First Nations translator deciphers ancient stone as a treasure map
By ANGIE ZINCK WESTERN SHORE - You may have heard about the Da Vinci code, but the Ranville code could be what solves the longest-running treasure hunt in recorded history. Keith Ranville, a First Nations man, has travelled from Winnipeg to Nova Scotia in hopes of unlocking the secret codes on Oak Island. He says he has done so by re-translating one of the stones found on the island over 200 years ago. The stone was first found in 1803 by the Onslow Company. Found 90 feet down the Money Pit, the stone was believed to be two feet long and 15 inches wide, weighing approximately 175 lb. Since that time, it has been said that the inscription on the stone read "forty feet below two million pounds are buried," as transcribed by James Leitchi, a professor of languages at Dalhousie University. Some researchers have questioned this translation as Mr. Leitchi was involved in a treasure hunting company trying to sell stocks. Today, the actual stone is lost. It was used as a hearthstone in two homes on Oak Island, but it was moved to a Halifax storefront where it went missing when the building was torn down. Its last known location was around the Centennial Pool area. Mr. Ranville used pictures of the stone to decipher its series of shapes, lines and dots to reveal a new translation that reads more like a map. "I've brought some new stuff to the table," he says, adding that the stone's etchings could be used to figure out the mystery of Oak Island. By his translation, much of the digging in the Money Pit area has been a waste of time and money. "I believe the pit wasn't meant to go beyond 100 feet," he says. "I believe it wasn't meant to go beyond these symbols." If one were to take Mr. Ranville's code and follow it, it would lead you off Oak Island, the site of all the treasure hunting for the past 211 years, under the water of the bay and onto the neighbouring Birch Island via man-made shafts. "The instructions at the bottom of the pit tell you about where and how to locate these shafts and I believe they're in Mahone Bay," he says. Mr. Ranville believes the two islands are connected by these shafts. He said that aerial shots of Birch Island prove the island has been touched by human hands. These aerial shots of the 16-acre Birch Island do show a large triangle which takes up a good portion of the island landscape. "What I want to do is investigate this island where I think these symbols lead to," he says. Mr. Ranville has contacted the owner, Christopher Ondaatje, to inquire about doing some soil testing and exploring on the island. In addition to being the home of the famous treasure, Mr. Ranville believes Birch Island may also be an ancient burial site for those who were involved in the original treasure-hiding scheme. "This is a significant Nova Scotia heritage discovery and that is Canada's national treasure brought here for our guardianship long before Canada was established," he says. "We should respect the civilization that is responsible for the makings of these structures. "They were a very unique culture and may hold the secret to many ancient structures." Although he doesn't know who actually buried the treasure, Mr. Ranville believes Oak Island and Birch Island need to be protected from further change to unlock their true history. At the time of this interview, Mr. Ranville had yet to hear from Mr. Ondaatje regarding the island. He says he will continue to research the island and its tales of mystery and treasure. Check out Google Earth on the World Wide Web to see satellite photos of Birch Island and its triangle.
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