From New Jersey to Vietnam, there’s barely a swatch of the world left untouched by the swashbuckling pirate Captain Kidd’s evasive legacy. For 300 years, treasure hunters have been scouring Kidd’s route along the high seas for thousands of pounds in lost treasure he’s said to have buried. The hunt has inspired presidents (Franklin Delano Roosevelt went on at least one search expedition) and authors (Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island comes straight from the Kidd rumor mill) and continues to spur foolhardy adventurers along.
On Thursday, American explorer Barry Clifford announced a discovery of sunken treasure languishing at the bottom of the Indian Ocean off the coast of Madagascar. Clifford believes the 110-pound silver bar with strange markings he uncovered is a remnant of the notorious pirate’s wrecked ship.
Though Madagascar has embraced its newfound status as the location of a long-sought loot, there’s not yet confirmation that the loot actually belonged to Kidd. UNESCO has criticized Clifford’s methods and will be sending a contingency to take control of the area next month. While he’s the latest to proclaim success in a long-failed mission to recover thousands of pounds of stolen pirate treasure that have evaded explorers for centuries, Clifford certainly won’t be the last to shout Captain Kidd’s name at first sight of a glint at the bottom of an ocean.