The observations and analysis of the "Roman sword" from Nova Scotia shown on The Curse of Oak Island last night confirmed what most of us here suspected: the sword was made in the recent past (not during the Roman empire).
And Dr. Christa Brosseau gave us an analysis of the composition of the metal used to make the sword: brass produced sometime after 1880. The key is the high percentage of zinc. While the Romans made some brass, the methods they used to do so resulted in levels of zinc less than 28%. The 35% zinc in the Nova Scotia sword is consistent with manufacture in the late 1800's, not ancient Rome.
McCallum's and Brosseau's observations are in-line with everything else we now know about these swords (these many, many, many more swords than were known to exist when they got to look at the Nova Scotia sword). As I wrote yesterday prior to the show, that kind of concordance among independent analyses should give you confidence that this myth of the "Roman sword from Nova Scotia" is busted. It's been busted two different ways now, by two different groups, using two different lines of inquiry. It's history.
But, as I also wrote last night, the main proponent of the sword isn't going to give up. Immediately after the conclusion of the program last night, J. Hutton Pulitzer posted a short video clip expressing dismay that Brosseau's results did not match his. He more-or-less implied that there was something sinister going on -- "Why would they even do that? Why would they try to date it to an 1880 item?" He doubled down on his dismissal of Brosseau's results in another video later that night and on Facebook, declaring
"their stats are nowhere near the actual set test. At all and she was bright red delivering the test results. Somethings a miss."
I'll tell you what's really "a miss:" any hope that Pulitzer can regain his credibility after this debacle.
Given that he's clearly shown that he's willing to lie about evidence related to the sword and has yet to provide us with an accounting of his own results or the methods he used to obtain them, there's no reason to believe any of Pulitzer's assertions about the Nova Scotia sword or the data he claims to have obtained from it. He has given us no reason to believe he understands the methods, theory, and practice of metals testing technology. Had he released and explained his information when he made his original claim about the "100 percent confirmed" Roman sword instead of just making grandiose assertions and doing a lot of arm waving and threatening, he wouldn't be in this position now.
Although there's no reason to take seriously his plea that all the "authentic" swords should be bought together and evaluated simultaneously, I'm glad he made it. He has called his own bluff on the existence of the elusive "sword in the Naples Museum." Where is it? Have you already seen it or not? I thought you said you already examined it?
The funny thing is that even if it were possible to line up and test all these "authentic" swords (some of which may not even exist), there's no reason to think ANY of them is authentic to begin with. What happens if you get matching metallic composition data from four swords? On what basis are you calling any of them "authentic" at this point? Where's your control? What about all these other "ancient Roman artifacts" you claim to have compared your results to? The lack of systematic thinking is ridiculous.
Don't get me wrong: I would love to have data from all of these swords because it will help solve the interesting historical mystery of when and where they were made. I plan on getting my own data from the California sword and the Italian eBay sword. And I look forward to seeing Pulitzer's data on the Nova Scotia sword, which he promised to release today. Hopefully he will provide enough detail so that we'll know exactly what he did and why there might be a discrepancy between his results and Brosseau's (hint: simply saying "trust me - I know what I'm doing and she doesn't" isn't going to cut it).
Oh, and if he tries to attribute the discrepancy in the results to the fact that Brosseau's sample came from the blade while he "tested" the hilt, you can flush that one down the Commodus before you even get started. The comparison of blade anomalies shows that many of these swords have the same set of casting defects in the blades - those blades are all original and the swords were made in one piece.
I've invited McCallum to use my blog if he wants to tell us anything additional about the sword and/or his experience on the show. I extend the same invitation to Brosseau. I hope it's possible to get a more complete breakdown of the methods and results of her analysis than was presented in summary form on the program last night.
Rather than #Swordgate winding down, it looks like we may just be starting the third act.
Update (1/25/2016): Here is Christa Brosseau's summary of the analyses she performed on the Nova Scotia sword.