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School pupils make an unusual discovery during field trip on a Costa de la Luz beach in Spain
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School pupils make an unusual discovery during field trip on a Costa de la Luz beach in Spain

It is now in police custody but initial research suggests that it is ammunition from the Napoleonic period and the Siege of Cadiz

La Voz

Chiclana

Tuesday, 16 April 2024, 18:59

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School pupils from IES Pedrera Blanca de Chiclana secondary school were on the Costa de la Luz's La Barrosa beach when they found a cannonball measuring 20 centimetres in diameter that probably dates to the Napoleonic period, according to preliminary investigations.

The discovery was made while the youngsters were taking part in one of the Chiclana Natural activities called Geoedúcate II, in which participants walk along Lavaculos beach to study the rich geology and nature along Cadiz province's coastline. One of the pupils found the projectile half-buried in the sand and reported it to those leading the activity, staff from Althea study centre and their teachers.

As it is not a modern projectile and did not contain any explosives inside, it did not present any risk when handled . Those responsible for the activity notified the Guardia Civil and Chiclana Natural of the discovery. Police officers took charge of the object for safekeeping, pending any decision as to its final destination.

In turn, Chiclana Natural informed Chiclana Museum the authorities would be informed as to where the cannonball would go on display.

According to initial tests, it seems to be the kind of ammunition used in 12-pounder cannons, which were intermediate artillery pieces that fired cast iron balls weighing just over five kilos, like the one found. Erosion, however, has reduced the size and weight of the piece found.

It was widely used on land as infantry, field and siege artillery, such as in the siege suffered by the city of Cadiz. At sea, the 12-pounder cannon was regarded as a weapon of modest calibre when compared to the large 36-pounder or 24-pounder pieces found on many warships. In land campaigns, however, it was considered to be heavy artillery, so its use was quite common during the Battle of Chiclana, and it probably dates from that period.

It could also have been a sea-launched projectile, since this weapon was widely used by most of the major naval powers from the 17th to 19th centuries, deployed on most frigates and warships.

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