London - Underwater explorers in Madagascar say they have found what is thought to be the treasure of notorious Scottish pirate William Kidd.
Soldiers on Sainte Marie Island have been guarding the 50kg silver bar after divers brought it to shore. Madagascar’s president as well as UK and US diplomats received the suspected treasure at a ceremony on the island. Capt Kidd was executed in 1701 for piracy after returning from a voyage to the Indian Ocean. The BBC’s Martin Vogl tweets from the ceremony that the respected American underwater explorer Barry Clifford believes the 17th Century silver bar is from the wreckage of the pirate’s ship. Our reporter says there is much excitement in Madagascar about the discovery and Mr Clifford’s team has no doubt that the discovery is genuine.
The team believes the bar has its origins in 17th Century Bolivia and that the ship was built in England. However, there is bound to be scepticism and calls for more proof that the bar was linked to Capt Kidd, our reporter says. One option would be to take samples of wood from the ship to check whether it came from England, he adds. In 1984, Mr Clifford found the wreckage of the Whydah, a pirate ship which sank off the US coast in 1717. UK ambassador to Madagascar Timothy Smart said he hoped that Mr Clifford’s latest discovery would raise Madagascar’s profile as a tourist destination.