Connect with us


Study solves mystery of coal origins on Blackbeard’s Queen Anne’s Revenge



A study by the University of Kentucky has solved the origins of the coal found on Blackbeard’s Queen Anne’s Revenge.

Edward Teach, better known as Blackbeard, was an English pirate who operated around the West Indies and the eastern coast of Britain’s North American colonies.

Blackbeard earned his nickname due to his thick black beard and intimidating presence. He was known to tie lit fuses (slow matches) under his hat which instilled fear in his opponents.

Around 300 years ago, Blackbeard seized a French slave ship named La Concorde and renamed her as Queen Anne’s Revenge, arming her with 40 guns and manning her with a crew of around 400 men.

In 1717, the ship hit a sandbar near Beaufort, North Carolina, in the present-day Carteret County. The ship was rediscovered in 1996 by Intersal Inc in 8.5 m of water, about one 1.6 km offshore of Fort Macon State Park, Atlantic Beach, North Carolina.

Currently, over 300,000 artefacts have been retrieved from the wreckage and around 30 cannons. The cannons originate from various places, such as Sweden and England, and come in different sizes, which is typical for a pirate crew during colonial times.

The International Journal of Nautical Archaeology recently published the findings of researchers who aimed to determine the source of the coal found on the historic shipwreck.

James Hower from the UK Centre for Applied Energy Research (CAER) and Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences in the College of Arts and Sciences, said: “We wanted to figure out where this coal on the shipwreck might have come from in that particular era before there was any real coal mining of any sort in this country.”

Archaeologists previously discovered that coal was distributed evenly throughout the excavation site, leading them to find samples present in corroded iron and other parts of the wreckage.

Four samples of the coal were sent for further analysis at CAER’s Applied Petrology Laboratory to determine the coal rank. Coal is classified into four main ranks, or types, which depend on the amount of carbon the coal contains and the amount of heat energy it can produce.

The coal samples displayed a wide range of quality, with some being low volatile bituminous coal (87-90% carbon) and others being anthracites (above 90% carbon).

“Low volatile bituminous coal is generally found in Virginia. It’s good for cooking and was also used on steamships because that type of coal doesn’t give off smoke when it burns,” explained Hower. “Anthracite is not the most common coal rank found anywhere, much less in the U.S. All the anthracites here come from Pennsylvania.”

Another key to solving this mystery is knowing what time those sources of coal were active.

“Simply, the coal samples post-date the Queen Anne’s Revenge grounding. In a 19th- or 20th-century setting, the easiest explanation for the source of both types of coal could have been in the Appalachians, but the mining there didn’t exist in the period we’re looking at. Plus, European settlers did not discover Pennsylvania anthracite until maybe the later part of the 1760s and real, legitimate mining didn’t happen until the 1800s,” said Hower.

According to the researcher, the post-date coal samples were likely dumped from U.S. Navy ships in the Civil War after Union troops captured nearby Fort Macon on April 26, 1862.

There was a heavy influx of ship traffic at that time, especially during the Union’s blockade of Wilmington, North Carolina — a major port for the Confederacy and the last one to fall in February of 1865.

Natural forces, such as waves, tidal currents, tropical storms, and hurricanes, also played a role in how the coal ended up settling in and around the Queen Anne’s Revenge. This is due to the frequent shifting of inlets and sand shoals along the Outer Banks over time.

Archaeologists from the University of Kentucky explained that the same movement is responsible for intrusive items finding their way onto the shipwreck, like 19th-century glass and ceramic artefacts, as well as 20th-century coins, soda bottles and even golf balls.

University of Kentucky

Header Image Credit : Shutterstock

Continue Reading


Clusters of ancient qanats discovered in Diyala




An archaeological survey has identified three clusters of ancient qanats in the Diyala Province of Iraq.

A qanat, also known as a kārīz, is a system for transporting water from an aquifer or water well over long distances in hot dry climates without losing water to evaporation.

Qanats use a sequence of vertical shafts resembling wells, linked by a gently inclined tunnel that serves as a conduit for channelling water. Qanats efficiently transport substantial volumes of underground water to the surface without requiring pumps.

The water naturally flows downhill by gravity, with the endpoint positioned at a lower level than the origin. When the qanat is still below ground, the water is drawn to the surface via water wells or animal driven Persian wells.

Image Credit : State Board of Antiquities & Heritage

Some Qanats are divided into an underground network of smaller canals known as kariz, functioning similarly to qanats by staying beneath the surface to prevent contamination and evaporation. In certain instances, water from a qanat is stored in a reservoir, usually with nighttime flow reserved for daytime usage.

The technology for qanat’s first emerged in ancient Iran around 3,000-years-ago and slowly spread westward and eastward.

A recent survey within the Diyala Province has discovered three clusters of qanats stretching between the areas of Jalulaa and Kortaba. Initial studies dates the clusters to around AD 1000, a period known as the “Iranian Intermezzo”, when parts of the region were governed by a number of minor Iranian emirates.

The first cluster consists of 25 wells on a linear alignment connected to an adjacent 10 metre deep water channel. The second cluster also has 25 wells and is connected to a 13 km long hand dug channel, while the third cluster consists of 9 wells connected to water canals dug on both sides.

Header Image Credit : State Board of Antiquities & Heritage

This content was originally published on – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

Continue Reading


16,800-year-old Palaeolithic dwelling found in La Garma cave




Archaeologists have discovered a 16,800-year-old Palaeolithic dwelling in the La Garma cave complex, located in the municipality of Ribamontán al Monte in Spain’s Cantabria province.

The La Garma cave complex is a parietal art-bearing paleoanthropological cave system on the southern side of the La Garma Hill.

The cave complex is noted for one of the best preserved floors from the Palaeolithic period, containing more than 4,000 fossils and more than 500 graphical units.

A project led by Pablo Arias and Roberto Ontañón from the University of Cantabria has recently announced the discovery of a Palaeolithic dwelling within the cave system, described as “one of the best preserved Palaeolithic dwellings in the world.”

The dwelling is an oval space and is delimited by an alignment of stone blocks and stalagmites that supported a fixed structure of sticks and skins leaning against the cave wall. The total area of the space is around 5 square metres that centred on a camp fire.

Archaeologists also found vestiges of various daily activities associated with Magdalenian hunters and gatherers at the dwelling, including evidence of stone manufacturing, bone and antler instruments, and the working of fur.

In total, over 4,614 objects have been documented, such as dear, horse and bison bones, 600 pieces of flint, needles and a protoharpoon, shells of marine mollusks, as well as numerous pendants worn by the cave dwelling inhabitants.

Additionally, the researchers also found a number of decorated bones, including a remarkable pierced aurochs phalanx engraved with a depiction of both the animal itself and a human face—a distinctive artefact unique to the European Palaeolithic era.

Due to the national importance of the discovery, the team used innovative non-intrusive techniques in their study of the dwelling. This includes continuous tomography of the soils, 3D cartography, the molecular and genetic analysis of soils and Palaeolithic objects, mass spectrometry, and hyperspectral imaging.

Header Image Credit : University of Cantabria

This content was originally published on – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

Continue Reading


Generated by Feedzy