Rifle casing, need help identifying the headstamp

Found this on an archaeological excavation in Africa, trying to get an idea of where to look to narrow down the year/manufacturer. My googling leads me to believe it may be from Germany ca. 1877… does this seem correct?

Diameter at the top of the casing is about 11-12mm, if that matters…

Any help is appreciated! =)

Most likely a German 11.15x60R Mauser cartridge by Koenigliche Munitionsfabrik, Danzig. Feb. 1877

Most likely used by the Boers in their Mauser rifles of the day…

Where did you find it?

Found in an archaeological excavation of a rockshelter in eastern Africa. Of course none of us archaeologists have any idea about ammunition, but if it IS from the late 1800’s then it’s quite significant to our site.

How would I go about finding out if it is indeed from Danzig 1877, or is it as close as we can get to say it’s most likely from there…

And thank you for your help! =)


Well it is a cartridge case for the german single shot military rifle M/1871. The uppemost of the geman colonial colored troops, the Askaris where armed with this rifle.
The case was made in Danzig Arsenal February 1877. It is an 11,15mm x 60 R case. Kaliber 11,15mm, case length 60mm and the cartridge has a solid rim at the casehead, so the bolt could safely catch it and pull it
out to the back and eject.
Eastern Africa saw a lot of shooting and fighting. It was a german colony
and in WW.1 the war was fought in the colonies,too. So it is quite common to find these cases even today in that area.

Scharfe Patrone M/71 Kal 11mm ( 11x60R).

The use of “11.15” is incorrect, as that is the groove diameter/Bullet diameter…The Rifle is “Kal.11mm”" ( Official German Military designation.).
“11.15” and occasioanlly “11.2” is a Commercial (Civilian )designation.

Now, where exactly was it found? Whilst the M71 cartridge was on generaL issue to the native Troops of the German African Colonies
(“Askari” is a Swahili/Arabic word meaning simply “Soldier” and does not specify any particular type of "soldier ( under Colonial Administration) , but it usually refers to a well-drilled and trained native force, with a proper (German) command structure, Native soldiers and NCOs (Schiumbaschi, etc) with German (White) officers. Mostly the enlistees were Muslims ( Coastal natives) and wore the Red Fez, typical of Turkish (Muslim) soldiers.

The Cartridge was also available from Trading Houses, for Non-military users ( Colonists, Police, Administrators, etc) and the firms of A.Kind (Hamburg)–AKAH, and ALFA supplied large amounts of this cartridge and (surplus) Rifles in this calibre.

Depending on where and when it was used, the ( particular) cartridge could have a “African Connection” of over 30 years ( from 1878 to about 1918).

A single cartridge case, without collateral Archeological finds, narrowing down time and place significance, has little importance.

The Context of the find and the area’s history are all important in defining the importance of this cartridge case find.

In anycase, a well preserved example.

Doc AV
AV Ballistics.
Brisbane Australia.

Thank you all for adding unparalleled expertise and value to the IAA Forum…you make us all look good!

Pepper Burruss
IAA President

Our site is in the southern highlands of Tanzania, and has everything from modern to Middle Stone Age (300,000+ years ago) artifacts. The rockshelter is locally known as the “last stand” of Chief Mkwawa, the 19th century leader of the Wahehe. He supposedly hid out from the German army in that rockshelter for several years, before killing his servant and then himself to avoid being captured in 1898. This is the only artifact of this type we have found over several fieldseasons.

The focus of our project, and all our specialists, is Stone Age archaeology… so this casing doesn’t mean much to our research perse. However it could be VERY significant for the local people, and for expanding our project, if we could demonstrate that this was likely deposited between 1877 and 1900.

The two small circles stamped below the D and above the star indicate that this cartridge case was reloaded twice in the German service after its February 1877 manufacture. The caliber designation 11.15 x 60R is the correct German commercial designation for this cartridge. It is not, as Doc says, a military usage. Jack

[quote=“Pepper”]Thank you all for adding unparalleled expertise and value to the IAA Forum…you make us all look good!

Pepper Burruss
IAA President[/quote]

Indeed! This is an incredible wealth of knowledge your forum users have!

I was wondering what those little circles were… thank you!

The trouble with cartridge cases and artifacts is that they may have been overlaid onto the site later. But you have a conflict and the time frame fits so I would say you have a match. In those days cartridge cases were gathered up and returned routinely so don’t expect to find too many but a metal detector search of the area is not going break the budget.

That I would say is your next task, and look also to the caves. The cases may have gone but the bullets will be there and perhaps more easily found. A metal detector search would be a good project for the junior members of your team to undertake.