Blackbeard's cannon mission delayed by bad weather

Posted June 12, 2013

Rough seas forced the cancellation Wednesday of a mission to exhume two cannons from the Queen Anne's Revenge, the Blackbeard ship sunk off the coast of North Carolina.

Excited conservationists working on the QAR project had planned a dive mission to the ship, two dozen feet below the water's surface.

"When they're coming up, people are so excited about seeing them. It's thrilling," said Julep Gillman-Bryan.

Time, money running out on Queen Anne's Revenge recovery Time, money running out on Queen Anne's Revenge recovery

She and others will have to wait to add to the on-shore collection of Blackbeard artifacts rescued from the wreck. As funding and weather allows, the QAR team is bringing history to the surface for further preservation and display.

"This is a huge part of North Carolina's heritage and a huge part of international maritime heritage as well. It's a significant site, and the decision to recover everything was made so nothing would be lost," said QAR Project Director Billy Ray Morris.

"It's also a rarity to find a vessel with this much left on board and the condition this site is in."

Gillman-Bryan is sensitive to the vagaries of money and time.

"The funding is running out," she said. "We're trying to get it done. We got three cannons uncovered last week then the tropical storm moved in."

The team works with a budget of less than $500,000, all raised from private donors. Gillman-Bryan estimates they have enough for about a year of work. 

Richard Lawrence hopes to buy them some time. As president of Friends of the QAR, he raises money for the project.

"Not only is it very expensive to get this off the bottom and into the preservation lab, but that's just the start of it. It will take years and years of conservation work," he said.



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  • necomm1 Jun 14, 2013

    Recovering and preserving historic artifacts is a long, hard process requiring meticulous effort but the end result is absolutely worth it.