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Archaeology/brass or bronze cannonball


I was over a friends house for a bbq , talking in the garage,pulls out a huge vertebrae from a mastodon , wow that's cool were you get that,my friend has been laying pipe in Florida past 25 , 30 years ,says I dug that up on Colonial blvd. Fort Myers, 15 ,16 feet down , says pull out about 10 feet of it he took some the men took some, says were he thought the head was, he could not I say that's cool , he gives me the piece to hang in my bar,I say you dig anything else up ,he says yes , he was laying pipe on the north side of Boca grand pass, by the old phosphate docks,were they have the tarpon tournaments , about 200 yards on shore,down about 18,20 feet deep, pull out a scoop and it rolled out , a cannonball, said the dirt was mucky not sandy at that depth,it is 4 1/2 inch diameter , about 7.4 lbs. looks to be bronze with a bronze plug what do you think were it comes from? I will send you a image

Hi Jerry,  what he has is a Demi-Calverin.  Very typical of a kind of ball found on sailing ships.  These were used by the French, Spanish and most of the other colonial powers of the time.  Florida was Spanish for a very long time but it was also contested territory and there were many skirmishes.  That ball may be from one of these minor incidents.  Other than the brass plug, any other markings?  Also how big is the plug?  Tell your friend NEVER put it in a fire, Never try to cut it open.  It is explosive ordinance, even if it is 200 to 400 years old!!!  People have been seriously injured and killed trying to open these.  I would also recommend not having it in the house.  It is much safer outside and safer yet in the hands of a museum.  

I'd love to have a pic or two of the ball and of that vertebra.  Does he have any other items? Subject line cannon ball


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Ralph Salier


Archaeologist for the last 30 years. Norh American generalist and Hopwell culture/Red Ocher culture specifically. Lithics Expert and Ground Stone tools.


Past/Present clients
Numerous museums in US and Canada. Several University Anthropology Departments.

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