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The Curse of Oak Island recap: Mysterious brooch could rewrite history

The leaf and coil brooch found on The Curse of Oak Island
The leaf and coil brooch found on The Curse of Oak Island. Pic credit: History

On The Curse of Oak Island this week, Rick and Marty Lagina and their treasure-hunting team uncovered wood at Smith’s Cove that may lead them straight to the long sought-after Money Pit. And in an incredible discovery, they also recovered a mysterious leaf and coil brooch — which, like the lead cross found on the island before it, could rewrite history.

In the spoils brought up by Choice Drilling at Smith’s Cove last week, the team discovered a small piece of dynamite at a depth of 95 feet, evidence of earlier searcher work.

This week historian Paul Troutman goes through the spoils by hand and finds what are described as good chunks of wood. Are they evidence of a flood tunnel that will lead to the legendary Money Pit?

Geologist Terry Matheson grabs a hunk of the mucky earth and discovers a very exciting find, saying, “Look at that, these are pieces probably of beams!”

Have they finally located their target at 51 feet? The wooden beams appear to be hand cut, a potentially significant clue, as power saws did not become widespread until the early 20th century.

One of the pieces of wood found in the spoils
One of the pieces of wood found in the spoils. Pic credit: History

They quickly determine that they need to get Rick there. It appears at this point that there could be solid wood all the way down and Rick says it is “certainly an aberration.” He is convinced it’s a tunnel, but is it original work or searcher work?

Regardless, the discovery is regarded as a potentially huge breakthrough.

Later the team show Marty the wood in the war room. He notes it is very similar to the slipway wood discovered last year in what appears to be an incredible ancient wharf. If it is the same age, then this new wood is not searcher and highly significant according to Marty who wants to test the wood in order to determine its age.

Following the war room meeting, Alex Lagina and Peter Fornetti arrive at Smith’s Cove as more spoils are combed through in the hopes of finding more tunnel wood.

Unfortunately, surveying the latest spoils, Matheson declares there is no evidence of a tunnel, and Alex concurs saying, “I don’t see any wood.”

What they have brought up, however, is as an unending supply of mud and clay. It is a disappointing development but not surprising because they are not entirely certain of the angle the tunnel takes toward the Money Pit.

Later Craig Tester has the wood sample investigated using C14 analysis and when he reveals to the team that the test results date the wood to most likely 1735 to 1784. They cheer at the good news.

This means the wood predates the Money Pit by 60 years. Have they indeed located the main flood tunnel?

Jack Begley exhorts, “Get right in there, tear this earth up!”

Marty is taken with his excitement and teases, “please, get a little enthusiastic!” to which Jack replies, “I’ll dig by hand if needed!”

Jack Begley on The Curse of Oak Island
Jack Begley can’t hide his excitement at the latest discovery. Pic credit: History

But Marty tempers the mood by saying, “let’s be realistic…the area is fraught with uncertainty.” They agree to do more drilling to determine if they can find the flood tunnel and Rick concludes it’s the “best clue we’ve had in terms of finding the Money Pit.”

Elsewhere, Rick and Craig meet with land owner Tom Nolan. Based on compelling evidence in the swamp, such as the 200 anomaly and possible stone wharf, they now need to obtain a permit to drain and excavate.

Tom confirms that decades ago he and his dad Fred Nolan pulled various inscrutable items out of the bog.

Today the organic overgrowth complicates any work to be done. Craig proposes using a bladder system to form a barrier to keep the water out as the work excavation proceeds.

Tom is on board with this idea and offers any resources he has to accomplish this mission.

Following through on this discussion, Rick and Marty meet with Jack Nichols of Dam-it Dams at the swamp. Nichols is an industry leader in water solutions and three years ago he provided the inflatable dam system that played a key role in the excavation of Smith’s Cove.

When the team explain that they want a solution that keeps organic material from invading the dig site, he replies that he can provide the right application for the job.

Meanwhile, historian Charles Barkhouse and metal detecting expert Gary Drayton travel to Lot 21 where last week Gary found swages possibly 600 years old.

Gary first uncovers a coin which he describes as probably a half penny from the 1800s. It’s an old copper coin and, as all The Curse of Oak Island fans know, it is a good sign to find coins.

Their second hit leads Gary to exclaim, “that is unbelievable, that is fantastic!” Could this newfound leaf and rope design jewelry piece be a significant find, some kind of brooch, possibly a friend of the gold plated garnet brooch found here last year estimated to be 700 years old?

Rick is called over to view what Gary calls a “high end jewelry piece.”

“It’s bobby dazzler time!” he declares to Rick, and describes the piece as a status symbol. In response Rick confirms the item is a top pocket find and that the object, “needs to be completely and thoroughly checked out.”

Alex and archeologist Laird Niven are tasked with taking the brooch to the University of Acadia where professional conservator Kelly Bourassa examines the find. He says it has“a maritime look to it,” but that it is, “difficult to give a date.”

Even though the item’s age and origin remian unknown, the object still could be an important clue.

The item is brought back to the team who are informed of Bourassa’s inconclusive findings. Carefully examining it, Marty discovers that the leaf has 13 branches, a number that correlates to a stone carving on the island found a year ago.

Stone carving found on Oak Island last year
The stone carving found on Oak Island last year. Pic credit: History

The carving appeared to mimic a design on George Washington’s flag as well as Freemason and Knights Templar designs. Does this design clue reveal a possible connection to the American Revolution?

The team are intrigued by the possibilities and decide to next use ground penetrating radar in order to hopefully find more items and clues on Lot 21.

After the latest discoveries, could they be on the verge of a potentially historic breakthrough? Be sure to tune in and find out!

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

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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