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Museum exhibits pirate artifacts found by treasure hunter

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — A Maine museum is playing host this summer to a traveling collection of pirate artifacts discovered by an underwater explorer trying to shake off criticism that cast him as a reckless treasure hunter.

The “Real Pirates” exhibit brings authentic pirate booty from the ship of Black Sam Bellamy to the Portland Science Center. The wreck of Bellamy’s Whydah was discovered by Barry Clifford in 1984.

Some of Clifford’s more recent claims, including the purported discovery of Christopher Columbus’ Santa Maria, have been disputed by a United Nations agency. The agency says Clifford’s methods are unscientific and have damaged shipwreck sites.

But Clifford attributes the criticism to “politics” and defends his work. He told the Portland Press Herald (http://bit.ly/2tcv46r ) he has conserved his findings and never sold an artifact for profit.

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