In 1996, the underwater shipwreck of the infamous pirate Blackbeard’s flagship, The Queen Anne’s Revenge, was found off the coast of North Carolina. The site is being operated as both an archaeological one as well as a tourist attraction in a part of the country that already has a thriving marine tourist activity.
The website for this project is associated with the North Carolina Department of Cultural resources and, by all appearances, is a pretty legit archaeological dig. Their site emphasizes the things that can be learned from the Queen Anne’s Revenge that will “shed light on the wider political, economic and social systems of the colonial period in North Carolina and beyond.” They can’t quite shake the commercialized and tourist feeling of the whole venture, however. Clearly advertised on the main page of the website are two of their primary donors, Grady-White (a boat-building company) and the Boat House at Front Street Village (boat storage and community area with gift shop), as well as a handy link to donate toward the cause. On the other hand, the site is also quite transparent about these elements, they are quite clear these are sponsors and that a part of their mission is to have a positive economic impact on the immediate region.
The website for the Queen Anne’s Revenge shipwreck is well-organized and smooth running, but it feels more like an advertisement to visit North Carolina than it is an educational site about archaeology.