Artifact of the Week: Musket Ball Die

bullet moldThis artifact is one half of a musket ball die made of soapstone, also known as steatite. It was found during a 1998 survey project at Guilford Courthouse National Military Park. The survey took place over three years of study between 1995 and 1998 and was designed to get a better understanding of the British and American battle lines at the Battle of Guilford Courthouse, which took place on March 15, 1781. This artifact has been dated to the Revolutionary War Period. The mold is hand carved and produces a musket ball with a caliber of 0.69. Musket balls were typically cast in iron or brass molds which could produce up to eight lead balls at a time, but homemade molds were occasionally used in the field. The mold could have been carried onto the battlefield by a soldier.