Cannonball found on Florida beach might be from 1700s

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March 24 (UPI) -- Experts said a cannonball found buried on a Florida beach by a treasure hunter could date as far back as the 1700s.

Craig O'Neal of Ponte Vedra Beach said he found the cannonball buried under about 4 feet of sand while he was using his metal detector along the coast near Vilano Beach.


O'Neal, fearing the 20-pound cannonball might still contain unexploded powder, contacted police, who disposed of the device.

Chuck Meide, an archaeologist with the St. Augustine Lighthouse Archaeology Maritime Program, told WJXX/WTLV the cannonball was "a pretty big shell."

Meide, who reviewed photos of the mortar shell, said it was most likely from the 1800s, but might date back as far as the 1700s.

The cannonball was discovered a few miles away from the Castillo de San Marcos fort in downtown St. Austine.

"It could have been something fired from the Castillo," Meide said. "There were times when St. Augustine was under siege in the 1700s."

Meide said the cannonball might also have come from a shipwreck.

"There were vessels armed with mortar. So it's possible there's a vessel that wrecked or lost ordnance somehow," Meide said.


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