The Curse of Oak Island: The guys are ‘back in the game’ after tunnel hit under the Garden Shaft

Scott Barlow in a War Room meeting on Oak Island
Oak Island’s project manager Scott Barlow is hopeful the Garden Shaft excavation will yield results. Pic credit: History

The Curse of Oak Island team started celebrating on last night’s episode as they found clear evidence of the long sought-after tunnel under the Garden Shaft.

Finally, after weeks of frustration, the flooding in the shaft was dealt with, and Dumas began probe drilling at the bottom.

The Dumas guys began drilling at 90 feet and aimed straight down, hoping to hit something at about 95 feet. The Oak Island team stood on the surface, impatiently watching the monitors, and they were rewarded when the drill struck something at 97 feet.

The drill casing was brought back up to reveal a pretty hefty chunk of wood, which will be sent straightaway for Carbon-14 dating. They’ll be hoping for a date pre-1790s.

While this is not a definitive confirmation that they’ve located the tunnel, it does seem pretty likely.

The Oak Island team reckons this tunnel runs under the Garden Shaft and heads directly to the Baby Blob, where they expect to find a quantity of precious metals. Marty Lagina said with a big grin, “We are back in the game.”

Lagina brothers rule out another ‘big dig’ for Oak Island for this season

Unfortunately, it wasn’t all good news last night. The Lagina brothers announced to the team there would be no new “big dig” this season. Frankly, with us already halfway through the season, they concluded they just don’t have the time to bring in large caissons.

So, the focus will remain on the Garden Shaft, which was the original plan for this season, and hopefully, they’ve now got the ball rolling with last night’s discovery.

A piece of wood retrieved from below Oak Island's Garden Shaft
The Oak Island team believes this wood comes from a tunnel that leads to treasure in the Baby Blob. Pic credit: History

Also, on last night’s show, there was lots of discussion about artifacts. In the last couple of weeks, the archaeologists on Lot 5 recovered a couple of tiny colorful beads from the circular stone feature. The guys suspected they were Venetian glass but decided to take the artifacts to bead expert Philip Doucette.

Philip was super impressed with the beads and didn’t hesitate to say they were “definitely” from Venice. He said the distinctive blue, red, and white stripes suggested the beads were an “early formation” produced by stretching out the glass by hand.

Oak Island team find 500-year-old Venetian beads

The expert dated them to about 1500 to 1650. Philip explained how these beads were considered very high-value items; just four or five of these beads could purchase a beaver pelt.

He also stated that these beads were often used as currency by Portuguese sailors and merchants who traveled up and down the east coast of North America 500 years ago.

The guys were reminded of the theory that the stone roadway in the swamp could have been built 500 years ago by the Portuguese. Perhaps the Portuguese also built the circular stone feature where the beads were found.

Also, on the theme of Lot 5 artifacts, Laird Niven, Emma Culligan, and Gary Drayton identified an old coin, which was also recovered from the circular stone feature. It was an English penny or ha’penny from the 1760s, most likely minted during the reign of King George III.

An ancient English coin and a Venetian glass bead recovered from Oak Island's Lot 5. Pic credit: History
The Oak Island team identified an old coin from the 1760s. Pic credit: History

The coin was buried in a layer near the surface, so the guys hope there will be even older artifacts buried underneath. Fingers crossed!

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

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