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Blackbeard creative with his weapons

RALEIGH, N.C., June 17 (UPI) -- Blackbeard was an inventive pirate when it came to weapons, new findings at what is believed to be his ship's wreck off the North Carolina coast indicate.

Munitions discovered at the site, near Beaufort inlet, include typical pirate weaponry such as cannons, cutlasses and blunderbusses, as well as two-headed cannon balls and lethal packages of shrapnel, CNN reported Friday.

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"We've found conglomerates mostly fused by lead, containing nails, glass and evidence of canvas," said Mark Wilde-Ramsing, deputy state archaeologist-underwater branch for the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources and project leader for expeditions to the wreck. "It's a bag of what you would now call shrapnel, and as it's shot out of a cannon, it busts open and just sprays the opponent's crew with the stuff ... ."

The team also found cannon balls joined together that would wreak havoc when shot because they spin while in the air. Wilde-Ramsing said the finds demonstrate creative and contingent thinking on the part of the dread pirate Blackbeard.

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"They had limited access to traditional military stuff, which is why they're using these other things," he said.

Wilde-Ramsing's team found 24 cannons and have brought 12 to the surface so far, CNN said.

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Despite the impressive firepower, Blackbeard didn't want to sink his prey's ships, Wilde-Ramsing said.

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"They weren't trying to put a hole in the boat and sink it," he said. "They were just trying to cause enough havoc to slow things down and discourage the opponents."

The team has found weapons, bits of sail, even human bones -- but no bounty. Wilde-Ramsing theorizes the crew ransacked the ship as it ran aground, leaving only heavy munitions, crockery and medical instruments.

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