Barry Clifford and his team of undersea explorers uncovered an unexplored trove of buried treasure that he said may lead to the discovery of more than 400,000 gold coins. He’s preparing to go back in.
With the help of his team, Mr. Clifford located a sunken pirate ship, Whydah, off the coast of Cape cod, nearly 30 years ago. The Whydah was a slave ship that had been captured by the notorious pirate captain “Black Sam” Bellamy in February 1717, only two months before it sank on April 26, 1717.
The Whydah is the only documented pirate ship, and since Mr. Clifford discovered it in the 1980s, he and his team have worked to bring to the surface thousands of treasures discovered on the ship.
Clifford and his team located a sunken pirate ship, Whydah, off the coast of Cape Cod nearly 30 years ago. The Whydah was a slave ship that was captured by notorious pirate captain "Black Sam" Bellamy in February 1717, just two months before it sank on April 26, 1717.
"There's just a tremendous amount of material on board the vessel," he said.
Clifford and his team focused on excavating a new site beneath the water's depths this summer, and discovered coins stacked up "like poker chips," sedimentary rocks known as concretions and thousands of lead musket balls buried 20 feet beneath the sand. When they returned to the site, they sent one diver down, who came back to surface within half the expected time, with a bag so heavy with artifacts, coins and lead shot that he couldn’t lift anymore. And this was only from a 2 to 3 square foot area of the pit.
The team x-rayed one of the ‘rocks’ they found and discovered it was really a large stack of coins and gold.
Documents reveal that before the Whydah went down, Bellamy had stored treasures he had stolen from two other ships on board, including more than 400,000 one-ounce gold coins from the two vessels combined.
Many of the artifacts discovered on the Whydah are on display at the Whydah Pirate Shipwreck Museum in Provincetown, Mass. The exhibit also travels the world with National Geographic.
The skull and crossbones is a symbol that has been around for years and is commonly associated with poison. When people see this symbol on an object, they know to stay away because the contents of that object are harmful. However, the skull and crossbones has a historically symbolic meaning.
Symbolic all over the world, the skull and crossbones was used by ancient tribes to symbolize power. By the Middle Ages, the skull and crossbones symbol was usually found with the words “memento mori,” which means “remember you are mortal” in Latin. This is why this symbol has been found on old gravestones. It served as a constant reminder for people that they are human and that death is inevitable. However, even in this context, the words still served as a symbol of fear. The symbol was notably used by 17th-century pirates, but certain military units and even some college fraternities still use it.
Some sects believe that with death comes the end of lies and that death brings an awakening of truth and knowledge that is not possible for a mortal to possess. As such, these groups use a skull and crossbones to symbolize that the information is only obtainable by death.
The use of the skull and crossbones has changed over the years, but the meaning of the symbol is the same. In the past, it was used as a symbol of power, and, in modern times, it is used to warn people of harmful substances. In the end, however, the use of the symbol is a way to strike fear into people.
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