Family Of Explorers Spot Some Weird ‘Rocks’ And Realize They’re Worth Thousands

Long, gray beards, rusty picks, dusty overalls: that’s pop culture’s idea of a classic gold prospector. People who dig for gold may sound like figments from the past, but some modern-day hunters are finally getting some luck…and striking it rich. The Poseidon Crew, a gold-hunting team on the Discovery Channel show Aussie Gold Hunters, had faced the worst gold hunting conditions possible, only to spot odd-looking “rocks” that ended up changing their lives forever. 

Every gold prospector knows that there are easier ways to get rich. It sounds antiquated, sifting through miles of dirt for gold fragments that may not even be valuable. Why bother at all? For the Poseidon Crew, that’s an easy question to answer.

Aussie Gold Hunters/Discovery Channel

“It’s a dream. It’s a dream everyone wants to do,” said Paul, a new member of the Poseidon Crew. Aussie Gold Hunters follows modern-day prospectors who live by the same belief. Anyone can be rich, as long as they put in the work…and these gold prospectors don’t take “work” lightly.

Aussie Gold Hunters/Discovery Channel

Just because modern technology has made gold hunting easier doesn’t mean it’s a walk in the park. It’s hours of grueling work in that famous Australian heat, and most of the time the hunters end the day covered in dust and with little to no gold.

Aussie Gold Hunters/Discovery Channel

To make matters worse, the Poseidon Crew — AKA brothers-in-law Brent Shannon and Ethan West — aren’t exactly known for their good fortune. During their time on Aussie Gold Hunting, they’d faced some of the most dreaded conditions a gold hunter can encounter. 

Aussie Gold Hunters/Discovery Channel

They’d endured a rare rain-soaked dig site that made scanning the landscape nearly impossible, and they were stalked by rival prospectors who hoped to piggyback the Crew in order to find gold. All the while, they had their season gold-finding goal looming overhead.

Aussie Gold Hunters/Discovery Channel

If the Poseidon Crew couldn’t find enough gold to cover the costs of their gold hunting, then they’d be in trouble. Most days, they were happy just to find a couple thousand dollars worth of gold. On some days, they’d barely find anything at all.

Aussie Gold Hunters/Discovery Channel

After so many setbacks, the Crew really needed a win, and they hoped that having Ethan’s father, Paul, along for the ride would help their chances. While scanning a particularly barren landscape in Tarnagulla, Paul heard a sound from his metal detector that gave him chills.

Joe Raedle/Newsmakers

It’s a sound all modern-day gold prospectors can only dream of: the whirring of metal being detected beneath the surface. With that, the Crew started digging, and were shocked to unearth a sizable chunk of gold. Still, the Crew didn’t take the money and run.

Aussie Gold Hunters/Discovery Channel

Every gold prospector knows that one good find is usually followed by another. With that in mind, the Crew kept sweeping the landscape with their detectors, this time with renewed confidence. Even so, they were elated when Ethan’s detector started to beep.

Aussie Gold Hunters/Discovery Channel

“I’m not trying to get excited right now,” Ethan said. But with all the misfortunes the Crew had overcome, the possibility of a huge haul wasn’t lost on any of them. It could mean recouping their losses, and maybe even making a profit.

With incredible energy, the men started digging. They did so with an excavator tool, which helped them make thin dirt layers that are easy for the metal detectors to analyze. They couldn’t help but think about a century beforehand, when miners first plundered the earth…

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs/Netflix

There were rumors of gold beneath the ground 100 years before, and men traveled from far and wide in hopes of striking it rich. But since they didn’t have the metal detectors or digging tools like the Poseidon Crew, they had to get down and dirty.

Bettmann/Getty

That meant days of digging under the scorching Australian sun, and most of the time, the men were forced to walk away empty-handed. The beeping of Ethan’s detector meant that all those centuries ago, the men were possibly mere centimeters away from gold.

Real World Survivor

But if there’s one rule every gold digger knows, it’s to never get your hopes up. “Don’t build yourself up,” Brent warned the others. All too often, the whirring of the gold detectors simply come from “rubbish” and not gold. This time, though, something was different.

Aussie Gold Hunters/Discovery Channel

The gold nugget they’d already found had made them thousands of dollars richer than they’d been that morning. What were the odds that it would happen again? They scanned over the area once more, praying to hear that high-pitched whirring sound…

Aussie Gold Hunters/Discovery Channel

So when the detector started whirring, they couldn’t help but cheer with excitement. There, unearthed by the excavator, was a huge gold nugget, mercifully intact after centuries underground. “Mate! It’s a chunk again!” Brent exclaimed.

