September 21, 2018
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New England researchers testing DNA of bones to see if they belong to notorious pirate

John Clarke Russ | BDN
John Clarke Russ | BDN
A pirate flag like the one flown by Samuel "Black Sam" Bellamy waves on the side of an SUV in this BDN file photo. Connecticut researchers are testing bones found in a Cape Cod shipwreck are those of Bellamy.
By AP
Updated:

Researchers are examining whether human bones found in a Cape Cod shipwreck are those of the infamous pirate Samuel “Black Sam” Bellamy.

The Whydah Pirate Museum in Yarmouth, Massachusetts, says Wednesday that archaeologists uncovered the remains in the wreck last year, near what they believe to be Bellamy’s pistol.

They’ve enlisted forensic scientists from the University of New Haven in Connecticut to compare DNA from the bones to a DNA sample given by one of Bellamy’s living descendants in the United Kingdom.

The Whydah Gally went down in stormy seas off Wellfleet in 1717, killing nearly all its 150-person crew, including Bellamy, and leaving its ill-gotten riches at the bottom of the ocean.

Bellamy captured at least 53 ships in his short time as a pirate, making him the wealthiest pirate in recorded history with an estimated net worth of nearly $141 million in today’s dollars, according to Forbes magazine.

It was discovered in 1984 by Barry Clifford, an explorer who owns the pirate museum.

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