Murky waters and a creaky law

 By Beverley Ware - The Chronicle Herald

A large rock juts out of the dark, choppy waters off Prospect.

Inscribed on it is the date Nov. 24, 1814, and the name Fantome, the British warship that hit a rocky reef and sank there.

This spot, about 30 kilometres southwest of Halifax, has become the flash point for a turf war that reaches to the depths of the ocean floor.

The crew of the 18-gun naval brig survived, and for nearly 200 years, so has the mystique about what the sloop may have been carrying.

Because of that, archaeologists and the treasure hunters who hire them to document Nova Scotia’s marine heritage are at loggerheads over how wrecks like the Fantome should be treated.

Nova Scotia is the only province to allow treasure hunting. Critics say the Treasure Trove Act should be abolished.

British warship Nova Scotia Treasure Trove Act Prospect Fantome Halifax