Archaeologists race tides to salvage Blackbeard's ship
History records Blackbeard's flagship, the 40-gun Queen Anne's Revenge, ran aground near Beaufort Inlet in 1718. Archaeologists believe a treasure of information about the notorious pirate lies in a jumble of cannon and timber on the ocean floor there.
But the sea still holds the secret of whether the wreckage was really the Queen Anne's Revenge and the site might be destroyed before the truth is known.
"We've only done 5 percent of the wreck, which means the rest is sitting out there in potentially great hazard from storms," said Phil Masters, the underwater salvage expert who found the wreckage nine years ago.
The ship sank in about 24 feet of water and was buried under 15 feet of sand for almost 300 years, archaeologists said. But through the years, the ship also sank in the sand and now sits on bedrock, and storm after storm has gradually stripped away the protective sands.
Only 3 feet of sand now cover the wreckage, and the next violent storm to hit Bogue Banks could destroy the site, archaeologists said.
"We're seeing material we haven't seen before because now it's uncovered," said David Moore, of the North Carolina Maritime Museum. "But we also must ask, ‘What are we missing? What has the storm taken away that we didn't even know was there?'"
Hundreds of artifacts recovered so far point to Blackbeard, such as a 2,500-pound cannon that was recovered in May. Archaeologists at East Carolina University found valuable clues through X-rays.
comments powered by Disqus
- Ronald Suny says historians have shied away from exploring the roots of the Armenian genocide for fear of taking attention away from the victims
- Columbia University professors Eric Foner, Alan Brinkley, and Alice Kessler-Harris to retire
- A powerhouse appropriations subcommittee is now headed by a historian: Republican Rep. Tom Cole (OK)
- Slavic scholars divided over a scholarship sponsored (and withdrawn) by Stephen F. Cohen
- Claire Strom to Step Down as Editor of Agricultural History