Basic Island Information
Oak Island is a 57-hectare (140-acre) privately owned island in Lunenburg County on the south shore of Nova Scotia, Canada. The tree-covered island is one of about 360 small islands in Mahone Bay and rises to a maximum of 11 metres (36 feet) above sea level. The island is located 200 metres (660 feet) from shore and connected to the mainland by a causeway and gate. The nearest community is the rural community of Western Shore which faces the island, while the nearest village is Chester. The island is best known for various theories about possible buried treasure or historical artifacts, and the associated exploration.
- Oak Island Interactive Map by Whitehead Maps
Virtually every theory about what was done on Oak Island has to do with presumed man made features of the island, including "Nolan's Cross", the swamp, the boulderless beach, etc. The images below are commonly used to identify these features.
Maps of the Island
This picture shows the layout of the lots as defined by the government. There are records of property ownership of each plot dating back to 1700s that I would like to find. If anyone knows where to find that list, please update the ISLAND OWNERSHIP page.
LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging)—is a remote sensing method used to examine the surface of the Earth. By looking at the LIDAR scans of the island you can see contour that is normally hidden by trees and other vegetation. The intriguing parts of this image is in the vicinity of the swamp. Both the man made area of land that juts out into the swamp from the East, and the path to the Northeast out of the swamp.
I believe (citation required) the area that goes into the swamp was built by Fred Nolan.
There are many theories of the swamp being man-made and used as some form of harbor, port, drydock or other man-made uses. This hydrographic chart of the seabed shows that the under-water contour of the island currently matches the shape of the island, but does not definitively proove that the islands were not two separate islands at one point in time.
When you look at the color picture you can see the area south of the swamp does not have the same bottom composition as the rest of the coastline. This fuels the theories that the east and west portions are natural and the area in between has only been closed for a hundreds of years.
The contour lines in the area south of the swamp are tightly stacked (meaning quick change in depth) which does fit the characteristics of the rest of the island, but many theorize that if the islands were originally connected the underwater contour would not as closely follow the shape of the cove.
Of course, everyone would love to get their hands on a "real" treasure map of Oak Island, but to my knowledge, there is none in existence. There is on account of a map that had been handed down through a few generations, but that map is believed to have been burned up in a house fire. There are many maps that have been made by searchers, theorists, and historians over the years. See Treasure Maps page for an archive of all such maps.
Since the initial discovery in 1795, there have been a number of people involved in the hunt for treasure. Some of these people formally held treasure hunting licenses, and others happened to come upon abnormal things on the island. See Treasure Hunters