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250-year-old musket balls from ‘Shot Heard Round the World’ discovered Massachusetts park

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250-year-old musket balls from ‘Shot Heard Round the World’ discovered Massachusetts park

Five musket balls were recently discovered by archeologists at Minute Man National Historical Park in Massachusetts, and traced back to the event marked in history as “The Shot Heard Round the World” that precipitated the American Revolutionary War in 1775, park officials said.

The 249-year-old musket balls were discovered by archeologists doing “compliance activities” in preparation for an event, the National Park Service said in a news release Tuesday.

Early analysis indicates they were fired by colonial militia members at British forces during the North Bridge fight in Concord on April 19, 1775.

North Bridge marked the moment when militia leaders fired against British forces and was later dubbed “The Shot Heard Round the World” by Ralph Waldo Emerson in the 1837 “Concord Hymn” about the conflict.

A painting depicting the battle at North Bridge in Concord, Mass., on April 19, 1775.
A painting depicting the battle at North Bridge in Concord, Mass., on April 19, 1775. VCG Wilson / Corbis via Getty Images

The musket balls were found in an area where “according to contemporary accounts, British soldiers formed up to resist the river crossing,” the release said.Further analysis indicates that each one was fired “from the opposite side of the river and not dropped during the process of reloading.”

The park protects the historic structures and landscapes associated with the opening battle of the American Revolution on that fateful day, including what happened at North Bridge and the colonists’ confrontations with the British. 

“It’s incredible that we can stand here and hold what amounts to just a few seconds of history that changed the world almost 250 years ago,” Minute Man Park Ranger and historic weapons specialist Jarrad Fuoss said.

“These musket balls can be considered collectively as ‘The Shot Heard Round the World,’ and it is incredible that they have survived this long. It is also a poignant reminder that we are all stewards of this battlefield and are here to preserve and protect our shared history,” he added.

April 19, 1775, marked the first armed conflict of the American Revolution where colonist militia members, in defense of liberty, intercepted the British as they marched from Boston to Concord.

The fighting on that day is also known as the Battles of Lexington and Concord and saw skirmishes over 16 miles along the Bay Road from Boston to Concord. On the British side, 73 were killed, 174 wounded and 26 were considered missing, following the April 19. On the colonial side, 49 were killed, 41 wounded and five missing, according to the National Park Service.

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