Blackbeard Pirate Relics, Gold Found

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A brass navigational instrument known as a chart divider is among artifacts recently recovered from a shipwreck thought to be the Queen Anne's Revenge, the ship of the infamous 18th-century pirate Blackbeard, archaeologists said in March 2009.

Some of the newfound relics add to evidence that the ship belonged to the pirate. ""We feel pretty comfortable that that's what this is," said Marke Wilde-Ramsing, director of the Queen Anne's Revenge project for the North Carolina Office of State Archaeology.

Underwater archaeologists from the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources have been excavating the wreck—which lies 22 feet (7 meters) underwater a few miles off Beaufort, North Carolina—since 1997.

On March 26, 2009, two fleurs-de-lis (iris flowers)—the royal symbol of France—were revealed on an apothecary weight from a shipwreck off the coast of North Carolina, archaeologists said in March 2009.

Originally stuck to other nested weights but separated via an electrolysis process, the weight and a fleur-de-lis-shaped keg spigot found in the shipwreck are among the strongest evidence that the ship was originally French—a key to tying the ship to Blackbeard.

The pirate captured the French ship Le Concorde and renamed it Queen Anne's Revenge in 1717.

Le Concorde's surgeon, who was forced to serve briefly in Blackbeard's crew, may have owned the weights, designed for pharmaceuticals. Pirates could have also used the weights to measure gold dust, experts say.

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