Aussie Gold Hunters/Discovery Channel

“You get one every now and then,” Brent explained breathlessly. “We’ve got two!” The two gold pieces, which weigh around 7.75 pounds together, aren’t just an astonishing find for the Poseidon Crew. It’s the biggest gold find in the history of Aussie Gold Hunting.

Aussie Gold Hunters/Discovery Channel

While the men celebrated over their amazing discovery, Brent kept thinking about the gold prospectors that came before him. “Nobody has seen these pieces of gold for millions of years,” he said. “It’s a feeling like no other.” But what was the gold actually worth?

Aussie Gold Hunters/Discovery Channel

The first gold nugget they found was pennies compared to their new discovery. Combined, the gold they found was worth around $250,000 US dollars, and probably more if sold to a collector. For the Crew, this money meant their hard work was finally paying off…

Aussie Gold Hunters/Discovery Channel

…literally and figuratively. “This is a turning point for us,” Ethan said, referring to the weeks of disappointments they’d experienced. And for Paul, the astounding discovery made his short tenure with the Crew even more rewarding. “I’ve had one hell of a ride,” he said. 

Aussie Gold Hunters/Discovery Channel

While the Poseidon Crew unearthed gold chunks, Rick and Marty Lagina were tracking a huge haul of their own. These successful businessmen founded Terra Energy and also started a vineyard in their home state of Michigan. What they’re really known for, however, is treasure hunting.

Back in 1965, the young brothers picked up a Reader’s Digest and learned about the mystery of Oak Island. Instantly, they were hooked by its dark past and rumors of untold riches. This obsession went on to define their entire lives.

The site has been a hotbed for fortune seekers since 1799 when farmers dug up organized layers of flagstone and wooden beams. Quite a few people thought the materials were part of a hidden vault, leading Oak Island to be bought and sold numerous times over the years.

Even future president Franklin Delano Roosevelt took a crack at treasure hunting there in his younger days. His efforts ultimately proved unsuccessful, but he followed subsequent expeditions for the rest of his life.

Wikimedia Commons

Decades later, Rick and Marty own most of the island — located right off the coast of Nova Scotia — and they work relentlessly to uncover the mysteries of the island. But was there even any treasure to find?

Past adventurers uncovered intriguing artifacts including an anchor and digging tools — many of which pre-dated the settling of the island. This led the Laginas and other historians to believe that a number of lost treasures were still buried somewhere deep in Oak Island.

Many of these curious objects were discovered in the deep waters of the so-called Money Pit. Canadian settlers found it hundreds of years ago, though nobody can say if this deep well is natural or man-made. Many suspect there’s ancient treasure hundreds of feet below — we just haven’t been able to reach it yet.

For instance, various legends claim Marie Antoinette’s jewels and lost William Shakespeare manuscripts were hidden on the island for safekeeping. Other rumors suggest a number of pirates stashed their loot there.

By January 2019, Rick and Marty hadn’t located these finds — but they were getting closer than ever. Their discoveries suggested that they were on the brink of a huge windfall; at the same time, valuables weren’t the only thing they were looking out for.

Oak Island is as filled with danger as it is with treasure. Over its troubled history, six people have died while excavating the island. Regardless of whether these were due to natural accidents or booby traps, the Laginas knew they had to be on their guards.

Fortunately for them, they assembled a crack team of expert historians and treasure hunters: Craig Tester was unmatched in leading digs and locating artifacts, while Dan and David Blankenship knew more about Oak Island’s history than anyone in the world.

Though it was a daunting task, Rick and Marty made it their life’s missions to conquer Oak Island. Just about every day since 2006, they’ve set out to uncover possibly the biggest treasure of all time. They haven’t come back empty-handed either.

Their first monumental find came during a routine dive in 2013. The Lagina brothers sent some divers into the water with metal detectors. Their hearts leaped when one broke through the murky surface and announced he’d come across something.

It was a copper coin, dating back to 17th century Spain! Strangely enough, Marty and Rick couldn’t track down any other coins in the vicinity. Was there some cache they were missing or was this just one coin dropped centuries ago?

Rick and Marty were used to roadblocks, however. They once found a ceremonial Roman sword on the island, which blew them all away. Unfortunately, they soon figured out it was actually a fairly modern reproduction. But the determined brothers kept digging — and it paid off.

