Archaeological find

Dear Experts - these two ‘bullets’ were recently unearthed from a ditch in Somerset, England. They look exactly like a Minie ball, but seem too small - actual measurements are 15.00 mm dia, 25.4 mm long, weight 31 g. The indentation at the firing end is 9.00 mm deep. A brown coloured ring appears inside one of the indentations, and one has quite heavy scarring parallel to centreline. Any clues ? I’ll just work out how to post images…

The dimensions you describe sound like a .58 cal minnie ball. There are some variations of course, depending on mold use, what era it is from, etc… The 15mm diameter though works out to .58cal which is common.

That’s Minie’.

Given that they were found in England, if they have grooves like the conventional US minie then they are more probably Snider Bullets. The British military favoured the Pritchett bullet in the Enfield musket which was a paper patched smooth sided bullet. Although this was not 100% and Somerset would have had various Militia and Volunteer regiments which could have been privately funded and equipped. Just to confuse matters.

Lets get back to basics though, two fired bullets togeather in a ditch is no coincidence. You have probably found an old firing range and further investigation is required. They didn’t wander round the countryside firing those things on impulse, even in those days.

The brown mark inside the hollow base will probably be the remains of a wooden or clay plug

If the bullets you’ve recovered don’t have circumferential grooves around the outside rear they are likely for the British .577 Enfield series of muzzle loaders. Jack

Thanks for the info - no grooves around the circumference. I’m struggling to add the photo which would obviously be a great help to you - any advice on that would be very much appreciated !!

Sounds like a .577 Enfield-Pritchett bullet.
The brown ring on the inside was probably left by the clay base plug.
The scarring parallel to the centreline was left by the rifling, and is likely to be either 3 or 5 grooves.

I dug dozens of these from a Victorian era range in London back around 1980.

To post photos, upload them to a host like Photobucket or Flickr, then copy and paste the IMGcode into your post.

Here are some pictures of an unfired .577 inch P.'53 Enfield bullet with a sycamore wood plug. Other types had a clay expanding plug as Vince has said.