Wednesday, May 04, 2005


Divers visit new sites around shipwreck


The Daily News
By Patricia Smith
May 04, 2005

BEAUFORT - Underwater archaeologists plan to start today excavating new areas of a site they think is the remains of Blackbeard's flagship.

Divers with the state's Queen Anne's Revenge Project will begin digging in an area of the wreckage believed to be the forward area of the ship at the northern-most part of the site which is closest to shore, said project archaeologist and field supervisor Chris Southerly.

"In the forward area of the vessel you might find evidence of the galley," Southerly said.

So divers expect to find things like bricks from the hearth, Southerly said. Or they might find line or chain from the anchors, he said.

"We probably won't find any anchors," Southerly said.

Archaeologists believe they have already found all the anchors from the vessel.

They do think, though, there are more cannons to be discovered. While the divers have mapped out the locations of 23 cannons, they have picked up strong magnetic signals from the forward part of the ship.

"We suppose that they're additional cannon that are buried that have never been exposed," Southerly said. "That's part of the reason for excavating in this area."

The expedition, which began Monday, is scheduled to last all month.

Divers spent Monday and Tuesday putting out moorings and roping off reference lines in preparation for the dig, Southerly said. Diving conditions were not the best. Visibility was at or less than two feet, he said.

They plan to excavate 16 different 5-foot-by-5-foot units from various areas of the shipwreck, starting at the forward end of the vessel, moving toward the stern, then coming back again, Southerly said.

By the end of this week, or early next week, they should be bringing up artifacts, Southerly said.

Later in the month, they intend to exhume two or three more cannons, said project director Mark Wilde-Ramsing.

The shipwreck lies in about 20 feet of water about a mile off of Fort Macon State Park. It was discovered in 1996 by Intersal, a private research company.

Blackbeard terrorized colonial America from the Caribbean to New England in the early 18th Century. His flagship, Queen Anne's Revenge, ran aground in Beaufort Inlet in 1718.


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