Ex­plor­ers stum­ble on Cap­tain Kidd’s riches

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - TRENDS TIMES -

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.”

© Graph­i­caAr­tis/Cor­bis

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