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Revolutionary War cannon found with gunpowder — and cannonball

Posted at 9:16 AM, Jan 13, 2013

From Chris Kokenes, CNN

NEW YORK (CNN) -- This could have caused a major blast from the past.

Workers cleaning a cannon last fired more than 200 years ago were shocked to find Friday that it was still loaded with gunpowder and a cannonball.

The preservation workers from New York's Central Park Conservancy were removing rust from the antique cannon, which once fired munitions aboard the British warship H.M.S Hussar, when they made the explosive discovery, New York police Detective Brian Sessa said.

Workers immediately called 911, and technicians determined that the gunpowder was still active.

Authorities removed about 1.8 pounds of black gunpowder from the scene and took it to a gun range for disposal, the detective said.

"We silenced British cannon fire in 1776, and we don't want to hear it again in Central Park," New York police said in a statement to CNN affiliate WCBS.

The loaded artillery piece was one of two Revolutionary War-era cannons being stored at the park's Ramble shed, near the 79th Street transverse, according to the affiliate.

"This was an amazing surprise," John Moore, author of the upcoming book "The Secrets of Central Park," told WCBS. "It was there for so many years, and people were sitting on it when it was a loaded cannon."