The Curse of Oak Island: The team hits the ground running, uncovering multiple ancient coins

Rick Lagina in the woods on Oak Island
Rick Lagina was thrilled to unearth some ancient coins. Pic credit: History

The Curse of Oak Island team wasted no time at all on last night’s Season 11 premiere, unearthing a tranch of buried treasure in the form of ancient coins.

In what might be one of their best days ever, the Oak Island team uncovered not one, not two, but four historical coins on the western side of the island.

And they may have found a fifth in the sea of the northern coast.

Rick Lagina and metal detectorist Gary Drayton started hunting on Lot 5, and they soon uncovered an ancient-looking coin. The pair were super excited because it looked very similar to the half-Roman coin found last year in the same area.

That half coin featured a distinctly Roman design and was dated between 300 BC and 600 AD, and was found a mere 30 yards from the new coin.

A short time later, Gary and Rick uncovered yet another old coin. They drafted in the help of Marty Lagina and Craig Tester, and very soon, they had another two coins.

Oak Island archaeologists confirmed coins were ancient to medieval in origin

Three of the artifacts were handed over to archaeologist Emma Culligan (the fourth was found a bit later), who managed to muddy the waters by pointing out that the coins had differing chemical compositions.

Simply put, one of the coins had traces of copper and lead, meaning it could be Roman in origin, but another had copper and silver, so it was not Roman but probably medieval.

And the analysis of the third coin suggested it was a French denier, which indicated a Frankish coin dating possibly as far back as the late 7th century.

So what was going on? The guys called numismatist (coin expert) Sandy Campbell to clear things up.

Sandy didn’t take long to reach his conclusions. He insisted two of the coins originated from the Roman Empire. One was over 1000 years old, dating from about 100 – 300AD, but incredibly, he claimed the second was from the BC era.

That makes this coin over 2000 years old and most likely the oldest ever found on Oak Island!

Four ancient coins found on Oak Island
The season premiere saw the Oak Island team uncover four ancient coins. Pic credit: History

Sandy then threw a curve ball with another coin. This one was a little unfamiliar to him, but he reckoned it could be from India and probably dated from the 6th to the 8th century AD.

More ancient coins only deepen the Oak Island mystery

Over the years, the guys have uncovered coins from all around the world, including England, Rome, Portugal, and even China, but India is something entirely new and adds a whole other equation to the Oak Island mystery.

The fourth coin, Sandy said, was from Tudor period England, dating from the 1500s. He said it had a distinctive portcullis engraving, which was unmistakable.

A portcullis is a heavy grated gate-like structure that adorned the front of English castles and was considered a symbol of strength and security. The motif can still be found today on English pennies.

An example of a portcullis coin
An example of an old English coin with the distinctive portcullis design. Pic credit: History

There was one more coin-related incident from last night’s episode. Tony Sampson went for a dive off the northern shore of the island, ostensibly to look for signs of a dam that may have created the swamp. But he may have found another old coin instead.

On the bottom of the sea floor, Tony came across a round object with a hole in the middle, which was very similar to the design of the Chinese coin found on the island in 2020.

An artifact lying on the sea bed
Diver Tony Sampson thought this might be an ancient Chinese coin. Pic credit: History

Unfortunately, rules and regulations state the guys need a permit to remove artifacts from the sea bed, so the potential Chinese coin will have to stay there until the team can navigate through the bureaucracy.

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

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8 months ago

That’s not a Tudor coin with portcullis, it’s a Constantine The Great 306-
337 AD, Roman Imperial with camp gate. You can get better examples on eBay for $30-$40.