This object was on display at the NC Museum of History for the Knights of the Black Flag exhibit and returned to the lab in January 2012. Conservators have had a chance to clean the artifact and were able to obtain the shape of the blade as well as reveal the decorative markings on the guard. The iron blade extends through the guard and into the handle which is called the tang. On this artifact the handle is missing and remnants of the tang and blade were totally corroded. The iron was cleaned out of the cavity and then cast with epoxy resin, which revealed a one-sided blade.
The majority of the concretion on the guard was removed with an air scribe, and the final thin layer was softened with electrolysis. During the cleaning process it was observed that the guard was originally gilded with a thin layer of gold of which only small amounts survived intact. The presences of gilding and decorative markings on the guard are of much interest. As more information about this artifact is discovered, the QAR team will report their findings.
Though making a direct connection between this artifact and Blackbeard is nigh impossible, it's worth reading pages 342-43 of colonial court testimony from 1719, in which Blackbeard is described beating a man so viciously with the flat of his sword that the blade was broken.