Last summer, a new shipwreck was discovered at the Ribadeo inlet (you can read about the find on the Finisterre Project blog). It’s believed to be a 16th century galleon, though its study is still underway. Among the materials found at the site were three bronze breech blocks that I treated to ensure their preservation. On my next posts I’ll show the results of the conservation treatment.
These ancient breech blocks acted as removable powder chamber on some cannons. The breech block was loaded with gunpowder and wadding and then mounted on the cannon and secured with a wedge, as seen on the diagram of the falconet above (I found the diagram here, I translated the terms from the spanish original).
Fun fact: sometimes the fishermen would find a breech block and mistake it for a tankard because of its shape. They would marvel at the toughnes of the men of the past who would drink from such a heavy mug (the ones I treated weighted between 12 and 15 kilograms).
Viki, one of my super BFF, is an archaeologist, which is fucking awesome for references y’know…