A 300-year-old cannon has been unearthed during construction work in downtown Wilmington, North Carolina.

The find was made Tuesday directly in front of the federal courthouse steps on Wilmington’s riverfront. The cannon was buried 6 to 8 feet underground.

“It’s right below where there are typically summertime concerts,” a spokesman for the city of Wilmington told FoxNews.com. “People have danced for years right on top of it.”

“At first, the contractor wasn’t sure what it was - they proceeded to scrape some of the mud away and quickly realized that it was a cannon,” he added.

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Assistant state archaeologist Chris Southerly tells multiple media outlets that based on the gun's style, size and design, it dates to 1700 to 1750 and came from an English ship.  He said Wednesday that the cannon is in pretty good shape.


(City of Wilmington)

Southerly says the cannon would have been mounted on a sailing ship anywhere from 60 feet to 120 feet long.

The archaeologist took the cannon to the Fort Fisher branch of the Office of State Archaeology for study and renovation Wednesday.

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“In the process of cleaning it up, we will be able to see more details on it, maybe a founder’s mark that might give us a better idea of where exactly it came from,” said Southerly, in a video posted on the city of Wilmington’s Facebook page.

Wilmington was incorporated in 1739. The city is bordered by the Cape Fear River to the west and the Atlantic Ocean to the east.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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