Home > History, School > The Queen Anne’s Revenge

The Queen Anne’s Revenge

September 30, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

Website:  http://www.qaronline.org

Management Summary – May 1999

  • The historical overlay charts were used to discover that the shipwreck’s position corresponded with the offshore sandbar near the entrance to early eighteenth-century channel at Beaufort Inlet in 1718.  David Harriot, who sailed with Blackbeard, testified that Blackbeard ran the ship aground off of the Bar of Topsail Inlet.  This claim corroborated with the report issued by Royal Navy Captain Ellis Brand of the HMS Lyme.
  • There were several amazing artifacts discovered.
    • A bronze bell dating back to 1709
    • A brass blunderbuss dating to somewhere between 1672 and 1702
    • Pewterware from 1690 to 1733
    • Cannons, whose structure indicated a manufacture date prior to 1716
    • Surveying instruments dating back to 1723
    • Wine bottles dating back to around 1710
  • The other major shipwreck associated with the time period of the Queen Anne’s Revenge is the Whydah Galley, a pirate vessel that was lost a year before the loss of the Queen Anne’s Revenge.  Many of the artifacts discovered were similar to those found from the Whydah.

Field Summary Report 2008

  • The major goals of this field season’s work were to work towards full excavation, documentation and recovery of the site.  Archaeologists got to the halfway point by the end of this fall’s project, and they estimated that another three field seasons would be needed to remove all of the artifacts from the site.
  • They had intended for the expedition to take eight weeks.  However, their efforts were curtailed by research vessel delays and problems with unfavorable winds and bad weather.  As a result, they only had four full weeks and partial days totaling up to a fifth week to work on the site.  Despite the problems, they still made significant progress in the excavation.  They were able to complete thirty units at the site, with 553 objects being excavated.
  • Two “new” artifact types were discovered that had not been previously found at the site, a sword guard and a probable coin.  They were transferred to the Conservation Laboratory as soon as possible, to see if x-raying them would reveal their secrets.


  • Major Categories
    • Arms and Armament: Consists of artillery, ammunition, and personal arms.  Artillery includes cannons and related equipment, along with hand grenades.  Ammunition includes grenades, iron shot, and lead shot which could have been used in both personal firearms and cannons.  Personal arms are restricted to elements of firearms, because no bladed instruments (swords, knives, etc.) have been found yet.
    • Tools and Instruments: Equates to activities that took place on any armed, wooden sailing vessel.  This included gunnery, carpentry, navigation, restraint devices, surveying tools, and artifacts of unknown function.
    • Storage Containers: Beverages, oils, or vinegars, could be stored in ceramic, glass, leather, or even wooden containers on board sailing vessels.  Solid or liquid foods could also be stored in wooden, ceramic, or glass containers.
  • “Micro” Artifacts
    • Artillery
      • Cannons
        • Cannon 2:  Cast iron 6-pounder, measuring 7.5 feet from the rear of the base ring to the face of the muzzle.
        • Cannon 3:  Cast iron 6-pounder, 7 feet in length (base ring to muzzle).
        • Cannon 4:  Cast iron minion class, or 4-pounder, 5.5 feet in length from base ring to muzzle face.
        • Cannon 19:  Cast iron 1-pounder 4 feet in length from base ring to muzzle.
        • Cannon 21:  Cast iron 1/2-pounder, or rabonette, 3.5 feet in length from the base ring to the muzzle.
      • Cannon Accessories
        • Tompions:  Made of soft wood, place in the muzzle to keep water out of the bore of the gun.
        • Cannon Apron:  Protective lead sheet attached to the breech of a cannon’s touchhole.
        • Cannon Wads:  Used to pack cannon loads.
    • Currency
      • Gold dust:  Over 2,000 flakes and specks of gold have been found mostly in the area of the shipwreck related to the vessel’s stern.
  • Role/Importance of these items
    • Artillery:  These items played a key role in pirating.  Not only were they used to disable a victim’s ship, but the mere appearance of all those cannons may have also been used simply to scare a victim into surrendering without firing a single shot.
    • Currency:  The gold dust was probably very important not only as a form of currency, but it was also possibly coveted by pirates aboard the ship simply as something to be treasured.


The artifact pictured on the main page appears to be a coin weight.  It was used to measure the weight of one gold guinea.

  • The lead shot being discovered is being processed and sorted by manufacturer, Rupert shot and two-part mold cast shot.  There is no standard to measure lead shot, so they decided to keep all the Rupert style shot together, since they have proven to be a consistent group.  They then separate the two-part molded lead shot into two groups according to diameter.
  • During the 2008 field season, a serpentine sideplate was discovered attached to a ballast stone.
  • Another interesting artifact discovered in the 2008 field season was a sword guard, which was the first element of a bladed instrument found on the site.  It is made of solid copper alloy and it is missing the iron blade and a handle probably made of wood.  There is a hole in one of the quillions that would have served as a way to attach a chain to the guard that would have attached to the end of the pommel.  I found it interesting because it is the only evidence of a bladed instrument ever found in the shipwreck, and one would think that blades and/or parts of blades would be one of the most prevalent things found in the wreckage of a pirate ship.
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