Discovery Channel's Madagascar Expedition to Explore The Sunken Remains of Captain Kidd's Ship Discovers an Additional Pirate Wreck - the Fiery Dragon - With a Stunningly Rich Horde Of Cultural Artifacts

Underwater Expedition Team, Led by Renowned Explorer Barry Clifford,

Discovers the Wreck of the Fiery Dragon, Deeming it 'One of the Most

Culturally Significant Pirate Ship Discoveries Ever'



Jan 19, 2001, 00:00 ET from Discovery Channel

    PASADENA, Calif., Jan. 19 /PRNewswire/ -- Discovery Channel announced
 today that its latest archaeological expedition to explore the sunken remains
 of Captain Kidd's Adventure Galley off the northeast coast of Madagascar in
 the Indian Ocean has yielded still another unprecedented find -- the wreck of
 the pirate ship the Fiery Dragon (aka the Flying Dragon) -- bound to shed
 further light on "The Golden Age of Piracy" (1650-1725).
     Built in the early 18th century in Holland and commanded by Captain
 William Condon, (aka Christopher Condent; aka "Billy One-Hand"), the Fiery
 Dragon was one of the most successful pirate ships that ever sailed, claiming
 extraordinary prizes during its relatively brief presence in the Indian Ocean.
 Renowned explorer and expedition leader Barry Clifford and team historian Ken
 Kinkor believe the excavation of this wreck promises to yield the most
 culturally diverse material yet to be found on a pirate ship.  Preliminary
 exploration has turned up gold coins, exquisite blue and white Chinese export
 porcelain figures and works of art.
     Said Clifford, "We believe that the Fiery Dragon will prove to be the one
 of the most intriguing pirate discoveries ever.  It holds a virtual treasure
 trove of material 'appropriated' by Billy One-Hand from the dozens of ships he
 captured.  This pirate was a fascinating character, a popular captain who was
 elected on the basis of his various acts of bravery on the high seas."
     The Kidd team's marine archaeologist John de Bry, Ph.D. also believes the
 Fiery Dragon will prove to be a rich source of information about pirate life
 in the Indian Ocean.  "Said de Bry, "We have identified the wreck through in
 situ analysis of the rich cultural material, including gold coins ranging from
 1649 through 1718, minted in Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, Italy and the
 Ottoman Empire.  The Fiery Dragon promises to be one of the richest pirate
 ships ever discovered and excavated; and to me, as an archaeologist, the most
 exciting one."
     "We are delighted by our expedition team's double find," said Mike
 Quattrone, the executive vice president and general manager, Discovery
 Channel.  "Not only did Barry Clifford's team discover the remains of Captain
 Kidd's ship, they also found another historically rich pirate vessel that
 promises to shed new light on the fascinating history of piracy.  We believe
 this very successful expedition further enriches and extends the promise of
 our Expedition Adventure initiative."
     In the spring of 1998, Discovery Channel launched EXPEDITION ADVENTURE, in
 which it funds and films break-through expeditions such as Clifford's, to make
 important scientific or historic discoveries and to be the first to capture
 them on film.
     The Discovery team's latest find, the Fiery Dragon, boasts a colorful
 history.  In January 1720, after a long string of robberies in the Caribbean
 and the Atlantic, the crew of the Fiery Dragon took a rich prize below the
 Cape of Good Hope; then in August 1720, near Bombay, captured an incredibly
 rich vessel bound for India from Jeddah in Arabia, loaded with gold coins,
 jewels, silk, spices and drugs estimated then at about 150,000 UK pounds or
 about $375 million today.  At the wreck site, Clifford and his team recorded
 and photographed dozens of artifacts from a single test unit, among them gold
 coins, a wooden figure of Christ, a rare ceramic doughnut-shaped flask, an
 unusually fine terracotta Chinese lion and a delicate white porcelain figurine
 of a standing mandarin, his hands clasped in a greeting posture.
     The discovery of the Fiery Dragon will be chronicled in an upcoming
 special, QUEST FOR CAPTAIN KIDD, airing on the Discovery Channel, Sunday, June
 10th, from 9:00-10:00 PM (ET/PT).  The program primarily documents the
 Clifford expedition's use of high-tech remote sensing surveys to find the site
 of the notorious Kidd's 17th century ship, the Adventure Galley, in the harbor
 of Sainte-Marie Island, Madagascar.
     It was during the third Discovery Channel expedition to Madagascar in
 November, led by explorer Clifford and conducted with the aid and support of
 the Malagasy government, that the crew first positively identified the wreck
 of the Fiery Dragon in the harbor at Sainte-Marie Island.  The two earlier
 expeditions had indicated that the remains uncovered first were that of the
 Adventure Galley, but later exploration and testing showed that it was, in
 fact, the Fiery Dragon.  The Adventure Galley and the Fiery Dragon lie less
 than 60 feet apart.
     The island has long been identified as a base of operations for pirates
 from the middle 1680s to about 1730, and, according to historian Kinkor, at
 least nine pirate ships are known to have been scuttled or sunk there.  During
 the two previous expeditions to the island this year, the Clifford team had
 located five to six wrecked vessels -- including Kidd's Adventure Galley -- in
 a "pirate ship graveyard" tightly clustered within a football-field-sized area
 known as "the careening spot."  The careening spot was a shallow place in a
 harbor used to roll a ship onto its side to clean the hull of barnacles and
 other pests, as well as to make repairs.
     Over the course of its three expeditions, the Clifford team also made some
 startling underground discoveries.  With the help of ultra-sophisticated
 electronic remote-sensing equipment and interpretation from Witten
 Technologies, Inc., a Washington, D.C.-based high-tech company and pioneer in
 imaging objects underground, the team located what may prove to be a complex
 underground tunnel system, including possible flood-tunnel booby-traps.
 According to Kinkor, the tunnels may have been built by English pirates to
 hide their treasure and other valuables.
     Expedition Leader Barry Clifford is one of the world's foremost
 authorities on pirate shipwrecks and maritime history.  His 1984 discovery off
 Cape Cod of the pirate ship Whydah, sunk in 1717, is still considered the
 premier finding of its kind in the world.
     The one-hour documentary, QUEST FOR CAPTAIN KIDD, is produced for the
 Discovery Channel by Compass Light, specialty producers of marine programming.
 David Conover is producer and Charles Vanderpool is director.  For the
 Discovery Channel, Steven Manuel is executive producer and Mike Quattrone is
 executive in charge of production.
 
