Local News

Under the Sea Searching for Blackbeard

Posted October 8, 1998 7:00 a.m. EDT
Updated October 26, 2011 6:59 a.m. EDT

— More artifacts are coming to the surface from what is believed to be Blackbeard's flagship. Friday, for the first time, news crews were allowed to dive at the site where experts think the Queen Anne's Revenge sunk hundreds of years ago.

WRAL reporter Amanda Lamb and photographerJoe Frieda joined the exhibition in search of Blackbeard's treasures.

After a briefing on the day's work, they set out aboard the Shackelford with Captain Andy Anderson at the helm.

Jumping in the water, they had no idea what they would see, but as they descended into virtual darkness they realized what a tough job the researchers have.

Mike Daniel discovered what is believed to be Blackbeard's pirate ship, the Queen Anne's Revenge, in November 1996.

"As soon as we started bringing up the artifacts, it looked like this era, and we were pretty excited," Daniel said.

As of this week, they have discovered 18 canons, several anchors and pieces of the ship itself.

Researchers use a numbered baseline to find their way through the murky water. Large artifacts are often hoisted out of the water with a make-shift crane. Dozens of them are being stored at the Underwater Archeology Lab.

Pewter platters, 18th-century wine bottles, pottery, scientific and navigational instruments are just a few of the treasures researchers say leads them to believe the ship is indeed the Queen Anne.

"We hope this wreck may end up being the most historically important archeological discovery ever in America that has been found underwater," says Phil Masters, who is with the Maritime Research Institute. "We think this wreck is going to yield an incredible variety of rich artifacts, not treasure, but artifacts rich in history."

People can see some of the artifacts at the North Carolina Maritime Museum, which is in Beaufort. There is also a traveling show that is in New Bern right now.

This dive is scheduled to end next week. Researchers will resume diving next year.