The Farce of Hoax Island is my parody title for my ongoing coverage of the hype and publicity surrounding the History Channel series The Curse of Oak Island, returning for its fourth season this month.
In conjunction with the new season, Xplrr Media announced plans to offer a weekly Facebook video discussion of each episode. In a Facebook broadcast Sunday night leading up to the Xplrr Media Curse of Oak Island coverage, J. Hutton Pulitzer announced what he claims to be the discovery of a Roman soldier’s grave near Oak Island in Canada. He offered no proof and no details to support his analysis or his claims. Pulitzer claims that he will provide full details in an upcoming broadcast in an unspecified format, but he did not provide information about the broadcast except to say that he and Xplrr Media business partner Scott Wolter were preparing a two-hour documentary about Oak Island, stones, and other typical fringe history topics. He added that he and Wolter will be meeting in Minnesota this month, though he did not indicate whether this would be at the same time that Wolter will be meeting with Graham Hancock to discuss the role of Atlantis in Pleistocene history.
Here is a transcript of Pulitzer’s claim, as given in the broadcast:
I’m going to go ahead and tell you an exclusive here that nobody knows. But I’m going to go ahead and tell you because we’re the source of it, and you’re not going to see it till we release it. But the most important thing I believe that has ever been found near Oak Island, in the proximity of Oak Island, is a burial site, and in that burial site is a human being. And in that burial site of the human being, this human being is in full Roman armor, including weapons and shield. That is the single most exciting thing found in near conjunction to Oak Island. You will see that soon, not on Curse of Oak Island but in a broadcast tied to something else, which obviously will deal with Oak Island. And then you’ll have to ask yourself how in the hell did a Roman and Roman weaponry and gear get buried where it was found.
Pulitzer went on criticize Curse of Oak Island, its executive producer Kevin Burns (of Ancient Aliens fame), and the production company, Prometheus Entertainment, claiming that they failed include him in the show’s third season despite signing a contract to do so. He went on to say that he would love to hear Burns answer for why the program is not investigating this alleged find of a “Roman” soldier.
Pulitzer claims that the “Roman” burial supports his identification of what Curse of Oak Island determined was a poorly made souvenir sword allegedly found in the waters off Oak Island many decades ago as a genuine Roman artifact. He dismissed evidence that many other examples of such swords exist from the modern era by falsely alleging that the modern swords are made of “wood” or “plastic.” They are artificially aged brass or bronze.
I asked the Nova Scotia government’s Communities, Culture and Heritage division yesterday whether any permits have been issued for the excavation of human remains, and whether this find has been reported to the appropriate government authorities. Nova Scotia Communities, Culture and Heritage told me this morning that they are looking into the situation and will let me know what they find.
However, because Pulitzer in his rambling discussion expanded the definition of what is “near” Oak Island to include not just Nova Scotia but the entire province of New Brunswick, and perhaps also adjacent areas such as Prince Edward Island and the U.S. state of Maine, there is really no way to tell where he alleges a “Roman” soldier has been found, except to say that it is somewhere in eastern Canada or perhaps northern New England.
The burial of a Roman solider in full battle armor would be contrary to standard Roman funerary practice. Romans typically cremated their dead. That is not to say that soldiers in extremis might act differently from standard Roman practice, or even that the burial was intentional, but it does raise questions that Pulitzer’s teaser failed to answer.
I am also concerned that in his Facebook statement, Pulitzer relates his belief that the Nova Scotia government is working to suppress the truth about Pre-Columbian Old World visitations to Oak Island. He alleged that the government was actively involved in preventing researchers from uncovering the truth, and this seems to suggest a potential storyline. One can easily envision someone interpreting geophysical scans to suggest “Roman” style armor on a burial, followed by a government refusal to allow excavation.
Pulitzer’s allegation that the Romans were involved in Oak Island is not unique to him. Lionel and Patricia Fanthorpe proposed, for example, that Romans and Welshman teamed up to dig the Oak Island Money Pit to hide Welsh gold after the fall of the Western Empire. Pulitzer said that he believed that Oak Island was the final resting place of either the Phoenician god Melqart (whom he calls “Hercules the Navigator”), the Carthaginian explorer Hanno (who explored Africa, as recorded in a famous periplus), or Alexander Helios (the child of Cleopatra VII and Mark Antony).
I'm an author and editor who has published on a range of topics, including archaeology, science, and horror fiction. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
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