Early Artillery Piece Recovered Near Sweden

Sweden Marstrand CannonGOTHENBURG, SWEDEN—According to a statement released by the University of Gothenburg, maritime archaeologist Staffan von Arbin of the University of Gothenburg and a team of international researchers examined a cannon recovered by a diver off the coast of Sweden near the port of Marstrand and determined that it may date to the fourteenth century. It had been previously thought that this type of cannon was developed between the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Made of cast copper alloy, the muzzle-loading cannon is thought to have been used onboard a ship because it still contained parts of a charge in its powder chamber, making it ready for combat. The remains of the charge also allowed the researchers to radiocarbon date the artifact, von Arbin explained. Analysis of the alloy revealed that it was made up of about 14 percent lead and very little tin, meaning that it would have been likely to crack if it had been used for long periods. “This shows that the noble art of cannon casting had not yet been fully mastered at that time, and that production was largely based on trial and error,” he said. Von Arbin and his colleagues plan to look for the wreckage of the ship that carried the weapon. Read the original scholarly article about this research in The Mariner’s Mirror. To read about the wreck of a fifteenth-century ship discovered near the town of Ronneby, go to “Around the World: Sweden.”

Source: archaeology.org

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