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Cannon Wad

Wadding recovered from the Queen Anne's Revenge shipwreck.

Wadding was part of a cannon load, with one wad in front of and one behind the projectile (often a cannon ball). This served to seal in gases as the lit gunpowder burned, increasing the energy resulting in the firing of the cannon. The front wad would stabilize the projectile as it traveled down the bore of the cannon. Made of wound rope or textile, the wads recovered from Queen Anne’s Revenge have so far only survived inside the bores of loaded cannon. In the case of cannon C19, there were three wads, one between the powder charge and a cannon ball, a second between the cannon ball and a collection of langrage, and a third in front of the langrage. The bore was then plugged with a wooden tompion, protecting the contents from degradation for over 300 years.

Updated 03/02/18 Courtney Page