Whydah Pirate Museum
When Captain Samuel “Black Sam” Bellamy’s pirate ship hit a sandbar and wrecked off Cape Cod on April 26, 1717, many men lost their lives. Some bodies washed up on shore. Others, including Bellamy, disappeared into the sea, never to be seen again.
But new evidence recently unveiled at the Whydah Pirate Museum in West Yarmouth may provide answers to a centuries-old mystery, as archeologists extricated a human bone recovered from the wreck and sent it to a lab to undergo DNA testing.
The piece of femur bone, which measures almost a foot long, was displayed for the first time at the press conference. Forensic science professors at the University of New Haven are working to extract a high-quality DNA sample from the bone in the hopes of proving it belonged to Bellamy.
“We think it could be him because the skeletal remains were found close to an ornamental pistol we believe belonged to Bellamy,” said Casey Sherman, an author who is making a movie about the shipwreck.
Sherman said he will travel to the United Kingdom to retrieve a DNA sample from one of Bellamy’s living descendants. If the DNA test shows the bone belonged to Bellamy, arrangements can be made for a burial.
“This pirate has been at sea for 301 years,” Sherman said, “and we would like to take him home for burial in Devon, England, and return him to his family.”
If the bone turns out not to be Bellamy’s, Sherman hopes to find the site in Wellfleet where 100 of the other shipwrecked pirates were reportedly buried after their bodies washed up on shore. That mass grave has yet to be found, Sherman said.
The bone fragment had long been encased in a hardened mass known as a concretion. Christopher Macort, director of exhibits at the museum, said it took 300 hours to remove the bone from the concretion, which weighed 3,600 pounds an d helped protect and preserve the bone. “They’re literally time capsules,” Macort said.
Macort said DNA test results should be ready in five to six weeks.
Barry Clifford, who discovered the Whydah shipwreck site in 1984, can’t wait to see what the DNA reveals.
“Was he Bellamy?” Clifford said. “Was he Native American? Was he African? We don’t know.”
That beautiful plant with white flowers that appeared out of nowhere in your backyard might be trouble.Continue reading »
While the MBTA ponders the next stop for its Mattapan service, some train enthusiasts are seeking to preserve the historic cars.Continue reading »
Police cited the driver for operating with an unsafe load.Continue reading »
A burst of bright colors could be seen in the sky in parts of Massachusetts and New Hampshire on Wednesday afternoon.Continue reading »
Arrival time predictions for some MBTA buses are far off. The agency says it’s working to fix the problem.Continue reading »
With speed rarely seen in the State House, the Mass. House took a preliminary vote on a bill that is aimed at avoiding a bitter electoral showdown over three ballot questions this November.Continue reading »
The first weekend of summer is almost upon us, but the forecast for the Boston area leaves a lot to be desired.Continue reading »
State lawmakers want schools to improve civics instruction, and they’re debating whether civics projects should be a graduation requirement.Continue reading »
Stephen P. Fagerberg was arraigned in Roxbury Municipal Court Wednesday on a single count of larceny over $1,200 in a continuous scheme.Continue reading »