Blackbeard shipwreck dive underway

Published: May. 18, 2011 at 4:58 PM EDT|Updated: May. 20, 2011 at 2:12 PM EDT
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New conference at UNCW kicks off Blackbeard shipwreck dive.
New conference at UNCW kicks off Blackbeard shipwreck dive.

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – The North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources announced Wednesday that a recovery effort to retrieve a 3,000 lb. anchor from Queen Anne's Revenge in the Atlantic waters near Beaufort, NC.

Blackbeard's flagship, Queen Anne's Revenge, wrecked off North Carolina's coast in June 1718 and is about 20 feet underwater.  Experts will begin their recovery effort at the site of the shipwreck Thursday.

"Blackbeard and piracy are important threads in eastern North Carolina's maritime heritage fabric," said Cultural Resources Secretary Linda A. Carlisle.  "As a result of historic intrigue and pop-culture fascination, North Carolina realizes significant economic impact through visitation to historic and archaeological sites and attractions, the sale of pirate-related merchandise, and festival attendance."

QAR Project Director Mark Wilde-Ramsing, Ph.D explained how pirate booty is recovered and said they will be able to recover objects that have been on the sea floor for nearly 300 years.

"With patience, skill and determination we can extract from a crust of sand, shells and marine life the tools, implements and true story of 18th century pirates.  That is the archaeologist's dream come true," explained Wilde-Ramsing.

UNCW's research vessel Cape Fear will be the primary research vessel on this expedition.  It will be staffed by UNCW employees Capt. Jay Styron and Research Operations Manager Ken Johns who will serve as dive safety officer.  UNCW underwater cameras will also be used to document the excavations.

Marine technicians from Cape Fear Community College's Marine Technology Program will assist QAR researchers in lifting a large artifact from the ocean floor aboard the R/V Dan Moore, the college's 85-foot ocean-going research vessel.

The shipwreck was located in 1996 by Intersal, Inc. of Florida by Operations Director Mike Daniel through research provided by Intersal president Phil Masters.

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