Cannonballs (2004)

In December 2004, UMA recovered four cannonballs and two pins from aggregates dredged to the west of the Isle of Wight.
Two sizes of shot were apparent, interpreted from photographs as being from a 6-8 pounder and from a much smaller gun (such as a swivel gun) respectively. The ‘pins’ appeared to be relatively small iron fastenings, probably from a ship’s structure or fittings. As they had been found together, it was thought likely that they indicated the presence of a wreck in the vicinity. Only a broad date range, from the fifteenth to the nineteenth century, could be offered.
Photograph of the cannonballs. Photograph courtesy of UMA.Photograph of the cannonballs. Photograph courtesy of UMA.
UMA and Hanson (who were engaged in joint dredging of the area) reviewed recent sidescan data from the area where the aggregate had been dredged, but did not see any obvious trace of a wreck. Nevertheless, they established a 1km by 250m exclusion zone and commissioned a high resolution geophysical survey.
The results of the geophysical survey, which included both sidescan and magnetometer data, were passed to WA for review. The review confirmed that there was no clear trace of a wreck in the survey area. The only features of any note were a series of areas of what appear to be boulders. These seemed most likely to be natural in origin (rather than ballast from a wreck), but might have served to trap items of wreckage that would otherwise have been dispersed. The large exclusion zone was removed, but a smaller one put in place over the boulders, as a precautionary measure.