Blackbeard artifacts at NC museum for quick exhibit

A collection of 122 small artifacts recovered from the wreck of the presumed Queen Anne’s Revenge, Blackbeard’s flagship which ran aground near the Beaufort Inlet in the Inner Banks of North Carolina in 1718, are on display now at the North Carolina Museum of History in Raleigh.

The exhibit originated on December 18th at the N.C. Maritime Museum in Beaufort where all the recovered QAR artifacts are kept, then moved on to the Museum of History on January 7th. It will close on January 30th, so anyone in the area should hightail it to the show.

Among artifacts displayed is a part of a handblown blue-green window pane believed to have been in the captain’s quarters. A brass buckle that may have fastened a belt or a bandolier full of weapons will be exhibited. Brass scale weights for weighing reale silver coins will be on view; the reale weights were necessary because the smooth-edged coins could be filed or chiseled down (giving rise to the term “chiseler”), thus devaluing the coins.

A brass quillon block with gold gilding and a blade fragment from a small hunting sword will also be exhibited. The ornate scroll work and fancy handle design were unusual for pirate gear, so the sword may have been acquired on some adventure. It was recovered in 2007 and has been conserved and readied for display.

The wreck thought to be the Queen Anne’s Revenge was found in the Beaufort Inlet in 1996 during dredging operations. Retrieval of artifacts has been slow and deliberate to ensure preservation, but still tens of thousands of pieces have been recovered. That’s just a small fraction of the total, though. Experts at the state-funded QAR Project expect to have something like 700,000 pieces when the retrieval and preservation is all said and done.