The money pit on Oak Island, Nova Scotia, is one of my favorite stories about possible buried treasure. Mostly because there have been so many excavations of the site and yet, still to this day, there is still conflict and mystery surrounding it.
in 1795, an eighteen year old boy discovered a depression in the ground of oak island and a tackle block hanging from a tree adjacent. So he convinced two of his friends to help excavate the hole.
A few feet down, they found a layer of flagstones, and on the walls of the pit were visible markings from a pick. As they kept digging, they found layers of logs every ten feet, but they were forced to abandon their quest after about 30 feet.
Eight years later, a company of men arrived at Oak Island to tackle "the money pit" as the pit had been named, seeking what was rumored to be pirate treasure (Captain Kidd's or Blackbeard's).
They continued the excavation down to about 90 feet, continuing to find layers of logs every ten feet. They also found layers of charcoal, putty and cocoanut fiber at 40, 50 and 60 feet (and it is important to note that coconuts do not grow in Canada).
At around 80-90 feet they recovered a stone with an inscription on it. At the time, someone translated this to read: forty feet below, two million pounds lie buried.
Unfortunately, the stone's current whereabouts are a source of continued conflict so the inscription cannot be verified.
Once they removed the stone, though, the pit flooded back up to 33 feet and no amount of bailing could remove the water. (Later, it would be discovered that the pit was attached to 3 exits tunnels that led to the ocean (whether these tunnels were manmade or not is another source of conflict. If man-made, it leads many people to believe that the tunnels were put in place as a type of booby-trap, acting as a siphon to pull water into the pit if someone were to dig past a certain depth)).
In 1849 another excavation drilled into the pit (after failing to drain it) and, using an auger, drilled through a spruce platform at 98 feet, a twelve inches headspace, 22 inches of "metal in pieces", 8 inches of oak, another 22 inches of metal, 4 inches of oak, another spruce layer and finally clay for 7 feet without striking anything else.
In 1861, an excavation resulted in the collapse of the bottom of the pit, either into a booby trap, or a natural cavern. Further excavation continued up through the 1950s (Franklin Roosevelt was part of an excavation in 1909 and kept up with news regarding the money pit for most of his life).
Today, treasure hunting continues on oak island under the terms of a license.
The most popular theory about the pit is that it is the location of Captain Kidd's or Blackbeard's treasure (who was famously quoted as saying he buried his treasure "where none but Satan and myself can find it"). But other theories abound, including Marie Antoinette's missing jewels, treasure from a Spanish galleon, Freemason treasure, or documents from Sir Francis Bacon proving he was the one who wrote Shakespeare's plays.
Of course, skeptics say that the money pit is actually a natural sinkhole, which is not uncommon for the mainland area. The layers of logs could be fallen trees that have fallen into the hole.
I don't think we can rule this out, but the strict, even layers of the trees throw this into doubt, as does the layer of coconut fiber (which was tested at the Smithsonian).
Whether there actually is treasure in the money pit though, if there ever was, still remains a mystery to this day.
|The Money Pit today|