The discovery of an ancient Roman ceremonial sword will shed more details about the visit of ancient mariners to North America. It is believed that they succeeded in this even before Columbus.
Evidence of the finding, which was exclusively revealed to Johnston Press and published in The Boston Standard, was uncovered by researchers involved in The History Channel’s series Curse of Oak Island, which details the efforts of two brothers from Michigan as they attempt to solve the mystery of the Oak Island treasure and discover historical artifacts believed to be concealed on the island.
Oak island is home to one of the biggest treasure hunts in history, which began in in 1795, when 18-year old Daniel McGinnis saw lights coming from the island. Out of curiosity, he went searching for the lights and discovered a clearing on the southeastern end of the island. Within the clearing was a circular depression, and nearby a tackle block hung from a tree. McGinnis and several friends returned to the area and began excavating the depression. A few feet beneath the surface, they discovered a layer of flagstone, and the pit walls had markings from a pick. Approximately every ten feet (3 m) they dug, they found a layer of logs. After excavating to thirty feet beneath the surface, McGinnis and his friends abandoned the excavation without ever finding anything of significance.
Reports of the boys’ efforts were published in several printed works. Eight years later, the Onslow Company sailed to the area to try to recover the supposed treasure, that was assumed to lie hidden at the base of the pit. Based on the written accounts of the boys, the Onslow Company attempted an excavation of what was now referred to as the “Money Pit.” However, they were eventually forced to abandon their efforts due to flooding.
Numerous searches of the pit continued over the next two centuries, but they have been continually plagued with difficulties including collapses and flooding within the pit. The entire island has been searched for treasure, and is continued today by Marty and Rick Lagina, as chronicled on Curse of Oak Island.
A shipwreck, believed to be Roman, was found off Oak Island, and within the wreck a well-preserved Roman ceremonial sword was retrieved.
Pulitzer carried out tests on the sword, using an XRF analyser, which revealed that the sword contained the same metallic properties, with traces of arsenic and lead, that match other Roman artifacts.
In an attempt to dismiss skeptics, who may suggest the artifact had simply fallen off the side of a boat in more recent times, Pultizer and his team have dug up numerous other pieces of evidence to support the theory that the Romans made it to the New World more than 1,000 years before Christopher Columbus.
Professor Carl Johannessen, formerly of the University of Oregon, who is also involved in the research, says the findings challenge the orthodoxy of 1492 as the date when the New World was ‘discovered’.
While it has long been suggested that other ancient civilizations reached the New World before Columbus, including the Vikings, Chinese, and Greeks, this is the first set of compelling findings to suggest Roman mariners made it North America over a millennium ago.