Mark Wilde-Ramsing talks about Pirate Ship

January Meeting

Monday, January 21, 2019


The Federal Point Historic Preservation Society will hold its monthly meeting on Monday, January 21, 2019 at 7:30 pm at the Federal Point History Center, 1121-A North Lake Park Blvd., adjacent to Carolina Beach Town Hall.

Our speaker this month will be Mark Wilde-Ramsing, now retired, Director of the Underwater Archaeology Unit at Fort Fisher.  Mark was intimately involved in the recovery of artifacts from the Queen Anne’s Revenge, the flagship of Blackbeard the pirate. Mark will be talking about his new book, Blackbeard’s Sunken Prize:  The 300-Year Voyage of Queen Anne’s Revenge, recently published by UNC Press, and available now in both print and ebook editions.  Copies of the book will be available for purchase and signing.

Mark says: “As a historical archaeologist who specializes in material culture, I am most interested in those artifacts (or artifact categories) that relate directly to people, like their dishes and cookware, and personal gear like clothing items and adornment. In the lab, as I carefully handled each item, I had a constant thought that I was holding something 300 years old and previously touched or used by pirates, slaves or French captives.

Additionally, I continue to be fascinated by the artifacts that reflect the state of science of that period, like the medical equipment and the items used for metrology (all types of measurements). Studying these items has increased my knowledge of 18th century material culture in so many ways. This was a period of great transition for European cultures—this early period was before The Great Enlightenment of the mid-1700.”

In 1717, the notorious pirate Blackbeard captured a French slaving vessel off the coast of Martinique and made it his flagship, renaming it Queen Anne’s Revenge.

Over the next six months, the heavily armed ship and its crew captured all manner of riches from merchant ships sailing the Caribbean to the Carolinas. But in June 1718, with British authorities closing in, Blackbeard reportedly ran Queen Anne’s Revenge aground just off the coast of what is now North Carolina’s Fort Macon State Park.

What went down with the ship remained hidden for centuries, as the legend of Blackbeard continued to swell in the public’s imagination. When divers finally discovered the wreck in 1996, it was immediately heralded as a major find in both maritime archaeology and the history of piracy in the Atlantic. Now the story of Queen Anne’s Revenge and its fearsome captain is revealed in full detail.