Eleven stone cannon balls, or bolaños, were discovered at the stern of the ship. The balls appear to have been fashioned by hand from limestone, probably with the aid of a template to guide the process of chipping the surface of the stone to a sphere of uniform size. Nine of the balls appear to have been manufactured from the same type of stone, of similar texture, color, and weight. Ball 01,000, however, is of a much coarser stone of lighter weight, while ball 00,775 is of similar weight and texture but of a much darker color. Although several of the balls in the collection exhibit flat areas, none being truely spherical, the similarity in diameter of all the balls (ranging from 10.03 cm to 11.02 cm) suggests that they may have been intended for the same weapon (Scott 1995).
Stone shot were fired from various large guns called pedreros (stone-throwers), or bombardas (lombards), and some of smaller caliber. They required less powder than other heavier ammunition to achieve their target; upon impact, the limestone balls tended to shatter into sharp projectiles that helped to destroy rigging and injure personnel. Two large pedreros were raised from the Manila galleon San Diego, which sank off the Philippines in 1600. Both are heavy muzzle-loading cast-bronze cannons with four lifting rings (Carré et al. 1994:208, 209). They fired stone balls of much larger caliber than those found on the Emanuel Point Ship. Elsewhere, a number of stone shot, varying greatly in diameter from 8.2 cm to 27.3 cm were found in association with wrought-iron lombard-type guns on the Villefranche wreck (Guérout et al. 1989). The smaller balls were probably ammunition for a bow-chaser, since they were found in the forward part of the ship; larger stone shot were found amidships with heavier artillery.
In the Americas, similar stone cannon balls are associated with the Spanish fleet that sank in 1554 off Padre Island, Texas. Five, ranging from 9.9 cm to 12.6 cm in diameter and weighing between 1,289 to 2,693 grams, were found at the wrecksite of Espíritu Santo (Olds 1976:85-86). A single stone ball was recovered from the San Estéban site; it weighed 1,147 grams and measured 9.9 cm in diameter (Arnold and Weddle 1978:250-252). Two stone balls also have been found at another sixteenth-century wrecksite (called St. John’s) in the Bahamas; they range between 9.2 cm and 9.8 cm in diameter (Malcom 1992). A single stone shot is alleged to have been found at the early 16th-century Molasses Reef wreck before the site was systematically excavated, but no record of its characteristics was made (Keith 1987:218).
Fig. 63. These hand-chiseled limestone cannon-balls were deadly weapons, since they tended to shatter upon impact into sharp projectiles.