History will air a series about the alleged discovery of Captain Kidd’s pirate treasure in a shipwreck off the coast of Madagascar.
October Films is producing an eight x 60-minute series about the expedition, which uncovered “what could be the biggest silver ingot ever recovered from a historic wreck,” according to producers.
Last week, a marine archaeology team led by American explorer Barry Clifford and funded by the U.S. cable network found an 100-lbs ingot (pictured) believed to mark the final resting place of legendary pirate Captain William Kidd’s flagship, the Adventure Galley.
Kidd was active as a pirate in the late 17th century and was executed in London in 1701. Markings on the ingot date to the relevant time period but further analysis is required to confirm the preliminary findings.
“All the evidence points to it being part of Captain Kidd’s treasure,” Clifford said in a statement. “It’s a huge find for my team but an even bigger find for Madagascar and world history.”
The United Nations is sending underwater heritage experts to the site to investigate Clifford’s findings.
Last year, Clifford and October Films claimed they found the wreck of the Santa Maria, the flagship used by Christopher Columbus on his first voyage to Western Hemisphere, off the coast of northern Haiti.
UNESCO later determined the wreckage was not the Santa Maria and belonged to a more recent vessel after finding copper nails and spikes at the site.
The Associated Press has reported that UNESCO is concerned Clifford’s team may have damaged the Captain Kidd site, alleging they did not have an qualified archaeologist and did not present a proper plan to Madagascar authorities prior to the dive.
October Films, in a statement supplied to realscreen, said: “The exploration of Ile Ste Marie, which led to the discovery of the silver ingot, was carried out by a team of experienced underwater explorers led by a respected marine archaeologist, who has worked on numerous government-funded expeditions. The detailed plan to explore the site was drawn up by archaeologists and submitted to, and approved by, the Madagascan government before diving started. Marine archaeologists were on hand at all times to supervise the dive.
History is also funding the renovation of a museum on Madagascar and building a laboratory to preserve the artifacts. The survey data, analysis and discoveries will be given to the African country’s government for preservation.
“It’s painstaking but very revealing work, being undertaken in hugely challenging conditions,” said executive producer Jos Cushing said in a statement. “And though they have only scratched the surface of two wrecks, their first discoveries are beyond our wildest hopes.”
The yet-to-be-titled Captain Kidd special will air later this year. Cushing is exec producing with Adam Bullmore for October films. Julian Hobbs and Stephen Mintz serve as executive producers for History.