2. Forty feet below, two million pounds lie buried.
3. See below for several theories.
Comments from Our Readers
I hope that soon the island is finally being left the way it is, it would make way more money as a touristic attraction IMO (specially if tourists can come down a cave and see a chest full of fake jewerly). It's obvious it doesn't want to be disturbed.
Fearless Leader, such a fascinating quiz this week!!!!!!!!! This stone was found on Oak Island in Lunenberg County in Nova Scotia. Supposedly the translation says "forty feet below, two million pounds lie buried". According to Mark Finnan Fell, the symbols were similar to the Coptic alphabet and when translated implied that the people needed to remember their God or else they would perish. Theories about this stone include information about the location of Shakespeare manuscripts, pirate treasure buried by Captain Kidd or Blackbeard or the location of Marie Antoinette's jewels. WOW!!!!!!!!! How about a field trip to Oak Island?
Grace Hertz and Mary Turner The Fabulous Flecthers
A natural sink hole sounds more plausible than treasure buried by Captian Kidd, the vikings, the Knights Templar, or from the lost city of Atlantis, etc. They seem to have left off Big Foot, the tooth fairy or Santa Claus.
There are many theories but the one I prefer is that it was a treasure hidden by the Knights Templar. On October 13th, 1307, the King and his ally the Pope ordered the Templars arrested. Those captured were subjected to the worst possible medieval tortures, often followed by being burned at the stake. The day the arrests were ordered, the Paris Temple had loaded its treasures on a wagon train which headed to the port city of La Rochelle. From there, it was placed aboard the Templar ships. The fleet set sail into the mists of history, never to be found.A hidden anagram obscured on a nearby tombstone forewarns, I tego arcana Dei! meaning "Be gone! I conceal the secrets of God".
I never heard about the money pit or the inscription before. Is this the same Oak Island about which there is now a TV series?
I used search terms of stone, translation, squares, triangles and varied them with a couple of others. I kept getting hits for Oak Island. At first I ignored them, but when it kept coming up I looked at them.
Have just set my DVR to watch a few episodes of the series "The Curse of Oak Island".
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Several failed google searches with words like ancient stone translation and such led me back to the contest page. Once I read the questions again, taking them into my advantage, googled" ancient stone found theory translation" and went to the images. One gif with the symbols and their respective letters appeared. I started translating the text and read "forty feet below" for the first 3 words, so I googled "forty feet below" and the suggestions came up with the rest of the phrase, so when typing the whole phrase, the wikipedia page of Oak Island was on top of my search list.
Oak Island is located off the coast of Nova Scotia, Canada. One day in 1795 a teenager named Daniel McGinnis made his way to the island to explore it. He happened upon an oak tree (one of many on the island) which caught his eye because hanging from one outstretched limb was an old pulley. The type used to raise and lower heavy items. It was situated directly over a large circular depression in the ground. Realizing what this might be he returned the next day
with two friends, Anthony Vaughan and John Smith. They began digging with picks and shovels. It was clear by the marks on the side of the hole that it had been dug my men and then refilled. . At the 2 foot mark they hit a layer of flagstones. They removed them and continued digging. At the 10 foot level they hit wood. Visions of pirate treasure danced in their heads. There were many stories circulating during that time of treasure belonging to the infamous pirate Captain Kidd being buried on some island. The wood turned out to be oak logs. Removing the logs revealed a two foot gap and then more dirt. As they continued digging they found another layer of logs at 20 feet and again at 30 feet. At this point they realized they needed more help and more equipment so they left the island with the idea of returning to finish what they started.
It would be 9 years before they returned. This time they were accompanied by Simeon Lynds, a businessman. He provided the labor force and financial backing to continue the dig. They found the site as they had left it. They began digging. At 40 feet they found a layer of charcoal. At 50 feet they found a layer of putty. At 60 feet, a layer of coconut fiber. At the 90 foot mark they discovered a stone tablet inscribed with symbols. These symbols were later translated to say “40 feet below, two million pounds lie buried.”
A few feet below the tablet the tunnel began to flood. Unable to bail the water from the tunnel faster than it filled the group gave up.
In 1849 the Truro company formed and dug the tunnel back down to 86 feet where it again flooded. At that point they sank a drill into the pit. The”pod auger” passed through a spruce platform at 98 feet, a 12-inch head space, 4 inches of oak, 22 inches of what was described as “metal in pieces”, 8 inches of oak, another 22 inches of metal, 4 inches of oak, another spruce layer, and finally into clay for 7 feet without striking anything else. It was believed that the auger passed through two 4 inch thick chests stacked on top of each other and filled with gold metal of some kind. Some of the stories mention a foreman named John Pitblado, who carefully examined an object that was caught up in the bit and then put it in his pocket. He soon disappeared and never
returned to the island but apparently tried to purchase it, without success. No one knows what he had found.
Because the water in the pit couldn't be removed fast enough an attempt was made to dig a second hole parallel the first and then tunnel over. It failed when that hole also filled with water. Pit Diagram
Later they would discover a drain system had been dug into the island and that the island itself contained an artificial beach. The drain consisted of 5 channels spread out like fingers and dug into the clay under the beach. They were lined with rocks, grass and coconut fiber. This in effect created a filtering system that kept the drains clear of debris all through the years. The 5 channels eventually converged together and provided the water that filled the pit 500 feet away at a depth of 95 to 100 feet. A clever booby trap. All attempts to block the channels failed.
There are many more details but in the interest of time I will
Cross section of "Money Pit"
just cover the highlights. Over the next 150+ years many more attempts were made by several companies to dig down to the treasure. So far all have failed. The treasure remains at the bottom of the aptly named Money Pit waiting to be discovered.
