March 09, 2016 2 min read

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.

With the latest discovery, Clifford and his team are planning to head back down into the pit to begin what likely will be a three-day effort to unearth more of the pirate plunder.

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.