Nuestra Señora de Atocha (1622)
Complex forms of artillery shot were designed to cut a wider swath than the standard cannonball, making them especially effective at tearing down rigging and sails, or wreaking destruction amongst enemy crew. This “split shot” is made of two cast-iron hemispheres formed around the ends of iron bars. The looped ends of the iron bars are joined by a ring. A pyramid protrudes from the inside face of one of the hemispheres, with a matching recess on the other. When the two hemispheres were put together to create a ball, these forms helped to lock the halves together without slipping. Before firing, the bars were likely bound with crude twine to further hold the piece for loading. The twine would burn away with the blast of the gunpowder, allowing the hemispheres to part and the opened, expanded piece to whirl toward the target.
37.7 x 11.5 x 11.3 cm.