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Blackbeard’s Shipwreck | JONATHAN BIRD’S BLUE WORLD


Coming up next on Jonathan Bird’s Blue World,
Jonathan helps archaeologists excavate Blackbeard The Pirate’s shipwreck! Hi, I’m Jonathan Bird and welcome to my world! Arggg! I be Blackbird the pirate, and welcome
to me…barge? How I ended up a pirate on a barge is an interesting
story! It all started back in 1717, when Edward Teach, better known as Blackbeard the Pirate,
was roaming the Atlantic from Africa to the Caribbean, plundering ships as he went. Although
reported by his crew to be a fair and decent man, Blackbeard had a fierce reputation, partly
due to his clever use of lit fuses in his hat to intimidate his enemies. Off the island of Saint Vincent, Blackbeard
and his crew captured a French merchant vessel and quickly converted it to a pirate ship
with 40 cannons, renaming her the Queen Anne’s Revenge. She was Blackbeard’s flagship in
a growing armada of captured ships. But in 1718, Blackbeard ran the Queen Anne’s
Revenge aground on a sand bar outside Beaufort, North Carolina. Experts believe the grounding
was intentional-the pirate version of corporate downsizing. He stranded many of his crew and
fled in a smaller ship. Latter that year, Blackbeard was killed in a battle with British
forces not far away at Okracoke Island. The Queen Anne’s Revenge was lost for hundreds
of years until being discovered in 1996. The shipwreck is now an active underwater
archaeological site administered by the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources.
And that’s where I come into the story. It’s nearly morning in Beaufort, North Carolina
and I’m getting on a barge–with a team of archaeologists. But not just any archaeologists!
These are underwater archaeologists who are excavating the wreck of Queen Anne’s Revenge. My good friend Rick Allen is in charge of
all cinematography that takes place on the site and today he will be my underwater cameraman. Everyone sets up their gear and it’s time
shove off for the pirate adventures on the high seas! As we head out under draw bridges making our
way from the inlet to the open ocean, Wendy Welsh, the project director prepares for the
day’s work. It’s going to be a long day as the weather has been bad, and the team
has lost a lot of time this week. So we have a lot of scuba tanks. Wendy talks with nautical archaeologist David
Moore, whose research original helped pinpoint the location of the wreck. If you can get it Rick, take it up! Soon we arrive at the wreck site, and the
barge is anchored directly above it. Alright, it’s been a while sine we have
been out here so we’ve got some work to do today so I hope you guys are ready to go.
The way we left the site was, we have both of our big dredges, they are laying on seventy
stake, which is what our double buoys are, and then we have our frames that are on the
pile. What I want to do first is get two divers in and kind of do a site assessment, see what’s
going on… The first team suits up to check on the wreck
and visibility. The water is not known for clarity here in this shallow, sandy area. The archaeological team needs to be able to
talk to each other underwater so they can get things done, so they’re all wearing
these full-face masks, which have communications gear in them. You can talk by pushing this
button, and you can hear what other people are saying through this little earpiece. So
I’m going to be wearing one too, I’ll be able to talk to everybody, and hear what
they’re saying! We’ll get in, go to the bottom, get comfortable
and follow the hoses down… Rick and I have a quick discussion about out
dive plan and then it’s time to see this wreck for myself. Woo! Ready? Jonathan, Jonathan, this is topside for a
comm check. I hear ya loud and clear! Copy that, thank you Jonathan. The visibility on the bottom is terrible!
I can barely see 4 feet! It’s hard to describe how difficult it is to do the work in such
bad conditions! Eventually I find my way to one of the only
landmarks on the wreck. This is the north anchor, the largest anchor
on Blackbeard’s ship. It’s about 13 feet long–that’s as big as a car! Soon the crew fires up the pumps on what is
essentially a big vacuum cleaner, called a dredge. Down on the bottom, this equipment is used
to clear sections of the wreck by vacuuming up the sand the continually accumulates. I’m using the vacuum to clear an area around
an object, but I have no idea what the object is. What is this? I’m not sure. It might be part of a cannon. To me, everything we uncover looks like a
rock. But to an expert, these concretions, as they are called, are treasure. While most of the wood on a shipwreck is consumed
by the sea; metal, glass and ceramics often survive. But hundreds of years of marine growth
like barnacles and oysters add layer after layer of concretions on the artifacts. It
takes an expert eye to identify artifacts in these rock-like concretions. Up on deck, the water and sand from the dredge
go through a sluice where larger objects are sieved out, and heavier particles settle out.
There’s all kind of good stuff in here that we’ll go through later. Down on the bottom, I know we’re digging
out something big. What are we digging out here, is this a cannon? This is an anchor. There should be a cannon
right next to it, a little deeper buried down. Wendy has joined us in the water and enlists
my help to take some electrical readings. The cannons, which are made of iron, produce
a tiny electrical current as they corrode. Wendy wants to measure the voltage they are
producing as a way of learning how fast the corrosion is taking place, and which cannons
should be excavated first. Our first step is to gently drill a hole through
the marine growth on cannon to reach the metal. Then I apply an electrode. Jonathan is holding the electrode. You can
start the two minutes and let him know when it is complete. Copy that Wendy, starting the two minutes
now. Okay, start the reading on the concretion
for C7. I have to hold the probe on the cannon for
two minutes to allow the reading to stabilize. Then they record the reading up on the barge. After doing that for an hour, I feel like
a real archaeologist! I’m a regular underwater Indiana Jones! But soon my tank is getting low and it’s
time to go back to the surface. Wow! What’d you think of that? You know, normally I’m not a fan of vacuuming,
but vacuuming a cannon out of a shipwreck is really fun! Isn’t that neat? Yeah, but I got a lot of sand in my gloves!
That was great! After a long day at sea, we finally turn and
head back to the dock. But my work is far from done. My next stop is the QAR field lab, where archaeologist
Lisa Briggs is panning for treasure. Hi Lisa! Hey Jonathan, welcome. Come on in, this is
our field lab. This is where we are doing the micro artifact extraction. At the field lab, Lisa is looking through
all that sand and sediment we collected in the sluice for micro-artifacts. We find all sorts of tiny little artifacts
