Underwater archaeologists plan to raise a cannon Wednesday from what's presumed to be the pirate Blackbeard's sunken flagship and put it on display — for an hour.
"If you don't see it then, you won't see it for awhile," said Mark Wilde-Ramsing, project director for the Queen Anne's Revenge Project.
The public can get a glimpse of the cannon from noon to 1 p.m. ET at Fort Macon State Park.
Wilde-Ramsing said typically such artifacts would be wrapped up and put back into water, but he believes it's important for the public to see how the cannon looks right after it comes up from the sea.
The display also will provide a better public understanding of why conservation consumes 90 percent of the time and cost of underwater archaeology, he said.
The 6-foot (2-meter) cannon will be taken to the QAR Conservation Lab in Greenville, where it will undergo a cleaning and preservation process over the next three or four years.
The newly renovated North Carolina Aquarium at nearby Pine Knoll Shores opens Friday and will feature a replica of one of the ship's cannons.
Blackbeard, whose real name was widely believed to be Edward Teach or Thatch, was tracked down at Ocracoke Inlet by volunteers from the Royal Navy and killed in a battle on Nov. 22, 1718. The ship thought to be Queen Anne's Revenge sank off the North Carolina coast that year.