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Wednesday, May 31 • 3:30pm - 4:00pm
036. (Objects) Conserving and Interpreting the mechanical Jacks from the Queen Anne’s Revenge

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This poster presents the in-progress conservation of two mechanical jacks recovered from the early eighteenth century shipwreck Queen Anne's Revenge (1718), flagship of the pirate Blackbeard. The jacks are being conserved at the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources QAR Lab in Greenville, NC. Their conservation represents a considerable challenge, one that will require the adaptive application of traditional and new technology for archeological iron recovered from a marine environment. Designed to lift or pry apart heavy objects, the jacks were likely part of the ship carpenter's tool kit. Similar jacks have been recovered from the English slave ship Henrietta Marie (c.1697-1700), several 1715 Spanish flota sites in Florida, and the Dutch East Indiaman Hollandia (1740-1750). These devices worked much like modern hydraulic jacks and consisted of a tapering, slotted rack, one end of which was used for lifting; the other passed through the center of a gearbox containing two or three gears that meshed with and drove the rack. X-rays of the jacks from the Queen Anne's Revenge have revealed a large geared wheel with eighteen teeth, the slotted rack, and rack guides which would have held the rack in position as it moved through the gearbox. Previous conservation work on one of the jacks has additionally revealed a number of corrosion-filled cavities where the large gear sits, though the core of the gear appears to be mostly solid. The condition of the iron varies dramatically and both jacks will likely require substantial casting as their conservation progresses given how variable the iron appears to be. While comparative examples provide much needed assistance in piecing together the original appearance of the jacks, such resources are less useful in terms of the specifications of the gearing mechanism, especially given its deteriorated condition. Particular attention will be paid to determine how complex this gearing system is as the gears and their corroded cavities complicate the implementation of a successful conservation strategy. This poster will therefore look at available treatises and illustrations to guide the progression of the conservation of the jacks and will highlight the use of photogrammetry to create a three-dimensional model for exhibit at the North Carolina Maritime Museum. The two jacks will be presented in the context of their day-to-day operations, with a focus on their role in shipboard life in order to augment our current understanding of the Queen Anne's Revenge.

avatar for Arianna DiMucci

Arianna DiMucci

Conservator, Queen Anne's Revenge Project, North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources
Originally from New York, Arianna attended the University of Missouri-Columbia and graduated in 2010 with a BA in Anthropology and a BA in Art History and Archaeology. She joined the Nautical Archaeology Program at Texas A&M University in 2011, where she began working as a conservation... Read More →

Wednesday May 31, 2017 3:30pm - 4:00pm CDT
Riverside West Exhibit Hall Exhibit Level, East Tower
  9. Poster, Objects