that would be overlooked if we were to look on site or underwater. It’s really difficult
to identify things perfectly underwater. We’ve got low visibility, lots of currents, lots
of stuff going on when we are actually underwater, so we save all the sediment, we bring it back
here and then we process it to try to find the tiny little cool bits of treasure that
we missed when we are actually physically digging underwater. The most common micro-artifact on the wreck
is lead shot–tiny lead balls that would have been ammunition for muskets. Some of the shot that we find was actually
used in hand-help muskets and smaller hand-held firearms, and then some other shot that we’re
finding even the very small pieces, grape shot or seed shot, would have been used in
bags inside of cannons. And that was used mostly to try to take out the rigging of an
enemy’s ship. Lisa gives me a lesson in panning through
the sand to separate the heavier lead from the lighter sand and rocks. It’s a very
similar technique to panning for gold. You know, if it doesn’t work out, as an
underwater archaeologist, I can go gold prospecting after working on this site. We’re going to find you in Alaska next year? Oh yeah! Actually, pick up the lip a little bit… I’m going to starve if I have to feed myself
with finding gold this way. Finally, after I get the technique down, I
find something! Oh I think I see something. Aarrrgh, there be lead in this here pan! Look
at that! We have found, in total, I think over 250
thousand pieces of lead shot. Now you might not think of lead shot as treasure,
but for a pirate, ammunition is critical. And to an archaeologist, this stuff is like
gold. I spend hours sifting through the sand for
micro-artifacts! And I have become pretty good at panning for lead shot. But now it’s
time for my next stop. Let’s get out of here before she makes us
do any more! Not far from the field lab, tucked away in
a warehouse is the Queen Anne’s Revenge restoration lab. I meet up with the project
director Wendy Welsh for a tour. Hey Jonathan, welcome to the lab! Hi Wendy, how are you? Nice to have you. Inside are tons of artifacts that have been
rescued from the shipwreck, all awaiting restoration so they can be put on display. This is the North Carolina Department of Cultural
Resources Queen Anne’s Revenge conservation lab. What we do here is we take all the artifacts
that come in here from the QAR shipwreck, put them in storage. We conserver them and
make them ready for public display and everything in between. Show me how you do that! All right! Well, we’ve been out to the site
and you have seen kind of what it looks like, you have seen a site map and is the way these
things come up are in large amorphous lumps called concretions, and what we do here immediately
is of course store them in wet storage. All the artifacts are stored in tanks filled
with water. They are being treated with special chemicals and an electric current to drive
the salt molecules out of the metal. Without this process, these ancient artifacts would
crumble into dust when they left the water. Everything from the tiniest brass fitting
to the largest iron cannon has to be slowly, painstakingly treated with this process. And
for large object like a cannon, the process can take years. So let me ask you, just out of curiosity…if
you took a cannon out of the water and you didn’t do anything…you were just like
“hey, check it out, we found a cannon” and you brought it out and maybe cleaned off
all the marine growth and just put it in the museum, what would happen? Well, it would look pretty cool for like the
first few days. And then after that it would start to rust, and then the salts that had
been permeating that iron for many many years is going to start to crystalize as it dries
out. And then one that happens it will start popping off surfaces. And then you have no
nice pretty cannon any more. That’s why we have to do our process that we do and it
does take a good while, but it’s actually a payoff in the end if you think about it.
Our cannon were underneath, submerged for almost 300 years. To get into a conservation
lab, for it to take five or six years to be complete, that’s actually not a bad ratio. Next Wendy shows me the largest artifact the
team is restoring. It’s so big they had to build a huge custom tank for it. We pull
off the cover to reveal an anchor. This is the anchor that we recovered from
the site last May. It’s 12 feet long and about eight feet, nine feet wide. After seeing some of the artifacts being preserved,
Wendy shows me how they get them out of the concretions. It starts with an X-ray of the
concretion, so the archaeologists can see exactly what is inside them before they start
doing any work. This concretion has a couple grenades in it
as well as a number of other items. The X-ray clearly shows the location of the smaller
artifacts buried within the concretion. So this is an air scribe and I’ll turn it
on and hopefully it won’t hurt your ears. Next, using an air scribe, Wendy demonstrates
how the marine growth is slowly cut away from the artifacts, ever so carefully. Using this technique, over time, thousands
of artifacts have come out of concretions, preserved and ready to go into an exhibit.
In fact, right now there are more artifacts than there is space to display them. This is what’s to come as far as going into
the museum next. So hopefully you’ll see some of these on display soon enough. I head over to the North Carolina Maritime
Museum to check out the Queen Ann’s Revenge exhibit, where some of the coolest finds are
on display for the public to see. There I meet up again with the Nautical Archaeologist
David Moore to learn about the exhibit. What we’re weeing here in just this small
space is literally just the tip of the iceberg. We’ve got some 300 unique artifacts just
in this one area. Of the material that has been brought up, which is approximately half
the site, we have only probably seen maybe ten percent of that material. And of that
ten percent, maybe five percent has been conserved. You know, we’re looking at a fairly large
volume of some very fascinating material that’s going to be coming to light over the next
decade to two decades, of work in the laboratory. These amazing artifacts now on display have
not only shed light on life of the world’s most famous pirate, but also on the day-to-day
happenings on a sailing ship in the 1700s. And they’re here in a museum for all to
see and enjoy. Through the dedicated work of these archaeologists,
underwater, on the water, and in the labs, Blackbeard’s ship is being slowly excavated,
conserved, studied and displayed for future generations. Even though I have only seen
a small part of the process, I have come to understand and appreciate just how work and
dedication this project has taken. Arrrgh! Well, I spent me a day with the Queen
Anne’s Revenge team. I came out looking for treasure, but what I discovered is…the
treasure is the ship! Queen Anne’s Revenge Script