A couple years later, the Lagina’s team unearthed an object that might just rewrite the history books. They found a small metal cross that could’ve been forged as early as 1200, long before the first Christians made landfall in North America — or so we thought.

Monsters and Critics

It bears an eerie resemblance to the cross of the Knights Templar. This order financed and controlled much of the medieval world, and some say they secretly live on today. Could Oak Island have been a secret base for the Templars?

Den of Geek

For Rick and Marty, the Templar theory is a possibility, though another discovery suggests that more than one group hid their valuables on Oak Island. Their biggest find ever might just confirm one of the most outrageous rumors about the isle.

The Lagina brothers had the good fortune to dig up a garnet, which was hundreds of years old! They suspect the gem may, in fact, be one of Marie Antoinette’s jewels, shipped out of Europe during the violent French Revolution.

Two Row Times

All in all, Marty and Rick Lagina have a veritable treasure trove on their hands. However, they’re still not satisfied. Based on their existing finds and constantly expanding database, they feel confident that their big discovery is right around the corner.

All that’s left to do is to keep digging. Whether or not they make a fortune out of it is secondary for the Lagina brothers. What they really want is to find enough history so that they can make it into the history books themselves.

History Channel

As exciting as a treasure hunting may seem at first, most of us would ditch the search after about an hour of finding nothing. Those with a true passion for the sport, however, are rewarded tenfold when they do actually strike gold.

When Terese Frydensberg Refsgaard set out for a brisk autumn walk, she was expecting more recreation than revelation. But the Danish woman came across something with the potential to alter history books forever.

Facebook / Terese Refsgaard

Of course, Terese’s typical day wasn’t too far out of the ordinary. She had a steady job working as a dental assistant. Her digging skills, however, weren’t limited to scraping plaque off teeth.

Terese spent her spare time as an amateur archaeologist. With her trusty metal detector in hand, she scoured the Danish countryside for lost relics. Her efforts impressed quite a few other diggers.

Facebook / Terese Refsgaard

After spending enough time out in the field, Terese received an invitation to join a group of archaeology hobbyists. They certainly weren’t making monumental finds on a daily basis, though it was nice to have a support system.

Facebook / Terese Refsgaard

That November, Terese jumped at the chance to search the island of Hjarnø, located just of the coast of mainland Denmark. Although it only spanned a little over a square mile, the isle was a juicy prospect for explorers.

See, in 2008, archaeologists came upon remnants of a stone structure on Hjarnø. Tests determined, much to their surprise, that the materials dated all the way back to the year 5200 B.C. These were the remains of a Stone Age settlement!

Terese and her friends fantasized about uncovering a similar bombshell. Once settled on the island, they split off in separate directions in order to cover more ground. The archaeologists swept their metal detectors across the soil for hours and hours.

Facebook / Teresa Refsgaard

Then Terese got a beep. Tamping down on her excitement, she pinpointed the exact spot that set her detector off. She knew based on past expeditions that a beep could mean nothing. You could dig forever without finding so much as a penny.

Facebook / Terese Refsgaard

Digging carefully so any precious artifacts wouldn’t be cleaved in two, Terese pushed her shovel into the ground. She carefully examined each spadeful of dirt and then tossed it aside. She was nearly ready to move on when something caught her eye.

The amateur archaeologist beamed as she produced a metal fragment! She hoped it was gold, but it was still too early to tell. Until then, Terese had a good feeling about this spot. She kept on digging…

Facebook / Teresa Refsgaard

…And it was like a dream came true! Terese unearthed more metal artifacts, completely intact and covered with intricate loops. Other pieces had precious stones inlaid in the center. Clearly, these relics came from the most masterful craftsmen of their day.

Terese knew that some archaeology hobbyists spent years looking for treasure with zero success, so it was positively crazy she had just found a cache of 23 pieces of jewelry! She called her colleagues over to her unbelievable discovery.

Velje Museums

Astonished, the archaeologists could hardly believe the treasure trove before them. Taking a closer look, they confirmed that the jewelry was most definitely gold, but one other detail confounded them. It completely went against the known history of Hjarnø.

Facebook / Terese Refsgaard

The objects dated back to the 6th century, so they had no relation to the island’s Stone Age culture. However, they also predated the Viking era, where tribes were constantly stealing and stashing loot all over Europe. So who exactly buried all these trinkets?

