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BLACKBEARD - Recovering "Queen Anne's Revenge"

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Author Topic: BLACKBEARD - Recovering "Queen Anne's Revenge"  (Read 7306 times)
Bianca
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« Reply #15 on: December 08, 2008, 03:27:44 pm »








Historical Investigations



The UAU maintains research files on more than five thousand shipwrecks reported lost in North Carolina waters. Of the 112 vessels that sank in the vicinity of Beaufort Inlet, eleven are known to have been lost during the eighteenth century (Table 1). Those shipwrecks include Queen Anne's Revenge (1718), the sloop Adventure (1718), and the Spanish snow El Salvador (1750). Those vessels carried forty, ten, and eight cannons respectively. Current research indicates that the other eighteenth-century vessels were lightly armed or unarmed coastal merchantmen that sank in the latter part of the century.

While North Carolina abounds with Blackbeard lore, the fact that he lost Queen Anne's Revenge and Adventure off its coast is not well known. Extensively researched shipwreck charts such as National Geographic's 1970 edition of The Ghost Fleet of the Outer Banks and Duke University Marine Laboratory's An Oceanographic Atlas of the Carolina Continental Margin (1971) fail to acknowledge their presence. No serious thought was given to locating the pirate vessels until a field school hosted by the UAU and East Carolina University's Maritime History Program (ECU)





Table 1



Eighteenth-Century Shipwreck Candidates

In The Beaufort Inlet Area



Shipwreck Type Lost Location

Queen Anne's Revenge ship 06/1718 Topsail Inlet

Adventure sloop 06/1718 Topsail Inlet

El Salvador snow 08/30/1750 Cape Lookout area
 
Unknown brig 10/19/1769 South of Old Topsail Inlet

Freedom brigatine 11/16/1769 Near Cape Lookout

Betsy sloop 01/01/1771 Old Topsail Inlet

Unknown brig 05/1778 At Old Topsail Inlet

Hero schooner 02/09/1790 Beaufort Bar

St. J. Planter unknown 1791 Near Cape Lookout

Polly sloop 07/16/1793 Ashore near Beaufort




was scheduled for the summer of 1982. Although background archival investigation of Cape Lookout indicated that the two pirate vessels had been lost at Old Topsail Inlet (present Beaufort Inlet), Queen Anne's Revenge was not found for fourteen years after the field school project. Key to its discovery was the Wimble chart (1738), which shows the approximate location of the channel when Blackbeard attempted to enter the inlet in 1718 (Figure 2). The shipwreck was found along the present day 20-foot contour, which represents the remnant of the early-eighteenth-century ocean bar.
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« Reply #16 on: December 08, 2008, 03:32:47 pm »










Following the discovery of the wreck site, the search intensified for historical documents relating to the capture of Concorde and Blackbeard's activities after taking command and renaming the ship Queen Anne's Revenge. Little is known of the French slaver Concorde's early career apart from its three voyages to the West African coast and final capture by pirates in the Caribbean in November 1717. Concorde operated out of Nantes, France, and was owned by Réne Montaudoin, a member of one of the most prolific slave-trading families in French history. The ship's first recorded voyage appears to have begun with its embarkation from Nantes on April 13, 1713, under Capt. Isaac Thomas, commanding a crew of sixty-two men. The vessel obtained a cargo of slaves near Juda (present-day Ouidah) on the West African coast. It arrived back in Nantes on July 31, 1714, after delivering 363 enslaved Africans to the Caribbean Island of Martinique.

Concorde's second slaving voyage began on February 27, 1715, under the command of Capt. Mathieu Denis, with a crew of around sixty men. Africans were purchased at Gabingue near present-day Loango, and the ship arrived in February 1716 at Saint Domingue (present-day Haiti), where it delivered around three hundred slaves. After a brief stop at Bermuda, Concorde returned to Nantes on September 23, 1716.





Figure 2. Wimble Chart, ca. 1738 helped to identify the location of the wreck.



