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ECU Conservation Lab dedicated
GREENVILLE, NC (Jan. 12, 2004) — East Carolina University and the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources dedicated the Queen Anne's Revenge Shipwreck Conservation Laboratory Jan. 15.
Cannons, planks, ship parts and medical instruments were among the thousands of artifacts from the shipwreck on display at the university's West Research campus site.
Tim Runyan, director of ECU's Maritime Studies, told the standing room only crowd that the conservation lab serves an important role in the preservation of the historic ship.
"Without a conservation laboratory, you can't bring up new artifacts," he said, noting that finds would quickly deteriorate if brought to the surface without the research facility.
"This is an important step for conducting further research for uncovering more about Blackbeard and the state's oldest ship."
Jointly run by ECU's Maritime Studies Program and the Office of State Archaeology, the lab is the latest to house items from the North Carolina shipwreck, which evidence supports is the pirate Blackbeard's flagship.
"When we talk about Blackbeard and this ship and all these things that are going on, it is a collaborative effort," said ECU Chancellor William Shelton. "So many people have made this possible. The quality educational experience in the higher ed community is largely dependent upon our research activities."
Since its discovery in 1996, more than 16,000 artifacts have been retrieved, representing only 2 percent of items on the shipwreck. As preservation space grew limited, a memorandum of agreement between ECU's Maritime Studies Program and the Department of Cultural Resources provided space for the conservation and research lab.
"This facility is a wonderful addition to the QAR project, not only because it increases the number of artifacts we can raise but it also provides double the space for conservation. For the first time, all the artifacts can be in one place," said Lisbeth C. Evans, secretary of the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources. "This arrangement will facilitate more productive work by our conservators and will allow advanced research with our partners here at ECU."
More than 11,000 artifacts have been moved to Greenville from the Queen Anne's Revenge project headquarters in Morehead City and the Department of Cultural Resources Underwater Archaeology Branch in Fort Fisher.
While at the ECU laboratory, conservators will measure, photograph and analyze artifacts for documentation. Many items will eventually be transported to the North Carolina Maritime Museum in Beaufort.
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