Wednesday is grocery day at my house (usually) and since it is one of the chores I hate (mostly because it is inestimably tedious in its never ending round of doing the same thing over and over again, rather like splicing rope aboard ship) I like to do it first thing in the morning. That’s why Wednesday posts are always late. And that’s why today I’m throwing out a bunch of updates on ships we’ve talked about before. It’s all good stuff, but it’s also quick and dirty. Oh, my!
Anyway, first off the U.S. Navy (bless her and all who serve) has completed the 2010 Bonhomme Richard survey. Click over to this post at the Naval History Blog for interesting information not only on the survey itself but on the marine archaeologist in charge.
Next is one of Triple P’s favorite pirate ships: Queen Anne’s Revenge. The remains believed to be those of Edward “Blackbeard” Teach’s flagship which sank off the coast of North Carolina circa 1718 are getting a little attention before winter sets in. A dozen of the ship’s eight feet long guns and her 1.800 pound anchors will receive corrosion prevention this month. Aluminum rods will be applied to what an article at Fox News refers to as “…the boat”. I’m not splitting hairs when I correct that term to ship. Anyway, the rods will act as “anodes”, providing a charge of electricity that will not prevent but will slow down the process of corrosion. The article tells us that the “… last full scale excavation and recovery of artifacts” from the ship took place in 2006. Want to follow the progress of not only this project but many others related to the ship believed to be Blackbeard’s? You can “like” Blackbeard’s-Queen Anne’s Revenge on Facebook for ongoing updates. What a fabulous, modern age we live in.
The last ship on today’s list is the mystery merchant vessel found last July at the World Trade Center construction site in New York City. According to this Fox News article, on October 4th experts gave a lecture documenting what has been so far determined about the life and death of this unexpected find. The scientists are calling the 18th century ship a “Hudson river sloop”; she was evidently a two-masted trading vessel of between 60 and 70 feet long. Whether she sank in place or was used as landfill after she became unseaworthy has yet to be determined. That she certainly sailed outside the Atlantic seaboard and probably as far as the Caribbean has been confirmed by the evidence of small, burrowing clams that ate at the ship’s hull and are native to tropical waters.
The ship was found to have an 18th century copper coin embedded in its structure, probably at the time it was built. The coin was issued during the reign of King George II and helps date the ship to between 1730 and 1760 approximately. As an interesting aside, this ancient tradition for keeping ship’s safe continues to this day, and close to home. USS New York, constructed in part from steel beams from the Twin Towers and completed in 2008, carries modern coins in her hull as well.
The plan for the merchant vessel, which is currently soaking in purified water, is yet to be determined. The Lower Manhattan Development Corp., which has oversight of the entire World Trade Center project, has not announced their intentions with regard to the ship. Scientists hope to be able to preserve her through freeze-drying, much as Texas A & M is doing with La Belle. Let us hope that the right decision is made not with concern for current economics, but for history – and the future.
Header: Blackbeard via the North Carolina Office of Archives and History (looks like Edward has been using his whitestrips!)