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After nearly 300 years in the North Carolina shallows, the remains of what may be the Queen Anne’s Revenge are surfacing, plank by worm-eaten plank. The site, discovered in 1996, is 25 feet underwater, less than a mile and a half from shore. But long weather delays during diving seasons and uncertain funding have slowed the excavation—this past fall’s expedition was the first since 2008—and it can take years to clean and analyze artifacts corroded beyond recognition. Still, with objects recovered from 50 percent of the site, archaeologists are increasingly confident that the wreck is the infamous frigate that terrorized the Caribbean and once blockaded Charleston, South Carolina, for a week before running aground in June 1718.
In May 1718, the Queen Anne’s Revenge blockaded the port of Charleston, holding prominent citizens hostage in return for a chest of medicine. After collecting the ransom, Blackbeard retreated to North Carolina, which had plenty of hiding spots in obscure coves and inlets behind the Outer Banks. Alas, in early June, as Blackbeard and his fleet advanced on the sleepy fishing village of Beaufort, North Carolina, the Queen Anne’s Revenge foundered on a sandbar.
The details of how the ship ran aground remain a matter of dispute. Some experts believe Blackbeard was just another victim of the treacherous sandbanks at the mouth of Beaufort inlet, which tend to shift during storms, confounding even modern captains. Others, however, think Blackbeard deliberately abandoned the ship, which was far too large to navigate North Carolina’s shallow sounds, in an effort to downsize his crew (some of whom later testified as much) and travel light, transferring his treasure to the smaller ships in his fleet. Whatever the scenario, the demise of the Queen Anne’s Revenge was what archaeologists call a “nonviolent wreck event,” meaning that the pirates had ample time to offload plunder.
Luckily, the archaeologists have a different notion of treasure. They’ve found hundreds of historical objects including a diminutive signal gun, turtle bones (possible remnants of a favorite pirate food), a pewter syringe, a funnel-shaped spout that served as a urinal and an intact piece of window glass, blue-green and rippling like a sculpture of the sea. The 2010 dive yielded an ornate sword hilt made of iron, copper and an animal horn or antler.The trouble is, none of these proves the ship’s identity. Though the datable artifacts can be traced to the decades before the vessel’s sinking (any dates after June 1718 would be powerful evidence against the ship’s claim to fame), so far there is nothing conclusive.
Meanwhile, archaeologists are itching to start work on the largest concretion of all: a huge pile of cannons and anchors still on the seafloor. They hope the mound is big enough to contain preserved material for micro-organic analysis. Bits of food, sediment or insect parts could tie the ship to the Caribbean or Africa. Or perhaps they’ll just discover “some hooks and wooden legs,” jokes Mark Wilde-Ramsing, a state archaeologist working on the project. “Parrot bones, maybe
Originally posted by Lighterside
reply to post by ucantcme
Oops I put this in the wrong forum! I didn't realize I was in current events!! Sorry!!
I think Pirates of the Caribbean 4 just came out, so technically.....
edit on 25-5-2011 by Lighterside because: formatting correction
Originally posted by highfreq
Sunken treasure is like the coolest thing ever! The story that surrounds them, the mystery. The fact that these items lay at the bottom of the ocean, untouched by man, undiscovered for so many years and then brought to the surface must be a rewarding feeling.
Originally posted by cahlmac
Really like these sort of stories. You never know what surprises are going to be recovered after being under the sea so long. I think myself, that the little personal pieces that are recovered from these wrecks are the most interesting.
It always makes me wonder about the people that sailed on those ships, knowing that at one time a person used or owned the very item that we now see.
Anchor retrieval delayed for shipwreck
May 25, 2011 4:17 PM
The retrieval of a 3,000-pound anchor from the shipwreck site believed to be the flagship of the infamous pirate Blackbeard has been delayed at least a day due to unfavorable weather conditions, state officials said.
A two-week dive expedition is now underway at the wreck of the Queen Anne’s Revenge off the Carteret County coast, and state underwater archaeologists and partners had initially planned to raise the anchor, the largest artifact to date to be recovered from the site, Thursday. However, due to wind and sea conditions, the recovery has been delayed until possibly Friday or sometime next week, the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources announced.