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Har, me hearties! Excavating Blackbeard's ship
Reuters ^ | Mon Oct 30 | Diane Bartz

Posted on 10/30/2006 11:48:41 AM PST by 300magnum

BEAUFORT, North Carolina (Reuters) - Nearly three centuries ago, the notorious pirate Blackbeard ran aground in his ship, the Queen Anne's Revenge, off what is now a North Carolina beach town.

This month, a crew of 13 heads out to sea each day, hoping for clear-enough weather to dive the 20 to 25 feet (6 to 7.5 metres) to the ocean bottom to excavate what they believe is Blackbeard's ship.

The team has found cannons, a bell, lead shot of all sizes, gold dust, pewter cups and medical devices, like a urethral syringe used to treat syphilis with mercury.

"A saying at the time was 'a night with Venus and a month with mercury.' And mercury doesn't even cure you," lead archeologist Chris Southerly said in an interview.

In past years, Southerly and his team did spot digs to map the debris field measuring 150 feet by 70 feet (45 metres by 20 metres).

This year, divers are excavating the southern one-third of the site. They use PVC and aluminum pipe to measure five-foot (1.5 meter) squares and meticulously record where objects are found.

But, working 1 1/4 mile off North Carolina, there are problems that landlubber archeologists don't encounter.

"Once we excavate down 2, 3, 4 feet, because of the currents and sand, it falls back in," said Southerly.

This classic archeology focuses on one of the most unusual men of an unusual era -- Blackbeard.

His real name, which may have been Edward Teach or Thatch, is the subject of speculation, as are his birthplace and birth date. He knew how to navigate, but there is only one sample of what could be his writing -- a ship's log entry.

"We don't know how tall (he was), but he seems to be taller than average for that period. One account calls him a 'spare' man. He certainly had charisma," says Lindley Butler, a retired history professor of Rockingham Community College, in Wentworth, North Carolina. Butler specializes in North Carolina history.

There were accounts that he tied slow-burning cannon fuses to his long black hair before going into battle.

18TH CENTURY PSYCHO OPS

"With the fuses in his hair and heavily armed, he's a frightening person," says Butler, who added that pirates preferred to take ships without a shot. "There were some psychopathic pirates out there, but Blackbeard was not one of them. We have no evidence that Blackbeard ever murdered anyone or ever tortured anyone.

Blackbeard at first fought with the British as a privateer, a kind of legal pirate, attacking Spanish and French ships in the War of the Spanish Succession in the early 18th century.

With the war's end, Blackbeard and thousands of other unemployed sailors turned to piracy. His troop captured a French slaver called La Concorde in a brief skirmish in November 1717, says Butler.

He renamed the ship the Queen Anne's Revenge, which was probably 90 to 105 feet long. The band also had three smaller sloops, with about 400 men under arms.

In May 1718, Blackbeard's pirates sailed into the port of Charleston, South Carolina and, in a stunningly audacious move, blockaded the harbor. The ransom demanded, and paid, was a chest of medicine worth 400 pounds, says Butler.

"In a way, I guess it did sort of terrorize that port. Blackbeard at that time had a fleet of four vessels, with 60 cannons. This was the most powerful fleet in this hemisphere at this time," says Butler.

Shortly after terrorizing Charlestown, Blackbeard lost his lead ship, running the Queen Anne's Revenge aground on one of the many shifting sandbars off North Carolina, says Butler.

After the wreck the governor granted him a royal pardon, and Blackbeard went into at least semi-retirement in June 1718, spending chunks of time in Ocracoke, a barrier island off North Carolina.

But Virginia Governor Alexander Spotswood was apparently unconvinced Blackbeard had actually given up pirating.

"Gov. Spotswood was having nightmares about this pirate sitting down here in North Carolina," says Butler.

He sent troops to find Blackbeard, and the two sides battled it out on November 21, 1718 on tiny Ocracoke.

Blackbeard was killed in ferocious fighting. Casualty figures vary but at least eight other pirates were killed, and eight British seamen. Blackbeard's head was cut off and stuck on a stake. His body was tossed overboard.

ONE YEAR TO BECOME AN ICON

Blackbeard was probably in his 30s when he was killed, and had been a pirate captain for just about a year. During that time, his force had taken a town hostage and captured 40 ships.

"It's astonishing that he's had such an iconic role in such short a time. It's like a comet almost," says Butler.

With so little known about Blackbeard from primary sources, perhaps the best chance to get to know Blackbeard is through the wreck of the ship believed to be the Queen Anne's Revenge.

