Shelter Series: Blackbeard’s Queen Anne’s Revenge and Wilmington’s Other Battleship – with Dr. Mark Wilde-Ramsing

Tuesday October 5
4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Join us for a presentation by Dr. Mark Wilde-Ramsing on Tuesday, Otober 5th at 4:00pm

Two of North Carolina’s most important shipwreck sites served as bookends during the career of Dr. Mark Wilde-Ramsing, who retired as director of the State’s Underwater Archaeology Branch.

In the mid-1970’s his first investigation occurred on the banks of the Cape Fear River at Wilmngton examining the ribs and steam machinery of a forgotten derelict. At the time the shipwreck was unidentified and only through his program to educate local 8th graders years later was the case solved. Nuestra Senora de Regla, built as a ferry for Cuban owners, became ensnared in the early days of the Civil War as it made its way down the Atlantic coast from New York, where it was built. First in Confederate hands and then detained and ultimately confiscated by the Federal government, it was converted into the armed naval vessel. USS Commodore Hull. Surviving the War it was sold and became the ferry and freight carrier, Waccamaw, until it was laid up and unceremoniously burned and forgotten on Eagles Island.

At the other end of Wilde-Ramsing’s career came the discovery of Queen Anne’s Revenge near Beaufort, which in 1996 brought worldwide attention to one of the most significant archaeological discoveries of modern times. This vessel served as the flagship of the infamous pirate captain Edward Teach, “Blackbeard”, during the Golden Age of Piracy. Wilde-Ramsing served as QAR project director until his retirement in 2012, and during that time oversaw extensive recovery operations, conservation efforts and research conducted by scores of scientists.

These two vessels allowed Dr. Wilde-Ramsing the opportunity for a fascinating look at the people and histories involved and the efforts archaeologists have undertaken to reveal how and what their physical remains add to each vessel’s narrative.

Mark was an archaeologist with the NC Div. of Archives and History/Underwater Archaeology Branch from 1978 to 2012. As a state archaeologist, Mark led investigations along many miles of North Carolina coastline and waters examining sites ranging from dugout canoes to 20th Century steamers. During these endeavors Mark sought input from marine archaeologists, historians and conservators, as well as the local public to help interpret and preserve the state’s archaeological record. Educational outreach was an important aspect of his career and included summer camps at the North Carolina Maritime Museum, the Baker’s Kids project that provided field instruction for 8th graders from Pender County, development of an underwater archaeology classroom kit Hidden Beneath the Waves with the Cape Fear Museum, and the innovative Dive Down awareness program for recreational divers.

Dr. Wilde-Ramsing lives in Wilmington and was presented The Order of the Long Leaf Pine by former Gov. Beverly Purdue bestowing special confidence in his “integrity, learning and zeal” as a career North Carolina public servant.



In 2018, Dr. Wilde-Ramsing co-authored a comprehensive and compelling telling of archaeological investigations and findings as long-time director of the QAR Shipwreck Project. Blackbeard’s Sunken Prize: The 300-year Voyage of Queen Anne’s Revenge was published by the University of North Carolina Press (2018).

You can buy it online, in local stores, or get it as an e-book.