The third and final voyage of Concorde as a French slaver began on March 24, 1717, under the command of Pierre Dosset, with a crew of seventy-five men. The ship obtained more than five hundred Africans at Juda between July and October and sailed toward Martinique. Concorde was captured by pirates, presumably led by Blackbeard, near the island of St. Vincent on November 28, 1717, and taken to the small island of Bicoya (present-day Bequia). The pirates left the French crew a much smaller sloop called Mauvaise Rencontre and continued their marauding activities in the eastern Caribbean before moving west to present-day Belize and Honduras.

Blackbeard renamed Concorde the Queen Anne's Revenge and increased the ship's original armament of fourteen to sixteen cannons to as many as forty (Figure 3). After capturing a number of prizes in the western Caribbean including a small turtle boat off the Caymans and an unidentified sloop off the northern coast of Cuba, Blackbeard continued northward into the Bahamas and eventually toward Charleston, South Carolina. The blockade of the colonial port of Charleston in May 1718 was unquestionably the height of Blackbeard's piratical career. With his flagship Queen Anne's Revenge, three smaller sloops, and as many as three to four hundred men under his command, the pirate captain was at his greatest strength. After taking around a dozen ships entering or leaving the harbor and receiving a ransom of medical supplies from the city of Charleston, the pirate company continued sailing northward.
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« Reply #17 on: December 08, 2008, 03:35:16 pm »











Blackbeard's fleet arrived off the coast of North Carolina in early June, and the three smaller sloops made it safely into Beaufort Inlet. The pirate's flagship, however, ran aground and foundered on the outer bar (Figure 4). Blackbeard ordered one of the smaller sloops, Adventure, to assist Queen Anne's Revenge, and it too was lost. Captured pirates later claimed that





Figure 3. Queen Anne's Revenge as it may have appeared before wrecking.







Figure 4. Queen Anne's Revenge immediately after running aground on the sand bar.



The third and final voyage of Concorde as a French slaver began on March 24, 1717, under the command of Pierre Dosset, with a crew of seventy-five men. The ship obtained more than five hundred Africans at Juda between July and October and sailed toward Martinique. Concorde was captured by pirates, presumably led by Blackbeard, near the island of St. Vincent on November 28, 1717, and taken to the small island of Bicoya (present-day Bequia). The pirates left the French crew a much smaller sloop called Mauvaise Rencontre and continued their marauding activities in the eastern Caribbean before moving west to present-day Belize and Honduras.

Blackbeard renamed Concorde the Queen Anne's Revenge and increased the ship's original armament of fourteen to sixteen cannons to as many as forty (Figure 3). After capturing a number of prizes in the western Caribbean including a small turtle boat off the Caymans and an unidentified sloop off the northern coast of Cuba, Blackbeard continued northward into the Bahamas and eventually toward Charleston, South Carolina. The blockade of the colonial port of Charleston in May 1718 was unquestionably the height of Blackbeard's piratical career. With his flagship Queen Anne's Revenge, three smaller sloops, and as many as three to four hundred men under his command, the pirate captain was at his greatest strength. After taking around a dozen ships entering or leaving the harbor and receiving a ransom of medical supplies from the city of Charleston, the pirate company continued sailing northward.

Blackbeard's fleet arrived off the coast of North Carolina in early June, and the three smaller sloops made it safely into Beaufort Inlet. The pirate's flagship, however, ran aground and foundered on the outer bar (Figure 4). Blackbeard ordered one of the smaller sloops, Adventure, to assist Queen Anne's Revenge, and it too was lost. Captured pirates later claimed that Blackbeard grounded Queen Anne's Revenge intentionally to break up the large company of brigands.

Following the loss of his two ships and the breakup and marooning of part of his crew, Blackbeard sailed a smaller sloop north to Ocracoke, where he set up his base of operations for the next few months. Although Blackbeard received a king's pardon in Bath, he quickly ignored this reprieve and captured a number prizes. He was eventually confronted and killed in November 1718 by a naval expedition from the colony of Virginia.
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« Reply #18 on: December 08, 2008, 03:40:55 pm »










Archaeological Investigations


Since the discovery of Queen Anne's Revenge, field studies have included numerous daylong visits to the wreck site and two month-long expeditions in the fall of 1997 and 1998. The purpose of those investigations was to collect basic information for an assessment study, which began by confirming the existence of the site and establishing its location. A reference system was utilized to map exposed portions of the wreckage, which consisted of a mound of cannons, anchors, and other cultural debris (Figure 5). The area surrounding the site was investigated with remote-sensing surveys, as well as divers in order to identity associated materials. Limited test excavations, and a cursory probe survey were also conducted in 1997. In 1998, exploratory excavations attempted to determine the extent and nature of buried remains, which helped define the limits of artifact dispersal and provided valuable insight into the layout of the shipwreck site.


