Thursday, 10 October 2013

Whydah gold coins 'stacked up like poker chips'

Undersea explorers have discovered a trove of buried treasure that may lead to the discovery of more than 400,000 gold coins. Barry Clifford and his team of archaeologists also found a musket and thousands of lead balls in the 18th century pirate ship they found off the coast of Cape Cod.

Clifford told ABCNews.com the coins were found stacked up 'like poker chips' in clumps known as concretions.

Riches: Another X-ray image reveals coins embedded in a concretion
The Whydah is the only pirate shipwreck ever found, and her treasures are still being archaeologically recovered. Over two hundred thousand artifacts – including sixty cannon, over ten thousand coins, 400 pieces of Akan gold jewelry have been recovered.
The Whydah was built as a slave ship in 1716 and captured in February 1717 by pirate captain "Black Sam" Bellamy. Just two months later, it sank in a ferocious storm a quarter mile off Wellfleet, Mass., killing Bellamy and all but two of the 145 other men on board and taking down the plunder from 50 vessels Bellamy raided.

Clifford located the Whydah site in 1984. A Colonial-era document indicates that in the weeks before the Whydah sank, Bellamy raided two vessels bound for Jamaica. "It is said that in those vessels were 400,000 pieces of 8/8," it read.

The 8/8 indicates one ounce, the weight of the largest coin made at that time, Clifford said.
"Now we know there's an additional 400,000 coins out there somewhere," he said.

The most significant artifact brought up by Paccione was an odd-shape concretion, sort of a rocky mass that forms when chemical reactions with seawater bind metals together. X-rays this week revealed coin-shaped masses, including some that appear to be stacked as if they were kept in bags, which is how a surviving Whydah pirate testified that the crewmen stored their riches.




http://abclocal.go.com/wls/story?section=news/national_world&id=9239999