Officials from Naval Weapons Station Yorktown identified the object as a Union cannonball dating to the “late Civil War” that possibly contained explosive black powder, the sheriff’s office said. The cannonball will be disposed of by an explosion.
Aviel Thompson, 10, was one of the cannonball’s four discoverers.
“Basically, we were just digging to have fun and we used the metal detector,” he said Friday. “There was a loud beep. … We poked something metal and took a chunk off of it. Luckily it didn’t spark.”
The group then debated what the object was — and what to do with it. Some opined that “it was just a metal old ball,” Aviel said. He and his companions discussed whether to throw it but decided against it.
“Luckily, we didn’t,” Aviel said. “Anything could’ve happened.”
They returned with the ball to Aviel’s home, where his mother, suspecting trouble, laid it on the front lawn.
“I was like: ‘You didn’t find … Oh my, you found a cannonball,’” said Joshua Thompson, Aviel’s father.
Aviel said he suspects there are more cannonballs in the area, but he won’t seek them out.
“I don’t want to make it explode,” he said.
Anyone who finds a possible cannonball should call 911, the sheriff’s office said. The location was about 150 miles south of Washington in the Hampton Roads region.