     Discovery Channel is one of the United States' two largest cable
 television networks, serving 80 million households across the nation with the
 finest in informative entertainment.  Discovery Networks, a division of
 Discovery Communications, Inc., operates and manages Discovery Channel, TLC,
 Animal Planet, Travel Channel, Discovery Health Channel, Discovery Kids
 Channel, Discovery Science Channel, Discovery Home & Leisure Channel,
 Discovery Civilization Channel, Discovery Wings Channel, and Discovery en
 Espanol.  The unit also markets and distributes BBC America.
 
 

SOURCE Discovery Channel
    PASADENA, Calif., Jan. 19 /PRNewswire/ -- Discovery Channel announced
 today that its latest archaeological expedition to explore the sunken remains
 of Captain Kidd's Adventure Galley off the northeast coast of Madagascar in
 the Indian Ocean has yielded still another unprecedented find -- the wreck of
 the pirate ship the Fiery Dragon (aka the Flying Dragon) -- bound to shed
 further light on "The Golden Age of Piracy" (1650-1725).
     Built in the early 18th century in Holland and commanded by Captain
 William Condon, (aka Christopher Condent; aka "Billy One-Hand"), the Fiery
 Dragon was one of the most successful pirate ships that ever sailed, claiming
 extraordinary prizes during its relatively brief presence in the Indian Ocean.
 Renowned explorer and expedition leader Barry Clifford and team historian Ken
 Kinkor believe the excavation of this wreck promises to yield the most
 culturally diverse material yet to be found on a pirate ship.  Preliminary
 exploration has turned up gold coins, exquisite blue and white Chinese export
 porcelain figures and works of art.
     Said Clifford, "We believe that the Fiery Dragon will prove to be the one
 of the most intriguing pirate discoveries ever.  It holds a virtual treasure
 trove of material 'appropriated' by Billy One-Hand from the dozens of ships he
 captured.  This pirate was a fascinating character, a popular captain who was
 elected on the basis of his various acts of bravery on the high seas."
     The Kidd team's marine archaeologist John de Bry, Ph.D. also believes the
 Fiery Dragon will prove to be a rich source of information about pirate life
 in the Indian Ocean.  "Said de Bry, "We have identified the wreck through in
 situ analysis of the rich cultural material, including gold coins ranging from
 1649 through 1718, minted in Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, Italy and the
 Ottoman Empire.  The Fiery Dragon promises to be one of the richest pirate
 ships ever discovered and excavated; and to me, as an archaeologist, the most
 exciting one."
     "We are delighted by our expedition team's double find," said Mike
 Quattrone, the executive vice president and general manager, Discovery
 Channel.  "Not only did Barry Clifford's team discover the remains of Captain
 Kidd's ship, they also found another historically rich pirate vessel that
 promises to shed new light on the fascinating history of piracy.  We believe
 this very successful expedition further enriches and extends the promise of
 our Expedition Adventure initiative."
     In the spring of 1998, Discovery Channel launched EXPEDITION ADVENTURE, in
 which it funds and films break-through expeditions such as Clifford's, to make
 important scientific or historic discoveries and to be the first to capture
 them on film.
     The Discovery team's latest find, the Fiery Dragon, boasts a colorful
 history.  In January 1720, after a long string of robberies in the Caribbean
 and the Atlantic, the crew of the Fiery Dragon took a rich prize below the
 Cape of Good Hope; then in August 1720, near Bombay, captured an incredibly
 rich vessel bound for India from Jeddah in Arabia, loaded with gold coins,
 jewels, silk, spices and drugs estimated then at about 150,000 UK pounds or
