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Six Pirate Skeletons Discovered off Massachusetts Coast

Six pirate’s skeletons have been discovered off the coast of Wellfleet, Massachusetts where Capt. Samuel "Black Sam" Bellamy’s Whydah Gally went down in a 1717 storm.

The discovery was made by a team from the Whydah Pirate Museum, which has been looking for treasure from the Whydah Gally since underwater explorer Barry Clifford found the ship’s remains in 1984.

Clifford says they hope to identify the pirates. They already have DNA from one of Bellamy’s relatives in England. “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.

According to Wikipedia, The Whydah Gally was a 110-foot, square-rigged, three-masted galley ship that was originally built as a passenger, cargo, and slave vessel. On the return leg of her maiden voyage of the triangle trade, Whydah Gally was captured in the Caribbean by the pirate Captain Samuel "Black Sam" Bellamy.

Bellamy sailed Whydah Gally up the coast of colonial America, capturing other ships as he went along. On 26 April 1717, Whydah Gally was caught in a violent storm and wrecked off the coast of Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Only two of Whydah Gally's crew survived, along with seven others who were on a sloop captured by Bellamy earlier that day. Six of the nine survivors were hanged, two who had been forced into piracy were freed, and one Indian crewman was sold into slavery.

Whydah Gally and her treasure of captured pirate gold eluded discovery for over 260 years until 1984, when the wreck was found off the coast of Cape Cod, buried under 10 to 50 feet of sand, in depths ranging from 16 to 30 feet, spread for four miles, parallel to the Cape's easternmost coast. With the discovery of the ship's bell in 1985 and a small brass placard in 2013, both inscribed with the ship's name and maiden voyage date, Whydah Gally is the only fully authenticated Golden Age pirate shipwreck ever discovered.

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