300-Year-Old Pirate Skeletons From Fabled ‘Black Sam’ Crew Found Off Cape Cod

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The skeletal remains of six pirates who likely served under the legendary Capt. Samuel “Black Sam” Bellamy have been discovered off the coast of Massachusetts.

According to the Whydah Pirate Museum, one set may even be those of the famed pirate himself, one of the many who perished when his ship, the Whydah Gally, sank off Cape Cod in a storm in 1717.

“We hope that modern, cutting-edge technology will help us identify these pirates and reunite them with any descendants who could be out there,” explorer Barry Clifford, who found the wreck in 1984, told local media including Boston TV station WHDH.

The remains are encased inside “concretions,” or hard masses that form around remains and artifacts, such as this one from the same wreck:

The New England Historical Society said Bellamy thought of himself as the “Robin Hood of the Sea” and called his crew “Robin Hood’s men.” His other nickname, “Black Sam,” came from his signature look: Instead of the powdered wigs in style at the time, he grew out his own black locks.

“Black Sam Bellamy ran his pirate operation democratically,” the society noted. “His men were slaves and Indians and sailors pressed into service. Bellamy treated them equally and let them vote on important decisions.”

The Whydah itself was a captured slave ship, something noted by Clifford in his announcement of the new discovery.

“This shipwreck is very sacred ground,” Clifford said, “We know a third of the crew was of African origin and the fact they had robbed the Whydah, which was a slave ship, presents them in a whole new light.”

The New England Historical Society said there was no record of Bellamy ever killing a captive even though he took 53 ships and became one of the wealthiest pirates of all time. But that distinction didn’t last: He died about a year into his career as a pirate captain.

The wreck was found in 1984 and identified by recovered objects, including the ship’s bell:

This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.