194 Civil War-era cannonballs discovered, destroyed at Gulf Islands National Seashore

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GULF BREEZE, Fla. (WKRG) — Gulf Islands National Seashore (GUIS) closed on Sept. 29 after cannonballs were found at Perdido Key.

Following Hurricane Ida, military munitions were found on beaches of Perdido Key, according to a news release from the GUIS.

Parts of Perdido Key were closed and marked with signs.

“The park continues to monitor the area for newly discovered munitions and will secure the site(s) should any be found in the future,” said Darrell Echols, GUIS Superintendent. “Our goal is to ensure that the area is safe for the visitors and staff, and that cultural resources are protected.”

More than 190 cannonballs were detonated in September with aid from federal agencies according to the release.

“These are Civil War-era cannonballs, and what’s unclear is whether they are Union or Confederate, whether they were associated with Fort McRee or another type of facility,” Echols said.

At this time, no more cannonballs have been identified. The GUIS stresses that the cannonballs are considered cultural artifacts and are protected by law. It is illegal to harm, deface, damage or remove these items.

A National Park Service archaeologists are preparing to travel to the site and conduct investigations.

The site is closed until it’s deemed safe.

“Anywhere in the park you can come across munitions of some kind or another. A flair, a mine. Something that doesn’t look quite right,” Echols said. “We advise the public to leave them alone; notify us or the area’s emergency services personnel.”

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