Archeologists on the dig, which runs from October 2 to November 9, have found a ship's bell from 1705, a 1713 cannon and stemware that was made between 1714 and 1720.

"All of the artifacts are in the right time frame," said Southerly, who estimated that excavating the entire ship would take three to 3 1/2 years.

Sailors tend to have few belongings, maybe extra clothes, a pipe, a knife and a few other things. Few of these items have been found.

"The lack of personal effects of what we're finding so far is one of the interesting questions for us," he said. "We're trying to get back to the people."


TOPICS: Miscellaneous; News/Current Events; US: North Carolina
KEYWORDS: blackbeard; edwardteach; edwardthatch; godsgravesglyphs; queenannesrevenge

1 posted on 10/30/2006 11:48:43 AM PST by 300magnum
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To: 300magnum

"like a urethral syringe used to treat syphilis with mercury."

It's great satisfaction to wish that Bill Clinton's next life is as an 18th century sailor........


2 posted on 10/30/2006 11:52:54 AM PST by Rb ver. 2.0
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To: 300magnum

There's another group searching for a spanish galleon in the Cape Lookout Shoals about 10 miles from the blackbeard site. and yet another group which suspects that the galleon is actually buried in the sand under or around Ft. Macon at Beaufort inlet.


3 posted on 10/30/2006 11:56:27 AM PST by Rb ver. 2.0
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To: 300magnum; TaxRelief; Constitution Day; Alia

NC ping.


4 posted on 10/30/2006 11:56:31 AM PST by upchuck (Eventually the Islamofascists must be destroyed. The longer we wait, the bloodier it is going to be.)
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To: Rb ver. 2.0

"like a urethral syringe used to treat syphilis with mercury."

It's great satisfaction to wish that Bill Clinton's next life is as an 18th century sailor........""

How do we know that his last life wasn't exactly that?

He acted like a pirate in the White House, too.


5 posted on 10/30/2006 11:58:50 AM PST by ridesthemiles
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To: Rb ver. 2.0
"[A] urethral syringe used to treat syphilis with mercury."

As they saying goes, "An evening with Venus, a lifetime with mercury!"

6 posted on 10/30/2006 11:59:10 AM PST by JAWs (Ytringsfrihed er ytringsfrihed er ytringsfrihed. Der er intet men.)
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To: upchuck

ARRR!


7 posted on 10/30/2006 12:00:16 PM PST by Constitution Day (.)
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To: TaxRelief; Alia; 100%FEDUP; 2ndMostConservativeBrdMember; ~Vor~; A2J; a4drvr; Adder; Aegedius; ...

NC *Ping*

Please FRmail Constitution Day, TaxRelief OR Alia if you want to be added to or removed from this North Carolina ping list.
8 posted on 10/30/2006 12:02:42 PM PST by Constitution Day (.)
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To: 300magnum

Blackbeard was obviously a big-gubmint Democrat -- He was stealing people's money at the point of a sword and a gun.


9 posted on 10/30/2006 12:05:33 PM PST by Babu
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To: Rb ver. 2.0

From Cape Henry to Cape Hatteras to Cape Lookout (and further south to Cape Fear), the Graveyard of the Atlantic.


10 posted on 10/30/2006 12:08:31 PM PST by fredhead (Women want me, fish fear me.....I can dream, can't I?)
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To: Babu
He was stealing people's money at the point of a sword and a gun.

The Republicans aren't giving it back with a smile and a kind word, are they? Seems to me, they're doing exactly the same thing as the demos.

11 posted on 10/30/2006 12:19:30 PM PST by Ol' Dan Tucker (Karen Ryan reporting...)
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To: 300magnum
like a urethral syringe used to treat syphilis with mercury

Sure, from all the artifacts Reuters could possibly print, it had to be that one.

12 posted on 10/30/2006 12:29:52 PM PST by mtbopfuyn (I think the border is kind of an artificial barrier - San Antonio councilwoman Patti Radle)
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To: 300magnum

"The lack of personal effects of what we're finding so far is one of the interesting questions for us," he said. "We're trying to get back to the people."

If he ran aground on a sand bar I assume that there would be enough time for the crew to retrieve its belongings before abandoning ship. They probably won't find too many.


13 posted on 10/30/2006 12:39:59 PM PST by Pete from Shawnee Mission
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To: mtbopfuyn
from all the artifacts Reuters could possibly print, it had to be that one...I'm sure that I'm not the only Male Freeper to read this and cringe.
14 posted on 10/30/2006 12:45:22 PM PST by wbill
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To: wbill
I'm female and I cringed!
15 posted on 10/30/2006 12:52:49 PM PST by Canticle_of_Deborah
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To: 300magnum

"like a urethral syringe used to treat syphilis with mercury."

