It may be the first paper -- ever -- discovered after
three centuries under the sea. "If it's not the first, it's certainly in
a very tiny minority," said
Melissa Tedone, book and library conservator at Winterthur and an
affiliated assistant professor at UD. Tedone and [chemist, Winterthur
scientist, and UD assistant professor Jocelyn] Alcántara-Garcia can't
explain how the fragments survived, but several theories have been proposed. "It's possible the paper fragments weren't actually exposed to water
while underwater in the shipwreck," Tedone said. "They may have been
caught in a pocket of air." Or they may have been in a spot where there was no oxygen. . . .
It is unclear how Blackbeard or any of his shipmates may have come
into possession of this book, whether pirate ships often featured a
library and whether many of those aboard were even literate. But such volumes could have been prized bits of booty captured in one of their many raids, Tedone said.
To read more about this project, the collaboration with other UD/Winterthur staff, and what this find may tell us about Blackbeard and his crew, read the article "Tiny Pirate Papers," at the UDaily website, here. Another article on this project and other artifacts recovered from the Queen Anne's Revenge is available online at National Geographic, here.