Dr. John Costlow, (R) retired head of the Duke Maritime Laboratory, and NC Maritime Museum employee David Moore inspect a 2,250 pound cannon barrel, that experts believe was part of Blackbeard's pirate ship "Queen Anne's Revenge," October 29, 1997 at the North Carolina Maritime Museum in Beaufort. The team has collected 12 cannons since 1997. REUTERS

A piece of pirate history is about surface off the coast of North Carolina. Underwater archaeologists gathered on Wednesday in hopes of raising a one-ton cannon from the wreckage of the notorious pirate Blackbeard's ship.

The cannon sat on the ocean floor for nearly 300 years, but if all goes to plan, the cannon will go on display in front of the state Maritime Museum in Beaufort before it heads to a laboratory for further study.

Known as The Queen Anne's Revenge Project, named after the flagship, the team of researchers from the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources' Underwater Archeology Branch has worked since 1997 to salvage artifacts from the wreck.

The Queen Anne's Revenge wrecked off the North Carolina Coast in 1718. Centuries later, the ship has become encased in a cement-like shell of sand, salt and aquatic creatures.

12 other cannons have been recovered from the site to date, three of which are on exhibit. The others continue to undergo conservation at the Queen Anne's Revenge lab.

In addition to the cannons, a dive team recovered the ship's anchor back in May. Other finds in 2011 include iron shackles, cannonballs, a crystal wine glass stem, and the lid of a nesting cup.

A research vessel from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) will join the expedition on Wednesday.