Wanted: Cannon-toting Shipwreck Archaeologists

Now this was a project to get on! Archaeologists working off the Israeli city of Akko (Acre to the Victorians) found a 12′ by 75′ remnant of an Egyptian vessel connected to a historic 1840 battle. They also located, among other items, 11 cannonballs, several lead bullets and six muskets. Someone apparently got the experimental  itch. According to this article:

The sides of the ship were made of solid oak about 6.7 inches thick, raising the question of what protection they offered against cannon fire. To find out, researchers created a scale model to shoot at, assuming that a roughly 12-pound cannonball found in the shipwreck site was a typical projectile.

They found that a 12-pounder cannonball would have easily penetrated the side of the original ship, causing much internal damage. Their experiments also showed in gunners truly wanted to be nasty, they made sure cannonballs traveled slower — that increased the number and size of splinters generated, potentially inflicting more casualties.

Sounds like a good time. Unfortunately, a quick search didn’t reveal any youTube videos, but I’ll keep my eye open.

You can read their full report here at the Journal of Archaeological Science.

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2 Comments

Filed under Notes from the Field

2 responses to “Wanted: Cannon-toting Shipwreck Archaeologists

  1. starbuck5250

    The Mythbusters did a Pirate Special where they fabricated a section of ‘ship’ and fired cannonballs into it. Can’t find the video online though.

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