Explainer

Who is Helen Sheldon? The Curse of Oak Island archaeologist has become a regular cast member of the Fellowship

A close up of Helen Shelden on Oak Island
Archaeologist Helen Sheldon has become a regular member of the Fellowship of the Dig. Pic credit: History

Archaeologist Helen Sheldon has become a regular on The Curse of Oak Island since she first appeared in Season 9 in 2021. Since then, she has been featured in a whopping 27 episodes and has played an increasingly important role in the fellowship.

Helen has also appeared in one episode of the spin-off show The Curse of Oak Island: Drilling Down. She is officially tasked with excavation digging combined with artifact investigation and data collection.

Without wishing to be unfair to Helen, she has not perhaps garnered as much of a fan following as the other female archaeologists on the show, such as Miriam Amirault, Jamie Kouba, and Emma Culligan. But Helen has appeared in more episodes than Jamie and nearly as many as Miriam and Emma. She also has a long and varied career.

Helen’s career has lasted over 30 years. She is based mainly in Nova Scotia, and most of her career appears to have involved archaeological sites in the area.

Her work has been varied. In the 1980s and 1990s, she excavated the Albion Mines foundry, which was operational in the mid-19th century. She also examined sites that housed African or Black communities in Nova Scotia during the 19th century.

Helen has published a book called Late Prehistory of Nova Scotia as viewed from the Brown Site, which examines archaeological sites in the province that date back thousands of years.

Helen Sheldon has been uncovering the mysteries of Oak Island’s Lot 5

Helen’s work on Oak Island mainly involves excavating the two mysterious stone features on Lot 5. Like the other archaeologists, Helen has been baffled by the rectangular and circular stone structures.

Helen Sheldon examining an artifact on Oak Island
Helen Sheldon is often called upon to examine Oak Island artifacts. Pic credit: History

They have theorized that the structures may have been an encampment or base for operations in the Money Pit. What’s curious is that they appear to have been deliberately buried.

In April 2024, during Season 11, Helen found a couple of lead weights at the Lot 5 swamp, and when Jack Begley asked about what they might be used for, she suggested measuring “gold.”

Helen Sheldon found an 800-year-old Oak Island artifact

Perhaps Helen’s most interesting find was in March 2024 when she uncovered a large hand-wrought iron spike. Emma revealed that the iron purity likely dated the spike from the 1100s to the 1300s.

An iron spike found by Helen Sheldon on Oak Island
This iron spike found by Helen Sheldon on Oak Island’s Lot 5 could date back to the 12th century. Pic credit: History

The Curse of Oak Island team has really embraced their roles as archaeologists in recent seasons as they’ve uncovered more and more ancient ruins and artifacts.

Head archaeologist Laird Niven officially joined the team in Season 5, which aired from 2017 to 2018, and he’s been a regular ever since.

The province of Nova Scotia’s Department of Communities, Culture, and Heritage had demanded some archaeological expertise, so the guys were somewhat forced to appoint Laird. This may have initially led to some suspicion of Laird from the Laginas and fans, but that soon dissipated when he proved himself to be a really competent professional.

However, following the discovery of the stone roadway in the swamp in Season 8 of 2020, the number of archaeologists on Oak Island dramatically soared. And Helen was part of this intake.

Unfortunately, Helen does not appear to engage with social media.

The Curse of Oak Island Season 12 will likely return in November 2024 on History.

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Yvonne Robinson
Yvonne Robinson
1 month ago

Helen’s knowledge has been impressive since her first appearance. She has offered so much information unlike a younger girl that appeared a few seasons ago. The other ladies that are currently digging are also very interested and adds to the excitement of varies finds. Go Helen!