A little over 295 years after it sank off the coast of North Carolina, Blackbeard's dreaded pirate ship is resurfacing.
Two cannons from the Queen Anne's Revenge, the famous buccaneer's flagship, were raised from the sea floor at Beaufort Inlet this past Thursday, according to a report in the Daily News of Jacksonville.
The recovery of the cannons was made possible by a window of calm amid inclement weather that has plagued recent efforts by North Carolina's Department of Cultural Resources to excavate the remains of the Queen Anne's Revenge. While the current expedition had hoped to recover eight cannons from the shipwreck this month, it decided not to attempt raising another one on Thursday and settled for two, reports the Daily News of Jacksonville.
The two six-pound cannons, so called because they were designed to fire six-pound projectiles, are eight feet long and covered with concretions from centuries on the ocean floor. As a result, each cannon now weighs roughly 2,500 pounds.
The cannons will likely be displayed in the North Carolina Maritime Museum in Beaufort, which is the "official repository for artifacts from Blackbeard’s Queen Anne’s Revenge." The shipwreck has already yielded more than 250,000 artifacts, according to The Daily Mail.
According to Discovery News, clusters found in the Queen Anne's Revenge wreckage suggest that Blackbeard fired cannonballs linked with chain, 9-inch bolts, and bottles filled with scrap iron from his cannons. These unconventional projectiles may explain in part why Blackbeard was such a feared and legendary pirate.
Though his piracy career lasted only two years, Blackbeard terrorized ships and communities over a wide swath of the Caribbean and colonial America's Atlantic coast, and once held the entire port of Charleston, South Carolina hostage for ransom.
Much of Blackbeard's legend is shrouded in mystery, beginning with his birth name, which was either Edward Teach or Edward Thatch. There is even doubt about how his ship came to be grounded and abandoned on a sandbar in Beaufort Inlet on June 10, 1718.
According to the Virginian-Pilot, some historians believe Blackbeard intentionally grounded the Queen Anne's Revenge because he could no longer afford the expense of maintaining a fleet of four ships and 400 men.
Queen Anne's Revenge Project Chief Conservator Sarah Watkins-Kenney expressed hope that the newly raised cannons could help provide answers about what the ship was doing when it was abandoned.
"If all the guns were loaded and ready to go, that’s different than if they weren’t," Watkins-Kenney told the Daily News of Jacksonville.