University of Portsmouth's History Blog

The Dragon Gun: secrets of a local South-East Asian treasure

On 29 November 2023 we were pleased to welcome Thomas Davies, Assistant Curator of Artillery at the Royal Armouries: Fort Nelson, to the University of Portsmouth as part of our History Research Group Seminar series. Thomas presented his paper on the Dragon Gun, the iconic cannon housed at Royal Armouries: Fort Nelson on Portsdown Hill.  The Dragon Gun was captured in Myanmar by the British Army in the 19th century and presented to the Prince of Wales. Today it can be viewed in Fort Nelson’s Art of Artillery gallery. The gun dates to the 18th century, is only one of four in the world, and has always been believed to be Burmese in origin. However, new research reveals that the gun may not be from Myanmar after all. Thomas’ talk discussed the theories regarding its symbolism, manufacture, and its potential uses in warfare. He also discussed the gun’s capture, as well as his efforts to trace the gun’s true origins in Southeast Asia.

If you missed the paper, the recording is available to watch here. You will need the following password  M^Kzbc8e to access the recording.

The Dragon Gun is just one of over 700 items, which have been collected over a 600 year period, that the museum houses. You can find out more information about the museum here.

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