Recovery of a controlled sample of artifacts of varying types and sizes permitted conservators to better determine methods and equipment needed to stabilize and analyze those items. Attention has also focused on experimenting with ways to protect and monitor sensitive areas, such as the wooden hull structure and anchor stocks, to ensure that they are not damaged





Figure 5. Queen Anne's Revenge site being investigated by archaeologists.



by future storms or marine boring organisms. Installation and field testing of surveillance equipment designed to deter unauthorized diving or fishing on the site has also been an important part of recent activities.
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« Reply #19 on: December 08, 2008, 03:43:25 pm »









The crew and visiting scientists during the assessment project consisted of divers from the UAU, Intersal, MRI, the North Carolina Maritime Museum (NCMM), the University of North Carolina at Wilmington (UNCW), IMS, the University of North Carolina Center for Public Television (UNCTV), and ECU. CFCC provided valuable topside assistance by recording water quality and lifting three of the ship's cannons. Researchers have invested a tremendous amount of field time in assessing the shipwreck. Countless hours have been spent on all phases of the project including planning, historical research, media relationships, and public education. The magnitude of the overall commitment is well reflected in the dive logs from the 1997 and 1998 fall expeditions. During that period of thirty-eight field days, investigators made 832 dives and spent more than 797 hours on the sea floor studying the shipwreck and its surroundings.

A remote sensing magnetometer survey initially located Queen Anne's Revenge. The magnetometer detects variations, or anomalies, in the earth's magnetic field produced by ferrous objects. Additional surveys conducted in the general vicinity of Queen Anne's Revenge located a large anchor 420 feet south of the main site. The anchor may be associated with the shipwreck since it appears to date from the same time period. Side-scan sonar was used on several occasions; however, the low relief and small size of exposed portions of the site presented a negligible image. Sub-bottom penetrating sonar was not attempted because of the shallow deposition of the cultural materials and the underlying densely packed sand bottom.

The main concentration of visible remains found at the site measures 25 feet by 15 feet and includes eleven cannons, two large anchors, a grappling hook, numerous iron cask hoops, several iron deadeye strops used to secure the ship's rigging, a cluster of cannonballs, and a large number of ballast stones and concretions (Figure 6). Divers located a third anchor 50 feet north of the main concentration. The maximum relief above the surrounding seabed is approximately 4 feet, with most of the exposed remains being less than 2 feet.

Test excavations have revealed that buried materials extend to the north anchor. Buried materials observed during explorations on the north side of the exposed wreckage include iron concretions such as cask hoops and unidentifiable objects. A section of wooden hull oriented in a northerly direction from under the mound of exposed wreckage was uncovered and recorded in 1998.

Test excavations also revealed large ballast stones adjacent to the exposed remains on the east side of the site. A probing survey on the west side indicated that cultural remains are confined to within 15 feet of the mound. Excavations to the south exposed additional cannons, bringing the total to eighteen. In that area divers also found a rich collection of small artifacts including numerous lead shot, pewter plates and chargers, intact glass wine bottles, pottery fragments, medical and scientific instruments, and even a few flakes of gold. The extent of the buried cultural deposits has not been determined to the south or west of these test units; however, it is not expected to extend much further, based on the lack of positive contacts during the probing survey.
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« Reply #20 on: December 08, 2008, 03:45:05 pm »










General site dimensions encompass an area approximately 150 feet by 50 feet. This concentrated artifact distribution suggests that the vessel sank and deteriorated during a time when there were no significant storms. The cultural materials and the direction of the planks and frames contained in the hull section are oriented on a north-south axis. There are various interpretations of the site layout and what that layout reflects in terms of vessel orientation and





