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The Curse of Oak Island recap: The team dates the wood in Smith’s Cove and investigate a mysterious well

The Curse of Oak Island team
The team gets bad news on The Curse of Oak Island. Pic credit: HISTORY

On The Curse of Oak Island this week, Rick and Marty Lagina along with Craig Tester deliver bad news to the rest of the team. They have discovered that a labor strike will affect operations at the Money Pit. Jack Begley asks what this means exactly, and Rick responds, “it means we’re going silent, nobody’s running the crane.”

In fact, no one is doing any work at the site. Because of worker solidarity, all of the workers are staying away in respect to those who are on strike.

Underscoring the dire situation, Rick adds solemnly, “It’s zero dark thirty.”

Marty notes that the situation is especially worrisome and “a big blow because time and weather’s closing in.’

There are just a few weeks remaining before winter descends, shutting off work for the rest of the year.

With all of these factors in mind, the team decides to now focus their efforts on Smith’s Cove. When Rick says that they have a lot of data on Smith’s Cove, Marty says they will, “try to make lemonade out of lemons… sempre avanti… let’s get back after it.”

“I hope we find the one thing,” Rick says.

Elsewhere, Jack Begley and metal detection expert Gary Drayton head to Lot 1 on the western shore of the island. They hope to find more artifacts similar to the gold brooch, also found on the western side.

Jack Begley and Gary Drayton search for more artifacts
Jack Begley and Gary Drayton search for more artifacts. Pic credit: HISTORY

They discover a bit of pottery, with blue on it, similar to the piece that was found in the Money Pit. Gary tells Jack it dates, “back in the 1700’s mate,” and Jack responds, “It proves to me we’re on the right path.”

A promising signal leads Jack to shovel out a spot and he says, “I see it, is that a coin?” Gary says, “it’s a button … a fancy officer’s button,” probably from a shirt cuff.

But wait, there’s more!

According to Gary, it has gold gilding on it and likely is from the 1700s. The button is similar to one found in the Money Pit two years ago. Located in GAL1, that object was determined to be a gold plated military button.

Are these two items somehow related? And if so, were they left behind by a depositor or by a searcher? Before they can do more digging, the rain descends, ending the work day for now.

In the war room, the team meets with author and researcher James McQuiston, a Knights Templar theorist. He tells how the Knights Baronets came to Nova Scotia in the early 17th century, Scotsmen who were given a title of nobility from the British government in exchange for putting down roots and extending the reach of the British Empire.

Knights Templar theorist Jack McQuiston
The Curse of Oak Island team talks to Knights Templar theorist Jack McQuiston. Pic credit: HISTORY

Also, research has convinced him that the Knights Templar were on Oak Island in the 14th century and that they and their descendants deposited valuables, a theory that has been debated by mainstream historians. McQuiston believes that 25 percent of Knights Baronets had a connection to Knights Templar.

The team compliments the author on his theory, one that he describes as pieced together from research, and not written anywhere. According to Rick, McQuiston has shown a legacy between Templars and Baronets, “and there’s no doubt about it.”

After the meeting with McQuiston, team members go to Lot 16 to investigate a stone well discovered near the Money Pit. It is similar to one the team researched two years ago in New Ross, near a reputed castle.

There, they saw a triangle carved into one of the stones, similar to the triangular shape of the swamp and similar to triangular characters on the 90-foot stone.

Of the well, Rick wants to know, “who built it and when?”

They call Laird to see if they are allowed to remove the cap from the well. They are given permission, and Marty rips the cap up from the ground using heavy equipment.

The cap is removed from the well on Curse of Oak Island
In an effort to get answers, Marty gets permission to remove the cap from the well. Pic credit: History

Gary looks down at the now visible watery mess. When his detector registers promising hits, they decide to drain the well with a pump, and later Gary lowers himself into the now-dry hole.

“What a sweet little place this is,” he remarks.

He lifts out two large stones to make room for his metal detector, joking that he is putting it into, “well mode.” Multiple signals indicate both ferrous and non-ferrous hits.

When he starts ohhing and ahhing, Marty calls out, “don’t tell me you’re gonna do your gold dance down in the well!”

Excitement is high when Gary discovers he’s found a coin, “It’s a, oh it’s a, I got a coin!”

“You bugger!” laughs Marty.

Gary exclaims, “It’s a one dollar Canadian dollar!”

With the well filling up again with water, naturally, the dig is halted for the time being.

Marty says, “I’m confident there’s got to be something down there.”

At Smith’s Cove, the team finds crane operator Billy Gerhardt excavating the terrain in hopes of finding box drains that lead to the treasure vault. As they look on, the team finds a log. Two days ago a previously unknown wooden structure was unearthed here, but the team has no idea if it is original.

Marty Lagina cuts a log found underground on Oak Island
The team finds a log and hope to figure out its origin. Pic credit: HISTORY

Rick wants to know the intended purpose of this structure. Because water is running through it, it definitely could be connected to the flood tunnel system. Marty thinks this could be a shaft made by Robert Restall.

In the 1950s, the Restall family moved to the island, where they lived year-round and spent the next six years searching for treasure. In 1965, Restall expressed his belief that they were within weeks of solving the elusive mystery. Tragically, that summer an accident in an exploratory shaft near Smith’s Cove took the lives of several men, including Restall and his son.

Using a shovel, Rick discovers that this structure is indeed a shaft, and believes it to be one of Restall’s. Adding to the team’s excitement, five weeks ago, red dye was found here following a major experiment conducted in the hopes of locating a flood tunnel connected to the treasure shaft. Within hours of the experiment, red dye was found near the current dig site.

Later, archeologist Laird Niven uses a technique called dendrochronology, also known as tree ring dating, to date the wood in the Smith’s Cove structures.

Knowing the dates of the U and L shaped structures, the slipway, and the wooden and concrete wall may provide clues that illuminate the conundrum of who built them and why.

Marty says there’s “still plenty of work to be done in Smith’s Cove, clearly.”

Rick says the number of structures here is quite confusing, leaving a lot of questions yet to be answered.

Will the team’s new direction lead to the one thing Rick thinks can solve the 223-year-old mystery?

Be sure to tune in next week and find out!

The Curse of Oak Island airs Tuesdays 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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