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Metal Fittings - English firearms of the 18th century were designed to be deadly, but looks also counted since having nicer things set the class-conscious gentility apart from the masses. Many of the metal fittings needed to keep all of the working parts of a firearm together were therefore crafted with both functionality and appearance in mind. For the most part, the long gun and pistol fittings found in Maryland have minimal decoration, suggesting that they were on the more practical and affordable side. Either the Maryland colonists had limited access to decorative arms, or such guns were carefully curated over time while their plainer counterparts were used frequently, leaving worn parts behind in the archaeological record. Illustrated diagram titled:Parts of Flintlock Firearms, which includes an illustration of a pistol with labels for all the parts, and a long barrel muzzle-loading black powder rifle with labels as well. Photo image of side plate fragments:Side Plate Fragments, Date: ca. 1690-1730, Site Name: Addison Plantation, Site Number:18PR175/7927, 7860 - Side plates were used to reinforce the stock of a gun where the bolts that held the flintlock in place passed through. These plates could be highly decorative and they can help archaeologists identify and date firearms. For example, the closed-loop side plate fragment on the far right of this image is in a style that became popular on long English fowler guns ca. 1680-1700. If the plate is from a fowling piece, that is particularly interesting because these side plate fragments were found with a stockpile of gun parts associated with one of Maryland’s colonial militias. A fowling piece was a civilian long gun used primarily for hunting and self defense, but if the militia was called to muster, even weapons not necessarily intended for military use would have been pressed into service., Photo image of a trigger guard:Trigger Guard, Date: ca. 1651-1685, Site Name: Compton, Site Number:18CV279/220.001 - The shape and archaeological context of this trigger guard suggest that it was made in the mid-17th century, when it was popular to have a wide cup-like guard under the trigger and a curve at the back for a finger rest. Although this artifact pre-dates the Jacobite uprising featured in the Outlander series by about 100 years, firearms were often repaired and maintained over time, so such guards could still have been in use in the 18th century, especially in conflicts where combatants were underfunded and desperate to arm their troops with any weapons that could be had., Photo image of a pistol butt cap:Pistol Butt Cap, Date: ca. 1690-1730, Site Name: Addison Plantation, Site Number:18PR175/9175(C) - This plain ovoid butt cap would have adorned the curved end of a pistol handle, where it  added a decorative and deadly element  to the weapon. Pistols had a relatively short firing range, so anyone close enough to the enemy to use one would probably have been a bit too close to safely stop and reload in the heat of battle.  Once the shot was spent, the pistol could still be a formidable weapon, as the butt cap made the handle into a club for hand-to-hand fighting., Two photo images of triggers:Triggers, Date: ca. 1690-1730, Site Name: Addison Plantation, Site Number: 18PR175/7860, 9175 - A dozen triggers were recovered in excavations at the Addison plantation,  which is a lot for any one site. Many more pieces of firearms were recovered there as well, including the side plates, butt plate, pistol butt cap, and ramrod pipes shown elsewhere on this page. This artifact concentration showed that the Addisons had a stockpile of gun parts in storage when the structure that held the arms burned ca. 1730. The Addisons were officers in Maryland’s colonial militia and they were heavily involved in trade with American Indians. Both of these roles could have motivated them to keep gun hardware on hand in case military or trade weapons needed repairs and replacement parts., Photo image of a butt plate:Butt Plate, Date: ca. 1690-1730, Site Name: Addison Plantation, Site Number:18PR175/6048 - This is a copper alloy butt plate for a shoulder firearm such as a musket or carbine.  The butt plate covers the end of the stock where it would be seated at the shoulder during firing. It served to strengthen and protect the end of the stock, and it could be deadly if used as a blunt force weapon. This butt plate has distinctive tooling marks on it where it was drawn out and lengthened with a cross peen hammer to make it fit the stock better. The resulting tool marks would not have been visible when the weapon was assembled., Photo image of 4 ramrod pipe fragments:Ramrod Pipes, Date: ca. 1690-1730, Site Name: Addison Plantation, Site Number:18PR175/7577, 7860 (M, O, and T) - Muzzle-loading black powder weapons needed a ramrod to push ammunition down to the breech of the gun barrel. If the ball was not in the right position, the gas build-up created by burning gunpowder might not have the intended effect of propelling the ball from the gun. In addition to ensuring proper placement of ammunition, various attachments could be added to the ramrod to clean the inside of the gun barrel or dislodge a misfired shot. The fluted ramrod pipes shown here fitted into the stock of the firearm below the gun barrel to hold the ramrod when it was not in use, ensuring that this essential tool was always at hand.
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