Blackbeard's Presumed Ship Gets New Layer

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RALEIGH, N.C. - Authorities are resorting to a risky new method aimed at helping preserve what is believed to be the sunken flagship of the pirate Blackbeard.

The Army Corps of Engineers is creating an underwater sand dune to shelter the Queen Anne's Revenge, which sits about 26 feet underwater off the North Carolina coast.

The untried method could potentially damage the ship, which sank in 1718. But if it works, experts said it could be a model for protecting other underwater archaeological finds.

"We don't really know what it's going to do," said Bill Adams, a biologist with the Corps.

The idea of burying the wreck in sand was suggested in the state's plan for managing the site after it was discovered in 1996.

Project archaeologist Chris Southerly said the burial was made possible because the corps was dredging near the site and had a ready supply of sand. Dredging began Wednesday.

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