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

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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

https://doi.org/10.1080/10572414.2022.2101775

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Archaeology

Study indicates that Firth promontory could be an ancient crannog

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A study by students from the University of the Highlands and Islands has revealed that a promontory in the Loch of Wasdale in Firth, Orkney, could be the remains of an ancient crannog.

A crannog is a partially or entirely artificial island, typically built in lakes and estuarine waters of Scotland from the prehistoric period onward.

Crannogs were used as dwellings, taking advantage of the natural surroundings that may have served to provide a defensive purpose.

Despite significant variations in methodology, most crannogs on mainland Scotland were built by driving timber piles into the loch bed and filling the interior with peat, brush, stones, or timber to create a solid foundation.

In largely treeless regions like the Western Isles, these island dwellings utilised a diverse mix of natural, artificially enlarged, or entirely artificial islets.

The discovery was made by students from the UHI Archaeology Institute, who were conducting test-pitting on a promontory at the northern end of the Loch of Wasdale.

According to a press statement by UHI: “It appears as an islet on the 1882 Ordnance Survey map. Little is known about the site, but the fact the shoreside edges appear to show the remains of walling led to the suggestion it may be a crannog.”

In his Reminiscences of an Orkney Parish, John Firth (1838-1922) wrote that this islet was once home to a kirk: “During the Middle Ages several chapels existed in the district now known as the parish of Firth – one on the island in the Loch of Wasdale.”

The test-pitting revealed large quantities of cairn-like rubble, in addition to more structural remains or a stone surface, indicating that the entire promontory/islet is artificial.

Martin Carruthers, a lecturer at UHI, said: “A structure made up of some very large masonry seems to lurk at the heart of the cairn makeup. Constructing this ‘monument’ must have been a very substantial undertaking.”

“In terms of artefacts, apart from some later post-medieval glazed pottery, we recovered a single worked flint, probably a ‘thumbnail’ scraper, which is most likely later Neolithic in date,” added Carruthers.

Header Image Credit : Shutterstock

Sources : UHI

This content was originally published on www.heritagedaily.com – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

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Archaeologists identify the original sarcophagus of Ramesses II

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Archaeologists from Sorbonne University have identified the original sarcophagus of Ramesses II, otherwise known as Ramesses the Great.

Ramesses II was the third pharaoh of the 19th Dynasty during the New Kingdom period.
His reign is often regarded as the most celebrated in Egypt’s history, marked by several major military campaigns and numerous monument construction projects.

Based on supporting historical accounts, most Egyptologists suggest that Ramesses II assumed the throne in 1279 BC and reigned until his death at the age of around 90 in 1212 or 1213 BC.

His remains were interred in a tomb complex (designated KV7) in the Valley of the Kings, located opposite the tomb of his sons (KV5), and near the tomb (KV8) of his son and successor, Merenptah.

During the reign of Ramesses III during the 20th Dynasty, the tomb of Ramesses II was looted by grave robbers. Ancient texts record that priests moved his remains to the tomb of Queen Ahmose Inhapy, and then to the tomb of the high priest Pinedjem II.

His final resting place was a tomb (designated TT320), located next to Deir el-Bahari, in the Theban Necropolis opposite Luxor. The tomb is a Royal Cache containing the mummified remains of more than 50 kings, queens, and other royal family members of the New Kingdom period.

The mummy of Ramesses II was discovered in TT320 during excavations in 1881. He was found placed in a simple wooden coffin, suggesting that this was meant as a temporary measure until a more permanent resting place could be determined.

A new study, published in the Revue d’Égyptologie, suggests that a fragment of a sarcophagus discovered in 2009 at Abydos was part of the original sarcophagus of Ramesses II.

The sarcophagus fragment was found in a Coptic monastery and has recently been re-examined by Egyptologist Frédéric Payraudeau from Sorbonne University.

According to the study author, the decoration and texts on the sarcophagus fragment indicate that it was first used by Ramesses II (evidenced by the cartouche of Ramesses II), and later reused by a high priest of the 21st Dynasty, Menkheperre (around 1000 BC) who likely had the sarcophagus transported to Abydos after KV7 was looted.

Header Image Credit : Sarcophagus fragment – Kevin Cahail

Sources : cnrs | Le sarcophage de Ramsès II remployé à Abydos – Published in the Revue d’Égyptologie.

This content was originally published on www.heritagedaily.com – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

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