2,000-pound weapon will provide more ammo for historical studies
Chuck Beckley / AP
BEAUFORT, N.C. — A 2,000-pound cannon pulled from the waters near Beaufort Wednesday will give archaeologists and historians more ammunition for separating fact from legend surrounding the infamous pirate Blackbeard.The Queen Anne's Revenge Project brought the massive gun ashore and displayed it to the public before taking to a laboratory at East Carolina University. Onlookers cheered as the 8-foot-long (2.4-meter-long, 900-kilogram) gun was raised above the water's surface. "The last people who saw this were pirates," QAR project director Mark Wilde-Ramsing told more than 100 spectators who later gathered in front of Beaufort's Maritime Museum for a closer look at the 18th-century weapon. Dozens of local residents turned out, while some Blackbeard enthusiasts drove in from other parts of the state. "We read about it last night, and I asked the kids: Are we going to skip school tomorrow and go see this?" said Joy Herndon, who made the roughly 230-mile (370-kilometer) trek from Greensboro with her children, Lucy and Kevin. Legend vs. factSeparating the Blackbeard legend from historical facts is one of the goals of the QAR recovery effort, which has so far netted some 280,000 artifacts, said Joseph Schwarzer, director of the North Carolina Maritime Museum. "This is about as close to that particular point in American history, and to piracy, as anybody is ever going to get," Schwarzer said. The recovery effort involves collaboration between the state departments of Cultural Resources and Environmental and Natural Resources, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency, East Carolina University.