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This post, by QAR Field Director, Conservator and Laboratory Manager Wendy Welsh, is the first in series of field updates we’ll be bringing you each week. 

Week four was a very productive week with beautiful weather on our side and by Friday, (09/28) 14 units were complete.  Out of the past four weeks we have actually had 12 working days on site with 145 dives that has covered 350 sq. ft.  The crew is working at a good pace, when we can get out there.  The first three days of week five have been spent on shore due to inclement weather.  There is certainly no shortage of things to do when we are not on site, but most of us would rather be diving!  Ballast stones recovered this year were processed; approximately 775 stones totaling 1,405 lbs (637.3 Kg) have been picked up so far.

The Gird Units Worked This Fall

The great crew we do have working out here is really making the difference because they all put in 110% when it’s needed.  Some are veterans and some are relatively new to the team. Our Captain is Gerry Compeau from UNCW.  The core divers from the UAB offices are Wendy Welsh, Julep Gillman-Bryan, Nathan Henry and Chris Southerly. Our new boss, Billy Ray Morris, has only just joined our team and we hope to get him out on the site soon.  David Moore from the N.C. Maritime Museum at Beaufort is always part of the crew as is underwater videographer Rick Allen of Nautilus Productions LLC. You can learn more about this motley crew on our website.

We’d like to give a special shout out to this year’s archaeological technicians we have. All seasoned divers on the QAR site.

Lisa Briggs received her M.A. in Archaeology from the University of Edinburgh in 2007 and came to the project as a volunteer only a few months later. She returned as a contract employee in 2008 and 2010, and we’re happy to have her back this year. Lisa has surveyed and excavated wrecks in the Caribbean, Greece, Cyprus, the Pacific and the Atlantic, ranging from a Middle Minoan wreck (c.a. 2000 BCE) in Crete to a mid-18th century sloop in the British Virgin Islands. A professional scuba instructor and technical diver, Lisa has explored the reefs and searched for wrecks all over the world but claims QAR is her favorite underwater excavation.

Joshua Marano is a graduate student with East Carolina University’s Program in Maritime Studies as well as a member of the United States Coast Guard Reserve.  Josh is a life-long North Carolina resident and previously volunteered with the QAR project in 2005, 2007 and 2011.  While working on his M.A. thesis on the role of risk in the United States Life-Saving Service along the North Carolina coast, Josh was awarded the highly sought after National Park Service internship with Biscayne National Park. Once QAR fieldwork is over for the season Josh will be spending the next year gaining more invaluable experience in Florida.

Laurel Seaborn is also a graduate student with East Carolina University’s Program in Maritime Studies as well. She worked on the project last year as an intern, getting the opportunity to dive and assist in the lab.  Seaborn has worked  as a captain on sailing ships of all sizes and as a sailing instructor on several seas around the world. Her time aboard tall ships inspired an interest in maritime history and motivated her to return to university to study for a second career in the field of underwater archaeology. Seaborn feels the study of this eighteenth-century pirate shipwreck has been a highlight!

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An eight-foot cannon was raised today from the wreck of the Queen Anne’s Revenge.   The large gun has been resting at the bottom of Beaufort Inlet since Blackbeard’s flagship, the Queen Anne’s Revenge, wrecked off North Carolina’s coast in 1718.    To see a tweet by tweet description of the raising, go to www.twitter.com/ncculture.

The approximately one-ton cannon has generated much interest.  A man visiting from Wisconsin told Cultural Resources Secretary Linda Carlisle that he came to Beaufort just to see the cannon.  Media from around the world follow the story of the QAR project as well. 

The cannon, one of 13 to be raised from the wreck over the years, is encased in concretion, a solid mass of mineral deposits that must be removed, along with the soluble salts in the metal, to make the object stable to be studied, handled and displayed.

The cannon will be transported Thursday to the Queen Anne’s Revenge Conservation Lab, housed at ECU’s West Research Campus. The lab is a joint venture between the university and the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources.

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Silver spoon fit for a royal?

The Royal Wedding boasted a cake fit for a prince and his bride; it’s a “traditional fruitcake made by Fiona Cairns” with over 900 leaf and floral touches.

Perhaps a silver spoon fit for a future queen will be used to serve it up?

Blackbeard was no stranger to the high life, and his flagship the Queen Anne’s Revenge, carried in her hold a large silver spoon, known as a ‘cannon-handled’ serving spoon, that was typically made between 1680 and 1720. The artifact, recovered by the Department of Cultural Resources underwater archaeologists, is in the conservation stage and the concretions on the handle have not yet been completely removed.

Yet, it’s been identified by the team as a “Queen Anne silver cannon-handle basting spoon.”

Volunteer Linda F. Carnes-McNaughton, Ph.D., historic artifact analyst and ceramic
specialist, describes it this way “The handle is a portion of a large, hollow tube basting spoon, creatively called a ‘cannon-handled’ serving spoon.  The bowl portion comes away from the hollow tube, as it’s made in two pieces. The hollow handle was an invention to prevent burning the hands of the user. Eventually the hollow tube was proven to be impractical because it was easily bent or split.”

The QAR team also supplied an QA_Cannon-handle_Serving_Spoon held in the collection of a London museum. It  dates to 1707 and has the maker’s mark of Mattthew Lofthouse, London and is described as tapering circular handle (hollow) with a decorative finial in the shape a cannon cascabel, hence the name. The spoon bowl was detachable (missing from our handle) and often had the maker’s mark.

Mark Wilde-Ramsing, Ph.D., Deputy State Archaeologist, says he hopes we’ll discover the spoon bowl that matches this in the future.

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