The information below touches upon some of the more memorable artefacts found on the island thus far. Recent searcher activity associated with the TV Show "Curse of Oak Island" has added greatly to this list which is not accounted for here.
We would however like to draw your attention to the new Research section called "Artefacts Found" courtesy of the late David Tobias and the Chester Municipal Heritage Society.
Over the course of 220 plus years Oak Island has been scoured by searchers both above and below. In most cases the searchers proceeded with a methodical purpose, careful to record and consider what evidence they found. The possible exception being the massive excavation in the 1960's which changed much of the typography around the money pit and on Smith's and the South Shore coves. What hidden evidence may have been destroyed at that time can never be known.
There have been many artefacts found on Oak Island and some likely found and never disclosed. Such as the nagging question left to us about what foreman, James Pitblado, may have slipped into his pocket from the auger bit in 1804?
Do any of these artefacts lend further credence to a particular theory? We shall leave that to each reader to decide.
Made of bone or Ivory was found at Smith’s Cove in 1885.
Thin brass was retrieved from borehole 21 in 1967 at a depth of 176'.
Pieces of broken china and porcelain were found on the island, and while this is not uncommon to find on any inhabited shores, the china on Oak Island was sometimes found at depths which suggest it didn't get there by natural means.
Literally tons of coconut fibre was claimed to be uncovered at Smith's cove during the discovery of the box drains as well as being brought up from the Money Pit at various levels. Was it dunnage for protecting a ship's cargo, used for caulking the hulls of ships, or needed for rope making? Or brought to the island for the express purpose of creating the massive filter for the flood tunnel drains? Carbon dating suggested an age for some of the fibre tested to be 700 plus years old with a 95% accuracy.
Early searchers built a cofferdam in 1850 in an effort to uncover and stop the flood tunnel system. They do not report evidence of an earlier cofferdam but later searches surmise that one must have been created by the original builders. A large 2' diameter by 65' log with roman numerals was found beneath the shores at Smith's Cove and suggested to be a part of the original works.
A number of coins have been found on oak Island and many more recently through the use of metal detectors. Two of the oldest are believed to be an 11 Maravedis dated 1598, found by a student on the beach at Smith's cove in 1965 and a similar 8 Maravedis circa 1600, found in the swamp in 2016. It should be noted that Spanish money was often used in Nova Scotia's early days owing to the trade which existed with the Caribbean.
Drill holes in stones were an early component of surveying and often used to indicate a point of turn. Those discovered on Oak island were attributed to the architects of the mystery but it would be interesting to know if they map to the original sub-division of the Island's plots?
During the 1804 boring operations in the supposed chamber below 98' we are told that three links, resembling those of an old watch chain were retrieved.
See the Inscribed Stone article for details about this important stone retrieved somewhere between the 80-90' level in the Money Pit.
Numerous pieces of metal were retrieved from the Money Pit and from other drilling operations on the Island. There were bits of metal encrusted with a cement-like material, hand forged wire, pieces of chain, nails, and recently a spike from the swamp. Many pieces were sent for carbon testing which often indicated a low carbon content consistent with early manufacture.
Nolan's Cross is a large cross shape formed as a result of six large boulders found on the Inland by searcher, surveyor, and Oak Island landowner Fred Nolan. The overall dimensions of the cross is 360' wide by 867' tall. Much has been speculated as to their purpose from simple boundary demarcation lines to some rather complex geometry and Baconian/Templar connections.
Several other stones were found on the Island with messages or cryptic symbols. This includes the "1704" rock, what has been called the H+O stone, a stone with the letter "G" said to resemble that used in Freemasonry, and others thought to be broken from a larger stone with indecipherable meaning.
Another of Oak Island's tantalizing clues is a piece of parchment extracted from an auger bit during an 1897 drilling effort at the 153' level. A tiny ball, no larger than a grain of rice may have been easily missed if not for the careful scrutiny of the auger borings by Dr. A.E. Porter of Amherst. With the aid of a magnifying glass he was able to flatten the object which turned out to be parchment with ink. It remains a mystery as to how and why parchment came to exist so deep in the Money Pit.
An old pair or wrought iron scissors was recovered from an area beneath what was believed to be the flood tunnel system at Smith's Cove. The discovery was made in 1967 and identified as Spanish-American design prior to the mid 1800's.
The mysterious stone triangle was discovered by a Captain Welling while exploring the south shore of Oak Island in 1897. In the grass, just above the high-water mark, a triangle of beach stones formed an equilateral triangle pointing true north. On the baseline, four feet from the west and six from the east ran a medial line connected to the apex. If extended, this line ran directly through the Money Pit, some 210' away. A curved line of rocks at the base made the mysterious triangle resemble a large sextant. The true purpose of the stone triangle is not fully understood.
Beginning with the first tier of oak logs found in the Money Pit at the 10' level there has been numerous occasions where wood has been extracted from, encountered, or speculated to exist on Oak Island. Places, in many instances, where wood should simply not exist. On many occasions the wood was sent for analysis and carbon dating. While the accuracy of dating wood does not pinpoint an exact date in time, the dating results gave ages from hundreds to well over a thousand years. Once again making it difficult, to draw any clear conclusions.