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Durham man digs up live cannonball

Posted July 3, 2013

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— A Durham County bomb squad defused a cannonball Monday that a man dug up last month while doing landscaping work in his yard, authorities said.

The man found the cannonball June 16 and decided later to take it to an antique dealer in Hillsborough, said Deputy Paul Sherwin, spokesman for the Durham County Sheriff's Office. The dealer ordered him out of the store and told him to call authorities, saying the cannonball could be live ordnance.

Sherwin said the man, who lives in the 2700 block of West Main Street, called deputies Monday about the cannonball. A bomb squad moved it to a safe location, where they blew it apart with a small explosive charge, he said.

Lt. Anthony Prignano, the commander of the Hazardous Devices Unit, said the cannonball, which was filled with black powder and therefore posed a risk, weighed about 6 pounds and dated to the Civil War era.

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  • jeff27577 Jul 3, 2013

    i didnt know cannon balls exploded? i thought they were just solid balls of steel?

  • dwr1964 Jul 3, 2013

    A hole could have been drilled into this cannon ball to remove the, now dead, black powder. There is no way that this was the right call. These less than intelligent people just destroyed a piece of history.

  • RockOutwithyourGlockout Jul 3, 2013

    They probably did the ole switch a roo with the guys cannonball. Fake explosion, dummy cannonball broke in half, the artifact is prob on the auction block.

  • forddp Jul 3, 2013

    The article doesn't say that the black powder in the cannonball exploded. More likely the bomb squad attached an external charge and that is what blew it apart.

  • shortcake53 Jul 3, 2013

    You have to wonder how it went unnoticed all these years, fascinating!

  • JoCo50 at MXR Jul 3, 2013

    That cannonball was about as dangerous as a cotton swab, but, when you go ask someone else what you should do with YOUR property, they are likely to suggest something that results in it no longer being your property.

  • Lightfoot3 Jul 3, 2013

    Such a shame they lacked the knowledge and skill to remove the threat without destroying a piece of history.

  • T-Man Jul 3, 2013

    'Will 165 year old black powder still burn??'

    According to the article, "A bomb squad moved it to a safe location, where they blew it apart with a small explosive charge" So it certainly seems that it will still burn - and explode!

  • outhousecat Jul 3, 2013

    JennyB - You posted my exact thoughts! I'd love to find old Civil War ordnance, provided I didn't blow myself up. lol

  • zenonx6 Jul 3, 2013

    Will 165 year old black powder still burn??

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