Monday, May 23, 2005


Queen Anne's Revenge dive produces interesting artifacts


The Daily News
By Patricia Smith
May 23, 2005

ATLANTIC BEACH - Mention Blackbeard's head, and it congers images of the pirate's decapitation after his final battle off Ocracoke.

But state divers found something at the Queen Anne's Revenge shipwreck site last week that gives a whole new meaning to the term.

"It's a pissdale; it's essentially a urinal" said Richard Lawrence, head of the N.C. Underwater Archaeology branch.

And they were apparently pretty common on 18th century vessels - at least in the officers' quarters, said David Moore, nautical archaeologist and maritime historian for the N.C. Maritime Museum.

"Basically it's just a tapered lead tube that leads from the 'seat of ease' as they called it out into the water," Moore said.

It is similar to one Moore saw while working on the wreckage of the Henrietta Marie, a slave ship that went down off Key West, Fla., in 1700. He has seen reports of pissdales found on other shipwrecks from the period.

Divers found the artifact in the area of the wreckage believed to have been the stern of the vessel. It's the same area of the wreckage from which divers have brought up scientific instruments.

"This could well have been in the captain's cabin because that's where we found it," Lawrence said.

The divers are in the middle of a monthlong expedition at the site, which was discovered in Beaufort Inlet in 1996.

The underwater archaeologists also confirmed that what they thought was another cannon in the forward area of the wreckage was indeed another gun.

"It's a big gun; it's probably a 6-pounder," said Queen Anne's Revenge Project Director Mark Wilde-Ramsing. "It's probably a sister gun to the one we found last fall."

That brings the total of cannons and rail guns found at the site to 24.

The 8-foot-long cannon is one of two the QAR team plans to raise from the water Tuesday. The other is a 6-foot gun that would likely have fired a 4-pound cannon ball.

Other artifacts the divers have retrieved this month include a batch of nails, an intact wine bottle, the remains of a cast iron pot, a piece of wood with a ring bolt, bar shot and cannonballs.


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