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More artifacts recovered from Whydah shipwreck site

These bracelets were recovered from the site of the Whydah shipwreck.Brandon Clifford

Centuries-old bronze bracelets are the latest treasures to be recovered from the site of the Whydah shipwreck.

The famed pirate ship sank off the coast of Wellfleet in April 1717 and wasn’t discovered until the 1980s by explorer Barry Clifford.

Clifford said his son, Brandon, found the bracelets, and they’re now on display at the Whydah Pirate Museum in West Yarmouth.

“They’re really important, historically,” Clifford said.

Brandon Clifford said the hundreds of manilla bracelets date to the 17th century and were originally from West Africa.

“Most likely they were used as currency in the slave markets and that’s how they ended up on the Whydah,” Brandon Clifford said in an e-mail. “There are many more yet to be recovered, pretty intriguing stuff.”


The Whydah was used as a slave ship before it was captured by Captain Samuel “Black Sam” Bellamy and became a pirate ship.

Barry Clifford said the divers have wrapped up for the season earlier than they’d hoped because of the weather. They had hoped to dive through the month of October, but that wasn’t possible, he said.

“The winds were just so erratic,” he said.

Clifford and his team said they plan to return to the site in the spring. The Whydah shipwreck still holds many secrets that have yet to be revealed.

“They’ve barely scratched the surface of what’s there,” he said. “God knows what we’re going to find next year.”

Emily Sweeney can be reached at esweeney@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @emilysweeney.