Thursday, February 13, 2020

They were digging a swimming pool in Charleston and thought they may have found a cannonball. It didn't turn out that way

A softball-sized object was found in yard. (Charleston Police)

It's not unusual for police in Charleston, S.C., to get a call about an artillery round discovered during construction or in the recesses of a building. After all, the Civil War began here, and there was plenty of ammunition stored, fired or lost during the conflict.

Case in point: On Wednesday, workers digging a swimming pool in the backyard of a residence on Ashley Avenue came across a round object they believed to possibly be a cannonball.

Instead, it was a wooden buoy, said police spokesman Charles Francis.

According to a police report, one of the workers described the item as being the size of a softball, possibly made of wood and "shaped like a small cannonball." He moved the object to ground level and contacted authorities. 

The police Explosive Devices Team determined the item was not lethal and deemed it harmless.

Just last week, an artillery shell was found in downtown Charleston in the basement of a building undergoing work. While first reports indicated it was likely a Parrott rifle shell, experts later said it was from around World War I.

In that incident, city police called an Air Force explosive ordnance disposal team to take it away. That wasn’t necessary on Wednesday, Francis told the Picket.

While he doesn’t keep track of such calls, the spokesman said the department does get calls from time to time about potentially dangerous wartime artifacts. They’ve been found on beaches and during construction.

Francis has simple advice for anyone who finds such an item: “Just call the police.”

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