300 Years After The Death Of Blackbeard, Divers Off Carolina’s Coast Made An Astonishing Discovery

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Image: Hulton Archive/Getty Images / ncculture
Image: Hulton Archive/Getty Images / ncculture

It was November 21, 1996, when a team of divers working for a private salvage outfit found a shipwreck in 28 feet of water off the coast of North Carolina. The searchers identified the structure as a vessel from the early 18th century. The wreck was located about a mile from Atlantic Beach, near Beaufort Inlet, and it soon became clear that it had endured a very colorful past.

Image: ncculture
Image: ncculture

In fact the shipwreck was more akin to a scrapyard than a sailing vessel when it was discovered by private salvager company Intersal Inc. of Palm Bay, Florida. What the divers initially came across was a tangle of cannons, anchors and other fascinating debris.

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Image: ncculture
Image: ncculture

The Intersal divers unearthed a variety of intriguing artifacts from the site, now labeled rather unromantically “North Carolina shipwreck site 31CR314.” These included the barrel of an English blunderbuss dating from between 1690 and 1710, a couple of cannonballs and a sounding weight. Crucially they also found a bronze bell carrying the date 1705, confirming with near certainty that this wreck was from the early part of the 18th century.

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