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Bones of Legendary Pirate May Have Been Found

Experts hope to identify the 'Robin Hood of the Sea'
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 12, 2021 7:20 AM CST
Updated Feb 14, 2021 6:30 AM CST
Bones of 'Robin Hood of the Sea' May Be Found
A model of the Whydah Gally.   (Wikimedia)

(Newser) – Experts may be close to identifying the remains of a legendary pirate whose treasure-filled ship went down off the coast of Cape Cod 300 years ago. At least six skeletons were pulled recently from the Whydah Gally and are now being examined by the man who in 1984 discovered the wreck: Barry Clifford of the Whydah Pirate Museum. Captain Samuel "Black Sam" Bellamy plundered dozens of ships along the US coast, with Forbes in 2008 estimating his take at $120 million in 2008 dollars; it declared him the most successful pirate in history. Experts thought they'd found the Englishman, one of 40 sailors whose bodies were never found, in 2018 when a bone was located in a hardened mass of sand and rock at the wreck. But it belonged to a man of Eastern Mediterranean origins, WGN reports.

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During that investigation, Whydah team member Casey Sherman identified Bellamy's DNA through a bloodline descendant. The DNA will now be compared to the newly discovered remains, which were also found in hardened masses, or concretions, at "the world's only authenticated pirate wreck," per the Boston Globe. The ship sank in 1717 when Bellamy was just 28. "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 says, noting a third of the crew members were of African origin. He says Bellamy, dubbed "Robin Hood of the Sea," was a benevolent captain. The team hopes to work with the University of New Haven's department of forensic sciences on identification. (Read more pirates stories.)

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