WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Pirates and their folklore have international appeal. Now a local group of archaeologists is partnering with UNCW and CFCC to dig into a wreck close to home.
Blackbeard’s prized Queen Anne’s Revenge is just 80 miles up the coast from Wilmington. Archaeologists hope that her excavation will bring history, treasure and tourism dollars to our area.
Just as Blackbeard was the leader of the QAR, state underwater archaeologist Mark Wilde-Ramsing is the leader of the expedition to find Blackbeard’s treasure.
“Pirates didn’t write down what they were doing. There’s very little information about them and what was going on at that period, so it’s a real tool. It’s a fun tool. It’s like a detective going into a crime scene and unraveling mystery,” Wilde-Ramsing said.
Darry Hood is visiting Wilmington, and he couldn’t pass up the chance to see pirate artifacts. Hood said he thinks he may have been a pirate in another life, because he’s so interested in the folklore and the characters like Blackbeard.
“He used to put the wicks in his hair and set fire to them and board the ship and terrify the other people. That would be terrifying,” Hood said. “How would you like to open your door and see him standing there with his beard on fire and smoking in his hair? It had to be terrifying.”
Hood is the kind of visitor the state hopes pirate lore will help lure.
“Cultural and heritage tourists tend to stay longer and spend more money, so the more of those types of visitors that we can bring to our state, the more revenue that will flow,” NC Cultural Resource Secretary Linda Carlisle said.
Hood said, “It’s just a big part of history, older history obviously. It’s just exciting to be here today and see some of the artifacts and the history behind Edward Teach, Blackbeard, and that they have found the remains of this ship.”
By 2013, archaeologists hope to find more than 250,000 artifacts on the wreck of the Queen Anne’s Revenge, which is off the coast near Beaufort. Archaeologists will use CFCC’s and UNCW’s research vessels in the effort.
Next week, the group will lift a 13-foot, 3,000-pound anchor off the shipwreck and put an anti-corrosion device into one of the cannons onboard.