Maritime History: Pirates and Stolen Ships

An illustration of Blackbeard with Crew from "The Book of Pirates" by Arthur Lawrence

The Queen Anne's Revenge was the flagship of Edward Teach, also known as “Blackbeard,” during the period known as the “Golden Age of Piracy.” Discovered in 1996, the QAR is recognized as a national treasure and is the second-oldest shipwreck discovered in North Carolina.

Discovery of a Long Lost National Treasure

The remains of QAR lay relatively undisturbed since the vessel ran aground in 1718.The shipwreck was located in 1996 by Intersal, Inc. of Florida Operations Director Mike Daniel, through research provided by Intersal President Phil Masters.

The shipwreck, and all its contents, are property of the State of North Carolina, and her citizens, and the QAR Project is the responsibility of the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources to protect and explore.

Recovery and Conservation Efforts Begin

In 1997, under the direction of NCDNCR's Underwater Archaeology Branch, professional archaeologists began exploring, documenting, and recovering archaeological remains at the Queen Anne's Revenge shipwreck site off the coast of Beaufort.

Archaeological investigators at the site provided a wide range and comprehensive data and artifacts, which confirm the shipwreck’s identity as Queen Anne's Revenge.

Certifying the Discovery

In June 2011, Natural and Cultural Resources publicly stated that the shipwreck is the Queen Anne’s Revenge, based on the overwhelming body of evidence recovered at the wreck site.

View Educational Resources on the Vessel & Blackbeard

A Treasure of Historical, Cultural, and Scientific Significance

The QAR site is significant for its association with nationally important events, namely piracy in the Americas during the Proprietary period (1663-1729), and for its connection to Blackbeard, who epitomizes anti-authoritarian behavior during the period.

Relatively intact archaeological remains provide substantial insights into early 18th century marine activities in the New World, including naval armament and warfare, ship construction and repair, colonial provisioning, shipboard life, and the West African slave trade.

Learn About Our Conservation Efforts

An Exhaustive Archaeological Endeavor

Initial investigations of the QAR shipwreck from 1996 to 2004 involved site specific remote sensing, exploratory trenching of the debris field, and mapping of exposed remains, providing a thorough understanding of the extent and layout of the shipwreck. A site sampling program conducted in fall 2005 and in 2006 accelerated to full recovery mode by the fall of 2006.

Current artifact collection methods are yielding nearly complete recovery of shipwreck related items, such as specks of gold, lead objects, glass beads, and brass pins. The goal is to completely exhume all shipwreck remains from the seabed where storms and currents threaten their integrity, and move them to the safety of the conservation laboratory by 2015.

See the Archaeological Plot of the Shipwreck