 about $375 million today.  At the wreck site, Clifford and his team recorded
 and photographed dozens of artifacts from a single test unit, among them gold
 coins, a wooden figure of Christ, a rare ceramic doughnut-shaped flask, an
 unusually fine terracotta Chinese lion and a delicate white porcelain figurine
 of a standing mandarin, his hands clasped in a greeting posture.
     The discovery of the Fiery Dragon will be chronicled in an upcoming
 special, QUEST FOR CAPTAIN KIDD, airing on the Discovery Channel, Sunday, June
 10th, from 9:00-10:00 PM (ET/PT).  The program primarily documents the
 Clifford expedition's use of high-tech remote sensing surveys to find the site
 of the notorious Kidd's 17th century ship, the Adventure Galley, in the harbor
 of Sainte-Marie Island, Madagascar.
     It was during the third Discovery Channel expedition to Madagascar in
 November, led by explorer Clifford and conducted with the aid and support of
 the Malagasy government, that the crew first positively identified the wreck
 of the Fiery Dragon in the harbor at Sainte-Marie Island.  The two earlier
 expeditions had indicated that the remains uncovered first were that of the
 Adventure Galley, but later exploration and testing showed that it was, in
 fact, the Fiery Dragon.  The Adventure Galley and the Fiery Dragon lie less
 than 60 feet apart.
     The island has long been identified as a base of operations for pirates
 from the middle 1680s to about 1730, and, according to historian Kinkor, at
 least nine pirate ships are known to have been scuttled or sunk there.  During
 the two previous expeditions to the island this year, the Clifford team had
 located five to six wrecked vessels -- including Kidd's Adventure Galley -- in
 a "pirate ship graveyard" tightly clustered within a football-field-sized area
 known as "the careening spot."  The careening spot was a shallow place in a
 harbor used to roll a ship onto its side to clean the hull of barnacles and
 other pests, as well as to make repairs.
     Over the course of its three expeditions, the Clifford team also made some
 startling underground discoveries.  With the help of ultra-sophisticated
 electronic remote-sensing equipment and interpretation from Witten
 Technologies, Inc., a Washington, D.C.-based high-tech company and pioneer in
 imaging objects underground, the team located what may prove to be a complex
 underground tunnel system, including possible flood-tunnel booby-traps.
 According to Kinkor, the tunnels may have been built by English pirates to
 hide their treasure and other valuables.
     Expedition Leader Barry Clifford is one of the world's foremost
 authorities on pirate shipwrecks and maritime history.  His 1984 discovery off
 Cape Cod of the pirate ship Whydah, sunk in 1717, is still considered the
 premier finding of its kind in the world.
     The one-hour documentary, QUEST FOR CAPTAIN KIDD, is produced for the
 Discovery Channel by Compass Light, specialty producers of marine programming.
 David Conover is producer and Charles Vanderpool is director.  For the
 Discovery Channel, Steven Manuel is executive producer and Mike Quattrone is
 executive in charge of production.
 
     Discovery Channel is one of the United States' two largest cable
 television networks, serving 80 million households across the nation with the
 finest in informative entertainment.  Discovery Networks, a division of
 Discovery Communications, Inc., operates and manages Discovery Channel, TLC,
 Animal Planet, Travel Channel, Discovery Health Channel, Discovery Kids
 Channel, Discovery Science Channel, Discovery Home & Leisure Channel,
 Discovery Civilization Channel, Discovery Wings Channel, and Discovery en
 Espanol.  The unit also markets and distributes BBC America.
 
 SOURCE  Discovery Channel