The North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources has confirmed that a wrecked pirate ship in Beaufort, NC is indeed Blackbeard's ship.
With the latest installment of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise hitting theaters on May 26, let's brush up on pirate history. The last installment of the franchise, which came out in 2011, featured the pirate Blackbeard. While the film definitely fictionalized the infamous pirate to a great degree, Blackbeard was indeed a real person.
Blackbeard, whose real name was Edward Teach or Edward Thatch, was an English pirate who sailed in the West Indies and along the US West Coast. By “sailed”, we of course mean pirated. He captured a French merchant vessel, La Concorde de Nantes, which later became the famous pirate ship Queen Anne's Revenge.
After years of study and gathering of information, officials have finally concluded with certainty that the grounded vessel in Beaufort was Blackbeard's. In 1718, Blackbeard ran the Queen Anne's Revenge aground, allegedly on purpose. Some accounts claim that the pirate wanted his crew to disperse so he can keep the loot for himself. 1996, a private research firm discovered the vessel underwater at Beaufort Inlet.
The North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources cited two reasons for their certainty that the wreck was indeed Blackbeard's ship. The first was the wreck's large size, and the second was the presence of a lot of weapons.
Archaeologists have uncovered several other indications that the wreck had once been the Cueen Anne's Revenge. They uncovered several artifacts that, when taken together, clearly show that the ship was the one Blackbeard abandoned in 1718. For example, archaeologists found apothecary plates that featured a fleur-de-lis, which was 18th century France's royal symbol. This indicated that the ship once belonged to the French, which lines up with the Queen Anne's Revenge's history.
Other artifacts have been quite interesting. The archaeologists found bits of gold mixed in with lead shot. A La Concorde crewman may have hidden his small gold hoard to keep Blackbeard's crew from finding and stealing it. Obviously, the crewman's ploy worked a little too well.
Navigational instruments, medical tools, a sword guard, and coins were also among the things found in the ship.
The archaeologists have used electrolysis methods to remove mineral buildups from several of the artifacts. Through these methods, archaeologists were able to examine the items better.
The people who have been examining the old pirate ship since its discovery have never really doubted that it was the Cueen Anne's Revenge. However, it would have been irresponsible to make an announcement of this magnitude without documentary evidence. In accordance with the usual practices of scientific inquiry, officials and archaeologists held off on the announcement.
Upon making the official announcement, the North Carolina Maritime Museum will be able to get funding for more excavations on the wreck. With more funding, archaeologists may be able to discover more artifacts and find more information on what it's like to sail with and as Blackbeard. The museum has also opened the “Blackbeard's Queen Anne's Revenge” exhibit, which features the artifacts from the pirate ship.
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