Terese brought in a pro to solve this mystery. Mads Ravn, a researcher from the Velje Museum, theorized that the artifacts were of Roman origin. Early Danes, he posited, must have traded for them. But why had they hid them?

Vejle Amts Folkeblad

According to historical records, the creation of the gold pieces aligned with a major disaster: a cataclysmic volcanic eruption around that time killed over 100,000 people. Strangely enough, nobody in Europe even knew about it.

That’s because the catastrophe unfolded thousands of miles away in El Salvador! However, effects of the volcano spread all the way to Europe, where unusual weather patterns devastated the harvest.

Flickr / Rick Toor

Early Europeans could only imagine that the gods were punishing them with famine. So, Mads guessed, the Danes may have bought these treasures and then buried them as an offering. Of course, they won’t be deep in the dirt anymore.

Flickr / Hans Splinter

Two different museums in Denmark are displaying Terese’s groundbreaking find, and she’s also helping their staff unlock more of the mysteries behind the relics. They could reveal an entirely new chapter about the country’s past.

Facebook / Terese Refsgaard

Meanwhile, Terese kept her job in the dentist’s office, though it’s hard to call her an amateur archaeologist these days. She’s only more motivated to keep digging at the past — perhaps with the help of treasure hunters from other parts of the world…

Terese Refsgaard

These days, many remnants of the Maya empire look more like tourist traps than historical ruins. Packed sites, like the pyramids of Chichén Itzá, convinced some archaeologists that there was little left to find in Mesoamerica. Fortunately, a 2019 discovery proved them dead wrong.

Alfredo Barrera Rubio led a team of experts deep into the jungles of the Yucatán. It was one of the lesser-explored regions of Mexico, though there were precedents for huge archaeological discoveries there — particularly in the abandoned city of Kulubá.

INAH TV

Western scholars had been studying the general area since the 1930s, but Rubio felt confident that the area still held secrets to be uncovered. His immediate goal was to better understand Maya architecture in Kulubá. But also on his mind was the collapse of this great empire.

In contrast to the Aztec and Inca peoples, the Maya were never conquered by Spanish conquistadors. They vanished long before Europeans made contact with the Americas, but historians can’t agree what force took them down.

After flourishing through most of the first millennium of the modern period, the Maya way of life suddenly fell apart by 1000 A.D. Did a plague or political power struggle cause the empire to crumble? Were they conquered by the Toltec culture?

While Rubio didn’t expect to find the exact answer, he figured their efforts might provide a valuable piece of the puzzle. In spite of the dense forests and vast expanse of empty land, the team got off to a promising start.

INAH TV

Preliminary survey excavations unearthed a variety of artifacts, all pointing to the fact that the site was once a hotbed of Maya activity. Encouraged by their quick start, the archaeologists dug deeper into the ground and deeper into the forest.

It wasn’t long before Rubio and his collaborators hit pay dirt. The structure almost seemed like a mirage at first, with its 20-foot walls rising out of the tree line. This was no mere house, or storage building.

INAH TV

The archaeologists suspected they’d stumbled upon a palace. They could hardly wait to explore its pristine corridors and inner chambers, but first they had to marvel about exactly where they found it.

As sprawling as the Yucatán jungle might be, Rubio could only chuckle when they charted their discovery on the map. They were really just a short trip away from one of the most crowded cities in Mexico.

INAH TV

The palace lay just 100 miles west of Cancún, the spring break mecca of the world. While most collegiate parties weren’t necessarily on the lookout for Maya ruins, Rubio found it hard to believe that nobody had beaten them to the site before.

NBC

Regardless of their luck, the archaeologists had their work cut out for them. The palace building covered over half a football field, and the elements had obscured many of its features. But that wasn’t a problem for these experts.

INAH TV

Clearing away the grime, they started to make sense of the structure’s six-room layout. Two residential rooms were likely used for sleeping or socializing. A space with an oven suggested the presence of a kitchen. Then, there was the space with an altar.

The Maya were a fervently religious people, so it wasn’t unusual to have a place of worship within the palace. But what really left Rubio flabbergasted were the human remains buried nearby!

Jonathan Mendoza

It was a groundbreaking moment. By learning more about the residents of the palace, perhaps the archaeologists could get closer to the answer of the Maya’s disappearance. After all, they deduced that this palace had a storied history of its own.

Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History

Their analysis suggested that the royal residence was in continuous use from roughly 600 through 1050. This made it possibly one of the final holdouts of Maya civilization. Suddenly, these archaeologists weren’t the only ones eager to get a closer look into the site.

