Since the introduction of muzzle-loading firearms into the New World during the late fifteenth century, round lead balls have been the preferred projectiles. Although their use was largely supplanted by the development of breech-loading weapons and the introduction of elongated conical bullets during the period roughly coincident with the American Civil War, the continued use of inexpensive cap-and-ball and even flintlock loads in more remote areas persisted well into the early years of the twentieth century and perhaps beyond. While the concept of a round lead ball seems a simple one, its development and use is reflective of larger processes, including technological change, differing traditions of firearms manufacture, and evolving patterns of firearms use, often in direct response to evolving economic and ecological processes. As such, all lead balls are not created equal, and their formal description is an important component in historic site analysis. The following article offers a simple method to expand that analysis to include the many damaged or otherwise distorted specimens that defy simple linear measurement.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Journal||Illinois Archaeology: Journal of the Illinois Archaeology Survey|
|State||Published - 2008|