Norman Bunn

100 Comments

  1. Shirohige, ace's murderer, he is going down soon , luffy does not forgive

  2. I love it!!!!!!😘😘😘😘. I am 7 and I am in 1st grade. this is my favorite channel.

  3. does this guy have a robot arm? at 2:53 …….. if so THATS AWESOME

  4. Great video! I used it to illustrate our article on “History: July 15, 1815: 10 Ships With Cool Names” at http://www.historyandheadlines.com/history-july-15-1815-10-ships-with-cool-names/

  5. Blackbeard was not known to have killed his captives, nor been a tyrannical pirate captain.

  6. Fairly surprised that they don't utilize a Surface Supplied Air unit. I do biological stuff like this and almost all of the operations this large use SSA and a umbilical.

  7. I really like that Jonathan doesn't talk while others are explaining something on his show. So often hosts will try to talk over their guests … he seems to be very respectful.

  8. I've read compelling evidence that this isn't the queen anne's revenge but a common merchant ship of the same era. until they can find a cargo manifest of the QAR or match something definitive, I am skeptical.

  9. Talking seriously. All this work takes a loooot of money. Unfortunately is very hard to suport archeology in other places of the world. And there is a big lack of control, so we are loosing lot of our hitory…..plus the treasure hunters….

  10. hi I am Carly. I am 7 years old. I was writing a book about sea animals and I was having trouble on some of the beluga facts and found your video about the beluga at the Georgia aquarium. And that is how I got into your videos. I've watched all of them and hope you do more soon!

