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The Curse of Oak Island recap: Money Pit dig ramps up, as team uncover ancient boat slip and Viking runes?

Rick Lagina and Craig Tester at the Money Pit on The Curse of Oak Island Season 6 Episode 11. Pic credit: History

“The real treasure hunt … actually begins again now!” So says Marty Lagina as work at the Money Pit site resumes on this week’s episode of The Curse of Oak Island — while another significant find is discovered at Smith’s Cove.

Is this the year that the treasure-hunting team finally strike gold? One thing is certain, they agree that they are far too invested to stop now.

This week the team continues to unearth significant finds at Smith’s Cove. As they carry on investigating what could be the stone box drain that feeds water into the Money Pit, they are stunned to discover yet another mysterious wooden structure.

Although they are baffled at first, they soon realize this could be the L-shaped structure found in the 1970s by Dan Blankenship.

At that time, he was building a cofferdam when he discovered what he called the U-shaped structure along with a parallel structure shaped like an “L.” Unfortunately, a massive storm blew in and halted work before any answers could be determined as to their purpose or age.

Could this be the L-shaped structure? Rick Lagina is determined to figure out what it represents.

Next the team come upon another puzzling find, an awful lot of clay. Rick sighs as he wonders why it’s there, saying, “The more work we put in … the more questions. We were hoping to get answers down here. Welcome to Oak Island. Keep digging!”

The next day at Smith’s Cove geologist Terry Matheson, archeologist Laird Niven, and expert metal detector Gary Drayton arrive to see the latest finds.

Gary wastes no time getting to work, and soon exclaims, “Oooh that sounds good!” Digging by hand he yells, “wow, nice bit of curved lead, check this out!”

Gary Drayton in Smith's Cove
Gary Drayton finds the lead object in Smith’s Cove. Pic credit: History

Laird rains on the parade saying, “Not a suprise to find lead around here,” but Gary notes that the bracelet-like object has sloped edges and a flat back as if it were made on purpose. “Wait, it’s got a design on it, unless I’m seeing things! I get excited when I find lead around here, this is where I found the cross!”

Last year Smith’s Cove is where Gary found the now infamous lead cross, the most significant find to date. Are these two items connected?

“I don’t know if this is a holy schmoley find just yet,” he declares, “but this could be a friend of the cross.”

A close-up of the lead object
A close-up of the curved piece of lead. Pic credit: History

Meanwhile Laird is back to inspecting the L-shaped structure and admits that it could be significant but he’s on the fence as to whether or not it’s original…when yet another startling discovery is made! 

Rick and Alex Lagina excitedly shovel dirt from between oddly notched beams. Is there another possibly ancient man-made formation buried beneath Smith’s Cove?

This could be the Hedden Wharf built by treasure-hunter Gilbert Hedden in 1936.  At that time he found two timbers with strange markings, held together by wooden pegs.

Was it an ancient boat slip or the so-called slipway? He reportedly built his wharf on something, and that something could be this slipway!

But the team are ultimately confused again because there are no fast and easy answers. What they do know is that this structure is at the same level as the U-shaped structure, and both are in an area of significant interest. But does this mean that both were built at same time? And by whom, and for what purpose?  

Smith's Cove from the air
Smith’s Cove from the air as the team uncover what could be an ancient slipway. Pic credit: History

Meanwhile, in the War Room experts from Azimuth Consulting join the team to go over their findings about the flat rock discovered in last week’s episode.

A laser scan has been performed and analyzed using enhanced 3D data. Their analysis uncovered two significant items. First, the flat area is perfectly flat, too straight to be natural, which leads them to believe that it was cleaved at one point. Second, the strange perpendicular marks are definitely peculiar!

The team conclude that the strange markings could be Runes, characters from the primitive Runic alphabet, because as it turns out, there is a similar stone at the Yarmouth Museum in Nova Scotia.

The discovery is quite dramatic says Rick, and they will have an expert look at it. But first, the team venture to the museum to compare the markings and there they find similarities between their rock and the one called the Yarmouth Runic Stone, found in 1812.

The Yarmouth Runic Stone is the subject of controversy as its carvings, as well as its origin, have proved to be undecipherable.

An image of the stone found last week, while being compared to the Yarmouth Runic Stone. Pic credit: History

Helpful museum employees tell the team that most likely the characters are Norse with possible allusions to the Vikings. Vikings were in North America in the 11th century but does the flat stone now prove that they were also at Oak Island? If so, this is the rock that could rewrite history!

Ultimately the team are left with more questions than answers. They conclude that the carvings on the museum stone are more complex than the ones on the flat stone, and in the end they have no new information about the mystery they had hoped to solve.

This week the team also need to tackle the question of what to do in the Money Pit area. This year a series of core drilling operations at the site have located Shaft 6, a searcher tunnel leading to the fabled Chappell vault.

Now they must decide how to proceed in order to hit the vault itself. Marty wants to have a go at H8 again, as last year they found 18th century pottery, parchment, and human bones traced to the 17th century there, as well as the presumed Chappell vault.

But the mystery object was displaced before they could penetrate it. To this end, they decide to bring back ROC Equipment to start a digging operation with a 50,000 pound rotating oscillator that will drive down, and lift up, 50 and 60 inch wide drilling caissons.

Money Pit from above
Operations at the Money Pit during the episode. Pic credit: History

The aim is to create an underground vacuum with the oscillator, causing the mysterious object to fall back down to where it was before it was displaced. It is the most ambitious effort ever undertaken to excavate and locate the Money Pit. Marty is excited at the possibilities and exclaims, “The treasure hunt resumes!”

After this week’s episode, the team is more convinced than ever that the 220-year old Oak Island mystery will be solved. Will they discover treasure in the Money Pit, a vast structure built by Vikings, or perhaps a lead bracelet to go along with the lead cross?

Tune in next week and find out!

The Curse of Oak Island airs Tuesday nights at 9/8c.

Tanya is a freelance writer, therapist and educator. The L.A. native was born at General Hospital, foreshadowing her obsession with writing about soaps, something that makes her... read more

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