Remember that report of finding "Captain Kidd's Treasure" a few weeks back? Surprise, surprise - it turns out not, according to experts brought in by the United Nations. Thanks to Dick Hanscom for forwarding this Daily Mail article.
It was meant to have solved an enduring mystery of the high seas – the whereabouts of the sunken treasure of 17th-Century pirate William Kidd.
Plucked from the bottom of the Indian Ocean, the 50kg 'silver ingot' garnered world headlines in May after it was unveiled to much fanfare before the Madagascan President.
But the claims by American explorer Barry Clifford that he had discovered the British pirate's lost loot and scuttled Adventure Galley were rubbished by UNESCO last night.
A team from the UN's cultural body visited the site to verify Clifford's claims and brusquely dismissed his find as a fake.
In a damning report, UNESCO said the 'silver' ingot was just a lead weight and that the supposed shipwreck was old rubble in a bay of Sainte Marie, a small island east of Madagascar.
The report said: 'What had been identified as the Adventure Galley of the pirate Captain Kidd has been found... to be a broken part of the Sainte-Marie port constructions.
'No ship remains have been found. Also the metal ingot, recovered apparently from the above site, is not a 'silver treasure', but is constituted of 95 per cent lead.
'It does not contain silver and has been identified as a lead-ballast piece.'
Clifford, who is making a television documentary based on his hunt, had unveiled the 'ingot' before Madagascan President Hery Rajaonarimampianina and the U.S. and British ambassadors.
Clifford's team reacted strongly to UNESCO's report, saying it stood by its claims.
'I believe UNESCO is going to take a very good thing away from Madagascar and the people of Sainte Marie,' said Clifford's son Brandon Clifford, who works with him. 'It's incredibly unfortunate.'
Documentary producer Sam Brown called UNESCO's report a 'disgrace' and said the UN body was motivated by its opposition to privately-funded research.
He also expressed surprise that the ingot was made of lead as Clifford was '100 per cent convinced it was silver'.
Don't call me a cynic, or paranoid, but I don't know if I would jump on the UN's bandwagon. I suspect that Barry Clifford has more expertise than the UN's experts. In the cause of "cultural property" the UN would have an ulterior motive to assist the Republic of Madagascar to swoop in and confiscate what was found.
Well, silver is silver and lead is lead, so at least the composition of that one bar can be settled easily with an independent investigation. Either way, The History Channel will come up with something to fill the time between commercials.
To read the complete article, see:
You can't Kidd a kidder! 'Silver ingot' from legendary pirate Captain Kidd's treasure horde discovered off Madagascar is a FAKE, say UN experts, who reveal it is 95% lead
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
HAS 'CAPT. KIDD'S TREASURE' BEEN FOUND?
Wayne Homren, Editor
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