Ancient mariners visited the New World more than a thousand years before Columbus - according to a sensational new report.
The main findings of the study, which centres on the mysterious Oak Island, off Nova Scotia, have been exclusively revealed to Johnston Press.
A team of expert researchers reckon they have unearthed astonishing evidence that Roman ships visited North America in antiquity - ‘during the first century or earlier’ and long before Columbus landed in 1492.
The discoveries could cast new light on the mystery of Oak Island which is currently the focus of a centuries-old treasure hunt centering on a 230ft deep booby-trapped shaft known as the ‘money pit’.
The History Channel’s series Curse of Oak Island, now in its third season, follows the Lagina brothers as they attempt to discover the island’s long-held secret.
Now historic investigator J. Hutton Pulitzer, who previously featured on the show, has put a large white paper together with a group of academics from the AAPS (Ancient Artifact Preservation Society).
He claims to have evidence of a Roman sword found submerged just off Oak Island - and what is believed to be a Roman shipwreck.
Pulitzer says this sword is ‘100 per cent confirmed’ and described it as the ‘smoking gun’ to his theory.
“The ceremonial sword came out of that shipwreck,” he said. “It is one incredible Roman artifact.”
The object first came to his attention when a man contacted the show to reveal its existence.
Pulitzer explained: “Some years ago, a man and his son were scalloping off Oak Island, which sees them hang rake-like object off the back of their boat. When they brought this up, the sword came up with it.
“The father kept it for decades, and when he died it went to his wife, then his daughter. Then when she died many years later it went to her husband. It was he who came forward to the island and said ‘I think you should know about this and where it was found.”
Pulitzer claims the complex metallic properties of the sword match those of other ancient Roman artifacts.
“I began my forensic work into it using an XRF analyser - which is a leading archaeological tool for analysing metals,” he explains. “And we found all these other metals that tell you this was made from ore that came directly from the ground. It has the same arsenic and lead signature in it. We’ve been able to test this sword against another one like it and it matches. This goes against everything we have been taught.”
Exactly what else could lurk in the mysterious shipwreck is unknown as it has not been investigated by divers. Astonishingly, there are thousands of unexplored shipwrecks in the Nova Scotia area, the majority of which are thought to date back to the 18th and 19th century.
“The shipwreck is still there and has not been worked,” said Pulitzer. “We have scanned it, we know exactly where it lays, but it will be a touchy thing for the Nova Scotia government to allow an archaeological team to survey it. We know beyond a shadow of a doubt that it is Roman.
“I think this is the single most important discovery for the Americas - an event that will re-write history. They will talk about it very briefly on Curse of Oak island but something like this shouldn’t be a footnote in a TV show - this is a gunshot to be heard around the world. It changes all of our history on this side of the pond.”
He said mainstream historians often dismiss such finds by suggesting artifacts that do not conform to the orthodoxy must have been dropped by collectors in more modern times.
“That’s how they poo-poo having to talk about it,” Pulitzer says. “But it’s a pretty blatant Roman artifact. The knee-jerk reaction was to think somebody put that sword there. It was found incredibly close to Oak Island in water only 25ft deep. But if you dropped that rare collectors’ sword overboard, wouldn’t you dive down to get it?”
In an attempt to demonstrate the Roman sword and shipwreck are more than mere coincidence, Pultizer and his team examined the area around Nova Scotia, alongside archaeological records to see if there were any other ‘coincidences’. They looked at the indigenous natives of Nova Scotia - the Mi’kmaq people - who are believed to have lived on their ancestral lands for more than 8,000 years.
Pulitzer said: “The Mi’kmaq carry the rarest DNA marker in the world which comes from the ancient Levant (the eastern Mediterranean). You can’t screw with DNA.”
The report details a number of Mi’kmaq petroglyphs (carved images) on cave walls and boulders along riverbanks in Nova Scotia. Some of these images, first discovered in the 1800s, depict what Pulitzer’s team believe to be Roman legionnaires marching with their swords - and Roman ships.
Myron Paine, author and former South Dakota State University professor, notes there are numerous ancient pictographs in the area which show voyages, advanced learning, foreign symbols, ancient peoples and ancient mariners.
Pulitzer adds: “There are also 50 words in the Mi’kmaq language which are ancient nautical sailing terms used by ancient mariners from Roman times - but they were not a seafaring culture.
“Another very interesting ‘coincidence’ is a bush on Oak Island and one on the mainland which is listed in Canada as an invasive species (Berberis Vulgaris). “This was used by ancient mariners, including Romans, to season their food and fight scurvy. It grows in Oak Island and across the way in Halifax. All these things, signs and symbols add up to more than just coincidence.”