Now we know why pirates say ARRRRRRRRRGHHHHHH!


16 posted on 10/30/2006 12:54:05 PM PST by Names Ash Housewares
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To: wbill
I'm sure that I'm not the only Male Freeper to read this and cringe

Yet another reason why I'm thankful that I live in today's world.
17 posted on 10/30/2006 12:57:08 PM PST by reagan_fanatic (The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God." (Psalm 53:1))
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To: LongElegantLegs

Arrr....pirate ping!


18 posted on 10/30/2006 1:50:20 PM PST by Vor Lady
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To: Constitution Day
There you go, talking like a pirate again. J
19 posted on 10/30/2006 3:45:58 PM PST by upchuck (Eventually the Islamofascists must be destroyed. The longer we wait, the bloodier it is going to be.)
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To: 300magnum
Shortly after terrorizing Charlestown, Blackbeard lost his lead ship, running the Queen Anne's Revenge aground on one of the many shifting sandbars off North Carolina, says Butler.

There's a story that Blackbeard ran the QAR aground on purpose, had his crew transfer his treasure to one of the smaller vessels and made off, leaving most of the fleet's crew behind - larger shares for everyone remaining.

20 posted on 10/30/2006 3:53:34 PM PST by Leroy S. Mort
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To: Nightshift

ping...


21 posted on 10/30/2006 4:22:17 PM PST by tutstar (Baptist ping list-freepmail to get on or off)
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To: upchuck

Enough o' them smiles, ye scurvy dog!

I'll make ye swab the decks again, I will!


22 posted on 10/31/2006 5:04:35 AM PST by Constitution Day (.)
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To: Constitution Day

Is that something you came by naturally or did you go to school? Just wondering :)


23 posted on 10/31/2006 5:12:55 AM PST by upchuck (Eventually the Islamofascists must be destroyed. The longer we wait, the bloodier it is going to be.)
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To: Rb ver. 2.0
"...and yet another group which suspects that the galleon is actually buried in the sand under or around Ft. Macon at Beaufort inlet."

Many a night we used to sneak in from the beach and sit on the wall of the moat around Ft. Macon late at night drinking and watching for ghosts walking around the fort. We never saw any until shortly after the first six-pack though....

Great fun.

24 posted on 10/31/2006 5:19:07 AM PST by Hatteras
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To: upchuck
Is that something you came by naturally or did you go to school? Just wondering :)

I watched an instructional video.
I have to keep it locked up so my young daughter won't see it, though.

Know why?

.
.
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.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
(Wait for it)
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It's rated ARRRRR!

25 posted on 10/31/2006 5:21:00 AM PST by Constitution Day (.)
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To: Constitution Day

*Groan* :-)


26 posted on 10/31/2006 5:30:23 AM PST by Rb ver. 2.0
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To: Names Ash Housewares
Now we know why pirates say ARRRRRRRRRGHHHHHH!

Better than using a pipe cleaner, I suppose...

27 posted on 10/31/2006 5:37:39 AM PST by Oberon (What does it take to make government shrink?)
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To: Rb ver. 2.0

Sorry man. I just could not resist. :)


28 posted on 10/31/2006 5:45:39 AM PST by Constitution Day (.)
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To: Constitution Day
You...You are AWESOME.


29 posted on 10/31/2006 6:10:57 AM PST by LongElegantLegs (You can do that, and be a whack-job pedophile on meth.)
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To: Constitution Day

LOL!


30 posted on 10/31/2006 6:12:37 AM PST by Tijeras_Slim (Dancing through life like a street mime with tourettes syndrome.)
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To: LongElegantLegs

Aye! That I am, lassie. That I am.


31 posted on 10/31/2006 6:13:57 AM PST by Constitution Day (.)
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To: Tijeras_Slim

This time change always messes my head up.


32 posted on 10/31/2006 7:21:15 AM PST by Constitution Day (.)
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To: 300magnum

Yo ho ho! Me hearties, we've stumbled upon some major history!


33 posted on 03/03/2007 1:59:40 PM PST by Clintonfatigued (If the GOP were to stop worshiping Free Trade as if it were a religion, they'd win every election)
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Note: this topic is from 10/30/2006. Thanks 300magnum.

34 posted on 10/06/2013 6:31:21 AM PDT by SunkenCiv (It's no coincidence that some "conservatives" echo the hard left.)
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