Rubio was thrilled to learn that the Yucatán State Government agreed to financially back his big project. There was much to examine, but in the meantime, the experts had to address a more pressing issue. How could they best preserve the Kulubá site?

INAH TV

Conservationist Natalia Hernández Tangarife proposed a novel strategy. She advocated “using the vegetation to help conservation; reforesting specific parts with trees to protect the structures, especially painted sections of the site, from direct light and wind.”

Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History

Hopefully the archaeologists get all the time they need to piece together the palace’s full history. Years after an initial discovery, new technology or a fresh perspective can completely shift our understanding of a site.

When archeologist Guillermo de Anda and his crew arrived in the ancient city of Chichén Itzá on the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico, their original mission was to better understand the ancient Maya civilization.

More specifically, they wanted to access and study what is called a cenote, a sinkhole the ancient tribes believed were portals of access to the underworld. The cenote they sought was allegedly beneath the Temple of Kukulka.

My Cancun

Their plans changed, however, when a local told them about “The Cave of the Jaguar God.” Besides a totally awesome name, the cave was steeped in a history Guillermo couldn’t ignore.

Public Radio International

See, archeologist Víctor Segovia Pinto had visited the cave in 1966 and, in an apparently unspecific report, noted “extensive amounts of archeological material” hidden inside. Instead of excavating it, however, he curiously ordered the cave sealed up.

Over the next 50 years, most locals of the former-Mayan settlement forgot about Jaguar God. So Guillermo and his crew were delighted by the opportunity to find what Víctor had ignored. They knew what caves meant to the Mayans.

As Mayan expert Holley Moyes said, because of their believed connection to the underworld, “Caves and cenotes… represent some of the most sacred spaces for the Maya, ones that also influenced site planning and social organization.”

So, refocusing their energies on the potential of Jaguar God, Guillermo and his crew recruited a Mayan priest to conduct a 6-hour purification ritual. This would ensure their safe journey into the potential holy hot spot.

Their offering to the cave guardians was modest: honey, a fermented drink called pozole, and even tobacco, but it got the job done. Officially protected in the eyes of Maya, they entered the long-sealed cave.

Kayla Ortega via NPR

Inside was a claustrophobic’s worst nightmare: for well over an hour, Guillermo crawled on his stomach through narrow, twisting tunnels, only a headlamp illuminating the pathway.

National Geographic

Guillermo didn’t seem to mind. “I’ve analyzed human remains in [Chichén Itzá’s] Sacred Cenote,” he said. “But nothing compares to the sensation I had entering, alone, for the first time in that cave. You almost feel the presence of the Maya.”

SAGA

After an hour-and-half of painstakingly slow crawling, his helmet finally illuminated something curious.” I couldn’t speak,” Guillermo recalled of the moment he finally understood what he saw. “I started to cry.”

The Weather Channel

It wasn’t that he’d finally reached a chamber with enough room to stand up in that made him cry, either. Rather, he’d stumbled upon the archeological equivalent of a winning lotto ticket.

Piles of ancient artifacts lay before him: grinding stones, decorated plates, and more, all in “an excellent state of preservation,” despite looking like they were caked in a few billion years’ worth of mud.

National Geographic

Impressively, thanks to centuries of dripping water, stalactites formed around some of the ancient artifacts and ritual objects, like this incense burner. All in all, there were about 150 well-preserved items in that cave!

Kayla Ortega via NPR

“Thinking about Maya in ancient times going there, through those passageways, crawling with a big incense burner and a torch,” Guillermo said, “you see how important these caves were for them.”

Along with giving Guillermo newfound respect for the Maya, the cave and the items inside, he knew, would provide invaluable information on the tribe’s rituals — and more.

Karla Ortega / Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History

“Jaguar God can tell us not only the moment of collapse of Chichén Itzá,” Guillermo surmised. “It can also probably tell us the moment of its beginning.”

Viajes National Geographic

“Now we have a sealed context,” he continued, “with a great quantity of information, including usable organic matter, that we can use to understand the development of Chichén Itzá.”

NPR

More than that, though, experts believe further study of the area will shed some light on the region’s climate, and how disastrous droughts possibly led to the Maya’s mysterious first demise.

“By studying these caves and cenotes,” National Geographic archaeologist Fredrik Hiebert said, “it’s possible to learn some lessons for how to best use the environment today, in terms of sustainability for the future.”

