Friday, October 25, 2013 1:55 PM
BEAUFORT -- The final week of the expedition at the wreck of Blackbeard’s flagship, Queen Anne’s Revenge (QAR), is pulling out the big guns. Literally. Five cannons, four weighing 2,000 pounds and one nearly 3,000 pounds, will be lifted from the floor of the Atlantic Ocean Monday, Oct. 28, weather permitting. All the cast iron cannons fired six pound cannon balls, and will bring to 20 the cannons raised from the site. This will be the biggest ‘catch’ of cannons recovered at one time.
“We think the largest of the four cannons may be of Swedish origin since the only other recovered gun this size was made in Sweden,” Project Director Billy Ray Morris observes. “We also hope to recover two large concretions each the size of a twin bed. They may contain barrel hoops, cannon balls and other treasures.”
Blackbeard is known to have gathered a hodge-podge of cannons from different countries as he equipped his vessel with 40 guns. To date, 29 guns have been located at the shipwreck site near Beaufort. The research team, led by the Underwater Archaeology Branch of the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources, has recovered artifacts from 60 percent of the site, including cannons, anchors, gold dust, animal bones, lead shot, medical and scientific instruments, and much more. Altogether about 280,000 artifacts have been recovered. Full recovery is planned by 2014. An extensive Queen Anne’s Revenge exhibit is at the N.C. Maritime Museum in Beaufort.
The U.S. Coast Guard cutter Smilax will do the heavy lifting. It is a 100 foot, 200-ton flat-bottom, intercoastal cutter. Smilax is the oldest ship (1944) in Coast Guard service, and has been designated as “Queen of the Fleet.”
For information please call (919) 807-7389. The Underwater Archaeology Branch is within the Office of State Archaeology; the N.C. Maritime Museum is within the Division of State History Museums of N.C. Department of Cultural Resources.
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