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Was this 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.
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. 
Elegantly Wasted
A decorative chain once ran from the hole in the newfound sword hilt's quillon (pictured) to the pommel (not pictured), an ornamental knob at the base of the hilt. 
Grabbing History by the Horns
Recovered by divers in 2010, two years after the quillon was found, this carved antler formed the sword's handle. 
Archaeology in Bloom
Where others see flowers and faces, Queen Anne's Revenge experts see evidence on this pommel. For example, the flowers are irises—aka fleurs-de-lis, the royal emblem of France.
Encrustations cover a newly revealed, 3-foot-long (91-centimeter-long) wooden deadeye, a pulley that would have helped hold sails in place on the pirate Blackbeard’s flagship, the Queen Anne’s Revenge.
 Blackbeard's Staying Power
Still underwater at the Queen Anne's Revenge wreck site, this anchor is about 12 feet (3.7 meters) long and 10 feet (3 meters) wide. Eventually it will be brought to the surface, archaeologists say.
Divers have been removing artifacts from the wreck site since it was discovered in the mid-1990s. Some of the newest will go on display in June at the North Carolina Maritime Museum for the 293rd anniversary of the grounding of the Queen Anne's Revenge in 1718.
Only about half of the wreck site has been excavated, which should leave archaeologists with plenty to do this summer, when excavations should resume this summer, budget permitting.

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