Queen Anne's Revenge

Artist's Drawing of Queen Anne's Revenge Run Aground
Courtesy NC Department of Cultural Resources    

Security at the QAR Site

  • November 1996 – A shipwreck is discovered in Beaufort Inlet by Intersal, Inc., with information provided to Operations Director Mike Daniel by company president Phil Masters. Many factors suggest it could be Queen Anne’s Revenge. 
  • 1997 - The North Carolina Maritime Museum in Beaufort becomes the official repository for the artifacts from this historic wreck and begins exhibiting them for the public. 
  • Fall 1997 – The NC Underwater Archeology Branch, part of the NC Department of Cultural Resources, begins assessment of the site and recovery of additional artifacts. Each year since, state archeologists have conducted one to two field seasons at the site. Many seasons have been hampered by storms. All of them have been dependent on funding. 
  • 2003 – The state’s Queen Anne’s Revenge Conservation Lab is established on the campus of East Carolina University. A team of conservators work on cleaning, identifying and cataloging artifacts. 
  • 2010 – Work starts at the NC Maritime Museum on the planning for the first full scale exhibit of artifacts from the wreck The Friends of the Museum begin the fundraising efforts that will eventually fully fund the construction of the entire exhibit.  
  • June 11, 2011 the first permanent and largest exhibit of the artifacts from Queen Anne’s Revenge, is scheduled to open. The museum staff and the Friends organization are working hard to put the finishing touches on the new nearly 1200 square feet dedicated to the exhibit and to the celebration of that event.
There has been interest around the nation and even international coverage about the artifacts. More than 50 news media have reported various aspects about Blackbeard, the artifacts, and the exhibit in the last six months. Over 130 individuals have become new members in anticipation of the June festivities and to support the exhibit. Including the participation and proceeds from the "Fish Towne Get Down 2010" and generous sponsors, more than $112 thousand has been donated and an additional $35 thousand of in-kind materials or advertising have made the “Life Aboard the Queen Anne’s Revenge” exhibit and the celebration possible.

Archaeologists believe the site holds an estimated 750,000 artifacts, with approximately 50% recovered to date. Many of the artifacts are in the process of conservation, which often takes years. A small percentage of artifacts have been on exhibit at the Museum in Beaufort and in a temporary exhibit at the NC Museum of History in Raleigh. 
- Anchor Pulled to Surface May 27, 2011 -

(AP) MOREHEAD CITY, N.C. - Archaeologists recovered the first anchor from what's believed to be the wreck of the pirate Blackbeard's flagship off the North Carolina coast Friday, a move that might change plans about how to save the rest of the almost 300-year-old artifacts from the central part of the ship.

Divers had planned to recover the second-largest artifact on what's believed to be Queen Anne's Revenge but discovered it was too well-attached to other items in the ballast pile, said project Mark Wilde-Ramsing. Instead they pulled up another anchor that is the third-largest artifact and likely was the typical anchor for the ship.

Apparently, pirates had everyday anchors and special anchors just as the rest of us have everyday dishes and good china.

"That's a big ship to be putting that out to stop it," Wilde-Ramsing said admiringly as a pulley system of straps and men holding ropes moved the anchor from a boat to the back of truck. It's the first large anchor that divers have retrieved; they earlier brought up a small, grapnel anchor.

The anchor is 11 feet, 4 inches long with arms that are 7 feet, 7 inches across. It was covered with concretion — a mixture of shells, sand and other debris attracted by the leaching wrought iron — and a few sea squirts. Its weight was estimated at 2,500 to 3,000 pounds.

The anchor's size is typical for a ship the size of Queen Anne's Revenge, while the two other anchors probably were used in emergencies, such as storms, Wilde-Ramsing said.

Archaeologists had planned to remove the second-largest anchor, which is 13 feet long with arms that are 8 feet across, from the top of the ballast pile. But it was too well-attached, so instead the divers went in from the side to retrieve the everyday anchor. That means that future dives may involve going in from the side of the shipwreck rather than the top, he said.