An investigative team conducting DNA analysis on recently-discovered human remains believes they could belong to a legendary pirate captain.
The bones were found aboard the historic Whydah Gally, a pirate ship that wrecked in 1717 off the coast of Cape Cod.
Monday, the remains were presented publicly for the first time, and investigators discussed the new effort to determine whether they belong to Captain Samuel "Black Sam" Bellamy, listed by Forbes Magazine as the most successful pirate in history.
U.S. & World
Stories that affect your life across the U.S. and around the world.
The team removed a femur from the large concretion and presented it to a forensics team from the Henry Lee College at the University of New Haven.
The Whydah Gally is loaded with the treasures from 54 seized ships, sank during a nor'easter off Wellfleet, Massachusetts, in April 1717, killing Bellamy and members of his crew. The wreck was discovered in 1984 by famed explorer Barry Clifford and his diving crew, which included John F. Kennedy Jr.
Clifford has recovered millions of dollars worth of gold and silver. There is estimated $120 million in buried treasure, along with 60 cannons and thousands of rare artifacts from the site.
Bellamy was an English pirate who operated in the early 18th century. Though his known career as a pirate captain lasted little more than a year, he and his crew captured at least 53 ships under his command – making him the wealthiest pirate in recorded history before his death at age 28.
Called "Black Sam" in Cape Cod folklore because he eschewed the fashionable powdered wig in favor of tying back his long black hair with a simple band, Bellamy became known for his mercy and generosity toward those he captured on his raids. This reputation earned him another nickname, the "Prince of Pirates." He likened himself to Robin Hood, with his crew calling themselves "Robin Hood's Men."
Forensic scientists will test the bone's DNA against that of the DNA of a distant relative of Bellamy's who lives in England. They will know the results in about a month.
They believe there are hundreds more treasures in the concretion. They estimate it will take about a year to extract them all.