Two carved stones on Oak Island also ‘possess a language from the ancient Levant’ according to Pulitzer. The first is the famous ‘90ft stone’ which was inscribed with strange symbols and first unearthed in 1803, 90ft down the money pit. The second is the so-called ‘HO stone’ - a large boulder believed to have been sited on the shoreline and inscribed with secret codes for mariners - but later blown up by treasure hunters who thought the treasure was buried beneath. “How can someone in that time have faked that?” he asks. “They wouldn’t have known about that language.”
Other findings detailed in the report include a Roman legionnaire’s whistle found on Oak Island in 1901, a metal ‘boss’ from the centre of a Roman shield unearthed in Nova Scotia in the mid-1800s, and a small Roman head sculpture found in Mexico City in 1933 under foundations of a pre-colonial building dated to between 1476 and 1510.
What Pulitzer’s team believe to be ancient burial mounds were also sited in shallow water close to the western shoreline of Oak Island.
Prof James P. Scherz, of the University of Wisconsin notes these mounds are ‘consistent with ancient European and Levant burial mounds, not native American’.
In the report, Prof Scherz states: “I am in agreement the underwater mounds being of a foreign (ancient mariner style) and not native to Nova Scotia or traditional North American. These mounds, in looking at the known ocean levels for the area, give a possible date of occurring between 1500BC and 180AD.”
Gold Roman Carthage coins have also been discovered on the mainland near Oak Island. A number of these are said to have been found buried in the same location. Pulitzer said: “We had them authenticated by some of the best experts. Yet in the show, they dedicated just 90 seconds to the topic.”
Pulitzer and his team are not the first to put forward a theory that ancient Europeans visited the Americas in pre-Columbian times - with others also pointing to the Minoans and the Phoenecians as having visited the continent.
His report also references the 16th century scholar Marineo Siculo who first claimed it was the Romans who discovered the New World, not Columbus.
However, Pulitzer says, with the new discoveries and modern science, it’s time these findings were taken seriously.
Indeed, he claims such findings in the past were ‘forgotten about and never fully investigated’ as they did not fit with mainstream history.
“When you put all these things together and you look at the anomalies, it’s not a coincidence,” he says. “The plants, the DNA, the artifacts, the language, the ancient drawings - you have something that deserves to be taken seriously.
“We have absolutely been lead to believe that nothing happened on this side of the pond before Christopher Columbus. That’s a church-induced concept. All the ancient records that exist make it very clear the world was circumnavigated and the world was round.
“But when the Catholic Church and the Romans came in, all those records were destroyed – so we had to kind of re-learn this stuff. History is political on our side of the pond. There’s been so much politicizing of who is native, and what was the first nation, that when discoveries come about that change this, it’s wildly controversial.
“The problem is, to rewrite history it would mean rewriting every textbook and university course in the world. That’s the detriment. I think anything that challenges history is very risky, very dangerous and extremely political. But I think the world has matured and history may force politics to mature.”
Speaking about the report, he said his team of researchers include experts and academics who are largely ‘out of the system’ so have nothing to lose by supporting unorthodox theories. “Some are retired, and some have left the system for various reasons,” Pulitzer explained. “I think we should all fight for the truth and people should make up their own minds. We are just saying ‘here’s what we have found’.”
Research team member Prof Carl Johannessen, formerly of the University of Oregon, agrees: “Our research challenges the orthodoxy of 1492 as the pivotal date when the New World met the Old World.”
Praising the TV show, Pulitzer said Curse of Oak Island had ‘captured people’s imaginations’ by offering viewers the exciting opportunity to see history unfold on their television sets. However, he criticsised the show’s producers for showing little interest in alternative theories outside those of the Knights Templar, as he says ‘that is what they think audiences are hoping to see’.
“Google will tell you that most of the searches for ‘Oak Island’ also include a reference to the Knights Templar,” said Pulitzer. “Television uses this information to appeal to the fans of those types of theories. But I’m a historian and forensic researcher. My job is to not believe any particular theory, but let the evidence tell me where to go.”
On the show Pultizer told the Lagina brothers he believed the area of Oak Island was visited in the past by Templars - but that they were ‘looking for something’ - the same as teams are today.
“I believe that many different ancient mariner societies came to Oak Island and it was an important stop-over for them,” he says.
“We just hope our report will open the dialogue that will re-write history as we know it. If we can just get rid of this Columbus conspiracy.”
Concluding, he added: “I think as humans we have evolved enough to be able to handle the truth now. It’s time for theory to be reflected by hard science. Even if there’s no gold inside Oak Island - it’s a trillion-dollar treasure we are uncovering in history for our children and grandchildren.”
The AAPS team’s report is scheduled to be published in full in early 2016.
Visit Pulitzer’s website www.investigatinghistory.org for more.