Artifacts have been unearthed at the site of a bizarre booby-trapped island pit which has led generations of treasure hunters to the grave.
For four centuries Oak Island – situated off the coast of Nova Scotia, Canada – has seen numerous attempts to get to the bottom of the mysterious 230ft-deep man-made pit.
A former Boston and Spilsby man now features in a History Channel series on the mystery which is airing in the UK.
Professional treasure hunter and author Gary Drayton took part in the second season of The Curse of Oak Island - during which he found several artifacts near the site.
Describing himself as a ‘Yellowbelly’ he said the latest team trying to get to solve the mystery, the Lagina brothers, personally called on his metal-detecting services.
“It’s a far cry from my cauliflower-cutting days around Boston,” said Gary, who had a home in Horace Street, and went to school in Spilsby, before moving to Florida.
“I found more coins and artifacts than anyone has ever previously recovered on Oak Island. They really do not know what they are going to find in the pit itself - they are exploring many different parts of the island.”
Among the artifacts he recovered from the swamp, shoreline and edge of the pit, were 1710-30 battle hatchets, several English coins from the 1600s, a Victorian brooch – and a Knights Templar coin.
The ‘money pit’ was first discovered by three boys in 1795 after they saw lights coming from the island. They investigated and discovered a circular depression in the ground and started digging.
This lead to a series of excavations over the years. Six people have died in the process - leading many to speculate whether the island is cursed.
How many ex-cauliflower cutters end up being famous treasure hunters?Gary Drayton
What early excavators found was astonishing - but only served to deepen the mystery.
Every 10ft down they unearthed a layer of oak tree trunks. Further layers revealed putty, coconut fibres - and then a mysterious stone slab bearing strange symbols.
Later excavations were abandoned when the pit kept flooding due to man-made booby-trap channels.
In 1849 excavators drilled further and uncovered metal fragments and a piece of parchment with the Roman numerals ‘VI’.
A camera sent down in the 1970s purports to show human remains and chests – although the images are so unclear, their existence has never been confirmed.
Theories as to what could lie at the bottom of the pit range from the Holy Grail and the Ark of the Covenant to pirate treasure and the lost manuscripts of William Shakespeare. To this day it remains a mystery.
Gary, who donated all his finds to the Nova Scotia museum, added: “How many ex-cauliflower cutters end up being famous treasure hunters?
“I have written nine treasure hunting books and I have another TV series in the works - this one will be a starring role.”