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Pirate’s sword pulled from Blackbeard’s ship

The hilt of an ornamental sword has been pulled from Blackbeard’s ship, the Queen Anne’s Revenge.

After running aground on a sandbar in 1718 near the town of Beaufort (map), the ship was abandoned but likely remained intact and partly above water for as long as a year before collapsing and disintegrating, according to archaeologist David Moore of the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources.

“In any event,” he said, “the pirates would have had ample opportunity to take anything that they thought valuable.” The newfound hilt may have been left behind because it was unwanted, or it may have been inaccessible, according to Moore’s colleague Wendy Welsh, a conservator on the project.

Blackbeard’s brief career as a pirate lasted only about two years, but during that time he became one of  history’s most feared outlaws. Operating in the West Indies (map) and off the coast of colonial America, he struck terror into the hearts of commercial ships’ captains and once held the entire city of Charleston, South Carolina (map), hostage.

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