The Curse of Oak Island recap: Swamp anomaly could be a tunnel, and team find mysterious swages

blacksmithing expert Carmen Legge and Gary Drayton
Gary Drayton talks to blacksmithing expert Carmen Legge about the newly discovered metal objects. Pic credit: History

On The Curse of Oak Island this week, Rick and Marty Lagina and their team were ready to dig deep in order to determine if the swamp anomaly was a ship. Would they find wood at great depth, or something even more intriguing?

The action in week two begins at the swamp where the team hope to find a ship beneath the mucky surface. Choice Drilling is at the location, extracting core samples to determine if old wood or man-made artifacts are hidden below. The mechanical set up involves a five ton sonic drill rig splayed out over a massive floating barge platform.

If they find such evidence, it would influence the team’s decision regarding whether or not the cost of draining and digging up the swamp is justified.

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The coring barrel extracts samples every five feet, down to the target depth, with the spoils placed into plastic sleeves, and carried to the shore where they are examined by the team. The first sample is from a depth of 16 ½ feet from water level; No wood found is found in the first sample.

Team examine samples
The team examine samples brought up from the swamp. Pic credit: History

Next, samples are brought up from 21½ feet down. Rick notes that the deeper sample is extremely dry but the color is similar to that of samples seen in the Money Pit area. This similarity is puzzling and Rick remarks that it would be nice to figure out why.

At nearly 30 feet the core sample consists of hard, dry clay described as caprock which is a natural layer of extremely dense rock associated with gas or oil deposits. Could this be a natural formation or was it placed by man in order to hide a object deep below the swamp?

Later, the casing gets stuck on a hard, impenetrable object necessitating a move to a second drill site.

At a depth of 57 feet no wood is found in the core sample, indicating that the anomaly in the muck below is not a ship, a very disappointing development. Marty sums up the mood by saying, “we did not find what we’re looking for.”

But they may have nonetheless found something of significance. The 57-foot sample contains dry clay and it would be possible to tunnel through this material, thus the team have a new theory to check out. If the anomaly is not a wooden ship could it be a tunnel, the long-fabled back door to the Money Pit?

Animation showing the tunnel anomaly
An animation showing the area around the swamp anomaly. Pic credit: History

As they discuss the possibility of further exploration, several factors come up: permits are needed, they must decide how deep to go, as well as what’s permissible. In other words it is complicated. For his part, archaeologist Laird Niven believes the anomaly is man-made.

Elsewhere, at Smith’s Cove the team meets with experts using ground penetrating radar to look for flood tunnels, and hopefully determine a more precise area where the box drain convergence point may lay. They find an area of interest 5 meters down and 7 meters back, and it is marked off.

An old cave-in pit is also an area of interest. Next, they find an anomaly 25 meters down and it is marked off. At 28 meters down they discover what could be a flood tunnel anomaly, and Craig Tester says the find lines up with the team’s expectations.

Meanwhile, at Lot 21 Gary Drayton deploys his metal detecting expertise in the hope of finding top pocket finds, items of great value.

He points to a promising area and Rick begins to shovel where X marks the spot. It is rocky soil and Gary notes that, “whoever made this did it a long time ago.” He thought the oblong, thick object with a hole in the middle was an old Victorian flatiron but later decides it is a quarry hammer.

Dating back to the first century B.C., such objects were used to break apart large boulders. Could this item be associated with Nolan’s Cross or another structure on the island?

The next object Rick digs up is declared a, “wow,” by Gary. It is similar to the first metal object, but bigger and thicker and, in Rick’s words, the team are “a bit confused by it.”

The team in the war room
The team discuss the latest findings in the war room. Pic credit: History

Later, blacksmithing expert Carmen Legge is invited to the war room to examine several metal objects, including the two quarry hammers.

Legge says that Gary’s finds are not hammers, they are swages, items for sharpening rock drills. Swages date back to as early as the 12th century B.C.

Legge says they are very rare and their presence suggests a major mining or tunneling operation. He estimates they could be from as far back as the mid 1400s, an astonishing assessment. Could the swages have been used in the construction of the Money Pit shaft?

The team note that the western side of the island has been virtually unexplored, but the terrain there would require tools like swages, a point which opens up another avenue for further exploration.

The week ends without the discovery of the hoped for ship, but stunning new evidence indicates that the swamp was man-made and that the anomaly could be a tunnel.

Now the team must determine where the apparent tunnel leads. Could it lead them to a vault of incredible value? Or is it possible that this anomaly in the swamp serves another, even more profound purpose?

Stay tuned!

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

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