N.C. Maritime Museum

Blackbeard artifacts to be opened to public

Conserved 19-inch cannon from the Queen Anne's Revenge Shipwreck


From Popular Archaeology


A newly restored cannon recovered from the 1718 shipwreck of Blackbeard's flagship, Queen Anne's Revenge (QAR), will be on display for the public in late February at the N.C. Maritime Museum in Beaufort.

Other artifacts will include a pewter decorated wooden knife handle, cannon wadding, and a hand grenade.

Blackbeard, otherwise known as Edward Thatcher (or "Teach" in some circles), was perhaps the most notorious pirate along the eastern seaboard of North America during the heyday of ocean-going piracy between the late 17th and first quarter of the 18th centuries.

In June of 1718 his fleet attempted to enter Old Topsail Inlet, NC, now known as Beaufort Inlet.  His flagship, Queen Anne’s Revenge and the Adventure ran aground at the Inlet and was subsequently abandoned by Blackbeard and many of his crew, fleeing to the north.

He and some of his fellow crew members were eventually killed by an expedition of the Royal Navy the following November.

In 1996 a shipwreck was discovered in the Beaufort Inlet by the Florida-based research firm Intersal, Inc., and gradual recovery and analysis of the artifacts since then have strongly suggested that the shipwreck is indeed that of the Queen Anne’s Revenge.

Says archaeologist David Moore of the N.C. Maritime Museum , "The 19-inch bronze cannon possibly was used as a signal gun to warn victims of the pirate ship's presence or as part of combat.

In fact, there is evidence that the cannon was well-used, as the vent had been worn from explosions and was replaced by the crew."

Speaking of the decorated wooden knife handle, QAR Chief Conservator Sarah Watkins-Kenney said that "it is remarkable that a wooden object has survived nearly 300 years on the ocean floor."  

The knife blade itself did not survive.


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