Figure 6. 0003BUI shipwreck site plan as it appeared in 1997 and 1998.



site deposition. The bow of the shipwreck appears to be at the north end of the site, based on the location of the north anchor, which probably represents one of the ship's bower anchors. The collection of valuable artifacts found in the southern portion of the site likely came from the officer's quarters in the stern. Large ballast stones on the east side probably came from deep inside the vessel's hull, and it appears that the ship heeled over on its port side after sinking. That finding is also borne out by the large number of cannons and ship's rigging found along the site's western margin. As the vessel listed to port, those items at or above deck level would have been tossed and deposited in a westerly direction. A clearer understanding of the site layout will be achieved as excavations continue.

Stratigraphically, the site is relatively shallow. With the exception of the fluke on the highest anchor (A1), the exposed portion of the site rises only 2 feet above the surrounding bottom. This can be deceptive to the diver because often there is a lower scoured area immediately surrounding the exposed wreckage. Moving out from this area, cultural materials are covered by as much as 4 feet of sand overburden. The cultural deposits are intermixed with coarse sand and shell in a layer ranging from 9 to 15 inches thick. The vertical dispersion of artifacts depends to some degree on their relative density and the period during which they were deposited. Lighter materials, especially intrusive modern debris such as plastic drink bottles, are nearer the surface, while the heavier objects associated with the shipwreck, such as lead shot, are found at the lowest level. Underlying the cultural layer is a hard-packed stratum of fine, clayey sands. Artifacts do not appear to have penetrated this layer. While the disturbance of shipwreck materials from ocean currents is obvious, it also appears that the lower portions of the cultural layer may be less affected, as evidenced by the preserved hull structure and the recovery of two intact glass wine bottles.
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« Reply #21 on: December 08, 2008, 03:48:08 pm »











Numerous features associated with Queen Anne's Revenge have been observed and recorded. Eighteen cannons have been located, the majority of which appear to be 6-pounders. Three have been recovered and cleaned; two are 6-pounders and one a 3-pounder. Their off-centered and tapered trunnions indicate a manufacture date in the mid to late seventeenth century. Associated munitions include 3- to 6-pound round shot, iron bar shot, and lead shot with cloth impressions in the surrounding concretion that may represent bag shot or grapeshot.

The north anchor, measuring 13 feet in length, has an intact wooden stock and probably represents a bower anchor that was deployed or dropped from its lashings after the vessel ran aground (Figure 7). The fact that the anchor ring is tucked under the shank and that the anchor lies perpendicular to the orientation of the vessel suggests that it was not set. The two anchors on the exposed mound appear to have been stored in the hold of the ship, along with a group of six cannons underneath. Those two anchors are approximately the same size as the north anchor. The anchor located 420 feet south of the exposed wreckage features a well-preserved wooden stock similar in style to the north anchor. Since the south anchor is two-thirds the size of the other anchors, it was at first thought by some to be from the sloop Adventure, lost "within a gunshot" of Queen Anne's Revenge. No other materials were detected around the anchor, however. The south anchor may represent a kedge anchor set in an attempt to free the vessel from the sandbar since it appears to have been deployed, with its cable ring stretched out and pointing toward the main site.

A section of hull structure approximately 27 feet in length and 8 feet wide was observed, excavated, and recorded on the north side of the exposed wreckage in 1998 (Figure Cool. The remains of eleven paired frames, many deteriorated on their upper surfaces, were fastened to a series of extremely well-preserved hull planks. Both frames and planks were identified as





Figure 7. North anchor composed of an iron shank and flukes, and an intact wooden stock.








Figure 8. Wooden hull structure consists of paired frames and underlying hull planks.



Quercus sp., or white oak. Sacrificial sheathing, mostly sprung or otherwise dislocated from the hull section, was also observed and recorded. Botanical analysis of the sheathing revealed it to be a Sylvestris group pine, most likely red pine from northern Europe. The absence of the keel, keelson, or other readily identifiable hull feature precludes determination of the original position of this section of the ship.

