| 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.