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Pirate skeletons found on 18th century wreck

Archaeologists have found six skeletons on the wreck of the pirate ship Whydah, which sank off the coast of Massachusetts in 1717. Cape Cod archaeologists have found six skeletons in the wreck of the British pirate ship ‘Whydah’, which sank during a storm in 1717. On board at the time were 146 men and looted
Published: February 13, 2021 - 09:00
Updated: July 22, 2023 - 21:59
Pirate skeletons found on 18th century wreck

Archaeologists have found six skeletons on the wreck of the pirate ship Whydah, which sank off the coast of Massachusetts in 1717.

Cape Cod archaeologists have found six skeletons in the wreck of the British pirate ship ‘Whydah’, which sank during a storm in 1717. On board at the time were 146 men and looted treasure.

artefacts from the sunken wreck According to media reports, a team of researchers led by Barry Clifford, who discovered the wreck back in 1984, have come across remains preserved inside concretions, or masses of minerals that build up around sunken objects. Experts at the Whydah Pirate Museum in West Yarmouth are now planning to examine the unusual find in more detail.

Itis hoped that modern technology will help us identify the pirate skeletons found and link them to possible descendants alive today, Clifford said in a press statement

According to Marie Shanishlo of the Boston Herald, the team unearthed one complete skeleton and fragments of five others. Some bones were broken, probably after the ship capsized, crushing the passengers.

This is not the first time archaeologists have recovered human remains from the wreck. In 2018, museum scientists compared the DNA of one of the descendants of Whydah captain Samuel “Black Sam” Bellamy with a leg bone found in the wreck. The analysis suggested that the owner of the femur was a man from the eastern Mediterranean, not the fearsome captain.

The anonymous pirate discovered in the concretion died with a gun in his hand and metal – possibly gold – hidden in his pocket, Clifford said

pirate shipwreck in the museum Although the unfortunate individual did not turn out to be Bellamy, the newly found skeletal remains may finally lead to the captain’s identification,

The wreck of the Whydah boasts a rich history. The ship sank off the coast of Wellfleet on 26 April 1717, killing all but two of the 146 people on board. The bodies of 101 crew members were eventually dumped on the beach, but another 43 – including Bellamy – apparently went down with the ship.

Born in western England around 1689, Bellamy was one of the richest pirates in history. According to available records, he stole around $145 million (adjusted for inflation) before his death at the age of 28.

Artefacts previously recovered from the wreck include 15,000 coins, weapons – including a three-pound 0.56 calibre pistol, shackles and gemstones.

According to the museum’s website, at the time of its sinking, the ship was carrying valuables from more than 50 other ships robbed by Bellamy’s pirates. The Whydah collection therefore represents an unprecedented cultural cross-section from the 18th century.”

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Tomasz Andrukajtis
Editor-in-chief of the DIVERS24 portal and magazine. Responsible for obtaining, translating and developing content. He also supervises all publications. Achived his first diving certification – P1 CMAS, in 2000. Has a degree in journalism and social communication. In the diving industry since 2008.
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