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Six skeletons unearthed from wreck of pirate ship Whydah off Cape Cod coast

The Whydah Pirate Museum uncovered six skeletons on board a shipwreck on Wednesday.Whydah Pirate Museum

The investigative team at the Whydah Pirate Museum in West Yarmouth on Wednesday announced what it said was the discovery of the remains of at least six skeletons recently unearthed from the wreck site of the Whydah, a pirate ship that sank in waters off Wellfleet in 1717.

The remains, identified in several large concretions, are currently being examined by underwater explorer Barry Clifford and his team, the museum said in a statement. Clifford, the statement said, in 1984 discovered the Whydah Galley, which remains the world’s only authenticated pirate wreck.

“We hope that modern, cutting-edge technology will help us identify these pirates and reunite them with any descendants who could be out there,” Clifford said in the statement.


Another member of the Whydah team, author Casey Sherman, a senior vice president at Reagan Communications who released Wednesday’s statement, obtained Whydah Captain Sam Bellamy’s DNA through a bloodline descendent in England in 2018 and had the sample tested against a human bone found in the wreck, the release said.

“That bone was identified as a human male with general ties to the Eastern Mediterranean area,” Sherman said in the statement. “These newly found skeletal remains may finally lead us to Bellamy as we now have his DNA.”

The statement said the concretion holding the remains of the Whydah pirate is now on display at the museum, which has a website at

Whydah investigators, the statement said, hope to continue partnering with forensic scientists at the Henry C. Lee College of Criminal Justice and Forensic Sciences at the University of New Haven, led by Professor Tim Palmbach, Dr. Claire L. Glynn, and Dr. David San Pietro.

Travis Andersen can be reached at