Divers exploring what is believed to be Blackbeard's sunken flagship off the
North Carolina coast located another cannon Wednesday, further linking the wreckage to the
legendary 18-century English pirate.
The eight-foot long
cannon, found while divers were
using instruments to scan the sunken wreckage of what is believed to be Blackbeard's
"Queen Anne's Revenge", was the second one discovered this week and the
20th since excavations began at the site in 1997.
"The Queen Anne's Revenge purportedly had between 25 and 40 guns on
board," project conservator Wayne Lusardi said. "Any other ship in that area
that we have records of that sank, none of them had anywhere near that many cannons."
"So the more guns we find on the bottom the more likely it is to rule out other
candidates all together," Lusardi said.
Legend has it that
Blackbeard, whose real name was Edward Teach, ruthlessly prowled the
shipping channels off the Carolina coast before he was captured and beheaded by
Maynard of the British Royal Navy in 1718.
Blackbeard's flagship was a French slave ship captured by the pirate in 1717 and
renamed the Queen Anne's Revenge.
The ship ran aground in the Beaufort Inlet in June 1718.
Excavation of the wreckage resumed last week in 25-foot waters about a mile off the
Beaufort Inlet, and was expected to end Friday. Divers hope to expand their expedition
next year to at least five weeks, Lusardi said.
Monday, divers recovered an 1,100 pound
concretion, or mass, of barnacles and stone, which they dubbed "Baby Ruth"
because of its resemblance to the candy bar, and were surprised to discover a small
carriage gun beneath the mass.
The four-and-a-half foot
cannon, which weighs about 300 pounds, was likely used on the deck with a carriage mount
and shot a one-pound cannon ball.
"The small one brought up a few days ago was
Lusardi said. "It was a large conglomeration of stone and miscellaneous objects and
when they picked it up they could see a clear outline of the cannon. It was very
On previous dives, archaeologists had discovered the outlines of 18
cannons, 17 of which had the same dimensions and appeared to be eight-foot cannons
weighing about a ton. Two of the large cannons were brought to the surface in 1997, and
last year divers recovered a six-foot cannon.
Experts began sketching and documenting the small gun recovered
Monday, and Marines from nearby Cherry Point air station are using a portable X-ray
machine to photograph the gun and check for other artifacts hidden inside the
The cannon discovered Wednesday will remain below the surface until
the N.C. Underwater Archaeology Unit has enough space and manpower to raise it and store
"We're systematically going through the items," Lusardi
said. "We don't bounce around and pull things up. Essentially it's got
to wait its turn to come up."