Stone cannon balls from Aberystwyth Castle

Today I made the long train journey from Aberystwyth to London, so I have just a brief post about the spherical stone objects above. They are stone cannon balls recovered in an archaeological investigation of Aberystwyth Castle. Tim Palmer is examining them to determine from what geological units they derive. They were hand-carved to fit into the Medieval cannons used during a siege of the castle.

Caroline Palmer wrote an excellent description and interpretation of these cannon balls in her great blog Letter from Aberystwyth. She wrote of two of them: “One is of limestone from Dundry near Bristol, and the other of a dense greeny-grey sandstone which could be from Somerset or South Wales. The surface is crudely tooled and pitted and to the casual glance they look strangely like a pair of seriously decayed Galia melons. They are heavy, 5½lb and 6½lb respectively, and just under 6 inches diameter. One has scarring on its side which could have been a result of its violent impact on the castle.” Check out her post for images of Medieval cannons and accounts of how they worked.

This is the cannon ball likely made of Dundry Stone. I suspect Dundry Stone, a Middle Jurassic Limestone, is Tim’s favorite building stone. Now we need a study to see how it can withstand whacking against a castle wall!


About Mark Wilson

Mark Wilson is a Professor of Geology at The College of Wooster. He specializes in invertebrate paleontology, carbonate sedimentology, and stratigraphy. He also is an expert on pseudoscience, especially creationism.
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2 Responses to Stone cannon balls from Aberystwyth Castle

  1. Ross Birnie says:

    Think I found part of a ston cannon ball while digging, how can I tell that it might be this.

  2. Mark Wilson says:

    You can email me an image, Ross. (mwilson at wooster dot edu) Context is everything when it comes to stone cannonballs because there are many round rocks. I likely will not be able to tell, but it is worth a look.

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