Dating musket balls

Biting the Bullet: The Archaeology of ‘Musketballs’ | Rubicon Heritage Archaeological Services

dating musket balls

Join Date: Jul Location: Kansas My 7 year old daughter will be thrilled if they are musket balls as she found 3 of them. I know nothing. Unrelated bullets certainly of later date will occasionally be recovered along with It could comprise large numbers of musket balls, square shot of iron, nails, or. Regarding ID of musket balls, nothing to hang your hat on (date, country, etc). Better not to spend too much time worrying. ID is nearly.

Look for evidence of a casting sprue made from the inlet channel of the mold.


The lead from the channel is usually clipped off using a sprue cutter and leaves a medial ridge on the sprue. Look at the color Examine the ball for a patina.

Authentic musket balls are not shiny gray lead. Musket balls buried underground for years develop a coating of lead carbonates, sulfides and oxides. This coating is usually white or light tan. However, the presence of tannic acid from trees or high levels of iron oxide in the soil can darken the color of an authentic musket ball to a deep reddish-brown.

  • How to Identify Revolutionary War Musket Balls
  • dating musket balls
  • Biting the Bullet: The Archaeology of ‘Musketballs’

Tip A gray-colored ball with a blistery surface may be authentic, but it was molded from an alloy of lead and pewter or lead and tin. This was a common practice used by the American army during the American Revolutionary War, since lead was in short supply. Measure a round ball If the ball is round, measure its diameter in inches with a set of calipers, but do not take the measurement on the mold seam. Typically, musket balls range in diameter from 0.

How to Identify Revolutionary War Musket Balls | Synonym

The British Brown Bess musket had a 0. Charleville-style French muskets, which were supplied to the Continental Army, had a 0. Rifles took smaller balls, measuring less than 0. It is often the case that analysis of bullet types can tell us about the range of different soldiers present at a particular site. One of the most important aspects of lead bullet analysis is knowing where the ball has come from.

If the exact findspot of each bullet is not carefully recorded archaeologically, a valuable piece of information is destroyed. The location of bullets on a battlefield provides us with a unique plan of how a fight progressed; it can reveal who fought where, what type of soldiers they were, and where the fighting was hardest.

dating musket balls

Often this information can completely re-write previous interpretations which were based solely on historical accounts. If the lead bullets are removed from their context without proper recording all this information is lost.

dating musket balls

Lead shot recovered from the Battlefield of Aughrim, Co. Galway, and representing an attack on fleeing Jacobite soldiers Above are some lead bullets we analysed for the National Roads Authority on behalf of Galway County Council. They were fired during the Battle of Aughrim, Co. Galway, inthe bloodiest battle in Irish history.

Musket & Pistol Balls Metal Detecting 1800's Orange Grove

Because we knew the exact findspot of each bullet we could see a pattern emerge, suggesting that this was evidence for a rout that we knew took place. This small assemblage is surviving evidence of this desperate attempt to escape the slaughter. The Siege and Battle of Kinsale, The Lord Deputy's Camp is in the centre left of the image Pacata Hibernia, We are also now getting better at recognising when lead bullets have been fired, and sometimes what they have hit.

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As well as this bullets can provide us with information about how and when they were made. Analysis indicated that these bullets were made on site by these men. The bullets had not been fired, and some of them showed defects in the manufacturing process, possibly a result of the weather.

This suggested to us that the soldiers were making bullets themselves around their campfires, and that these bullets were dropped in the mud and never recovered.

dating musket balls

Their presence indicates that a significant archaeological siege landscape survives in this part of Kinsale. The bullets have not formed properly in the mould, possibly a result of adverse weather conditions during manufacture Another site Rubicon excavated was at Castledonovan Castle, in West Cork.