Many unknown treasures and concretion-encased surprises await researchers on the wreck of Blackbeard’s flagship, Queen Anne’s Revenge (QAR), near Beaufort. Part two of this year’s dive season resumed this week, and the plan is to recover artifacts from 60 five-foot by five-foot units by October 31. After nearly 300 years on the sea floor, the artifacts often are locked in a concrete-like crust of sand, shells and marine life that is removed during the conservation process.
This summer’s earlier dive ended in mid-June with the recovery of two eight-foot cannons. To date, 15 cannons have been recovered, and six other cannons that then could not be retrieved now await recovery. Plans to lift them in June were upset by unfavorable wind and weather.
“We still hope to recover the other cannons; one is already in place and ready to go,” said Project Director Billy Ray Morris. “We are seeking a vessel to lift the others since the retirement of the R/V Dan Moore, by Cape Fear Community College. It was a wonderful partner with us for many years.” The team will ask the college about use of its new vessel, R/V Hatteras, for further cannon recoveries.
Work will be concentrated in the area just forward of the main pile, running toward the bow of the ship. More than 280,000 artifacts have been recovered, led by the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources Underwater Archaeology Branch, which administers the site. Full recovery of artifacts is planned in 2014. Many artifacts are displayed in the Blackbeard’s Queen Anne’s Revenge, 1718 exhibit at the N.C. Maritime Museum in Beaufort.
The Queen Anne’s Revenge ran aground in Beaufort in June 1718. Intersal, Inc., a private research firm, discovered the site believed to be Queen Anne’s Revenge Nov. 21, 1996.
QAR was located near Beaufort Inlet, N.C., by Intersal’s director of operations, Mike Daniel, who used historical research provided by Intersal’s president, Phil Masters. Daniel now heads up Maritime Research Institute, the nonprofit corporation formed to work on the project in cooperation with state archaeologists and historians of the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources.
The Underwater Archaeology Branch and the N.C. Maritime Museum, within the Division of State History Museums, are part of the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources.