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Monday, January 17, 2011

Shipwreck find may be Blackbeard's sword

Is this the hilt of Blackbeard's sword?

It's one of the latest finds aboard the remains of the ship the Queen Anne's Revenge, known at one time to be the flagship of Edward Teach, a.k.a. Blackbeard. The vessel ran aground on a North Carolina sandbar in 1718 and was abandoned; modern archaeologists have been excavating the shipwreck for more than a decade. The design and ornamentation of this newest discovery have led the researchers to believe it likely belonged to the notorious pirate himself.

Click image to see Blackbeard's recovered ornaments

NC Department of Cultural Resources

An imposing figure to begin with, according to historians, Blackbeard cultivated a ferocious appearance to seem even more menacing: a long dark beard, numerous knives, swords and pistols strapped to his chest -- even lighted fuses in his hair. In May of 1718, he used the ship to blockade the port of Charleston, S.C., and effectively hold the city hostage until he collected a considerable ransom.

[Photos: Explorers discover massive cave with room for jungle, skyscrapers]

He was eventually killed in battle off North Carolina by the Royal Navy, his head suspended from a naval sloop to warn other pirates.

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Photos courtesy of the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources. For more pirate finds, visit the department's dedicated website, the Queen Anne's Revenge Shipwreck Project.

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