Thursday, August 19, 2004


Late news on the ""Queen Anne's Revenge" project - Blackbeard pirate ship


Patricia Smith

DAILY NEWS STAFF, August 18,2004

MOREHEAD CITY - Experts say the pirate Blackbeard likely removed any booty on board the Queen Anne's Revenge before the ship sank in Beaufort Inlet in 1718. But state archaeologists working with the shipwreck believed to be the Queen Anne's Revenge are still looking for golden treasure - Golden Leaf Foundation treasure.

The Queen Anne's Revenge Project is seeking $244,000 from the nonprofit organization to retrieve more artifacts from the shipwreck site next year.

"It's time to do some more major recovery," said QAR Project Director Mark Wilde-Ramsing.

The project for the past two years has focused on preserving cannons and other items already brought up from the site off Carteret County. In the absence of designated state appropriations, the project has survived on a $350,000 Save America's Treasures grant from the National Park Service.

"It will not last beyond the first of the year," Wilde-Ramsing said.

Also, the QAR project has nearly finished the lab work on items already retrieved, including six cannons.
"All of them are scheduled to be finished up this spring and come on exhibit," Wilde-Ramsing said.

The Golden Leaf Foundation receives money from a court settlement against tobacco companies and issues grants for economic development projects, giving priority to those counties formerly dependent on tobacco.
Wilde-Ramsing said the application argues that the recovery of artifacts from the shipwreck site will, once again, peak interest in the pirate and draw more tourism to the area.

The project, part of the Underwater Archaeology Branch in the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources, applied to the Golden Leaf Foundation around the first of August, but will not know if it will receive money until sometime in November, Wilde-Ramsing said.

In the meantime, the QAR project plans to move forward with Dive Down, a program that will allow limited recreational diver access to the shipwreck site.

Authorities are still working through specifics but are looking at offering a two-day diving certificate program consisting of on-site dives and lectures.

'It's not just focusing on the archaeological remains, but also looking at the geology of why it's exposed and the biology of what's growing on it," Wilde-Ramsing said.

Tentative plans call for the program to start this fall with some of the state's dive business operators, then to open up next year to the general public, charging around a $500 fee, he said.

The program will also have to be run by a non-profit organization, such as the Friends of the North Carolina Maritime Museum, because the state agency cannot legally charge for site visits, Wilde-Ramsing said.

The project received $2,250 last year from the Carteret County Tourism Development Authority for a feasibility study on the idea. This year the TDA awarded $4,000 for promotional materials.

Link: - The News - The project website.


In June, 1718, a ship called the Queen Anne's Revenge ran aground about one mile offshore of the small port town of Beaufort, North Carolina. For over a year, it had sailed the waters of the Caribbean and along the Eastern Seaboard, as the flagship of the notorious pirate known as Blackbeard! Efforts to pull the ship free failed, and she eventually listed and settled into the shoaling sands.

For 278 years, the remains of the QAR lay covered by the sands of the Atlantic.

In 1996, after hurricanes and nor'easters scoured the sands away, divers from Intersal, Inc., searching for other shipwrecks around the inlet found the wreck site.

Since then, the North Carolina Division of Archives and History, in a coordinated and long-term research project, has conducted underwater archaeological investigations at the site of Blackbeard's Flagship.

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