Parley reveals history

Published 1:01 am Thursday, May 26, 2011

A painting of what Blackbeard might have looked like, apparently based on a 1950s film image of actor Robert Newton, looms in the foreground Saturday at the first-ever Pirate Parley on the Pamlico in Washington. The posthumous portrait was painted by Mildred Rumley of Washington. (WDN Photo/Jonathan Clayborne)

Charles Ewen is discouraging the use of all qualifying remarks in relation to an 18th-century shipwreck found off Beaufort Inlet in 1996.

A mounting body of evidence indicates that wreck is the pirate Blackbeard’s flagship the Queen Anne’s Revenge, said Ewen, a professor in the anthropology department at East Carolina University.

Most of the ship’s remains are housed in a conservation laboratory at ECU, Ewen said.
“We’re going to take away the alleged, believed to be, all that stuff,” he said Saturday during the first-ever Pirate Parley on the Pamlico at the Turnage Theater in Washington.
Prior to the gathering at the Turnage, Ewen led about 80 people on a tour of historic Bath sites he helped excavate, or otherwise explore the history of, during the past 10 years.
The tour was the first leg of the parley, organized by the nonprofit Blackbeard Adventure Alliance.
The BAA is trying to raise funds to build a replica of Blackbeard’s sloop, the Adventure. Saturday’s happening was designed to raise awareness of pirate facts while perhaps debunking some myths and legends that abound in tales of history’s greatest buccaneers.
As Ewen stood near an exhibit on Bath archaeology at the Turnage, he focused on Queen Anne’s Revenge, which reportedly grounded at Beaufort Inlet in 1718.
Asked what artifacts have led some experts to conclude the sunken ship undergoing analysis at ECU is the Queen Anne’s Revenge, Ewen basically indicated the whole of the evidence is more important than its constituent parts.
“There is no single piece that you can point to,” he said, nodding to knowledge that the recovered vessel is large, heavily armed and dates from the right place and time to have been part of Blackbeard’s entourage of seagoing vessels.
“It’s just the best candidate,” he said.
Queen Anne’s Revenge is thought to have been a French slave ship, La Concorde, captured and renamed by Blackbeard and his men, Ewen explained.
The three-masted slaver was 90 to 100 feet long and had a crew of 150 to 200 people, reads an ECU news release found online.
The ship might have had 42 to 44 cannon. To date, searchers have recovered 24 of the ship’s guns from the underwater site, Ewen said.
Blackbeard is widely considered an essential part of Beaufort County’s history.
The pirate captain was known to have visited Bath, and it is believed he had collusive relationships with colonial officials there.
Ewen was one of at least three researchers on hand for the inaugural parley, among them England’s E.T. Fox, curator of the Golden Hind museum ship in Brixham, Devon, and Kevin Duffus, an author-historian-filmmaker from Raleigh.
Fox and Duffus gave presentations on pirate lore and reality to a fairly full house at the Turnage.
Lynda Lane, of the Cypress Landing community near Chocowinity, ventured to Bath and to the Turnage for the parley.
“It was lots of fun, it was interesting — everything that I hoped it would be,” Lane said. “I think it would be a great thing to do (again).”