New study claims ancient mariners visited the New World more than a 1,000 years before Columbus set foot there.

The year 1492 is etched in history as the date America was discovered.  Christopher Columbus’s pioneering journey has, for centuries, been considered Europe’s first contact with the continent.  But, although there is a degree of evidence to suggest a Norse settlement some 500 years earlier, other discussions about prior discoveries have fallen into category pseudo science.

But now a team of scientists claim to have found evidence they believe could “rewrite the history” of America.

They say it was first discovered by the Romans.  The new study claims ancient mariners visited the New World more than a 1,000 years before Columbus set foot there.  Researchers from the Ancient Artifact Preservation Society (AAPS) say a Roman sword was discovered in a shipwreck off Oak Island on the south shore of Nova Scotia, Canada.

The research reveals that a Roman legionnaire’s whistle, Gold Carthage coins, part of a Roman shield and a Roman head sculpture have also been found on the island.

Lead historian Jovan Hutton Pulitzer insists the haul is firm evidence the Romans landed there first and is the “single most important discovery” ever for the Americas.

“The ceremonial sword came out of that shipwreck. It is 100 per cent confirmed as Roman.

“I began my forensic work into it using an XRF analyser – which is a leading archaeological tool for analysing metals.

“And we found all these other metals that tell you this was made from ore that came directly from the ground.

“It has the same arsenic and lead signature in it. We’ve been able to test this sword against another one like it and it matches.

“Some years ago, a man and his son were scalloping off Oak Island, which sees them hang a rake-like object off the back of their boat.

“They put it under the surface and when they brought this up, the sword came up with it.

“The father kept it for decades, and when he died it went to his wife, then his daughter.

“Then when she died many years later it went to her husband. It was he who approached me and said ‘I think you should know about this and where it was found’.

“The shipwreck is still there and has not been worked,” he said.

Oak Island is a privately-owned 57-hectare island in Lunenburg County on the south shore of Nova Scotia.

It has been at the centre of one of the biggest treasure hunts in history, which began in in 1795 centring on the infamous ‘Money Pit’ – a 230ft booby-trapped shaft which is thought to contain valuable artifacts.

Since 1795, six treasure hunters have lost their lives trying to excavate the pit.