Wednesday, April 26, 2006


Blackbeard dive site still posing questions


The Daily News
By Patricia Smith
April 25, 2006

BEAUFORT — State archaeologists don’t know why there are nine cannons in a cluster in the main ballast area at the center of the shipwreck believed to be Blackbeard’s Queen Anne’s Revenge.

It is not normally where the experts would expect to find armament on a pirate ship, said QAR Project Director Mark Wilde-Ramsing.

“Something pushed all these things together,” Wilde-Ramsing said.

It may be that the cannons were not part of the armament, but were in storage, Wilde-Ramsing said. It could be they were being moved when the ship went down, he said. Or they may have simply fallen to the heap from another part of the ship sometime in the nearly 300 years they’ve been underwater in Beaufort Inlet.

The archaeologists hope to get clues to the answer during a diving expedition planned for the site next month.

“We’re going to bring up one of the cannons sort of out on the edge of the pile,” Wilde-Ramsing said.

They want to see if the gun is loaded like the others that have been recovered from the site, he said.

It will be part of a diving expedition planned for May 8-20, Wilde-Ramsing said.

Divers will begin May 2 preparing the site to finish what was started in the spring of 2005, he said.

Last year, the QAR project began excavating different 5-foot-square units from different places across the shipwreck in order to get a sample of artifacts from the entire boat.

“This is sort of the first step of what we hope will be an effort to get everything up in the next several years and get it out of harm’s way,” Wilde-Ramsing said.

It will also be a representative sample of the artifacts should the site get destroyed by a hurricane before a full excavation can occur, he said.

Wilde-Ramsing said he does not know what artifacts, other than the cannon, divers might bring up.

“Look what we found last year, and we’ll be doing more of the same,” he said.

In addition to bringing up two cannons, divers found several other artifacts including a toilet liner and stemware.


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