Most evidence of personal firearms are found as fragments of guns. These may have been weapons that were broken and left behind when the ship ran aground, they could be the remnants of whole guns that broke up over the centuries at the bottom of the sea, or they may represent a collection of spare parts that could be used to fix other weapons.

The gunlock is the firing mechanism for an early 18th century gun. When the trigger is pulled, a spring-loaded striker causes a flint to hit metal and spark, igniting primer in a primer pan, which the lights the powder in the barrel. This lock is screwed onto the wooden stock of the gun, often utilizing a decorative plate on the opposite side to help hold it in place. The copper alloy sideplates recovered from Queen Anne’s Revenge are of a “serpentine” style, meaning they are a snake or dragon, sometimes with the creature’s head, sometimes a human face. Other copper alloy features of the gun include the trigger guard, a loop mounted under the gun protecting the trigger from accidental firing, and the buttplate, meant to protect the wooden butt of the stock.

Corroded iron gun barrels have been identified in concretion, some with the wooden stock and/or portions of the ramrod still surviving. A particularly unique barrel made of copper alloy belongs to a sea service musketoon produced for the military. Markings on the surface indicate it may have been manufactured by gunsmith Thomas Hawley who worked in London between 1681 and 1719.

Updated 03/14/18 Courtney Page