Evidence of the ship’s artillery thus far is confined to the recovery of ammunition, examples of which indicate that the ship was armed with heavy, stone-throwing cannons, perhaps bombardas or pedreros, medium wrought-iron ordnance, such as bombardetas or cerbatanas, and smaller swivel guns called versos. All examples of artillery shot were recovered from the stern of the ship, suggesting that they were stored near their respective guns, mounted in the stern. Perhaps the Emanuel Point Ship carried stern chasers, which fired through gunports in the stern transom. The Basque galleon, San Juan, had one stern gunport, located on the main deck to starboard of the rudder (Grenier 1988:80). Discovery of ammunition in the stern alternately suggests that perhaps the shot locker was located there, although other areas of the shipwreck have yet to be investigated. However, if the shot were stored in the same location as gunpowder, their location should have been farther forward in the ship, since a royal ordinance of 1552 directed that a special chamber for the powder should be constructed below deck in the bows of all Spanish ships sailing to and from the Indies (Haring 1964:274). On the other hand, a mid-18th-century dictionary illustrating the of outfitting of Spanish ships shows the powder magazine in the poop (upper stern), under the cabins (Phillips 1986:70). The magazine was called the rancho de Santa Barbara, after the patron saint of gunners who offered protection against thunderstorms, fires, and sudden death.
The 1552 ordinance also listed the types of artillery, men, arms, and munitions that ships should carry, according to their respective tonnage. Ships of between 100 and 170 tons were to carry two brass cannons (sacre and falconete), six wrought-iron lombards (bombardetas), and twelve versos. Ships of between 170 and 220 tons were to carry three brass cannons (media culebrina, sacre, and falconete), eight lombards, and eighteen versos. And, ships of between 220 and 320 tons should carry four brass cannons (media culebrina, two sacres, falconete), ten lombards, and twenty-four versos (Haring 1964:274). According to these regulations, the Emanuel Point Ship could have been quite heavily armed, although artillery usually was loaded according to the specific mission of a ship, as were stores and provisions, rather than as an integral or permanent part of a vessel’s equipment. There is a question of whether any artillery still remains at the shipwreck site, since its situation in shallow water close to shore would have offered every opportunity to salvage this expensive and essential equipment.
Max. Dia. (cm)