Might this pottery shard be a 1,000-year-old hand grenade? Indicators level to sure

Analysis of the residue inside this shard from a ceramic vessel indicates it may have been used as a hand grenade. The shard was excavated from a site in Jerusalem in the 1960s, and dates back to the 11th or 12th century CE.

Enlarge / Evaluation of the residue inside this shard from a ceramic vessel signifies it might have been used as a hand grenade. The shard was excavated from a website in Jerusalem within the 1960s, and dates again to the 11th or 12th century CE. (credit score: C.D. Matheson et al., 2022)

Archaeologists have analyzed the residue inside 4 medieval ceramic shards and decided that certainly one of them might have been used as a hand grenade, based on a latest paper printed within the journal PLOS One. And the explosive used was doubtless made domestically somewhat than gunpowder imported from China.

Byzantine troopers used early variations of grenades within the eighth century CE, constructing on the “Greek fireplace” invented a century earlier. As an alternative of utilizing Greek fireplace with flamethrowers, they positioned the incendiary materials in small stone or ceramic (and later, glass) jars to create handheld explosives. By the 10th century, the know-how had unfold to China, with Chinese language troopers packing gunpowder into ceramic or metallic containers with a fuse hooked up.

India doubtless additionally had grenade-like weapons. A 12th century manuscript (based mostly on an earlier Sanskrit work) describes a terra-cotta elephant stuffed with explosives with a fuse that was unleashed on an invading military. A mid-14th century Chinese language treatise references a “flying-cloud thunderclap cannon,” described as forged iron shells formed like a ball and roughly the dimensions of a bowl, stuffed with gunpowder (“divine fireplace”). Related grenades first appeared in Europe in 1467 and have been a staple of warfare since.

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