National Geographic published photos released by the team, which has been excavating the sunken ship off the coast of North Carolina since 1997. The Queen Anne's Revenge was the flagship of Edward Teach, known as Blackbeard, until it ran aground in an inlet in 1718.
The sword hilt was found in pieces, but reassembled for the picture released by the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources. The fragments of the hilt and pommel are ornamental and possibly of French design, Time reported.
The department does not directly claim that the hilt belonged to Blackbeard, but speculates the hilt may have been discarded after the shipwreck.
"In any event, the pirates would have had ample opportunity to take anything that they thought valuable," David Moore of the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources told National Geographic.
In his brief career as a pirate, Blackbeard inspired terror and dread among ship captains. He was among the first to fly a black flag with a skeleton that now symbolizes piracy.
Aboard the Queen Anne's Revenge, Blackbeard held the city of Charleston, S.C., hostage in 1717, when his fleet blocked the port and obtained ransom from the British colonial government.
After abandoning the ship, Blackbeard was captured during a fierce sea battle. According to legend, he was hacked to death, and his headless body was thrown into the ocean.
An exhibit of small artifacts from the wreck of the Queen Anne's Revenge is on display at the N.C. Museum of History in Raleigh, N.C., through Jan. 30.