Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Ancient Roman Slingshot almost as deadly as a .44 Magnum

On a fortified hill called Burnswark in Scotland some 1,900 years ago a Roman army attacked local warriors by hurling lead bullets from slings that had nearly the stopping power of a modern .44 magnum handgun, according to experts. The assault must have been deadly effective, but Burnswark was just the opening salvo in a war against the tribes living north of Hadrian’s Wall. Despite their superior weaponry, Roman soldiers fought a tough, resourceful enemy capable of melting away into the hills and marshes.

Less than two decades after the Romans attacked Burnswark, they retreated south to Hadrian’s Wall.

Roman soldiers armed with slings used lead bullets to mow down foes.

Archaeologists also discovered two ballista balls

Hadrian’s wall
The Romans also employed psychological warfare against the Scots. About 10% of the bullets had holes in them. Researchers cast replicas, and asked an experienced slinger to test them. The bullets with the holes made “a weird banshee-like wail”

Isotopic studies of bullets from Burnswark and from other well-dated sites suggests that the bloody assault took place around A.D.140, early in the reign of the Roman emperor Antoninus Pius.