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Cannon pulled from pirate Blackbeard's ship, Queen Anne's Revenge

October 27, 2011 |  4:53 pm

Blackbeard
Pirate freaks, rejoice: After spending 300 years beneath the sea, a 13th cannon was pulled from the wreckage of Blackbeard's ship, the Queen Anne's Revenge, on Wednesday.

Whether the cannon contains a cannonball has yet to be determined. Four of the previous 12 cannons were  still loaded when hauled out of the Atlantic.

"We were all so excited," Claire Aubel, a spokeswoman for the North Carolina Maritime Museums, told The Times. She was there Wednesday morning when the crust-covered cannon was pulled dripping out of the water a couple of miles south of Ft. Macon in North Carolina. "The last people to see this thing were pirates," she said.

Fay Mitchell, a spokeswoman for the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources, told The Times that, when the cannon rose from the water, a cheer went out from the crowd of about 200 that had gathered.

"It was fantastic," she said.

The cannon is about 8 feet long and weighs about 2 tons. Sarah Watkins-Kinney, the director of the Queen Anne's Revenge conservation lab, told The Times that although it resembles the other 12 cannons previously pulled from the site, each has its own peculiarities.

Also, there's the adventure of figuring out what might be caught up in the concretion, a cement-like substance that coats the cannon.

"It's got a bunch of things stuck on the outside, so it will be interesting to see what it is," she said.

In the past, researchers have found bits of rope, gun flints and other pieces of ship life on the cannons pulled from the site.

The Queen Anne's Revenge started its life as La Concorde, a French slave ship that Blackbeard and his band captured and made the flagship of their small fleet in 1717. The ship sank off the coast of North Carolina in 1718.

Blackbeard did not go down with his ship, but he was killed six months later in a bloody battle on Ocracoke Island in the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

Legend has it, that after being beheaded, Blackbeard went to sea and swam around his ship nine times.

"But that's folklore, not fact," Watkins-Kinney said.

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-- Deborah Netburn

Image: One of Blackbeard's cannons is hoisted out of the sea  Wednesday morning. Credit: North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources.

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