MOREHEAD CITY - The raising of a 12th cannon from the shipwreck presumed to be the Queen Anne's Revenge is one of the expected highlights of a dive expedition that gets under way this week off the coast of Carteret County.
But every trip to the site holds the unexpected, as additional artifacts are uncovered and the shipwreck believed to be the flagship of the pirate Blackbeard is explored from every angle.
"It's an unfolding story," said QAR Project Director Mark Wilde-Ramsing.
The next chapter is a two-month dive expedition that begins this week and continues through Nov. 7.
Wilde-Ramsing said a small crew was began setting up Tuesday morning, and the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries' research vessel Shell Point should be available for use starting today.
"It will be a short week this week, and we probably won't get down to artifacts until next week," he said.
Underwater archaeologists will excavate and recover artifacts from 70 different 5-foot-by-5-foot blocks in the vessel's midship and forward hold areas, resuming excavation from the point where work ended during the last dive.
The cannon to be raised is estimated to be about eight feet long and weighs about 2,500 pounds. It is expected to be lifted from its underwater location in October.
While exploring the site, researchers will also investigate the ship's rigging attachments, which could potentially give more insight into the vessel's construction and what happened to the ship when it went down, such as whether any major parts of the ship broke away from the main structure.
"We're getting into a lot of detective work," Wilde-Ramsing said.
The Queen Anne's Revenge ran aground in Beaufort Inlet in June 1718. The shipwreck was located in November 1996 by the Florida-based research company Intersal, Inc., with information provided to field operations director Mike Daniel by company president, the late Phil Masters.
During the past 11 years, archaeologists with the Underwater Archaeology branch of the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources have made dive expeditions to the site and recovered tens of thousands of articfacts. All artifacts are taken to the QAR Conservation Lab at East Carolina University in Greenville for conservation.
To date, 25 cannon have been identified at the site and 11 have been recovered. Four are currently displayed in museums, including three at the N.C. Maritime Museum in Beaufort.
Findings from the latest expedition will be part of the 2008 Department of Cultural Resources "Telling Our Stories" theme observance.
The N.C. Department of Cultural Resources is a state agency dedicated to the promotion and protection of North Carolina's arts, history and culture. Its Web site is www.ncculture.com.
For full information about the QAR project go to its Web site at www.qaronline.org.
Posted on Jun 15 2007, 12:25 PM
I agree with you Andy. I think Erik is on the right track.
Andy in West Oz
Posted on Jun 15 2007, 10:41 AM
I would have thought the ultimate "smoking blunderbuss" for any shipwreck ID would be the ship's bell or something as positive as that. Dimensions maybe.
So I wanted to know what a "smoking blunderbuss" looks like and typed it into Google. Every single result had the phrase "Ten years and $2 million have yet to result in a "smoking blunderbuss" that ..." in the description. How many different sites are going to report the exact same article??? Is that legal?
So, is "smoking blunderbuss" just a generic term for something that tells researchers that their site is definitely the one they think it is? What would be the smoking blunderbuss that tells Clive's team if they've found the BHR?
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