At the centre of the site, protected only by a thin layer of sand, nine cast-iron guns were found amidships; they were stored head to foot, perpendicular to the Dauphine's longitudinal axis. For a long time, researchers were not sure of the real function of these pieces – were they freight items that were being used temporarily as ballast, or were they permanent pieces of ballast? Although the latter explanation seemed the most plausible, it was contradicted by the fact that old, disused cannons were used as ballast only on royal ships. The mystery was solved with the definitive identification of Natière 1 as the Dauphine, which was built in 1703 in a royal shipyard. These guns were definitely used as the ship's central ballast.
Additional ballast was provided by a bed of stones, mostly flint, and – at the centre of the ship –a layer of gravel some ten centimetres thick.