Concreted iron hoops that would fit large casks are abundantly distributed throughout the site. Many appear to be stacked inside one another and may have been collapsed for storage. Archaeologists have located a number of concreted iron rings representing ship's fittings such as chain plates and deadeye strops. The calculated size of the deadeyes that fit within the iron strops varies from 8˝ to 11˝ inches in diameter and matches well with ships of several hundred tons.
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« Reply #22 on: December 08, 2008, 03:52:27 pm »









Artifact Conservation



Since the start of the Queen Anne's Revenge project in 1996, more than two thousand artifacts have been recovered and conserved, while several thousand more await treatment in temporary storage tanks. Those objects vary greatly in size and material type, from tiny flakes of gold that required no treatment, to 8-foot-long iron cannons weighing nearly a ton that will require several years to preserve. The varying material types such as metal, glass, ceramic, and organics each had to be conserved using specifically designed procedures and equipment.

All artifacts recovered from saltwater environments, however large or small, require desalinization to extract corrosive chlorides in order to stabilize the material and prevent further deterioration. Metal artifacts, in particular, underwent desalinization, which on occasion was as simple as repeated rinses in fresh water, while at other times was more complicated and necessitated setting up an electrolytic reduction process. Generally, the smaller the artifact and the more noble the metal type, the quicker the conservation process. The pewter plates, for example, required several weeks to preserve, while the 2,000-pound cast iron cannons will take three to four years to complete. Following desalinization, the surfaces of metal artifacts typically were coated with a protective moisture barrier to prevent further corrosion.

Artifacts covered in concretion are inherently more difficult to conserve. Concretion is a combination of calcium carbonate, sand, and corrosion product that encapsulates artifacts during emersion in seawater. Throughout the conservation process, objects must be kept in large storage containers in order to keep them wet. If artifacts dry prematurely, they would literally disintegrate in a short period of time. The use of x-rays was invaluable to determine what types of artifacts occurred within the encrustations. Pneumatic tools, hammers, chisels, and acids were utilized to break apart the concretion and separate the various material types. New objects revealed during the dismantling of the concretion were documented both with photographs and scaled drawings.

Many concretions recovered from Queen Anne's Revenge contained hollow molds of completely deteriorated ferrous artifacts. Those molds were cast with epoxy resins to preserve the original shape of the artifact. The process was slow, expensive, and required a trained conservator, but was absolutely essential in preserving the archaeological integrity of the concreted objects.

Organic artifacts such as wood, cordage, fabric, and bone were subject to shrinkage and warping and required strengthening and stabilizing to prevent distortion while retaining the original appearance of the object. Bulking or impregnating organic artifacts with wax or sugars was the standard means of treating these sorts of objects. Lithic artifacts such as ballast, a millstone, and a whetstone were cleaned with dilute acid and then desalinated with freshwater baths lasting one to two months. Ceramics underwent a similar process but required a more dilute acid solution to break down the concretion. Glass from the wreck was sometimes durable enough to be rinsed and air-dried, but at other times required submersion in a chemical consolidant for stabilization.
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« Reply #23 on: December 08, 2008, 03:53:31 pm »









Artifact Assemblage and Analysis



The Queen Anne's Revenge artifact assemblage represents many aspects of early eighteenth-century maritime culture. Ship parts and equipment, arms, navigational tools, personal effects, food preparation and storage containers, medical instruments, and cargo items have been recovered from the shipwreck. Historians continue to search the archives for relevant documents that may put Queen Anne's Revenge within a historical context and help interpret its material culture. Archaeologists are also reviewing the literature to find comparative artifacts from similar sites to better date and understand the shipwreck's artifact assemblage.
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« Reply #24 on: December 08, 2008, 03:55:09 pm »










Arms



Two cast iron cannons were retrieved from the site in 1997. Only one features any markings; crudely chiseled numbers 17 3 and possibly a 0 running lengthwise along the first reinforce. The numbers appear to represent the weight of the gun in Old English hundredweights [17(112) + 3(28) = 1988 pounds]. A third cast iron cannon was brought to the surface in 1998 and is considerably smaller than the others, measuring only 6 feet in length. That gun features the numbers 6-3-7 stamped laterally on the breech (Figure 9). Measured in hundredweights [6(112) + 3(28) + 7], the cannon weighs 763 pounds. The letter P appears on the tube just behind the trunnions and indicates that the cannon had been officially "proofed." The muzzle is comparatively clean of encrustation and may have been protected by a tompion, and the touchhole is stopped with a wooden peg, perhaps indicating that the gun is loaded.

