GREENVILLE, N.C. – Stories from a pirate’s life continue to unfold as artifacts are recovered and conserved from the wreck of the presumed Queen Anne’s Revenge (QAR), Blackbeard’s flagship, off the North Carolina coast. A media event at the QAR Conservation Lab at East Carolina University on Dec. 14 at noon previewed some of the objects. Artifacts from the fall expedition at the shipwreck site, along with artifacts being transferred to the N.C. Maritime Museum (NCMM) in Beaufort, were shown. The N.C. Department of Cultural Resources (www.ncculture) oversees research of the wreck.
The Maritime Museum will exhibit some of the newly transferred artifacts starting Dec. 18, which also will be exhibited at the N.C. Museum of History in Raleigh in January. A major exhibit of Queen Anne’s Revenge artifacts will open at the Maritime Museum in June 2011.
A portion of an ornate bronze sword, called a quillon block, embellished with decorative scroll work, has been conserved and is transferring to the N.C. Maritime Museum. This fine object may well have been acquired on some “pirate adventure.” Also transferring are two reale weights, coin weights used to verify the value of silver coins. In the early 1700s, coins were not yet milled and had smooth edges. The silver coins could unscrupulously be filed or chiseled (giving rise to the term “chiseler”) and the coin devalued. Glass panes from the window of the captain’s cabin also are being transferred. It is through these panes that Blackbeard would have looked out onto the sea.
Artifacts that will remain at the QAR Conservation lab include an antler sword handle, with remains of an iron sword blade that is part of the quillon block transferring to NCMM. Two pewter plates, from among dozens recovered so far, are being shown in tanks, along with wood fragments, bone and other objects from earlier life at sea. The 122 artifacts and concretions recovered this fall add to the hundreds of thousands gathered from the shipwreck site, which is 50% recovered.
This wreck was located in November 1996 by Intersal, Inc., with information provided to Operations Director Mike Daniel by company president Phil Masters. Archaeologists with the Underwater Archaeology Branch in the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources lead the research on this shipwreck.
For additional information call (919) 807-7389. The Queen Anne’s Revenge Shipwreck Project and the N.C. Maritime Museum are within the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources, the state agency dedicated to the promotion and protection of North Carolina’s arts, history and culture, and podcasting 24/7 with information about the Department of Cultural Resources at www.ncculture.com.
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