NPR via Karla Ortega

For this reason, Guillermo believed his work in archeology was truly saving the world. By studying Maya, he said, “we can understand the footprints of humankind’s past, and what was happening on Earth during one of the most dramatic moments in history.”

But Guillermo’s profession was noble for reasons beyond that which he listed. Thousands of miles from Jaguar God, for instance, archeologists used science to answer a 14,000-year-old question about some of our earliest ancestors.

National Geographic

Specifically, the Heiltsuk people, the First Nation indigenous to British Columbia’s Great Bear Rainforest, have laid claim to the remote Triquet Island for nearly 5,000 years. But archaeologists dismissed their claim of ownership at first for one glaring reason.

Simon Fraser University

The continental glacier that formed over Canada during the last Ice Age would’ve also covered Triquet Island, making it uninhabitable. But even with the facts stacked against the Heiltsuk, a small group of researchers took it upon themselves to uncover the truth once and for all.

The Robinson Library

The archaeologists began an extensive excavation of the remote island in the hope of discovering traces of a past civilization. What they found there not only shocked the entire archaeological community, but it also changed history forever.

Second Nexus

Beneath several layers of earth, they found remnants of an ancient, wood-burning hearth. But how could this be? According to researchers, it would’ve been impossible for humans to dig their way through the glacial ice to get to the soil below.

As they continued digging, researchers unearthed additional artifacts, including tools and weapons. This discovery stumped the team as the Heiltsuk people traditionally didn’t use tools of this kind.

The Heiltsuk people had derived their food source from fishing and smoking salmon, utilizing small, precise tools to harvest the fish. The tools and weapons found were much larger and likely would’ve been used to hunt large sea mammals, such as seals, sea lions, and walruses.

What’s more, the team also uncovered shards of obsidian, a glass-like rock only found in areas of heavy volcanic activity. This discovery also puzzled the archaeologists, as there were no known volcanoes near that part of British Columbia. So, how did this rock — and these people — get there?

KLCC

The historians deduced that whoever left these artifacts must have traversed the land bridge that existed between Siberia and Alaska during prehistoric times. Yet researchers still needed cold-hard facts…

Luckily, a closer inspection of the hearth revealed ancient charcoal remains, which the archaeologists quickly brought to the lab for carbon dating. When they received the results, the researchers couldn’t believe their eyes: everything they knew was a lie.

According to the carbon dating report, these bits of charcoal were an astonishing 14,000 years old, making them the oldest carbon remains ever to be discovered in North America.

Even by global standards, this was an extraordinary find. After all, these simple pieces of charcoal were older than the Great Pyramid of Giza and even predated the invention of the wheel! But that’s not the most remarkable fact about this discovery.

The 14,000-year-old discovery placed the earliest Heiltsuk at Triquet Island 2,000 years before the end of the ice age. Therefore, the island couldn’t have been covered by the massive continental glacier. And that’s not all.

Since Triquet Island was surrounded on all sides by water, the early Heiltsuk would’ve used boats to traverse the open waters. Boats, however, were not believed to have been invented until centuries later.

Smithsonian

This meant that the Heiltsuk settled the area 2,000 years before initially believed. If this was the case, then these early men likely crossed paths with some of history’s most formidable beasts.

As the Heiltsuk people made their way south from the land bridge, they likely had to fend off giant creatures like mastodons, woolly mammoths, and giant sloths. But somehow, these humans survived, and it’s likely for one crucial reason.

Thanks to the Pacific Ocean itself, the sea level at Triquet Island remained constant for over 15,000 years. So as the sea gradually eroded the surrounding islands, the great beasts of the Pacific Northwest were kept at bay, leaving the Heiltsuk to a peaceful, secluded existence.

The most astounding realization that’s come to light is the fact that the Heiltsuk people were able to preserve their history orally for nearly 14,000 years. However, they are still being deprived of their history’s legitimacy.

When the media caught wind of the story, they seemed to focus more on what the discovery meant for the scientific community rather than acknowledge the rich history of the Heiltsuk. To many, the media’s portrayal of the nation was seen as highly disrespectful.

As a result, University of Victoria student Alisha Gauvreau — who was present during the excavation — has dedicated herself to shifting the focus of the dialogue toward the Heiltsuk people.

The Heiltsuk claim to Triquet Island stands as one of the oldest land-ownership claims in the world. Not only does this discovery speak volumes about the strength of the Heiltsuk people, but it also represents the indomitable spirit of mankind.

kris krüg / Flickr

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