There are many theories as to what lies at the bottom of the pit and there are numerous websites dedicated to proving each theory. Some of the more popular ones are:
Captain Kidd’s treasure – By far the most popular theory but as more information is gathered, this is quickly becoming less likely. Blackbeard's (Edward Teach's) treasure is presented as another possibility. Teach claimed he buried his treasure "where none but Satan and myself can find it."
Combined booty of several pirates – An interesting theory presented by a fellow named Samuel Goodman. He believes there are seven maps that when put together reveal the exact location of the treasure. He says he’s linked the five maps he knows of together but does not have the final two. Some also hold to the theory that Kidd conspired with Henry Every and Oak Island was used as a pseudo community bank between the two.
Naval treasure - Another explanation proposes the pit was dug to hold treasure but that this was done by someone other than pirates, such as Spanish sailors from a wrecked galleon or British troops during the American Revolution. John Godwin argued that, given the apparent size and complexity of the pit, it was likely dug by French army engineers hoping to hide the contents of the treasury of the Fortress of Louisbourg after it fell to the British during the Seven Years' War.
The lost treasure of the Knights Templar – It has been asserted that the pit may have been dug by exiled Knights Templar and that it is the last resting place of the Holy Grail or even the holy Ark of the Covenant.
Hidden documents belonging to Francis Bacon - You may already be familiar with the idea that William Shakespeare didn’t have the education and ability to write the works that are attributed to him. Some suggest that they were actually written by Bacon and the proof for this lies at the bottom of the Money Pit.
In his 1953 book, The Oak Island Enigma: A History and Inquiry Into the Origin of the Money Pit, Penn Leary contended that the pit was used to hide manuscripts showing Francis Bacon to be the author of William Shakespeare's works. Leary's The Second Cryptographic Shakespeare, published in 1990, identified ciphers in Shakespeare's plays and poems pointing to Bacon's authorship. Author and researcher Mark Finnan elaborated
Site of Money Pit dig in 1931.
upon Leary's Oak Island theory. The theory was also used in the Norwegian book Organisten (The Organ Player) by Erlend Loe and Petter Amundsen.
French crown jewels - There is a story that, like most others regarding the island, lacks adequate archival sources, or any quoted sources at all, places the priceless jewels of Marie Antoinette (which are historically missing, save for some specimens in the collections of museums worldwide) on Oak Island. During the French Revolution, when the Palace of Versailles was stormed by revolutionaries in 1789, Marie Antoinette instructed her maid or a lady-in-waiting to take her prized possessions and flee. Supposedly, this maid fled to London with such royal items as Antoinette's jewels and perhaps other treasures, such as important artwork or documents, secreted away either on her person (one variation suggests sewn into her underskirts in the case of the jewels, though fails to mention artwork) or as her luggage; it is even said she was perhaps assisted by the remaining officers of the French navy during the uprising at the queen's behest.
The story then goes on to say that this woman fled further afield from London to Nova Scotia. Through the royal connections she would have had during her service to the queen at Versailles, she managed to contract the French navy to help construct the famed 'pit' on the island. This theory (as noted) lacks recognized documentation other than that which is folkloric in nature, involves the French navy, which (during the Revolution) had an uncertain level of authority, and would place the construction of the Oak Island structure very close to its initial discovery by Daniel McGinnis in 1795. Whether such a complex engineering effort could have been completed in that small space of time is questionable, though no official date of its construction exists.
Decoy - Given the complexity of the structure of the pit and that fact that no valuables
have ever been recovered from the site, it is possible that there is nothing there. This explanation posits that the pit may have been constructed by French engineers as a decoy to protect the real treasure from Louisburg. Three pieces of tangible evidence support this theory - 1. the tackle block hanging from the tree inviting investigation of the site; 2. the cipher stone which entices excavators to dig further and; 3. the fact the pit flooded after digging beyond the cipher stone. If the pit did, in fact, have treasure in it, it would not have been marked with an obvious object to invite others to investigate the site (the tackle block) and would not need to have a cipher stone indicating there was a large treasure in the pit as those for whom the treasure was intended would already know the treasure was there.
Nature Sinkhole - Critics argue that there is no treasure
and that the apparent pit is a natural phenomenon, likely a sinkhole connected to limestone passages or caverns. Suggestions that the pit is a natural phenomenon, specifically accumulated debris in a sinkhole or geological fault, date to at least 1911. There are numerous sinkholes on the mainland near the island, together with underground caves (to which the alleged booby traps are attributed).
The resemblance to a man-made pit has been suggested to be partly due to the texture of natural accumulated debris in sinkholes: "this filling would be softer than the surrounding ground, and give the impression that it had been dug up before". The appearance of "platforms" of rotten logs has been attributed to trees damaged by "blowdowns" (derechos) or wildfires, periodically falling or washing into the depression.
Another pit similar to the early description of the Money Pit was discovered in the area in 1949, when workmen were digging a well on the shore of Mahone Bay. At a point where the earth was soft, they found a pit, described as follows: "At about two feet down a layer of fieldstone was struck. Then logs of spruce and oak were unearthed at irregular intervals, and some of the wood was charred. The immediate suspicion was that another Money Pit had been found."
As the dig continues with no treasure found and no end in sight many are beginning to
think that nothing lies at the bottom of the pit. The website www.criticalenquiry. org/oakisland/OI_chapter1.shtml is probably one of the most detailed sites that insists it is all a clever hoax. The strongest argument for this is the lack of historical records prior to 1860 that can support the details of the story. It also explains how the Oak Island treasure story contains elements that are shared by many made up tales of the time (discovered by kids, treasure “just out of reach”, etc).