Nearly three centuries ago, the notorious pirate Blackbeard ran aground in his ship, the Queen Anne's Revenge, off what is now a North Carolina beach town.
This month, a crew of 13 heads out to sea each day, hoping for clear-enough weather to dive the 20 to 25 feet to the ocean bottom to excavate what they believe is Blackbeard's ship.
The team has found cannons, a bell, lead shot of all sizes, gold dust, pewter cups and medical devices, like a urethral syringe used to treat syphilis with mercury.
"A saying at the time was 'a night with Venus and a month with mercury.' And mercury doesn't even cure you," lead archeologist Chris Southerly said in an interview.
In past years, Southerly and his team did spot digs to map the debris field measuring 150 feet by 70 feet.
This year, divers are excavating the southern one-third of the site. They use PVC and aluminum pipe to measure 5-foot squares and meticulously record where objects are found.