Conservator gives inside look at cleaning Blackbeard's cannons - Local news, weather, sports Savannah | WSAV On Your Side

Conservator gives inside look at cleaning Blackbeard's cannons

Posted: Updated:
GREENVILLE, N.C. -

More than half a dozen archaeological treasures are off the ocean floor, getting ready for museum display.

They're 18th century cannons from Blackbeard's flagship, Queen Anne's Revenge, pulled from the ocean in Carteret County.

Now they are in the hands of state conservators in Pitt County.

Blackbeard, the notorious pirate, used the cannons to intimidate his victims before stealing their ships, said Sarah Watkins-Kenney, director of the Queen Anne's Revenge Conservation Lab in Greenville.

"Each gun weighs about 2,000 pounds," said Watkins-Kenney.

On Monday divers pulled five cannons and two other objects from Blackbeard's flagship near the Beaufort Inlet. It was the single largest cannon recovery they've ever had.

"As they are in the tanks is exactly how they came up from the ocean," said Watkins-Kenney.

The cannons are covered in barnacles and other marine life that staff members like Courtney Page will have to carefully chisel off before they can be put on display at the North Carolina Maritime Museum in Beaufort.

"I really like being able to be one of the first people to touch these artifacts," said Page, an ECU grad student and QAR conservation manager.

Part of the reason the barnacles have to be chiseled off so carefully is because there could be other artifacts underneath, like pipes, plates, or even ceramic vessels.

"We'll use hand tools like small chisels or dental tools even [to clean the cannons]," said Watkins-Kenney.

The cannons also have to be soaked in a salt-removing chemical, treated with tannic acid, lacquered, and waxed.

A process that takes 3-4 years and costs $30,000 per cannon.

"The major cost is paying someone to do the work," said Watkins-Kenney.

The money comes from a mixture of state funds, grants, donations, and other sources.

And although the artifacts are not as attractive as a pirate's treasure chest, they're just as valuable for their archaeological significance.

The QAR project started back in 1996. So far divers have pulled up 30 cannons from the shipwreck, but there are still at least 8 more down there, said Watkins-Kenney.

The artifacts give a glimpse into how pirates lived and used their ship.

 -- Previous story --

Researchers studying the Queen Anne's Revenge pulled out the big guns Monday.
     
They lifted five cannons from the floor of the Atlantic Ocean this morning.

It's the biggest "catch" of cannons recovered at one time.
     
All the cast-iron cannons fired six pound cannon balls and will bring the total to 20 cannons raised from the site. They weigh between 2 and 3,000 pounds each.
      
Altogether about 280,000 artifacts have been recovered and full recovery is planned by 2014.

Read more: http://www.dvidshub.net/image/1042516/cannons-pirate-ship-recovered-beaufort-inlet-NC#.UnBrzhBw9XE#ixzz2jATvQ4me

  • Local NewsMore>>

  • NC sterilization agency reports 780 claims filed

    NC sterilization agency reports 780 claims filed

    Nearly 800 people thought to be victims of North Carolina's sterilization program have submitted forms to claim compensation from the state.
    Nearly 800 people thought to be victims of North Carolina's sterilization program have submitted forms to claim compensation from the state.
  • Pitt County parks host photo contest

    Pitt County parks host photo contest

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 7:06 PM EDT2014-07-23 23:06:19 GMT
    Join Pitt County Community Schools and Recreation (PCCSR) in collaboration with the North Carolina Recreation and Park Association (NCRPA) and National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) in celebration of Parks and Recreation Month.
    Join Pitt County Community Schools and Recreation (PCCSR) in collaboration with the North Carolina Recreation and Park Association (NCRPA) and National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) in celebration of Parks and Recreation Month.
  • Missing teens, how they make the news

    Missing teens, how they make the news

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 7:02 PM EDT2014-07-23 23:02:31 GMT
    Sometimes cases are classic runaways and sometimes teens truly find themselves in dangerous situations. This is when police or family members solicit the media’s help; but with great power comes great responsibility in how and when we report the cases.
    Sometimes cases are classic runaways and sometimes teens truly find themselves in dangerous situations. This is when police or family members solicit the media’s help; but with great power comes great responsibility in how and when we report the cases.
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • SW Forsyth beats Greenville North State for 11-12 Little League State Title

    SW Forsyth beats Greenville North State for 11-12 Little League State Title

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 2:29 PM EDT2014-07-22 18:29:33 GMT
    Connor Monroe hit a home run and picked up the win on the mound as SW Forsyth beat Greenville North State 4-1 to win the 11-12 North Carolina State Little League title at Elm Street Park.
    Connor Monroe hit a home run and picked up the win on the mound as SW Forsyth beat Greenville North State 4-1 to win the 11-12 North Carolina State Little League title at Elm Street Park.
  • Largest companies by revenue in each state

    Largest companies by revenue in each state

    Thursday, July 10 2014 8:01 PM EDT2014-07-11 00:01:10 GMT
    Broadview Networks recently decided to find out the biggest -- by revenue -- company in each state in the US.The company used the Fortune 500 list to start with, but needed data by state, so it turned to Hoover's.With data from that company, they were able to search through each state's list of companies and then find the largest -- by revenue.Just flip through the list above and see who is the biggest in each state, what town they are based and their revenue.
    Broadview Networks recently decided to find out the biggest -- by revenue -- company in each state in the US.The company used the Fortune 500 list to start with, but needed data by state, so it turned to Hoover's.With data from that company, they were able to search through each state's list of companies and then find the largest -- by revenue.Just flip through the list above and see who is the biggest in each state, what town they are based and their revenue.
  • June Mugshots - Northeast Tennessee

    June Mugshots - Northeast Tennessee

    Thursday, July 10 2014 5:30 PM EDT2014-07-10 21:30:26 GMT
    Gregory A. DarnellGregory A. Darnell
    The following are mugshots of individuals arrested on a variety of charges in June by local authorities in Northeast Tennessee.
    The following are mugshots of individuals arrested on a variety of charges in June by local authorities in Northeast Tennessee.

  • Events Calendar

SHARE YOUR PHOTOS AND VIDEOS
CLICK HERE TO UPLOAD PHOTO/VIDEO TO
Powered by WorldNow

1430 East Victory Drive
Savannah, GA 31404

Telephone: 912.651.0300
Fax: 912.651.0320
Email: newsemailalert@wsav.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.