Immediate October 8, 1997

Fay Mitchell Henderson

GETTING A GOOD LOOK AT THE POSSIBLE BLACKBEARD SHIPWRECK

The expedition team from the N.C. Underwater Archaeology Unit and the N.C. Maritime Museum, assisted by the Maritime Research Institute, had a couple of good days diving off the coast of Beaufort in search of what may be the sunken flagship of Blackbeard the pirate.

Visibility was two to eight feet on Friday, and the researchers visually inspected the site and set up reference lines for mapping. On Monday, visibility increased to 10-15', which allowed documentary photography of the wreck site and mapping of key features.

Highlights

The wreck covers and area 25' x 15' with a north/south orientation, and is 20' to 25' below the surface

Archaeologists have confirmed nine cannon barrels among the debris

Two large anchors, a grappling hook, numerous barrel hoops, and ship's rigging tackle have been identified

Probable hull remains are buried two to three feet below the bottom surface

Thus far, the age, type and arrangement of the artifacts continue to support that this is Blackbeard's flagship, the Queen Anne's Revenge. UNC-Wilmington's research vessel, Seahawk, arrived on Monday to serve as the primary research vessel on the project. Guest scientists will examine the wreck this coming week and detailed mapping of the site will continue. If weather conditions permit, additional photographs and video will be taken of the site. For additional information call Mary Cook or Fay Mitchell Henderson, 919/733-5722 or visit the website at www.ah.dcr.state.nc.us.

The Underwater Archaeology Unit, in the Division of Archives and History, is an agency of the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources.

Immediate October 15, 1997

Fay Mitchell Henderson

POSSIBLE BLACKBEARD SHIPWRECK YIELDS CANNONS AND AN ANCHOR

Favorable weather continues to assist the dive expedition at the site of the shipwreck believed to be the flagship of the infamous pirate Blackbeard, off the coast of Beaufort. Eleven cannons have been tagged and photo-documented, and a large anchor with a 12' wooden stock was found 12" beneath the sand.

Materials buried in the seabed appear to be one to three feet below the sand bottom and seem to extend about 50' south and east from the exposed mound.

While these findings would support that the shipwreck is the pirate Blackbeard's flagship, the Queen Anne's Revenge (QAR), that can't yet be conclusively stated. Site mapping continues, with accurate reference points established to assist additional research.

The project is being completed by the underwater archaeology unit and the N.C. Maritime Museum in the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources, assisted by the Maritime Research Institute. UNC-Wilmington is providing the research vessel Seahawk for the duration of the project. This week guest scientists from the Institute for International Maritime Research, East Carolina University, UNC-Wilmington, UNC-Chapel Hill and Duke University are participating in the research.

For additional information on this expedition, please call Mary Cook or Fay Mitchell Henderson, 919/733-5722, or visit the website at www.ah.dcr.state.nc.us.

Immediate October 21, 1997

Mary Cook

TWO CANNONS TO BE RAISED FROM POSSIBLE BLACKBEARD SHIPWRECK

Detailed mapping of exposed remains and the recovery of several small artifacts this past week have set the stage for the recovery of two cannons from the shipwreck of what may be the pirate Blackbeard's flagship. On Wednesday morning, Oct. 22 at 10 a.m. two cannons will be lifted from the ocean and loaded onto the Dan Moore, a 90' vessel belonging to Cape Fear Community College.

The expedition team, lead by the N.C. Underwater Archaeology Unit and assisted by the N.C. Maritime Museum and the Maritime Research Institute, will continue doing research at the shipwreck site. The primary research vessel is UNC-Wilmington's 29' Seahawk.

The eight foot cannons (barrels only) are encrusted with coral and shell hash, a mixture of fine sand and broken up shells. They rest on a bed of ballast rock and other artifacts on top of a layer of gray sand. No other artifacts or remains were beneath the cannons, suggesting that the cannons and other materials spilled out of the vessel during or after wrecking. The period of manufacture and type of artifacts fit well with the 18th century, which suggests but does not prove, that this is Blackbeard's flagship, the Queen Anne's Revenge.

Other artifacts recovered include a metal plate, probably made of pewter, several pieces of a very thick ceramic storage container, pieces of glass bottles and fragments of barrel hoops.

Reporters wishing to cover the raising of the cannons must secure a boat and stay back at least 100' from the divers and outside the designated area marked by buoys. Members of the project team will not be available for interview while they work and boats may not moor at the onsite buoys. The wreck site is very fragile and only members of the project team are allowed in the water in the wreck area.

Those media outlets wanting to go to the site to cover the raising of the cannons are asked to notify the public affairs office at the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources. Please call Fay Mitchell Henderson or Mary Cook, 919/733-5722. Additional information is available at the website at www.ah.dcr.state.nc.us.

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