250-year-old musket balls from ‘shot heard round the world’ unearthed in Concord

CONCORD, Mass. — National Park Service archeologists working at a Revolutionary War battle site in Concord, Massachusetts, recently unearthed five musket balls that were fired during the world-changing event known as “The Shot Heard Round the World” in 1775.

Archeologists said early analysis of the 18th-century musket balls indicated that they were fired by colonial militia members at British forces during the North Bridge fight, a location within Minuteman National Historic Park in Concord.

The battle marked the moment when provincial militia leaders ordered members to fire upon their own government’s soldiers for the first time. The event was later termed “The Shot Heard Round the World” by Ralph Waldo Emerson in his 1837 Concord Hymn because it immediately escalated an already boiling conflict between colonial rebels and British forces.

The musket balls were found in an area where British soldiers formed up to resist the river crossing, according to contemporary accounts, the National Park Service noted.

Further analysis of the musket balls indicated that each one was fired from the opposite side of the river and not dropped during the process of reloading.

“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 in a news release. “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.”

Visitors can view the musket balls and learn more about “The Shot Heard Round the World” at Minute Man NHP on Saturday, July 13, during the park’s Archeology Day events.

For more information on this discovery and planned events, click here.

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