Booty and books: New evidence of pirates’ interest in both

This undated photo made available by the North Carolina Department of Natural Resources shows a piece of paper from books found on board Blackbeard's ship the Queen Anne's Revenge. To find paper in the 300-year-old shipwreck in warm waters is "almost unheard of," said Erik Farrell, a conservator at the QAR Conservation Lab in Greenville. (North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources via AP)

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Dead men tell no tales, but there’s new evidence that somebody aboard the pirate Blackbeard’s flagship harbored books among the booty.

Researchers have discovered shreds of paper bearing legible printing that somehow survived three centuries underwater on Blackbeard’s sunken vessel. After more than a year of research that ranged as far as Scotland, they identified them as fragments of a book about nautical voyages published 1712.

The conservators presented their findings at the annual meeting of the Society of Historical Archaeology in New Orleans.

Blackbeard’s ship, the Queen Anne’s Revenge, ship ran aground in Beaufort in 1718, and volunteers with the Royal Navy killed Blackbeard in Ocracoke Inlet that same year.

A private company located the shipwreck in 1996 off the North Carolina coast.

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