle gold

Drawings of rhomboids
Tobi Dobler’s drawings of the ‘pastilles’ which could have been used to smuggle gold

Last episode historian Zena Halpern speculated that the medieval cross found by Gary Drayton at Smith’s Cove could be a representation of the Punic and Phoenician goddess Tanit.

This time round, author and Knights Templar researcher Kathleen McGowan Coppens returned to the show to give her take.

She told the team how she had spoken to Tobi Dobler, the Grand Master of the Knights Templar in France — who Marty Lagina and son Alex previously met in Rennes-le-Château three years ago.

His take? He believes the cross may have been part of a necklace used to smuggle gold. A diagram he drew showed rhomboids called “pastilles” which people would wear around their necks to look like jewellery, but were actually gold covered in lead.

Templars reportedly used methods like this to smuggle gold out of Europe while facing persecution, and the cross could have been worn as part of the necklace.

Kathleen said of the cross: “Tobi was very excited when he saw this because the shape of the hole is the same shape used in the rhomboids that were found…his first thought was that this might have been part of a Templar necklace that was used to move gold.”

If that was the case, where are the rhomboids? Jack Begley suggested they could still be in Smith’s Cove — an idea that went down well with Dave Blankenship.

Could the cross have gold in it as well? That remains to be seen.

2 Canada’s name could have different origins

Kathleen
Kathleen talks to the team about the origins of Canada’s name

As well as the gold-smuggling theory, Kathleen also told the team about a town next to Domme, France, where Rick, Alex and Peter Fornetti visited the Templar prison earlier this season.

It’s name? Sarlat-la-Canéda! It is generally believed that Canada got its name from the 16th century French explorer Jacques Cartier, who reportedly began referring to the area using the Iroquois word “kanata” meaning village or settlement.

But could the name have actually been brought over by members of the Knights Templar 300 years earlier? It’s theoretically possible. Kathleen said: “If we’re looking at a different timeline and we’re saying that the region was discovered much earlier — say 300 years earlier — then I think we have to start looking at possibly different origin stories for some of the etymology.”

Marty said the theory was an interesting one — and typical of those that come to light on Oak Island. He said: “It’s an interesting fact that this word ‘Canéda’ appears there — it’s one of the strange things about Oak Island, that somehow you can make these quasi-coherent, quasi-logical connections to so many things that it just boggles the mind.”

3 They’re going to do more searching in Smith’s Cove

Team at Smith's Cove
The team showing Kathleen where the cross was found at Smith’s Cove

Before Kathleen left the island, Rick, Marty and Gary Drayton took her to Smith’s Cove to show her where the cross was found.

Gary revealed he plans to go over the whole area with his metal-detector again. He’s previously searched it, but that was before the team’s digging operations in the cove last year and the storms that battered the island over the winter — both of which may have uncovered new finds, and could be why they found the cross.

There was also talk about using machinery on the beach in the future — as long as they can obtain the required permits, and find a way to explore the area effectively when having to deal with being at the mercy of the ocean and its tides.

Kathleen said: “There’s no doubt in my mind that there’s more here. That cross is so important but I think it’s also the beginning not the end.”

4 They find a lockplate, possibly from a chest

Decorative keyhole
The decorative keyhole/lockplate, which was found on Lot 8

Prize for the most valuable person this season definitely has to go to Gary Drayton. Practically every episode he has turned up something new — and this week it was a decorative keyhole/lockplate.

The discovery came after two hinges were found on Lot 12 in the previous episode. Obviously the hope is that the lockplate is part of a chest —  possibly from one of the three missing ones believed to have once been owned by Capt James Anderson and rumored to have been buried on Oak Island.

It could also in some way be connected to the skeleton key shown the team by Fred Nolan’s son Tom.

Marty noticed that the lockplate was asymmetrical, meaning it was likely man-made. It was found on Lot 8, the one immediately to the west of the Nolan Family’s four lots (9-12), which Rick identified as an area that may yield significant finds after examining one of Fred Nolan’s maps.

Marty said: “I’m quite excited by the key cover that Gary found because if I can equate finds to mundane things like farmers and tradesmen and things like that, you know, utilitarian stuff, then it doesn’t really mean much. But it’s hard to picture a farmer having an ornate key-lock cover. So, you know, you immediately jump to ‘this was on a chest’.”

