American man dedicated life to finding treasure on Nova Scotia's Oak Island
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American man dedicated life to finding treasure on Nova Scotia's Oak Island

HALIFAX — An American-born man, who became a famed Nova Scotia treasure hunter, has died.

Dan Blankenship, who was in his mid-90s, died Sunday.

He was a staple on “The Curse of Oak Island,” a reality TV series on the History channel that was set on the 57-hectare island on Nova Scotia’s south shore.

His son David Blankenship said today they hoped to have a memorial service on Thursday, likely in Martins Point, N.S.

The Oak Island legend began in 1795 when curious teenage boys began digging at the site, thinking they might find a pirate’s buried treasure.

Theories on who may have buried treasure on the island range from pirate Blackbeard to the Knights Templar.

Blankenship became engrossed in the legend of Oak Island after reading a “Reader’s Digest” story in 1965.

“I handed the article over to my wife and said, ‘Read that’ and so she read it and, in so many words, said, ‘So what?’ I said, ‘Well, No. 1, there’s treasure on Oak Island, and No. 2, I’m going to be instrumental in getting it,'” he said in 2010.

“That was the beginning.”

Blankenship co-owned the island with a group of investors, including brothers Rick and Marty Lagina, who are doing the major work on site now. The search for treasure has been featured during the reality TV show’s six seasons.

Previous digs at the so-called money pit site — a circular depression discovered by one of those boys in 1795 — uncovered a layer of stones below the surface and layers of logs every three metres, as well as layers of charcoal, putty and coconut fibres, to a depth of 27 metres.

The Canadian Press

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