On S07E22 (Marks X the Spot), following a tip from the ground penetrating radar survey of Samuel Ball’s property, the team uncover what they describe as a tunnel, which they speculate may have been related to the hiding of treasure near Ball’s house, or perhaps even to the Money Pit itself.


Jack Begley of the Oak Island team puzzling over Samuel Ball’s secret tunnel

The first thing to note about the tunnel, is that it is actually quite small. Judging from the television images, it seems to be about 40 cm wide, by perhaps 20 cm deep. So it clearly isn’t any sort of passage way for humans. As shown by an exploration using a snake camera, it is a long, low cavity, covered with flat stones. It is clear from the images that Samuel Ball didn’t carry gold to and from the Money Pit using this secret tunnel, and neither did anyone else.

I believe Reddit user cancantcat identifies the feature correctly, albeit in terms not quite elegant enough to appear on this high-minded blog, as a sewer line, or more accurately, a covered drain. Archaeologist Jennifer Bracewell and her team found a slightly larger but very similar structure at the 18th century Maison Nivard site on the island of Montreal in 2016.

If I remember correctly, the main question at Maison Nivard was whether this drain was intended mainly for domestic sewage, or simply for agricultural runoff. Personally, I tend to the run-off explanation for both the Maison Nivard and the Samuel Ball sites, as the slope and size of both drains seem to me insufficient to efficiently deal with household sewage. But that is pure speculation. Chemical analysis of the soil inside the drains might help answer the question.

Sherene Baugher, in a 2001 article in Northeast Historical Archaeology, provides an interesting overview of such drainage features on archaeological sites in the broader region. The illustrations on pages 30 and 36 are especially relevant to the interpretation of the drain near the Ball foundation.

I really hope Laird follows this up and finds out where the drain goes and whether/how it is connected to the house itself. Is it purely an agricultural drain? Is it domestic? Is it mostly for runoff or for sewage? I look forward to reading all about it in the excavation report.

6 thoughts on “Oak Island archaeology update : Samuel Ball’s secret tunnel

  1. Any thoughts of sam ball moving the treasure to his ‘hook island’? Just a thought. Since so many seekers are focused on oak island.


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