5 They get footage of the bottom of the DMT shaft

Bottom of DMT shaft
One of the sections of the bottom of the DMT shaft captured by the camera

The episode saw the team decide to put a camera down the DMT shaft to try and figure out exactly what the obstruction is that they previously hit and which is stopping them drilling further.

To do that, they first had to pump water out from the bottom. They then called in remote camera specialists Tony and Nick Peverill whose Spectrum 120 high definition camera gave them a 360-degree view of the bottom of the shaft.

Rick was hoping to find wood, which would mean they could have hit a tunnel built by the original constructors of the Money Pit.

What did they see? Annoyingly, not much. Rocks and sludge, mainly. From above, it looked like they could see a hard bottom, but it was hard to tell anything from the camera footage.

And they didn’t really get much of a look, because just as Rick was suggesting getting “eyes and boots” down there…

6 …it flooded!

Rick Lagina as tunnel floods
Rick’s body language tells it all as the tunnel floods before they can get their questions answered

Just as they were looking at the footage from the bottom of the shaft on a screen, Alex Lagina suddenly noticed that the bottom of the steel caisson was becoming visible as water started to seep in underneath.

And then…a deluge! The team rushed to pull the camera up as water flooded into the shaft, filling up to the water table in a matter of seconds.

Rick looked close to despair as he realized what had just happened. As fans of the show know, this is by no means the first time this has happened in the Money Pit area.

It happened to the Onslow company back in 1804, and it’s happened plenty times since. Does this mean that the team have hit one of the booby-trapped flood tunnels which some believe were built to guard the Money Pit?

7 They think what they’ve hit is metal

The bottom of the four-ton chisel bit
The bottom of the four-ton chisel bit, with damage from trying to break the obstruction

After failing to break the obstruction with a four-ton chisel bit last episode, and with the DMT shaft now full of water, the team decided to use a 35ft piece of steel known as an H-mate to probe the bottom and get a better idea of what’s in their way.

The H-mate is designed to determine the size, surface area and orientation of things underground and after using it Mike Jardine’s verdict was…the obstruction is metal, either cast iron or steel.

Narrator Robert Clotworthy said in a voiceover: “If true it could mean the object was placed there deliberately, and hundreds of years ago — as no existing records mention the use of steel by previous treasure-hunters.”

Only one way to find out for sure…

8 They’re going to send a diver down

Mike Huntley in C1
Mike Huntley diving down into the C1 shaft at the start of the season

Season 5 began with professional diver Mike Huntley going down the C1 shaft in a bid to find the “gold-shiny object” previously seen there.

Now he’s set to return, after the team decided to send him down the DMT shaft. Ironically, this only really became possible because the shaft flooded — as it would have been too dangerous otherwise.

Interestingly, the obstruction’s depth is around the same level the “hieroglyph” stone was previously reportedly found and where the Onslow company’s shaft flooded at in the early 1800s.

Marty suggested the obstruction could be a metal plate covering the “cache” that they’re looking for. Mike Huntley’s mission is to find out exactly what it is.

9 They find structures at Smith’s Cove

Excavation at Smith's Cove
The excavation work at Smith’s Cove on next week’s episode

The sneak peek for next week’s episode saw Rick speaking to Dan Blankenship about previous work he did out in Smith’s Cove.

Dan then showed Rick pictures of a structure which he said was put in by the “original people” who carried out work on the island.

Footage then showed the team taking a backhoe to the beach and pulling a big piece of wood out of the ground, which Marty says is definitely part of a man-made structure.

10 They finally find some treasure!

Gem stone found on Oak Island
The gemstone shown in the sneak peek for next week’s episode

Dave Blankenship will be literally beside himself with excitement, as finally…it looks like they’ve found something that resembles treasure!

Who discovers it? Gary Drayton of course. Two items were shown in the sneak peek, including one with a red stone in it which Gary describes as a “bobby-dazzler”. Rick says: “That is a fantastic gem stone — this is treasure!”

Rick and Marty then high-five, as Charles Barkhouse says: “Congratulations guys.” Let’s hope there’s more of that to come!

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

Julian acts as editor for the site, and also contributes content across the board. He has worked as a journalist for more than ten years,... read more

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