18th Century Cannon in Central Park Found Loaded and Ready to Fire

On Friday, conservancy workers in New York's Central Park discovered a fully loaded, ready-to-fire 18th century cannon during a routine cleaning. Upon finding the ammunition after removing the cannon's plug, the park workers called 911, who sent in a bomb squad.

According to Paul J. Browne, the NYPD's chief spokesman, the bomb squad found one pound and 12 ounces (over 800 grams) of still-functional gun powder wrapped in wool. "They tilted the barrel of the cannon and the cannonball rolled out," Browne told the New York Times. "In theory you could have fired that cannon because the powder was still working."

According to CBS New York, the cannon had been on public display from the 1860s until 1996, when it was moved indoors to the park's Ramble shed to prevent vandalism. Authorities believe the cannon is at least 233 years old – possibly from the British warship H.M.S. Hussar, which sank in the East River in 1780.

Police took the powder to a gun range and returned its wool wrapping to the conservancy.

[Image via NYPD]