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Iron Cannon Ball

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Artifact Description

Three different sizes of iron cannonballs were recovered from the site with diameters of 4.5cm, 8.5cm, and 12.5cm. At least three piles of concreted iron cannonballs were identified on the site, presumably reflecting the contents of the shot locker.

Cannon are a predominant feature of the wreck site with two clusters of cannon at each end of the hull, and with more cannon scattered around the margins of the site. When discovered, seven cannon towards the northeast were aligned parallel to the keel line, still in the position where they were stowed in the hull, resembling a commercial consignment of ordnance simultaneously functioning as profitable ballast, rather than the ship’s weaponry. This configuration may be supported by the fact that these guns rest directly on ballast and hull structure, indicative of placement in the hold. The fact that all of their cascables are oriented towards the southwest again favors this structured, non-random interpretation. 

 The second cluster of 18 cannon is located along the southern half of the wreck, east of the keel. This concentration displays a roughly preferential east/west orientation, with muzzles in eight examples facing eastwards. Two cannon on the northeastern periphery of the wreck share this pattern. The overall ordnance orientation thus again suggests that the ship struck the sea bottom to portside, forcing the starboard cannon to break their restraints and roll over to portside, either when the vessel foundered or after deposition as the ship’s wooden superstructure broke apart.

A high-resolution survey of the site and surrounding area conducted using side-scan sonar in 2005 and 2009 identified an additional six cannon to the north and a further six to the south of site 35F. In some cases these are associated with trawl scars reflecting the cause of this scattered pattern. If the bows are correctly identified as lying to the southwest, then this implies that the ship was sailing from the northeast when she was lost.

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