Explorers stumble on Captain Kidd’s riches
Sainte Marie (Madagascar): A team of American explorers on Thursday claimed to have discovered silver treasure of the infamous 17th-century Scottish pirate William Kidd in a shipwreck off Madagascar coast.
Marine archaeologist Barry Clifford said he found a 50-kilogramme silver bar in Kidd’s ship, the “Adventure Gallery”, close to the island of Sainte Marie. But Unesco criticized Clifford and said he may have damaged a precious archeological site in his hunt for treasure.
Captain Kidd, born in Scotland in about 1645, was first employed by British authorities to hunt pirates, before he himself turned into a ruthless criminal of the high seas. After looting a ship laden with valuable cargo in 1698, he was imprisoned and executed in Wapping in 1701. The fate of his booty has remained a mystery, sparking intrigue and excitement for generations of treasure-hunters.
Clifford, who was filmed by a documentary crew lifting the silver ingot off the sea bed, handed it over to Madagascan President Hery Rajaonarimampianina. “We discovered 13 ships in the bay,” Clifford said, adding, “We’ve been working on two of them over the last 10 weeks. One of them is the Fire Dragon, the other is Captain Kidd’s ship.” October Films, the British production team behind the project, said the silver ingot was of the correct date and appeared similar to other ingots linked to Kidd. Archaeologist John de Bry said the shipwreck and silver bar were “irrefutable proof that this is indeed the treasure of the Adventure Gallery.”