Researchers off the North Carolina coast are on dive number two for the year. Their goal is to recover artifacts from the wreck of Blackbeard's flagship, Queen Anne's Revenge, which ran aground near Beaufort nearly 300 years ago.
Project Director Bill Ray Morris says this excavation will focus on the forward part of the ship near the bow.
“We're also working on the main pile, which is a concreted mass of anchors, canons, pieces of the ship's rigging and ballast rock,” Morris says. “And we're going to be disassembling that underwater and sending the pieces of that up as we break it apart.”
The artifacts are locked in a mass of mineralized sediment. Once separated, they'll be sent to a conservation lab in Greenville. To date, divers have recovered 15 canons from the wreck. This dive's main goal is an anchor that's more than 11 feet long. Weather-permitting, the dive is scheduled to continue through November.
Update Tuesday, August 20: Divers recovered two cannons from Queen Anne's Revenge on Friday. Archeologists say that the two cannons were small - 500 pounds as opposed to the 2,000 pound cannons previously discovered - and would have been used for close-range firing on other ships. So far, 17 cannons have been raised from the wreckage off the coast of Beaufort.
The cannons will be sent to the Queen Anne Revenge lab to be cleaned of salt and iron deposits and sediment, a process that can take up to five years.