Two historic cannons dating back to the 16th century Venetian occupation of Crete were rescued from the jaws of a smelting fire yesterday after being mistaken for scrap by unsuspecting junk metal merchants. The cannons, which weigh some 200 kilos each, were picked up by a junk-dealing Roma couple after the artifacts had been left outside a workshop in Hania for restoration. The cannons are normally found in the Venetian-era fort overlooking the harbor. Authorities were alerted by a local metalsmith after the junk dealers hauled the cannons, as well as various bits of scrap metal, to his store yesterday morning. Police initially took the couple in for questioning but later released them after discovering that the pair thought the cannons had been left out as scrap metal and had no idea of their historic value.