In the anthology More Than Honor (An anthology in the Honorverse, edited by David Weber), there is an author's note following A Grand Tour (By David Drake) claiming that the events are based on historical events. I will reproduce it below:
AUTHOR'S NOTE: readers may be amused to learn that both the climax of this story and the archaeological methods described therein are closely modeled on real events which took place in the Eastern Mediterranean in 1795.
This is confusingly placed at the beginning of A Whiff of Grapeshot, but I am confident that it is supposed to be related to A Grand Tour since it is the one with the archaeology. Additionally, when the author of A Grand Tour (David Drake) reprinted it in his anthology Other Than Peace, the author's note was still included.
I cannot for the life of me figure out which historical even he was referring to! I have searched and searched and the only ideas I have are that it might have something something to do with Ganteaume's expedition of 1795, but the Wikipedia article doesn't seem to say anything about archaeology at all, let alone with a cannon.
What also is crazy is I can't find anyone even talking about this author's note in my searches; the only references to the author's note I can turn up seem to be things like Google Books that are just returning the text of the book to the search engine.
Does anyone have any idea what this note was about, or where I might find more information?
A brief summary of the events of "A Grand Tour":
A noble and some of his entourage show up on a backwater planet with a small human population and the ruins of an ancient alien race. The noble is an archaeology/history enthusiast and is here to check out the ruins and try his hand at translating some of the alien records left behind, but finds that a corrupt captain of a 3rd rate navy is there using his poorly treated crew and repurposed naval weapons to try and destructively excavate one of the ruins. In the meantime the noble finds some spacers from his country's navy stranded on the planet, as they lost a battle against the series antagonist navy in a nearby system. The noble wins the right to borrow the corrupt captain's ship in a poker game, and then uses it to go fight the antagonist navy in the nearby (supposedly neutral) system. They win but only because the enemy ship has a mutiny. The noble returns to the backwater planet and his companions successfully make something out of the alien records.