Our Treasure of the Month for October is one of the most unusual items that we have ever featured. Although not gold or silver, this artifact (made of iron) is nevertheless a rare, valuable and unique piece of armament history from the 1715 Fleet.
Recovered in 1964 by Lou Ullian of the Real Eight Company, this item was found between the first and second reefs at the Cabin Wreck site near Sebastian, Florida. What we have here is “grapeshot” with part of the original canvas that held the shot (16 balls) together. After the item was conserved, it was reassembled including the remnants of the canvas to replicate exactly how it was found.
The entire unit weighs 3,254.7 grams, or about 7 ¼ pounds. There are 16 iron balls, 1 5/8’ in diameter. Overall it is 6″ wide, 3 ½” high and 3 ½” deep, (front to back).
This mass of small metal balls was packed tightly into a canvas bag. When assembled the mass resembled a cluster of grapes, hence the name. Fired from a cannon, naval grapeshot was designed to punch through the wooden hull of a ship.
What is most interesting about this item is the fact that there was canvas still attached to the cluster. A most unusual relic.