Secrets of the Whydah

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Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Photo:  The Whydah sank during a storm taking Bellamy and 143 of his crew with it, just two survivors lived to tell its tale Photo: Wiki/Grolltech

Expeditions to the pirate shipwreck of the Whydah off of Cape Cod have brought explorers closer to finding more undiscovered archaeological riches at the wreck site.

Recent site-testing has revealed  thousands of concretions and other artefacts still remain at the wreck, despite the fact the team have made 21 dives to the site this summer.

The wreck was originally discovered by underwater explorer, Barry Clifford, in 1984. He has since recovered over two hundred thousand artefacts from the wreck including sixty cannon, over ten thousand coins and 400 pieces of Akan gold jewellery.

Whydah was wrecked in a storm off Cape Cod in 1717 and historical documents indicate that it would have contained treasures from over fifty ships captured under the command of “Black Sam” Bellamy at the time of its sinking.

It’s the first fully verified pirate shipwreck ever discovered and as such, artefacts from the wreck provide unique insights into the material culture of early 18th century piracy.

In 1996 Barry Clifford established Expedition Whydah Sea-Lab & Learning Center at The Whydah Pirate Museum in Provincetown, Massachusetts. The museum has become a unique showcase for what underwater exploration can accomplish through painstaking historical and scientific research.

Artefacts from the Whydah collection went on a nationwide travelling exhibition back in 2007, called Real Pirates under the sponsorship of The National Geographic Society.