Season 10, Episode 3 of The Curse of Oak Island begins roughly halfway between the Money Pit area and the Garden Shaft, where the crew is overseeing the drilling of Borehole A5N-13.5. Surveyor Steve Guptill and geologist Terry Matheson explain to Alex Lagina that data retrieved from adjacent shafts indicates that A5N-13.5 likely intersects the probable tunnel discovered back in Season 10, Episode 1.
In a later scene, drillers Mike Tedford and Colton Robinson present the team with a core sample taken from the relatively shallow depth of 55 feet. They explain that the drill encountered a large underground void at that depth – an unexpected development at which the treasure hunters express some surprise. Although the void proves to be ten to twenty feet deep, the next core sample the drillers are able to extract begins at a depth of 85 feet, thirty feet below the top of the void. As the treasure hunters examine this new sample, Steve Guptill remarks that the void evokes a 65-foot-deep air pocket which they found the previous year in Borehole AB13, located just three feet to the west, and suggests that the two voids might be physically connected to each other. Marty Lagina then speculates that the void might be part of an underground chamber constructed by the original Money Pit builders and connected to the Money Pit by a tunnel, stating, “I don’t know what else would be at 55 feet.” He elaborates on this theory in a later interview, stating, “I think the offset chamber theory is the only thing, really, that makes sense. If somebody wanted to hide something where nobody would get it, they would have dug this deep ‘Illusion Hole’, for lack of a better word, but the real treasure would be offset somewhere.”
Tedford and Robinson continue to sink A5N-13.5 throughout the episode. Terry Matheson examines a core sample taken from a depth of 108 feet and observes that much of the soil is loose, which he says is indicative of proximity to an underground structure.
As Tedford and Robinson sink their drill deeper into the earth, the water in the Garden Shaft begins to bubble. Terry Matheson suggests this is an indication that the Garden Shaft is connected to the tunnel discovered in the Season 10 premiere. The treasure hunters proceed to take a sample of the water in the Garden Shaft in the hope that the aqueous gold found in nearby boreholes may have leached into the shaft through whatever underground channel the air bubbles travelled.
Lot 7 Cloak Pin Analysis
Meanwhile, Rick Lagina, Gary Drayton, and heavy equipment operator Billy Gerhardt meet with gemologist Peter Schneirla at the Oak Island Research Centre. The treasure hunters show Schneirla the supposed cloak pin which Drayton and Jack Begley found on Lot 7 the previous episode, which has been shorn of the rust which initially encrusted it. The gemologist concurs with Drayton’s assessment that the item is a pin. He further states that its blue center stone appears to be made of glass – a notion which he confirms after examining the jewel under a microscope and finding an air bubble therein. He declares that the housing appears to contain iron, and admits that, although he has examined jewelry from many different time periods, this pin’s mounting is unlike anything he’s ever seen before. He concludes that the artifact was probably crafted in the 1700s or earlier. The narrator then reminds us of the glass brooch found on Lot 21 in Season 6, Episode 1, which gemologist Charles Lewton-Brain, in Season 6, Episode 2, declared to be “handmade” and “not modern”.
Rick Lagina expresses astonishment that such an object was found on the western half of the island, far from Smith’s Cove and the Money Pit area, and suggests that it might be an indication that well-to-do island visitors in centuries past had a good reason to spend time on the western drumlin.
The Copper Tube and the Bell Metal
In another scene, Gary Drayton and Jack Begley go metal detecting on Lot 8. They dig up two pieces of what appears to be a broken copper tube, each of which contain some soft substance which Begley suggests might be parchment. The narrator then reminds us of the fragment of parchment brought up by the Oak Island Treasure Company during a drilling operation in the Money Pit area in 1897, which had the letters ‘vi’ written on it in India ink. The core sample which contained this artifact was taken from a depth of 154-161 feet.
Next, the treasure hunters uncover a strange slightly-curved square of metal bearing some raised markings, which Drayton suggests might be a piece of bell metal – a bronze alloy once used in the construction of bells and cannons. The narrator then reminds us of another piece of bell metal found on Lot 4 the previous year, which was identified by Dr. Christa Brosseau, an associate professor of Chemistry at Halifax’s St. Mary’s University.
LIDAR Scan on Lot 32
Later in the episode, Jack Begley meets with geophysical scanning experts Keith Hollender and Robert Seddon of Phoenix Aerial Productions on Lot 32, at the southwestern corner of the Oak Island swamp. Using a special quadcopter, Hollender and Seddon proceed to conduct a LIDAR scan of the surface of Lot 32, hoping that the result of their operation might reveal surficial anomalies indicating the presence of underground structures or artifacts. “The objective,” explains Rick Lagina in a separate interview, “is that we can connect a road-like feature to an X-marks-the-spot location, whether that be in the Money Pit or a currently unknown location.
Bronze Coin / Trading Token Analysis
Later, in the Oak Island Interpretive Centre, Gary Drayton and Charles Barkhouse present the bronze coin found on Lot 7 in the Season 10 premiere to numismatist (monetary currency expert) Sandy Campbell. Campbell immediately says that the rectangular artifact does not have the shape of a traditional coin. Upon examining its faces under a magnifying glass, he is unable to find any markings indicative of a coin. Using a digital scale, Campbell then determines that the artifact weighs exactly four grams, and expresses some astonishment at the roundness of the number. He concludes that the metal piece is probably not a coin, but suggests that it may be a barter token, and opines that it is at least 500 years old. Campbell’s dating reminds Barkhouse of the theory that Portuguese explorers are behind the Oak Island mystery.
The Garden Shaft Rehabilitation Project
Gary and Charles proceed to relay Campbell’s analysis to Craig Tester, Doug Crowell, and the Lagina brothers in an informal meeting in the Oak Island Research Centre. The other treasure hunters then inform Gary and Charles that a Canadian underground mining company called Dumas Contracting Ltd. has agreed to consider re-cribbing the Garden Shaft.
At the end of the episode, the treasure hunters meet in the War Room for a video conference with representatives of Dumas Mining, including Cameron Carter, the Vice President of Engineering and Business Development; Tony Linton, whom Carter describes as Dumas’ “in house shaft-sinking technical expert”; and a four-man operational team based out of Timmins, Ontario. The representatives explain that they intend to rebuild the original wooden Garden Shaft and inject grout into the surrounding soil to prevent water leakage and ensure the shaft’s long-term stability – a project which they estimate will take 50 days to complete. When the project is finished, the treasure hunters will be able to descend the Garden Shaft and physically enter Oak Island’s underground world for the first time since Mike Huntley’s dive down the DMT Shaft in Season 5, Episode 15.
“The Garden Shaft Rehab Project will provide several unique opportunities,” says Rick Lagina in a later interview. “You can either tunnel or expand the shaft. You can go deeper with the shaft. To me, it’s always about the eyes and boots approach, and we will have a legitimate, for the first time, eyes and boots approach to the Money Pit.” Marty Lagina elaborates on his elder brother’s statement in his own interview, stating, “The idea of rehabilitating a shaft so we can get underground is exciting because actually being there, actually getting down and seeing things is always the best data. I think we can trace the gold in the water. Then we can find the treasure, if it’s here, and figure out what exactly happened on this island.”