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Mary Rose cannonballs had iron cores


An analysis of lead cannonballs found in the sunken wreckage of Henry VIII’s flagship, the Mary Rose, has revealed that they had cores made out of iron, suggesting that they could be some of the world’s earliest examples of armour-piercing projectiles.

The cannonballs would have worked much like a modern-day armour-piercing round — the soft outer material, in this case lead, would have deformed on impact, throwing the hard iron core through the armour plating.

The trust hopes to conduct tests at the The Royal Armouries to try to better understand the damage they would have inflicted.

Alex Hildred, of the archaeology team, said: “We first noticed something strange when the lead cannonballs began to rust. Some burst open so that rust came almost pouring out of where it had split.

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Story: Richard Gray, The Telegraph | Photo: Photoshot

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