Carteret County coast

Artifacts found during QAR dive

By Jannette Pippin - JD News


The raising of a cannon is planned as part of a fall dive expedition now under way at the Queen Anne’s Revenge shipwreck site off the Carteret County coast, but recent excitement has been over an artifact much, much smaller.

Now in its second week of the four-week dive, the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources archaeologists closed out the first week with an artifact recovered Friday of a small lid that appears to go to the set of seven bronze nesting weight cups recovered from the shipwreck in 2007.

The set of graduated, cup-shaped weights that fit inside of each other have already gone through the conservation process and are on display as part of the largest exhibit of artifacts from the shipwreck considered to be the flagship of the infamous pirate Blackbeard.

The exhibit is located at the North Carolina Maritime Museum in Beaufort, which is the official repository for the QAR project.

David Moore, curator of nautical archaeology for the Maritime Museum, said the artifact was located about 20 feet from where the nesting weights were originally found.

“I would be surprised if it’s not (the lid),” he said.

Having the lid would help to complete the set, which was missing the lid and its smallest weight when it was found.

Moore said the smallest of finds make a big impact when it comes to piecing together the story of the Queen Anne’s Revenge.

“The small, seemingly insignificant artifacts all play a part,” Moore said. “All the artifacts give us a little bit of the story and enable us to put together this 3-D jigsaw puzzle.”

The nesting weight cups could have been used for measuring medicine or gold dust.

The recovery of the likely lid for the weight set came as East Carolina University students Laurel Seaborn and Rob Minford worked the dredge and sluice box used in separating tiny artifacts from sediment from the shipwreck site.

Students with ECU’s maritime studies program and a student from the Winterthur/University of Delaware Program in Art Conservation are participating in the dive expedition.

“Part of what we’re doing is education,” said Nathan Henry, assistant state archaeologist.

Also recovered this week was an artifact believed to be a shackle from the ship.

“It’s definitely a shackle, but we don’t know if it was used for rigging or possibly as part of the slave trade,” Henry said.