The infamous pirate Blackbeard, alias Edward Teach, has been the source of many legends revolving around the romantic images of pirates in the 18th century. But despite all the myths and stories, Blackbeard was a real person and his ship, has been studied for nearly twenty years after having been found off the coast of North Carolina in the mid 1990's. CNN reports that the most recent artifacts to be identified from the wreckage include antique medical devices for common sea-borne ailments.
The ship ran aground in 1718, and more than half of the vessel has been excavated successfully since it was located. There are thought to have been surgeons onboard, inherited (or kidnapped) from the ship's previous owners.
However, one of the scientists studying the ship and its legacy, Linda Carnes-McNaughton, said that the medical tools that have been discovered needed to be accessible to virtually anyone who could have been on the boat at the time.
"We just have to understand that these people were suffering," she said, as CNN quoted. "They were seeking relief for any kind of ailment, and certainly if there was warfare on the water, there were wounds among other ailments that needed treatment. It wasn't always a formally trained person in desperate times. That's probably more common than we know."
Some of the tools found include the pieces of two pumps, a possible bloodletting instrument called a porringer, and items for making and preparing medicines, including weights, pots and a mortar and pestle.
Even though a shipwreck is often a major discovery, the actual work of searching it for important artifacts takes time and dedication. Prepare for this by protecting all underwater workers and their equipment with diving insurance whenever an expedition presents itself.