Scattered among the artifacts of the Molasses Reef Wreck, we found bronze shot molds, long-handled tongs, a number of enigmatic iron cubes, lead scrap, and dozens of lead/iron composite shot.
After years of conservation, research, and experimenting with the artifacts and replicas, we understood that with these items explorers could replenish their supply of shot. The iron core was placed inside the bronze shot mold, the mold secured with the tongs, and molten lead poured into the mold. Before our experiments, archaeologists thought the lead was wrapped and beaten around the iron core—an interpretation that now sounds absurd.


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