The bones were uncovered in 1986 during a construction project and have been kept in storage by the state Department of Cultural Resources ever since.
Raleigh researcher and Outer Banks historian Kevin Duffus thinks the bones are the remains of Edward Salter, a former member of Blackbeard's pirate crew who died 275 years ago.
Salter's descendants have asked that the Smithsonian Institute look into the claim and test the bones for clues to the physical activities, place of birth, age and cause of death of the person.
After the tests are complete, the bones will be returned to Beaufort County for reburial.
Joan Blount Bass of Rogersville, Mo., an eighth-generation descendant of Salter will visit the North Carolina Office of State Archaeology Research Center in Raleigh Friday to take possession of the bones.