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Divers Unveil New Artifacts From Probable Blackbeard Shipwreck, Ask For More Money

Posted December 7, 1999

— Historians and divers unveiled the latest finds Wednesday from what is believed to be Blackbeard's flagship off the North Carolina coast. They also made a pitch for more money to speed up the recovery process.

Artifacts from the wreck of what is believed to be the Queen Anne's Revenge are on display at the North Carolina Maritime Museum in Beaufort and other locations.

However, researchers say they must hurry to recover what remains.

"I think time is running out on us. We've found from the hurricane activity this past year that it has disturbed the site seriously," said Jeffrey Crow, director of the Division of Archives and History.

Wood planks like the one on display are in danger of being swept away by future storms or destroyed by worms.

Research scientists have dived the wreck site off the North Carolina coast for the past three years. This past diving season was spent mapping the site.

New artifacts have been brought up including wooden parts of the ship.

"These pieces can tell us a lot about the workmanship of the boat and give us, maybe, tree-ring dating. Two cannons were also brought up, and one of the cannons gave us a date of 1713," said diver Mark Wilde-Ramsing.

The Department of Cultural Resources wants to continue the project but says it needs continued funding by the General Assembly.

"Ultimately, I think this is going to be huge gain for the eastern North Carolina because there is the potential for heritage tourism which would help with the hurricane recovery," said Crow.

As for whether or not the wreck is actually that of Blackbeard's famous ship:

"We brought up thousands of artifacts, and absolutely none of them say that it is not Queen Anne's Revenge," said Wilde-Ramsing.

So far, 24 cannons have been discovered from what many believe is one of the most heavily armed ships of its time. Underwater archaeologists hope to begin diving again in the spring.


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