260-year-old cannon buried in the ground

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A CANNON that was found on a 260-year-old merchant ship wrecked off the coast at Bulverhythe has been buried in the ground at the Shipwreck Museum.

The bizarre practice is aimed at protecting the iron gun taken from the wreck of the Amsterdam for many more centuries to come.

The gun had been kept at the Royal Armouries Fort Nelson Museum in Portsmouth.

It was originally recovered from the Amsterdam which ran ashore at Bulverhythe beach in January 1746.

Experts took it to Fort Nelson several years ago to be preserved but a decision was recently made to return it to Hastings.

Fort Nelson, which provides specialist facilities, has been preserving the gun in a sodium solution.

It has now been dropped in the ground in a yard at the museum and covered in the solution.

Jacqui Standford, business director at the museum, said: “The whole project was quite amazing and we now have it back for good and it’s only right that we got it back.”

This is the second gun recovered from the Amsterdam, which has been returned to the Shipwreck Museum from Fort Nelson with the other already on display.

The museum is currently working on a plan to find more space at the museum to put the second cannon on display.

Ms Stanford said: “Research is being carried out on the gun, but initial expert advice is that it may be Swedish. Often when countries captured foreign ships the armaments would be stripped, and placed on their own ships. This could be what happened in the case of the Amsterdam.

“Unfortunately because we are a small museum and do not as yet have the conservation resources, we have had to dig a pit in the garden, and place the gun in the ground because it needs to be conserved in water.”

The museum is open at weekends 11am to 4pm from November to March and daily from 10am to 5pm from April to October.

For more information call the museum on 01424 437452..