Historical Archaeology

, Volume 36, Issue 2, pp 58–70 | Cite as

Artifact of empire: The tale of a gun

  • Graham Connah
  • David Pearson


The historical archaeology of later colonialism in tropical Africa has had little attention. An example of its potential is provided by a 9-Pounder Naval gun preserved in Kampala, the capital of Uganda, nearly 600 mi. (900 km) from the nearest coast. Manufactured in 1870 in London, it is a rifled muzzle-loader made at a time when British gun-production briefly (and finally) reverted to muzzle-loading because of a lack of confidence in early breech mechanisms. When already obsolete, it seems to have been supplied by the Royal Navy for use on a colonial government vessel on Lake Victoria at the beginning of the 20th century and to have served with distinction during the First World War, 44 years after its manufacture. Apparently preserved as a memento in a Kampala public park, its colonial associations subsequently led to a less public role but it has nevertheless survived, having a relevance for both European and African history.


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Copyright information

© Society for Historical Archaeology 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Graham Connah
    • 1
  • David Pearson
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Archaeology and AnthropologyAustralian National UniversityCanberraAustralia
  2. 2.Australian War Memorial MuseumCanberraAustralia

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