Blackbeard’s cannon

Photo courtesy Karen Browning and the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources from ABC News

Just a few weeks ago, archaeologists lifted a 300-year-old cannon from the pirate Blackbeard’s ship off the coast of North Carolina. According to ABC News:

The eight-foot-long cannon was covered in sand and ocean debris called “concretion,” which will take archaeologists and students at East Carolina University as many as eight years to crack through before getting to the metal cannon, according to Jennifer Woodward, secretary of the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources, which oversees the project.

“It was perfect. It’s a beautiful day, the crews were out earlier this morning, several boats out there witnessed it,” Woodward said. “It looks like it’s covered in concretions, with cement all around it, and there will be lots of things attached to it.”

Blackbeard, whose real name was Edward Teach, who was the captain of the Queen Anne’s Revenge, a captured French slave ship. In 1717, he successfully blockaded the harbor in Charleston, S.C., where he demanded money and goods from the townspeople for weeks.

He used Ocracoke on the Outer Banks of North Carolina as his base of operations. It was there that he met his end in 1718.

Want to know more of Blackbeard’s gory but valiant death at Ocrocoke Inlet? You’ll find it all in Blackbeard the Pirate, the 1974 classic by Robert E. Lee.

Lee studied virtually every scrap of information available about the pirate and his contemporaries in an attempt to find the real Blackbeard. The result is a fascinating and authoritative study that reads like an exciting swashbuckler. Lee goes beyond the myths and the image Teach so carefully cultivated to reveal a new Blackbeard—infinitely more interesting as a man than as a legend. In the process, he has captured the spirit and character of a vanished age, “the golden age of piracy.”

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