  11. What do you think are the best specialty courses for doing the advanced open water???

  12. I KNOW ONE PIECE IS REAL 😂😀! This is Teach ship -😂 OP Fans will understood what im saying 😂

  13. woow very exited dive nice video, i wanna go shark teeth hunting with you Jonathan!

  14. Years ago I was on a diva trip off the coast of Maine and one of the other divers was an archeologist on Black Beards ship. It was great talking to him as we traveled to our dive site.

  15. I have black beard treausare. In my house from the beach in alaska it's bad spelling I'm 8😁👍

  16. 🅱lack🅱eard had a ship named the 🅱ueen 🅱nne' s 🅱evenge.

  17. These videos are sooo cool. I watch them all the time. Jonathon is so funny and I love scuba diving.

  18. The location of the Queen Anne is that accurate? Always tough It was a mistery.

  19. What's far more difficult to discover is how much money has been professionally looted through coercion from the citizens of North Carolina to fund the recovery and restoration of property stolen by another professional looter – Blackbeard!
    Try to find the data in the NCDCR website; it's well-hidden from the victims.
    Did some of the benefit of this VITAL government gang project go to benefit the private "research" companies that found the wreck?
    Was it another case of "socialize the costs, and privatize the profits"? God bless Amurica! The Land of Opportunists!

  20. Hey Jonathan is it just me or when you were young where you scared of drop offs

  21. You can put a show on tv to teach people about aquatic animals and can earn on both sides tv and youtube

  22. You do know that Queen Anne's revenge wasn't the only ship Blackbeard sailed with as a pirate.

  23. I don't understand, why take voltage readings ? Is salvage and conservation so slow that one needs to work out what should be salvage first ? Is it lack of funds to salvage all the cannon ? Not trying to be smart just can't understand as it seem like a real time waster to me. OR is it information for other wrecks that don't have the funding?

  24. I am going to be a bit longer to see you guys and then we can meet him and

  25. This channel needs more subscribers! And so do I! Please check out my channel that I just started! It's all about animals and adventure! It would be greatly appreciated!

  26. How could he have been defeated when he could just have sucked them into a black hole? (Only some will understand)

  27. Have they found the ship's bell yet?? I've heard it's possible that it might not actually be Queen Anne's Revenge since they don't have the bell to confirm that it was the right ship previously.. I could be wrong. Interesting thought though! As always, awesome video Jonathan!

  28. hears Blackbeard was killed by some British peeps in the 17 century

    CURSE YOU KING GEORGE THE THIRD

    But no off to British people in 2018

  29. COOL! CAN YOU GIVE ME A SHOUT OUT? IN SCHOOL, EVERYONE ASKS ME ABOUT MARINE LIFE AND I GAVE THEM THE CORRECT ANSWER BECAUSE OF YOU! YOU ARE THE BEST PERSON TEACHING ABOUT MARINE LIFE!

  30. I love Archeology and also I love Ocean,

    This is really Great Episodes, I Love it

  31. I hope you know how lucky you are this is awesome and I love how they are flying a historically accurate black beard flag.

  32. Jonathan do full face scuba masks ever cloud up while on dives? How do you clear them if they do? With a normal mask I usually let ocean water in and then breathe out through my nose while looking up and opening the bottom of the mask. It doesn’t seem like that would be possible with full face masks

  33. One of my other fave things to watch, on Netflix UK (not sure if it's available on Netflix US) is Horrible Histories. This linkie will show you one of the Savage Songs sung on the show. HH also did books, handy for reading on your way to Antarctica!!! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ZP-CXLAQWg

  34. If Blackbeard was running it aground why do u think he left so much ammunition and weapons behind? Its such a waste of valuable assets.

  35. Jonathan do another aquarium dive, but do a dive show to talk to the aquarium guests

  36. I'm today years old and didn't know characters in The Pirates of Carribean were real!

  37. Jonathan, you should have ask all those people you went diving with on this trip why none of them told you your low pressure inflator hose had a leak at the regulator.

  38. Will you please try to make a dive video with Da Vinci diving suit

  39. How did you like diving with a ffm? I recently just got certified for the ffm specialty it’s a lot different than diving with a mask and regulator that’s for sure takes getting used to

  40. Blackbeard is real!? I thought he was legendary myth.

    And to be honest, I think Ninjas are more awesome than Pirates.

  41. I did alot of wreck diving out of morehead city and always wondered about diving that wreck..The proximity buoy kept us clear…

  42. my my my … Lisa Briggs is a taste tee piece of cake and I would love to eat her fresh water clam !

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