For those of the Brethren lucky enough to be anywhere near Raleigh, North Carolina between now and January 30th, I’ve outstanding news. Make time to spend at the North Carolina Museum of History where a case exhibit of small artifacts from the ship thought to be Edward Teach’s Queen Anne’s Revenge is currently on display.
The ship ran aground at Beaufort Inlet in June of 1718 due to her large size and deep draft. Though Teach made an attempt to haul her off the effort was futile. The great Blackbeard had to salvage what he could in a relative hurry and leave his beloved flagship behind.
An unfortunate circumstance for the mythologized pirate has become a boon to modern marine historians. The ship was discovered in 1997 and the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources in conjunction with the state’s Maritime Museum at Beaufort has been studying the wreck ever since. The last extensive dive for artifacts occurred recently and referred to as the Fall Field Season 2010. Some of the treasures collected from those dives include large items like part of the larboard (port) main mast chain, cannon balls, a 33.5 pound lead sounding weight and pewter plate. Smaller artifacts such as ceramic shards, ballast stones, bone and pins were also collected and brought up for study.
The exhibit at the museum in Raleigh will feature various smaller items brought up during past field seasons. The Queen Anne’s Revenge website lists only a few but the items spark the imagination even on the page: a handblown blue-green window pane probably from the great cabin, a brass buckle used to fasten a belt or bandolier, brass scale weights for weighing coins and a hand guard from a small sword that is beautifully gilded and decorated with scroll work. Who might have used, appreciated or simply ignored these amazing pieces of our history? Any of a hundred pirates whose names are now lost to us, or maybe one of the few whose names we know. Black Caesar? Mr. Hands? Perhaps even Blackbeard himself?
The exhibit runs January 7th through 30th and more information is available locally by calling 919-807-7349. For those of you who can’t make it to Raleigh, your humble hostess empathizes as I won’t be going either. But fear not. Click over to qaronline.org and explore fascinating articles and particularly breathtaking pictures of the myriad things that made a pirate ship run 300 years ago. For those of us in the hinterlands, it’s almost like being there.
Header: Hand guard of a sword on exhibit at the N.C. Museum of History in Raleigh via qaronline.org; see more detail here