Barry Clifford is living every boy’s dream as an underwater explorer, and he struck gold– literally– when he discovered the only actual pirate treasure ever found on a sunken pirate ship. That’s the basis of the new National Geographic Real Pirates exhibit at Foxwoods, and Clifford talked all about it with Damon Scott!
When Barry Clifford and his team came across the Whydah, it was literally as exciting as discovering King Tut in ancient Egypt. This ship contained the first actual pirate treasure ever to be discovered! Most of the shipwrecks and their bounty that have been found at the bottom of the sea up until now are actually Spanish galleons, but the Whydah’s contents are confirmed ACTUAL pirate treasure, and that’s a big deal!
“[This] is like seeing the only Tyrannosaurus Rex in the world– What you’re looking at is the only pirate treasure that’s ever been discovered,” Clifford explained. “This is the stuff that we all dreamt of when we were kids.”
And what a haul it was! This is no dinky display at Foxwoods, there’s a LOT of treasure to be seen! “These pirates robbed over 50 ships,” Clifford stated. “So we’ve got this incredible collection of material from over 50 different ships they robbed.”
Clifford really is living the boyhood dream of adventure on the high seas… in fact, he’s already onto his next voyage to try to find Christopher Columbus’ Santa Maria in Haiti. Before he got back to work, he shared some words for other aspiring adventurers. “I think it’s important people follow their dreams, and go that little extra that you didn’t think you could do,” he said. “Kids should pay attention to that, because there’s a lot of different types of treasure out there, and they’re just waiting to be found.”
Real Pirates tells the compelling story of the Whydah, the first authenticated pirate shipwreck in U.S. waters, and the stories of the diverse people whose lives converged on the vessel. Sunk in a fierce storm off the coast of Cape Cod, Massachusetts in April 1717, the Whydah was located in 1984 and is still actively excavated today.
This is a one of a kind exhibition that features more than 200 authentic items recovered from the Whydah – real treasure last touched by real pirates. Ranging from canons and coins and the Ship’s massive bell to personal items that the pirates wore, visitors are given an unprecedented glimpse into unique economic, political and social circumstances of the early 18th-century Caribbean.