Artifacts associated with the cannons include iron round and bar shot, lead aprons or touchhole covers, bag shot with shrapnel, and possible carriage hardware. Small arms from the





Figure 9. Cannon C-4 with weight numerals and proof mark.



site include a brass blunderbuss barrel, a brass side plate in the form of a sea serpent (Figure 10), a brass butt plate, and three chert gunflints. A wide variety of lead round shot ranging in diameter from .073 to .96 inches has also been recovered, as were two gunpowder-filled hand grenades. No edged weapons have yet been found.
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« Reply #25 on: December 08, 2008, 03:57:52 pm »











Scientific Instruments



Several scientific instruments were recovered from the site including a universal staff mount, probably used to affix a plane table, transit, circumferentor, or other similar surveying device to a tripod (Figure 11). The staff mount consists of a pierced plate and socket connected by a universal ball joint. A brass sight from a surveying device was found 3 feet from the pivotal mount, and the two pieces likely came from the same instrument. The sight is slotted twice for rough and pinpoint aiming, and the larger slot is bracketed by two holes that would have held a cross hair. A setscrew attaches the sight to an index, and, when intact, the index would have held a second sight with opposing slots.

A flat, brass keylike object pierced at one end may be an identification tag for a survey chain. Survey chains typically consisted of steel links one-foot in length, each fifth, sixth, or tenth increment marked with a pin or tag held in place by a small steel link.

Navigational instruments from Queen Anne's Revenge include a set of dividers, which are typical of examples found on shipwrecks from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. A lead sounding weight (21 pounds) engraved XXI was one of the first artifacts recovered from the site in 1996. Two smaller lead weights (14 and 19 ounces), both carved with a bladed tool, were found in 1998. Though similar to fishing weights, both of these artifacts feature hollowed-out bottoms typical of most sounding weights, and may well have been used to determine depth and





Figure 10. Brass serpentine side plate from a blunderbuss or musket.








Figure 11. Artist's depiction of an eighteenth-century surveyor
using instruments similar to those found on the wreck

 

bottom characteristics in shallow water. It is also possible that these weights were used as counterbalances for scale, or plumb bobs for surveying instruments.

Other scientific instruments include a brass sector (Figure 12) that features two logarithmethically scaled arms and a line of English and French inches, a brass bar marked with three different logarithmic scales, and a rolled brass tube that has so far not been identified.
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« Reply #26 on: December 08, 2008, 04:02:25 pm »









Medical Instruments



A urethral syringe with its curved funnel tip was designed to administer mercury for the treatment of venereal diseases. Analysis of residue recovered from the interior of the syringe shows a high concentration of mercury. The ring on the plunger of the syringe features a mark consisting of the letter P below interlocked rings and a crown. A second mark is indecipherable but resembles the letter P beneath two sets of columns and a crown.
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« Reply #27 on: December 08, 2008, 04:03:44 pm »











Pewterware



Three large pewter chargers (20 inches in diameter), a medium-size charger (17 inches in diameter), and two smaller pewter plates (9.5 inches in diameter) have so far been recovered. Two additional plates remain attached to one of the cannons on the wreck site. All of the chargers and plates feature "hallmarks" or maker's marks on their upper rims or bases. Those marks have identified the makers as George Hammond and John Stiles, London pewtersmiths during the early part of the eighteenth century. The monogram B.A.S. occurs on the upper rim of one of the chargers and may well identify the owner(s) of the plate or the vessel to which it was assigned. The pewter artifacts from the Beaufort Inlet shipwreck may represent trade items destined for the African slave market prior to Concorde's capture by Blackbeard. Two of the chargers, for example, contain impressions of fabric on their surfaces, suggesting that they were in storage when the ship sank.





