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Archaeologists debate whether ship was Blackbeard's
Winston-Salem Journal ^ | Sunday, April 10, 2005

Posted on 04/15/2005 12:25:52 AM PDT by nickcarraway

GREENVILLE, N.C. - What do those numbers "1730" on a cannon retrieved from a shipwreck that state archaeologists think is the flagship of the pirate Blackbeard really mean?

A year? A weight?

That's part of the argument about whether the shipwreck really is Queen Anne's Revenge, the ship that historical accounts say Blackbeard intentionally sank near Beaufort in June 1718 to break up his company of 300 to 400 men.

At a symposium at East Carolina University those who believe it is defended their work.

"Anybody that says that's a date is really showing their ignorance of 18th century cannon foundry," said Nathan Henry, archaeological conservator with the state's Underwater Archaeology Branch.

Founders of that day used professional engravers to mark the cannons they made, Henry said.

"These numbers are chiseled," he said, posing instead the theory that the figures refer to the weight of the gun.

His comments referred to the authors of an article in the April edition of the International Journal of Nautical Archaeology that cites the numbers on the cannon as possibly the most important of several reasons to question whether the shipwreck truly is Queen Anne's Revenge.

"If this is a date, it definitely eliminates the identification of the site as Blackbeard's 1718 shipwreck," states the article, co-written by Michigan state archaeologist Wayne Lusardi, a former conservator for the Queen Anne's Revenge Project, and East Carolina University Archaeologists Bradley Rodgers and Nathan Richards.

The article further states that the notion that the figures represent the weight is unlikely.

"English weights are denoted in hundredweights-quarters-pounds, written thus with dashes between the numbers," the article states.

Additionally, the article indicates that numerals denoting weight are generally placed across the breadth of the gun, not the length.

Henry, for example, said the numbers do add up to near the current weight of the cannon, which underwent conservation and cleaning measures after sitting for 200 years under the sea.

"Because guns were sold by the pound, this is a good indication that this is a price tag," Henry said.

The article claims those associated with the Queen Anne's Revenge Project may have slanted evidence associated with the wreckage to fit a preconceived notion that it was Blackbeard's boat found in Beaufort Inlet, while ignoring other possibilities.

The article puts forth a theory that the vessel appears more like a mid-18th century merchant ship than a pirate's boat.

Speakers at the symposium, however, presented research that dated the artifacts from the site to the early 18th century.

"We feel very comfortable that we're actually in the right time frame," said QAR Project Director Mark Wilde-Ramsing.

Several archaeologists from across the country, who participated in a symposium panel discussion, said nothing in the article had convinced them that the shipwreck was not the Queen Anne's Revenge.

"It has the likelihood of being the flagship of the pirate Blackbeard and at the very least it's the earliest shipwreck found in North Carolina coastal waters," said Roger Smith, Florida's chief state archaeologist.

State archaeologists never claimed conclusive evidence to identify the site. But Charles Ewen of ECU's Anthropology Department said he did agree with the article's contention that by naming the project and conservation lab "Queen Anne's Revenge" and repeatedly referring to the shipwreck as the flagship, the state may have contributed to public misunderstanding.

All the panel members said archaeologists might never find the artifact that proves beyond doubt that the vessel once belonged to Blackbeard.

"What we're going to have to be swayed by is preponderance of evidence," said Donny Hamilton, program head for the Nautical Archaeology Program at Texas A&M University.

Blackbeard, whose real name was widely believed to be Edward Teach or Thatch, was tracked down at Ocracoke Inlet by volunteers from the Royal Navy and killed in a battle on Nov. 22, 1718.

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Extended News; Miscellaneous
KEYWORDS: blackbeard; edwardteach; edwardthatch; godsgravesglyphs; queenannesrevenge

1 posted on 04/15/2005 12:25:52 AM PDT by nickcarraway
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To: nickcarraway

AAAAARGH MATEY! They're plundering thy ship ! Off with their heads!

2 posted on 04/15/2005 12:42:38 AM PDT by 1FASTGLOCK45 (FreeRepublic: More fun than watching Dem'Rats drown like Turkeys in the rain! ! !)
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To: nickcarraway; 1FASTGLOCK45

They have a valid point. So many ships have gone down off the coast of the Carolinas that the scatter fields of some overlap others. Meticulous recording, analysis and site preservation should always come before PR.

Where's Clive Cussler when you need him?

3 posted on 04/15/2005 2:42:39 AM PDT by NewRomeTacitus
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Did you hear about the pirate movie? It was rated AARRRRRRRRRGGHHH.....

4 posted on 04/15/2005 4:44:54 AM PDT by mrs. a (It's a short life but a merry one...)
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Sound like they need a cannon expert. Several are available in England and the U.S. But archaeologist do not want to know the truth, especially if it contradict their pet belief. Most are democrats, go figure.

I thought most dates and proof marks were stamped on the trunnions. Weights were stamped on the muzzle.
5 posted on 04/15/2005 5:47:07 AM PDT by fireforeffect (A kind word and a 2x4, gets you more than just a kind word.)
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To: mrs. a

mrs. a wrote:
Did you hear about the pirate movie? It was rated AARRRRRRRRRGGHHH.....

--> Great joke! I'm sure the others will enjoy as well. :)
Micheal Moor's documentary's are always rated: Off with their heads, one more time!!!

6 posted on 04/15/2005 7:38:23 AM PDT by 1FASTGLOCK45 (FreeRepublic: More fun than watching Dem'Rats drown like Turkeys in the rain! ! !)
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Note: this topic is from 4/15/2005. Thanks nickcarraway.

7 posted on 10/06/2013 6:31:05 AM PDT by SunkenCiv (It's no coincidence that some "conservatives" echo the hard left.)
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