The wreckage includes a dozen cannon and large anchors rated for a 350-ton (355-metric-ton) ship, found amid a mound of debris where records indicate Blackbeard's flagship ran aground in 1718.
"We have extensive historical records, and there is no evidence of any [other] vessel of this kind of armament sinking anywhere during the 18th century on this coast," said Mark Wilde-Ramsing, director of the Queen Anne's Revenge Shipwreck Project, a consortium of researchers investigating the wreck.
Shipwreck records in the region are surprisingly complete. They include accounts of ships lost decades before the QAR and in more remote areas.
"There were people living in the area, and a [different] wreck of this size should not have gone unrecorded," Wilde-Ramsing said. "Beaufort was a little fishing village, and really less than a handful of ships that size were ever reported in the area."
Blackbeard captured a French slaver known as La Concorde in 1717 and renamed it Queen Anne's Revenge. He captained the ship until it ran aground, perhaps intentionally, at Beaufort Inlet in June 1718. (For more on Blackbeard, see sidebar.)
Some accounts at the time suggested that Blackbeard wanted to break up his crew of some 300 to 400 men—and keep the choicest booty for himself.
The ship is still officially classified as "believed to be" the QAR. But mounting evidence suggests to many that the wreck is that of Blackbeard's ship.
Since afarensis has a sailboat and knows how to fence he is interested in all things pirate and hopes this is indeed Blackbeard's Ship!
Unfortunately there is a fly in the ointment:
Some researchers harbor doubts that the wreck is that of the QAR. Most of their reservations center on a cannon that bears the number 1730 scratched into its surface.
"If this is a date, it definitely eliminates the identification of the site as Blackbeard's 1718 shipwreck," states a paper co-written by former QAR project conservator Wayne Lusardi and East Carolina University archaeologists Bradley Rodgers and Nathan Richards. They expressed their doubts in The International Journal of Nautical Archaeology this spring.
Still, several researchers dispute that the number is a date, suggesting that it refers instead to the weapon's price or its weight.
You can go to the Queen Anne's Revenge Website for more details.