The Quick Report

The Disturbing Items Found on Blackbeard’s Ship

Blackbeard’s pirate ship, Queen Anne’s Revenge, was rediscovered in 1996, after running aground in 1718. Now, over 300 years later, archaeologists continue to make discoveries, and some of the artifacts are frightening.

Queen Anne’s Revenge, Blackbeard’s Pirate Ship, Discovered

Juha Flinkman, SubZone OY / CC BY-SA 4.0 / Wikimedia Commons

Queen Anne’s Revenge was the vessel commandeered by the pirate Blackbeard. The ship, originally named Concord, weighed an estimated 200 tons and was believed to have been built in 1710 for merchant service in Bristol, England.

The Concorde was later captured by French privateers and renamed La Concorde.

Blackbeard captured La Concorde in 1717, renaming the ship Queen Anne’s revenge, while equipping her with 40 guns and a crew of more than 300 men.

North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources.

He ran Queen Anne’s Revenge aground at Topsail Inlet, now known as Beaufort Inlet, North Carolina in May 1718. Afterward, he transferred her supplies and crew to smaller ships.

In 1996, the remains of a vessel determined to be Queen Anne’s Revenge were discovered by Intersal Inc., a private firm at Beaufort Inlet. The wreck site was been added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2004.

Disturbing Items Found Aboard Blackbeard’s Ship

The Queen Anne was rediscovered in 1996, and archaeologists have been studying the shipwreck ever since. New artifacts are being uncovered all the time, as only 60% of the site has been excavated so far.

North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources.

While there have been artifacts recovered that one would expect to find on a 16th-century ship, there have been some downright disturbing findings.


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Among the unnerving discoveries are medical instruments that we would find brutal by today’s standards, ZME Science reported.

One is a metal syringe that was inserted into the urethra to inject mercury to treat those suffering from syphilis. Mercury, despite its severe side effects, continued to be used to treat syphilis until the twentieth century.

North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources.

Another frightening device is what’s called a “clyster pump.” This was a piece of metal measuring roughly 5 centimeters. It was used for delivering an enema, which pumps fluid into the rectum to treat severe cases of dehydration.

North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources.

Bloodletting was a common form of treatment for many conditions. An instrument for this purpose, called a “porringer,” was also discovered.

Who was Blackbeard?

Hulton Archive

The notorious pirate known as Blackbeard was an English man who went by the name Edward Teach. As pirates most often gave phony surnames, to avoid scandal, Blackbeard’s real name will likely never be known. It is presumed that Teach was born sometime around 1680.

Blackbeard operated in the West Indies and along the eastern coast of Britain’s North American colonies.

Blackbeard was killed during a battle near Ocracoke Island on November 22, 1718. His age at death somewhere between 35-40. He had been shot five times and cut about 20. His corpse was thrown into the inlet, and his head was suspended from the bowsprit of Lieutenant Robert Maynard’s sloop on the way back to Virginia so that the reward could be collected. His head was placed on a pole at the entrance to the Chesapeake Bay. This served as a ghastly warning to other pirates and stood there for several years.