Searching for Serendipity in Beautiful North Carolina
Sunset on Cape Fear River
Welcome to ncgypsy.com, a travel sampler featuring things to do and see in North Carolina. The categories above are loaded with info about various cities and sites throughout the state so please take your time perusing the pages. Your feedback is always welcome! Feel free to drop a line with comments, suggestions, or just to say hello via the Contact link at top. Also use the links upper right at the top to follow ncgypsy.com on Twitter and to 'Like' us on Facebook.
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Investigating Mystery Objects: Artifacts from Blackbeard's Queen Anne's Revenge
GREENVILLE, N.C. -- Before her reign as Blackbeard's flagship, Queen Anne's Revenge was involved in a much darker part of human history. Originally named La Concorde, the ship was built in France prior to 1710 as a privateer and beginning in 1713, served in transporting human cargo from Africa to the New World. It was during the third such journey that Blackbeard captured her off Martinique, with several hundred slaves still on board.
The pirate captain then sailed his prize through the Caribbean and up the Carolina coast before running her aground off Beaufort Inlet in June 1718. The vessel became hidden from view beneath sand and sea until discovered by Intersal, Inc. in 1996. Since then, archaeologists and conservators with the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources have been investigating, excavating and conserving what is left of the ship and her contents.
The majority of artifacts recovered from the shipwreck are amorphous lumps of sand and iron corrosion called concretion. So far, more than 3,000 concretions have been raised from the ocean floor and taken to the QAR Conservation Lab, located at East Carolina University, for investigation and treatment.
"Most of these concretions are mystery objects, and it is impossible to tell what is inside by simply looking at them," observes conservator Kim Kenyon. "The question everyone is anxious to know the answer to is, "'What is it?'"
X-ray imaging is a helpful tool in revealing a concretion's contents and whether it is a single object or a collection of several hundred artifacts. As conservators and archaeologists examine the x-rays, there is always excitement about what will be revealed. Sometimes the identity is clear, for example a cannon ball, but often it is difficult to recognize an artifact, because the x-ray only provides a 2-dimensional image of a 3-dimensional object.
This summer, however, Dr. Dan Boye and sophomore Ryan Kozlowski from the Physics Department at Davidson College will be using Digitome® software with Conservator Kim Kenyon at the QAR Lab to test if 3-dimensional x-ray images produced by Digitome® can be obtained of the concretions, and whether they can help determine what is inside.
The QAR staff hopes this technology will help identify a mystery artifact in concretion number QAR2402.000. The 2-dimensional X-ray of this concretion reveals a horseshoe-shaped object, which archaeologists think may be a manilla. Usually made of brass or bronze and resembling a bracelet, manillas were used as a type of currency in Africa until the 20th century.
The Portuguese were the first to take advantage of the manilla in trading with tribes along the West African coast, noting how prized the bracelet currency was among the local population. An early 16th-century account stated that eight to 10 manillas would buy one person, and by the 18th century, they were being produced throughout Europe specifically for the African trade.
Concretion QAR2402.000, containing the possible manilla, is just one of thousands of mystery objects that need to be conserved and investigated. Since Blackbeard would have refitted the ship to better suit her new career in piracy, very few artifacts associated with her time as the slave ship La Concorde have been found thus far, so a manilla would be a significant find.
Following X-ray, conservators will begin to remove the concretion from an artifact in order to reveal its secrets and to learn how it fits in with unraveling the story of the Queen Anne's Revenge
About the Discovery of the Queen Anne's Revenge
The Queen Anne's Revenge ran aground in Beaufort in June 1718. Intersal, Inc., a private research firm, discovered the site believed to be Queen Anne's Revenge (QAR) on November 21, 1996. QAR was located near Beaufort Inlet, N.C., by Intersal's director of operations, Mike Daniel, who used historical research provided by Intersal's president, Phil Masters. For more information, please visit www.lat3440.com and www.qaronline.org.
About the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources
The N.C. Department of Cultural Resources (NCDCR) is the state agency with a vision to be the leader in using the state's cultural resources to build the social, cultural and economic future of North Carolina. Led by Secretary Susan Kluttz, NCDCR's mission is to enrich lives and communities by creating opportunities to experience excellence in the arts, history and libraries in North Carolina that will spark creativity, stimulate learning, preserve the state's history and promote the creative economy. NCDCR was the first state organization in the nation to include all agencies for arts and culture under one umbrella.
Through arts efforts led by the N.C. Arts Council, the N.C. Symphony and the N.C. Museum of Art, NCDCR offers the opportunity for enriching arts education for young and old alike and spurring the economic stimulus engine for our state's communities. NCDCR's Divisions of Archives and Records, Historical Resources, State Historic Sites and State History Museums preserve, document and interpret North Carolina's rich cultural heritage to offer experiences of learning and reflection. NCDCR's State Library of North Carolina is the principal library of state government and builds the capacity of all libraries in our state to develop and to offer access to educational resources through traditional and online collections including genealogy and resources for the blind and physically handicapped.
NCDCR annually serves more than 19 million people through its 27 historic sites, seven history museums, two art museums, the nation's first state-supported Symphony Orchestra, the State Library, the N.C. Arts Council and the State Archives. NCDCR champions our state's creative industry that accounts for more than 300,000 jobs and generates nearly $18.5 billion in revenues. For more information, please call (919) 807-7300 or visit www.ncdcr.gov.
Source: NC Department of Cultural Resources
"This Day in North Carolina History"
Want to know what happened in NC on this date in history? Click on the image above to visit the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources blog that's loaded with tidbits of historical facts.
North Carolina Teens Among Winners of