Lincolnshire treasure hunter finds Roman artefact on Oak Island which could rewrite history

An aerial photo of the mysterious Oak Island, off the coast of Nova Scotia, Canada.
An aerial photo of the mysterious Oak Island, off the coast of Nova Scotia, Canada.

TV treasure hunter Gary Drayton has struck archaeological ‘gold’ again - this time unearthing a Roman artefact on the mysterious Canadian island.

The explosive find, made on the History Channel show The Curse of Oak Island, is a controversial one as appears to fly in the face on mainstream history, which states that ancient Romans never set foot in the Americas.

Metal detection expert Gary Drayton, who lived in Spilsby and Boston before moving to the US, discovered what was initially believed to be an old ‘Templar’ iron crossbow bolt on the island’s south-west shore.

This has since been examined by antiquities expert Gabriel Vandervort, who states the object is actually a Roman ‘pilum’ - the metal tip of a throwing spear. He says this was used by the Romans as much as 2,000 years ago, ‘between the the first century BC to the fifth century AD’.

After unearthing the pilum about 10 inches under the surface, Gary said: “Wow - that is unbelievable! This is very, very old!” before kissing it.

As reported by the Standard back in December 2015, this weapon piece is part of a growing body of evidence that Romans did indeed travel to the New World long before Colombus made landfall in 1492. Although a sword allegedly found off the coast of Oak Island was initially believed to be Roman, but later deemed to be a Victorian-era replica, there are numerous other artefacts and clues which point to the theory Romans sailed to the New World in antiquity.

A trailer for this season of Curse also shows some underground structure being unearthed - with what appears to be Roman numerals etched into the stone.

For the past 200 years, people have been searching for treasure on Oak Island, centering around a mysterious 230ft deep booby-trapped shaft known as the ‘money pit’ which kept flooding when excavations reached a certain depth.

Gary Drayton is one of the key players in the Curse of Oak Island, having found various artefacts a few inches beneath the ground which point to the true hidden history of the island. These include a lead cross, believed to be Knights Templar in origin, a Knights Templar coin, and a gold-covered brooch which has just been dated to ‘the 14th century, or earlier’.

Deep underground excavations by the Oak Island team, lead by the Lagina Brothers, pulled up core samples which contained human bone fragments from two individuals found at a depth of 162ft. One was said to be European in origin, and the other from the Middle East. Both have been dated to around the 17th century.

Speaking about Gary’s Roman find, lead treasure hunter Rick Lagina said: “I’m not sure what to make of it - it’s so far outside the box of our belief.”

Since it was first discovered in 1795, numerous search teams have tried to get to the bottom of the money pit. Even US President Franklin D Roosevelt was involved with one of the searches - but the mystery as to what was hidden there centuries ago remains unsolved.

However, one new theory being discussed on the show is that the elaborate booby-trapped pit is nothing more than a ‘red herring’ - constructed to draw attention away from the real location of the buried treasure. Indeed, a recent seismic scan on another part of the island has revealed what appears to be a massive underground void just 50ft below the surface. The Laginas are hoping this is a man-made chamber. And if so, what could it reveal? Current theories as to what was hidden on the island include Captain Kidd’s pirate treasure, the lost manuscripts of Shakespeare - and the ultimate archaeoloigical relic - the Holy Grail itself.