Figure 12. Brass sector possibly used for logarithmic navigation.
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« Reply #28 on: December 08, 2008, 04:08:52 pm »









Glassware



Two intact green glass onion bottles were found adjacent to one another between two cannons. When compared to contemporary collections, the wine bottles most nearly match those dated to the early eighteenth century. Several additional necks and bases from similar wine bottles have also been recovered, along with fragments of square green glass case gin bottles and the neck of an apothecary bottle still retaining its cork. Intrusive nineteenth- and twentieth-century bottlenecks have also been found on the site.






Ceramics



The ceramic assemblage from the Beaufort Inlet site includes a single rim shard of tin-glazed, red-bodied faience, six pieces of salt-glazed stoneware, including a Rhenish jug, and several parts of two or more very large red earthenware oil jars, including a rim shard, base piece, and a half-oval handle fragment. A nineteenth-century ginger beer bottle was also found on the site.






Gold Dust



Approximately seventy flakes of gold in its natural form were found in a concentrated area intermixed in a field of lead shot and sand. Combined, the gold weighs just under two grams. Although valuables were not expected to be found on the wreck because of the circumstances of its loss, several historical accounts place gold dust aboard the vessel both before and after its capture by Blackbeard.






Miscellaneous Finds



Sixteen decorative lead tacks were recovered. Their shanks are square in section and taper to a point, while the heads are decorated with a rosette or flower with a central boss. The tacks, too soft to be hammered, were likely used to decorate upholstery, furniture, leather-lined boxes, or chests. Other miscellaneous artifacts include two kaolin pipestems, a whetstone, a quarter millstone, a brass sail needle, three brass straight pins, a gold-plated silver button, several lead strips (some with hair and pitch still attached), and a variety of animal bones.
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« Reply #29 on: December 08, 2008, 04:11:39 pm »










Archaeometry



A wide array of specimens was collected during the 1997 and 1998 field seasons. Many were subjected to a battery of scientific tests and analyses. Archaeometry, or the science involved in the testing of archaeological materials, often plays an important role in identifying and dating shipwreck sites, and has provided considerable supporting evidence that identifies the Beaufort Inlet site as Queen Anne's Revenge.

Radiocarbon samples from hull planks, frames, sacrificial planking, and anchor stocks, along with hair recovered from caulking and pitch, were sent to the accelerator mass spectrometer facility at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Dr. Lee Newsom conducted species identification of wood samples at Southern Illinois University. Her findings were consistent with woods (mostly white oak) typical of European vessels built during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. A red cedar frame may indicate a New World repair, and the north anchor stock was made of bloodwood, which grows throughout tropical America.

Forensic experts at the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation are currently analyzing hair samples, rope fibers, and fabric recovered from the wreck. Duplicate hair samples have been sent for identification to Linda Scott Cummings of Paleoresearch Laboratories in Golden, Colorado. The hair, identified as cow and dog hair, was removed from lead stripping, sacrificial planking, and the universal staff mount. Animal bones were identified by Illinois State Museum archaeologists as pig, cow, rat, and possibly marine animal.

Geologists from the University of North Carolina at Asheville (UNCA) and Appalachian State University (ASU) sectioned a number of ballast stones to determine rock types and possible source locations. Basalt and gabbro comprised the majority of the assemblage, while andesite, granite, schist, quartz, conglomerates, and limestone have also been recovered. Age-dating the basalt and gabbro will help to specify the source area.

Eight flakes of gold recovered from the Beaufort Inlet shipwreck have been analyzed by geologists from LaQue Corrosion Services (LQCS), Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, and Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (VPI), Blacksburg, Virginia. The interiors are between 65 and 91 percent gold, while the exteriors feature a high-purity gold rim, nearly 100 percent gold. This differential layering of gold is typical of grains found in stream placer deposits. Gold particles of this size and shape do not occur naturally off the coast of North Carolina, and trace elements such as iridium may help to identify its original source.

Geologists from UNCA and ASU analyzed various sediments recovered from the interiors of artifacts such as the syringe, brass tube, wine bottles, and grenades to determine whether traces of the original contents could be detected. Additional archaeometric studies will include isotopic analysis on lead artifacts to see if it is possible to locate the source area for those materials, and age-dating of glass bottle fragments.
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