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Iron Cannon Balls and Lead Shot

The excavation of the “Tortugas” wreck yielded 14 cannonballs clustered exclusively to starboard outside the hull and ballast zone between midship and the bows, and yet no cannon were found on the site. Dated to 22 March 1622, Contratación 1172, N.2, R.1 records that at departure from the Guadalquivir river for Tierra Firme the Buen Jesús y Nuestra Señora del Rosario was expected to transport four iron cannon and 12 muskets. The absence of cannon on the site suggests the likelihood that these guns were jettisoned during the fateful hurricane of 5 September. Around 1,190 examples of lead shot were also recovered from the wreck although in a parallel picture to the cannonballs no muskets or related wooden barrels were identified.

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